Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In the world of running, the term LSD has nothing to do with tripping on acid and having flashbacks of Greatful Dead concerts. For runners, it stands for Long-Slow-Distance. While these runs aren't all you should be doing when training for half or full marathons, they need to be in the training plan somewhere. Building your aerobic engine is going to be key if you expect your body to run for 2, 4 or even 6 hours. I've been slowly building up the distance of my LSD runs over the last few months. The distances have been 10.8 miles, 12.4 miles, 14.3 miles, 15.0 miles, 16.8 miles, 8.54 miles (plan was 18, but I was very ill), and then today I did one of 21.0 miles.

These runs have all been in my aerobic heart rate zone and the pace has varied, but I never pushed it. I save the speed for my interval and tempo runs. As the distance has increased, I've found the need for hydration while running. I've tried carrying a bottle (not fun) and leaving a bottle at various spots along my route (too difficult to plan). Neither option worked, so I decided to invest in a fuel belt.

The picture above shows the exact belt that I am now the proud owner of. I used it for the first time this morning and it worked out well.  I was able to carry 18 oz. of Gatorade as well as a gel and my car keys with me during my run. Did I look like a geek? Yes. Do I care? No. If it's good enough for 2-time defending Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander (see below after crossing the finish line in 2008 - nice fuel belt!), it's good enough for me!

21.00 miles in 2:45:09 (8:17 min/mile pace)
I thought that my legs would still be tired after having only two days to recover from the Boilerman Tri, but they felt good after the first few miles. I knew that my heart rate was lower than I wanted, but I was running a good, comfortable pace, so I didn't push it. The only problem with adding on distance is that I have to keep getting up earlier to get these runs in before work. Alarm went off at 4:15 this morning!!
Avg HR = 150 bpm
Max HR = 162 bpm

Monday, September 27, 2010

Boilerman Triathlon Race Report

Is there such a thing as a perfect race? I doubt it, but what I managed to put together yesterday was as close as I've ever come to achieving one.

I wasn't too optimistic while loading up the car and leaving the hotel to head towards the race site. It was 52° with a light rain. Here's some proof:

It continued to rain as I drove to the site but then let up once I got to the parking area (which was approximately a mile from the site). I pumped up my tires, loaded my bike on the trailer and climbed on the shuttle bus that was taking athletes to the race. The race was in a remote location with hardly any parking, so they asked everyone to park at a "nearby" high school and ride the shuttle over. It worked out ok for getting athletes back and forth, but not so well for spectators (more and this later).

As usual, I was one of the first people to arrive on site. I had picked up my race packet the day before, so I was able to skip the registration line and head straight to transition. It was an open transition, so I was able to pick out a prime location on the front row, farthest from the swim in and closest to the bike out. This way, I wouldn't have to run very far with my bike and I would have extra time to get my bearings after coming out of the water. I took my time getting my transition all set up and then took a walk down to the water to see how it felt. The water was pretty comfortable, but the air temperature was still pretty cool, creating a cool-looking fog on the water. I took a picture of it, but it's hard to see:

They announced that the water temperate was 75° F, so I decided to go ahead and wear my wetsuit. Not so much because of the water temp, but because of the air temperature. I didn't want to come out of the water and be even slightly cold getting on the bike. This turned out to be a good decision.

I ran into my parents shortly before the race started. They had also parked at the school and taken the shuttle over. Jessica and Kate were supposed to be there as well, but due to the fact that they were not going to run the shuttle during the race, Jessica would not have been able to take Kate back to the hotel for her nap (which would need to happen during the race). Being the excellent Mom that she is, Jessica decided that trying to keep Kate on her normal schedule was the most important thing (which I agree), so she just drove back to the hotel and didn't get to see any of the race. I hate it that she missed out on the race, which was the main reason she made the trip. I'm not happy about the logistics of having to shuttle people back and forth to the race site. It really threw a wrench into our weekend plans!

