Ice Bath

I'm a big fan of cooling down the legs after a long run, but not a fan of sitting in an ice bath. The last time I tried it, I lasted all of three seconds. For some reason it took me a a year to connect the dots between a long run at Lady Bird Lake and the cold water at Barton Springs. All I had to do was to park the car across the street at the springs.

Let me tell you that the feeling is incredible. My legs have never felt better after a long run.

Here are a few photos of the place.

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Frankenbike #26

I'm glad I went to the 26th Frankenbike on Saturday. The weather was perfect and the location, a fairly new warehouse, made the traders come out of the woodwork to sell their treasures. All three of my bikes are basically complete but I could always use an upgrade here and there. Here's what I came away with.



  • Two cycling jerseys. Value = $120. Paid $10
  • One long-sleeved wool jacket. Value = $140. Paid $15
  • Pearl Izumi Cycling Bib Short. Value = $80. Paid $5
  • Pair of Look clipless pedals. Value = $70. Paid $10
  • One Specialized saddle. Value = $99. Paid $15
  • Pair of Rudy Project sunglasses. Value = $140. Paid $5

Some of the items I was looking for were too high or not available at Frankenbike. No worries as had the items I needed for 50% off.

Running Guru of the Southwest

Last night called for an easy five miles. Da Fish and I ran an easy five at the Lady Bird Lake trail before I headed down to train my Seton/Runtex University runners. The workout called for intervals @ 85%. I was hesitant as I'd already done a speed workout the day before trying to keep up with Da Fish who through the smackdown that he completed the five miles doing sub-eight-minute-miles. I had no way of knowing whether he did or not but that didn't matter. Whether he did or not he was more than capable and I had to meet it. 38:38 which came out to 7:43 per mile.

So my legs were a little sore from the night before and I then had an interval workout @ 85%. 10 x 250 meters with 50 meter light jog between each one. I took off running with the Running Guru of the Southwest to what seemed like a little faster than my speed workout pace the night before. I flipped on the HR monitor to check out the output and WHOA!

Me: "My HRM says I'm clicking off 180. Last night I did 7:43 miles at 171 HR so we must be at 7:30 or 7:15 now."

RGSW: "Oh, this seems faster than 7:15 pace."

I didn't know if I'd bust a lung, puke or just pass out at that point. I kept working in my head the maximum heart rate formula of 220-age=max HR, which is bogus, and really had no bearing on reality.

I realized at that point that I needed to go to the next level of training. That I'd held back a little not really knowing what my max HR was and tended to hold back.

Run Schedule

Click on the image to zoom in. The letter S represents a Speed workout, T = tempo, L = long, E = Easy and M stands for Miles. The speed and tempo workouts will vary as intervals, Fartlek, or other.

Compared to the last time I trained for a marathon, this schedule will get more 20+ mile runs under my belt by race day. It'll increase the amount of weekly miles by about 20. It'll incorporate weight training for strength, as well as speed work. Two additional changes will be a weekly soaking of the legs in Barton Springs to cool them down. I tried it out yesterday and outside of slipping on the algae, it was fabulous. My legs don't even feel like they went for a long run yesterday. I'll also be massaging them at least once a day and sometimes twice with my new powerful massager. And last but not least, I'll be stretching with yoga on a daily basis in the evening with core work in the mornings. The abs are in good shape but the lower back needs a lot of work.

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Tri Season is Closed, Run Season is Open

I took a couple of weeks to reflect on the 2007 triathlon season. It didn't start out that well with a cancellation of the CapTexTri but beat expectations with two great triathlons; the Austin Tri and the Longhorn Half Iron. I especially reflected on what worked and didn't work, making notes for next season.

Last week I started training for a marathon, but without much of a plan. I got in a speed workout, a tempo workout and a long run but hadn't planned on much of anything else. So this past weekend I put pencil to paper and sketched out the workouts for the next 17 weeks leading up to the AT&T Austin Marathon on Feb. 17, 2008. Surprisingly, it came out looking a lot like Amby Burfoot's Intermediate Schedule located in his book, Runner's World Complete Book of Running. The mileage will climb to a max of 55 miles per week on Dec. 31, and then coast into the 3M Half Marathon, one last long run of 20 miles and then it's tapering up to Feb. 17. I'll post the exact numbers later today.

