OK, So Here's Another

I just got through posting about the VitaMinder this morning and I have another one for ya. While I could call myself a tri-geek, I'm really not a geek, in the sense of the word, anymore. At one time, I went through all of the salivating for every technology announcement with eager anticipation and then had to have the gizmo, the software, the doo-dad. Now I'm a little more hesitant to buy something. OK, I'm very hesitant to rush out and purchase something. However, when something as cool as the VitaMinder came around, I had to lay down some cash. Say around $8.00.

I refrained from purchasing a Garmin GPS watch. I saw several of the elite runners wearing them and I've always felt different with my Timex Ironman watch and next to it my Polar heart rate monitor watch. One for splits. One for HR. Oh well, it worked even though it probably looked goofy having both on one arm side-by-side. Well how about something that could replace your expensive Garmin? Today, I went to input my hills run up Mount Bonnell using MapMyRun and found the elevation feature's working. Click and a full elevation profile appears with all the data. Incredible. No need for a Garmin, at least not today.

I also updated the cycling commute map from home to work. And the elevation said..., "370 foot descent to mile 10 and then a 208 foot climb to work at mile 14.25." Very cool tools for triathletes, cyclists, runners and anybody that's just curious about the stats going from Point A to Point B.

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VitaMinder Drink Mixer

I've come across another product worth purchasing. It's the VitaMinder Drink Mixer and let me tell you it's right up there with velcro in my book as inventions go. For the last couple of months I've been mixing my protein powder and milk, as well as Accelerade and water in plastic cartons, shaken until what I thought was the time required to dissolve the powders. If I had a blender, I'd use that but it also required more than simple rinsing to clean up. The shaking method required clean up and more often than not, the powders never really dissolved 100%. Powder first, liquid second was the worst. Half liquid, add powder, shake, add more liquid seemed to work but not all that great.

Then the VitaMinder Drink Mixer jumped off the shelf at Central Market into my basket and my chunky, non-dissolved protein drink days were over. This thing cranks up some serious RPMs when it gets going. So much so that the end of the plastic stirring attachment gets deformed when turned on. It mixes the powder into the liquid in no time. I don't use the term awesome much but this product is AWESOME. Like I said, right up there with velcro.

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Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! I absolutely, positively can not and will not understand how someone can go to an outdoor running track to watch their daughter run a few laps and proceed to light up an effing cigarette with every exhaust from her charred windpipe floating across the six lanes while runners run through them inhaling the toxic fumes. I'm blaming her for the inhales and the three additional ticks my resting heart rate now seems to be at. Grrrrrrrrr!


A Sign of Spring

I've been drinking my sports drink concoction for a couple of days now and it feels pretty good. The body bounced back to normal with a couple of bottles of the stuff and a good night's rest. With the best weather of the year upon us here in Austin, I decided to grab Salsa Verde and grab as many miles as I could get in before my Runtex group training. I chose a new route to get over to the MoPac Expressway and found some good short hills. Nothing special about the ride. Just good miles. I made my way over to the veloway for a few laps and passed a Quintana Roo, a Bianchi and got passed by a Colnago. I then passed the Colnago. ;)

So after the second lap I stopped by the entrance and I was standing over Salsa Verde, enjoying my new sports drink concoction wondering where was the Felt Nation. Were they still up north making snow angels with their Felts still racked on the trainer? Just as I finished that thought something came up over my right shoulder. Pssssssssst! Out of the saddle and accelerating it was a Felt. Double take. Yep.... a Felt. I looked down at the bike computer. 17.3 miles. I felt warmed up but the Felt burst onto the veloway with fresh legs, out of the saddle and was making distance. What the Hell I stored the bottle, clipped in, put the head down and cranked towards the Felt.

