Friday, May 28, 2010

No Risk No Reward

Do you have a talent? I haz talent. I have the unique ability to make my back hurt. It comes from bad posture. Besides not getting ANY exercise sitting in an office chair all day, I have learned if you sit wrong, you can hurt your back.

Yea, I know. Don't do that...

By the time I realized that my body was sending me signals, it was too late. The swim in the pool that night was fine, but my bed has a way of aggravating it, and the chair I work in from home? Not so good either.

I spent all day worrying about. Cooked dinner early. Feed the boyz and sent Dee Dee off to work with dinner in tow. Procrastinated a bit and finally got out the door at 6:30-ish PM for my run. I know it probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but I have a reputation for being bullheaded, and besides. I have never allowed myself to be "injured", and I'm not going to eff it up now by not listening to my body.

Well, said body started complaining the minute I started running. At first, it was a sharp little pain in my lower left back. I immediately decided on a run one minute walk one minute strategy. Ignoring pace seemed like a good idea too.

After run/walking the first three-quarters of a mile or so, I reached the long downhill that takes me to the bottom of my neighborhood. My back had loosened up a bit, and I was able to switch to a run three minutes walk one minute routine. During this time, I learned that if I landed with a jarring impact on my left foot, I was rewarded with a sharp pain and an involuntary buckling of the left knee. It was especially obvious going downhill, which caused me to land more on my heel.

I realized that I was getting a lesson in vertical displacement...

By concentrating on my form, running smooth, no bounce, landing on my mid-foot rather than my heel, I was able to make it out to the three mile marker. I could either turn around here or go for the full 8.4 mile loop. The heating pad on my back had kicked in, due to the sweat no doubt, and I certainly didn't feel any worse. The endorphins must have been helping as well. I decided to complete the full loop.

Usually, I run the loop in about an hour and twenty minutes. This day, it took me an hour and thirty eight minutes. By the end, it FELT like a half Ironman run, which was a good thing I guess.

At the end of the day, I had to carefully weigh the risk of running with the reward of the workout, and I'm glad that I did. It was totally worth it. Today, my back is actually feeling a little better, and I am none the worse for the wear.

On my way to school this morning, my heart broke when I saw a little boxer turtle crossing busy Bells Ferry Road. I know. They are a dime a dozen in these parts, but the little guy was taking a major risk. I pondered going back to get him, but I realized that by the time I dropped Matthew off at school, he would either be dead or safely across the road.

I hope the risk was worth the reward...

Have a great weekend, y'all....


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Three Things Thursday

  1. I am falling apart, literally. My lower back hurts and my right wrist is killing me. Le sigh. The wrist thing is old stuff from my golfing days. Children, do not hit the ground before the ball in your swing.
  2. My swim fitness has been suffering a bit. My swim last week was cut short (20 minutes or so), and when I got to the gym last night, it felt like I had not swum in months. I actually went to the gym at 5:45 PM, through a driving thunderstorm, only to find out that they added Aqua Fit classes to Monday and Wednesday nights. Grrrrr! After my warm up and first couple of main set intervals, I was feeling like my old self.
  3. I feel the need to get in a two hour run today. I'm going to take it easy and just spend time on my feet. Hopefully, my back will cooperate. If not, I'll bail as soon as I think its necessary.
Happy Thursday peeps...


Monday, May 24, 2010

A (small) Slice of Heaven

Running is hard. Of the three sports that make up triathlon, I find it poetic (ironic?) that my preferences are swim, bike, and run, in that order. I'm still waiting for it to get easier. I mean, it's been three years. When does it become... effortless? Like the proverbial blind squirrel, I do sumfin right (sumfin is my word of the month by the way, cue Pee Wee), and I have a run that is exhilarating, mind numbing, a slice of Heaven.

Lately, all of my runs have been crap...