Back to the race. The swim was in Rainybrook Bay, a nice little lake just south of Lafayette. The swim started in three waves. Collegiate athletes first, the Open Division Men (that's me), then Open Division Women. The waves were separated by 5 minutes. I hadn't had my wetsuit on since the Taylorsville Lake race in May, so it took me a few minutes to climb into it and get it comfortable on my shoulders. The course only had 3 turns, so I felt like my sighting was much improved. Once I got clear from the craziness associated with a mass start, I was able to get into a good groove and saw the first buoy pretty well. Here's a picture from the swim start:

I made the turn around the first buoy and then had trouble finding the second one - which was much further away. I just followed some guys in front of me and kept looking for the yellow buoy. I finally spotted it and started to swim towards it. It was only when I was around 100 feet from it that I realized I was swimming towards a swim marshal sitting in a yellow kayak wearing a yellow life jacket! Once I realized this, I quickly found the actual yellow buoy, which was about 100 feet to the right, and picked up the pace to make up for lost time. I looked down at my watch when I climbed out of the water and saw that it was 27 minutes and some change! Holy crap - that's fast! This was by far my best swim in a race. I exited the water and started to make the run up to transition, which was about 500 feet away.

I pealed my wetsuit off as I made the uphill run through the uncut grass. The swim time listed on the results includes this time to run to T1. I got into T1 with my wetsuit around my waist. I headed over to my bike and started to put on my socks before realizing that I still needed to finish taking my wetsuit off! This is what happens when you do lots of races without a wetsuit and then use it again. I got my suit off and was out of T1 in 1 minute 31 seconds.

I knew that it was going to be cool, so I brought gloves. I can ride in cool weather, but my fingers get numb, so gloves are a must. I put my gloves on as I started the ride and settled in. My heart rate was still in the 160's from pushing it hard on the swim and it took me almost 6 miles to get it to settle down to the low 150's...where it needed to be. The course was flat. What they call hills, I call speed bumps. After the huge hills I've been riding this season, the hills in Indiana are nothing. I only stood up twice just to move around. While there were no hills, there was another obstacle....the wind! I remember it being winding from my time at Purdue, but I never tried to ride a bike in this wind. When heading north-south, the cross winds were rough. But when the course took me west, the wind was right in my face, making a flat road feel like a hill. I was reeling in a lot of the college kids on the bike that had the 5 minute head-start on the swim. I also passed several guys in the open division. I was only passed by one person on the bike and after looking at the results, this ended up being the guy that won my age group. Here's a picture of me getting as low as I can in my aero position fighting the wind:

My legs were burning coming into T2, but I was ready to get off the bike - the wind was getting the best of me and I was getting angry. Seriously, I was pissed at the wind. I took my feet out of the shoes while still on the bike heading into T2 and had a lightning quick T2 time of just under 45 seconds. I headed out on the run feeling strong.

My heart rate was in the high 150's for the first few miles of the run, but I felt like I was pushing it as hard as I could without going too fast. Since there were no mile markers on the course, I really had no idea what kind of pace I was running. I was only passed twice and I passed a few more people. The run took us through a neighborhood with concrete streets - not asphalt - concrete streets. Then it looped back around to Rainybrook Bay for the last 2 miles which consisted of a lap around the lake...which was a combination of a gravel path and running through grassy fields. No doubt that this slowed down the run times some, but it was kind of fun to get off the road and onto a softer surface. I pushed it as hard as I could during the last mile and got my heart rate all the way into the 170's. I crossed the finish line with a 10K time of 45:51, good enough for third best run time in my age group. The picture below was taken during the last half mile or so. It looks like I'm walking, but trust me - I was running hard.

Pictures curtosy of Brian Pomeroy and Andy Jessop.

I was even more happy with my overall time of 2:25:11, which is 12 minutes and 17 seconds faster than my best time for an Olympic Distance Triathlon! This time ended up being good enough for a second place finish in my age group and a top 25 overall finish. It was still pretty chilly after the race, so we didn't stick around to see if I had placed. I've emailed the race director to see what the awards are, then I'll decide if I'm going to try and retrieve my prize!

