Thursday, January 31, 2008

Driven

Today Runner's Lounge is having another "Take it and Run Thursday." The topic? Motivation. I was going to skip out on it this week. I could talk about the 'hurricane' that hit Kentucky Tuesday night, or the very much related death and rebirth of my cell phone. I could talk about how I'm enjoying the changes to my workout schedule, or perhaps the bike-swim workout I'm doing tonight with Team in Training.

But wouldn't you rather know what makes this oh-so Relentless Runner tick? I know I would.

Most people are motivated by things that don't really effect me. I do not workout to lose weight. I am not trying to fit into a new pair of pants. In fact, I'm not even motivated by appearance at all. I don't do it to add days to my life, although that is a definite bonus of my lifestyle! You could say I run to add life to my days; however, thats not the whole story.

Something else drives me.

I'm trying to live up to someone's expectations. Not friends. Not colleagues. Not professors. Not even my parents. Not my TNT coach. Nor other runners. I strive to live up to my own expectations.

What are those expectations? I want to be the best I can be.

I'm a decent runner, but I could be better. I can see I am getting better every week. I can feel it, and I can quantify it by looking at my training log. Seeing this progress feeds the engine, my drive gets stronger. I am making progress towards being the best I can be.

I'm a bad swimmer. I know this. But I'm persistent as hell. I swim three days a week and can usually see improvement from one swim to the next. I know my problem areas: I need to 'swim downhill' better to decrease drag, I need to kick less, and I also need to work on my breathing. But again, progress is being made. I can feel it and quantify it. This feeds the engine.

I'm an okay cyclist. I still see improvement every week. I learn to utilize my clipless pedals more every time out. I learn to shift gears better. I constantly learn better balance. Progress. Progress feeds the engine.

This engine drives me. It drives me through intense tempo runs, frustrating swims, into adverse weather conditions, and pulls me through gut clenching ab workouts.

The tricky part? Getting it started. If progress motivates you, something needs to cause the first step. Find something trivial to motivate you, be it health, appearance, weight, or for a significant other. Once its going, theres no stopping it!

The magical part? It feeds itself. I see progress, it drives me even more. This causes more progress. Round and round we go. Its a never ending cycle that I'm hoping never halts. Even during my break due to injury, I had enough momentum to carry me through. As soon as I started again the progress was overwhelming; the engine is going full steam again!

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Observe your progress, and give the engine some gas. It will drive you to be the best you can be!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Magic of Recovery

POP QUIZ!

Does running make you stonger?

A) Yes!
B) No!
C) Uhhhhh, you didn't say there was going to be a quiz!
D) Shut up, stinky, you should take a shower before you blog!


The correct answer is...

...

...

...

...

...

...

B! No. Running does not make you stronger. Recovering from running makes you stronger! Let me give you a quick example as proof. You just ran four 1 mile repeats at a very strong effort. Could you immediately repeat the same workout again? No, of course not! The workout made you weaker for the time being, but as you recover, your body builds back stronger.

What if you don't let it rebuild?

Injury. Illness. Lack of energy. Dead legs. Grouchiness. Burn out.

We've all been there, I'm sure of it. Whether it has been caused by sudden good weather, peaking for a marathon, a new ambitious running partner, or any other reason I've missed -- It sucks. It's something to be avoided at all costs, if we'd like to continue to reap the health and fitness gains from our commitment to running.

There are two key ways to avoid these negative effects: Decrease the time it takes to recover or increase the time spent recovering. Easy enough, right?

Decreasing the time it takes to recover is the route most runners want to take. Faster recovery equates to more miles/higher intensity equates to better performance come race day. Although these are intuitive, they're easy to overlook. The main idea here is recovery happens during those 22-23 hours every day you aren't running! Here are some tips to decrease your time to recover:
  • Sleep more. Make it a priority to get 1 more hour of sleep every day (either at night, or with a nap) and your running will reap the benefits
  • Eat healthy. Food = fuel. This is especially important before or after a hard day. What fuel would you rather burn on a fast or long run: ice cream or pasta? See Heidi's post and everything she links to. It's full of great information!
  • Eat to recover. As soon as you finish a run, eat! The 30 minutes following a run your body is begging for nutrients, and it soaks them up like a sponge. Take advantage of this.
  • Stay hydrated. Always have a water bottle with you to sip from. Being well hydrated will help your body repair itself.
  • Get a massage. Obviously this isn't something to be done frequently (unless you have a money tree), but getting a massage every month or two can really help recovery after a hard week of training.
  • Increase your mileage slowly. As your body gets used to more miles, it recovers from them more efficiently since that is exactly what you're training it to do. However, if you increase too fast you're begging for all the symptoms of overtraining listed above!
Now for the other side of the coin. Increasing duration of recovery:
  • Take more time between workouts. Obvious, right? The only problem is we always want to run more. We don't want to take a day off.
  • Take a 'fake' day off. This is for people who just can't take a day off from running. They're so horribly addicted that hell would very likely freeze over if they missed a run. For you guys, take a fake day off: One day run early in the morning, the next day run late at night. This gives your body 36+ hours to recover between workouts.
  • Run easy. After hard workouts, your body needs the break. Don't underestimate the benefit of an easy run. Focus on relaxing for the entire run. Pfitzinger's book, Advanced Marathoning, advocates the idea of the Hard-Easy principle. You want to run to recover, rather than recover to run.
Does anybody have any tips to add to these lists? What do you do to make sure you're ready to run hard when it counts?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rainy Tempo Run

My alarm went off this morning and my brain sounded like an excuse machine.

"Bed warm. Outside cold."
"Bed dry. Outside wet."
"Sun sleeping. You should too."
"Yesterday ride hard. Today run easy."

But I got my feet on the floor, grabbed Nancy's club, got some food in me, and headed out the door. My legs were tired from yesterday, and I was expecting a bad run, but that didn't stop me from pounding out a hard tempo run. Here's the numbers:

7:56 (warmup)
6:24
6:02
6:15
0:34 (0.1 miles)
7:35 (cooldown)
2:25 (0.32 miles)

Tempo pace: 6:12
5K time: 19:15
Tempo HR: 181

After having every excuse in the book, this turned out to be one great run. I cut 30 seconds off my time from two weeks ago, and its also worth noting my 5K split was faster than a 5K race I ran this time a year ago. Lets get this party started.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Thaw

Ahhh, finally! The weather is warming up!

These past few weeks have been rather cold, cold enough to keep me indoors on the bike, at least. Although it doesn't take THAT much, since I can't afford all the winter gear for biking (like the windproof shoe covers that cost nearly $100). Regardless, I finally made it out on the bike today. Out as in outside. As in not inside. It was amazing.

Looking at the forecast, this shouldn't just be a one time thing, either! We're looking at mid 40's for at least the next week. The only bummer is that the official TNT bike practices are going to be group sessions on trainers until it really warms up, but I'll at least be able to get outside twice a week on the bike.

