Signed up for the Tour de Cure

Signed up for the Tour de Cure this morning. Seton's a sponsor of the event and already has a team started called the Seton Scrubs. There are Tour de Cure cycling events happening all over the country. The two in Central Texas happen on the weekend of May 20 & 21. Saturday, May 20 the event starts in San Antonio and ends in San Marcus. The riders stay overnight if they want to at the Texas State University and then the next morning ride to Austin. I signed up for this leg of the ride, 80 miles from San Marcos up to Austin.

The last time I did a century ride my butt wasn't the same for two years. Check that. It has never returned to normal. I think this time it'll be different. I did the last ride on a cheap mountain bike. This time I'll be on my modified bike. I just got an email that my new cassette, won on eBay, has been shipped. It should arrive any day and that'll improve the back end of the bike.

The Tour de Cure is a sponsorship ride, meaning I need to gather donations for the cause. If you'd like to donate, you can do so here.

Obviously, an 80-mile cycling event will involve some time in the saddle. Definitely more than the one hour per sessions I'm currently training at. In seven weeks I need to ramp up to at least four hour sessions.

Yesterday's workout included a 2K swim. Went well. Today's included a morning 45-minute core routine and a 45-minute bike ride at lunch.

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Resting Heart Rate Inching Up

Yesterday, my resting heart rate inched upward a few more beats. Normally in the fifties, it was 72bpm yesterday morning. 72 couldn't have been correct, so I took it again. 72. Again, and again. 72. It's said an elevated heart rate indicates the body is recovering from something or needs to rest. My workouts have not been intense at all although I've felt blah towards my exercise for the last couple of days, but not sick or ill. Time for some intervention at the Pho Noodle House. This was part of the plan this week as my pre-race meal, but it usually occurs a day or two before the race and sometimes the night before.

I threw down a bowl of brisket pho soup and a cafe sua da and then proceded to swim 2K in the afternoon at Stacey Pool. One of the better swims this season. It looks like brisket pho soup and cafe sua da are on the menu for Saturday night, before Sunday's Cap 10K.

My heart rate was 52bpm this morning. Hmmmmmmm.

Circumstances arose one day which delayed preparation of the dinner of a Soto Zen master, Fugai, and his followers. In haste the cook went to the garden with his curved knife and cut off the tops of green vegetables, chopped them together, and made soup, unaware that in his haste he had included a part of a snake in the vegetables.
The followers of Fugai thought they had never tasted such great soup. But when the master himself found the snake's head in his bowl, he summoned the cook. "What is this?" he demanded, holding up the head of the snake.
"Oh, thank you, master," replied the cook, taking the morsel and eating it quickly.

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3.5 Inches of Rain

Rain is rain. Heavy rains are heavy rains. Most days I would be frustrated that it forced me into the gym to exercise. The clouds parted and the rain stopped with a two-to-three hour window late in the afternoon. Perfect for a ride.

I rode to the veloway and surprisingly nobody was there. I had the track all to myself, outside of one rider I caught up to. Yes, caught up to. He ditched the next lap and I could see why. Debris strewn all over the veloway from the hard rains. There were even still streams flowing, four or five of them, along the 3.1-mile route. So I imagine this discouraged most riders and inline skaters from getting out today. That's great as I didn't mind dodging a few leaves and getting the bike wet in the streams. I was blah yesterday, this was a chance to get a good ride in, damn the weather or debris, or whatever.

I took a spill at the base of the hill. The base was covered in mud and leaves and you have to take a hard right turn to climb it. It sneaks up on you. I knew it was there and had dodged the leaves leading to the base two times already. Slip, slide, bike went sideways, large chain stay cog went into the calf. Rain was rain, a cyclist met concrete, mud and debris, a cog met flesh. It was still a good ride.

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Cap 10K Week

I should be up this week with the Cap 10K on Sunday, but recently I've been blah about working out. I jacked my knee a couple weeks back and it's still giving me fits after a run. Although I'm back on a glucosamine cycle, I've neglected my yoga for the last few weeks. Last night I did a little yoga to get back into the routine. I reduced the number of runs last week to one and only worked out about eight hours, but I ran the seven miles on the track and maybe that did it. This week I'm sticking to swimming and cycling until Sunday's race.

I guess it's the weather that's getting me blah. I was pumped to do a ride yesterday but couldn't face the 30-mph head winds. Today, it's rainy and that means the gym. I need to quit whining, suck it up and just get out there.

