Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wind in paradise

I packed my mountain bike and flew phoenix. My college roommates and I then drove the 8 hours to Moab Utah for a weekend of riding and reverting. 

Two of us are turning 40 this year and we became friends when we were 16.  We also first went to Moab in 1996 to ride bikes.  Since then, we've made the pilgrimage many times and left our skin and blood on trails all over the area.

This year, we started by riding down from the LaSalle's on Kokapelli trail to Porcupine Rim trail.  Totally epic day with clear sky, no wind and only a little trail rash.

On Saturday we took an easier day and went to Klondike Bluff so I could show one of the guys dinosaur tracks.  We finished this ride and they were going to drive the 20 miles back to town and I decided to ride because I needed more time on the bike.

It was at this point that the wind was "freshening" which means, I started to notice there was a wind.  By the time I got to the highway, the wind was way beyond fresh, it was downright howling.  It took me 2 hours to rice 20 miles.  I had to pedal downhill.  I was searching for gears on the flats and did one of those head down 4 MPH slogs on the uphills.

The main thing that occupied my mind other than trying to move and stay on the bike was whether this was worse than the lava fields of Kona. 

I finally made it to town, showered and ate and felt like a champion.  I hate wind and felt strong for mentally getting through the storm.

I thought it would be better by the next day but instead were were met with even more wind.  It absolutely howled.  My friends were to ride down Gemini Bridges as a quick easy ride before heading out of town, and I ran shuttle and was to ride up the trail and meet them. 

The first hill is a little over a mile long and was conveniently positioned to allow the full fury of 30 + MPH wind to constantly hit me in the face.  I had a hard time staying balanced on the rough sections of the climb.  Meanwhile, my friends were hitting epic speeds on their way to meet me.  I got an amazing workout and trashing and they had a ride of their lives.

I still hate wind, but coming into this part of my training, I was lacking confidence on the bike, I didn't think I was strong enough physically or mentally, thanks to wind in paradise, I think I can handle wind, even if it comes in Boise, Bend, or Vineman.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm hearing birds

I've been running with my Iphone using the Nike+ GPS app.  No, I don't post my runs to Facebook or get cheers as I run.  I would if I didn't think I would end up de-friended. 

So one of the many benefits of the Iphone and Nike + includes tracking my miles, seeing some semblance of my pace, a pretty map and getting interrupted by calls.  Oh, and I can listen to music. 

I typically run with my aptly and creatively titled play list called "running songs".  I used a great tool to tell me the BPM so that I could find a bunch of fast but not too fast paced songs to keep me moving.

I'm bored to death with the mix.  Since I got the phone in February, I've used it for exactly 34 hours 48 minutes and 10 seconds of running.  Nearly every second of that was listening to the songs on that play list.  So I shook things up a bit by allowing my phone to randomly play all the songs in my libarary except Christmas songs. 

Things were going great on my run until a really relaxing album came on that is filled with this sort of meditative piano music.  The Living Music, my Michael Jones CD is really nice when trying to fall asleep but not what I consider inspired running music.  However, since I didn't want to be a slave to my musically infused metronome, I kept running while listening to "Morning Mist" or "Spring Song" or some other stirring melody.

It actually was nice and then I started to get confused because I was hearing things in the music I hadn't heard before.  Birds... not just one but a bunch of singing birds.  I listened carefully and kind of got a kick out of listening to fake birds while running outside.  It seemed ironic and kind of silly...that is until the song ended and the singing birds didn't.  I pulled my ear buds out and the birds were even louder.

I didn't realize that I was missing out on so many birds.  Maybe they just migrated in but most likely my carefully chosen, BPM focused music was drowning them out.

So today, I ran with one ear bud out and the music turned down.  I heard lots of birds and while I can't understand them because I am a predator, not a song bird, I think they liked how fast I was running and that I finally was listening.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pool Closed

I missed a week of swimming due to travel and am really, surprisingly, in all truthfulness really excited to get back in the pool.  My alarm went off at 5:00 AM and I just started my automatic routine.  I had a really strange swim workout so I took a minute to write it out and then I drove to the club.

I checked in, changed, took care of business, showered and even put my swim cap and goggles while showering (I am not sure why) and started to walk toward the pool.  There was a sign on the door that I couldn't quite read because I had my goggles on.  I thought it said pool closed.  So I took off my goggles (and for some reason my cap...maybe because a tight swim cap will result in blurred brain) and read again.  Sure enough closed.

So I showered, muttered about lack of signs and not being personally emailed since I am the King of the Pool and went grocery shopping.

Not a great way to start this week...but life is all about adjustments and plan B-Z.  I hope your pool isn't closed, your trails are long and roads clear.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I was taunted by art

No the person's name wasn't Art but I'm talking about the thing that hangs on the wall.

I was stuck in a very frustrating and difficult legal meeting yesterday and had ample times to stair at a painting that hung on the wall in the small conference room.  The picture was filled with a bunch of trees that were starting to change color as fall approached and the sky was hazy.  It looks neither hot nor cold.  In the center of the picture is a narrow gravel road that is slightly climbing toward the horizon.  The road has some grass growing in the center but isn't particularly rutted. 