Today's ride was great; I had a new high average speed for my 21 mile route, and also started to get the hang of riding one handed. The one handed thing is a big step for me, since currently my balance is atrocious if I remove my hands from the bike; something I need to learn so I can eat and drink without stopping! Here's the stats for today:

Time: 1:13:39
Distance: 21.23 miles
Speed: 17.3 mph
Cadence: 92 rpm
HR: 160 bpm

It's obvious the stationary bike and real biking don't even come close to comparing. I know wind resistance and hills play a roll, but there still has to be some additional error on the stationary bike, because thats a huge difference from the 27 MPH I clocked a week ago!

Tomorrow is my second tempo run for the year, and its supposed to rain. You know I love running fast. And I love running in the rain. Tomorrow is going to be good.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weekly Recap 01/21/08 - 01/27/08

Monday: Went all out on the stationary bike for an hour. Counted as 20 miles. Ab workout in the evening.

Tuesday: Ran an easy 4 1/2 miles in the morning, had a great swim in the evening!

Wednesday: Fairly easy 45 minutes on the stationary bike. Skipped abs in the evening due to the step back week.

Thursday: Woke up for the 5:30am run and put in 6 miles. Completely screwed up my sleep schedule by taking a nap after dinner. Apparently got angry with the alarm on my cell phone, slept for 2 1/2 hours and missed my swim. I guess I needed the sleep?

Friday: Rest day! Got a massage in the morning. I did a short ab workout (~30 minutes) in the evening.

Saturday: Ran six miles. TNT meeting afterwards, then 30 minutes on the stationary bike. The 30 minutes disappeared, I felt like I just sat down when it was time to stop.

Sunday: Swam in the morning, then got antsy so I got my 3 mile run in shortly afterwards.

Total run: 19.74 miles (-3 from last week)
Total bike: 45 miles (-15 from last week)
Total swim: 1.5 (-0.75 from last week)
RHR: (Taking it this evening)

-------------------------------------

All in all a successful step back week. These past few days I've felt pretty well rested with no aches or pains. Doing pretty good energy wise too, maybe too good, since I've had trouble sleeping the past few nights.

I've also survived another week where practically everybody in my classes is sick. Apparently working out and eating healthy is just what I need to keep my immune system going full steam!

The big news for the week is joining Team in Training. We haven't had any team practices just yet, but it should be fun once it gets going. I've had to rework my schedule a little bit to incorporate the TNT workouts without adding any extras every week, but it should workout all right. Theres only one I have to miss every week, but that is due to teaching. We're hardly expected to make it to all the practices, but I've decided I want to do everything possible to help both myself and the team; and thats part of it!

Thats all I got, hope everybody had a great week!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Joining The Team

I did it. I joined The Team. Now that I'm "in the know," I'll let you guys know how the process works.

First you go to an informational meeting. They explain a lot about the system, where the money goes, how to train, and how to fund raise. Emphasis is placed on how daunting of a task it is to raise as much money as they want us to. However, they give several examples of how doable it is to raise the money if you're willing to put in the effort.

I was convinced. Then I saw the number after the dollar sign. It was big. Huge. Monumental. I almost fell out of my chair -- seriously. The amount? $4800. At the point I saw the number, I thought "there's no way, I could possibly do that!"

They explained further, because I'm sure what I was thinking is the same thing thousands of people have thought before me. As a result, they have a nice thing called the recommitment date. On this day (March 21st) you finally decide if you're in or out. You can look at how well the fund raising is going compared to how much time is left. At this point, you fully commit. If you say you're in and you can't raise the money, you owe them the difference. However, if you say you're out the money still goes towards leukemia research. But it still gives a few months to get a handle on fund raising and see just how doable it is -- or isn't. Once I heard about this 'feature' of their system, I decided I was in.

Today was also their kick off meeting, it was directly after the informational meeting; there are several informational meetings leading into one kick off meeting, so there were a LOT of people there. I would say around 80-90. During this we got to meet our honorable heroes, teammates, mentors, and coaches. They really do have a great support system setup. They want us to succeed.

We talked about fund raising techniques. We talked about training. We socialized. Took team pictures. Got free stuff. I'm in college, I like free stuff!

During our talk about training, my coach (who also happens to be my swim coach) introduced me as "an accomplished runner," which was nice! As an "accomplished runner," I volunteered myself to offer advice on anything running related to anybody on the Team. I was met with many, many grateful faces; apparently people are afraid of it (little do they know, its that tricky water sport to be afraid of)! I hope they take full advantage of my offer; you know how much I enjoy talking about running!

The Team is great. You should join. But I'm going to give you an easy way out. You don't have to raise money. You don't have to train for a triathlon (but you can if you want to). You don't have to sign any paperwork, or even try to make practice.

Here is what you have to do: donate. By donating, I consider you part of my team. Part of a team fighting leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Part of a team that has changed the childhood survival rate of leukemia from 4% to 80%. Part of a team that is saving lives. The research in these blood related cancer can be related back to all other kinds of cancer, too, so the number of lives you can impact is astronomical.

My donation webpage is not fully updated, but it is online. Update: The website is up to date! TNT Alumni, let me know if you see room for improvement! Those of you reading this blog know why to donate; if you don't, simply wait until I get it going. Then you'll know why.

If you're up for donating, here is the URL: http://www.active.com/donate/tntky/relentless

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate anything you can give. Whether it be a dollar, ten, a hundred or more, every bit helps!

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's Contagious

Several months ago I posted about getting other people hooked on running. Its a hobby of mine. There's just something about getting other people to think "wow... you know, I think I could run a marathon! Me!"

Today I was talking with my friend Lewis, who was kind enough to let me stay at his place before the Chicago Marathon last year. The one who unexpectedly got hooked on running just by watching the race. He mentioned today he ran two miles in less than 20 minutes, so I started joking with him a little bit ago, our conversation went something like this:

Doug: So.. you know registration for Chicago opens in a week, right?
Lewis: Haha, I hope you're not suggesting that I register. Unless they allow 6 hour finishes!
D: Actually, uh, they do.
L: ..What's it cost?
D: A lot. $110
L: Oh geez

...

D: If you finish, I'll pay half.
L: You don't have to do that. I don't think I could do it anyways.

I was dead serious with my offer, even though I knew him well enough that he wouldn't take it (whats $55 to 'give' running to a friend?). But it is exactly what I needed to do to show him how serious I was. He caught the drift. I convinced him otherwise.

We talked about training. I sent him a link to the NOVA Marathon series. I convinced him just how much can be accomplished in 9 months. Then it happened: "man, that'd be so cool if I could do it. What would I have to be running a month before the race?"

So I told him if he is running 15-25 miles per week by June 1st, he'll be right on schedule to pick up Hal Higdon's marathon plan, which I used to get through my first marathon.

He's going to do it. He just doesn't know it yet. I'm pumped.