Chilly Swim

Very chilly swim today at Stacey Pool. Fifty degrees outside, but the pool was a nice 84 degrees. The chilly weather kept the number of people swimming low. The only part that wasn't fun was getting out of the pool and the wind smacking me in the gut. I finished with 2000 meters over an hour. I started to count my strokes this session. I averaged 30 strokes per length of 33 1/3 yards. Da Fish could cover the same length in 18 or 19 strokes. That's why he's Da Fish and I'm da eel. The next swim may have to include only drills to get the extension I need to reduce the stroke count.

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Pimping My Ride

Monday was supposed to include a 70-minute session at the Veloway. I was dressed for it, even had the water bottle filled as I headed out the door. But the hubs (see previous post) still bothered me. I knew it would be a great ride because of the weather, but it would suck with the hubs wobbling. All dressed for the veloway, I went in the opposite direction searching for some new hubs, or new old hubs, or working old hubs.

I had looked online and found quite a few in terms of retail, but not as good as I thought I could get. From building the recumbent, I knew often if you look in the right place, you can find brand name parts for pennies. The thrift shop clerks don't know a Mavic wheel from a Shimano. The saw the amount of rust, flat tires and did it ride out of the shop. I saw bargains.

The first store I stopped in was a gold mine. Only two bikes left but both were under $20 and both had components I was looking for including; better brakes, aero bars, and 27" wheels with enclosed hubs. Aero bars alone can run past $100. I bought both, loaded them up and took them home for disassembly.

Long-story-short, I pilfered all that I could get from the two bikes and stayed up to midnight putting it all back together. The tires and tubes were in such bad shape, I had to put some new ones on. The sweet time trial bar had to go as the aero bars wouldn't fit the custom shape. The brakes are better, although they still need a little adjusting.

I rode into work this morning as the truck's in the shop getting the brakes worked on. I definitely noticed an increase in the bike's speed. I'll have to zip over to the bike shop at lunch and get some tape for the bars. Afterwhich, I'll post a pic of the new ride.

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Bike Tuning, Wetsuit Acquired

I've tuned the Bianchi as much as I can, given the hubs need to be trashed and some enclosed hubs purchased. The brakes can't be adjusted anymore with the slight wobble of the wheels. I'll just have to ride it as is until I can get some new ones.

The good news is I finally got a wetsuit for the CapTexTri on May 29. Now all that's left, outside of the Bianchi hub issue, is putting in the miles between now and May 29. Well, there is the issue of diet again. I was doing so good and then binged on mushrrom burgers, beer, sausage, and brownies. My weight increased three pounds last week. I'll have to focus on the calories a little better.

The 70-minute sessions planned for last week worked well. I did have one extra day off that wasn't planned and used the time to work on the bike and the truck. Sometimes having the truck go in reverese is more important than an LSD run or swim. Hopefully this week it'll be four days of 70-minute sessions and two days long.

River City 10-Miler

This weekend I viewed a race from a new perspective, that from the finish line. Teresa, Kayla and I volunteered at the River City 10-Miler, a resurrected race from years past with a new course. Wow, what a difference. A small field of runners (800) made there way in the rain and drizzle from Northcross Mall down to Auditorium Shores.

Somehow I got put on chip retrieval. I was the last retriever in the chute, which meant if they ran past me with their $30 chip, I was to tackle them and forcefully remove the chip fro their shoe. Of course, as luck would have it the first person across the finish line was allowed to pass through eight retrievers without so much as a glance. I guess they thought since he won he could do what he wanted. I followed him until he stopped walking, got him a chair and he removed the chip himself. He was gracious and not out of breath, just finished running ten miles in 45 minutes in the rain and heavy humidity. After that one miss, the retrievers didn't allow another runner to get out of the chute.

Although most of my time was spent looking at their shoes, I also took some time to evaluate the effort of the runners, as they crossed the line. Only two or three seemed like they were about to puke. Most had run within their training. A few had their legs taped from the ankle up to the thigh. I asked one runner if the tape was for shin splints. She said it was for a blown out knee. Wow, running with a blown out knee is determination. I have a slight twinge in the left knee right now and I held off from running the event. Hmmmm.

Runtex Race Review Race Day Photos

With the rains lingereing all day, I made my way to Bowie's track for a slow run inbetween showers. Running strickly by heart rate at 136, I covered five miles before sunset and then did an extended core workout.

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Greenbelt Run AKA The Brown Shoe Run

Austin has so much diversity when it comes to places to workout. One example is the Barton Creek Greenbelt located in the central part of the city. With all the SXSW music crowds gathering at Town Lake, I thought it better to stay away. I didn't feel like a run on the track or the treadmill, so I decided on the greenbelt. As I was hitting the trail at 5:15 p.m., with a sunset somewhere around 6:45, I took my visor lamp and hat.