That picture taunted me, because there would have been nothing better than to run out of that meeting and even better, run out of that meeting and have the chance to run for a long time without seeing people.

The longer I sat there, the more I could picture myself running down that road.  I could hear the sound of my feet, estimate how long it took to get over the hill and most importantly, I could feel the quiet and peace.

So the picture kept taunting me all day.  Yet today I had my vengeance.  I ran one of my favorite runs, uphill through the woods, gravel and dirt, grass growing up in the middle.  No other people, just the sound of my shoes in gravel and my gasping for air.  I didn't race today and I didn't look at my watch.  I just ran and soaked in how lucky I am.  Lucky for my family, impact I'm making, and roads I get to run.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Running helps me

I'm in the midst of one of those weeks with pressures and obligations that are stacking up.  I'm not being dramatic, it is one of those weeks that turns hair gray and stomachs inside out.

In the midst of this, I ran today, uphill for 5 miles and it was precisely what I needed.  I thought I should be doing other "productive" things but instead I ran, prayed, and thought.  I also stopped at the top and was surprised how high I climbed.  I've attached a picture below and will let you guess where it is, no prize other than the satisfaction of being right or wrong.

5.2 Miles into my run (HINT - view of state capitol)

I think knowing why we run, bike or swim is important.  For me, it is refueling, energizing, and focusing.  Not every run, but triathlon has a role in my life that is so much deeper than racing, it really provides me a time to think, or just allow monotony to take over (lap X our of X).  I tend to come away much more open to hearing what God has in store for me as well as ideas on how to entertain my tiny group of followers on this blog.

Why do you run?  Why do you tri?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Which will help more - training or sleep

Some decisions are better made when not in bed. I voted for sleep 3 out of 3 times.

My girls are sick and my sleep has been interupted. I also have been up late for work. I also can't come up with any other excuses to keep from working out but apparently that aren't required to convince me at 5am.

So I now just need to require 5-7 well written scientifically valid reasons before I allow myself to sleep through a workout.

I do need the sleep though and need to respect that need just like water, food, and training volume. I just feel short on everything right now.

For you nerds out there, just like Bilbo"I feel thin... Sort of stretched,like... Butter spread over too much bread."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rounding Errors

I used to work out longer, swim further, bike further and run faster before I started logging my workouts.  I'm a "Silver" member at http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/ which just means I paid more than the free and bronze members and less than the gold.  I think I will go for gold next year, especailly since it is an olympic year.

Okay, back to the issue of logging, most triathletes I talk to that have trained or are training for the 140.6 distance races say they trained for about 96 weeks with an average of 14-16 hour weeks peeking at 47 hours.  However, most logs for 140.6 distance triathletes tend to have a lot of 8-12 hour weeks with spikes toward 16-18 toward the time they become afraid and ride their bike a bunch.

I'm at that point where I'm afraid and will spend the next month and a half riding my bike every second I can...but my logs will probably tell you that I only rode a bit more than before.

There are things that we round up - time training, distance, number of people finishing behind us in races, the wind speed, rainfall.  There are things we round down, our resting heart rate, our finish position, all our run times, and most commonly, the time it takes to swim 100 yards.

It's funny that this rounding starts to affect other areas of our life.  How much time do we spend with our families? How many days have my girls been sick.  How many times have I been interupted while writing this by my little one who is supposed to stay in bed (feels like 7 but only 1).

So I guess logging is what keeps me honest and connected with reality.  Maybe I need to log other things that are important to me, like playing with the girls, helping around the house, talking with my wife.  Or should I live in fantasy land until after my big race and then face reality...better start logging today.

Oh, and I do want to make a shamless plug...tonight I was doing dishes and I used the new dish soap I bought the other night.  Even though the stinky stuff we have been using isn't gone yet, I've been using this for the past two nights.  It smells so great I haven't drained it yet and keep stopping by to smell.  It's Meyer's Clean Day (the add is for 6 bottles) but I just bought one at Winco. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Suprise smiles

It started to rain as soon as I got on my bike yesterday.  I thought about turning around but living in the Portland area means riding in the rain so I kept going.  Also, this wasn't a pleasure ride...I didn't want to do it and I knew it was going to be hard, so why not suffer even more.

I was doing my LT test which is made up of 30 minutes warm-up (hard to do in pounding rain), 30 minutes out of the world hard time trial effort with HR monitor recording the final 20 minutes of the painful sustained effort.  Finally, a 30 minute cool down.

The warm-up ended up being kind of pleasant, down wind, hit all the lights and before I knew it, I was sailing down deserted roads.  The warm-up ended and I went into crazy time trial mode which for me feels like a bullet fast effort but to the casual observer, it probably just looks like a fish out of water riding a bike.

The main thing I noticed as I went faster for that 30 minutes is that I really started to get even more wet.  I was completely soaked and the spray off my wheel was hyptnotizing.