I wonder who my victim will be next time. I'll have to start taking names.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fighting with Injury

After these past few months, I feel as though injury is one of the things I'm most qualified to talk about. But even my most avid readers don't know all my serious run ins with injury, so here is a brief history:
  • Senior year of track I developed ITBS and was unable to compete during my final season
  • Runner's knee struck me a few weeks prior to my first half-marathon in August 2005
  • I got an over use injury in my ankle when training for the 2006 St. Louis Marathon, I had to take several months off running and watched the race from the sidelines
  • After my peak when training for the 2006 Detroit Marathon I had to take a week off because of a similar ankle injury but was still able to race
  • Most recently, I injured my hip a month before the 2007 Chicago Marathon and ended up taking several months off, although I still finished the race
Now some of you may say, "My God, Doug, you're so unfortunate with those injuries!" but each and every one has been a learning experience. I have found out what works, and what doesn't. I now know the difference between "hurts so good" and "hurts so bad."

Since everybody (except one lucky SOB) I know has dealt with injury at some point, here is a list of things I do to stay injury free. The first few correspond to the items on the list above. If you'd like to add anything, leave it in the comments!
  • Replace your shoes every 300-400 miles. Shoes are expensive, I know, but relatively cheap compared to surgery or physical therapy! This alone would have saved my senior track season!
  • Stick to a schedule! Either use a cookie cutter plan like Hal Higdon's or do research and create your own. I suggest getting a book on the topic, since anything published at least had to jump through a lot of hoops to get there; anybody (even me!) can post something on the internet. When you're your own coach, you need to learn how to plan a week out without hurting yourself. Plan a week out in advance, make sure it makes sense, and stick to it!
  • Learn the difference between good pain and bad pain. Generally, muscular pain is good and joint/bone pain is bad, but its not always the case. If its persistent, figure out whats wrong before it sidelines you for several months. Take a few days off. You won't lose that much fitness in a couple days. You'll lose much more if forced to take several months off!
  • Do core work. It is one of the best things you can do to stay injury free, since it will keep your body stabilized. Plus, has anybody ever said "No, I'd rather not have a six pack"?
  • Build up slow, but steady. Don't increase your mileage by more than 10% per week. I've found that when I break this rule, bad things happen! Be patient, it will pay off big time.
  • Accept that an injury is not like a switch. Injuries do not heal over night. You are not injured one day, and perfectly fine the next. When coming back, ease back into it. I wrestled this bear for months before realizing I couldn't just jump right back in.
If this helps even one person stay injury free in 2008, I'll be glad I took the time to write it! Do you have any tips for myself, or others, to help stay injury free?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Complete Randomness

Today is another day with no coherent theme. It happens.
  • Swimming last night was phenomenal. I think something clicked. For you experienced swimmers, it'll sound like no big thing. For the past week or so, I've been able to swim 25 yards, then usually take a break to catch my breath, and I could occasionally swim 50 yards, but the thought of 75 made me feel like I would vomit in the pool (I hear they don't like that). Last night, however, 25 felt trivial, 50 was doable, and 75 was challenging. But hey, its progress right?!
  • I need to post about running basics for Amy & Tom but haven't come up with anything yet, hopefully I come up with something tomorrow!
  • Last night I called home all excited to see what my parents thought about the Team in Training shin dig. They sounded kind of put off by the idea, which surprised me since my dad is in the medical profession. They're supportive of it if I decide to do it, but were by no means saying "All right! Great idea!" etc.
  • I did better than average on my entry exam for my CS505 class, without taking the prerequisites. Americans represent! (There are 3 Americans out of about 40 students in this class)
  • Tomorrow I'm attempting to wake up to run with some friends at 5:30am. Why did I agree to something like that? Something is wrong with my brain. The sun doesn't even come up until 7:30!
And finally, workout news for the day. This is a step back week, so the volume and intensity are getting pulled back a little bit, although I'm keeping the frequency of workouts the same. Monday I was feeling so great I had to go with it, but now I'm taking it easy until next Monday, promise!

Distance: 17.06 miles
Time: 45 minutes
Speed: 22.67 MPH
Average HR: 148 bpm

I'm wishing bike trainers weren't so expensive ($200 or so, I think). I'd much rather ride my own bike for my indoor workouts, plus I can trust the distance part of it, because Garmin calibrates it on my outdoor rides so it also works indoors. I have a feeling these numbers from the stationary bike don't mean anything compared to outdoor numbers, but they are at least meaningful when compared to other distances on the stationary bike.


Marcy - I'm feeling just fine "down there," the seat on the stationary bike is like a lazy boy compared to the seat on my usual bike! Also, thanks big time for the encouraging words about TNT! I'll find out more at the meeting on Saturday, but you have it about right. Raise X amount of money while training for the race, then do the race. I'll post more details when I get them on Saturday!

Nancy - Thanks for the words of caution. I've thought about it quite a bit, otherwise I wouldn't be doing it right? I feel like I know a lot of people all over the place, even outside blog land. Also, my family is quite large, has had quite a few run ins with cancer, and is generally rather generous. Although I do see myself having two disadvantages. First, I don't know anybody closely with Leukemia, so I don't have a great story to get emotions going. Second, with me most people won't think "wow! I can't believe Doug is doing a triathlon!" so they may not think its that impressive.

Jess - You do realize you, a college professor, just (jokingly) asked me, a college student, for money, right? Just wanted to make sure! ;)

Taryn and POM - Thanks for the good words about TNT! So far, I haven't heard of a single person having a poor experience with them. I don't know about you guys, but I'm all about meeting "cool peeps" as POM so accurately put it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Team in Training

The string of events leading up to this are kind of strange, but here goes...

About a week ago a friend of mine at Todd's Road asked me if I would be interested in Team in Training (TNT). I was just heading out, so I asked her to remind me about it again at swimming the next day. She didn't, so it mostly slipped my mind. I forgot about it for a little while.

Now, last Friday Half-fast had a hilarious post that had a lot of Lance Armstrong videos. I had little to do this weekend, so I started watching other Lance videos on YouTube. Learning the details about his story, brought back the thoughts about Team in Training.

For those of you unfamiliar with TNT, here it is in a nutshell. Its an organization that completes endurance events (marathons, century rides, triathlons) in order to raise money for Leukemia and other blood related cancer. Since they started, they have raised about $850 million. In return for helping raise money (mostly by asking for donations from family/friends), I get to meet a ton of great people, receive professional coaching, and travel expenses are covered for my event.

It seems like something great to do. I told myself a few days ago that I was going to do it, unless I could come up with one excuse that didn't suck. Any excuse I thought of, well, sucked! So I thought about it some more, and convinced myself it was something I had to do.

I always look at myself as being generous, but my actions don't add up (okay, so I give a dollar to salvation army every year and usually hold doors for people). Its about time I change that. Its about time I become part of something bigger than myself.