The most popular greenbelt at 7.9 miles long consisting of 809 acres. With sheer cliff walls, lush vegetation, and popular swimming areas, the Barton Creek greenbelt is truly a treasure. When the water in the creek is running (not today, but maybe tomorrow with the rains) this is a fantastic run. The easiest access point is the Loop 360 access or Barton Creek from the north.

I was thirty minutes into the run before I saw another person. Then two, then three, a few cyclists mixed with walkers. Somehow I got off the trail and had to run down the dry creek until hooking up with the trail again. I stopped when I could hear the owl hoot. Cool. My simple plan was to try and make it to Barton Springs by the 45-minute mark and then run back. At 45 minutes I came across some climbers scaling the side of an enormous cliff. The woman on the rock had all four limbs extended out like a spider. I wanted to stay and watch but I decided to push on. I couldn't hear any music so I couldn't really tell where I was. With the sun descending, the heavy cloud cover brought darkness earlier than planned, I decided to head back.

Seeing that a cyclist took the other choice at the fork in the road I followed. Looking over the map earlier in the day, it seemed two trails paralleled one another back to my truck. Ha ha ha ha. Actually, the other trail took me straight to Barton Springs. Imagine my surprise when I saw the downtown skyline over the trees. I made it. Damn, I made my goal, although now an hour and twenty minutes out. I decided to go forward to Barton Springs and figure out what to do next. Listen to some music at the free concert. No credit cards, so I couldn't eat or drink anything. I had not brought any water or carb bars on the trip. Bad idea.

I figured I could run another 45 minutes down the Mopac feeder, around Loop 360 and be at the truck. Forty-five minutes along speeding cars in the dark didn't sound appealing, so I made the call. Yes, I didn't take water or food but I took the phone. I made the embarrassing call for a pickup. Kayla and her friends were laughing when they arrived. Partly, because of my predicament, partly because they hatched a plan to stop at IHOP for some pancakes and let me sit for some time.

I'm so spoiled with the Town Lake Trail with Runtex supplying water, with stores within reach and frequent maps of where to go. Next time I need to pack for a woody hike, even though I plan to run. This would include a compass, water, food, and a light jacket.

Trail running is great but a little different. There's no runner's high as I had to concentrate on the rocks and cliffs. I rolled the ankles a couple of times but nothing serious. The air seemed fresher and the lack of people on the trail was a nice experience. Next time I'll have to plan on a longer time period to cover the 8-mile length with extra time to watch the climbers and time to explore. At 30 minutes per mile that would translate into about four hours plus stopping time.

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Fish and Frogs Don't Mix

This week I was focused on 70-minute sessions of running, cycling and swimming, along with a long session or two. I wasn't going to swim until the sun went down, like yesterday's run. One, I'm not capable and two, didn't need to. Rather, today's swim was just to get to 70 minutes.

The water was warm and there was a free lane available. With thirty minutes to go a guy asked to join the rotation with my new swim coach, AKA Da Fish. We both agreed and he entered the lane. OMG, he's not swimming freestyle, he's uh, swimming, paddling, kicking more like a frog. This wasn't a dog paddle. It was the frog. Not a frog that swims underwater, but one that always keeps his head above water.

Most swimmers will allow others to join the rotation. Sometimes there's discussion whether to swim side-to-side or to rotate counter clockwise. Sometimes, there's even discussion on speed, but for the most part, swimmers let others join freely.

The frog made his way down the lane, well like...a frog, obviously kicking into both sides of the lane. Da Fish and I went around him best we could and still maintained the workout. I didn't mind the occasional kick in the ribs or arm as that happens in the triathlon swim, hundreds of swimmers and an occasional frog jockeying for position. At some point the frog got irritated and moved to another lane. The frog swam with his head above water at all times, thus taking in water whenever Da Fish or myself went by.

Da Coach Fish pointed some things out that I need to work on. I spent the last ten minutes of the swim doing drills that seemed to get me swimming more like a fish and less like an eel. He also loaned me his buoyancy assistance device (floaty) that elevates the back end of the body. I need to get me one. It really helped my form.

I'm not yet a fish, but I'm certainly not a frog. Maybe still part eel, part fish.

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No Workout = Frustration

I've reached the point now where I'm addicted to my workouts, even the core workouts. I came to this conclusion after my frustration grew after two missed workouts; one core last week and yesterday's run. I made up for the run today on the Town Lake Trail and extended the mileage to 10, which is what I wanted to do over the weekend, but the yard work took over. When asked how long today's run was going to be, I said "Until the sun goes down" and that's what happened.

