Missed Opportunity But Gold Nugget Found

After an hour spin last night I had hoped to place a bid on a nice carbon fiber fork on ebay. But the schedule got knocked around and ebay wouldn't happen last night. The auction ended and the carbon fork went for $36 to some lucky cyclist. I would've been really bummed about it all but I came across a hell of a deal. Nike Free 5.0 Trainers for $39.00. Not lime green either. Black, gray and white. So I looked closely for the missing sole, or the remnants of somebody's fish chum inside. Nothing...clean.

I tried them out this morning and they're the best shoes, right out of the box, I've ever worn. They felt incredibly comfortable. I did not want to stop running. At the six-mile mark I stopped and took them off as I had to get back to the house and check on some server stuff. What a great shoe. I watched the movie Without Limits the other night. The movie chronicled the tragic, while inspiring life of 1970s runner Steve Prefontaine. Several times in the movie we saw Steve's coach, the legendary Bill Bowerman, working on custom made shoes. Shoes that would eventually become Nike. Wearing the Nike Free, it felt like the shoes that would have been custom made back in the 1970s by an elite track coach.

Three days and three great deals. I need to go out today and get a lottery ticket. The again, maybe tonight is the night to get a carbon fork.

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Another Auction Won!

I wasn't expecting to win the second auction as I had my new front wheel and I quit bidding on the other wheel. I went to bed early. I woke up to news I'd won the Mavic Aero CXP21 wheel as well. So I'm learning that if I don't watch the auction, not give it a lot of thought, I win. If I pay attention to the thing, bidding up to the last second, I lose. Hmmm. Madness.

This morning's run was not bleh. The legs felt great, as I rolled each calf thoroughly last night. Even though the weather conditions were almost identical to yesterday's, I had much faster times running at the same heart rate.

New Bling for PSB

The auctions I monitored, I lost by a buck. The auction that ended while I was spinning for an hour at the gym, I won. Go figure. Anyway, PSB has a new/used Shimano WH-540 front wheel. Sweet! What was sweeter was the price. Roughly a $225.00 wheel and parts for the rear wheel, minus the rim, for $49.00. Now for the carbon fork and a rear wheel.

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Monday bleh, Tuesday bleh

Yes, I know exactly why I felt bleh this morning. See, for the last four days I've been trying to score a sweet upgrade for PSB. Either a carbon fork or a set of aero wheels. Last night's auction closed at 10:45, which then cut short my total hours of sleep. No way was I going to be able to wake at 4:00 this morning. Bleh for missing out on Bontrager rear wheel by a buck and then losing two hours of sleep.

I've also noticed that I've become stiffer the last week or so. I better add the yoga back into the program or it's going to be rough getting going in the mornings. I ditched the Fitday daily diet entries. It was taking too much time to enter the data and I found a simpler way to maintain the weight. I've been keeping the weight up just by adding an additional feeding for every workout of 500 calories. So my morning runs that were five miles, and starting today six miles, comes to one feeding. If I cycle or swim that day, then another feeding.

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May Have To Rethink BSLT

There's a strange fish swimming in the Buffalo Springs Lake. The same lake that I'm scheduled to swim in next spring for the 70.3 Ironman event. And this isn't some minnow with human-like teeth. It's a twenty pounder! And, and, and... it's not the only one. The guy caught one while he saw another. The missing fish has a $100 bounty on its head.

Before you say, "Yeah Tony, but you swim with 20-pound bass in the lake". Yes, that's true. But the bass didn't have a Wikipedia entry that stated, "... several species of South American freshwater fish that are closely related to the Piranha. They are vegetarian or omnivorous and ...." Wait! Hold on! They're not just vegetarian but also omnivorous meaning they are able to, and do consume animal protein. Or what they don't include, but that I can read between the lines, or TRIATHLETES that wander off course. Uh huh! I betcha! Time to look for another tri as I bet there's thousands of those boogers in there, just waiting for a weak, back of the pack triathlete like me to stumble off course.

Here's the full story.

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Brain Candy

From a forum on Ultra Running
"My contention is that throwing up is a sign of a major flaw in one's energy plan."

Hmmm, ya think?

60 Minutes
I watched Bode Miller on 60 Minutes last Sunday. I think I need to do more squats. Although they showed his contraption for squats, I couldn't figure it out by looking at it. I may try his two leg hurdle/squats and see how that goes. I bet it builds huge leg strength.