At about 25 minutes into the test, I just started to smile and laugh.  Water was spraying all over my face, I was freezing, but for some reason I felt great. I was simply happy.  Maybe it was endorphins but I hadn't been out that long.  I think instead it was just the realization that I'm overcoming a lot to just get out and I'm able to go faster than I could ever imagine going before. 

I have been surprised quite a bit lately by moments that are funny and times that just make me smile.  My girls are now at the age that they purposefully do funny things.  Weather they are giving zerberts, explaining things to eachother, or doing their best to get out of work, they crack me up.  They are also at the age that they say funny and embarassing things in public and are eager to talk about poop.  They simply crack me up and make me smile.

So, I guess I'm a bit insane right now but more than that, I think I'm seeing certain things more clearly and I like what I see.  I'm enjoying life.

So after I finished smiling like an idiot on the bike, I had a 30 minute cool down which really ended up being a freeze down.  By the time I got back to work, I was covered in mud, totally soaked, couldn't feel my feet and wasn't able to type for about 45 minutes.  I was too busy shivering to appreciate much, however, the feeling that made me smile while on the bike is still with me and I can't wait to do it again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The unanswered invitation...

I met a guy last week who is going to be doing both Boise 70.3 and Vineman Full this year.  Those are two of my big races.  We talked a bit and he's done several IM distance races and has done pretty well.  After we talked, he texted me and wrote, "We should get in a ride sometime".

So its been a few days and I don't know what to write back.  I love getting in training and getting to know people but the last thing I want to do is be is an anchor and blow someones training. So even though I'd love to ride, I haven't answered.

I'm still waiting for a friend from church to let me know when we can ride.  I've asked him several times but he isn't answering.  What if he doesn't want to ride with me for the same reason that I don't want to ride with Mr. Speedy?

When I invite someone to ride, I really do want to ride and am okay with the speed they ride.  My goal isn't to try to show off or ride them into the ground.  In fact, I hope they just want to ride a comfortable ride and get some time in on the bike.

So, in the triathlete, endurance world, is this sort of invitation just a nicety or do people really expect me to take them up on the offer? Please let me know so I can respond soon to Mr. Speedy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

High School Waist Size in Perspective

I was reading a post the other day in which the person was talking about losing weight and actually getting back into their HS jean size.  That got me thinking...is the high school jean size really a good baseline for assessing the ideal waist?  I'll state it even clearer, is the high school jean size a FAIR baseline for assesing the ideal waist?

A bit of background.  I was in high school in the 1980's.  While we didn't wear girl jeans like some of the guys wear now, we wore our jeans pretty tight.  And just to make them tighter, we would peg the legs.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, well, it just isn't easy to explain.  So my high school jean size was probably about 1 size smaller than I'd wear if I was sane during those formative years. 

One of the blessings of growing up wearing tight jeans is that I just don't have a problem with spandex and tights.  It kind of feel secure and nostalgic and I still buy into thought that if girls liked it in the 80's it probably still is good.

Since the 80's jeans began to be worn below the butt.  I'm not sure the appeal of showing of 5" of boxers and praying your pants don't fall off, but I do see the appeal of bragging to your friends that you still wear the same size jeans while you try out for "The Biggest Loser".

So, what is the fair baseline?  I think it has to be the pair of pants that either your mom or grandma bought for you when you were in high school.  These were the pants that you were too embarrassed to wear in public but occasionally had to wear for political or laundry reasons.  These pants most likely were your true pant size and should be the baseline.

The good news for me...I'm back to my true size but I'm still not going to wear those pants.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Lunch Run - One of my favorite things

I love my lunch run.  I've written about it before and will no doubt write about it again.  However, now I have found a way to share one of my favorite sections with you and all you have to do is try not to vomit due to the poor video.

Sorry about how bumpy this is, I guess it shows that I'm not too smooth of a runner.  I thought I would do a better job running with one hand given my experience pushing a stroller and running.  It really was tiring holding my iPhone in front of me and trying to keep it steady.

Things I noticed on the trail today.
1.  Lots of bright blue eggs that are cracked.
2.  Trash that I tried to film around
3.  Chalk arrows that make me think other people may know about my trail.
4.  I wish the tree at the bottom of the first hill hadn't been cut out, it would have been more impressive to have me leap over it and demonstrate my predator moves.  
5.  There is some weird noise that sounds like a mourning dove.  Maybe I make that sound when I run and don't know it.

All I know is that this section makes me happy and my sharing it may make you sick.  For any of you in the area, let me know when you want to go running.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is I bad for a race preview run to be too perfect?

I was in Boise for work yesterday and I was able to take a "few minutes" to run the Boise 70.3 course. I didn't plan on running the whole thing but just couldn't turn around so I ran the whole thing.

It was a great morning and it just seemed effortless. The river was full and people were frindly. Ended up running it in 1:37:53 and it felt great. Recovery wasn't a problem and I just want to run more.

Here is the problem - I now have set unrealistic expectations for race day. I now will expect cool weather, friendly water fowl, effortless running and a great run. Most likely I will discover heat, legs that want their blanckey and birds and people who will waddle past me.

I'm glad I ran and hope next time will be memorable and pray I'll experience at least a run with a faint resemblance to yesterday's run.