Jimmy graduated this weekend. We had activities Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Despite the scheduling challenges, I managed to put together two swims, two bikes, and four runs. My key workout was my three hour bike - thirty minute run on the Silver Comet Trail Sunday. My legs felt sore starting out, but by half an hour in, I was feeling the strength in my legs. I swear that was not me riding down the trail screaming "MORE POWER!".

For most of the ride, I managed to pick up a few stray riders, and they pushed me. I wanted to warm up and cool down for thirty minutes, then stay in Zone 3 for as long as I could, and I managed that easily. I ran off the bike at a 10 minute per mile "easy" pace. Where did that come from?

Did I mention that running is hard?

It gets harder after each thing you pile up in front of it. Bike first? Harder. Swim first, then bike? Hardest.

I'm still waiting for this to get easier.

After scooting over to Matthew's soccer match, I made it home and went for a dip in the pool. Ahhhhhh, that felt so good on my legs. I pulled a number on my thighs. A warm shower reminded me that it IS indeed the little things that are a slice of Heaven.

Filing this one under "How to feel properly rested before racing". Three weeks and counting.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Researching Recovery

It wasn't so much the 2400 yards in the pool on Tuesday, but rather the 5 mile run that evening that prodded me into action. I thought it would be a good idea to do some research on post race recovery time. Knowledge is power, and power, well... it helps you do stuff.

A quick search of the internet led me to this interesting article (PDF here) by Gale Bernhardt, one of the finest triathlon coaches in the industry. In the article, Gale explains that for triathlon, it takes anywhere from 3 to 5 days per hour of racing to recover adequately. Of course, there are other factors that affect these numbers. She goes on to build a table of factors that generate a score, from 15 to 45. The higher the number, the closer to "5 days" per hour of racing you get.

Me, being the psuedo numbers geeky kinda guy that I am, turned it into a spreadsheet that I can use over and over again. After answering all the questions as truthfully as I may, I mean, I would only be lying to myself, right? I came up with a score of 25. Using my mad math skillz, I determined that this is 33% of the max score, and multiplying this by the number of available days, I came up with 3.67 days recovery per hour of racing, for a grand total of 24 days of recovery!

What does this mean to me? Do I get to sit on the couch in my underwear, drink beer and smoke cigars for 24 days? No (DAMN!). It means that for the 24 days or so (use common sense) after my race, my expectations are set on how my workouts should go, and I'm not using this as an excuse to WTFU (like HTFU but substitute Wuss for Harden).

With this thought in mind, I hit Columns Drive at lunch yesterday for my bike workout. It called for 2x14 minutes in Zone 4 with 10 minutes recovery between intervals. I managed high Zone 3 (3.8-3.9) and low Zone 4 for each interval, AND I averaged more than 20 mph. Not quite what the workout called for, but close enough for me. I'll take it!

And... Since Sunday, I've lost three pounds, which goes to show you. My body is optimized for beer storage. At least its optimized for sumfin....


Wednesday, May 19, 2010


In a few short weeks, I'll be heading north for my second half Ironman in as many months. Since Rev3 Knoxville, I have 5 weeks to get ready for this race. I have never really "bridged" between two races of this (and the same) distance before. Being self-coached this year, I am trying to put together some intelligent workouts to keep my fitness at its current level.

The first week after my race, I spent a lot of time... umm... boozing it up. Yea, that's the way I come down from my races. I figure I earned it. I did referee two matches and get in one bike and one swim. I'm thinking my recovery could have been a little more active, especially cycling, and I will file this away for future reference.

This week, I am focused on longer stuff. I put in a 5 mile run last night, 3 with the tempo/cadence trainer, and I got up at the butt crack of dawn this morning to get into the pool. Jimmy is graduating this weekend, and that is making this week even more challenging.

Next week, I plan to do a half IM Simul week, but on a smaller scale, roughly 60-70% of what I did before Knoxville. I am, after all, not trying to build more fitness, just maintain what I got. After that, its into the normal two week taper before the race.

