Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

Saturday morning was a training ride on the Greater Cleveland Triathlon half Ironman course. I met Jodi, another NEO tri blogger. She was riding the sprint course because she had a long ride on Sunday. I must say that I am fortunate to have such an awesome triclub with so many wonderful people. I started my ride with TriSaraTops and a few other friends and met a few new ones on the way. One of my IM WI sisters started the ride with us, but unfortunately mangled her rear derailleur on the first major climb. Luckily we were able to call for someone to pick her up. I think I will start carrying a chain tool now, so if that ever happened to me, I could pop off a few links and turn my bike into a fixed gear so I could make it home.

For a post training day pic, stop over to TriSaraTops and give her some good vibes. Good thing you can't see my sunburnt shoulders in that picture.

Below on the left is the profile of the GCT course broken up into four sections. On the right is the IM WI profile. Is the IM WI course hilly? Sure but nothing I will not have seen beforehand. If I keep hitting the hills, me and my 12-23 cassette will be fine with the climbing. Just need to work on the bike handling a bit more.

Saturday night I saw United 93. In my opinion it was well done. No political slant, no cheesey lines, no emphasis on big Hollywood special effects, and from what I read, very well researched. Take some dramamine if you get motion sickness though.

Sunday was a long run with TriEric. I was able to convince him to run a little bit later than most normal people run. We started around 10:30; time to feel the heat. We labored through 16 miles together and I tacked on another 2 on my own. Clock time was around 2:40 with two water breaks in there. We were looking to average sub 8:00/mile, but we checked ourselves and kept our heart rates in control. So we averaged around 8:30/mile. I'm pretty sure the profile below is not the exact the route we ran, but it is pretty close.

I moved my rest day this week from Friday to Monday so I could spend a little time at my parents. For the rest of my weekend, a couple of picnics where I could play with fire, catching up with friends, a few beers, and that made for a pretty good weekend.

Against my wishes, my coach has ordered a recovery week for me. So I guess I'll take it easy this week.

Have a great week and happy training everyone!!!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

In Memoriam

Please take a moment to remember those who have sacrificed for the greater good of all of us.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Okay, I'll keep this short. A rider had a nasty spill tonight at our bike workout; she's a tough veteran roadie, so she should be fine. Our group usually splits off and the roadies ride in a group and the tri folks ride separately. I got really frustrated with my fellow triathletes tonight. If I yell "on the left" it doesn't mean move to your left into me. If I yell "on the right" at you, you're probably too far into the road. When I yell "car back", it doesn't mean you should stay in the middle of the road. If I yell "car up" it doesn't mean continue blindly through the intersection. After trying to pass a pack of triathletes three, sometimes four across, most in aerobars, I said to hell with this. Do none of you have any common sense? Did anyone not remember what just happened five minutes ago? And so for the rest of the intervals, I let them get about 30 seconds ahead of me and went at my own pace. I'm probably preaching to the choir, but damn it I hate it when people lose their common sense. Grrr.... And you wonder why people in cars get upset at cyclists. Use your head people. I need a beer and maybe some ice cream.

Monday, May 22, 2006

By the Numbers, May 22, 2006

- number of days since my last swim workout

- number of dollars for a one day guest pass at the local gym

- meters that one length of the pool measured (although rare, I did find a local 25 meter pool)

- number of meters swam today

8, 8, 8, 8
- intended number of 100s in the main set

- number of extra 100s swam due to accounting error (the shorter pool threw me off a number of times tonight)

2:20, 2:15, 2:10, 2:05
- send off times for the main set

1:47, 1:56, 1:51
- fastest 100, slowest 100, target 100 time

- number of meters for a pseudo pull buoy time trial

- time of pseudo time trial

- approximate number of times I told myself to swim faster during the pseudo time trial

- approximate number of times I told myself not to get my shorts in a bunch

- number of reasons, er meters, swam prior to time trial

3, 2, 10
- number of people in the pool at the start of my swim, at the end of my swim, and number that came and went during my swim, respectively

- number of people encountered during my last swim at the other pool

- number of lifeguards on deck

- number of of total lifeguards during my swim (always fun to outlast the guards)

- total amount of real time in the pool

- total amount of real time before my stomach was yelling at me to eat something

- time between when I last ingested solid food to when my stomach started yelling

- number of gels consumed prior to or during the workout

- amount of liquid other than water (pool or fresh) consumed during the workout

- minutes of transition time between pool and weight room

- real time since beginning my workout till I finally popped a gel or consumed a sport drink