So I finished off the season with a 3rd place finish and a 2nd place finish. Pretty good way to go into the off-season. I've seen huge improvements this year and I'm excited to build on what I have heading into 2011. My focus now turns to my first full marathon, which is on November 6th...less than 5 weeks away!

Here's the official results of the 2010 Boilerman Triathlon:

Swim (1500 meters)
29:19.00 (31:27 min/mile pace) - 2nd out of 9 in age group (62nd out of 136 overall)
1:31.10 -2/9 (33/136)
Bike (40K / 24.8 miles)
1:07.45.3 (22.0 mph) – 3/9 (20/136)
0:44.80 – 3/9 (22/136)
Run (10K / 6.2 miles)
45:51.70 (7:23 min/mile) – 3/9 (46/136)
2:25:11.9 (2/9) (25/136)

Breakfast - 1 whole wheat beagle (plain) and 1 cup of Greek yogurt - about 3 hours before the race
Pre-race - 18oz. of water with 1 Nathan Catalyst electrolyte tablet (lemon-lime flavor); 1 packet of PowerBar Energy Gel Blasts (strawberry-banana flavor).
During Race - 24oz. of water mixed with Hammer Nutrition Heed (strawberry flavor); 1 Hammer Nutrition Gel (Apple-Cinnamon flavor). I took all of this in on the bike. I took a gel with me on the run, but never felt the need for it. I only managed to drink about 3/4 of the Heed on the bike and took water at 2 aid stations on the run.

As a side note, I beat 44 of the 56 college students that were competing. This race is one of many that college triathlete's compete in. Several schools showed up with their triathlon teams, including Michigan State, Illinois, Central Michigan, Northwestern, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, and of course, Purdue. I must say that it's a nice ego boost to beat so many 18 to 21 year olds!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Boilerman Triathlon

It's going to be a fun weekend! A little road trip up to West Lafayette, Indiana to see a Purdue football game tomorrow and then to race in the Boilerman Triathlon on Sunday. Jessica, Kate and I will be in our car with all my race gear and my parents will head up there as well to take in all the weekend festivities. Right now the weather looks great for the game (72° and sunny) and decent for the race (low 60's with a 40% chance or rain). As I've mentioned before, the weather is out of my control, so I'm not going to worry about the rain.

Being a Purdue Alumnus, this race is one that I've wanted to do since I found out about it early last spring. At the time, I was training for the Tri Indy and I didn't want to sign up for another Olympic distance race without knowing how my first one would go. Now that I've raced three at this distance and two that are longer, I'm good to go in the confidence department.

The goal for this race is to set a PR for this distance and to more than anything, just have fun. This is my last triathlon of the year and it will be at least 6 months before I get the chance to swim, bike and run in a race (wow, that's a long time!), so I'm going to have a good time.

Here's what my previous three Olympic Distance races (1500 meter swim, 40K (24.8 mile) bike, and 10K (6.2 mile) run have looked like:

The swim portion of the Boilerman is an open water swim that takes place in a lake just south of campus. I haven't had the best of luck with open water swims due to my struggles with swimming straight (correcting this will be my #1 priority in the off-season), so we'll see what happens. The bike and run are flat (it's Indiana) and should be fast. So I'm hoping to improve on my Tri Indy time of 2 hours and 37 minutes.

57 minutes on the indoor bike. 10 minute warm-up, then a 45 minute Spin Class with some tough intervals, then a quick cool-down before hitting the pool.
Avg HR = 137 bpm
Max HR = 153 bpm

Nothing fancy, just a 1/2 mile swim at race pace.
912 yards (0.52 miles) in 16:56 (32:40 min/mile pace)

I'm taking today off completely and although I would like to get in a short run tomorrow morning, I doubt I'll have time. Plenty of rest and eating some good complex carbs is the name of the game for the next two days! It's time to Boiler Up and Hammer Down!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fast Food Lunch Deals

As Jessica and I sat down to watch some episodes of The Office on TBS last night I noticed that during every commercial break there seemed to be an ad for a fast food restaurant offering a cheap lunch meal, usually for $5 or less. For someone that is forced, or likes to eat lunch away from work, this sounds like a good deal. After all, spending $10-$15 a day on lunch can really add up!

