Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekly Recap 04/21/08-04/27/08

Monday: Bike 10 miles, water run, swim 0.25 miles
Tuesday: Bike 10 miles. Chased by dog. Relapse. Swim 0.25
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Swim 0.25 miles

Total bike: 20 miles
Total swim: 0.75 miles


Knee hurts worse today than it has in the past two months. Anything else I say would not fit the theme for this blog so we'll just leave it at that.

Okay, now that I'm less sour about being injured I want to update again. This morning was frustrating. My knee was killing me just walking from my car to the pool; this is the first time my knee has interrupted me from every day activities and it really got under my skin.

Swimming went okay. I busted out the pull buoy again and swam maybe 1/4 to 1/2 of a mile. I wasn't counting. I didn't go any further for fear of hurting my shoulder again from pulling an obscene amount.

After looking at the situation from more of a non-pissed-off point of view, I can see my mistake. A month or so I got some exercises to do from my friend Tracy. I started doing them and after a week or two I could bike & swim again. For some crazy reason, I didn't put the two events together. I stopped doing the exercises.

WHAMO! Relapse!

So the goal for this week is to do those exercises a few times a day to strengthen my knee again. Gotta break out the foam roller again too. No more moping. No more feeling bad for my lame self. I'm getting on top of this NOW! With all these people behind me for Team in Training, I can't afford to screw around and let them all down; people are counting on me this time.

To recap:
  • Foam roller my IT band like crazy
  • Strengthen my knee
  • Ace my finals
  • Then... go brain dead for a week
  • Then... GO TO HAWAII!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Tuesday it was 70 degrees, sunny, class got canceled, and I just got my Garmin back. A million reasons to go ride 10 miles, so I did, just like several times before.

Got out there, kept it easy.

An unfriendly dog started chasing me.

Sprinted to get away.

Now my knee hurts.

See you homies in a while...

Monday, April 21, 2008


I've been a triathlete in training for several months now, but I've never actually submitted myself to doing a brick (bike + run) workout just yet. And, technically, I still haven't. But I'm getting closer.

Today I HAD to take advantage of the beautiful weather. It was a requirement that was written in the stars. I absolutely had to be outside today. Since I just ran on Saturday, the only option was biking. So I hit the bike for 10 miles. Not so much as a peep from my knee; there hasn't been much noise from it lately!

But that wasn't all on the agenda today. I also wanted to get in some water running before class so I headed to the pool with my chlorinated Mizuno's and got to work. So, lets call it a "bwick"!

Judging from the time and his pace, I'm pretty sure I was doing the water running while Bill was tackling the Newton Hills in Boston; I sent him some good thoughts. Once again, not so much as a peep from my knee even after 30 minutes of water running. Right on!

Clock check.

Fifty minutes til class. I'm not tired. I'm in the pool. Conclusion? It's swimming time.

I started swimming, then decided I was feeling good and did 8x50 on a one minute interval (for non swimmers: that means one minute to both swim the 50 and rest). The interval was 5 seconds faster than I did a couple weeks ago, so I'm seeing some improvement. Right on (again)!

All is good in my world for now, even with it being dead week. I get my Garmin back tomorrow. My next run is scheduled for Wednesday; planning 1.5 miles at an easy pace. Will push it to 2 miles this weekend if all goes well.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekly Recap 04/14/08 - 04/20/08

Monday: Swam the broken mile in 31 minutes. I was DEMOLISHED for the rest of the day.

Tuesday: Swam a quarter mile then did 30 minutes of shallow water running.

Wednesday: Biked 10 miles out at Russell Cave.

Thursday: Biked 12 miles around Beaumont Circle, with Team in Training. Swam half a mile. Water ran for 30 minutes. Whew!

Friday: Rest day!

Saturday: Ran one mile!

Sunday: Swam a mile, included the kickboard portion of the workout for the first time in a while.

Total swim: 2.75 miles
Total bike: 22 miles
Total run: 1 mile


I finally feel like I'm getting back on my feet. I'm able to bike and swim normally, although I'm still practicing moderation.

Water running is a go again, too. I was able to run yesterday for a mile on a very soft trail without doing any damage to my knee. It felt great to finally be moving again. Once I got running, I felt like running all day long but limited myself to a mile so I don't cause a relapse (also to prevent my coach from killing me)! Today it feels perfectly normal, although I'm still being extremely, extremely cautious.

