First Triple of the Season

The first triple workout in one day came yesterday. It started with a 40-minute run in the morning, followed by a strength workout at noon and then a 2K swim after work. I should've done the swim at lunch and the strength workout after work, as my arms felt really stiff for the first 15 minutes. But that would be way too much driving back and forth and it wasn't really that bad once the arms loosened up. Stacy Pool was nice at 82 degrees and not too crowded and the sun setting as I finished the 2K. The pecs are a little sore this morning but nothing painful. It just feels like I had a great workout yesterday.

I've decided to follow Troy Jacobson's plan, "12 weeks to an Olympic-distance PR" printed in Triathlete Magazine in the Feb/March/April issues. I'm not following it to the letter, as I'm still a big fan of Mark Allen's training philosophies. So it's a mixture of both. And can you really follow any training program to the letter? I mean there's weather issues, other engagements, work, family and there will be days I just want to cycle to work where a 30-mile bike workout is not in the plan. Or it's the perfect day to run at the lake. So it's a plan, with philosophies that can change at any minute or on a whim.

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Out of Respect

b.O.b now has the new crankset and it's soooooooo smooth. Getting the existing bottom bracket off proved to be a chore. I ended up taking a hammer and chisel to the thing. Not the brightest idea as my index finger got between the hammer and the chain ring and then proceeded to bleed all over everything for about 30 minutes. The good news is when I went over to the cycling guru's house for a tool, he asked me if I wanted an extra stem he had in the tool drawer. Just a $60 Bontrager Race 4130 stem. Are you kidding me? After a couple hours securing everything, finding the right length of chain and rewrapping the tape on the bars, I took it out for a spin. Sweet as honey and 99.9 percent pure honey at that.

I rode b.O.b. into work this morning and it was awesome! The hills weren't so tough, as I changed the chain ring from a 48T to a 42T. It was a very comfortable ride. The new stem actually put me two inches forward which needed to happen to fit properly to the bike.

So out of respect to the bikes, a.k.a. PSB (Pawn Shop Bike) and b.O.b. (Bucket O' Bolts), they will now be called Salsa Verde and Salsa Roja. There are too many good components on the bikes now to call them by crappy names or acronyms. I passed a roughly 45-year-old guy wearing an Oakland Raiders cap near the Whole Foods Market on the way in and he recognized what a great bike was before him. "Sweet Ride" is what he said. Ya Man, 99.9 percent pure honey! Salsa Roja is one bad-ass beater bike.

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Commuting with b.O.b.

Yesterday's commute on b.O.b. went better than expected. No near misses with any cagers and the bike held up, sort of. A problem with the bracket and the chain threw the chain going up a hill, which then caused my knee to come down on the chain ring. There was a grinding coming from the bottom bracket during the whole ride home. Last week when a similar sound was heard from in that same area of the bike, it turned out to be a stripped bearing. No worries, as the bottom bracket and the crankset are getting replaced this weekend. Synchronicity is so great! Just so happens that I bought a used-Bontrager bottom bracket and crankset yesterday for $10 from coworker "Tool Time" who just happens to be a cycling enthusiast and amateur wrench. b.O.b. is getting expensive. Let's see, with the $10 for the crankset and bracket, single-speed b.O.b. is now worth about $44. heh heh :)

The other news is that I finally, finally got over to the new Jack and Adam's Bicycles shop yesterday. They had a good location before but this one is better. At least it has easier access. If you haven't been over there, you have to stop by. These guys really live and breath this stuff. Jack worked on Desiree Ficker's bike for Kona, in which she came in second. Kona, as in Ironman World championship Kona.

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Fat Tuesday, Oh Yeah!

It's Fat Tuesday and boy do I feel fat. This winter I've endulged and become a bear, which means sleeping a lot, eating a lot and finally drinking a lot of beer. I ran three half marathons but not as well as I could have. I didn't train for them and was 30 pounds over my ideal marathon weight. Well, I wasn't actually 30 pounds over that weight until I finished off a burger, fries, onion rings, beer and later that night barbeque, more beer and a few chocolate-covered cherries. This was Sunday night after the AT&T Half Marathon.

Not that all of the added weight is fat. I'm still in the 11-12% body fat area. It's just some of the Body Atoms need to be pushed around. I'm not regretting the winter program. I came out of it with a new PR in the HM, stronger knees that needed a rest, stronger hamstrings and a rest for the head from training. I'm thinking I may repeat the same for next year and may even cut out the winter runs. It's just so hard for me to get motivated to go outside when it's in the thirties or below. Plus, since I enjoyed my time in the gym and my hamstrings need much more work, this sounds like the way to plan for now.

So with that, I'm cutting out the Capital 10,000 next month from my list of events. Running season is over while my triathlon season has now officially started. It's Fat Tuesday and 186 pounds is as fat as this bear got this winter. Heavy weight work is out and cardio is back in.

