Thursday, December 28, 2006

Goal acheived!

Well, one goal, that is.

At the beginning of the month I decided to try to put in 25,000 yards in the pool. All while maintaining my two times a week swim schedule. I'm happy to report that, in the words of Sir Edmund Hillary, I "knocked the bastard off" this morning.

After a solid 3200 yard workout, I had chalked up 25,050 yards for the month. And what did I find out as a result of this?

Mainly, that I can swim more yards per workout than I previously had thought. Not rocket science, but important, nonetheless as I move forward in my training. Over the last few months I've increased my workout yardage from two workouts of about 2500 per session to two workouts, one of about 3500+ yards (solo workout) and another of about 2500 yards (Masters swim class) each week.

I've got a better feel for the water, and I'm getting faster too -- I'll take that!

Friday, December 08, 2006

As the mercury drops...

Winter is settling in here in Virginia.

The colder temperatures really hit home on Wednesday. Coach Debi had me scheduled for a 45 minute run, so at 6 AM I was out the door and on the road.

The key to winter running is not to overdress. As the old rule of thumb has it: "If you're warm when you start running, you're overdressed." No problem with that this morning. It's dark and it's cold, and I'm cold -- really cold.

But the stars are shining with that peculiar intensity that the dry winter air gives them. You almost feel you can reach out and touch them, while the navigation lights of the passenger jets overhead shine brightly as they track across the sky, one after another.

I start slowly, almost shuffling, gradually warming up my body as the cobwebs of sleep fall away. Keep the breathing slow and regular -- cold air can agravate my asthma if I don't warm up slowly. Gradually I start warming up, leaving the bitter cold behind and reaching a relatively comfortable equilibrium underneath my lycra, capilene, and polypro.

There's little to disturb me as I move through the suburban subdivisions. The small circle of light from my headlamp illuminates the road in front of my feet and a dull red glow from my blinking LED light guards me from traffic. There's little traffic at this hour though. The occassional early commuter and the paper delivery car are all that I see as I reach my turn around point.

As I come back a dull glow starts to light the horizon. More lights have come on in the houses, and cars billowing clouds of vapor warm up in the driveways. As I hit the last stretch I'm moving easily, comfortable in my environment and ready to keep going.

It's a great way to start the day, but my 45 minutes are up, and there's a hot pot of coffee waiting -- thank goodness for automatic timers.


Check out my training log.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Joy of Road Racing

I decided to test my wheels out last weekend at the Charlottesville Men's 4-Miler road race. The Men's 4-Miler lives in the shadow of the popular Charlottesville Women's 4-Miler, both of which benefit cancer research (breast cancer for the women and prostate cancer for the men).

The Men's race is a pretty low-key affair -- a couple of hundred guys out on a quiet country road in December. No big deal, just come out and run.

It was a beautiful morning for December. About 40 degrees, no breeze, sunny. After I checked in I took a very slow jog for about 10 minutes, then stretched for 10 more. By then it was time to line up. I hadn't run a road race in almost two years but all the memories came flooding back. I sized up the competition, put myself about 10 yards behind the start line, and took off with the gun.

As we galloped down the road, the field began to stretch out and I found myself running in space. The pace felt good, so I didn't worry as the lead pack stretched away from me. The half-mile mark came up -- 3:43. Faster than I expected I'd run, but the pace felt good and my breathing relaxed.

Soon some more runners came up on my shoulder looking to make a pass. They seemed to be working too hard for so early in the race, so I let them go, but tucked in behind to catch a draft for a while. The first mile came up -- 7:28.

As my little group moved through the second mile I held back a bit -- no use going too hard too early. As we approached the turn around, the leaders started passing on the return leg. I started counting to get my position. Soon the turn appeared. I clicked my watch as I rounded it -- 7:40, and 64th place.

I had a good idea of the field now and knew there were a lot of guys I could pick off if I kept my pace going. I started to run down some of them: 63, 62, 61. Two young guys passed me, and I jumped on their heels, while a fellow in a red shirt joined my pack. We started knocking off more runners: 60, 59, 58, 57.

Here's the third mile: 7:31. Concentrate on form -- quick turnover, arms straight, track narrow. Breathe deep, suck in all that O2. My group started to splinter. The two young guys and red shirt are pulling away slowly, but I'm catching some others. A final turn and I can see the finish line clock: 29:45. Dig deep, pass those guys in front 56, 55, 54.

I'm across! Watch stopped: 7:28 for the mile, 30:01 for the race. Big breaths of air. God that felt great -- when can I do it again?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Taking stock

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. A good chance to take a few days off and relax a little bit. A good opportunity to take stock and look at where I'm at (and where I've come from.) Let's break it down:

Overall health:

This is a big positive for me. Since the beginning of the year I've lost almost 20 pounds, from the mid 180s down to the mid 160s. I can attribute that to a big change in my diet and more consistent training. Because of that, my cholesterol levels have dropped from "dangerously high" to "acceptable-borderline."

Sport specific:

Run -- No doubt that the big story here is my knee. After an injury in March, I had microfracture repair surgery to the femural articular cartilage of my left knee. After six months, I'm back to running at nearly 100% function. Performance has suffered, but I've built back up to a one-hour run at a steady 10-11 minute/mile pace.

Biking -- Again, the knee surgery pretty much killed the summer riding season for me. Since surgery, I've had a long ride of 40 miles and I was right about the middle of my age group at the Giant Acorn Sprint Tri. I think this is going to have to be the point of emphasis if I want a good finish at Eagleman.

Swimming -- This is the brightest spot for me. I lost the least amount of time in training and have increased the yardage I've been doing from about 4000 yards/week to 6000+/week. Those aren't epic numbers, but enough for solid improvement. I'm holding ~1:45/100 yard pace for long swims (1750 yards +). I'm not going to rule out being able to get that down into the 1:30 range.

Mental health:

A lot of things need to go right if I want to suceed in the upcoming year. The key to making it happen is going to have to be good mental focus. I've got to train consistently, with the proper mental focus and determination. Most importantly, I've got to remember that all of my decisions will impact my performance. I've got to eat right, get enough sleep, and stick to my schedule even when I'm thinking about wimping out. Having a coach is a big help, since it takes the stress of coming up with the plan off of me. I just have to execute it!

Fortunately I've given myself plenty of time to put it all together. So I'll take a few days easy, then kick it back into gear for December.


Keep me honest -- check out my training log.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Time trial

I read an interesting discussion once about the subject of LSD (Long Slow Distance) in swimming. Why, it was asked, don't we do that in swimming? It's part of our bike and run training, why not do it in the pool?

A good question that I'm not qualified to answer. But they had a point -- pool time is all about intervals and drills, very little about just swimming long distance -- at least in my experience.

Sometimes I like to break out of that and just do a long swim to check out how I'm doing. When I was preparing for my first sprint tri, I did several 800 yard swims to overcome the mental "How can I swim a half mile?" barrier. The mental barrier was there, even though at the time I was doing about 2000 yards in a workout -- I just wasn't doing it all at once.