As we watched these commercials, I started thinking about how much food these meals are actually giving you. Without exception, every single one was offering WAY TOO MUCH food for one person to eat. I started adding up calories in my head and it was crazy. Jessica suggested I write a blog post about here it is. Check out some of these numbers:

$5 Buck Box
(1) Chicken Flatbread Sandwich
(1) Taco Supreme
(1) Burrito Supreme
(1) Cinnamon Twists
(1) Medium Drink (Regular Coke)
Total Calories = 1320
Calories From Fat = 440
Total Fat = 49g
Carbs = 180g

Variety Big Box Meal
(1) Drumstick
(1) Crispy Strip
(1) Indiv. Box of popcorn chicken
(2) Sides (Mashed Potatoes and Cole Slaw)
(1) Biscuit
(1) 32oz drink (Regular Pepsi)
Total Calories = 1560
Calories From Fat = 530
Total Fat = 60g
Carbs = 196g

$5.01 Combo
(1) Regular Roast Beef Sandwich
(1) Curly Fries
(1) 32oz drink (Regular Coke)
Total Calories = 1080
Calories From Fat = 370
Total Fat = 42g
Carbs = 150g

Extra Value Meal
(1) Angus Deluxe Snack Wrap (wraps are healthy, right?)
(1) Large Fries
(1) 32oz drink (Regular Coke)
Total Calories = 1220
Calories From Fat = 450
Total Fat = 50g
Carbs = 176g

Now look at all those numbers and consider this: The average man requires only 2000-2200 calories PER DAY to manage their current weight. This number is around 1800-2000 for women (sorry, your metabolic rate is typically lower). The average man only needs 40-50 grams (35-45 for women) of fat per day and 250 grams (225 for women) of carbohydrates. So for instance, the KFC meal would give you 70% of your calories for the day, 120% of your required fat intake for the day and 78% of your daily carbs....all from just one of your three meals!

I don't write this to tell you to never hit up the drive-through of a fast food joint, because all of these places have healthier options. Just don't get suckered into their latest's likely way too much food garbage to eat in one setting! 

4.72 mile Tempo Run in 35:32
10 minute warm-up at 7:35 pace, then 15 minutes at 7:00 pace, then a 10 minute cool-down at 7:50 pace. Good workout.

1152 yd in 25:32
6:00 warm-up
4 x 100 intervals with 100yd cruise between each
1) 1:35
2) 1:29
3) 1:32
4) 1:32
4:00 cool-down

Speed Workout - some Yasso 800's on the track, then I took my shoes and socks off and did some 100 yard sprints on the football field. Grass was nice and soft and it felt good to get out of my shoes and run. I was worn out after 4 of these sprints. Too bad there wasn't any oxygen waiting for me on the sidelines like the NFL guys get!
Warm-up: 1.32 miles in 10:17 (7:47 pace)
2 x Yasso 800's
1) 3:04
3:02 jog
2) 3:04
3:01 jog
4 x 100yd sprints with 45s rest in between
1) 13.22s
2) 12.72s
3) 14.02s
4) 13.42s
Cool-down: 1.32 miles in 11:14 (8:30 pace)
Total Workout: 4.89 miles in 47:37

Here's my speed chart from today's run workout:

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Garmin Forerunner 405

My wife knows how hard I train. She hears my alarm go off every morning at 4:30am. She has the joy of hearing all about my training session every evening when I get home from work (or when I get my morning phone call from her once our little one is up). I tell her with excitement about how great I felt or if I break through some milestone. She also has to suffer through my complaining if it was a bad day. I know that she isn't always (if ever) interested in my specific workouts, but bless her heart, she listens and always offers words of encouragement.