Although its feeling better, I feel like (NERD ALERT!) Agent Smith at the end of the third Matrix movie: "Is it over?!" (In the movie, it wasn't over)

The game plan is to start running every other day, with every other run being in the water. So the result will be about 2 real runs a week, and I'll slowly build it up to the point that I can run moderate distances again. I really, really want to be able to run 5 miles by June 8th so I can do my first triathlon up in Michigan with my cousin.

The weather is supposed to be AMAZING this next week, so I'm looking at a few days on the bike just to enjoy the great weather.

Boston is tomorrow. Go Bill, Reid, and Nitmos!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Race Weekend

Lets see what's going on this weekend.

Boston Marathon - Doesn't apply to me, but good luck guys!
River to River Relay - The race I was supposed to run tomorrow
Defender Classic 5K - Ah, thats the ticket!

Except, I'm not running this one. I'm timing it.

See, a few years back I wrote some software to time small 5K races. My dad helps direct a small 5K back in my home town and one year asked if I could make their lives easier. The problem was the manual process (that most small races use) takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Some races don't get results out until 30-45 minutes after the last person finishes.

So, I wrote a little program that just mimics the process. Rather than manually pushing bib numbers and times around, the computer just matches them up and spits out a list of the winners for each age category. Nothing too fancy. But since computers work a heck of a lot faster than us clumsy humans, I get the results printed out the moment the last person finishes. It works great to keep things moving fast, so long as the operator (me) doesn't make any mistakes along the way!

Well, word got out in Lexington that I wrote this program and I'm helping a friend out tomorrow morning by timing his race.

Races are always exciting to me, even when I'm not running them. It's the atmosphere. All the runners. All the goals. All the encouragement. What's not to love about it?

Then, after the race, I get to run.

Me. Running. Can you imagine that? I'm not sure I can.

I picked up new running shoes today just to weed out every possible thing that could have caused my injury. The plan is also to run at a park nearby that has a dirt path. This should really minimize any impact on my knee and get me through this first run back safely!

The knee feels solid, even after yesterday's crazy workouts and walking about 5 miles today.

Tomorrow is the day I'm supposed to come back to running. I can feel it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


No, Jess. I didn't join your team. (Yeah, I went there!)

But I am pooped after a tough night of workouts. Toughest in a while, but you all know thats how I really enjoy it.

Here's the play by play:

At 6:00 I got out to the YMCA we meet at to ride. The weather was B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! Mid 70's. Not a cloud in the sky. A little windy, but nothing to outweigh the perfect weather. I rode 12 miles, practicing a lot with riding with one hand so I can eventually learn to drink while riding. It's a slow process, but I'm making progress! It took every bit of self control I had not to stay out there twice as long.

After that, TNT headed to the pool. Nothing too notable there, but I'm still a bit sore from that mile on Monday. That really kicked me in the butt! I ended up swimming half a mile and stopping because...

It was time to water run! I actually had company this time, which was nice. Another TNT'er, Susan, has a knee injury (skiing accident) and is water running to help build it back up. That lasted about 30 minutes before we called it a night.

All in all that was 2+ hours of working out and although I would have laughed at that a couple months ago, after these past several weeks thats just unheard of!

Hope everybody else is getting to enjoy some great weather! Good luck to Bill, Nitmos & Reid running Boston on Monday, you're gonna ROCK IT!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Step Closer

Today was the test. The test to see if I'm okay to attempt a run.

It's something my coach is a big fan of: water running. But this time it was different than before. This time it was shallow (as opposed to deep) water running, so I was actually putting a limited amount of impact on my knees while doing it.

I ran back and forth in the shallow end (4 feet deep, I think) doing anything I could come up with. Running forwards, backwards, side stepping, cross stepping, electric slide, you name it! I even mixed in some high knees, butt kicks, and hot coals from when I used to run track. The idea was to work as many muscles as possible in order to strengthen up my legs and get them ready to run.

And... I passed the test. I went 30 minutes without so much as a peep from my knee.

Here's the short term game plan, assuming all goes well:

Wednesday - Bike 10 miles in sunny 70 degree weather
Thursday - Same as Wednesday + water running
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Run around the block S-L-O-W-L-Y
Sunday - Swim

Monday, April 14, 2008

Broken Mile

This morning I headed to the pool before class to put in a couple laps. I got there, got changed, grabbed a workout; you know the drill (or do now). Then, once again, coach stopped me and said thats not my workout today. Today I got to do her fabled "Broken Mile*"

The Broken Mile consists of 11 lengths, then 10, 9, 8, down to 1. Fifteen seconds rest between each of them; enough to take a short break but not really enough to catch your breathe.

I had never swam that far with that little rest, but I figured it was doable, so I went at it. I warmed up 100 yards (to make sure I swam a real mile today) then got going.

