Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rock Out With Your Workout Out

March 31, 2009 -

I imagine working out doesn't always look graceful. Some days you just have to get in there grind and crank and get the job done. That's exactly what I did today. I swam this morning....and I swam fast. I'm sure to others it may have resembled some happy walrus splashing around, but to me....I was just flying, swimming as hard as I could, and I had a great swim!

Then I had a bike. This as well could have been interpreted by spectators as some crazy twitching sweat bomb going off for an hour an half. To me, I was spinning fast, working hard, rocking out and in the zone.

When I workout something switches on and my intensity level just kicks. I just don't know how to take it easy, go slow, or slack through a workout. I'm always pushing, trying to go faster, further or do more than I have done. This is how I get a sense of accomplishment and achievement from my workouts, and hopefully....this strategy pays off for Ironman.

Even if it doesn't look all that spectacular to the onlooker.

Day 90 Training Log - Today I had a 1500 yard speed swim and a 90 minute bike ride. I hit the pool this morning and just worked hard. I swam until my lungs were bursting and it not only felt good, but it also got better as the swim got a little further. I went back to the gym this afternoon to hit the stationary bike because I could not bring myself to get out in that rain and wind. The weather here in Seattle has been sucking so bad the last couple weeks. Rain, wind, cold...repeat. Anyway, rather than hard intervals today I did speed intervals on medium gears. This was sweet, I was alternating riding fast, and riding all out. I was listening to my tunes, laying down on the bars and just cranking out in the zone. Oh...and sweating ridiculously.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Ladder - Start Week 12

March 30, 2009 -

Today I had a "ladder" swim. It is a progression of yards that starts at the highest and decreases 25 yards each set. It got me thinking of my more wild-n-crazy college days about a different kind of ladder. Same concept but with beer and no swimming. This ladder was much more fun. It's quite amusing to me how things change as you grow up just like that. What was the ladder then was crazy and fun.

The ladder now is a hard swim and mentally challenging. Or, it is expensive and used for home repairs. It seems as though the ladders of today carry more responsibility and physical exertion than the days of old.

Funny thing that responsibility.

Day 89 Training Log - today was a 3150 yard swim today with a 4 x 250 (swim, kick, pull, swim) warm-up, then a 1950 ladder and a 200 cool-down. Oddly, I have five swims this week and am trying to rearrange my training schedule to work around a trip to Richmond Virginia this Thursday to Saturday. I have two days that are swim-only days and have found a pool out there so I will swim two days there and take the third as my day off. Hopefully this works best and I don't miss any training. I also took a 30 minute run with mixed sprints today so Thursday all I have is the swim when I get into Richmond. The ladder started at 300, then 225, 250 and so on until 25. It was pretty cool, I enjoyed the short burst segments. I hit my 30 minute run at the end of the workday. It was dry all day today (still cloudy and gloomy), and the second I headed out the door to run the wind picked up, the sky turned darker and it started raining hard. BAH! Why does the weather hate my training so much? I ran 4.10 miles in 30 minutes and added in 5 one-minute sprints with no recovery (one every five minutes). I believe most people refer to these mixed sprints as fartleks (hilarious name for such hard work). My legs are toasted between that and the run yesterday.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Game Face

March 29, 2009 -

Today I had a long run and my legs took me on a roller coaster ride. They were really strong, then suck, then strong, then lethargic, then fast. I decided that I had to run thought it and be strong regardless of how my legs were feeling as I'm sure that is a discipline I will need for Ironman.

It was 37 degrees and sunny this morning and a little windy....but dry, and that's all that mattered. But there was a point a few miles into the run when I could feel my legs taking off on this roller coaster ride, that I had to tell them to "put their game face on."

When I'm working out I like to be intense. I like to be like Michael Jordan when he was furious. The best and most fierce competitor on the planet. When I am training I want people to see me as that.

Today when I told my legs to "put their game face on" I decided to ignore any roller coaster low points and just run it out. I turned it up in the low points and turned up higher when I was on top. Anyone that saw me had to think I was a ferocious pitbull, or better yet a modern day T-Rex feeding on speed and pavement and any little joggers who got in my way.

I didn't quite run as fast as I wanted today, but had a great run.

Day 88 Training Log - Today was a 90 minute run, which I did 45 minutes straight out from my house and then back. The funny thing is that 45 minutes took me out through Kirkland along the waterfront, past the marinas as usual. Then, up through Bellevue past the mall. What's funny about that is we have driven there so many times since we have lived here and it always seems like so far, like such a burden to get there through the traffic......unless you just run there! The only lag in this run is it had about 4 miles of uphill. Two miles were fairly steep hills and two miles were gradual. In that 90 minutes I hit 11.61 miles for a 7:45 pace. I'll make sure to hit it faster next time.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Unkown

March 28, 2009 -

Venture into the unknown of first time full length Ironman racing.

Universal Sports
has been replaying some classic Ironman World Championships recently and I try to catch them whenever they are on for the extra motivation they provide. I love to watch all the different backgrounds, stories and experiences.

