Wednesday, March 28, 2007

1000 yard TT

Seems everybody out in blogland is doing swimming time trials these days.
I had no clue what my 100…500…or 1000 yard TT time was….cause….um….I’ve never done one. But, figuring there must be some value in it, I gave it a shot this morning. Of course I picked the 1000. I warmed up with 5 very easy laps. Then it was on. After about 3 laps, I began to wonder if I’d started out too fast as my lungs began to burn and my arms became heavy. I kept the pace up however. I made it to ten laps and thought, “Oh $hi#, I’m only half way”. I’m normally a 3 stroke bilateral breather, but by this time, I was taking in air whenever I could. I held on for the next ten laps and ended up with a time of 17:32. Don’t know if this is good or bad, but it was about all I had. At least it’s a starting point to monitor my progress.
I must admit, my swimming program is about as complicated as 1st grade math…and that might be pushing things a bit.
Let’s see. My program consists of, Monday…get in the pool and swim a mile at an easy to moderate effort. Wednesday….get in the pool and swim a mile at an easy to moderate effort. Friday…get in the pool and swim 1.2-2.4 miles at an easy pace. That’s it, no drills, no intervals, no kicking, no breaststroke, no nothing, just straight swimming.
I suppose if I want to get that 17:32 down to a lower number, maybe I should try a little structure…eh?

Happy Training,

Monday, March 26, 2007

Simply Stu Worldwide Triathlon Race Report - And New Lactate Results

KJ has been wanting to complete a triathlon for a while and the 2nd Annual Simply Stu Worldwide Triathlon was the perfect opportunity for her to get her triathlon feet wet. For those that may not know Stu, he is the most wickedly cool tri geek around. His podcasts serve to motivate, inspire, and educate the tri community. If you've never listened to his podcasts, you're missing out.

Our day started out at about 8:00am with a proper breakfast to provide us with ample fuel for the day’s events. After topping off our tanks, we headed to the YMCA to begin. KJ completed the first lap of the swim without any problem and was glad to get going. At the end of lap 2, she started getting a little tired and we took a little break. Lap three was completed at a slower rate, and other than having to avoid a few of the swim class kids, she didn’t have any problems. We took another break after lap three. Lap four was a bit harder, but she finished with a smile on her face. Swim leg finished! 200 yards. 17:10.

K.J. getting ready to go in T1

Ready to go.

Here we go!

We made the short drive home from the Y and made the transition to the bike. We set out with the intention of completing six miles. Normally, K.J. would have no problem with that distance, but the addition of the swim beforehand had her energy running a bit low. As we started, she made the statement that she wasn’t sure if she could do all 6 miles. I told her we’d do the best we could and go from there. At mile 1, she was feeling good, no problems. At mile 2, she said “let’s just do four miles”. Again, I told her we’d do the best we could and go from there. From that point on, every time she’d ask how far along we were, my bike computer would be on a different setting and I couldn’t tell her how far we’d gone (darn! wink wink). 3 miles came, then 4, 5, 6, and at mile 6.2, she said “We’ve gotta be getting close to 4 miles”. She almost jumped off the bike when I told her we’d traveled over 6 miles. (great lesson for her to learn about exceeding her self imposed limitations). We finished up with 6.58 miles. 56:24.

Heading into T2

K.J. in T2

After a few gulps of water and a quick transition, we were off on the run. 1.5 miles was our goal. K.J.’s energy was running high after her stellar bike. I had to hold her back at the beginning of the run. After about a quarter mile, we took the first walk break. From that point on, we would run about 500 yards and then walk about the same distance. The temperature had started to rise on the run also, 85 degrees. K.J.’s energy was running low towards the end of the run, but she hung tough and we finished up with 1.8 miles! We were so busy celebrating at the end that I forgot to hit the stop watch, but the run took us about 30 minutes.

Heading out on the Run


I was so proud of K.J. This was her first EVER triathlon. She never wanted to quit. We had to slow considerably a few times, but she never said she needed or wanted to stop. She was exhausted at the end, but was ready to play basketball after a short rest.
When it was getting hot and she was feeling the most tired on the run, I asked her if she wanted to do another triathlon. She answered yes without hesitation. I think I’ve got a future training partner.

Total time including transitions: about 2 hours and 10 minutes. But who cares…she finished!!!!!!! Not bad for an 8 year old. It was an awesome day.