I stayed back to gauge the Felt. This could've proven to be a mistake. So could've taking on a Felt with it's fresh legs. 16, 17, 18 mph. The first turn came up and WTF? The Felt didn't crank through the turn. It must've been trying to lure me in closer. I stayed back to study the Felt some more. Another turn and no cranking through it. Odd. I tried to get a little closer. As I didn't have the Spinergy wheel on Salsa Verde so the normal sound it made was absent. The Felt couldn't here me coming up from behind. I got two bike links behind the Felt and it sensed I was back there. 19, 20 mph. Turn. It stopped cranking, whatever. I broke from getting too close. All of a sudden Felt climbed out of the saddle and started a break away on the flats. I stayed seated, shifted and got up to 24 pmh and right behind the Felt. Seeing the big turn coming up I held back and let the Felt perform a non-crank through it. As soon as we both came out of the turn, I lit the after burners. As I approached the side of the Felt I was going to mention something about pawn shop bikes but couldn't. After all, this wasn't Pawn Shop Bike any longer. It was SALSA VERDE!

"Have you ever seen Nacho Libre? Then you know about Salsa Verde!"

I tried to shift into 52x11. Chain rattle. More chain rattle. Crap the Felt is going to pass me! Potential Embarrassment. I'd have had to take the crybaby's shortcut and pack up before the Felt finished up.


"Chain rattle." And then sound of an angelic mockingbird with a computer voice over said....

"Engaging 52x11"


Dust flew into the air. Turn and cranking. Big turn and cranking. S-curve and cranking. Hill, still cranking. Flats, crank like a mother. More hills and cranking.

I finally reached the portion of the veloway I call the Champs-Élysées. It's similar to the Tour de France as it's at the end and if you reach this area in the lead, there's no real passing at that point as everyone's is slowing down for riders entering and exiting the course. So even if Felt had caught up at this point it wouldn't have counted.

I looked back over my left shoulder and didn't see the Felt. I came into the start/finish area and took a swig of sports drink. 15 seconds. 20 seconds. 30 seconds. And then I caught a glimpse of it through the junipers. And instead of coming around, the Felt made an exit for the parking lot. Odd. I turned Salsa Verde around and went to inquire. Felt was at it's carrier being packed up for the trip home.

This is going to be an interesting season. ;)

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Sports Drink Chemistry

OK, so I did what I wasn't supposed to do and string two hard workouts together. Sunday was impromptu and then Monday's run was going easy and then wham! For no apparent reason while running around the track I kicked it up a notch. There wasn't a lot of thinking behind it. Looking back I think the sun was setting and I didn't want to run in the dark and somehow decided running faster would get the miles done before sunset and wham! It was done. Felt good. Until the next day.

I was psyched about going with Da Fish to the UT pool but by 3 o'clock I felt drained. The kind of drainage that feels like if you swam 100 meters you'd be susceptible to any freewheeling germ in the air or water so I bailed on Da Fish and Da Swim. One of my new year resolutions was "There are no rest days" in terms of triathlon preparation. In reality, there will be days where I won't exercise but there's other work that can be done. So instead of a swim, Salsa Verde got wrenched upon and got the Spinergy wheel replaced with it's backup and the body got some needed rest.

Laying off a day also meant I had some time to some nutrition math and work in the Sports Lab mixing concoctions. I've been reading Dr. John Ivy's book, Nutrient Timing and writing an article for GoodHealth.com based on the 30-minute glycogen window athletes have immediately following exercise to replace lost fuel. As I was running out of Endurox I was doing the math with my stash of Gatorade and supplements to see if I could make up a batch of what Dr. Ivy recommends for an exercise potion. Note! It's much easier if you don't have to use the cheese grater to shave the vitamin C capsules. The potion came pretty close to what I was drinking with Endurox but I was able to add the recommended electrolytes and minerals Dr. Ivy recommended. The next thing to do is see if I save any money by mixing it myself versus buying a bucket of Endurox. Even if it's about the same I gain the ability to flavor the mix according to my likes.