Strength work in the gym worked well last year and definitely improved my times so I'm going to repeat it. Swim and bike workouts will be kept to a minimum in the next month. I'm tired of both and need a break. I'll add some more cycling as soon as it feels right.

Not even a week into the weight room routine I had to switch to the strawberry-flavored whey protein, as compared to the chocolate or vanilla flavors. I mixed it with some water and bluebrry/cranberry juice and some creatine and it wasn't bad.

This year, I'm involved with planning some of the marathon logistics so I hope to be able to run it and not be on a walkie talkie. I'm training as if I'm running the thing.

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Race Nutrition

Here's the breakdown of what I ate and drank during the race. Turns out that the total calories came in exactly the same as my BMR. Also interesting was the amount of sodium ingested at 4753 mg. I get sodium headaches real easy and not a hint of one during the day of the race. If I ate four small pretzels during a normal day that would be enough to give me a sodium headache. I estimate that 4753 mg is about double my normal intake.

See the race report below to see what form the food or drink was in and brands used.

  1. calories: 1754
  2. ounces: 101
  3. caffeine: 78 mg
  4. calcium: 223 mg
  5. fat: 10 g
  6. magnesium: 49 mg
  7. potassium: 904 mg
  8. protein: 33 g
  9. sodium: 4753 mg
  10. sugar: 179 g

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Bike Route - Longhorn Half Ironman

Here's the bike route with elevation. Once on the page, you may need to click on the display elevation button to see it or click on the image above. The distance was longer than the 56 miles due to some construction.

The last 6.3 miles included a steady climb of 172.5 feet. That same elevation was later used for a portion of the run, which was on grass trail.

If you're into the nitty gritty of the elevation, you can click on the RAW data (CSV) link in the elevation window and open it in a spreadsheet reader. The link here may or may not work.

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Longorn Half Ironman - Race Report

What a great race! They just need to rename it the Hotter-than-Hell Longhorn Half Ironman. If you read of the closure of the Chicago Marathon yesterday with 88-degree temps (heat index of 91), we had our share of the heat with 92-degree temps and a heat index of 105. This made for a long afternoon and you couldn't skip any of the water stations. Several athletes were seen on the side of the trail or rode with cramps. After the race I saw about 20 people on IVs or covered in ice.

When I ran my first marathon a couple of years back I had doubts during the second half of the race. Why I was out there? Clearly I had overstepped my fitness in that case. Yesterday, even with the heat, I felt as good as I could have. While my legs approached cramps several times, I knew I was going to be able to finish and be just about on predicted time. 38 minutes over the estimate but within reason. I ended up finishing in sub-seven hours and that was my main goal plus I didn't end up in the medical tent as a bonus.

The race organizers and the volunteers were to thank for me not being in the medical tent. Two misting tents, one misting blower, water sponges throughout the course, water cannons and hoses at one stop, and a complete athlete's grocery store at each rest station made it possible to keep the heart rate down and get a boost of energy throughout the day. I had loaded up on about $25 worth of gels and other product and it came down to simplicity yesterday. I've now learned that I do best on pretzels, Twizzlers, water, Accelerade, NUUN and Thermolyte capsules. Anything with too much sugar, like a gel, my stomach went through periods of pain.

During the race yesterday I took in the following;

  • Accelerade 40 oz.
  • Pretzels 6 oz.
  • Twizzlers 2.5 oz
  • Pepsi 12 oz.
  • NUUN 4 tablets with 40 oz water
  • Clif Shot Bloks - 1 package
  • Enlyten Sport Strips 1 package of 18 strips
  • Thermolyte 3 capsules
  • water 30 oz.

The Swim

Other than white swim caps instead of bright pink swim caps, there's not much to report. There was a little bit of a hydrilla problem when we first left the start area. The feeling of entanglement from the hydrilla made it impossible to get any flow going. Once away from the weeds, everything calmed down. This time I didn't swim on top of anyone, nor did they swim on top of me. Compared to the sprint and Olympic distance races, I didn't have a kick.