I also did my lactate test again due to a couple of suspect stages. We were much more careful this time and got better results (no spikes in the lactate profile). I'm including the results of both tests.


Happy Training!

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Different Way To Lace Up

They say there's nothing new under the sun. But as I laced up a new pair of running shoes, I realized my way may be a little different than what most folks are doing. I had a terrible time keeping my shoes tied when I first started running. I didn't know about Yankz or any of the other gizmos out there designed to solve this problem. So I came up with a solution of my own. It may not be pretty, but it works great. And, I only have to tie my shoes once. There may be a couple of re-ties for adjusting to get the fit just right, but after that, no more tieing, and no more coming untied. It also makes for faster T2 times.

So here it is:

First, lace up as you normally would and tie a double knot.

Next, thread the "loops" of the double knot under a row of laces with about a quarter inch of the loops coming through.

Then, thread the tips of the laces through the loops.

Then insert the tip into an eyelet. Choose an eylet high enough which will keep the laces tight enough.

Pull the tip through just enough that it can be bent towards the top of the shoe. Pull the tongue up and you're all set.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Calling all Physiologists, Coaches and Learned Athletes. Analyze My Lactate Results.

If you’ve been following along, you know I recently purchased a Lactate Pro blood lactate analyzer. I conducted my first test last night.
Since this was my first attempt at perfoming the test, I wasn’t quite sure where to start pace-wise. I started very slowly and increased speed in ½ mph increments. I’ll start at a faster pace next time and save a few test strips.
Also, this is NOT a one person job. I could not have completed the test without my lovely assistant D.J.

I was a bit surprised with the test results. I expected the lactate to begin rising at a lower heart rate. As you can see, the first increase in lactate doesn’t occur until 177bpm, which is well above where I do the majority of my training. Most of my training is in the 140s.

The test was performed on a treadmill set to a gradient of 1.5.
Each stage is four minutes long.
Heart rate given is the average heart rate of the final minute of the stage.
Speed is given as miles per hour/minutes per mile.
RPE is given on a scale of 1-5.
Lactate is given in mmol/Liter.
I’m not sure what happened on stage 4 to give a low reading.
Here are the results:

Analyze away!

Comments welcomed.


Friday, March 16, 2007

New Training Goodies

I’m the world’s biggest procrastinator when it comes to buying new running shoes. I mean, it’s a really tough thing to go to the computer, navigate to Road Runner Sports, find my favorite shoes, and place the order. It probably takes at least 3-5 minutes. You can see why I would put off such a time consuming effort…..
However, during my injury induced “down” time last week, I had much free time and ordered not one…but two pairs of Asics GT-2120 running shoes. Now I can procrastinate twice as long.

I’d also been shopping for a saddle mounted bottle holder. I settled on the XLab Saddlewing and placed the order last week from, as Tri-Dummy suggested. I haven’t mounted it yet, but plan to this weekend. I also included some Carb-Boom gels in the order. I ran out of those recently and they are a must-have item on long runs and rides.

For months I’ve been contemplating buying a blood lactate tester. I know “about” what my training zones are. I’ve read….and re-read….lots of material on estimating and calculating training zones. But the thing with estimating training zones is that it is an estimate. The resulting numbers from whichever formula is used are still estimates.
My opinion, based on the studies I’ve read and the practices of many other endurance athletes and coaches, is that blood lactate step testing is the best method for setting training zones. So, I set out to find a local facility which performs lactate testing. The nearest facility is over two hours away and the price of the test starts at $125. Here in town, there is a facility that does V02 Max testing, but that isn’t really what I wanted, and their price was $350, which included an initial test and another test 8-12 weeks later.
So, I began to research other options and found that the equipment used to perform blood lactate testing is available to the general public and is about as simple to use as a blood sugar analyzer. The overwhelming winner of top reviews among available testers is the Lactate Pro. The price of the unit, along with a lancet device, lancets, and test strips was $425, with free shipping. This was the best price available when I placed my order. I ordered from HDO Sports up in Cambridge Mass.
After the initial cost, it’ll cost me, at most, $30 to perform each test. That includes the price of test strips and lancets. The other bonus is I can perform the test whenever and wherever I want.
I plan to perform the first test Monday. It’ll been a running test on the treadmill at home. I’ll be detailing the results here for the whole world to see. I suspect it’ll be an exercise in humility. Stay tuned for results….

