Monday, April 23, 2007

Crazed Squirrel Encounter

Taper week one is done. Three to go.
I kept the intensity up and dropped the volume back a bit.
My energy has bounced back and I’m ready to go.
Gotta keep the taper rolling though.

The training highlight of the week was my encounter with a crazed squirrel.
I decided to ride with the club Saturday…it was breakfast ride day…free food…I’m all about free food. Anyway, we were on the post breakfast portion of the ride. I was up front and had unknowingly pulled away from the pack. I tend to not look back very often. I was cruising along in my own world and suddenly noticed something move on the left side of the road. Before I knew it, a squirrel decided it needed to occupy the same portion of pavement as my front wheel.

It’s amazing how fast the mind works in critical situations. I suddenly had visions of slamming on brakes…being run over by the paceline…bikes scattering all over the road…and murdering a squirrel in the process. Somehow these visions made their way through my brain quickly enough to shunt the reflex action of squeezing the brakes. Instead, I made a quick maneuver and missed the crazed rodent by mere millimeters.
I took a quick look back after averting the murderous mayhem only to see the nearest rider was a couple hundred yards back.
Close one…..

On a more personal note, I’ve got to pull out my “Proud Dad Card” and boast a bit.
My KJ decided she wanted to participate in the Little Miss pageant at her school. Actually it’s not a pageant in the traditional sense. No formal gowns and makeup and whatnot. The theme was western…as you’ll see in the pictures. It’s meant to give the girls a chance to get up in front of a crowd, have fun and build some confidence in the process.

KJ’s school is a Christian academy. The girls had to pick their favorite bible verse and then tell why it was their favorite. KJ had practiced over and over what she was going to say. She was the first participant in her group and was a bit nervous. She came out on stage with a big smile and nailed her speech. They also had to draw a random question out of a basket. She did a great job answering the question and left the stage smiling.

After all the groups finished and a 30ish minute wait, all the girls gathered/packed back on stage and the winners were announced. With each runner up, my heart beat a little faster. Finally came the announcement and KJ was crowned Little Miss. She was so excited. It was a great moment for her. I can’t wait to get home today and hear how her first day at school as Little Miss went.

At home before leaving.

Outside of the auditorium before going in.

A very happy KJ

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gulf Coast Triathlon Water Temp

I've begun my water temp watch for Gulf Coast.

Currently 65.5 °F.

Go here for more info.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Coaching/Power...Advice Needed

Alright my Bloglandic friends, I’m in need of some advice on a couple of things I’ve been considering on my journey to Ironman.
Hiring a coach and buying a power meter.

I’ve been tri training for about three years. I’m a relative newbie and therefore don’t have a ton of experience to draw from. Over the past few years, I’ve done a good bit of reading on training, physiology, nutrition, etc. I know enough to get myself through a half Ironman and I “think” I know enough to get myself through the full deal. But here’s the conundrum, what if I think I’ve done enough for the big day and end up having a rough day as a result of actually not having done enough…what if I could have a much better experience if I hired a coach who does have the experience and has the ability to put all the pieces together at the right time?
When I first started thinking of hiring a coach, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to totally hand over my plan to someone else. But, the more I consider it, the more I like the idea. It takes the pressure of trying to figure out the when/what/how of it all off of me and allows me to just train.
I would REALLY like to hear from those of you who’ve worked with a coach. The positives and negatives.

On to the next item. I’ve read all the data on the positives of training with power. I’m sold on the benefits of knowing how much output is being produced. But here’s what I want to know, for those of you who train with power, has it benefited you enough to justify the cost? After having used it for a few months, after the newness of having a new toy has worn off, would you still make the purchase?
Also, which meter do you use? Based solely on what I’ve read, I am leaning toward the Ergomo. Mainly because of the weatherproof characteristics and the fact that I’ll be able to use different wheel sets.

So let’s hear it from those of you who are/have been coached or are training with power….or you just have an opinion.