I have promised myself that I will NOT sabotage this race by being stoooopid, and that includes alcohol. As a matter of fact, I have pretty much decided to give up alcohol. *gasp* It has been the bane of my existence. I need to get my weight down, and the empty calories embodied in alcohol are just not helping, et alles. If you hear me chastising myself for giving in and waving the white flag of surrender, nod your head and sympathize. This isn't going to be easy. but....

I haz plans...


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rev3 Afterthoughts

Well... what can I say? I obviously didn't take this race too seriously, otherwise, I wouldn't have had my worse half IM time ever. Don't let that fool you though. It was a tough course. I read a fellow triathlete's blog, and she had it described to her with the words crazy hilly... Molly said the bike course was tougher than Wildflower, and I believe her.

I, myself, don't really have any complaints about the race itself. I enjoyed everything from the moment I arrived. The swim practice went off perfectly. I zipped through registration in like five minutes. I officially registered a complaint with the manager that it was too fast. The pre-race schwag was good. I loved running in my Rev3 visor. Transition was well setup and convenient. I loved the box racks they used rather than the traditional racks.

Race day went perfect for me, in no small part due to the help of my homestay. Next year, I would like them to remove the goose shit from the dock. I didn't enjoy that squishy feeling. The swim was awesome. The bike route torturous. I did not have any issues with cars. I was only yelled at by one SUV of local inhabitants. The run route crossing the bike route is not a good idea, but I understand that they had to make some concessions. The run route itself was near perfect. The volunteers and the aide stations were well stocked and vibrant.

There was food waiting for me at the finish line. What a treat :-) I loved the medal and the finisher's shirt. Send me yours if you don't like it! They were out of my size though. Overall, I give it a big A+.

Now, my thoughts turn to my super secret race. I have another half IM coming up next month. As you may or may not know, I am a firm believer in karma, and while I don't ask for blessings, I will accept them when they are forth coming. Forgive me if I don't appear to get excited though, that's not humble, and it just ain't my thang. It is what it is and I am a part of that, and that should be enough. Anywho, yea... I'm racing another half IM next month, and I have a real opportunity to break 6 hours here, and I knew this before Knoxville.



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Race for Mom

A Revolution 3 HalfRev Race Report

Call me stooopid call me what you will...
Say I'm old fashioned say I'm over the hill.

Yea, so I opted to referee a soccer match Friday night. I figured I would take it easy, have a good time, not wear myself out too much. LOL... The players were having none of it. They played fast, furious, and hard, and I ran much much more than I wanted or needed. It ended up being just plain stupid, and I got what I deserved. I seriously undermined my ability to race, AND I only gave the players a percentage of what they deserved. Everybody lost that night...

I slipped the recovery sleeves on when I got home and ate a descent dinner. I was home and packing everything by 9:30 PM. All of my gear was on display at the kitchen table from Thursday night. I even oiled my chain. Call that a first. All that was left to do was pack the car in the morning and go. I actually slept pretty good. I woke up a few minutes before Dee Dee came home at 6:30 AM. We were able to exchange some alone time together before sharing kisses good bye. She went to sleep, and I headed downstairs for breakfast and coffee.

It's nice traveling to a race in a stress free manner. Knoxville is about three hours from my house. You basically travel north, then hang a right. The ride itself was both enjoyable and easy. I made it to downtown Knoxville around 11 AM. I decided to head to the boathouse and meet Andy and possibly Sarah for the practice swim. Somehow or another, I ended up driving beneath Neyland Stadium, ROFL, which was actually fortuitous as the way out dropped me off right next to the parking lot near transition and the boathouse.

The boathouse with the Tennessee River in the background

I touched base with Andy before running back to the car to change into my swim suit and grab the wet suit. Quite a few people showed up for the swim, and some of the Rev3 people were putting on a clinic which was nice. Andy and I dilly dallied in the water for a bit, not really swimming, but just getting used to the temperature and shaking out the arms. When Sarah showed up later, we were able to actually head up river for a short swim.

