I Missed The Springs

I haven't been back to Barton Springs since my last open water training prior to the CapTexTri in May. I don't exactly know why but I suspect it's the constant 68-degree water temperature. I don't like cold water. I tried to ice my legs after a long run once and stayed in the tub exactly five seconds. But this morning 68 degrees didn't feel so cold. It felt refreshing in comparison to the sauna my neighborhood pool had become.

Leaving Barton Springs after a swim put me in such a better mood. Although I didn't recognize anyone at the springs this morning, each one had a big grin on their face like they knew a secret. The secret may be that starting your day with a dip in the springs puts the heart in the proper cadence for whatever stress may come its way throughout the day. I stopped at the dam spillway at the end of the pool and glanced over the edge. The swans and ducks were enjoying there time alone, away from humans. Moving from one bank to the other and with the current.

I couldn't believe it this morning. I looked up at the bougainvillea and saw pineapple plants with pineapples between each of the pots of bougainvillea. The springs and grounds will go through a renovation that will supposedly return the springs back to their old glory. Be sure to read the master plan and make comments to make this jewel better than it is today. Hopefully, things like the pineapple plants will remain.

The days .... come and go like muffled and veiled figures, sent from a distant friendly party; but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Labels: ,

Tiny Bubbles

Frankenbike was in a much smaller venue this time around. As a result, only one or two people were selling bike parts. I was able to pick up a bottom bracket, a crankset and front and back derailleurs for $30, all of which were Shimano. Luckily, Performance Bike had just opened a new shop in South Austin and sent me a $20 off coupon. I was able to pick up a chain, a Richey seat post and a stem for $35, as they were having a Grand Opening Sale in addition to my $20 off. The handlebars were too much and not on sale at Performance, as well as two other bike shops so I went online when I got back home and ordered the brakes and handlebar. Both were on sale at Nashbar.com so all told savings for the day turned out to be $210 off of retail. All that's lacking to get riding on this bike are the shifters/ brake levers, cabling and a seat. As the shifters/brake levers can get kind of pricey, I'll have to be patient and watch some eBay auctions or wait for a bigger Frankenbike.

Today marks the first day of the taper period. I cut the number intervals this morning for the run. Although sluggish at first, the legs felt good by the end of the morning. It could've been they were just getting rid of the Blue Tarantula tequila from the other night. I wasn't planning on a tequila evening but then again I didn't plan on dancing to Don Ho's Tiny Bubbles with four Hawaiian hula dancers either.

No more beer or Blue Tarantula until after the race.

Labels: , , ,

4:30 a.m.

4:30 a.m. came too early. It always does. You never heard the opposite that it took forever to get to 4:30 in the morning. But with sacrilegious 8:00 a.m. Friday meeting, I needed the extra hour to get the miles in. Friday's are long run days and today was scheduled for a 10-miler. I like that it was cooler at that hour but there are a couple of things I can't get used to.


  1. There are parts of the trail that can't be seen. It's pitch black and feet feel weird landing on the dirt.
  2. Things move in the bushes that you can't see but can hear and you know they're much bigger than a cricket.

One of those things made it's way to the middle of the trail and before I knew it, was under my feet. I don't think I stepped on it because I literally went Michael Jordan into the tree. Eight and a half feet in the air yelling all kind of explicatives. This was at the five-mile mark and it made me hesitant the remaining two times I passed that point in the trail.

The temperature was ok at 77 degrees but the humidity was a balmy 92% which made things miserable. It should be only a few more weeks of this until things start to change for the better.

I got to the office and under my right arm, on the bicep it was stinging like crazy. When I went MJ into the tree something must have landed on my shirt like an asp. That's why meetings on Fridays are a bad idea in general. And especially early morning meetings on Friday.

Labels: , ,

New Frame

I just love Craig's List. Just when I thought all hope was lost in finding another sweet deal on a frame to start my next bike project, Voila, another one shows up. And not a beater bike 25-pound steel and granite lugged frame but the almost exact frame that I purchased to make Salsa Verde...a Cannondale R1000 CAAD 4, 2.8 pound yellow sweetness. And this one came with a carbon Slide fork and a Cane Creek head set and for next to nothing. Not only that the Frankenbike swap meet is this weekend!!!

The new Cannondale frame will be used for a new road bike. Instead of using the other C-Dale frame and spending half the year as a tri bike and half the year as a road bike it made more sense to have two bikes.

Status report on the wheel covers. They made it to Round Rock, north of Austin this morning in the wee hours. It's slated to be delivered this afternoon!!!!

Labels: , ,

Last Hard Week Before Taper

After last week being a recovery week my muscles, as well as my head, were back in the game today. I looked forward to today's workouts (5M interval morning run, noon bike intervals for :45 with brick run :15) and afterwards felt great. I also felt like I didn't lose anything with the lighter activity last week. I felt stronger today than I did at the end of the last interval run and bike. It's weird how that works with rest.