The Bike

Caliente did great throughout the ride. I'd even bought a multi-tool the day before the race just in case but I didn't need it once. Mavic provided SAG support and they had full bike and wheels for any mishaps along the way. Mavic rode yellow and black motorcycles with four wheels splayed on the back. I also purchased the day before the race a Profile Design double water bottle cage for the back of the seat. This really came in handy as it gave me access to two, 20 oz. bottles of NUUN. I ended up keeping one water bottle cage, of the four, with nothing in it so I could grab water along the way.

The course was tough. Not easy and flat but not all hills either. A good mix of both with some tough hills at the last mile before entering the park. I haven't plotted the elevation changes so maybe I'll do that for homework next week. My bike computer never really got going even though the battery was good. I put it on at the last minute and didn't really give it a good test. I tried once during the race to adjust it but gave up when my fingers glanced the rotating spokes. I thought it better to ride with fingers than know how fast I was going.

Although the road bike felt good, I still longed for aero bars that I could ease the elbows down on. One of the reasons I took Caliente was to ease the work on the hamstrings, which it did but the quads took the brunt and I payed for that choice in the run. So Salsa Verde will be the bike for triathlons and Caliente for more road-type rides.

RANT- A few athletes on the course were tossing bottles and everything else on the side of the road, even when they'd been told to toss it at a station. That's not too much to ask to carry garbage until the next stop. So quite a few athletes turned 56 miles of nice countryside into a trash can, strewn with gel wrappers and bottles.

The Run

One word...BRUTAL. It was just so friggin' hot by the time the run came around. This was at noon and the clouds had parted go from partly cloudy to mostly sunny. I had taken the sunscreen out of my bag but for some reason decided not to use it. I suspect as there was a huge cloud overhead while in T2.

Early on in the run I passed people walking. I soon would start walking myself as the heat coming off the asphalt was just too much and my quads were toast. And so it went for 13.1 miles, walk, run, walk, run, stop for ice, gatorade, pretzels and Twizzlers. I started out stuffing a glass of ice down the back of my tri suit. By the end of the race it was a cup of ice for the front, a cup for the back, a cup of water for the head, a cup of water to drink.

Quad pain, cramps or heart rate; if any of these three were to a certain boiling point, I started walking. Unlike the marathon though, after a couple minutes of walking and some nourishment, I was ready to go again.

One of the best pieces of advice I heard the last few months was from Peter Reid, past Kona World Ironman Champion. When it would get tough in the Hawaiian lava fields, he'd repeat a simple mantra of counting to 20. Once at 20 he'd repeat over and over again. I did this yesterday and it got me through the last ten miles of the bike and through the entire half marathon. I mixed in a few of the "legs feel great" and "no pain" mantras as well. With the race yesterday, it was the first time I'd experience the mental side of triathlon. I got just a taste of the mental mind game that I'm sure goes on with a full Ironman distance (140.6 miles) race.

I did a No No this race that could've proved disastrous. I wore a slightly broken in pair of Brooks Radius 7 with about 20 miles on them. The last time I did something like this I had big blisters but not during this race. The shoes worked out very well and were very comfortable throughout the run. I only did this as my worn out pair of Asics did wear blisters in two places the last outing so they weren't going to make another 13.1 miles.

The Numbers

Bib: 148
Place: 474
Age: 45 - 49
Age Group Place: 34
Gender Place: 332
Swim Place: 343
Swim Time: 44:03
Swim Pace: 2:17/M
T1 Transition: 04:55
Bike Place: 504
Bike Time: 3:19:34
Bike Pace: 16.8mph
T2: 05:33
Run Place: 442
Run Time: 2:39:57
Run Pace: 12:13/M
Final Time: 06:54:04

The Longhorn Half Ironman was a great race! It was the combination of great sponsors and great volunteers that made the race so special. I can't say enough good things about the Jack and Adam's guys. They really know their stuff and how to put on a great race time and time again. I wanted to stick around and camp out until the last bike had been picked up in the racks but I was sunburn and needed to call it a day. I had a blast. Thank you. You know the event was good when you still come away positive, even though the heat index is 105 and there's a bee problem with them covering the park. A last note. More people got stung on Saturday during and after the sprint and Olympic triathlons than had heat-related problems. On Sunday, it was the heat with the bees making an appearance but for the most part behaving themselves.