Thirty-three minutes and thirty seconds later I stopped. Then found out I get to subtract the rest off to predict my mile time and BAM!

31 minutes!

I won't be setting any records any time soon, but its a lot better than I (or she) expected. Afterwards I'm pretty sore. I had a few muscles cramp up afterwards and my right shoulder is hurting a little; although I'm still really hoping this is a good hurt, and not the bad hurt from a couple weeks ago.

It was a rewarding workout, and I plan to do it again in the future just to see how low I can go. Its approximately the distance I'll be racing in triathlons all summer too, so hopefully if I can get good at it in the pool I'll be ready to rock when races roll around!

* This is referring to a swimmers mile (1650 yards), not a real mile (1760 yards).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekly Recap 04/07/08 - 04/13/08

Monday: Headed out to Russell Cave and biked a little under 10 miles. Felt great to move, knee spoke up very slightly but I might have been listening too hard.

Tuesday: Knee felt great today, went to the pool to swim. Swam normally. Knee is starting to shape up!

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Biked around 10 miles at Beaumont Circle.

Friday: Swam before class, including 800 yards nonstop, without the pull buoy!

Saturday: Rest day, volunteered at the Master's swim meet

Sunday: Biked 45 minutes on my trainer (lets call it 12 miles).

Total swim: 1.5 miles
Total bike: 31.75 miles


Well well, things are finally starting to shape up. As long as I do everything in moderation, I think I'm in the clear with this knee. I stuck to the plan Eric gave me after fitting me to my bike, and so far it has been working without causing too much flare up in the right knee.

Saturday I decided to go help out at the Master's swim meet University of Kentucky hosts. I think I caught the bug. I'm pretty competitive (big surprise, I hope nobody fell out of their chairs on that one!) so just seeing the meet got me thinking "hm, I wonder how hard I'd have to work to get to that level?" And, to be honest, I may just find out over the next year or so.

In other news, I finally sent in my busted Garmin to get fixed. Bout time, huh? I went and picked up a trainer for my bike for days that the weather sucks, too. Ended up getting $40 off since I'm with Team in Training, not bad! And although it's pretty noisy, I talked to the guy that lives below me and he doesn't seem to mind too much; he said it sounded like I was drilling a hole in the floor for 45 minutes though!

This next week should, hopefully, be a repeat of this one. Except one thing. The one thing thats been missing. Wednesday, if I can get permission from my coach, I'm gonna go ahead and attempt another run around the block and see how the knee responds. It's been four weeks since I've ran at all, and six weeks since I've run anything significant, ugh! I'm really hoping to break that streak soon, but if not, biking and swimming will have to keep me sane (that term is relative).

Hope everyone had a great week!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Keeping my yap shut!

Today I got out on the bike again for 10 miles. Damn does it feel good to move! Maybe even too good, judging from the numbers I saw early in my workout.

Yesterday I posted all about keeping it under control. Reigning it in. Stop pushing so hard and spend the next several months staying aerobic. Today at the start of my workout, I caught myself doing the exact opposite just because it felt good. My heart rate was constantly pushing 160 and approached 170 into the wind or going up hills.

I was pushing too hard already. Begging for a relapse a day after setting my goals!

I started watching my heart rate meticulously to try and keep it under control, trying to make an effort to use less effort. No matter what, though, just trying to try less wasn't working for me.

Then, I figured it out. It was simple. I gotta keep my yap shut!

By just breathing through my nose, my legs don't have enough oxygen to push too hard. My heart rate immediately fell to 150 and stayed there. Whenever it got back up towards 160, I couldn't sustain the effort while breathing through my nose.

So, theres the trick to me staying aerobic, and healthy. I don't need a heart rate monitor to tell me. I don't need numbers. As long as I know how to listen, my body can tell me exactly when I'm in the right zone.

Post ride my knee is feeling good. I even jogged across the parking lot at the YMCA and it felt healthy. So long as I'm patient and can keep my yap shut during workouts for the next couple months, I might just be able to build back up injury free!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Game Plan

Two of my favorite runners (if you read this, you're one of my favorites) over at Runner's Lounge are having Take It and Run Thursday once again. This week's topic applies to what has been on my mind lately: training plans.

My main plan for the foreseeable future is "don't over do it!" Big surprise, huh? An injured athlete doesn't want to over do it. But thats my plan and I'm sticking to it. For a while.

I am going to keep the effort on workouts fairly easy. I'm going to live in a world somewhere in between the edge of over training and half-assing it. Normally, I teeter on the edge of over training. Honestly, thats how I like to be. Right on the edge, improving as fast as I possibly can.