Last night I submitted my information to TNT, and am going to go to their informational meeting on Saturday morning. The ball is in motion. Lets do this!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Screaming for Mercy

Me?

Oh no. Not me. Not even close.

The stationary bike.

I'm fairly certain I ground it down to the very last inches of its life. Then I started the second half of my workout.

Here's the damage report:

Time: 1 hour
Distance: 26.85 miles
Speed: 26.85 MPH (Just for you, Steve!)
Average HR: 161 bpm
Max HR: 175 bpm

"Why, Doug, why would you do such a thing to that poor bike?" you ask? I'm going to blame it on Again to Carthage, the sequel to Once a Runner. Last night I plopped down around 11 to read a chapter or two before going to bed. I finished the book around 2am, and couldn't believe three hours had passed, but it was worth every second of it! So I went to sleep, dreamt about running all night, then woke up and re-read the last three chapters -- it was that good! It left me so motivated I had no choice but to hammer that hard on the bike!

In short, its a story about a fictional runner, Quenton Cassidy, who was a Olympic silver medalist in the mile. He lives a normal life for a while, but gets back into running. I'll leave the rest up to you guys to find out, but its definitely worth a read!

In other news, I got a massage schedule for Thursday after my run to get some of the kinks worked out of these legs. I figure it'll be a good way to complement an easy week! And, as Marcy & Bill had to ask before, it is a perfectly legal massage.

And finally, some pretty freaking sweet news if you ask, um, anybody. My family's vacation this year? Yeah we're probably going to Hawaii. Hells yeah! Is there any better treat after my first year of graduate school? I think not!

Marcy - I'll talk about my weight if I want to, punk! Just remember, I'm playing a different game; I'm making what appears to be a feeble attempt to gain weight, not lose it!

Christine - I haven't taken time to learn a flip turn yet. With my crazy out of control kick, my heart rate is usually up to 180 BPM after 50 yards (similar effort to running a 6:20 mile, rather out of proportion!). Not much point in a flip turn if I can only swim down and back!

Bill - It is pretty crazy balancing three different disciplines at once, but extremely rewarding so far! The thing I really enjoy is that I'm already doing a pretty high volume, and feeling 100% injury free! I barely even get sore after days I do doubles, which really has me baffled. I can't be getting my fitness back that fast!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekly Recap 01/14/08 - 01/20/08

Monday: Stationary bike says I rode 25.34 miles, but I'm counting it as 20 since theres no air resistance, hills, etc. Did an ab workout in the evening.

Tuesday: Tempo run in the morning with 3.1 miles hard. Average tempo pace 6:22/mile, average HR 180bpm. Swam ~0.75 miles in the evening.

Wednesday: More stationary bike, again counted as 20 miles. Ab workout in the evening.

Thursday: Relaxed 5.5 miles, felt great the whole way! Swam ~0.75 miles in the evening.

Friday: Complete rest day. Slept in. No workouts at all. Rest days suck, I feel like I never actually wake up. Is that how non-runners feel all the time? I feel bad for them.

Saturday: Ran 7 miles out at Todd's Road at 7am. Put in more time on the stationary bike around 1pm. Ab workout in the evening.

Sunday: Swam 0.75 miles in the morning. Also had one of my coached record me for 50 yards so I can look at my technique (more below). Ran 4 1/2 miles in the afternoon.

Total run: 22.72 miles (+2 from last week)
Total bike: 60 miles (+8 from last week)
Total swim: 2.25 miles (+1.25 from last week)
RHR: 56 bpm

-------------------------------

Another great week of training! My hip had a little twinge in it after my tempo run, but went away within 24 hours. I talked to my dad about it, and he explained it as there being scar tissue still deep inside the muscles. Whenever I push a little harder, it breaks it up a little bit deeper and as a result I can get sore for a short period of time, but it isn't anything to worry about. Over time, all the scar tissue should break free.

Just looking at this week makes me feel as though I should be exhausted; but I'm not in the least bit! I don't feel like this week was horribly challenging at the end of everything, which is a good sign I'm not over training. Regardless, before this week started I decided this next week was going to be an easy week. Even though I feel great, I'm going to back down for a week before pushing again for three weeks.

My weight has been all over the place this week. I think I just have a hard time eating enough when I'm busy with school. I never miss breakfast and I try to eat big meals when I'm at my apartment. I also bring healthy snacks (apples, bananas, clif bars, etc) whenever I go somewhere, but it doesn't seem to be enough!

As I mentioned above, I had my swimming technique recorded this week. And although some of it looks good, not all of it does! According to my coach, the good includes my rotation, keeping my body long, and a low stroke count (15-16 per lap). Things to work on include bringing my head forward to breathe (rather than back), stroke acceleration (arm accelerates throughout the stroke), and my kick. The main thing to work on is definitely my kick. My legs are flying absolutely everywhere. Once I get my kick under control, my drag will decrease (less water resistance) and my endurance should go up big time.

Here's the video, so you can see what I mean! Yes, its sideways and I'm not sure how to rotate it. Although, tilting my head helped me both watch the video and get water out of my ear!


video

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bunch of Arrogant Exercisers!

Yup. Thats exactly what we are.

Last week a group I run with, Todd's Road Stumblers, was brought up in a complaint letter to the sheriff of the county we run in. Someone brought in a copy of the letter today, both to inform people and to poke a little fun at. Why poke fun at such a serious situation?

Because of the style of writing. It was perfectly obvious the author had a lot of bottled up rage and was trying his hardest to keep it there, but couldn't quite do it! About halfway through he slipped by calling us "a bunch of arrogant exercisers going around like the own the road!" (not an exact quote, but the 'bunch of arrogant exercisers' comes straight out of his letter)

From what I hear, we get about two of these every year and nothing ever happens. It is usually someone who wants to drive 70 MPH around a blind turn and could probably use a couple miles out there with us.

For example, last year there was a report that "hundreds of people were out running well before dawn with flashlights, trying to blind the drivers!" What were they talking about? Yeah, Judy and Mark (count 'em: one, two) were out on a long run to beat the summer heat and brought flashlights for their own safety.

When we get a complaint the sheriff always comes out to make sure we're following the rules of the road, which we do. In fact, we have them posted on a rather large poster inside the clubhouse, and always remind new members to look at them; we know who wins in a car-runner collision!

This morning the sheriff drove past me four separate times during my 7 miler; each time I hugged the shoulder as tight as possible, smiled, and waved (with all five fingers). It is a good thing, really, to make sure everybody does get through their runs safely. Maybe a few people trying to fly through the blind turns will take heed too!