My new Wheelbuilder disc wheelcovers should be arriving tomorrow. The Fed Ex Web site shows them in Fort Worth this afternoon. There's a time trial tomorrow night if I get the covers in and on the bike in time. I could see if they make a difference. We're not supposed to get close to 100 degrees tomorrow so it may not be that bad.

Labels: , ,

Recovery Week

This week has been different, that's for sure. In my planning of an Olympic and half-ironman triathlon I didn't plan off days as I knew my body was better at telling me when than I could plan for a month ahead of time. I had planned recovery weeks into the schedule and this week was to push the envelope a little and next week was going to be a recovery week. My body thought different and dictated that this week was going to be a recovery week. I should've guessed when I arrived at the pool before sunrise Tuesday morning and saw all the bugs in the pool. Apparently kids were playing the night before and left their tubes which then clogged the filters. I sucked it up and skimmed the bugs and started to do some intervals. I should've known something was up when I had no energy for the first interval. A pre-muscle pull feeling in the small of my back on the third interval had me call it a day. I went to the gym later at noon and started some pushups. The same muscle gave me a hint to knock it off so I did and really called it a day. I officially labeled this week a recovery week and will start back on some intervals next week.

The body always says when it's time to take a break. I should recognize it and not push through it.

Wednesday night I went and listened to Brandon Marsh (photo above) at a Tri-Facts clinic for those that self-coach. It was the second time I heard Brandon speak his words of triathlon wisdom and this time he didn't disappoint. He reinforced some things I had worked into the plan this year, namely year-round strength work and four running days a week and some advice on some brick work. Brandon's also started coaching so if any of you need a coach he'd be a great one.

I've been concentrating on my running form lately. After reading reading this article it's amazing how sucking in the deep abs and crunching the glutes helps with the form. From sluggish legs to light legs. Amazing!.

Labels: ,

There's the Shape You THINK You're In

and then there's the shape YOU ARE IN. This is pointed out to you by others you're running, cycling or swimming with. For those that train in a group, this may be an everyday occurrence, but for those of us that are self-coached, this only happens in races or maybe some other gathering. The some other gathering was the Austin Marathon/Half Marathon Kickoff Event on Saturday. I woke up and drove down to Runtex and did a kickoff run with Francie Larrieu Smith and Austin's own Olympic Hopefuls: Cassie Henkeil, Lance Parker, Chris Kimbrough and UT Assistant Coach Steve Sisson. Granted, these were very fast people but they barely broke a sweat as I maxed my heart rate. At least it didn't happen until the second half of the run. I would've been fine if I didn't have the hills and which took my heart to the max at the 7:30/7:45 per mile pace. The heart rate wouldn't come down so I was forced to slow down the last ten minutes.

Even at 7:30 a.m., the heat and humidity were brutal. I sweat a puddle sitting there listening to the Runtex and Rogue reps talk about the upcoming Distance Challenge and the Austin Marathon. It was a good thing Accelerade was there with coolers full of the lemonade flavored drink. By the way, this was a new flavor in the powder form. Very nice. Not too sweet and it should be a favorite on the course. We were also treated to some free breakfast tacos from Taco Deli. I had never seen liquid potatoes but they were good. A few organizations had booths so it made for a small expo of sorts.

Next year may be the year that I enlist a coach or group to help me. Rogue sounds like a great program and one that would get me to the next level but it'll have to wait until next year. This year I'll be self-coached. And really self-coached is no longer self-coached in the sense of the word as it applied 30 years ago. I mean with so much information in books, on the Web and form others that help out, I'm really not self-coached as I am without a formal relationship with a coach or group. And I wonder if I'd run faster or better with a coach. I know I'd run faster if I ran with faster people. Anyway, it's something to ponder for the next year.

Labels: , , ,

Incredible Amount of $$$ for Brake/Shifters

I'm watching eBay auctions on a Friday night, sipping on a Miller Lite, and can't believe the price the 8/9 speed Shimano brake/shifters are going for. I would expect cratchless, near perfect pieces to fetch close to $100, but $90 for a pair that the owner said don't work and are missing some cosmetic plastic sounds like too much.

I've been debating whether to build another bike...this time a road bike from scratch. I've decided to modify Salsa Verde (tri bike) during a few months of the year into a road bike. So it'll be cheaper to buy a good set of bars and brake/shifters than a whole new bike.

Heading out tomorrow morning to the marathon season kickoff. I shouldn't be thinking about marathon training until I get my next two triathlons done with but I can't help it. I've really enjoyed my runs lately and my head is constantly debating whether to do another full marathon or stick with the half. Pride and enthusiasm have me doing it while logic says no way. I'm sure the battle will continue until I register. As of this evening, pride and enthusiasm are winning.