It always gets me thinking though...what will my experience be? How will I tell my Ironman story? Will I get clobbered in the swim, deal with flats on the bike, suffer through cramps and muscles giving out on the run? Will it take me hours longer than I anticipate? Will I recover right after to celebrate, or be out of it? Or...will it go exactly as planned? Will I coast through each of the legs in my expected times finishing with a huge smile on my face and a great celebration?

For a first time Ironman participant these are the questions. It is all that unknown, which serves as the self conversation of many lonely runs, rides and swims. I have gone over every part of the race from start to finish in my mind and how I think it will go, and what can go wrong. I'm constantly envisioning that glorious finish in my mind, which has provided the motivation at many different times during training.

I am almost three months down now with a month of conditioning and two months of actual training and can't imiagine what the next two and a half months will bring as I wrestle this mental battle that is....the unkown.

Day 87 Training Log - Yesterday was actually supposed to be my day off, but I prefer to have one off on the weekend so I moved Saturday's workout to Friday. I had also planned on moving Sunday's workout to today and taking Sunday off, but again today is cold and very rainy. I am deffinitely not motivated by that. I will get my run in tomorrow as planned and today.....I'm off.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blame It On The Rain

March 27, 2009 -

I've been avoiding the rain when it comes to biking for a bit now, but today was the day I changed that because waiting for a day to not rain in Seattle in the Spring, would have me never training outside. I knew yesterday that I was going to bike outside no matter what. I've been using the trainer as an easy-out when I don't feel like braving the elements....more specifically, the rain.

I wonder however, if because of that I'm not getting as strong on the bike as I need to. I had a long bike today and this morning it was 45 degrees, cloudy, and dry....perfect....let's do this.

I gear up, pump the tires, fill the water bottle and head out the door....and....rain. But what would some rain be without some sweet wind too? Whatever, still hit it and I wasn't going for any leisurely roll today. I cranked it hard for the first hour. I hit 19.8mph which was a pretty impressive speed considering a spattering of hills, rain and a huge headwind on the back half.

On the second hour I had hill focus which slowed the pace back down. There were a couple times on the downhills that the wind gusts were actually blowing my bike over, it was a balancing act for sure.

Solid day on the bike though, I was pumped to know that my pace has increased 2 mph from the last time I did that ride and my legs weren't even spent. I hit the pool after for a strong swim!

Day 86 Training Log - Today I had a two hour bike and a 1000 continuous swim. It was actually supposed to be my first open-water swim of the season, but there is no where around here that is even remotely warm enough for that. My ride was strong and I saw definite improvement on the bike however it was cold. I was freezing for awhile afterward. For the 1000 yard continuous swim, I hit the pool and just cranked, no stops, and med-fast pace. I finished the swim about 3 minutes faster than my usual pace so that was a sweet improvement too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What I Used To Do

March 26, 2009 -

I finally got to the bank today to deposit a check I have been holding on to for over a month. It got me thinking about all the things I used to do, prior to Ironman training, without thinking about the time they took.

Things like going to the dry cleaners, the bank, and getting a haircut. Even dropping off UPS, making long overdue phone calls, and getting a carwash have been put on the back burner. I just realized I actually had my dry cleaning bag in my car for a month before I dropped it off and my clean clothes have been there for like two weeks now.

I really want to get to these things, but they have been ousted by the training and recovery time. When I get up early for workouts it sets me back a little in the morning and I have been using my lunch hour plus some in the middle of the day for the other workouts. This sets my afternoons back a little. So, after two workouts, showers, food, and hydration, my motivation to accomplish these minor feats is silenced.

I will just make a list of 5 to 10 minute errands I would like to do, then I will get to in July.

Day 85 Training Log - Today I had a 45 minute run and a 2400 yard swim. It was a great day for these workouts. I just felt strong and fast. I got out this morning for the run in 37 degrees and sunshine and after about 15 minutes of getting warm my legs started talking to me. They say "yo daddy lets do this." Then I say "yeah you little thoroughbreds, lets get it on." And then I proceeded to cook. I didn't have my Garmin today, but I'm positive I ran at least three sub-seven miles and beat 6 miles for that run. Sweet. Then this afternoon I hit the pool for 2400, which was 2 x each of 300 free, 300 kick, 300 free, 300 pull. Outside of the 600 kick, everything else was great, fast, and in good form. The kicks though, they always get me. Oh well, I'll 0wn them eventually.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Put Some Stank On It

March 25, 2009 -

Ah the joy of the double meaning blog title. Yes, today I worked it out hard thus adding an extra dose of stank to an otherwise mild workout....and yes, today I stunk.

What the hell is up with my training clothes. I'm guessing after a few years of hundreds of sweaty workouts, my favorite 10 or so workout shirts are expired. I am not a stinky person, not one who gets BO or foot odor, so you can imagine it's curious that BO was surrounding me today.