- minutes after consuming a gel that I waited to begin weight lifting

- approximate number minutes I should have waited for the gel to get into the system

- number of exercises done in the weight rooms (Squats, dead lifts, calf raises, lunges, hanging leg lifts, back extensions, inclined situps)

- number of minutes spent on above exercises

- lbs I weighed 10 days ago

- lbs that I weighed today after my workouts

- number of hours at the gym

- deposit into the IM bank account

Sunday, May 21, 2006


After my internal system reboot, I lost about six or seven pounds over those few days. I am still feeling a little fatigued, but I feel fine otherwise. At the begining of the year, my coach and I were looking at racing a half marathon this weekend. Despite my weak week, my coach left it up to me whether or not to race. Well, I don't care if my finisher medal spins, vibrates, or does my taxes, I'm not paying $70 to run 13.1 miles. So I went out on a 40 mile/3 mile brick on Saturday. So below are some pictures from my ride. Nothing too exciting.

Sunday I had loads of fun as I spectated a marathon with elizabeth, who is a master at this. She has way more energy and enthusiasm than I do. For us, everything fell into place as we were able to catch tons of people all over the course. We met up right around mile 10 as the lead wheelchair athletes were flying by. We waited a bit until the lead runners came cruising through.

My fun story of the day came early in the day. Elizabeth and I were camped out right before a water stop. As the leaders were coming by we saw and cheered them on. We noted the lead woman and saw she was openly distraught. She looked over and cried something like: "I can't get my gel open." So I took off after her and finally caught up to her. She passed me her gel. I was trying to keep pace with her and haven't practiced opening gels on the dead run in a while. So I fumbled a bit, but after a few paces I was able to rip the top off her vanilla Clif Shot. We were coming up on GLBC, so I offered her a shot of Jameson too. (Just kidding) She thanked me and went speeding off. Talk about a fan friendly event!!! How fun!!!

Then it was waves and waves of people. I tried scanning the crowds for people I knew; sometimes I found them, while some folks I just missed. I ran a quarter to half mile with a few folks, but at mile ten most folks were just settling in a groove. I should have packed a few gels with me, since I had a few folks ask for one. I'll know for next time.

Elizabeth was now way out there having followed a bunch of other runners, while I made my way back to mile 10 and then back to my car. I was able to navigate around the traffic and closed streets and just happened to be driving right by where she ended up. I pull over to pick her up and we decide to try to get as close to mile 20 as we could. As we were driving there we caught glimpses of the 3:10 folks. When we get to a parking lot just off the course, we see the 3:20 pace group go by. We could still catch a bunch of folks going by. Sweet.

We would run with some folks for about a quarter to half mile and try to cheer them up. The discouraging note here was this damned spot where the road met the sidewalk, producing a nice little bump. I probably saw 8 to 10 people get tripped up and just spill right there. I couldn't imagine how tough that was physically and mentally. I hope those runners were able to get their game back on. Since I could not just keep saying "Mind the gap," I repositioned the cones a little. Hopefully by actually seeing a barrier in their way they would be more careful of their step.

For the runners out there, they went through four seasons in 26 miles as they encountered cold, rain, wind, and even, gasp, sunshine. I know marathons suck, but that gradual uphill stretch around mile 20 along the lake right into a 20+ mph steady wind was cruel and unusual punishment. They earned their stripes. Congrats to CurlySu and BuckeyeRunner for their awesome efforts. Great job to PapaLouie for an incredible half marathon. I wasn't the only with a non racer's perspective; great job with the pacing TriSaraTops. Check out their tales. Congrats to my non-blogging running buddies too!!! One of my IM WI sisters stacked 200 miles of biking last weekend with a tough marathon this week. Awesome Awesome job. And if you folks reading this ever get a chance, go out and volunteer or spectate at a race. It's worth it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I rarely get headaches. Unfortunately I was struck with a migraine headache that started Sunday and climaxed Monday during the day. I think this was maybe my fourth one ever. But when they happen, my entire system crashes. The headache itself lasted several hours but calmed down after the drugs kicked in. I was still getting hit with aftershocks even last night. Everything else went haywire too. My stomach was in knots and I was not able to keep in much food or liquids the last few days. I looked at my arms this morning and I know I lost some hard earned fat and muscle. But I know I can rebuild it. My BIOS was flashed and now I am feeling much better. My last workout was a killer run on Sunday. Four days off but I'm not stressing out over it. Do you know why? By missing yesterday's bike workout I was able to catch last night's awesome basketball game won by an amazing team with an amazing 21 year old kid. LeBron is only 21!!! I am not a big basketball fan, but I am absolutely pumped to hear everyone talking about C-Town, the Cavs, and LeBron. "Witness" may be a cheesey Nike slogan, but I am in awe of his physical AND mental game. I can't wait for the next game on Friday night.