The swim was a very positive experience. I didn't fear the distance anymore, and had a good feel for the pace I needed to go.

This summer I had a similiar experience when I did a mile swim. I found that I could hold a pretty good pace for a fairly long time with no problems -- better than I expected, actually. Since then, my swimming has been improving steadily.

To prepare for my 1/2 IM in June, I'm going to do one 2100 yard time trial each month as a check and confidence builder. The first one is done: 37:27 for 2100 yards. A respectable 1:47/100 pace. And the best part? I felt like I was getting off easy. Maybe next time I'll throw in a set of 10x100 when I'm done!


Check for yourself -- my training log.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

7 months to go!

Pretty close, at least. The Eagleman 70.3 Triathlon is on June 10, 2007, so you'll excuse me the one extra day.

I've surprised myself with what a long-term project I've made of this. Initially I figured I'd get my knee back up to speed, and then get some coaching about 4 months ahead of the event to get ready. Instead, I started working with Coach Debi back in August, letting her guide my return to competition, and I've been working consistently ever since, gradually increasing the amount and intensity of training.

November is dedicated to maintaining on my bike while increasing the run total weekly time and single run distance. The goal is to work up to 120 minutes of running per week, with a long run of 60 minutes by the end of the month. That'll put me right about where I was before the injury. I'm not increasing my swim time much, though I'm getting more distance in as I get speedier. This week's swim total was 6200 yards, a personal best for me.

But it's all about the base at this point. Back in August Debi had me doing 4-1/2 to 5 hours of training a week, working every day. It felt like a lot. Now I'm up to 6-1/2 to 7 hours per week, and my body doesn't feel like it's under any more stress than it was at the beginning -- if anything, less. Training is a well-integrated part of my daily routine, and I feel surprisingly fresh at the end of most workouts -- no doubt my fitness is improving.

Knock on wood -- if I can stay injury free and stick with the program, I think I'll be pleased with the results.


Check for yourself -- my training log.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Speedy swimming

OK, "speedy" is a relative term, but my swimming progress has been very encouraging to me. Recently I've been able to increase my swim distance a bit by doing my Thursday morning session very early in the day. Yeah, it's not a lot of fun to get in the pool at 5:45 AM, but that gives me enough time to swim somewhere in the 3000-3500 yard range. Add that to the 2500 or so at Master's on Monday, and I'm getting in a solid 5500 to 6000 yards a week.

I had to miss my Master's class today because of a meeting, so I used one of my coach's plans and did 2500 yards at lunch. There was a 400 yard swim in the middle, so I did it for time, and slipped in under 7 minutes, at 6:55. That's a PR for me, and a good one, considering it was right after a set of 8 x 50.

Not blazing fast, by any means, but stronger and smoother all the time. 1:45/100 is no sweat any more, at least for this distance. Think I'll try to work in an 800 time trial some time soon and see how I'm doing -- bet I can get it done in under 14!


For full details, check the training log.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Slow and steady

One of the unexpected benefits of my knee surgery has been that's taught me patience in my running. Before surgery, I tended to look at each run as a race against the clock for a new PR. I mean, if I ran that 3-mile loop in 26:22 last week, shouldn't I try to do it in 26:15 today?

Of course, training doesn't really work that way. The key is to build a strong base with a lot of aerobic running that doesn't beat up the body, then when the base is strong, add on tempo runs and speedwork. Easier said than done -- at least for me. Almost without fail I've beat myself up too much during my running, sacrificing the base by jumping right into tempo and speed work.

Recovering from my surgery meant a lot of short slow runs, done on flat surfaces, with ample walking breaks. But surprisingly, when I finally got back to racing, my 5K time in a sprint tri was faster than I'd done the year before, when I ran hard, but not consistently.

So bring on those slow and easy runs -- nothing like a cool fall morning, trotting along with the dog at a nice 10 min/mile pace. The speed can come later.


Check out my blinding run speed in the training log.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Conversations with the Coach

A busy tri-type day yesterday (Monday).

Master's swim was a crowded affair, with a full slate of the usual pool rats. Andy and his wife Debbie, Jay, Kathy, and myself. Andy is a former competitive swimmer in college, and Jay is just wicked fast (and an age group competitor of mine, though I can't say I'm offering him too much competition at this point -- he's in the front of the pack). Debbie and Kathy are a different matter. When I began Master's they were clearly stronger than me. Now...not so much. We took turns leading off, and I can hang with them now. Nice that I can keep up with the fast girls now!

Took my bike into the shop, after an accident (no one hurt) ripped the rear deraullier off. $177, a new hanger and a spiffy Ultegra derailler later, I'm back on the road, courtesy of Blue Wheel Bicycles.

Highlight of the day was a phone conversation with Coach Debi. I'm not getting any formal coaching for November, but she suggested I call to touch base on what to do during the "off" time -- very nice of her. The conversation was cool -- she's just returned from Hawaii, so I reflected in her Ironman glory as she talked about riding "the Queen K."

Name-dropper. ;)

Not too much "off" in November however. The short version: keep swimming, keep riding, increase your long run and miles per week. A good conversation though -- I asked about setting time goals for Eagleman. She was cautious about that. The attitude was pretty much, "I'll get you ready, then you run a smart race and don't worry about the time." Can't argue with that, at least at this point. At any rate, a winter's worth of training, and then a couple of races in the spring and it may be a good idea to start thinking about my race time. Until then, stay patient and be faithful to my training.


Staying faithful to my training? You decide.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Daily double

Friday (tomorrow) Coach Debi has two workouts scheduled for me. Nothing extreme, mind you, just a 30 minute easy spin and a 30 minute run. No brick -- two separate workouts. I'm sure it's a routine I'll get used to as I prep for Eagleman.

Even training once a day I've learned the value of planning and organization. For example, if I've got an early morning spin on the trainer the best way to make sure it happens is to make a list and get everything ready:

1. Set up bike on trainer, plug headphones into TV, and put cycling shoes, remote, and sports drink by bike.
2. Put cycling shorts on chair by bed.
3. Prep coffee maker and set timer (nothing like a hot cup of joe when I'm done).
4. Iron and put out clothes for work.
5. Pack lunch.
6. Set out breakfast food.

I learned early on that if I didn't do all of these things, the rest of the morning could easily turn into a total SNAFU. And when the alarm goes off it's easier to get up knowing everything's ready to go.

In short, I can live with a workout missed because I'm sick or injured, but I'm determined that I'm not going to miss any because I wasn't prepared.


P.S. -- Check my training log and see how I'm doing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Winter training

No doubt about it, I wimped out this morning. No, I still did my run, but I couldn't brave the cold, and drove five minutes to the gym, where I could trot in comfort on the indoor track. Of course, in a few months a calm, 35-degree morning will seem pretty balmy, but I'm just not ready for it yet.