I'm still bouncing back and forth about the San Antonio Marathon in November or whether ever to do another marathon at all. I sure do like the ten-to-fifteen mile range. It's comfortable and nothing breaks down. I walk like my age afterwards and can bounce back with a good night's rest. We'll see how the long runs go in the upcoming weeks.

Today's run was split into two segments. The first half was run with my co-worker and run in zone three at a 162 average heart rate. The second half was targeted for an HR of 136 but it averaged a little higher at 147. HR didn't really matter today as it was just to run until the sun went down, to be out there for as long as I could.

I neglected my yoga and glucosamine regimine for a couple of weeks and I could tell. The muscle behind the left kneecap was weak and the ankle and knees creaked when going down the stairs the last few mornings.

I've enjoyed the schedule where there isn't a schedule planned out days in advance. I go with the flow and put what I did on the schedule afterwards. The rest of the week has rain forecasted so it'll be a play it by ear kind of week. With all of my workout clothes now in the back of thee truck, it should be easy. Whatever the weather brings tomorrow, it'll be 30-45 minutes of core and 70 minutes of something.

No Bees This Time

I took the day off Friday. Saturday involved yard work, raking, blowing, vacuuming and bagging 200 pounds of dead oak leaves from the back yard. By the time I was finished, my energy was spent. Sunday, I decided to get the exercise in first so that whatever was left could be used on the yard. I decided on a bike ride at the veloway and surprisingly, it wasn't crowded.

My last ride was for 12 miles so I decided on one more 3-mile lap for 15. Slow and easy heart rate (139), except for the hill climb that always pushes me into the 150s. No bees, no mechanical problems. Only a small patch of oak leaves covering one of the tight turns. My slick tires took an edge and started to skid out from under me. Luckily I was able to unhook my shoe from it's pedal and brace the bike before taking a tumble. Once I did that the crank came right up on the calf. It left a great marking on the calf. If I ever get a tattoo, this may be the one. Just under the buldge of the calf muscle. If I wait long enough the bike may make one for me for free.

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Thursday's Energy

Just after midnight, Thursday morning, a storm blew into Central Texas. The thunder and lightning was refreshing, as we haven't had much of it in the last six months. I decided to go downstairs, look at the radar and have myself a bowl of cereal. While eating the cereal, a red flash appeared. Lightning had struck the neighbor's tree not forty feet away. It wasn't until later in the day, that I found out the lightning had shattered the tree limb. Nothing left. Nada. Pieces strewn throughout the yard, with a couple of pieces landing on the back doorstep.



The energy transferred over to eBay. I'm savy with eBay and used it for years. However, I rarely win any of the good stuff. It's usually the computer parts that nobody wants that are eventually sent to me. However, this day was different. I had a bolt of lightning hit nearby. I found some cycling jerseys that were in the vintage category. Very cheap compared to the $75 retail price of a jersey. I put bids on four shirts, left for a meeting and hoped for the best. I scored! I won two of the four auctions buying the jerseys for $12.50 each. The energy was still flowing.

The sun appeared early in the morning and since the cold front didn't pack any gusto, the Town Lake Trail was dry by the time I arrived late afternoon. Temps were in the mid-to-upper eighties and it felt closer to summer, than spring. I'd hoped the energy of the day would've continued. What I wasn't sure about was what I had for lunch. Two fillets of blackened catfish and a bowl of seafood gumbo. It sounded great at the time, and I hadn't counted on running. Too late. I was at the trail, dressed and HR monitor ready to go. During the six mile run my body cursed me several times. At three different times my stomach felt like a blender that just kept whirling without a glass to pour into. I imagined the meat of the fish getting obsorbed pretty readily, it was the blackened seasoning that the body didn't know what to do with. It just kept blending the mess together hoping for a nutrient to obsorb and pass to the legs.

By the fifth mile, three episodes with the blender, the stomach gave up looking for nutrients and settled down. By that time the run was almost over. At least I felt good and enjoyed a little of the one-hour run. Six miles in one hour.

After the run, I decided to stop into Runtex for a Powerade and a bag of cranberry Clif Shots. Pouring that concoction onto what was left of the blackened catfish and gumbo made for an interesting mix. One that had me skip dinner and my usual glass of wine.