After drying off and changing back into my clothes, I was able to head down to Calhoun's for a bit of lunch. I probably should have gotten the rib sandwich, but for some reason, I was in the mood for a burger, so a burger it was. It was a real treat sitting out on the patio enjoying the river and the beautiful day. When lunch was over, we headed up to the World's Fair Park to register and get our pre-race stuff.

The expo at the World's Fair Park with the jumbotron in the background.

Since I parked right next to transition, I was able to register and walk back down to transition to get my bike. I wasn't too happy with my spot in transition, but it turned out great.


IronMurtha, racking his bike in Transition!

Once the bikes were racked, Andy and I said our good byes and headed separate ways, he back to his hotel, and I off to meet my homestay, Beverly. Bev and I had been exchanging emails for months in preparation for this day. When I arrived at her house, she was waiting in the front yard to great me, and the link was complete. To no surprise, it was just like old friends meeting for the first time in years. Beverly helped me unload my car and get situated before cooking me a simply wonderful pasta dinner, and all this despite a family emergency that she and John had had just the night before. She went out of her way to make sure my stay was pleasant and stress free. Having Beverly and John's support was a blessing I did not take for granted. Her dinner was awesome. The bed I slept in was muy comfortable, and I had the best pre-race sleep I've had in a long time. I woke up three times that night, 12:30, 2:30, and 4:30, and I had no trouble getting back to sleep each time. When the alarm went off at 5:30, I was ready to get on with my bidness.

Down in the kitchen, I figured out the controls on the oven and toasted my bagel. I had a hard time downing the bagel and the yogurt, but I made myself eat. I knew it was going to be a long day. Bev and John got up a little bit after me. They drove me down the race site and dropped me off in a parking lot right behind transition. It doesn't get any better than that.

It took me probably half an hour to get my spot situated. One of my neighbors, an elite age grouper, was pointing out little tricks and tidbits that I could do better. I laughed it off and took some of his suggestions. The temps were in the high forties. I lathered myself up with sun screen and slipped into my wet suit. I had purchased a new sprint john from Neosport for this race. Needless to say, it was a bit chilly waiting for the swim start. I walked down to Calhoun's and hung out with Andy as the first couple of waves went off. They called out the wave before mine when I remembered to power up the Garmin and slip it into my cap.

The elite amateur wave went off, and the half Rev men, myself included, made our way down onto the dock. Parts of the dock had gotten wet, and it was brutally cold on the foot. Was I ever happy to finally jump into the water to get warm. LOL... The water temperature was 68 degrees. I made my way over to the far right side of the swim start and staked a spot out for me at the front of the line. When the horn sounded, I pressed start on the Garmin through my cap and started to swim.

The washing machine started up right away. I have never been so jostled in any race in my life. I was sticking to the feet of the guy in front of me, and people were constantly grabbing onto my feet and bumping me from the side. Some dude with a windmill for a form came thundering up beside me, and once he got in front of me, he stopped going faster than me. Every time I tried to pass him, I had arms all over the place! We headed up river for 500 meters or so before turning around and heading back down stream. Somewhere in that time frame, I lost windmill guy. They had shut the dam off during the race, reducing the force of the current. As per usual, my nose was acting up, and I had to stop and degunk my throat a couple of times.

About two hundred meters on the way down stream, I found myself swimming alone. This was much preferable to me. The rest of the swimmers followed the shore line. I took a straight vector towards the landing. I drifted a little too far to the outside before making a minor correction. I did manage to cut off a significant chunk of that curve at the end. I stayed a little bit too far to the left and had to cut to the right to make it to the docks. John had mentioned that they had seen somebody out there swimming by themselves, and I was sure it was me. Despite my tired arms, I managed to pull myself up on the dock with no problem. I saw 34:32 on my Garmin when I pulled off my cap, and I was happy with that. I had intentionally held back on this swim. This race was all about pacing and saving myself for the run, and pacing started with the swim!