Peter Reid Retires
The latest issue of Triathlete Magazine covers Peter Reid's retirement from the sport of triathlon, or at least the Ironman. There's plenty of brain candy in the article, but one of the gold nuggets has to be an outline of his weekly training schedule leading up to Ironman, Kona. In short, 34.75 hours of work. This number reflects how much other athletes are training for Ironman. I can't get my head to comprehend 35 hours. I'm currently approaching nine hours per week and need it to get around twenty if I'm going to suffer less in the endurance events. There's just no way to approach 35 hours unless I went part-time or had sponsors.

Time Trials in July, Maybe Not a Good Thing

Surely if my serotonin and dopamine were working correctly I wouldn't have left the house with a temperature of 102° and a heat index of 108°. I saw the numbers on the television weather report and if I had nicotine in my system, then I would have thought, "Holy crap! It's insane to go outside and push myself to the limit in this heat". My brain didn't register the insanity of busting ass for 30 minutes in the heat because the brain is going through nicotine withdrawal and doesn't give a bleep if the body tortures itself in the heat.

I adjusted the new cranks, filled up the tires and pedaled towards the veloway. It was hot but not unbearable. Not unbearable until the heart rate climbed to the max. Not unbearable until the Cytomax and water bottles were too warm to drink. OK, this was the closest I've come to throwing up after exercise in a long, long time.

The bike felt faster with the larger chain ring, but the posted times indicated ten seconds slower than May's time trial. The slower time could be attributed to the heat, the lack of energy from the earlier swim and run, or from the eight mile-per-hour wind I hit face on for the second half of the course. Surely, going from a 28/38/48 to a 39/53 helped the speed. I know it felt much better. Looking at the other rider's times for last night, compared to those in May, everyone dropped between .2 and 1.5 average m.p.h. The average drop was .85 m.p.h. so given the conditions I did go a little faster as my drop was only .5 m.p.h.

The top speed yesterday was 28.5 m.p.h. and I know that I spazzed on the one descent that should have been more like 33 or 34 m.p.h. I think I was in the 39 chain ring for the climb and downshifted to the 11t cog and by the time I shifted to the 53 chain ring, I'd lost most of the descent. Argh! I'll just have to go out this weekend when it's cooler and I'm fresher to really get an idea.

There's still more I can change on the bike to improve its performance. I think the next piece to replace is the front fork. It's not aerodynamic at all and a carbon fork would lighten the bike considerably. If anyone has a 1", aerodynamic carbon fiber fork they're wanting to get rid of for say $50 or less, give me a shout.

Time Trial Tonight, Doh!

I said I would meet Da Fish at Northwest Pool this morning at 8:00. The morning swim replaced our normal mid-day swim, as the lifeguards stretched the lane dividers for 50-meter lap swimming. The water felt a little warmer than usual but was fine and the extra length of the lane was better. My new TYR Socket Rockets 2.0 Metallized worked great. Best goggles I've ever worn! I also tried my new hand paddles for most of the 1500-meter workout. I think I'll be a little sore tomorrow because of them.

Wanting to keep my run mileage up, I went for a four mile run this morning, prior to the swim. The run plus the swim would've been ok. However, I totally spazzed on my schedule. Today is the Run-Far Bike Time Trial. So it looks like I'll have a full sprint triathlon by the end of today. The only difference will be the transition times which will be hours instead of minutes.

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New Cranks on the PSB

The new cranks are on PawnShopBike (PSB) thanks to Jack and Adam's Bicycles. Jack took the time to change out the crank while I waited. Not only that, he really spent some time with the shifters to make sure they were ok and dead on. He didn't have to, seen as it was a pawn shop bike but he did. Those guys really dig the sport and really want to further triathletes along. No wonder they were voted best triathlete store in Texas.

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New Route, New Cranks

I woke up early knowing that if I didn't get out this morning there wasn't going to be a run scheduled for today. The blistering heat would just be intolerable after 10:00 a.m.. Not wanting the usual route, I found a new one going west. Although most of the route provided sidewalk access, I chose to run on the short grass to preserve the knees. Using gmap-pedometer, the length of the run came to six miles. Click on the sunrise photo for an enlargement. It set the head right for the run.