Why am I not stressing out over missing so many workouts? Sometimes when you are traveling down a highway you see a sign for a scenic overlook. So you pull off and stop for 20 minutes to check out the view. Sometimes it's worth it sometimes it's not. Well fortunately I was able to stop and check out the scenery and what I saw was pretty awesome. I am a witness.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Today Was Not/Was (part 2)

Today was definitely not about me.

Happy mother's day to my mom.

(and to all the other moms out there.)

Today Was Not/Was

Today was not about me.

Today was not about sitting back and relaxing.

Today was about finding my limits.

Today was not about sulking over medical conditions, whether they manifested themselves recently or are the ones that I have had my whole life.

Today was about awareness, management, and control of my body.

Today was not about the serenity of an hour long trail run.

Today was about getting in a long warmup.

Today was not about mile repeats.

Today was about catching glimpses of speed I haven't seen in a while.

Today was not about pushing till I hit the wall.

Today was about meeting the face of the Death March and telling him: "I will not see you in September."

Today was not about stressing over the next several months of grueling school ahead.

Today was about making plans to ride the IM WI course on your own birthday weekend.

Today was not about reading blogs and throwing another post into my corner of blogland.

Today was about finding and sharing with others who are making similar discoveries and journeys.

Today was not about me.

Today was all about Ironman....

Friday, May 12, 2006

Closing Time

Tonight was the end of a chapter in my IM WI book. I was fortunate to be able to swim in a sweet, wide open, and fast 50 meter pool for several months in the fall and spring. (It was in the 25 yd configuration during the winter.) But some bright university official decided to close the pool for the second straight summer. Last year was some repair work to the pool area and to make some connections to a brand spanking new addition. This summer the pool is closed to paint the ceiling. They certainly couldn't have taken care of that last year.

Anyways my swim workouts were mostly in the evening when very few people were around. But those who showed up usually swam orders of magnitude faster than me, the human anchor. I have made some pretty big gains with my swimming not only because I have put in the time, but because I have learned many tips from these sharks.

One of these sharks, Dale, has helped me out quite a bit. He won a local 1 mile open water swim meet last summer and is preparing for the master's world championship meet in August. His specialty is actually the breaststroke, like myself. For my main set tonight I was scheduled to do 28 x 100 with the sendoffs decreasing by 5 seconds after 10, 8, 6, and 4 of the 100s. Dale looked at my workout and challenged me by recommending I do 8, 8, 8, and 8 while holding each one at right about the same pace. So what the heck. Well you know what, I got through 28 of them and then my pace just slipped. Those last four hurt and my times crept up about 7 seconds. But I got through them without having to bump up my sendoff times. I'll take the 4 2:02s to go along with the 28 1:55s, because I know how just a little extra push goes a long way.

Tonights damage, 1200 warmup, 32 x 100, 4 x 200 kick, 500 pull, 300 cool down. 6000 meters total. I met TriEric, several years ago at some coached swim sessions. We weren't the fastest ones there. Heck I was usually in the lane of shame. But now we can say that long swim workouts are no longer daunting.

So now I am considering finding a new pool for the summer even though the cesspool, err side pool will still be open. But as I move forward I am sneaking a peek back. I gratefully remember those who have helped me with my swim upstream these last few months. As if I were receiving a grammy or something, I will limit my thanks. Dale who I already mentioned. Henry who has given me plenty of pointers. And Deanna for guarding over me and always sticking around those extra few minutes for me to squeeze in a few more laps.

I'm going to miss my pool, but it's time to turn the page and write another chapter. How warm is the Lake?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Surprising number

Ironically I have not been wearing my personal heart rate monitor the last few weeks. I can not use HR data to the fullest since I have not found my max HR for this year (for obvious reasons). Based on last year's numbers, I estimate my running max HR should be around 190 bpm while my biking max HR should be slightly above 180 bpm or so. I have been working out based on perceived exertion instead and not wearing my personal monitor. So this weekend I strapped it back on to compare HR with PRE.