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ATT Austin Half Marathon - Race Report

It was close but this race has become my favorite running race so far. It took a lot to unseat the 3M half marathon from last year but this year's AT&T Austin Half Marathon did it. I had a total blast before, during and after the race.

Before the race I got a chance to work on some articles for that increased my interest in the race but after last year's disasterous full marathon, I wasn't too psyched for this one. I wasn't running the full 26.2 miles and only going 13.1, but I couldn't get the motivation going. I hadn't really trained, running less than 15 miles per week and cycling most of the time on the trainer or lifting weights. My weight was up and I had lost quite a bit of aerobic fitness since October. I had only one goal at this point and that was to have fun. Actually, I had another goal and that was to run with Sydney and Da Fish. Da Fish got the flu the week before the race so he bowed out at the last minute.

The Expo proved to be enjoyable, except for the long line to pick up the packet. Last year they had good deals on running wearables and this year was true as well. I haven't been a big fan of my current running tights so I picked up another pair, a new top and something to cover the ears. Cha Ching! $100 left on the table.

Pre-event meals and prep went like clockwork. I rose without an alarm at 2:04 a.m. to drink my Boost drink. I had everything else ready and was out the door and over to Sydney's at 5:00 a.m. Her husband dropped us off as close as he could in the 30-degree cold, dark downtown morning. Drop off post-race clothing, a banner for work, and it was off for the ritual to empty the bladder.

By the time we got to the bridge for the start we were way in the back of the 12,000 racers. I spotted and 4:45 pace sign and made my way towards it. Like sardines packed in a can, we finally got compressed enough that there was no more forward movement. This seemed like a good seeding. It might have been a little slow but I felt we could always move forward. About that time the fireworks went off. It was a little unusual to see them in the morning, in the light. It was a nice touch though. It could've been disasterous if a breeze had been out of the north and had carried the smoke into the running crowd.

For the most part the race went, I won't say according to plan, as there wasn't a plan, but it went as I wished for. The first couple of miles were slow, the next eight were at a constant pace and the last two were fast. No issues with water, the one gel I swallowed, or clothing. The new tights were great, as was the rest of the stuff. I did at the last minute decide to wear the pair of Brooks, although they put big, fat blisters on my feet the last eight-mile run I ran with them. That last run must've broken them in a bit because they were great during the race. Come to think of it, the Asics did the same thing on a 20-mile run and then were my fave shoes from then on. I guess for me, the only way to break them in is to take them on a long run, no matter how many miles they were walked in.

There were more hills in this race and the downhills hurt worse than the uphills. Even today, I have some Tiger Balm on the quads. As the half marathoners split at the ten-mile mark with the full marathoners, I felt a great relief that I wasn't with the 26.2-mile group. The thoughts of the back pain, the quad and calf pain were ever present which then transferred into elation for having not to repeat that ordeal.

For some reason the heart rate monitor had a rough time getting started. Every time I brought the thing to my chest to change the time to heart beats, my other watch was hit on the lap button. This screwed up my first few splits. Eventually, I gave up and looked at the overall time, along with some good splits. Nah, the race was more for having a good time and not worrying about PRs or good splits. High fives with the kids, saying hi to the people that came out to cheer, yelling at the bands...that's what this race was about.

Sydney was like a clock. 10:34, 10:31, 10:44 for all of the middle miles. I asked her as we approached the capitol whether she wanted to speed up or slow down. She said the pace was good at 10:xx. Right after that moment, it seemed the pace picked up or people were slowing down. Mile 12 clocked in at 8:46. Yes, Sydney had picked up the pace and then some. As we approached Congress for the home stretch, people were lined up along the route. The first marathoners were coming in on the left. We were on the right. Sydney picked it up and started sprinting full speed towards the finish. I was right on her heels. We crossed the line and picked up our medals, a bottle of water and a bottle of Powerade. Great weather, great race organization, a great expo, great volunteers, great people to cheer and the list goes on and on. This race is my new favorite running race.

  • number of HM finishers: 5133
  • number of HM females: 3005
  • number of HM males: 2128
  • average HM time: 02:17:24
  • my HM time: 2:17:17
  • fun factor: 100%

Post race I chilled with Da Fish and his brother at the lake. Some of the Runner's World folks were in town, so we all grabbed burgers and beer on the deck of the lake. What a way to chill after the race. I had no problem downing fries and onion rings after running 13.1 miles.

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Expo and Pho Soup Friday

The Oroweat Health and Fitness Expo for the ATT Austin Marathon opens today. Packet pickup, chip testing and all the booths to check out with new, cool stuff. But before the expo opens at 3:00 p.m., it's pho soup time for lunch. Ever since last year before the marathon when I had the flu, eating pho soup the Friday before the race makes everything right. It balances the body into it's ying/yang, acid/alkaline way.