Labels: , , ,

Revised Base Phase II

I had to repost the Base Phase II as the workouts really didn't reflect what I was doing. The first instance reflected what was taken from the Triathlete Magazine and not how I had modified it. So here's a revised Base II. A little more intensity in certain areas and longer weekend swims. Instead of predetermined lengths of swim, run and bike intervals, it's all based on heart rate. The swim intervals are at race pace, rather than heart rate. You'll find the explanations of the bike and run intervals a couple of posts back.

Labels: ,



Baseline Numbers Heading into Build Phase II

I started Baseline Phase II in earnest today. The main change was inserting intervals for swim, bike and run. Today was the first day I seriously did the run intervals in the morning followed by the bike intervals at noon.

Run - warmup, one mile.
Run to lactate threshold (159 HR for me) and maintain if possible.
Light jog until HR returns to below 135.
Repeat until arrival at fifth mile.
Cooldown jog at 136 HR.

Bike - warmup, approx. eight minutes.
Cycle to lactate threshold (149 HR for me) and maintain if possible.
Light spin until HR returns to below 120.
Repeat until 50th minute.
Cooldown spin for ten minutes maintaining 90 rpm cadence.

I also did the 80-80 Steady State Power Fitness Test (PDF) to provide a benchmark measure for watts. it came out to 205 for the five-minute session with cadence at 80 and heart rate at 80% of max or 144 HR.

A note on my running benchmark, today's time for the first mile has come back down to 8:30/mile. When starting over after the CapTexTri training, it started at 10:00/mile. Hopefully, it'll get back down to 7:xx before the next tri (Aug. 5).

I forgot my index cards today so I'll have to post what Baseline Phase II looks like tomorrow.

Labels: , ,

Morning Nutrition

A fellow blogger emailed me yesterday and asked what I've been eating in the mornings. It varies, depending on what phase I'm in. I just started the Build 2 Phase which has me adding intervals to the routing in all three disciplines. I've dropped weight lifting except for some light lifting for maintenance so for the most part, all of my activity is cardio at this point. I start the morning with two Emergen-C packets. One is the tangerine for its vitamins and the other is Joint Health, which includes 500 mg of Glucosamine and 400 mg of Chondroitin for my joints. These packets come in powder form and you mix them with water. With these I'll throw down a piece of whole wheat toast and honey. I'm then out the door for the run, the bike or the swim. Post exercise I'll then drink an Accelerade and as of last week, my favorite was Citrus Grapefruit. They have four flavors and I drink the other three flavors at work after my noon workout. I drink a cup of coffee while getting ready for work and while driving to work I down a V-8. A lot of liquids but it seems to work for me. Each drink does something that helps me get going, helps me recover or supplements what I'm missing.

If I feel I need a little more to eat, I'll boil a couple of eggs and some turkey bacon but that's usually on the days I'm doing the light lifting, pushups, squats and lunges.

If I get out the door for a run too late and it's hot and humid, I'll have to take some Thermolytes or NUUN tablets.

Labels: , , ,

When The Temperature + Humidity = 125+

Those of you that have read my blog know that I promote the products I use but I'm not a zealot about it. I use what I use because I've tried it, it worked, and it was at the right price. Once I found something that worked I stuck with it until something better came along. The something better last year was running in the wee hours of the morning rather than in the evening, although that's not a product. What's changed this year is I realized I still have to supplement my nutrition even in the wee hours of the morning. Take this morning, weather-wise it was 76 °F and 87% humidity and when both numbers add up to over 125, I need something or I'm going to get a headache as a result of depleted electrolytes. Not only a headache but I'll feel like crap for six-to-eight hours afterwards. I've tried replenishing with water and it works but it takes the six-to-eight hours and there's no guarantee that I won't get a headache.

I've experimented with various products and the cocktail that works best for me is a combination of Thermolytes, NUUN and Accelerade. On the trail I can get water so that's where the Thermolytes and NUUN work well. Then after the run I down a full bottle of the pre-mixed Accelerade. With this cocktail mixture I have yet to experience a dehydration headache or any headache at all post workout.

So I've been asking the people I run with whether or not they need a NUUN tablet or some Accelerade. They always come back with, "That's ok, I'm good with water." Like I said, I'm not a zealot but I'll ask a couple more times on other runs in case they were just being nice the first time. Last week I got one my running buddies a NUUN tablet after a 95-degree run. "Wow, I thought you were nuts. This really works." Yesterday, on evening run with a friend I had an extra bottle of Accelerade. "This isn't bad. Not as sweet as the others. I don't think there's a peach drink alternative out there." Not that I know of either. I think of all the people running this time of year and drinking nothing but water. For some I'm sure water is enough, but I suspect the majority need more than water to recover from the increased heat and humidity or just from the amount of exertion.

Labels: , , ,