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know that through the last two years of triathlon training I have progressed from just a stopwatch; to a stopwatch and a separate heart rate monitor; to a watch that combined both. After having two friends tell me how awesome their GPS-enabled watches were, I started to look into getting one. Having all the capabilities of my stopwatch/HR monitor PLUS being able to know instantaneous and overall pace while I'm training was the main thing that had me envious of my friend's new toy.

The only reason that I hadn't bought one for myself was the cost (they'll set you back a couple Benjamin's). It was clearly and want, not a I wasn't going to spend the money.

To my surprise, after my non-prize receiving 3rd place finish at the Tom Sawyer Triathlon, my wife decided that she wanted to get the GPS-enabled watch that I'd been wanting. I was surprised that she knew the exact watch that I wanted (Garmin Forerunner 405), and it was funny to listen to her rattle off all of the features the day that she surprised me with it. I guess I had mentioned which one I wanted a few several times.

So not only does the watch give me more info that I can even use while training, it allows me to wirelessly download ALL of this information to my computer...and more importantly, to the Training Peaks website. This is the website that I will use from now on for planning and tracking my workouts. Here's some screenshots from the Training Peaks website (click on each picture to view a larger image - then use your browser's BACK button to return to the blog):

Calendar of all my workouts - if I click on one of them, I get the following pop-up:

This workout summary detail shows time, distance, speed, elevation gain and calories burned. I can click on the "Reports, Map & Graph" botton and see this:

The Reports page shows me info on how long I was in each heart rate zone as well as min, max and avg heart rate data. It also shows me how many miles I have on my current pair of shoes (I'm already up to 155)!

If I click on Map & Graph, I get what you see above. A map of my route and a graph showing heart rate, elevation and pace from my entire workout.

Lots of cool stuff from this website - all made possible by the Garmin Forerunner 405! What an awesome invention!

Covered 13.36 miles in 39:50 (20.1 mph). Good ride with lots of rolling hills and s steep climb at the end. I wasn't sure how I would feel after my week of battling a stomach virus, but my legs responded well.
Avg HR = 145 bpm
Approx. 2:40
Covered 4.30 miles in 31:20 (7:17 min/mile pace). All the info pictured above from Training Peaks is of this run. My legs felt heavy for about half a mile, then loosened up. My body responded surprisingly well and I had a lot more energy than I expected. Taking Friday and Saturday off and getting lots of extra rest was the trick to my recovery - I should have done this much earlier in the week...I know better!
Avg. HR for the run = 165 bpm 

58 minutes on the bike. Nothing special here, just a tough Spin Class at the gym with lots of good intervals. Got the HR into Zone 4 for 15 minutes of the ride, and even touched zone 5 for a few seconds!
Avg HR = 140 bpm
Max HR = 162 bpm

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Almost Back to Normal

I've been battling a stomach virus all week. It hit me Monday afternoon and came in waves all week long. I took Tuesday off thinking a few hours of extra sleep would help me heal up. Feeling a little better, I attempted to continue with my planned workouts on Wednesday and Thursday...neither of which worked out very well. After four days of watching what I was eating and cutting my workouts short, I actually felt worse Thursday night than I had all week. So I decided to hit the sack early and sleep until I didn't feel tired. My body was fighting this virus and by getting up early and working out and continuing to eat, I wasn't giving my body a chance to fight. So I skipped yesterday's workout and worked from home, taking naps throughout the day. I also fasted (with the exception of a piece of toast, a banana and some applesauce) all day.

Good news is that I'm feeling a lot better this morning. Still no workout and I'm limiting what I eat today in hopes of getting in a good workout in the morning. With only a week to go until the Boilerman Triathlon, I need to get back to 100% and have a good week of healthy eating and short, high intensity workouts. It will be interesting to see how I feel once I get back on the bike or try to run. I've lost 7 pounds this week and I'm down to 171. Hopefully I can start getting larger amounts of food down in the next few days and get back to 175 or so by next Sunday!