Monday, April 16, 2007

I Feel Like Such A Chick

Not because I watched The Devil Wears Prada with DJ this weekend…and actually kinda enjoyed it, or because I watched the 06 Ironman champs again this weekend while I rode the trainer…and choked-up again when they showed the Blazeman, but because I finally took the plunge and did it. I shaved my legs! I’ve been “trimming” the last few weeks with the lowest setting on the trimmer…I couldn’t quite jump hurdle from hair-pants to silky smooth all at once.

DJ and I both had stressful weeks, so we decided to stay home for a change Friday night. It was trim time again, and since I had a little free time, I headed off to the bathroom to do the deed after dinner. I made quick work of the job. Then, out of nowhere, the thought popped into my mind to go all the way and shave. O what the hell. I’ll give it a go. How hard can it be? All the roadie dudes do it.

Well let me tell ya, it was way harder than I ever thought. It started out easy enough with the front part of the lower legs going pretty quickly. The sides were a little more of a challenge, but not too bad. Then, however, I had to get to my calves. How the heck do you do that? My contortion skills aren’t very good, but I somehow managed to get it done. I took a short break after completing the lower portion, took a sip of water, and thought maybe I’d taken on more than I could handle. Too late to back out now though. I dove back in, determined to complete what I’d started. The front of my knees and thighs went pretty easy and I started to think maybe I’d make it. I did get a few nicks in the knee area, but nothing too severe. The sides went fairly well also. Then it was time for the back of the knees and hamstring area. Holy cow! I almost fell down a couple of times trying to get back there. I felt like a dog chasing his tail. FINALLY. TWO HOURS after starting, it was finished. O…M…G!!!!! That was EPIC!!!!!!

As I stood there catching my breath, admiring my silky smooth legs, I thought, “this has GOT to get easier”. I’m hoping it’ll be like most other things in triathlon and I’ll make improvements with continued dedication.

The source of my stress last week was all work related. We’ve just gone through an audit of our lab at work. For those of you with any experience in the calibration field, you realize the gravity of going through such an audit. It pretty much consists of a team of 8 federal auditors coming in to review EVERYTHING you do to ensure you’re doing EVERYTHING to standards. As a comparison, if you’ve been through an ISO audit…that’s a piece of cake. Long story short…the auditors wrapped up their review Thursday afternoon and conducted their out-brief with us Friday morning. We passed the review…as we always do…but there’s a ton of stress that goes along with the process. I’m glad it’s over.

On the training front, last week was a continued build up of my training for Gulf Coast. Monday started out with a 13.5 mile run. The run went great. I had no…repeat....NO pain in my IT band/knee. A 12-miler did a number on it a few weeks back. I was very glad to get in a decent long run without suffering afterwards. I followed the long run with a 10k tempo run Wednesday afternoon, which also went well. I ran another 10k Friday afternoon at an easy pace. I did a mile swim Monday morning and a 1.3 mile swim Wednesday morning. I’d hoped to get in a 4k swim Friday morning, but I needed to go in to work earlier than normal and only had time for 1.7 miles. It rained here Tuesday afternoon, so my ride turned into a trainer session. It was warm (80s) and clear Thursday afternoon and I was looking forward to getting in a good ride with the roadie gang. We headed out around 6pm with about 35 riders. About 7 tenths of a mile after leaving the bike shop, I had a flat….a rear flat…at a very busy intersection. FUUUUUUDGE!!!!! I told the crew to forge on. I might’ve asked them to wait if it’d been a front flat, but I’m no speedster at changing rear flats. I got it changed and decided I didn’t want to risk riding solo and headed back home. The weekday afternoon traffic here is not conducive to solo riding. I ended up back on the drainer. Saturday morning rolled around and it was cloudy, cold, and very windy with 25+ mph gusts. I couldn’t muster up the motivation to head out into such weather and ended up back on the trainer for my long ride.

I’ll start tapering down for Gulf Coast this week and get some much needed rest. I’ve added in a good bit of intensity over the last few weeks while increasing volume. I’m handling it pretty well, but I’m a little tired. My motivation to train has suffered a bit as a result. Nothing that a couple of recovery days won’t fix. I feel that my training is pretty close to being right on track for this point in the year. I’m happy with my run and swim. I still have some work to do with my cycling, but I’m sure a summer full of riding will take care of it.