Winter seems to be creeping in a bit early this autumn in central Virginia. There's been no snow yet, but the temperature has been below average the last few weeks, and the sky has already taken on the bright clarity of the winter season. Views of the Blue Ridge mountains that were obscured in haze a few months ago are now crystal clear -- so clear you swear you can count the trees on the distant peaks.

At any rate, it's time to take a trip to Performance Bike to pick up some gloves and warm socks so I can take advantage of the rare days that are suitable for cycling in December, January, and February, and check my Netflix queue so I'm ready for the trainer rides to come. And get ready to brave the cold air of those morning runs. At least the pool is indoors!

Keeping it real -- check out my training log.

Friday, October 20, 2006

When the extraordinary is ordinary

I'll preface this by stating that I may never do an Ironman race. A lot of stars would have to align properly for that to happen -- I'll need the blessing and support of my family, I'll need the motivation for a long training cycle, and I'll need to stay healthy in mind and body. Right now, looking uphill at a 70.3 in June is a daunting enough challenge.

And that 70.3 is a challenge to me. Especially when the goal isn't to "finish." I've done enough endurance events in my time (8 marathons) to know that I could muddle through training, go slow, and I'd still make it to the end. But my goal is to finish with style -- "style" defined by me as being in the top half of my age group (45-49). Maybe a bit ambitious, since after three sprint tris I still haven't managed that feat. But I'm doing all the right things -- training consistently with a coach's guidance, giving myself plenty of time, and taking care of my body (down 15 pounds since a year ago!)

But if you hang around the internet too much, it's easy to feel inadequate. Message boards and web sites are crowded with dedicated endurance athletes discussing their latest IM, their podium places, and detailing their training plans and schemes. It's like a game of one-upsmanship -- you take some pride in your twice weekly 3000 yard swim workouts, only to be brought down by someone discussing their latest 6000 yard workout. You've just had a nice 30 mile bike? That's not as hot as the 60 mile super-fast workouts the other guy is talking about. And that 30 minute run doesn't compare to the brick workout the local Kona-bound athlete has just posted.

Oh, it's unintentional -- no one is trying to make anyone feel bad (mostly). But it's helpful to step back sometimes and remember that the internet isn't the whole world. Like an amplifier, it can take a small signal and make it very loud, so the voices of a few seem like the roar of a crowd. The extraordinary seems so ordinary that you lose perspective on what you're doing, and the personal challenge you've given yourself.

No, I'm not doing an Ironman -- and I may never do one. But a triathlete -- at any level -- is a pretty unusual speciman. And I'm happy that I'm doing the best I can.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Not often you get to celebrate like I did on Sunday. After nearly one year without racing, and nearly 5 months after knee surgery, I finally got to race again.

The return was celebrated at the Giant Acorn Sprint Tri, with a totally MOP performance (14/27 in 45-49M; 110/226 overall male if you're keeping score) -- and I couldn't be happier. I'll write more about it later, but feel free to check out my race report at

Only 8 months till Eagleman!

P.S. -- Feel free to check out my on-bike pic here (I'm asking for bike position criticism, I know...)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Counting down...

It seems a little odd to be saying it at this date, but I'm getting pumped for my first race of the year.

In 2005 I took the plunge and started doing triathlons, competing in two sprint events. My performance was respectable: age group finishes of 14 out of 24, and 8 out of 13, and I was hooked. I worked hard through the fall and winter to improve for the 2006 season, but when I injured my knee in March, the season's plans were pretty much shot.

I'm almost 5 months out from my knee surgery now, with the Giant Acorn sprint tri on October 8th, and I honestly am not quite sure what to expect. If I compare myself to 2005, there's no doubt that I'm a much stronger swimmer than I was then. My cycling is coming back well, and I'm probably faster now than I was before (losing 10-15 pounds does seem to help when you're on the bike!)

Running, of course, is the wild card. All my running to this point has been run/walks, as I gradually build up the knee. Even running/walking, I'm able to do 10 minute miles when I'm on the track. I'll just try to run the distance with a steady pace and finish the run with some degree of grace.

In truth, it's probably best to go into the race with low expectations -- stay conservative and enjoy myself. Still. . . a good swim, solid bike, smooth transitions, and a decent run -- maybe I'll be able to crack the top 1/2 of my age group.

Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?


P.S. -- I've actually got a day off in my training schedule for the week! Thanks, Coach Debi!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Changes in latitude, changes in attitude

Traveling can sometimes interupt training, and sometimes can add a little bit of spice. The sights, sounds, even smells of a different venue can put a spark into the "same old, same old."

Case in point:

The family drove to the Carolinas this last weekend, with a two-fold mission: see my alma mater (WVU) play a football game, and visit my wife's long-time friend and sorority sister in Durham. Since the football game was late Saturday afternoon, I had plenty of time in the morning to get up and get my run in.

Durham is home to a very nice rail-trail, the American Tobbaco Trail, that's only a few minutes walk from our friend's house. Screened from the highway and businesses by trees and earth banks, the trail is surprisingly quiet, and the flat, paved surface had a crushed gravel border that was ideal for running on. All in all a delightful place for a run, especially as I passed through areas of pine forest, where a bed of needles absorbed my footfalls. I passed families with strollers, recreational cyclists, walkers, runners, dog walkers; all in a good mood and enjoying the shared community of the trail.

And the run? Good!

Coach Debi had me scheduled to "run" for 30 minutes, split up between 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking. This was 10 minutes more than I've done before during my knee rehab. The running felt good -- no limp, good speed, and the knee felt very stable underneath me.

It's two weeks now until the Giant Acorn Tri, and I'm feeling confident. The run will be slow, but I'm sure I'll get through it OK. Anyway, it'll be nice to do a race after missing the entire season.


Monday, September 18, 2006

All hail granny!

I love my granny gear. For you flatlanders, it's the third chain ring on the front, the really small one. Pop into your granny gear when you climb, and spin your way to the top.

I hear that some cyclists look down their noses at granny, preferring to display their machismo by grinding their way up the hill in bigger gears. Well, if I could, I guess I would to. But as a guy in his late 40s who's only started getting "serious" about cycling in the last few years, granny and I have a good relationship.

Around these parts, you 'll find many riders with the third ring. Charlottesville, Virginia isn't in the flat lands. Just to the west of town, the Blue Ridge mountains rise up from the piedmont. There are epic climbs there: Vesuvius, Reed's Gap, and more, featured in a tough local century ride, the Blue Ridge Extreme (I've got that on my "to-do" list for 2007). When you get to the top of the mountains, Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway offer long, long climbs, albeit at gentler grades.

But before you get to the mountains there are miles of good roads for cycling in Albemarle County. And the foothills at the base of the Blue Ridge offer lots of nice riding, with plenty of elevation change (here's a pretty typical ride). I found out early on that it was a lot better to stay in the saddle and spin in the low gears rather than try to stand up and climb like you're conquering Mont Ventoux on OLN.