The last remnants of the cold have all but disappeared. The run felt great and it now feels I can start ramping up the schedule again. Tomorrow has a long and slow, 11-mile run scheduled. I've been eating like a pig the last few days, trying to make sure I ingested at least 3,000 calories each day. It wasn't really eating like a pig, but 3,000 kcal per day was definitely more than what I ate each day for the last year and felt like I was over-eating. I've recently added spirulina to the diet to make sure I get some additional immune system boosts.

I've really neglected the bike as of late. Basically, I wanted to get the running base where it needed to be (50-mile week) and then I'd start layering the cycling and swimming miles back in. I think next week I can do that with the new diet and at least a 30-mile running week as a base. Plus, my new cranks came in from Nashbar today! Sooooo, there's no way I can just let them sit in the garage for a couple of weeks. Hell no, they need to be put on the bike and broken in. It looks like there will be plenty of bike-miles added to the schedule for next week.

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Not Much Choice

I didn't have much choice in times to run the last couple of days with the weather. Last night it was 95° and 45% humidity at 9:00 p.m.. I decided not to run and instead do some yoga and some resistance exercises. This morning it was much cooler (77°) but the humidity was hovering around 85%. Since I didn't run last night, I did this morning and sweat like a pig.

The summer cold and it's overzealous mucous production machine finally calmed down. My head is finally clearing up and with that nicotine cravings are getting more intense. I'm working on the sixth day now and by far, this has been the most difficult day. I'll probably need to go for a bike or run to calm the cravings beast down a bit.

I've pretty much resolved that I caught the cold when my immune system was drained due to the increased stress or workload and lack of calories to feed the immune system and recharge the body. How I could miss a 15,000 calorie deficit over the course of the week is beyond me. I'm now back on FitDay in order to get a handle on the daily calories and make sure they balance with calories burned.

Start Back Up

I waited tonight, until the last possible minute, when I could squeeze a five-mile/60-minute run in at the track and coincide the end of the run with the sunset. It was still 91° at 7:30 p.m., but the humidity had come down so it was ok. My heart rate was jacked up from the URTI last week. I didn't take any drugs today, but I could still feel the Sudafed in my system.

I should have run in the neighborhood or on the Circle C trail where I would've been alone. Instead, it was packed tonight at the Bowie track. The eight mile-per-hour wind was a little too gusty to be launching snot rockets around the track.

This was the third day without nicotine. Only the third day in over 28 or 29 years my system has been without nicotine. It's actually going pretty good so far. There's an out-of-focus feeling that I've had since the cold. It may be due to the residual effect of the cold medications, lack of caffiene or lack of nicotine. It's a weird slow motion feeling.

Immune System Takes A Beating

So with time off to rest with the cold, I've had some time to research why I got sick in the first place. My mom has already made remarks that she's ditching her exercise program if it causes her to get sick. Not so fast mom. At first glance she's correct. I exercise five to six days a week and eat a healthy diet, so why shouldn't I be Superman to the lowly nemesis, the germ?

In both cases where I got sick this year I was either ramping up the mileage or increasing the amount of activity in my exercise schedule, thus causing stress to my immune system.

About.comThe effect of exercise on immune system function is generally positive. For moderate exercisers the immune systems gets a temporary boost in the production of macrophages, the cells that attack bacteria. Regular, consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune sytem health over the long-term.

However, intense exercise seems to cause a temporary decrease in immune system finction. Reserach has found that during intense physical exertion, the body produces certain hormones that temporarily lower immunity. Cortisol and adrenaline, known as the stress hormones, raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels and suppress the immune system. This effect has been linked to the increased susceptibility to infection in endurance athletes after extreme exercise (such as marathon running or ironman distance triathlon training).

Here's a graph that explains simply what happens. It's from Research Digest, President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, June 2001. Does Exercise Alter Immune Function and Respiratory Infections? Full Report in PDF format.

"A high percentage of self-reported illnesses occur when elite athletes exceed individually identifiable training thresholds, mostly related to the strain of training" (Foster, 1998). While I'm not an elite athlete, the remainder applies. I exceeded my threshold and gave my nemesis a fighting chance.

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Caught a Cold, No Workouts

I caught a summer cold before the Fourth of July so I'm taking care of it before starting back to the workout schedule.