But then I inevitably crash. Every time. Thats not where I like to be.

I'm taking a page out of Chuckie V's book and I'm going to go by it this time. I knew it was a good idea before, but I didn't have the patience to do it; as a result, I got injured. Through the end of July I am going to stay away from any anaerobic exercise. None of it. My average heart rate for each workout will be between 150 and 165, with anything above 160 being rare, and anything over 165 being forbidden.

My goal is to be able to live healthy while training. If I want to run to the pool, I want to feel as though I can do it without teetering over that edge of over training.

"But Doug," you say, "won't that slow you down?"

Nope. It won't, unless you're only looking at my 5k time, it will make me better. It will make me stronger because my one limiting factor lately has been injury. Until I can eliminate injury, there's nothing I can do to improve fitness over the course of time. This sporadic training is not going to make me faster in the long run, and backing off from the edge will help me control that variable.

Once August rolls around, I'm going to start incorporating limited anaerobic workouts into my schedule. Starting with very few fast miles and building up through August and September. This should get me in shape to run well at Chicago, but at this point I haven't even ran for a month so I'm going to keep that on the back burner. Let's just say I'm considering backing off my goal at Chicago to 3:10 and shooting for sub 3 at Boston, because I want nothing more than to run Boston with Nic, Bill, Reid, and Nitmos in 2009!

In summary, here's my long term training plan:

April - July: Slow build in all three sports, all aerobic base building. Half ironman at end of July.

August - September: Change focus back to running, and begin limited anaerobic workouts

October: Taper, Chicago Marathon, Recover

November - April: Train for Boston, maintain base in swimming and biking. Maybe use a bastardization of the FIRST training plan to incorporate a lot of cross training.

April - September: Train for something I dare not utter until I complete half of one first.

Well, theres the plan. I guess I better get to it, huh?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Problem with Swimming

This time when I have a problem, it has nothing to do with any of my joints or muscles; no worries!

I learned something at the pool today that blew my mind. Let me crunch some numbers for you.

1 mile is 1600 meters, you could call it 1.6k if you want to (maybe thats what they would call it in Canada, but you'll never hear me say "I just ran 12 kilometers eh?" (Take that Canadian!) ) Everybody knows this (or does now). Junior high kids know this.

Also, at one point you all knew that a mile is also 1760 yards. I remember this because in The Perfect Mile, they sometimes measured a track in yards and it was 440 yards. 440 yards times 4 is 1760 yards. A mile is 1760 yards no matter how you dice it. No matter freaking what.

Unless you're swimming in a pool (open water is different).

In a pool, they call 1650 yards a mile. Thats weird, because I call 1650 yards 0.9375 miles. I don't get it. Anybody have some answers for me? Are swimmers just slackers and 93% of a mile is good enough?

Anyhoo, thats the end of that rant. I'm still calling 1750 yards a mile because I'm no slacker!

After my first time out on the bike post-injury, I was a little worried today when I woke up. I thought maybe I'd over done it, just by going out there. Maybe I'd put my feet on the floor and feel pain shoot through my knee.

Nope. No shooting pain.

Walking felt 100% fine today, and I did a lot of it, about 7 miles, since I had to be all over campus. Then tonight, swimming was fine. Swimming normally, without the pull buoy. Even swimming intervals. Shoulder felt good too. Hells yes!

I'm taking it easy tomorrow, biking Thursday, and swimming Friday. This weekend will be played by ear a little bit, but I'm planning to up the distance on the bike by a few miles; nothing huge. If that goes good, I get to ease back into what I really miss: running.

Thats all I got today. Glad you guys like the new design and aren't going to shun me, except for our (not-so!) favorite cheese head!

Monday, April 7, 2008


My new design is live.

What do you think? Are the runners among you going to betray me?

Your Move, Knee

Sunny: Check
60 degrees: Check
10 miles on the bike: Check

Your move, knee.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weekly Recap 03/31/08 - 04/06/08

Monday: Pushed through the wall during my swim. Great sense of accomplishment, but....

Tuesday: Right shoulder hurt bad, took it easy.

Wednesday-Saturday: Ditto.

Sunday: Swam in the morning, got fit for my bike in the evening. Right shoulder is better and knee is really shaping up!

Total swim: 1.5 miles

Resting heart rate: 65


A few days ago, I was frustrated. You might have been able to feel the bad vibes from where you're at, I wouldn't be surprised. However, today things turned right around!

Yesterday, my shoulder was feeling back to normal. But I woke up today to it being a little bit sore again. However, I was going to the pool.

No. Matter. What.