I ran up the ramp and across the street to transition. It took me about 5 minutes to get out of T1. No, I'm not proud of that, but I did everything I thought was necessary. I put on my HRM, and my race belt. I had rolled up my arm warmers and managed to unroll those over my arms. I remembered how cold I was at IM FL, and I did not want to repeat that. After slipping on my helmet, gloves, and glasses, I pulled Aerown from her rack and walked to the mount line.

The bike course started out heading down river along Neyland Drive. It was a long gentle coupla miles down hill until we made a right turn onto the university campus. I knew there would be a couple of uphills to get to the bridge across the river, I just did not expect them so soon and so steep. My quads were already screaming at me, and my ride had barely begun.

Over the bridge, we went across the railroad tracks and made a right onto a two lane road with construction. It seemed like during the first part of this course, there was nothing flat. It was literally the hills from hell. There were a couple of hills that were really brutal. I remember thinking this thing has got to end, only to round the corner and see more uphill ahead. I consciously reminded myself to save my strength. This race was all about the run. Despite my best efforts, the damage to my legs was being done.

For every up hill, there is a down hill, and I flew down the backside. On some of the hills, I pedaled, on others, I just coasted and used the free speed to recover. Once we made it through the hills, we were treated to a flat section of the course that first went through some hills, then a few rollers, and finally followed a creek/stream out to Walland. My Garmin kept beeping at me every mile, and I, unfortunatley, forgot that I had swam 1 mile, then hit the lap button twice for the end of the swim and transition. I kept looking for the turnaround after lap 28, but it didn't come until like lap 31.

On the way back, the wind was blowing full force in our faces along some of the flat stretches. There was a break around the trees and rollers. Up ahead, the same hills we crossed on the way out were looming. It was about this time that I wondered what I was doing out there. By then, I had realized that I wasn't going to come in close to three hours. I figured 3:10 or 3:15 or so, only it was much worse. I think my slowest mile on this course was 12.9 mph, while my fastest mile was 27 mph. I quashed the negative thoughts and reminded myself that this was who I was. I had goals for the day, and they had nothing to do with time. I allowed my cadence to drop significantly as I climbed the hill, and at times, I thought for sure I would fall over. As a matter of fact, I had to stop at one point because I think I ran off the road. I walked a short distance up the hill. When I got passed by 4 riders, I decided to get back on my bike and go.

Up until this point, I had had plenty of company on the ride. Now, the riders were few and far between. I made my way back into town. Where the construction was, there was another steep steep uphill to get to the bridge, and my quads were just crying. A few more hills inside the University, and boy was I ever glad to get off my bike. I had my slowest bike split ever in a half Iron distance race, coming in at 3:21:44, or sumfin like that.

Fully realizing the sub-6 wasn't going to happen, (it wasn't even a goal), I took my time in T2. I put on my shoes and socks and took my time putting on sunscreen. Yes! For the second time in a race ever, I did not get sunburned (ha!). My second T-time was about the same as my first. In reality, it could have been much much faster.

The run course followed the bike course on the way out. The long shallow downhill was welcome. It was perfect for making the bike to run adjustment. My legs felt very heavy and I was hungry, despite taking six gels and 64 oz of fluid on the bike. I ate my bar at the first aid station and grabbed some water. Actually, I took a couple of huge bites and threw the rest away. I ran with my water for about a quarter of a mile before I finally managed to get it all down.

When we made the right following the bike course, I thought, "DAYUM! We are going to have to run up that !@#$%! hill..." Fortunately for all of us, we made a left and got onto the greenway. The greenway is a trail that runs along the river and creeks in downtown Knoxville. I, personally, thought the run route was very pleasant. It was an out and back with a few spurs. I got to see everybody coming and going. The race was recording our run splits in multiple locations. About three or four miles out, Missy came running over a bridge heading in the opposite direction. I high fived her and told her to keep kicking butt.