45 minutes on the bike.
The plan was to ride for 30 minutes, do the 45 minute Spin Class, then get in a good swim session. After only a few minutes on the bike, I knew that it wasn't going to happen. I was very tired and didn't even have the energy to get me heart rate above 120. Spin Class started and I attempted to keep up, but for the first time ever, I had to bow out and leave only 15 minutes into the class. I took a quick shower and headed into work, feeling defeated. I normally wouldn't try and workout when feeling like I was Thursday morning, but the two weeks before a race are very important and I wanted to do something. Turns out nothing would have probably been a better idea. Here's my heart rate chart from the "workout". As you can see, it was a struggle to even make it into zone 2:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

If you read nutrition labels at all, you know that you should try to avoid high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  It is a sweetener and preservative used in many soda's and fruit drinks. It is made by changing the sugar in cornstarch to fructose. The end product is used to extend the shelf-life of processed foods and drinks, and is cheaper than sugar.

Consuming too much of any sweetener has the potential to promote obesity - which, in turn, promotes diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

So why do I mention all this? Well, the manufacturers of HFCS have found out that people are starting to look for it on labels and are avoiding products that contain it. So what are they doing? They are changing it's name. It will now be called "corn sugar". New name - same stuff.

They claim that they are doing this to ease confusing over what HFCS actually is, but I have a feeling that they other motives...especially since they are also launching a marketing campaign. Hmmmmm.

8.54 miles in 1:14:36 (8:44 min/mile pace)
Wednesday has been my long, zone 2 run day for the last few months. Training plan for today called for 18 miles....and I was excited to go. Even had on my brand new fuel belt full of Gatorade! 

I've been battling a stomach virus since Monday morning, so I was having my doubts about what I was going to be able to do today before I even took that first step. I revised my planned route so that I didn't venture too far from from the that I could get back quickly if nature called. Sure enough, I had to cut my run short due to things out of my control (I'll spare you the details). I felt bad (no energy and stomach cramps) pretty much the whole run, but especially after mile 3. Here are my splits...note how my pace dropped off staring at mile 4:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Triathlon Dominator

I first heard the name Ben Greenfield back in April while searching for triathlon related podcasts on iTunes. I listen to podcasts to help pass the time while I am doing my long rides on the indoor bike. Ben has a podcast called "Ben Greenfield Fitness". This weekly podcast gives lots of good info on training, nutrition and triathlon overall. He knows a lot about the sport and with his background in exercise physiology and biomechanics, as well as being a personal trainer and tri coach, he's someone who's opinion I value.

While listening to one of his podcasts, he discussed his "Triathlon Dominator" training program. He developed this Ironman (or Half-Ironman) training plan for those people who do not have the 20-30 hours a week most feel is required to train for a full Ironman distance triathlon.

I was immediately intrigued. I can squeeze in 12-15 hours of training a week during most weeks and maybe do 16 or 18 hours every once in a while. Time was really my limiting factor is my decision to not race Ironman this year. I felt that I just didn't have the time required to train properly. Here's the sales pitch:

"The Triathlon Dominator Package is your ultimate solution to 1) defying the myth that the you have to give up your life to train for Ironman triathlon, to 2) obtaining for yourself a complete, scientifically designed, step-by-step training, nutrition and lifestyle roadmap to cross the Ironman finish line with zero guesswork; and 3) a comprehensive solution to be 100% confident in your triathlon body, your Ironman fitness and the fact that you didn't have to neglect work, wife, children, family and life to achieve your dream."

After doing some research and reading lots of testimonials, I decided to bite the bullet. I'll share lots more info on the "package" later on. I downloaded the training plan today and my first day of training for Ironman 2011 is officially Monday, December 20th. So much for a relaxing Christmas week!