Thats all I got about that. Here's this arrogant exercises numbers for the day:

Run:
7:53
7:45
7:28
7:13
7:20
7:24
7:15
(and change)

Pace: 7:28
HR: 163 bpm

Then I came back, ate some food, cleaned up, took an hour nap, and then jumped on the stationary bike:

Time: 1:00:00
Distance: 25.42
Speed: Oh come on, I biked exactly an hour. I don't have to tell you this do I?
HR: 152 bpm

All in all a great day. I felt really strong through everything. It was great to talk to everybody from TRS again; I caught a few people I missed last week! Its good to be back!

Friday, January 18, 2008

What up Doc?

This post is just a bunch of random bits of information. Even though most my posts turn out that way, this time its on purpose!
  • I made the decision to switch to the PhD program. Although I still have to apply, I see no reason they would reject me. But that does mean I have to jump through the hoops of getting recommendations again; oh the joys!
  • My healthy diet is turning into habit. Yesterday, my Aunt sent me cookies. This huge tin of wonderful chocolate chip cookies! I ate 3 of them when they got here, and they're absolutely amazing. But, I have no urge to eat them. At all. I see bananas or cookies and consistently choose a banana. I look at my workouts the next few days and feel as though I can't afford to put crap in the tank. A good shift, but even I'm taken aback by it a little!
  • Today is a rest day, which means I'm bored out of my mind; I don't feel like I need it, but I scheduled it so I'm taking it! I've had 10 workouts (13 if you count ab workouts) in the past six days, and I'm not feeling it at all. Adapting? Maybe!
  • I'm scheduling a massage for next Friday to work any kinks out of my legs that are starting to show their heads; I figure its good for me physically and mentally, so why not? I'll call it a "treat" for working so hard lately.
  • Tomorrow has seven miles on the schedule; the farthest I've run post injury! I'm optimistic about it, as always! My hip is feeling stronger than ever, and I'm ready to push it a little bit farther. 9 on the 9th, here I come!
  • Finally, an endorsement for Vanilla over at Half-Fast. He's organizing a "Shave Your 5K" challenge. The idea is to see who can cut the most time, or percentage, off their 5K this year. See his post for the official rules. Go participate, even if its just because of his swawesome logo!
Okay, thats a lot more random than I thought I had; but its too late now; I hope everybody has a great weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thank You For Smoking

My run this morning was simply amazing. It wasn't the weather. Nope, not a blistering fast pace. Not even good company, I was running alone. In fact, I didn't even see another runner on the roads. Everybody was tucked in their nice warm beds, missing out on all the fun!

The run was good for another reason: the things I saw. A lot of things I normally don't notice.

  • Some sweet statues by a few houses I run by every day
  • A group of 5 squirrels darting every which way at the sight of me
  • One indecisive squirrel that changed directions 5 times, not sure exactly how to get out of my way
  • A few people that smiled as if to say "Yeah. I get it!"
  • A smoker
"Wait, what? How is a smoker a good thing?" you ask? I'll tell you! I was running through campus at a nice relaxed pace, just enjoying my run when I started coming up on another guy just minding his own business, sucking on a death stick.

Once I got close, he jumped! I scared the guy, me being the behemoth I am! In the process, he dropped his cigarette, and bent over to pick it up. The poor nicotine addicted fellow then saw the most awful thing in the world: his cigarette landed in a puddle. I. Laughed. My. Ass. Off. (Thats an LMAO, Marcy, I'm never sure if I need to translate for you!)

You're welcome, Mr. Smoker. I added 3 minutes to your life and you didn't even thank me, but at least you made my day! You better watch out, if I'm feeling generous next week I might do it again!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

With Nobody Watching

Get up.
Get out there.
Put your body in motion.
Is there anything better?

Your body's working in perfect orchestra,
Legs pumping,
Heart thumping.
Lungs inflating,
Heart waiting.

The sun rises.

Legs working double time,
Propelling you forward, three strides a second,
Attempting to get the lactic acid out.
Can't keep up.

Two miles to go.

The lactate builds up,
Legs begging for mercy,
Lungs screaming for air,
Heart thumping in its cage, three beats a second.

One mile to go.

Does anything hurt so good?

Is there any better reminder,
That champions are made when no one is watching?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Game On

Just finished my first tempo run of the year. Here are the numbers to improve on:

7:46 (warmup)
6:23
6:18
6:28
0:36 (0.1 mile)
7:26 (cooldown)
2:43 (0.36 miles)

Tempo pace: 6:22
5k time: 19:45
Tempo HR: 180 bpm
Garmin Data

Game on. Who wants to play?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Winter Goals Progress

Productivity seems to be a major theme lately, and thats the case again today!

I woke up at 8am and jumped on the exercise bike downstairs. The windchill was around 20 and biking in that would have been begging for frost bite, so I think I took the best route, even if I do hate working my tail off and getting no where! As much as I dislike it though, the bike told me my fitness is definitely increasing! Back when I first started on the exercise bike, my best, all out efforts, at the peak of marathon season, would get me around 24 miles in an hour.

Here's today's stats:

Time: 1 hour
Distance: 25.34 miles
Heart rate: 155 bpm

I was pushing pretty hard, but I always felt like there was something left in the tank. If I hadn't run out of Gatorade, I definitely could have kept at it for a little while longer.

After that today was a big homework and study fest. Tomorrow I have an entry exam for my database class, and if I don't do well its very strongly suggested I drop the class; especially because I haven't taken the pre-reqs! I feel prepared, but we'll find out if thats the truth tomorrow!

This evening I did another ab workout; these are really starting to get to be habit, which was one of my winter goals! I can really see and feel the results, so I'm all about keeping at it. On the topic of my winter goals, all of them are going well:
  • I stuck with my physical therapy religiously, and now my hip is pain free
  • I've started to regain some of my muscle mass, but it fluctuates like crazy because I'm having a hard time eating enough to keep up with my workout schedule
  • Ab workouts are a habit, as mentioned previously, and it feels like its paying off!
  • Mileage is rebuilding slowly and steadily, although I don't plan to get my running mileage back up to 40 this winter since I'm balancing biking and swimming too. Although, if I follow the rule of 3 miles biked counting as 1 mile ran, I'm back in the 40-50 mile range per week!
Tomorrow morning I'm going out for a tempo run. Yeah. Thats right. I'm going to run hard for the first time in 15 weeks. The plan is one mile warmup, 3.1 miles hard, and then cool down the rest of the way back to my apartment.

I don't really have a precise goal pace in mind for tomorrow, although I would like to bring my tempo pace down to 6:06/mile in the next month or two. No I don't want to run a 1:20 half marathon this year (6:06/mile). No way. Honest. You can trust me.

(I had my fingers crossed)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Weekly Recap 01/07/08 - 01/13/08

Monday: Biked 21 miles in the morning, ab workout in the evening.

Tuesday: Ran 4 1/2 miles. Planned to swim in the evening, but it stormed and I figured the pool would close. Turned out the storm was over hyped and I was just a slacker!

Wednesday: Biked 21 miles in the morning, ab workout in the evening. Tipped over on my clipless pedals, whoops!