On the training front, things are going great. I’ve had ZERO pain in my knee this week. I rode with the roadie gang Tuesday evening for a short and fast 25miler. I ran 6.5 easy miles Wednesday afternoon and did a fairly hard hour on the trainer last night. I’ll run 4 or 5 miles after work today. Swimming is going great as well. It’s breakfast ride day with the bike club tomorrow. It’ll probably be about 15 miles, breakfast, then 10 or 15 more miles. I’ll probably tack on 20 or so additional miles afterwards and then do a short transition run.

Spring is definitely in the air around here. The Bradford pear trees are covered in bright white blooms, the jasmine on my fence is covered in yellow blooms, and EVERYTHING is covered in yellow pine pollen. The lawn will soon be green and I’ll get to begin my weekly power push mowing sessions.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


After the ITBS flare up last Monday, I decided to take the week off from running. Looks like that was the cure for what ailed me. I did lots of swimming and did some easy biking through the week on the trainer just to keep things moving. I iced and rolled and did all the things suggested. Thanks! I’m going to slowly ramp my running volume back up and drop things off at the slightest hint of pain.

The forecast Saturday was absolutely perfect. 80 degrees and sunny. My knee was feeling great and I just couldn’t pass up the offer from a couple of friends to ride Saturday afternoon. We ended up with 60 miles. Other than one brief stop, it was steady riding the whole way. My knee did great. I decided to test the knee with some running yesterday and did an easy 4-miler. No pain!

With the time change comes the resumption of weekday rides with the roadie dudes. I’m sure it will be fast and furious. Today will be the first of those rides and hopefully things won’t get too far out of hand. But to be honest, I’m looking forward to some hard riding. I’ll drop off if my IT band isn’t quite as ready as I am.

The one upside to being injured is free time. I spent a good portion of my non-running free time last week shopping for stuff I’ve been "needing". I’ll share the details later in the week.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I decided I’d up the effort of my long run Monday…just a bit…nothing crazy. Just a 5-10 beat increase in my heart rate per minute. Everything was going fine until mile 11 of the 12 mile run. My left knee begin to hurt. I finished the run and the pain went away. Got up yesterday morning and…..DAMN. That old familiar pain was back. My ITBand is revolting again. I called it quits after 30 minutes on the trainer last night due to the pain in my knee. I’ll probably skip today’s run and try the trainer again tomorrow.


Looks like I’ll be doing lots of swimming for a while.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Volunteer Experience

I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever done Saturday. For seven hours, I stood by and watched runner after runner go by…. unable to give chase.
Standing still can be one of the hardest things to DO at times.

I volunteered in the first EVER local marathon here in our fair city. I was posted between mile 25 and the finish line. My job was to direct vehicle traffic away from the runners. I repeated the following phrase a few hundred times during the day, “A marathon is currently underway, please slow your speed and remain in the left lane after turning”.

I saw them all. From the gazelle-like speedster Kenyan who first floated by and went on to win the overall title, to the elderly gentleman who labored by during the final minutes before the cut-off…..and everyone in between. Walkers, physically challenged athletes, wacky characters in funky costumes, old, young, fat, skinny, tanned, pale, short, tall, fit, not-so-fit, first timers, veterans…I saw them all. It was quite an experience. One I won’t soon forget. I walked away with a new appreciation for volunteers and their importance in me being able to do what I love. It truly couldn’t be done without them. I’ll find it hard to ever pass another volunteer without saying thank you.

Why did I not participate in this race? The short answer…it just didn’t fit into my overall journey to Ironman. This year is all about doing the right things to get to IMFL in the best condition possible. It was really…REALLY…hard to pass on this race. But I know it was the right decision.
Next year however, will be a different story….


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Saddle Mounted Hydration - Need Recomendations

I need the ability to carry more hydration on the bike as my rides get longer. I have two cages mounted on the frame and a aerodrink bottle mounted on my aerobars. That leaves one option, behind the seat.

I've got it narrowed down to the Xlab Saddlewing system. Before ordering however, I'd like to hear from anyone out there using this system, pros and cons. Or if you are using another option that you think would work better, I'd like to hear about that as well.