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No Puking Allowed

Already through the first week of the Triathlete Magazine program and four of the seven days had modifications. I'm fine with it. It's either be fine with it or be OCD and stress the whole thing. Flexibility is the only way to get through the week and get everything done. The only difference for next week looks like an increase to the run by a few miles and maybe the bike as well.

Week Totals:Swim 2K :45, Bike 85M 5:00, Run 15M 2:34, Gym 2:00

The weather was great Friday with a little wind but sunny and cool. I cut the swim for the day and Da Fish met me at Town Lake for a five-mile run at 135HR. Nothing fancy, just getting the base miles in. We went over and checked out the Austin High School track afterwards and did some 100-yard strides. The legs were feeling good.

I took it easy on Saturday with just some strength training. Sunday, I started on the trainer with five miles when my best friend from Houston called (the original cycling guru and coach). I told him I didn't have anyone to ride with here in Austin and that I may need to look into some group rides. I rode another five miles when my neighbor called. He looks and rides like Erik Zabel. His riding buddies had allergies so he needed somebody to ride with. What timing!

Salsa Verde had some problems the last time I went out with Neighbor Zabel and his buddies. Like three bearings missing in the back wheel. This time I wanted to make sure I kept up... even if I puked in the end. Two blocks out from the house Salsa Verde started making the same grinding noises. Not sounding good but riding ok. So far so good. We got to the veloway, did a couple of laps and so far so good. 20, 21, 22 mph no problem yet. We took off for the MoPac loop. The Mopac loop is eight miles of highway feeder that sees very little traffic and has a six-foot shoulder for a comfort zone between you and the cagers. It's also located right off the veloway.

Everything was fine until the first real hill. It's about a 3-percent grade that keeps going. I always red-line when I hit the thing and slow to about ten mph. Hills are my weakness. I do fine with flats and downhills but hills take their toll on me. I should clarify that statement as short hills I do ok with, it's the long hills where I need some endurance that I'm really bad at. I felt better than in the past though. The strength training paid off over the winter. I still suck, but suck less. I caught my breath and made it past the hill. Grabbed a little Gatorade and onward. On the backside of the first lap I stuck with Neighbor Zabel pretty close. Salsa Verde even got up to 37.7 mph on the backside of loop one. The fastest it had gone before on the same stretch was 30 mph. That's about when Neighbor Zabel said rest up the next half mile, we're going fast on lap number two. Oh great. I thought if I was going to puke this would be the lap that did it.

Neighbor Zabel explained how this lap was going to be different. Since I was ok on the flats and downhills, those would be mine to take the lead and block the wind and push through. He would take the hills and not only that, he would come back and help push me up the hill. I was able to rest on the hill and he would up his mojo to get me up the hill. It took some getting used to, his hand signals, where the wind was coming from and seeing what terrain was coming up but by the second half of the second loop I had it down. No puking but the right hamstring was starting to pull, as were the tendons behind my knees. We decided to cool down for the last two miles and call it a day. It was probably less distance than he wanted for the day. It was just the right amount, given the effort, for me.

Next week my best friend the Original Cycling Guru and Coach comes to town. It's forecasted with rain for both days but we may be able to get a short ride in and who knows, by that time the forecast will be totally different.

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Lost Aerobic Fitness

I did a test last night to see how much aerobic fitness I'd lost since last summer. At the Bowie High School track I ran at 135 heartbeats per minute for a three separate miles. They each came in at 11:00, 11:05, 11:08. So I've slowed down 2.5 minutes per mile at 135bpm since last September. I'm going to take this as needing to beef up the running in the current program and cut back on the swim. The Triathlete Magazine program called for only three or four days of running per week.

I'm in much bettter shape than last year on the bike. Sustained 20mph @ 130bpm HR. But since I've spent the winter on the trainer and lifting, that's to be expected.

With the added cardio, the winter weight is coming off. From 186, I'm now at 179 pounds. Today's workout called for just strength training. I think I'll add a run to that.

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