Thursday: Ran 5 1/2 miles before class, swam in the evening for 30-40 minutes.

Friday: Rest day! Planned to do an ab workout in the evening, but I tried something new for dinner that caused some seriously hazardous gasses!

Saturday: Ran 6 miles at Todd's Road, biked 10 miles in the evening. That night I did the ab workout I couldn't do Friday. I was worried about my hip before/during the run, there was a small twinge in it. It ended up being nothing.

Sunday: Swam for 30 minutes in the morning, ran 4 1/2 miles in the evening. Legs felt surprisingly good during the run! Hip felt great despite feeling a little off on Saturday.

Total run: 20.68 miles
Total bike: 52.04 miles
Total swim: 1 mile
RHR (Resting heart rate): 55 bpm
---------------------------------

Great week of training! Last week I started feeling overtrained halfway through the week, mostly due to poor nutrition. Since being back at school I'm having a major focus on nutrition, and I can feel the difference already! My focus is on eating directly after a workout to aid recovery, along with eating healthier, but also eating more. I crunched the numbers and found on days that I do two sports, I generally need around 3200-3400 calories in order to sustain my energy level; even more than I'm used to!

My training volume has increase significantly from last week, but I still feel fresh at the end of the week which shows I'm adapting to the frequency of workouts and proves the better nutrition is helping. This was my first week running 20+ miles since getting injured! Lots of firsts these past few weeks, keep 'em comin'!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Productive Saturday

Unlike most Saturdays, this one turned out being crazy productive. I'll save you the BAM!'s, but I got a ton of stuff done both with working out and school.

My alarm went off at 6am. I swore at it, but managed to crawl out of bed without hitting snooze. After the morning routine, and scraping ice off my car, I was en route to Todd's Road to meet up for a run; my first group run in four months!

Surprisingly, at 7am on a Saturday morning on a day with below freezing temps and really thick fog, around 40 people showed up to run at Todd's Road! I got to catch up with some old friends and put in six miles or so at a pretty good clip. Since nobody at my pace was running the six mile loop, I just ran 3 out with Jim, and 3 back on my own. Here's the splits:

8:13
7:41
7:33
6:56 (Later Jim!)
6:58
7:00
0:26 (0.07 miles)

Average pace: 7:23
Average heart rate: 167
Garmin data

This run had me worried about my hip. Last night after stretching, there was a little pain in my hip on occasion, but it didn't hurt to run or walk 99% of the time, so I toughed it out. After the run it felt fine, so I'm not too worried. I did a few stretches I don't normally do, so I'm attributing it to those, and they aren't happening again! Also, this was my longest run in over 3 months!


Later this evening, I jumped out on the bike for a little bit. I decided beforehand I was only doing 10 miles since I already ran today. The result? I was completely fresh at the end; I should have gone 20! Next week, I'll know better! Here's the (growing) list of stats:

Distance: 9.89 miles
Time: 32:31
Speed: 18.2 mph
Heart rate: 162 bpm
Cadence: 89 rpm
Garmin Data

This was my first ride with my cadence sensor, and I'm a whole lot better with cadence than I thought I was; unless I'm just behaving myself now that I have a number to keep me in line! One thing I'm disappointed in is that MotionBased doesn't show the cadence data. It appears in the Garmin software, but not online. Bummer!

Ryan - The spill actually came closer to mile 11; the HR spike you're talking about was a hill, I think.

Marcy - Oh, its not that bad. You see, its my job to convince you to get a bike and clipless pedals. You know why? Because your average post is pretty entertaining, but the world will be an even funnier place once you get clipless pedals and tip over! I mean.... *cough* when you get clipless pedals and are able to brag about never falling!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Yep, its doable! Today the UPS guy delivered my Garmin cadence sensor for my bike, and now my Garmin does new tricks!

I got it all hooked up to my bike after class, and tested it out a little bit in my apartment (pedaling backwards, not around my kitchen table). Seems like it works, now I have even more numbers that should help me train just right on the bike!

Last night I went swimming for the first time in over a week, and it went fairly well. I only swam for a little over 30 minutes, but right now I just need to get in the habit of getting in the water again. Also, with my time split between swimming, biking, and running now, my energy level is a lot lower when I'm actually in the pool than it was before break. Over time, my endurance will get better, though, just gotta be patient while my body gets used to the workload.

Today was finally a rest day, and I needed it! My legs were starting to feel rather worn out the past couple days, but this day off is just what the doctor ordered. I'm still going to do a core workout in a little bit, so the day isn't a complete bust.

Following the rest day, though, is a pretty grueling weekend. Saturday I run in the morning and bike in the evening, then Sunday I'm swimming in the morning and running in the evening. Lots of busting my tail, but my carefully calibrated schedule seems like it will let me balance school and working out ump-teen times a week!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Early Five

Today I forced myself out of bed early so I could get in a run before my 9:30 class. The sun came up about halfway through my run; now thats what this college student calls early!

Here's the numbers:

7:25
7:28
7:33
7:17
7:11
3:31 (0.51 miles)

Average pace: 7:20/mile
Average heart rate: 165

My legs were feeling yesterday's bike ride early in the run, but they loosened up towards the end as the numbers suggest. I was holding back a little bit early on, so my heart rate was a little lower than usual.

Saturday I'm planning to run with Todd's Road Stumblers for the first time since I got injured (early September). It'll be great to see everybody again!

Thats all I got today, so I'll leave you with an appropriate quote:

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or gazelle - when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

TIIIIMMMBERRR

Okay. I'll admit it. It finally happened. I fell today. I accidentally completed the cyclists "Rite of Passage," and here is how it happened:
  1. Approach intersection
  2. Unclip both feet to stop
  3. Stop successfully with both feet on the ground
  4. Drink Gatorade. Ahhhh, thats the stuff!
  5. Clip in left foot
  6. Wait for the only car on the road to go through intersection
  7. Tip over
  8. Start laughing so I can tell myself the driver is laughing with me, not at me
And thats about how it happened. I'm still not even sure why I tipped over. I wasn't stopping, and I wasn't even starting yet, but down I went. I didn't get hurt, it was really in super slow motion, but there was nothing I could do to stop it!

Besides that, today was a great ride. Nearly every driver I saw today gave a friendly wave, every dog was completely uninterested in me, and the weather was perfect! I really need to bring my camera along with me one of these times, but I think I'm going to wait until Spring when its really beautiful out there.

I was a little bit slower than Monday, my legs were a little tired and just not feeling it, but here's the stats:

Distance: 21.16
Time: 1:17:06
Speed: 16.5 MPH
Average Heart Rate: 158 bpm
Garmin Data

In other news I taught my First. Class. Ever. tonight! It definitely could have gone better, but it was my first time so I'm not being too critical on myself, just thinking about what I can do for improvement. I covered a huge amount more than I thought I would; 75 minutes is a long time! I also need to slow down and elaborate more. Live and learn, right?