There were aid stations about every mile on the run course, and they were fully stocked. No worries with running out of liquids or fluids here. I had a gel and banana before my hunger subsided a bit. The turn around was near a shopping center with a lovely Mexican restaurant on the corner. I really could of used some Mexican, and a margarita, at that point. The volunteers thought I was hilarious as I raised my arms and crossed the finish line. I asked them how I was supposed to get back and was very disappointed when they said run.

On the way back, I caught up with a guy who introduced himself as Tom. We shook hands and ran together for a while. He was running about my pace. I continued to take in grapes and liquids. At about mile 8 or 9, I felt brain dead and just drained. I decided to take two gels at one time and some grapes, and that seemed to help. I had been basically doing the entire race needing to go to the bathroom (not pee :-), and I finally gave in close to the end of the greenway, I dived into one of the bathrooms after saying good bye to Tom. I spent a couple of minutes in the restroom before heading back out onto the race course. I used this as an excuse to try and run Tom down.

Off in the distance, I could see Tom on the road back to transition. The gentle downhill on the way out was replaced by a gentle up hill on the way back. Except for Tom and one other guy, we were running by ourselves. Did I mention yet how great the volunteers were? They clapped and yelled for every athlete ALL DAY LONG. They were wonderful. When I reached transition, the first out and back torture session arrived. We had to run up the hill at the end of Neyland Drive, then turn around and come back to transition. Tom high fived me as he ran by.

Damn, Wes! You've already caught back up? I trust everything came out OK in the bathroom!

We both got a good laugh out of that. I never did catch back up to him. I got more laughter out of the volunteers as I practiced crossing the finish line for the second time. I made a right at transition onto the University greenway. My Garmin buzzed indicating I had just crossed mile 12. Up to this point, my body had been behaving beautifully. Not fast, just beautiful. No cramps, no problems. Just me and my internal demons.

The last mile. The longest mile.

I could see the tower up ahead and hear the announcer. The sign said half Rev peeps go left, but I wanted to turn right. There was one last out and back torture session to go through. I had to run up this steep steep hill for about a quarter mile before turning around and coming back. The little girl at the turn off was trying to be so cheerful.

What goes up, must come down!

I chuckled at that and walked up the hill. At the turn around, I broke back into a run and came down the hill. I made a left turn then another left turn and found myself running into the park. There was an enthusiastic crowd of Rev3 peeps there cheering the runners in, and that made me tear up a bit. I don't know why, but I always get so emotional at the end of these events. I crossed another timing mat, and my name was announced over the loud speaker. I crossed the finish with my arms raised, glad to be done, glad to be back in the game. It was a good day.

The volunteer at the exit handed me a medal and took my timing chip. They were out of medium shirts, so I grabbed a large. I immediately found the food and grabbed my lunch box. I walked through the expo and found a bit of shade, where I could sit down and enjoy my lunch. Thankfully, my cramp free day continued. While sore, I had no cramping at all the entire day. That made me happy. After eating, I walked over and talked to Molly and some of the athletes from Multisport Mastery. It was great seeing Molly, Missy, and Andy again. Molly had had a great race, as had Missy, and Andy fought through some adversity to complete the Olympic distance race in fine style. I took my leave from Molly and her friends an went back to transition to get my bike and wait for Sarah.

No sooner had I exited transition then here comes Sarah looking strong! I yelled something stooopid at her, and she smiled as she headed up the spur from hell. I walked up the hill to meet her on the way back and asked her if she wanted a hug. Fortunately for me, she was in the mood, and I gave her a big hug. I told her that it was one mile from the transition to the finish line, and she was doing great.

I walked up the off ramp and asked the police officer if it was OK for me to walk up there to the street. He laughed, and I grimaced when I saw the huge steep hill I had to climb to reach the street. I zig-zagged up the hill and finally made it to the top. I put my tri bag on my back, climbed onto Aerowyn and took off down the road towards the bridge. I had plenty of energy to pedal, although I took it extremely easy across the bridge and up the small hill on the other side. I made a left and took the road down by the river. Bev and John pulled up beside me and asked me if I had enough energy to make to the house. I did indeed, even though I walked up the last two hills to the house. John and Bev both laughed when I collapsed in the yard and said, "Geez, I should have reffed a game Saturday night instead."