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No Bees, Just Fish

Today included a 1600 meter swim at Stacy Pool for an hour. No bees today, just a lot of fish. There were four to five swimmers per lane of lap swimming. With all of the fish, it created some wave turbulence which I had to get used to. I found out when I could sense a fish on the other side approaching, I needed to breath from the other side. I also found out I hate, hate swimming next to the edge of the pool. I didn't want to run into the other swimmers in my lane so I stuck to the right of the lane and brushed the edge.

The water was a little cooler today. It was 85 degrees the other day. It felt about ten degrees cooler today which was very comfortable. I skipped flip turn practice as it was just too crowded. I experienced a calf cramp about the 18th lap but it seemed to work itself out.

No Fund Raiser, Just Bees

Nothing special about the last couple days of workouts, unless you consider a couple of bee stings out of the ordinary. Maybe not bees, but definitely something I cycled into on mile nine of the bike ride today. Two stings that sent pain from the left bicep over the arm and into my armpit. Maybe it was a spider that got two stings in before falling to the safety of the pavement.

I was able to get on the veloway today. No fund raisers, only bees. There were plenty of inline skaters there as well. Some of them can really get cookin on the track, upwards of 24km/hr or more.

The run yesterday went well. Whatever was going on with my knee twinge worked itself out. Long slow distance for swimming, cycling and running. Good so far.

First Outdoor Long Ride of the Season

My plan was to take the improved Bianchi to the veloway this afternoon. However, lately plans seem to change. Yesterday, a trip to the Bowie High School track proved unsuccessful as the field and track were packed with soccer players and families. Today, the veloway was reserved for a fund raiser of some sort. Luckily, the veloway sits at the southwest part of Austin which allows riders to take off on a wide emergency lanes of Mopac. Round trip down mopac covered 8.96 miles or 14.42 KM.

I thought about halfway through the ride that I should have ridden closer to home after adjusting the brakes and handlebar so much. Too late. All of the adjustments worked out ok. The new time trial handlebar worked out great, as did the new seat. All is well on the Bianchi.

I tried to keep the same aerobic workout for cycling as I did for running. Long distance with a low heart rate. Nine miles isn't that long of a distance but it worked for the first outdoor ride of the season. It was definitely more difficult to keep the heart rate down on the Bianchi, compared to riding the recumbent at the gym. Average heart rate for the 45-minute ride came in at 142. I averaged 24km/hr and maxed at 42km/hr.

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Long Slow Runs

Until I digest all of the reading materials on the various programs and strategies, I'm going out for long, slow runs at low heart rates. So I guess you could say I'm adopting a blend of Hadd's and Maffetone's programs until further notice. This entails running long and slow at a HR of between 128 and 136, which isn't easy. At first it felt almost like walking and was easier to do on a treadmill than on the trail. However, after a week of staying with it, it's become easier and I noticed today's pace was picking up at a lower HR than the other days. It's way to early to tell, but this may be the one. Build up slow mileage and the aerobic threshold before moving to intervals and speed work.

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First Swim of the Season

After Freescale, I've was wanting to take in the first swim of the season to see how far I'd dropped from last years efforts. The healthclub I go to has an indoor pool but it's a little short, some twenty meters. Friday, a co-worker, who's half fish, asked if I'd join him for a swim at Stacy Pool in Travis Heights. The last time I joined home for a swim at Deep Eddy, I lasted three laps of 100 meters.

I didn't have my goggles so we stopped at Austin TriCyclist. They had everything a triathlete could want, even a motion pool in the back to try out wetsuits. I have always preferred the mask over goggles but my friend handed me a pair of TYR Socket Rockets. I wasn't sure, as the TYR pair he wears and swears by didn't have any padding, but this years model had a thin layer of padding. After two or three adjustments in the pool these were the best choice and will replace my mask.

Stacy Pool is heated by a warm spring, compared to Barton Springs which is fed by a cold spring that keeps it 65 degrees all year. Friday, the water was 85 degrees. Very comfortable and maybe on the warm side but I wasn't arguing swimming outdoors in March. The pool also had a smooth finish on the bottom, I guess from the layers of paint that have been applied since the 1930s.

The pool was somewhat crowded for a Friday at noon, but people were ok with doubling or trippling the 33-meter lanes. The swim felt good and I was able to keep up with my aquatic friend if not by speed, at least with distance. I finished with roughly 1600 meters, which was where I left off at the end of last season so running helped with swimming endurance. Where I couldn't keep up with the others was the flip turn. I've never been able to do one and look like one of those fish caught in the tidal current, flipping and flopping in all directions. My friend was very patient and gave me a few tips to work on in the next couple of weeks. If I can get over the urge to puke it should happen.

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