Bill - If you became an ex-runner because of me, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. At worst, get a bike and use cross training to replace your easy days. Do you even have easy days? :)

Marcy - Don't be a big sissy, or I'll steal your lunch money! Also, you really don't want to call me Emeril, that would imply that I didn't screw up a frozen pizza and noodles back to back a few weeks ago!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ready, Set, ....

Alright guys, this next semester is staring me square in the face now! Break buzzed by, but I'm finally starting to get out of this mental vacation I've been on the past month. Today was unlike any I've had for the past couple weeks: crazy-productive!

My alarm went off at 8am. So I hit snooze. It went off again, so I turned it off, put my head under the covers and finally crawled out of bed around 9. Bad start, but I can still save it!

I jumped into my running shorts and flew down the stairs, up the hill, up the next hill, and into the wind. Four and a half miles later we have....

7:21
7:15
6:55
6:53
3:53 (for 0.56 miles)

It was a great run that got me ready to rock for the rest of the day.

BAM! Haircut!

BAM! Spent $300 on books!

BAM! TA Meeting!

BAM! Scheduled due dates, etc for the class I'm teaching!

BAM! Setup my website for my class!

BAM! Setup the laptop for class tomorrow!

BAM! Ate dinner!

BAM! Wrote a blog entry!

BAM! Said BAM! ten times!


If I can keep this crazy momentum going, I think I might graduate by next Thursday (as opposed to May 2012). That is, if people don't kill me from saying BAM! all the time!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Whoooosh!

Thats how I felt at the beginning of my ride today, flying like the wind! Whooooosh! I had a strong wind behind me and was cruising along around 20-25 MPH for the first part of my ride, it was great!

At one point I was on a really secluded stretch of road, the scene looked as though it came straight off of a post card. Rolling hills, huge grassy fields with horses running around on either side, and thousands upon thousands of birds connecting the two fields. When I got fairly close, the entire mass of birds rose up and took off, whooooosh! Times like this really remind me why I love riding in Kentucky!

Then I turned. Whoooosh! That was the sound of Mother Nature trying to knock me into traffic with an insanely strong wind. Luckily, I managed not to get turned into road kill.

I turned again. Whoooosh! This time Mother Nature was trying to tell me "Go home, you shouldn't play with me today!" But all I could hear was: Whoooosh! So I pressed on, since its the only thing I knew how to do.

I made one last turn. And yep. You guessed it: Whooooosh! This time Mother Nature was doing everything she could to make sure I ate ditch. She saw me on my shiny red bike, with my fancy new pedals. Its obvious she was jealous, but I stayed the course; having the wind at my side was worlds better than riding straight into it!

Whooooosh! Twenty one miles in the bank! Here's the stats:

Distance: 21.05 miles (Twice as far as yesterday)
Time: 1:14:45
Speed: 16.9 mph (But held the same speed!)

All in all, the ride felt great. I still managed not to fall, although I had a really hard time getting clipped in at an intersection that was on a hill. My second foot just didn't want to get in there; I'll get the hang of it soon enough!

Finally, I've been slacking on responding to comments, so here goes:

Amy - I'm planning to do a few sprint & olympic triathlons early on in the season, I just haven't made any official yet. I started looking at them, and theres just so many I'll probably pick one the week before it happens.

Jess - Nope, the whole pizza didn't fit on the plate; that would never fill me up!

SLB - Yep, this pedaling system has some float in it so my knees should be safe. Biking is actually something that keeps my knees working right; it worked like a miracle cure when they started bothering me this summer.

Marcy - I think biking helps my running. I made a habit of riding every Monday this summer, and it helped me quite a bit; my legs just felt stronger, especially on hills! And even if that was only in my head, you can't deny that its helping my aerobic fitness.

Christine - I'm in grad school for Computer Science. Be careful with that past tense, I'm far from being done!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Weekly Recap 12/31/07 - 1/6/08

Monday: I put 30 minutes in on the trainer in the basement, and did an ab workout in the afternoon. Fairly low key day until partying it up to bring in the new year!

Tuesday: I was hungover for the majority of the day, but still managed to get out for 4 1/2 miles.

Wednesday: Put in an hour on the trainer in the basement. Swam in the evening and quit early because I was drained. Did an ab workout after resting for a little bit, which tore my lower back apart in a bad way. This was a rough day all in all.

Thursday: Took the day off due to the lower back pains and generally feeling like I'm overtrained from my sharp increase in training.

Friday: Drove back to UK. Did an ab workout in the evening, being careful not to agitate my back again.

Saturday: Ran 5 1/2 miles, my longest distance since the Chicago Marathon! Also went out to buy my clipless pedals & cycling shoes.

Sunday: Ran 4 1/3 miles, then biked 10 miles later in the day. I somehow managed not to fall with my new pedals, but I know its still going to happen!

Total run: 14.42 miles
Total bike: 39.82 miles
Total swim: 0.5 miles (hey, at least its something, right?)

--------------------------------------------------

Not a bad week, although it was a reminder what a sharp increase in training and a poor diet will do to me. These last few days I've been eating really good to make sure I stay healthy, which has me feeling like a million bucks! After running a significant distance two days back to back, I'm really feeling like this hip injury is history! Watch out 2008!

Running, Biking, and Wind, Oh My!

Today has been a pretty busy day, considering the semester doesn't start until Wednesday!

I woke up around 9 and got out for a run. The weather was pretty nice, around 50 degrees, so I ran in shorts for the first time in a while! I know to some of you, that sounds down-right chilly, but let us non-Floridians enjoy it!

This run was at least a little slower than yesterday, but as you can tell by the splits I stopped paying attention to pace for at least a little while:

7:34
7:23
6:52
7:22
2:30 (0.35 miles)

Average pace: 7:17

My hip felt fine throughout the whole run, maybe I'll even be able to forget about it soon? I've ran almost 10 miles in the past two days, which is a first in a long time!

After lunch and a little bit of reading, I got out on the bike; my first ride with clipless pedals! And surprisingly (magically, miraculously, luckily, ...) I didn't fall, not even once! I started the ride by riding around the parking lot practicing starts and stops over and over until I felt confident enough to get out on the roads. I had a few close calls while practicing, but I managed to keep myself, and my bike, upright.

I'm already loving the clipless pedals. Climbing hills is a breeze since I can generate a lot more power going up. Although its using different muscles, so I wore myself out really quick, then turned into the wind, and the last part of the ride was pretty rough. Over time, though, I'll build up those new muscles and learn not to wear myself out in the first couple miles; thats when the real benefit will come!

Bike stats:

Miles: 9.82
Time: 34:52
Avg Speed: 16.9 MPH

Saturday, January 5, 2008

"Easy" Five

I woke up this morning around 9am ready to run. My legs felt fresh after a few days completely off, it was raining, and I was just feeling it. So I went out for what was to be a nice easy 5 1/2 miles; my longest run since October 7th.