Bev was kind enough to offer me a shower before I hit the road. I told her she had NO idea what a special treat that was. At most races, the hotel's checkout time is way before the race is over, and I end up driving home under ripe conditions. I cleaned up, packed the car and spent a few final minutes sitting with John and Bev. They really helped to make this experience special, and I can't thank them enough.

On the way home, I called my mother to wish her happy Mother's Day. We had a long pleasant conversation. She asked me how my race went, and I said that it went perfect. She teased me in her humorous way about racing on Mother's Day, and my quick response was, "but I dedicated it to you!" Yea, she had a good laugh out of that.

Despite being tired and worn out, I made it back to Woodstock in one piece. I stopped off at a local pub for a beer or two and some dinner. Three beers would have put me under the table, and besides, I had boyz and dogz at home that needed my attention. Yea, these little race jaunts are fun and keep daddy happy and on an even keel, but the real world is always waiting for me to slip back into the flow, and that's the way life goes...


Monday, May 10, 2010

My Review: Cheribundi!

What? You were expecting a race report? I am working on it!

The kind folks at Cheribundi have launched a blog based marketing campaign to support their name change and their signature product. Out of the kindness of their heart, they sent me a (free!) four bottle sample to try out and write a view upon.

Summary: Cheribundi is some good stuff (p.g. version :-)

I was trying to save the product for after my workouts. That is basically why this review is a bit late. I thought that it would make a great addition to a smoothie, and I was right! After one of my pre-race hard workouts, I made a smoothie with the following ingredients:

1/2 bottle of Cheribundi Tru Cherry(tm) juice
1 container of plain yogurt
1 cup of ice
Half a banana
1 Truvia sweetner (optional)

You can throw in some whey protein if you need it.

Basically, I loved it. I usually try to take my time eating my smoothies, but this one I downed pretty quickly. It tasted soooooo good. I definitely give the Tru Cherry(tm) a thumbs up!!

After I finished the first bottle, I decided that I should try the Cheribundi with whey protein already mixed in (Whey Cherry). Being the adventurous sort, I decided to take this one straight up. Unlike the POM juice I reviewed earlier, I found the cherry juice a little too tart for my liking. Chilling it over ice didn't help. Even with the whey mixed in, I think I would save the cherry juice for mixing with something else.

Over all, I really enjoyed the product. I still have one more bottle to go through, and I will save that for an after workout smoothie too. Cheribundi is available from retailers in the northern part of the country, I believe, and it can also be ordered via mail from their website!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Anatomy of a Training Cycle

A lot of people don't like big races early in the triathlon season. I admit to being a fence sitter. This will be my second May half iron distance race, and in both cases, I have felt like my training has been fairly good. For Florida 70.3, I opted to do a 12 week training plan, and my goal to finish was met successfully. This time, I started training in January, and while the first 4-5 weeks were rather wishy-washy, they were not unproductive.

Where am I, exactly, in my training cycle for this year? You would think that I would have peaked and tapered and become race ready. The truth is... My "A" race is Ironman Arizona, and since Ironman Arizona is in late November, this is still my "out season" or general preparation. Short of P90X, I haven't worked this hard this early in the year, ever, and I am pleased.

Without further ado, I present to you, my chart :-)

Yea, my skin gets all tingly when I look at my chart... ROFL... You can see from the chart that once I settled on my current plan at the end of January, it has been a steady climb to this point. I credit this chart with helping me plan my intensity and the duration of my workouts, as well as knowing when it was time to back off and rest. In other words, a great coaching tool (although it well never replace Teh ELF).

The line chart above the blue shows my current level of fatigue. You can see where it spikes high on epic days, and slowly moves down to meet my current fitness (the shaded blue, purple, what ev) at the end of the chart. The hill thing at the top represents "training effect". My max training effect day was April 9, which just happened to be an IM simul day. After that, training had less and less an affect on my race day fitness. That's why the line chart, which represents training stress, moved to meet my current fitness, indicating that I was approaching race fitness.