2 hours on the indoor bike in Zone 2...building endurance
Same workout as the last few Friday's - I did a 10 minute warm-up, then increased my heart rate to zone 2 (125-137 bpm) and held it there for an hour and forty minutes, then did a 10 minute cool-down.
Avg HR = 131 bpm
Max HR = 139 bpm

Covered 13.43 miles in 38:47 (20.8 mph). Good ride with lots of rolling hills. I pushed it pretty hard to try and simulate how my legs would feel coming off the bike during the race. 
Avg HR = 149 bpm with most of the time (over 24 minutes) spent in Zone 4.
Approx. 3 minutes
Covered 3.06 miles in 21:53 (7:09 min/mile pace). My legs felt heavy at first, but began to fire after about half a mile. The first half of the run is mostly downhill, then I turned around and went back up the incline. My average heart rate increased each mile I ran (159, 165, 170), which isn't ideal, but considering I was able to hold my same pace going back up the hill, I would expect an elevated heart rate.
Avg. HR for the run = 165 bpm 

50 minutes on the bike. Nothing special here, just a tough Spin Class at the gym.  Instructor really pushed us with lots of hill work and intervals. 
Avg HR = 131 bpm
Max HR = 157 bpm

30 minutes of legs with some arms and chest mixed in.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Thought Running Was GOOD For Your Body

Relax, running IS good for your body. It sheds fat and makes your body lean and your heart strong. But, it does have some side effects...see if any of these issues sound familiar:

  1. Runners Trots - Thought I'd start off with the fun one! When you run, your intestines get jostled around and move any contents they may have on down the "road". This can result in some unexpected cramps that have you desperately looking for a bathroom. Best way to avoid this is to stay clear of fiber and any new foods 24 hours before a long run.
  2. Nipple Irritation - This usually only pertains to men...unless you are a woman who runs bra-less (there's lots of jokes here, but I will leave it alone). Sweat is a mix of mostly water and salt, and a few other minerals. When the water evaporates, you are left with salt. I'm sure you've all seen a white streak on your face or arms after a long workout. This salt is abrasive and makes the makes a sweaty shirt rubbing on a nibble feel like sandpaper! The solutions include wearing bandaids on your nips or a tightly fitted mositure-wicking shirt.
  3. Leg Twitching (aka the "Jimmy Legs")- If your legs twitch when you lay down to go to bed at night, you are not alone. When you have a hard workout, you lose sodium and calcium, which are responsible for muscle relaxation. If these electrolytes haven't been replaced, your muscles can't relax. To keep this from happening, don't skip your post-workout meal or get up and drink some milk if you are already in bed.
  4. Black Toenails - For regular runners, getting a black toenail is not a matter of if, but when. Three things cause this not-so-beautiful pedicure. A shoe that's too small, a toenail that comes in contact with the top of your shoe too often, and using your toes to "grip" when you run. Usually, they just look bad, but if they hurt, there's is something you can do. Heat up the end of a safety pin with a match and press it through the top of your toenail to release the pressure. If you are too big of a scaredy-cat to do that...go see your doctor. The nail will eventually die and fall off, with a new one growing underneath or after the old one is gone.
  5. Side Stitches - This is caused by breathing. Your diaphragm is the muscle that controls your breathing. It is attached to your liver on the right side. When you run, the attaching ligaments stretch, which stresses the diaphragm and causes pain. You can slow down or take deep, slow breaths to ease the pain. These are more typical for beginners, so keep running...and they will eventually go away.
16.88 miles in 2:22:39 (8:27 min/mile pace)
Pretty good run, although I found it hard to get me heart rate HIGH enough. This usually isn't the problem, but my heart was telling my legs that they could go faster but the legs just didn't have it in them. I still got in a good Long Slow Run, which by the way, was the furthest my legs have ever carried me! I plan on breaking this new record next week!
Avg HR = 151 bpm
Max HR = 161 bpm

Here's my HR data from the run (notice that the majority of the time was spent in Zone 1):

55 minutes on the bike: 10 minute warm-up followed by 45 minute Spin Class
Some really good long intervals today, ranging from 1 minute to 3 minutes in length
Avg HR = 129 bpm
Max HR = 150 bpm

1776 yards (1 mile) in 33:04 (1:52/100yd pace)
I felt pretty good during the swim, focusing on sighting and body position.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Mind Wanders

During every run and ride now my mind seems to drift towards next year's Ironman. It's only been 6 days since I signed up, but this race, which according to the handy countdown clock to the left of this post is still 356 days away, is dominating my thoughts as I train.