While I'm coming back from my knee surgery, my coach has forbidden me to go beyond the second chain ring. Instead, keep pressure off of the knees by keeping the rpms up. It's worked for me -- I'm increasing my mileage, getting faster, and still feeling pretty fresh when I get off of the bike. And I'm getting even better with that granny gear all of the time.


Make sure I'm staying busy -- check out my training log.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Liquid Zen

I know from reading triathlete blogs that a lot of tri newcomers are pretty spooked by swimming. And even if they're not freaked out by the idea of swimming, it's not something they look forward to doing. Much better to get out the bike or lace up the running shoes.

I've got to admit I don't fit into that camp. Swimming's never been something I've worried about, and I've always loved getting into the water. Now, swim training -- that's a whole different animal.

At various times in my life I've swum laps for fitness. Once or twice a week I'd head to the pool in my baggy swim trunks and splash up and down the lane lines. 400 yards? A hell of a good workout!

It all changed when I took the plunge and started swimming with the Masters class at my gym. They were encouraging and patient as I brought up the rear of the circle swim, and didn't laugh when leg cramps made me thrash around like a shark had attacked me. To make it more interesting, I was the only guy in the class. Fortunately my ego didn't take too much of a bruising by being beaten like a drum by a bunch of fast women.

A year or so out, it's fun to look back at that. Somewhere along the way it all started to click. No one's ever going to mistake me for an elite swimmer (far from it!), but now a 2500 yard workout seems pretty reasonable, and my distance and speed are improving all the time. Experienced swimmers will tell you that technique and strength go hand in hand. And it's true -- the better your technique the more you can swim, and the more you swim, the stronger you get.

Sometimes the improvement is slow, and sometimes it comes quickly. Sooner or later though, you push off from the wall and everything just feels right. You glide, one stroke leading into another, like you belong in the water. Liquid Zen.

It's a great feeling.


As always, check out my training log if you're interested.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

She's not a spiffy tri bike, but I love her anyway

I got my Lemond Reno back in the summer of 2004, before I'd thought much about doing triathlons. It was an upgrade from my old Trek touring bike, which was a nice comfy, dependable ride (but a bit on the heavy side).

The Reno has been a good fit for me -- it wasn't too expensive (about $900), but it has an aluminum frame that rides very smoothly (the carbon front fork helps). As I've gotten into the sport, I've tricked it out a bit: clipless Shimano pedals (basic stuff from Performance Bike), clip-on aero bars, and my favorite addition -- a new wheelset.

I put a Rolf Prima Tempo wheelset on last week (picked up during a nice sale at C-ville Bike and Tri) with Michelin ProRace 2 tires -- wow, what a difference. There's a whole different feel to the bike: accelerations are easier, and I pick up speed downhill like a bat out of you-know-where. Not to mention that the new wheels with the red and black tires look like a million bucks. Money well spent!

Trainings been going well: a short run/walk this morning (all my coach allows right now), followed by weight training. Thursday morning it's into the pool for 3000 yards, running/weights on Friday and Saturday. Sunday I'm allowed to ride for two hours. It'll be the first time I've been out for more than 30 miles since last year.

As always, check out my training log at

Monday, September 11, 2006


Alright, my tail's officially on the line now for the Eagleman 70.3, June 10, 2007.

No doubt I've got a long ways to go to get ready for this. Especially so, in that I'm not racing to "finish." Don't get me wrong -- you're not going to see my name at the top of my age group, but my sights are set relatively high -- top half of my age group is the goal.

To get to the top half of the 45-49 year old males, I'll need to complete the course in around 5:45 minutes. A respectable time, in my opinion. How do I rate myself on each of the disciplines right now?

Swim -- Good. Surprisingly, this is probably my best event right now. I'm getting in 5000+ yards a week, and my speed and endurance are steadily improving. I'm not going to underestimate the challenge of the swim, but I certainly don't fear it, either.

Bike -- Decent. While my knee surgery kept me off the bike most of the spring and summer, I'm slowly rounding into shape. Significantly, I'm now faster on my training rides than I was last summer. I attribute most of that to weight loss. I'm currently now at around 175, whereas I was 185-190 last year. Since I can't afford a carbon fiber or titanium bike, that's the only way I'll drop weight off of my bike. I've got a lot of riding yet to do, though.

Run -- Poor. The knee surgery has left me miles to go on this. It's going to be a long struggle to rebuild my running base and endurance. The good news is that I've run enough long races (8 marathons) that the half-marathon distance in and of itself doesn't intimidate me.

Mental -- Good. I've got a good background in endurance sports, and I've experienced the ups and downs that are inevitable any time you put yourself out on the line for a long time. No surprises there, I hope. I've also gotten smart enough to start working with an experienced tri coach, so I'm not beating myself up trying to construct and evaluate a training plan on my own. I just have to follow orders.


P.S. -- Stay tuned for the next post, when I talk about my new wheels -- with pics!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

And suddenly...

It's been over 17 weeks since my knee surgery (not that I've been counting). While it has continued to improve every week, running has been the slowest to recover. Even though I've been slowly increasing the amount I've been running, I've had a hard time shaking a queasy inner feeling -- "will it hold up?" As I run, I subconciously expect my left knee to explode in a shower of bone fragments and ripped cartilage, collapsing under me in a bloody froth, like a special effect out of a bad action movie

Until today.

Somehow, for some reason, the uneasy feeling was gone. I ran, and it felt -- well -- pretty normal. Not 100% yet, and I have to work to keep my gait smooth and consistent, but suddenly I wasn't in fear anymore. I can run -- still slow and still conservatively, but somehow it's become running again.

It's a nice feeling.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Working through the weekend

No breaks for me this Labor Day weekend!

I kicked things off by volunteering at the Charlottesville Women's 4-Miler, a great local institution that supports breast cancer research. My wife's a cancer survivor (3 years now) and runs it each year. She did it in around 46 minutes this year, a good effort on her part.

I occupied the weekend with a Saturday run/walk at the Charlottesville HS track. It's got a great surface -- I need to run on it more often. The usual for me -- 2-1/4 miles in 27 minutes, including the walk. This upcoming week Coach Debi has me doing 60 steps run/30 steps walk for 25 minutes (with a 5 minute warmup walk), so I may start getting close to 3 miles per run. Hey, it's progress!

Sunday morning I got out for a ride with my friend Ken. A great 26.5 mile ride ride out in the Blue Ridge foothills (check out the route here). I was totally in a groove -- Ken's a bit slower than me, so I stayed very fresh throughout the ride, with plenty of energy on the climbs. The average was 15.5 MPH; about one MPH slower than I usally do. If you think it sounds slow, don't forget we have lots of hills around here!

Monday's swim rocked as well. I hooked up with two of my Master's class buddies, Andy and Debbie, and we put in a very solid 2500 yard workout. I stroked a 200 in 3:15, a very nice PR for me. The swimming is coming along very strong lately. I anticipate it will be the easiest part of my training when I kick into Eagleman mode later on.