The Things I Learned

  1. Keep the nutrition simple. Pretzels and Twizzlers are better for me than gels and goo. And cheaper.
  2. Don't attach the bike computer in transition.
  3. Don't try to adjust the position of the bike computer transceiver while moving on the bike.
  4. A minimum of two pairs of socks are required.
  5. Cheap flip flops to walk to the swim are nice, even if you never see them again.
  6. Wear sunscreen.
  7. Use the tri bike for tris. Aero bars are good things.
  8. Putting on padded bike pants for the bike portion of the race worked really well.
  9. Improve lower back strength before the next long race.
  10. Improve shoulder strength before the next long race.
  11. Knuckle down and drop those last five pounds before the next long race.
  12. A beer tastes best after covering 70.3 miles by way of swimming, cycling and running. Even if it is Budweiser.

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Pho Soup is in the Belly

It's Pho Soup Friday and the #2, Brisket Pho with a cafe Sua Da has been acquired and it's in my belly.

The weather forecast has changed again with a lot more rain (50%) in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday. There's something about me registering for a race and then unGodly conditions prevail for the race. 103 degrees, been there, 30 mph winds during a 20-miler, done that, torrential downpour and flooding enough to cause cancellation, uh, yeah. Even ice during the marathon. So I go in wanting ideal conditions but know that it may be brutal. I'm up for anything except cancellation. I easily say that in the air conditioned comfort of the office with a belly of pho soup.

The legs felt better this morning than in a long time. Very springy. I wanted to go further than the four miles but cut it off.



The cold front that was going to bring a high temperature on Sunday of 80 degrees isn't going to impact Central Texas as much as was earlier predicted. 90+ degrees is back in the forecast for Sunday. Argh! That means electrolyte replacement is going to be key.

The taper's going well. It's funny how my legs felt all tingly and fidgety during the taper. The added weight from last week's beer bash at the tailgate party came off. I'm glad UT's game this weekend with OU is in Dallas. Plus, with both teams losing last week, there's less weight, no pun intended, on this game, mentally for me. I'll be in mandatory pre-race meetings and racking my bike during the game.

It looks like I may be cheering for T-Mobile more next year. Two of my favorite riders, George Hincapie and Erik Zabel have recently announced they would ride for the team in 2008.

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Whew! No Pink Swim Cap for Longhorn HIM

There will be no hot pink swim cap for me come this Sunday. It'll be white. As some of the organizers were the same as the last triathlon, I thought there may be a chance that the swim cap color coordinator had it in for Men 45+ and was going to again designate the magenta hue on all men participating 45 years and older. Whew! Dodged that bullet.

Taper week started with a good 40-mile ride from Zilker Park, over some of the rolling hills of the inner city and then onto some good climbs to finish within couple of hours. As I proceeded to get cleaned up and head to the UT tailgate party with free beer, margaritas and BBQ, my training partner did a brick. That's a brick after a swim and a bike. I guess you could say she did a whole triathlon actually. I decided it was taper time and to make sure I would take the taper seriously, I forced myself to consume more than enough beer and BBQ so that my legs wouldn't spontaneously get up and decide to run 10 miles. Just to really make sure I wouldn't get up and head to the pool I took a couple of shots of Blue Tarantula.

I woke up Sunday and ate a whole plate of migas con chorizo to balance everything back out. It worked. Since then the taper has been going well. The stroke in the pool has felt great, the knees and the runs have felt great, as has that bike. After Saturday's ride I think I'll definitely take Caliente (road bike) for this weekend's triathlon. It'll make the 56 miles so much better, especially if there's rain which is in the forecast, along with a high of 80.

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