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ATT Austin Marathon Course Overview

We just got through posting the ATT Austin Marathon course overview last night to It should be a pretty cool tool for folks running Sunday. I mean you have the course map and elevation and the course intertainment page but the interactive slide show gives you a bird's eye view of the course. You can see the rollers coming, feel the descents and how fast they'll be on Sunday. Maybe faster if there's ice but it doesn't look like it'll be a repeat of last year. The latest forecast has mid-forties for race day.

This wraps up the pre-race articles I've been working on. The next GH article will be post race and cover what the medical folks experienced race day. Seton is the medical sponsor for the race.

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A recent conversation between the right side of my brain and the Net.

Excess accumulation of adipose tissue occurs when energy intake chronically exceeds energy expenditure.

Yeah, I'm working on that. I've covered all the plates of cookies with foil and bagged all the candy in the house and pushed it to the back of the pantry shelf. Out of site, out of mind.

Regulatory systems maintain energy balance by continuously modifying energy intake and expenditure relative to energy reserves.

Yeah, about that. I looked in the mirror and checked the scale and the reserves are very healthy. Soooooo, 7.5 hour weeks will have to turn into 9.5 hour weeks.

Dysregulation of this regulatory network compromises the ability to match energy intake and expenditure, and ultimately leads to excess accumulation of adipose tissue.

Like I said, I'm working on it.

Because of your greater years, your AMPK pathway has reduced activity so, energy expenditure must be increased to maintain the same level of fat oxidation and mitochondrial biogenesis in muscle.

OK, not 9.5 hours, let's say 12 hours.

You are pulling numbers out of your a$$. You need to do more research.

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I'm in Love With a Machine

Yesterday, after my first swim since Jan. 1, I went for a workout in the gym as Da Fish still had a few thousand left in the pool. The free weight section was overly crowded with testosterone so I finished a few curls and moseyed over to the Cybex dip and pull up machine. Four of them and not a one being used. Literally, it was the only piece of equipment in the gym not being used.

I'm in love.

That has to be the most elegant piece of equipment ever designed. Fiddle with the pin and adjust the resistance. Or don't use the step-up bar and do old school pull ups. Lots of easy pull ups or a few hard ones. Nice. I loved it and didn't want to get off of it. I didn't need to as all the teens and twenty-somethings were either using the cardio if they were female or the free weights if they were male. The exercise equipment was taken advantage of by both. Nobody was waiting in line for my new found love. I kept doing set after set getting more and more tired and doing less and less reps. That's when Da Fish walked up and spoiled the moment I was having with the machine.

Da Fish: Don't use the step up you Nancy

Me:After a mile swim in a long time and curls until muscle failure, I need the assistance. Even if I hadn't gone for a swim or done curls, I still love the machine.

Da Fish: Do as much as you want. No hurry.

Me: Too late. The moment's gone. Nah, we have to get back to work.

It should've been more difficult to pull me away from a pool surrounded by coeds and palm trees on a 75° sun-shiny day and the gym, with my new found love machine. However, I was on deadline and had to break it off. This one day stand had come to an end.

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Two Tanks, Both Empty

The last couple of months have been about lifting and cycling. A couple of runs, one of which was a half marathon and the legs, although not at all back in form, felt ok. So it was with great surprise that I ran to the Bowie High School track to put in a few easy miles and the legs felt like crap. Not just crap but holy $h!t what's going on?, kind of crap. Not cramps, not pain but each of them felt like they weighed 250 pounds a piece. Lifting felt awkward. Landing felt awkward. I had just run a half the week before. I had just run seven miles yesterday and everything was fine. The only thing I can think of was my nutrition was off right after the seven mile run. Like my legs said no to what I fed them after the run. It was 2 scoops of Gatorade and a pastromi sandwich on rye. What the hell?

When I go through a workout, it seems like there are two gas tanks. Just when I feel I'm drained and can't go any further, I'll push for a few more minutes and then the reserve tank kicks in and I have renewed energy. The run at the track had both tanks empty. That's only happened one other time and just so happened it was about the same time last year. It may not be food related at all but rather more sinus infection as I'm congested with cedar fever.

Iron Wil talks about the first ten minutes of anything sucks. Seen as she and the upper midwest are at 12 degrees right now, I'd say the next ten hours of anything would suck. The run at the track sucked for the first ten minutes and then the next. I now have a rule that if the second ten minutes suck, then I'm moving on to another type of training. That's the great thing about triathlon, if runing sucks, you still have swimming and cycling. It ended up that cycling was the winner. I got on the bike and everything felt fine.

I rode b.O.b. and he only threw the chain once. Not bad. Today's the last of the 70° days for this week but it's nice to get one in February every now and then.

Tonite starts another coaching session with Runtex and Seton. We have 26 people signed up so it should be a little more work than last time. We're getting these folks ready to run their first 5K or 10K race, April 28.

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