Rounded off everything with a trainer ride and brick run this morning. 50 minutes on the bike, and 10 minutes run at the end. Legs felt pretty good right off the bike. There's more emphasis on this in this month's training plan -- I'm looking forward to seeing how they go.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A new month begins

(OK, I lied in the previous post...)

The remains of TS Ernesto are blowing through Virginia as I write. Nonetheless I'm going to do my run outside this afternoon -- there's nothing like the smug feeling of satisfaction gained from doing something marginally stupid.

Well, it really shouldn't be that bad. Some gusty 20+ MPH winds and heavy rain, and I'm only going to be outside for about 30 minutes. Should be fun!

A blank month ahead of me on the calendar, but I can look back on August with real satisfaction. I nailed every day on my training plan, kept my diet and weight under control, and continued a regular program of strength training. In particular, my swimming has been a strong point -- I shook off the nagging shoulder pain and slowly worked back up to a couple of solid swims a week (around 2300 yards/session). In the process, it looks like I've gained some speed as well.

Losing the summer to knee surgery has been a bit of a downer, but I've come through it stronger, lighter, and just as fast in the swim and bike. I'm sure the run will come around, and I'm looking forward to competing in the Giant Acorn sprint on October 8.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

On sabbatical

Well, the knee is recovering well.

I'm staying off the blog until 2007, when I'll trace my training for the Eagleman 70.3.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

MRI tomorrow

The wheels continue to turn slowly. I get my MRI tomorrow night, then a consultation next Friday. Trying to keep active -- swim 3 times a week, upper body strength work, and starting to incorporate some ab work as well. Still, I'm getting more and more tired of waiting -- I want to be better, now!

I get my monthly massage today, so I can gripe to my massage therapist at least -- she has a willing ear (thanks Marci!). I'm also going out tonight to help a buddy pick out his first road bike. Nothing fancy for him, but a nice milestone.

My training log at

Monday, April 17, 2006


Got to see the orthapedic doc on Friday. Diagnosis? Probably a torn menisucus, requiring arthroscopic surgery. An MRI is scheduled for this Thursday, consultation the week after, surgery (if required) -- ? Hopefully this can get resolved and I can be back biking and swimming by mid May.

I'd like to do some light cycling, but I'm afraid of aggravating whatever the issue is. Right now I getting around OK with a knee brace on, but I don't want to be hobbling in pain like I was a few days ago. Best to be patient -- sigh...

I can still swim, though -- had a couple of good workouts recently. Seems like I'm starting to strengthen greatly in the pool. That's a good thing -- the faster I swim, and the less tired I am, the easier the rest of the race.

My training log at

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


After talking about how well my knee was doing, this setback has been quite disappointing. I vacationed in Colorado at the beginning of the month and got in three great days of skiing -- thanks Winter Park! Unfortunately, my knee went totally south on me at some point in the trip out.

Although skiing wasn't difficult, the level of pain in the knee increased greatly, and it began locking up on occasion, making popping sounds whenver I try to straighten it. Since then it's been up and down, but even the best days are worse than the original injury.

I'll be going to the McCue Center at UVA on Friday -- we'll see what they say (I'm expecting to be scoped for a meniscus tear).

My training log at

Friday, March 31, 2006

Daily double

I'm really starting to see some improvement in the knee and leg. It feels stronger and more flexible each day.

Got a swim in yesterday -- 2100 yards total with a timed mile (1750 yards) in 34:31. It's the first time I've swum a mile non-stop, and a real confidence builder for the longer Olympic-distance events. Topped off the day with a 9.3 mile bike. I just got my bike out of the shop after a tuneup and it's running very well. Averaged 18+ mph for the ride -- faster than usual for me, but the course was relatively flat by local standards. Best of all, the knee held up well.

I'll just keep crossing my fingers and hope for continued improvement!

My training log at

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yoga and stretching

Took a yoga class last night at ACAC downtown. Hopefully I can work this into a regular routine -- class level was fairly easy, but I got a good stretch and a nice relaxing hour. Ideally I can make the class day a "zero" or "easy" day in my schedule -- a good chance to let the body recuperate.

I've been keeping up on my stretching as well, though the 45 minutes twice a day is a very difficult commitment to keep up on. I did miss my morning session today, but I'll be sure to work a session in tonight. Gradually my leg/knee is getting stronger -- the only worrisome issue is continued inflammation -- it still looks puffy, though there's no pain to the touch, or signs of bruising. Sounds as though a stepped-up icing routine is in order!

By the way -- did an easy 15 minute spin on an exercise bike yesterday -- no problem. I'm going to work in a 20 minute session today at lunch.

My training log at

Monday, March 27, 2006

Swim, swim, swim...

While my leg has kept me off the bike and run, I've started to pick up the swimming side of training. Counting today, I've done 4 swim workouts in the last 5 days: 2150 on Thursday, 1500 on Friday, 2300 on Sunday, and 2100 today.

It all started to catch up to me a bit in today's master's class. I had to cut my last few sessions out after my foot and toe started to cramp. Before that though, I did a 300 in 5:25, which is a PR for me.

My leg continues to improve, thanks to time, treatment and stretching. There's better mobility in the knee, and the quad muscle feels stronger. I did a brisk 30 minute walk with my dog this morning, and tossed a few jogs in for 50 yards or so. Everything held together OK. I may try a few very light cycling sessions this week. A new experience tomorrow -- yoga. Hope they don't laugh at an old non-flexible guy!

My training log at

Friday, March 24, 2006

Back in action!

At least to a limited degree. Went to the pool last night and did a nice 2150 yard workout -- 700 warmup/drill, 7 x 100 on 2:15, and a well-controlled and steady 750 in 14:59. Not exactly blazing speed, but great to get back in action. My knee felt fine during the swim, but I could feel a soreness in my left leg ITB throughout. I'm going to try and work in a 1000 or so yards at lunch and do strength training after work.

In other news, I'm stretching like a madman. Jenny P has me on a serious stretching regime -- I'm putting in 40-45 minutes every morning and evening, and I still usually end up leaving something out because of time. It's given me an appreciation of just how inflexible and tight my leg muscles, in particular the hamstrings, are. I've adopted the attitude that the stretching right now is just as important a part of my training as swimming, running, or biking. If I don't get this turned around there's a good possibility I'll be limping from one injury to another all summer.

Best to invest the time and energy now!

My training log at

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Still stuck...

Saw my personal trainer last night. She got me started on an agressive stretching routine -- 30 minutes, twice a day. I'm going with her advice and staying off the bike for a couple more weeks.

The entire issue with my knee and quad is quite frustrating, but I've got to approach this with a positive attitude. Start stretching, improve my flexibility, get more time in at the pool, keep track of the calories -- I can keep on track even though I'm losing training time, and improve some important issues at the same time. The good news is that I'm in better shape now than I was last summer, thanks to a lot of hard work this fall and winter.

Just be patient, loosen up, and hang in...

My training log at

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Frustrating but necessary...