Happy Training,

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Catching Up and A Word From KJ

Not much new to report here on the homefront. Just catching up.
It's been a fairly big week of training for me, about 14 hours.
The highlight of the week was probably the Tuesday afternoon group ride with the local roadie team. Man those guys can go. We averaged over 20mph for the 36-miler...just a typical ride for them...not for me. The ride usually splits into a few groups. I chose to go with the fast group for a change. It was pretty intense riding the whole way. That type of riding isn't really inline with the training I "need" to be doing...but it sure was fun.

I left work early Thursday afternoon and got in a longer ride of 52 miles.
My long run this week was about 12 miles and my long swim was about 1.5 miles. There was a good bit of harder effort in the sessions in between the long workouts and I can feel it. I'm a bit tired.

Which is why I'm sitting here on a Saturday morning, typing this post, working on my second ginormous cup of coffee, not training. That and the fact that the weather has turned cold and two least favorite riding why I'm inside on a Saturday morning doing nothing. I'll climb on the trainer sometime today for a couple hours of easy riding and call it a week.

I'll continue my buildup for Gulf Coast over the next couple of weeks and then start tapering things down. I'm looking forward to the race. I'll be going in much more prepared than last year. The real training starts after Gulf Coast. I will be getting some help with my training for IMFL. I'll save that for another post.

Also, at the urging of Bolder, I've turned off the word verification in the comments section. Actually, I didn’t' know I could turn it off. So feel free to comment in this new hassle free environment.

As some of you might remember, KJ and I did the Simply Stu Worldwide Triathlon a couple weeks ago. We had a great time. KJ has written a race report and asked me to post it here on my blog. Here it is, verbatim:

The coolest way to spend my day

The triathlon was finally here! It all started when I woke up Saturday morning March 24th. I went into my Dad's office and he was on his computer. I plopped down in the chair next to him. Before I knew it, I was in my bathing suit and heading out the door. When we were at the YMCA pool, I was finally ready to start! Me and my Dad started at 4 feet and soon we were off. My Dad was swimming right by me. And whenever I got tired, I just flipped over on my back and floated until I was ready to start again. Soon we were finished with the 4 laps and we got into my Dads car. I was feeling a little discouraged, because I thought I didn't do good on the swim and didn't think I would do better on the bike and run, but then on the ride home Dad said, "How many other eight year olds are doing a triathlon today?" That made me feel a lot better! Then came the transition time!!!! When we were ready to start on our bikes, Mom had to take some pictures of course, but after that, we were off again!!!! In the middle of the ride, we went down a dirt road. Suddenly, a huge crane flew over our heads!!! She was beautiful!!!!!! But after a while, I got really tired, so we turned to go home. When we got home, me and my Dad were calculating how many miles we rode. We only had planned to go 4 miles, but we actually did 6!!!! Then finally came the run. It was my favorite one!!!! So we ran off!!!! We ran, and ran, and ran some more! Soon we were back at home and .......DONE!!!! I was so happy, happy, happy! Then we crashed on the couch for a while, but after that, the best part happened! We went to Chick-fil-a for lunch.

And that was the coolest way to spend my day!!!!
The End

Happy Easter Everyone!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Week Recap & A Few Spring Pictures

I had a great full week of training this week. I'll be enjoying my REST day today. I won't go into all the details, mainly because all my workout data is at work and I'm typing this from home. The highlights were the 1000 yard swim time trial Wednesday and the 58 mile ride/5k t-run yesterday. The weather was absolutely perfect yesterday. It was a bit overcast with temps in the 60s when I started the ride. By the time I finished the run, it was sunny and 85.

As I walked around the yard after running yesterday, I couldn't help but notice ALL the blooms. Spring has definitely sprung here in Georgia. I went back inside, grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots.
Here are a few samples for those of you who may be still waiting for Spring.

Azalea Blooms

This lady kept getting in the picture.

Dogwood Blooms

K gathering blooms to take inside.

See the bee?

Jasmine Bloom

Happy Training