Even if I was going to get in the pool, cringe in pain for a lap, and get out, I had to try. So, I went to the pool. I was nervous about getting in, because who knew what was going to happen once I started working my shoulder. But I got in and I got it done.

It felt good. Know why? Because in my haze of worrying about my shoulder, I forgot I need to use the pull buoy to salvage my knee. I got in, and I swam normally. My knee didn't speak up. Let me reiterate that: my busted knee no longer yells at me when I use it.

I didn't push myself AT ALL today. In fact, most of the time I was just doing 50 yards and stopping. I did 100 once. But it felt easy. Just as easy, if not easier, than using the pull buoy. So all that pulling translated over to real swimming, thankfully!

Fast forward to this evening. I got fit for my bike, which I've been meaning to do for a couple weeks now. Eric moved my seat forward and adjusted my cleats too. I rode for a while on the trainer while he watched my form. He took videos to send to a friend of his who fits people professionally, too.

After being fit, I went for a ride around the block. Normally, this wouldn't be a big thing at all, but this is the first time I've moved my body at faster than a walk in the last month. It felt so. damn. good to zip down the street again, whether its by foot or by bike!

Tomorrow, I hit the bike for 10 miles. Nice and easy. No pushing it. Just enough to nudge the knee back into working order. If biking goes good this week, then running resumes next week.

Finally, thanks to E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. for all your encouraging words the past couple weeks. It means a lot. I really, really appreciate it.

Friday, April 4, 2008


A few months ago Chuckie V had a post classifying individuals based on two properties: motivation and ability. The four categories and their results are, essentially, as follows:

  1. Ability and motivation = champion
  2. Ability but no motivation = frustrated coach
  3. No ability but high motivation = frustrated athlete
  4. No ability and no motivation = couch potatoes, smokers, alcoholics, etc

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I fall into category three lately. Motivated as hell, but my body just doesn't cooperate. Now, I'm not saying I lack talent. I know I have talent when it comes to running and even biking and swimming are shaping up recently. However during the last seven months, I've been injured for five of them.

This = frustrated athlete.

Big time.

Especially right now with spring coming around. We're having days where its 60 degrees and sunny. All the fair weather runners are even coming out, and I can't take advantage of it. I'm glad they're out there, I like seeing healthy people do what they enjoy, but to say I'm not jealous would be a flat out lie.

Lately, my knee has been shaping up a little bit. It's feeling halfway like a normal knee. This week I was going to start swimming without the pull buoy again, just to test things out before I go and pound my knee on the pavement.

Except, I couldn't.

I woke up Tuesday with a sore shoulder. It hurt pretty bad to lift my arm so my elbow is above my shoulder, kind of like a tendon is rubbing on a bone during the motion. I was hoping for it to heal up quick, but apparently my body isn't into that in 2008.

So right now, I'm flat out gimped. Can't run. Can't bike. Can't swim.

I swear, I'll be consistently upbeat again someday. Eventually. Until then, someone's gotta go run for me. Go get 'em Nancy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mental Toughness

My motto lately has been "uncomfortable never hurt anyone." Its a good motto for me, especially at the pool. With swimming, for the longest time I had always erred on the side of caution. I didn't have confidence yet, at least not like I do with running.

But thats been changing these past couple weeks, in case you couldn't tell. Now, I know what it feels like to have lactic acid build up in my arms. I know when I'm actually pushing too hard, and need to slow down and recover. I know that to get better, I have to push a little. I know I'm not going to drown. I know uncomfortable never hurt anyone, but pushing through discomfort sure can make the difference.

Today's swim wasn't planned to be remarkable. In fact, looking at the numbers it is anything but remarkable. I swam a mile, as usual. I didn't swim more than 400 yards at a time, less than usual. I swam part kind of fast, but that isn't what made today stand out.

I got in the pool today, swam my first 400 and my arms were shot. Especially my triceps. My God, my triceps. I kept going at it, because thats all I know how to do. Around 1000 yards, my arms were demolished.

I took a short break after that, stretched out and what not. I got back in, swam another 100 and thought about quitting for the day. I came up with a dozen excuses. They were all logically sound in my head. I could leave early almost feeling like I had a reason, and not an excuse.

But... I couldn't do it. I couldn't consciously make the decision to get out of the pool. What would I do? Sit around for 20 minutes before class started because I couldn't finish a workout? Yeah, I can't do that to myself. That would be like putting myself in time out to think about what I'd done. That was a no go.

So I swam. I counted down the yards. I took more rest than I have in several days. But damnit, I finished my workout and nobody can take that away now. Not even me.

Count it!