Well, it's been a week since my last training of any kind. Out of sympathy with my knee I took off from swimming and strength training as well.

All in all, the break probably was a good thing for me. I'm picking back up tomorrow with light cycling in the morning, and swimming later in the week. I'm going to limit total training time to 4 hours for the week, and keep intensity down. No running as well.

I'll keep it up to date....

My training log at

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I've accepted that a little off time is a good thing for me now. My trainer suggests that I may be suffering from a bout of ITBS, which makes some sense. Although this episode has come on rather suddenly, I was suffering from a bit of pain in my left leg/knee prior to this flareup. It may be a combination of some strain on the ligaments as well.

I'm easing into some ITBS stretches, medicating with Advil, and enforcing rest until Monday. I even skipped this morning's swim class, something I rarely do. I just need to approach this as seriously as I've been approaching training, then get my schedule reordered so that I have more rest opportunities. With luck I'll be back on track relatively soon, without losing any fitness.

And there's still plenty of time before my first event of the season, in Luray.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Common Sense

Well, it's time to face reality -- I've overdone it. My body and mind are weary, and worst of all, my left knee and quad muscles are a mess. I can trace the knee problem back to a few minutes of pickup soccer with my son, aggravated by a session of one-on-one bball. To top it off, I didn't slow down once the damage was done, but went ahead with my 30 mile ride on Sunday.

Now I'm in pain, and just plain tired. I'm cutting out the rest of my schedule this week, except for swimming. I may do a short ride on Saturday, but I'd probably be better off doing nothing more strenuous than walking the dog.

I'll update as the week goes on.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A solid week on to the next

Finished up my training week on Sunday with a 30 mile ride. It was pleasantly warm here in central Virginia (about 75-80), and I did a favorite route in the western part of Albemarle County, ducking through the foothills of the Shenandoah. A very strong ride for me -- 30 miles in 1:52, for a 16.3 average -- all through hilly terrain.

Totals for last week were: 3 hours, 52 minutes cycling -- 59.7 miles; 1 hour, 12 minutes running -- 8.1 miles, 2 hours swimming -- 5050 yards. In addition two 1/2 hour strength training sessions.

The goal for this week is pretty similar, although a sore left knee and quad muscle may hold the running total down a bit, and the weather may not be so kind for cycling next weekend. After this week, it's time for a recovery week, consultation with my trainer, and a 90 minute massage. That'll be sweet...

My training log at

Friday, March 10, 2006

Grinding it out

I've been going at it pretty hard this week, and I'm starting to feel the strain a bit. Yesterday's run went pretty well. I got 3.1 miles in during my son's soccer practice, but felt like I was running on fumes near the end. I'd forgotten to bring a post-run snack with me, and I ended up feeling very spent with no way to refuel.

Got up early this morning for a one hour spin on my trainer, and really felt like I was on empty for much of the ride. I still managed the full hour, dividing the time up into a 10 minute warm up, then 5 sessions of 6 minutes hard/4 minutes easy. For the hard sessions I kept the pace at over 16 MPH, with my HR in the 70-75% range. I'm pretty convinced that "trainer speed and distance" doesn't have much to do with "real world speed and distance," but it gives me a relative level to work at. And the resulting HR seems about right for improving my aerobic base without going too hard.

I'm sensitive to the thought that I may be pushing a bit too hard. I'm feeling hungry and just a tad flushed and feverish. Still, my HR was dead on at 56 this morning, so I'm going to keep grinding it out this weekend. I've got a 3 mile run on Saturday, and then I'm going to bike 28 on Sunday (should be a beautiful day.)

My training log at

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Schedule flexibility

One key to successful training has to be a certain degree of flexibility. I don't think a week goes by that I don't have to alter my training plans to some degree, whether the cause is weather, scheduling, or whatever.

I'd planned on doing my 3.1 mile run yesterday evening, then strength training at lunch today. But last night we needed to get our son to the doctor (he's been fighting a fever for a few days), and today I realized I couldn't wait any longer to get a hair cut.

So instead I did the run this morning, and will stop at the gym after work. The morning run was probably better anyway, since the dog gets a nice bit of exercise before she's left alone all day, and there's nothing like the feeling of getting a good run in on a beautifully crisp morning like today. Now I've just got to get in the time after work.

Speaking of running, my tendonitis is a minor concern at most now. I haven't tested it over long distances, but the regular 5K has virtually no effect. There's a slight stiffness at the beginning that fades within a quarter mile or so. It may be time to start increasing mileage or intensity next week.

My training log at

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Rear wheel sensor

Adding a new computer with a rear wheel sensor to my bike has been a nice addition. Since it has a cadence feature it's easier to keep my RPMs on track while I'm riding on the road and in the trainer. In addition, I've got better points of reference for my trainer rides.

For example, when I rode this morning I broke the body of the ride into 10 minute segments, with 6 minutes harder, 4 minutes easier. To esthablish a consistent baseline for the hard segments, I simply kept the indicated speed above 16 MPH. Purely arbitrary, but it seemed to work pretty well. When I was maintaining that speed, my HR moved up into the 70-75% range and stayed there pretty consistently. That puts my HR at about 140-145 for relatively long stretches -- a good effort level, but not one that'll shatter me -- perfect for building a good endurance base.

I'll experiment as time goes on with either increasing the amount of time in that zone, or increasing the minimum speed level on the hard efforts, depending on the training benefit I'm looking for.

I've got a 1/2 hour run on the schedule for this afternoon/evening. The weather's pretty nice here today (sunny, high 40s, medium wind), so it should be a pleasant time.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Swimming improvement

Back in the saddle after a weekend off. Went to NYC to do "The Lion King" on Broadway. A good show overall -- I'd give it a "10" for costumes, lighting, sets, spectacle -- and about a "4" for actual drama. But, there's nothing like nighttime in Times Square. We stayed in the Upper West Side, the Hotel Beacon -- a nice property, excellent location on 72nd and Broadway. Dinner at a great little Italian place, the Southside Cafe -- recommended, even though it blew my calorie counting all to hell. Try the Cappalini w/seafood.

But I digress. Master's swim class at lunch today was good. About 2 months ago I had really hit a plateau in my swimming, and had even gone back a bit. My times were flat, or even slower, and I felt sluggish in the pool.

Lately, though, I've definitely picked up strength and speed. Longer distances are no big deal, my breathing is well-controlled, and I'm actually getting faster! One of our sets was a 4 x 100 yds on 2 minutes, and I nailed each one right about 1:40. Best of all, my times were pretty consistent and I never felt "choppy" - just smooth and strong. I'm certain that I wouldn't have gotten more than one of the 100's under 1:45 even a month ago.