The run started and I clocked off the first mile in 7:24, and I decided that was acceptably easy so I stopped paying attention to my Garmin. Then what? Well, here's the splits:

7:24
7:08
7:06
6:52
6:53
3:38 (thats 7:11 pace for 0.51 miles)

Going quick felt amazing and surprisingly effortless. My legs feel the quicker pace a little bit tonight, but not my hip! Its feeling good as new!

After my run I went out to the bike shop to get the death traps for my feet. By that, of course, I mean the clipless pedals for my bike:

The new pedals


The contraption on my shoe that attaches to the pedal

Supposedly, these new gadgets are going to make me able to bike significantly faster. However, they're also going to cause me to fall on my face at some point. I've been practicing getting out of the pedals all night, but I know I'm probably going to topple over when I stop tomorrow! Don't worry, I'll be posting picture of my inevitable injuries!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Sweet Home Kentucky

I made it back to Kentucky in one piece.

Nothing too eventful about the trip, except a gas station that was out of gas. I went to fill up and the gas literally dripped into my tank. After five minutes I had one dollar worth of gas! I noticed lines were actually forming at all the pumps, so I'm assuming that was the case at all the pumps.

Since I was traveling all day, no running or biking happened at all. The plan is to do an ab workout tonight before I hit the sheets, so then I can at least count today worth something!

Tomorrow, though, I'm planning to get out and run 5 miles; the laziness has to come to an end! Also, I'm going to go drop a bunch of money at the bike shop. I'm giving into the suggestion every serious cyclist gives me, and I'm going to get clipless pedals. Supposedly they make pretty much anybody 10% faster just by using them, since you're also pulling up instead of just pushing down.

The only problem is that its really going to increase the chance of me falling on my face. And not only that, when I do fall on my face, I'm going to be going 10% faster when I do it! Don't worry, I'll be sure to post pictures when the inevitable fall eventually happens. Ultimately, though, if I want to be serious about biking I need to get clipless pedals. And in my opinion at least, its better to start developing the technique and muscles for it sooner than later.

In unrelated news, my appetite is still in overdrive from my 2-a-day workouts earlier this week, and I just consumed an entire pizza.

Okay, so I lied a little, I left the burnt crust!

Nic - The prospect of a pacer is making me lean more towards Racine already, even if its not a guarantee!

Nancy - You know, I almost forgot about the bug that was going around my house. I bet you're right, the old immune system was using all my energy to keep it at bay! So far, no symptoms at all other than being tired and I'm away from all the sickies now!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Unscheduled Rest Day

This morning I woke up at 9am with every intent of getting some errands taking care of, running, and heading back to Kentucky. Well, I was pooped. Again.

I got up for a little bit, packed for 30 minutes or so, then went back to bed until 11:30. I'm calling this over training from my really sharp increase in working on this past week or so, and decided just to take today completely off. I still got my errands and packing done, but working out definitely didn't happen at all.

Tomorrow I'm heading back to Kentucky, no matter what. I gotta get back there so I can get my stuff in order before this next semester starts.

I've been looking at my tentative race schedule for 2008, too. I want to do a few half marathons, few sprint triathlons, one marathon, and a half ironman if things all go my way. As always, some spontaneous 5k's will probably appear as long as I stay injury free. Here's the races I'm considering.

02/09/08 - 9 on the 9th - Theres no way I can pass this one up!

04/06/08 - Spirit of St. Louis Half Marathon - Some friends are wanting to run this one, so I'm thinking about heading there to see old friends and tear up the pavement.

04/19/08 - River to River Relay - This was the most fun race I did last year, so I gotta do it again. 8 runners, 80 miles, going mostly non-stop from sunrise to sunset. Its a great way to meet great runners.

05/04/08 - Flying Pig Half Marathon - Everybody is telling me great things about this half marathon. Also, they have a "Pump N' Run" event that looks fun; check it out!

07/20/08 - Spirit of Racine Half Ironman - If I do a half IM, I want it to be late in the summer so I have time to train, but I don't want it to interfere with school. I also want time to do specific training for Chicago. This race just meets those requirements and is fairly close to where I live.

08/10/08 - Greater Cleveland Half Ironman - Same as above, mostly mentioning them due to their logistics.

10/12/08 - Chicago Marathon - I have a bone to pick with this race. I got jipped time-wise last year, and I'm going back to show what I'm made of. Who's with me?!


I'm sure some other races will come up, and some of these will fade away, but I gotta start somewhere and have something to work towards!

Who's ready for a great '08?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I'm Pooped

Tired. Spent. Worn out. Dead. Too pooped to participate!

I think it has been my diet these past few days, or maybe I'm just increasing my volume a little too quickly. But no matter what it is, I'm drained.

This morning I woke up and jumped on the bike trainer for an hour; we'll call it 20 miles because the effort was good. Then I spent most the day being a bum. I had a pizza for lunch and my mom made cheeseburgers for dinner, so I had crap in the tank when I went for my swim tonight.

The game plan was to swim a mile, but after half that I was completely drained. My form was falling apart, each lap was sending my heart rate up to 170+, and my arms were dead. Rather than toughing through it I decided to call it a night and come back another day. Since I'm still trying to get my technique down, swimming half a mile with poor technique would have only done more harm than good. On the bright side, though, I'm glad it isn't injury holding me back this time!

Then I had a super-fun adventure trying to get my registration sticker on my license plate. I followed the directions, but apparently the glue doesn't stick when its around absolute zero outside. So I decided to try out super gluing it to my license plate, and so far so good. Although now I have super glue all over my fingers, and I'm probably going to spend the rest of the night trying to peel it (and my skin) off my hands!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I hope everybody had a fun and safe New Years last night; I know I did!

After I got home this afternoon, on National Hangover Day, I made an attempt at a five mile run; but couldn't quite make it all the way since it was a little colder outside than I thought. I made it about 4 1/2 miles, but the last bit just wasn't happening. I was having similar issues to Steve a few weeks ago, which was nothing I wanted to mess with anymore!

Once I finished I took care of things to make sure there WASN'T any frostbite down there; and luckily it looks like I made it through unscathed! Maybe I could have made it that last half mile without losing anything, but thats one risk I wasn't wanting to take; maybe if I had another layer or two on.

The run really took a lot out of me. Running with a hangover always drains every last bit of energy out of me for the rest of the day, so I'm not surprised. Since the run I've spent the day being a lazy bum watching movies, and its been everything it sounds like it would be.

In my adventures of watching massive amounts of TV, I have a new favorite commercial from Nike:



Nic - I'll think about doing Flying Pig, its not too far from where I live. Its mostly friends who are fairly new to running trying to talk me into doing a race with them, rather than the reputation of the event. Maybe I could do both, who knows?

Nancy - If you want to give my training log a shot, send me an email and I'll get it to ya! My email is TheRelentlessRunner at gmail dot com.