As difficult as it might be, I need to refocus. I still have two races left this of which (The BoilerMan Triathlon) is only three weeks away. My training has been going well, but as I get down to the last few weeks before the last triathlon of the season, I need to be thinking about this race, not one that I won't run until next August. I've had mixed results this year in Olympic distance races and I want to finish the season on a high note - so doing well in West Lafayette is very important.

I doubt I will be able to push the thoughts of Ironman out of my head anytime soon; and it was once again the first thing I thought of as I hopped on my bike this morning. The sun had just come up and it was a very Autumn like, 52° F. That's down right chilly for riding a bike. I couldn't help but think about the drastic difference between the temperature this morning and what it was just one week ago - the morning of the 2010 Louisville Ironman. It was more than 20 degrees warmer as the athlete's started their race. As the morning turned into afternoon, the temperature rose to 92° F. As I type this today, just one week later, it's a very comfortable 78° F outside, with little to no humidity. Is it too early to start hoping for weather like today next August 28th???

2 hours on the indoor bike in Zone 2...building endurance
Same workout as last Friday - I did a 10 minute warm-up, then increased my heart rate to zone 2 (125-137 bpm) and held it there for an hour and forty minutes, then did a 10 minute cool-down. I listened to a podcast on why you should use microwaves - interesting stuff!
Avg HR = 131 bpm
Max HR = 142 bpm

6.76 miles in 50:16 (7:24 min/mile pace)
Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to run at "race pace" on my Saturday morning runs. The distance has varied a little bit, but the object is to get my body used to running at this pace (or faster) for 6.2 miles (10K), which is the run distance for the BoilerMan Triathlon.
These runs are done at a pace slightly above comfortable, but they are not all-out...I save that effort for my intervals. The goal is to be able to hold this pace longer without my HR climbing out of zone 3 (163-168).
8/14 - 5.32 miles (7:18 pace) - out of zone 3 around 3.5 miles
8/21 - 6.19 miles (7:30 pace) - out of zone 3 around 4.5 miles
8/28 - 5.27 miles (7:11 pace) - out of zone 3 around 3.75 miles
9/4 - 6.76 miles (7:24 pace) - out of zone 3 around 5.8 miles

20.33 miles in 1:01:24 for a pace of 19.9 mph
I've done this same ride three times now, and today was my over a minute. I was feeling kind of sluggish, but honestly my hands and feet were numb for the majority of the ride. Here's a comparison from the previous time I did this ride and this morning:

So what jumps out when comparing the two rides? It's hard to tell, but my top speed on the downhills was a little slower today. I got up to 37 mph on the downhill at mile 7 on 8/22 and only reached 35 mph today. On the downhill at mile 11, I got up to 38 mph on 8/22 and only up to 36 mph today. I'm blaming it on the windchill!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ironman Registration

E-mail confirmation of my 2011 Louisville Ironman Registration:

I've registered for lots of triathlons and road races over the last few years, but this one was definitely unique. Typically you are just asked your name, age, and your USAT Member number. The Ironman registration asked a total of 30 questions. Here's some of the things that they require participants to answer:

- Country you will represent

- 5 questions on existing and past medical issues

- Do you wear contact lenses?

- Your insurance provider and policy number

- Your hometown newspaper and TV station

- Athletic accomplishments

- Level of education

- Occupation

- Professional or academic honors

- Why are you competing the Ford Ironman?

- Significant information regarding your training

The registration literally took me 20 minutes to complete. I'm not sure what they do with all this information, I guess I'll find out.

15.0 miles in Zone 2, completed in 2:07:09 (8:29 min/mile pace)
Pretty good run this morning, I was able to keep my HR in zone 2 for all but 22 minutes of the run and still maintain a decent pace.
Avg HR = 158 bpm
Max HR = 167 bpm

Here's one of the charts that I get from Training Peaks, the new website that I use to track my workouts. This chart shows the amount of time I was in each HR Zone.

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