Tomorrow it's an early morning bike ride, then an evening run. I may try to get strength training in around lunch time, but my schedule probably won't allow that. Looks like this weeks goal will be 6.5-7 hours total training time.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Reality and rest

Since yesterday afternoon was so nice, I changed plans and did a 3.1 mile run rather than an evening spin session. A good decision -- I ran a nice stretch of quiet road during my son's soccer practice and kept a good pace, right around 9 min/mile. The tendonitis in my ankle is becoming less and less of an issue. I think I'll keep at the current level of 9-12 miles per week for about two more weeks, then slowly increase distance and incorporate some speed work.

Reality hit me like a ton of bricks last night -- I was dead dog tired. Rather than get up early today to spin, I caught an extra hour of sleep. I'm going to take a zero today, with the exception of my strength training routine. Total swim/bike/run for the week is 5-1/2 hours. That's actually quite respectable by my standards -- I'd averaged a bit over 5 hours/week for the last 3-week training cycle, so a slight increase in each of the next two weeks will allow me to reach my goal of averaging 6 hours/week for this 3-week period.

It's a tough balancing act -- I'm trying to increase my training hours while hitting a nutritional balance that allows me to lose weight at the same time. I've got to listen to my body while balancing out the obsessive side of my brain that's telling me I've got to train more.
Patience, I think, will be the key.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Still on schedule!

As I related a few posts ago, I'm trying to keep my training hours up this week although I'll be out of town this weekend (Friday afternoon - Sunday night). So far, so good -- with a bit more effort I'll make it up to 6-1/2 run/swim/cycle training hours, with two strength-training sessions as well.

Hard swim this morning. A big set of drill and kick work in the middle of the workout left me pretty gassed, and two ladder swims at the end took what was left. It didn't help that I was trying to keep up with a guy in the class who's about 15 years younger than me. I could probably take him, but he was wearing these incredibly large fins that gave him a big speed advantage (at least, that's my excuse).

I've got a 1 hour cycle scheduled for tonight -- a good time to catch up on the Tivo. A 30 minute run is on tap for the morning, and I've got to fit my strength training in as well. Hang in there!

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

2-fer Wednesday

I put in two bike sessions today. Got up early at 5:30 AM for an hours worth on my home trainer, then doubled back for an hour at the gym in the afternoon. All in all it went pretty well. I concentrated on pushing the lactic threshold for extended periods in the morning session, then settled in with one of Jenny's spinning CDs for the afternoon session.

Spinning to the music was a bit strange -- I usually don't exercise to music, and I had some difficulty settling in to the tempos -- the music often seemed a bit too fast or too slow for my liking. After settling in, though, it was a pretty good session. My heart rate held pretty solid at around 140 or so for the most part.

One interesting note -- this was the first time I rode the trainer with my new rear wheel computer -- it's hard as heck to hold certain speeds compared to actual road riding. I guess it's because there's no momentum keeping me moving forward.

One more bike session -- Thursday evening -- and I've got three hours down for the week. Not bad for being limited to the midweek!

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A busy week

I'll be out of town this weekend (a trip to NYC for a Broadway show), so this upcoming weekend is pretty much a bust for training. I'm going to try to cram as much in during the week as possible. My short term goal has been to get 6-7 hours per week of training in during this 3 week period (Feb. 26 thru March 19), so it's going to be a real effort to fit in the time.

Got a nice 3.1 mile run in this morning. The air was cold but the wind was light, so it was pretty comfortable overall. Just shy of 29 minutes for the loop -- right in line with recent efforts. No training tonight, since we're going to a cooking class with two other couples. Should be fun, but I'll need to be up bright and early for a 1 hour trainer ride in the morning. Hopefully I can tack on another 1/2 hour in the evening without depleting all my energy for the Thursday morning swim class.

Stay tuned!

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Benefits of core strength training?

As I related in an earlier post, my trainer, Jenny P, put me on a strength training regime as part of my triathlon coaching program. While I haven't been on the program for very long, it's been interesting to observe the effects. There's a noticeable improvement of the muscle tone of my mid section -- helped somewhat by the lose of 5 pounds -- and I'm feeling stronger in some of my sports disciplines.

For example, I finished today's swim workout with a 300 yd free swim. I was pleasantly surprised at my 5:30 time. -- probably a good 20 seconds faster than I would have usually swum the distance. Hardly ripping up the pool, but I felt strong throughout and my stroke held together very well, even at the end.

Now if I could just learn how to stand on a Bosu ball!

A good weekend's work

Saturday had the promise of a good day -- at least according to the weather forecast. But by the time I left the house to go for my bike ride, it was still cool, partly cloudy, and windy. Still, not too bad for February.

I rode a 26.5 mile loop from Free Union, through Boonesville and White Hall. Typical Albemarle County ride -- nice, not too busy roads, with more than a fair share of short, steep climbs. There's one nice long flat section in this ride that parallels a stream, and I was able to get down in the aero bars and really go hard. Speaking of the aero bars, the adjustment to them has been very smooth. I like the aerodynamic advantage, and I feel like I can really put some power onto the pedals when I'm tucked in.

Did the ride in 1:37:34, at an average of 16.3 -- doesn't sound too fast, but I felt pretty good about it, considering the terrain.

I wrapped up the weekend on Sunday with a weights session and a brisk (tempo and temperature) 3.1 mile run. Knocked about 30 seconds off my usual time around the loop, but didn't feel like I was pushing it any harder than usual.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Friday, February 24, 2006

What a difference a day makes

Feeling much better today. I skipped my evening spin session to get a bit more rest, and turned in early after a glass of red wine.

Got up bright and early today (5:30!) and zipped over to the pool for a swim session. Did 2200 yards, with 5 x 100 yards on 2:15 in the middle. I held pace pretty well, completing each repeat in around 1:45. I was encouraged that I didn't run out of gas on the last couple, and maintained my tempo and pace.

Finished the session with a 500 yard free in 9:55. Again, a very steady performance. While my speed isn't going up by leaps and bounds, I'm getting stronger at holding a consistent pace for longer distances.

Tomorrow looks like a nice day, so I'm heading out for a road ride in the afternoon. While I don't want to put a lot of pressure on myself, it'll be interesting to see if I'm riding any faster over familiar territory after some consistent indoor training and the addition of aero bars.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hitting the wall

Stopped by the gym last night, after working late, to do my weight work. The session went pretty well, but I've been dragging terribly since then -- feeling blue, tired, sore, wrung out -- you name it. I even missed my swim class this morning -- slept right through the alarm.

I'm hoping that it's not a nutrition issue. As my training log shows, I've been cutting it pretty slim on calorie intake for the last few days, while I've jumped right back into the training routine after a short break last weekend.

For now, I'm going to continue onward and upward -- a 1/2 hour run during Colin's soccer practice, then a 1/2 bike tonight. I'm going to strive to get to the pool early on Friday and make up today's missed session.

Update (Thursday night) -- got smart and listened to my body. Did a short run (16 minutes) when I got home, then took the rest of the night off. Will get up early to make up my swim tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The night is right -- for trainer rides

One of the keys to my training this winter has been my purchase of a magnetic trainer. I've got my bike locked into a Minuro 850D in the downstairs family room, and I probably get at least 3-4 rides per week on it.