So Saturday I just ran. Went back to my trails so I really don't know how many miles I did. But I was in the woods for 1 hour 20 ish and on an all-purpose trail for about 20 minutes before and after. My HR avg for the first 1:40 was 144 bpm. For the last 20 minutes I was trying to just run an easy pace while keeping the HR down in high zone 2. I figured I could do 8 minute pace, but I guess the HR climbed a little higher than I wanted it to at the end. The HR avg was 150 bpm, climbing to 152 bpm for the last mile.

Sunday I got on the bike. Real time was 3 hours. Riding time was closer to 2:45. I forgot to restart my watch after one of our stops. Bike computer said 50 miles at 17.9 avg. HR monitor said HR avg 132 bpm.

Went for a 3 mile transition run afterwards which was clocked at 23:01 with a HR avg of 155 bpm.

I expected te see those types of HR numbers for the run, but 132 bpm on the bike? Umm...dang...Well something doesn't seem to add up. Unfortunately I have finals this week and I don't have much time to think about this. If you folks out there care to analyze this for me, well please feel free to comment. If not well you can just comment on something else, like the Cleveland Cavs.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Lifestyle change

Well I had drafted a post about my previous week's workouts, but I've got some bigger thoughts today. So to summarize last week: With my school projects in the final stages for this semester, I am starting to get back into regular workouts. Hit the weights hard last week which caused me to "back out" of my Sunday long ride. (Subtle pun: my back was so sore I could barely bend over and tie my shoes in the morning) No big thing, just a serious case of Major DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness and I am feeling good today). Not sure how I did it but I was able to get through a long run (13 miles or so) as a part of my alma mater's oldest tradition and a long swim (4800 m) on Saturday. With that huge volume day, I was secretly hoping to throw down the gaunlet on a few of the other tri club folks (like TriSaraTops, Elizabeth, Eric, DaisyDuc) in our virtual tri camp, but I think that's on the back burner after missing my ride. And frankly, my "heart" just isn't quite into it today.

So what's the news? I had another visit with the cardiologist today and was informed that outbound Flight 0910 to Madison is still on the ground. I wore a heart monitor for the last 30 days and had a few too many premature contractions for his taste, even though many of them were at night. He looked back at the mountain of data that has been acquired so far and everything looks normal except for one blip in one EKG. And that there is a hold up that I may have called Brugada syndrome.

According to the cardiologist, all the doctors at this top ranked heart center have seen roughly 6 their careers. I already knew I had some unique physical traits (maybe I'll share some if/when I do 100 things), but this is one oddity I do not want. After several months, they are still trying to decide the right/best/most practical way to test me.

I found it very ironic that the doc and I, a wannabe Ironman, actually talked about lifestyle changes. Cut out the caffeine, cut the alcohol, cut the hard core drugs (uh, yeah I'm on a drug), and cut out strenuous activity. What?? In a society which founded the sport of television surfing, I might have to decrease my level of physical activity?? Umm....

So where does this leave me? Well as the physician's assistant and I were talking before I saw the doc, we talked a little about Ironman and racing. Here was some of the dialouge:

PA: What if (the doc) says no to Ironman?

Me, after a long pause: I don't know; Never really thought about it. I guess it will be early retirement to the golf course.

PA: Golf? It doesn't really seem like a sport; I never really liked it.

Me: Me neither....

So my deep thoughts reach well beyond this upcoming September. I have already accepted the fact that I can not and do not plan to train at a high level every single year. But to tell me to give it up....forever? Well!!!! I don't think we have ever thought about life without our training (or whatever our passions may be) but filling that void must take some serious fortitude, a will I don't know if I have yet.

I look back to my thoughts from a month ago and they still hold true today. But unfortunately I am stuck in this cycle of pushing myself to train and holding back out of fear. There are days when I wonder if it is worth it. And there are days like today when I go out and train to get these doubts out of my head. I cranked out 6000 meters in the pool (6540 yards) and it felt great.

Until I get a definite "no" on Ironman, I intend to continue my journey, just not on the path I intended to travel. My coach has already been adjusting my workouts and as he says: "You are going to have one hell of a base."

So I leave you with this message I heard a few weeks ago at church: "A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from your presence nor take from me your holy spirit. My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God do not spurn a broken, humbled heart." Psalms 51:12-13,19.