Saturday morning, I travel alone to Knoxville for the Revolution 3 Half Iron distance race. My goals for this race are fairly simple and have nothing to do with time. I want to execute my most perfect race plan ever the way my coach taught me to do it. I want an effortless swim (don't we all). I want to stay in high zone 2/low zone 3 on the bike, and I want to have a great run! That's what I want this race. Time be damned.

For all those travelling to Knoxville this weekend, I'll see you soon. For those of you staying home and/or racing, have a great weekend! I'll see you on the other side of Revolution...


Saturday, May 01, 2010

Truth is in the Digits

I've always wondered exactly how far the long swim was out at Red Top Mountain. I'm a wee bit of a numbers guy, yes I am. With the advent of the Garmin 310 XT, it was the perfect time to confirm or deny the accuracy of the numbers.

A friend on Beginners Triathlete dot com pointed out that the Concourse Triathlon Club would be holding their bi-monthly swim at Red Top on May 1st. This fit in nicely with my need to OWS before next weekend. I got up this morning at 7:30 AM to eat breakfast and get ready to go. Not having to get up at the crack of dawn was an enlightening experience.

The crowd at the lake was a little bit smaller than I was used to for this kind of event. It was way bigger than the 4-5 people that show up for the freeze your buttocks off swim around Easter. Yea, I bypassed that one this year :-) Iron Murtha met me in the parking lot and kept me company while we suited up for the swim.

The Allatoona Lake line reported the water temp as 68 degrees on Friday. That, I believe, made for a pleasant swim. I managed to squeeze into my wet suit, despite sporting 10 lbs of new muscle ;-) The water was cold on my hands and feet, and I sucked in a deep breath of air as it seeped in through the zipper. I put the Garmin in my swim cap and put it on my head. I was just not brave enough to wear it on my wrist, and besides, the water is known to mess with the accuracy of the Garmin.

After a short beneficial lecture by Mr. Swim with Pete(!), we set off across the lake, sighting on the bright pink markers.

The faster swimmers were leading the charge, so I decided to find feet and practice drafting. The distance across the lake was 100 meters or so. We stopped there, regrouped, and then took off again. The idea was to shake out the swimming abilities of the group and find people that matched your level of abilities.

The next marker was about 200 meters down the lake. We paused there for another brief moment before heading towards the mouth of the cove. I was reminded in a most pleasant kind of way how much I love to swim in the open water. The strain on my shoulders and neck was necessary reminder as well. Out through the cove and to rocks on the other side, I caught up with the advanced group. I found a rock to stand on while we caught our breath. More swimmers were out in the open water, winding their way towards our vantage point. The fast group took off, and I with them. About half way across the cove, I found myself swimming alone. This was supposed to be a buddy swim, therefore, I paused to allow a buddy to catch up with me before taking off swimming again.

We stuck to the right of the cove on the way back. A group of sailboats was tied up at the dock. I veered off from the starting point to the cove on the other side before making my right hand turn back to the start. As I neared the beach, I felt the Garmin in my cap buzz, indicating I had reached the one mile point. We had been told over and over again that the distance was 1.2 miles. I calculated it as 1500 meters using gmap. It was good to finally have a definitive answer.

I sat down on the rock by the bench and stripped off my wet suit. I had to pause for minute as my left calf cramped. This is a constant theme with me and food for thought. Andy climbed from the water shortly thereafter. We took our time chatting, getting cleaned up, and watching the other swimmers come in. It was beautiful morning.

On our way back to the parking lot, we talked a little bit about our up coming races. Andy is doing the Olympic in Knoxville. I am doing the half Ironman. It was good getting to see you again, Andy! Good luck in Knoxville, and I hope to see you and my other friends there.

As I left the State Park, the turkey on the side of the road mocked me.