Getting used to riding on a trainer takes some time. Initially it's pretty boring (OK, it's almost always boring), but you get used to it. I've found that a 1/2 hour ride isn't nearly the chore it used to be, and longer rides are getting easier as well.

For the most part I structure the rides as such: a 5 minute warmup, setting a good tempo and gradually raising the heart rate to around 60%, followed by interval sessions where I increase the resistance while maintaining a tempo of 90-100 RPM. Usually the interval sessions will be 4 minutes hard, then 1 minute easy, with the heart rate increasing each time, until the last few sessions are at 80-85%.

As I go along, I'll probably concentrate on increasing the duration of the "hard" intervals and improving my aerobic fitness. Since the weather looks good on Saturday, I'm planning on getting in a 20 mile ride, and we'll see how the winter's work has helped so far.

Enough for now -- I've got a weight session tonight, but otherwise it's a rest day.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Morning runs rock!

When you can get out of bed, that is...

This morning was one of the good ones. I'd gotten everything ready the night before, so all I had to do was roll out of bed, slip on my gear, grab some coffee and grub, and get going.

It was cold, about 28 degrees, but there was no wind, so it was actually quite comfortable. With Ginger in tow, I took in a 3.1 mile course around the neighboorhood. Didn't have my HRM on, but the overall effort felt just about right. Good and steady, taking the hills in stride.

Left ankle tendonitis is slowly fading, though it was getting sore by the end. I'll continue to limit the overall miles to 10-12 per week, with long runs of 4-5 miles, until April.

BTW, that beautiful sunrise picture is from somewhere in Sweden, not Charlottesville. But you get the idea...

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Monday, February 20, 2006

On my own...

Scooted down to Master's Swim Class at lunch time and found out that Helen, the regular instructor, was ill. Another instructor slapped a program up on the board, but she couldn't stay.

Her program had way too drills on strokes I'll never use (sorry, I suck at butterfly) so I went out on my own. Did:

500 -- easy warmup
300 -- kick, no board (alternating free, breast, and back)
6 x 100 -- free on 2:15 (did each interval ~1:45-1:50)
6 x 50 -- kick, no board on 1:15 (fins)
500 -- free (in 9:40)
100 -- cool down
2300 total

A pretty good workout. I was pleased that I was able to hold my speed together in the 6 x 100 without suffering a meltdown. 2:15 was just about right, 2:00 would have left me completely gassed.

The 500 was encouraging as well -- I concentrated on keeping the stroke smooth and breathing regular and finished with plenty of fuel in the tank. I should consider multiple sets of 500's as I work towards Olympic distance events this summer.

I've got an appointment with Jenny tonight to review weight work. I need the refresher -- ended up forgetting how to do several routines on Friday.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

A few days off

Went to West Virginia over the weekend to visit my mom, who's 72 and suffers from a progressive neourological disorder. She's still at home, though with round the clock care -- hopefuly for a little while yet.

Took the opportunity Friday to stop at Timberline and get some skiing in -- my first trip of the year. Timberline's an unpretentious little place, but has a nice mountain and some fun slopes. Probably did about 60% of my runs on the Blue slopes, including a very nice new trail called "Twister" that snakes around the south side of the mountain. Took one run down the a Black slope -- went fine, but I've got to ski very defensively on the steeps -- Blues are more my speed!

What with travel and cold weather, I didn't get any workouts in on Saturday and Sunday. That's probably just as well, since I was starting to feel a bit worn out. My average aerobic training hours for the last three weeks has been over 5-1/2 hours per week, compared with about 4-3/4 hours per week for the same period in January. I'm stepping back to 4-1/2 for this week, then kick up the level a bit for the next four week period.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

When you're 47, you're middle-aged, no doubt about it -- and I'm feeling the effects of it today.

I did get a second bike ride in yesterday -- 30 minutes in the morning, and 45 in the evening. I'd hoped to go 1 hour, but my legs were pretty much shot after 45 minutes. This morning's swim class was good, up to a point. My opening 500 yd. warm-up felt nice and smooth, with a time of 9:53. It's encouraging that I can rack up longer distances at an under-2 min/100 yd pace with no real strain (and I flipped every single turn, as well.)

But after a killer kick session in the middle, I was out of gas for the final sets of 100s. Just couldn't hold pace. Still got most in around 1:30-1:35 (with fins). Post workout, my shoulders are sore and tired -- no doubt a result of the addition of my new weight work. I'll just have to adapt!

Feeling a little fatigued -- need to ensure my calorie intake is keeping up with with demand!

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

And sledding as well...

Forgot to mention that I got some nice sled runs in this weekend. Sunday dawned sunny, with about 5 inches of the white stuff, and no snow on the roads. Just about perfect, if you ask me. Check out my form on the picture...

Rise and shine!

I'd hoped to do an early-morning ride today, but decided last night that it would be too darn cold in the AM for me. Hopped out of bed at 6:20 AM, grabbed my coffee, water bottle, and a bananna and headed downstairs to hop on the trainer.

Good 30 minute ride -- the bulk of it alternating 4 minutes of hard (75-85% HR) with 1 minute recovery. Now I just have to discipline myself to tack on another 60 minutes tonight. Well, I'm still watching the TIVO'd Mary Pickford on American Experience, so I've got something to look forward to.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Weights -- whew!

As I said yesterday, I've never been much of a weights fan. But it's interesting how the field has changed. Had a good session with Jenny, who ran me through a set of about 10 different activities. About 1/2 of the work was with a Bosu ball -- an interesting device that stresses balance while doing activities with weights. Squats, especially, were a real challenge and had a definite "feel the burn" aspect.

Otherwise, a set of range of motion exercises with an emphasis on the core muscles, plus a free weight session with an incline bench. The whole regime should take about 30 minutes, and be done twice a week. I'm going to have to be sure to work this in so the sessions integrate well with my other workouts.

In other news, got in a good 3.1 mile run this AM -- steady pace, around 9:20/mile, but felt good over some nice terrain.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Personal training

Tomorrow is my first actual training day with Jenny P, a trainer at my local club -- ACAC in Charlottesville. Jenny's name tag has the motto "Perpetual Motion," which describes her pretty well -- loaded with energy.

We'll be taking a look at some core strength training. I've never been a fan of strength training, but I'm trusting her that It'll pay dividends in my overall performance.

On the nutrition front, my weight was down to 179-1/2 today. That's pretty fast weight loss -- about 6 pounds in 2 weeks or so. I felt a bit dragged out in swim class today, so I'm going to increase my calorie intake to 2750-3000 cal/day and try to keep the weight coming off at a somewhat slower speed.

My training log at Beginner Triathlete.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Health Crisis!

Got my lab work back from the doctor yesterday. The bad news? Alarmingly high cholesterol levels:

Overall -- 298
LDL -- 218
HDL -- 65

I'll be devoting my future blogging to tracking my diet and weight. You can check out my exercise by going here.