I have been starting to notice that once a single drop of sweat hits these "expired" shirts, it must activate something in the fabric that ignites odor screaming to me...."hey man, enough already." To which I say back, "shut up workout gear is expensive." After the surmounting and seemingly constantly accumulating costs of Ironman and its training, something so small as a new round of Under Armour shirts (the cotton blend ones are my favorite to workout in) seems like an expense I don't want to incur.

But what say you people surrounding my stanky, schwetty mess today? Will I be shunned from my peers and labeled as "that stinky stanky guy" that no one want's to work out next to?

Neigh, I will not be that person. I will get the shirts. But I will mind the economy and our financial tightness and buy a new off-brand, exactly the same. And I will buy it at wholesale cost from a buddy who can do that, and these new shirts will cost me $4 rather than $22.

So take that overpriced workout shirts, and shove off you stink bomb shirts that apparently have a life-span.

Today, I am the winner of this fight.

Day 84 Training Log - On the dockett today was a 60 minute bike and a 1150 "recovery" swim. Not sure what I was recovering from as I haven't been in the pool since Friday, but whatever. I am starting to enjoy the thought of this recovery week with its shortened workouts. I can workout harder for a shorter time and be done with it. No dreading the long workouts on multiple days in a row......this week anyway. Back to the real work of Ironman training next week. So I avoided the wind and rain again today mounting up on the stationary bike with the same interval training as yesterday. Today however, I put some stank on it and cranked out an additional 1.5 miles and extra 80 calories burned....which almost killed me. It is not easy to "crank" out a ton harder on already hard, seated resistance intervals. Then to the pool for a quicky (that's what she said). I hit 5 x 200 fast and a 150 cool down....and that was it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Work Out! Sucka

March 24, 2009 -

What's with this social experiment called the gym. Why does the gym attract hordes of dudes and chicks that are just there to check themselves out in the mirrors, flex a lot, show of their favorite tight clothes and seek out their next dating partner?

What about all the people at the gym that go there for its intended purpose. To work hard, sweat, and get healthy. Why must we be subjected to this gym subculture of people that never seem to do anything but walk around, talk a lot, and fix their hair?

Mr. T says "I pity you fool."

It totally drives me nuts. Pick-up a weight, actually run on a treadmill, and leave your hair alone because you are not awesome. If this proves to be too much, then for the sake of everyone else..... loiter somewhere else please.


For everyone else, enjoy your gym, your sweat, and your accomplishments.

Day 83 Training Log - Today I had a 60 minute bike and a 30 minute run. I came to work totally prepared to bike and run outside. However, we are in the middle of this typical Seattle springtime weather which is grey, rainy and windy in the morning and then usually by mid afternoon it calms down and clears up. I decided not to head out into the rain today but to hit the gym hence my observations above. I hit interval resistance training on the bike for an hour and then 30 minutes at medium pace on the treadmil. Today was deffinitely schwetty; must have saved up extra from that day off yesterday.

Monday, March 23, 2009

So Happy Together - Start Week 13

March 23, 2009 -

Dear Sweet Ironman Training,

Imagine me and you and you and me, no matter how they toss the dice, it has to be, the only one for me is you, and you for me, so happy together.



This was a special request and dedication from my stupid brain (not my sore body), to my Ironman training. Am I addicted to working out or what? It is my much needed day off from 18 straight days of hard training and all I can think about is getting back at it. When did one day become too long of a pardon from this Ironman sentence?

Oh well. My body is very grateful for the time off and the recovery break. Also, my to-do list got shorter today. I had the opportunity to knock out like 10 things I had wanted to get to, but am usually training so never had the time.


Day 82 Training Log - Today I slept in til almost 7:30a and instead of some oatmeal or egg whites with brown rice and ground turkey, I fed out on a huge bowl of sugar cereal. I didn't pack a gym bag, and I didn't have to do any planning whatsoever as to my workout schedule or plan for today. That also....was very cool. I'm so loungin.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What The Shizzle Drizzle

March 22, 2009 -

Seattle springtime. That means that constant grey with sunbreaks and always the drizzle, mist, spit, whatever you want to call it. Headed out on a run today that started sunny, then got grey, then drizzled, then got sunny and rained, then went back to grey and drizzle for the remainder. Oh well, at least it was 45, and now most days will be up to mid to high 50's.

What I really wanted to get to was my day off tomorrow!!! It is my first day off in 18 days and after two consecutive 18 hour training weeks. I need this one. I have started to notice in the last week that my legs have this continual fatigue from day to day which is slowing my pace down. Also, I have creeks, cranks, and cracks in places that just can't seem to go away.

Not only do I have tomorrow off, but next week is a recovery week with shorter workouts and an additional day off. It's perfect timing as my body is right to the point where this had to happen. And, I'm gonna enjoy it, recover, and then get ready for another phase of training.


Day 81 Training Log - Today I had an hour run and an hour bike. My run ended up being almost 7 and a half miles at an 8:12 pace, which is a little slow, but my legs were tired. That last mile uphill worked me a little more than usual. Also, followed the run with some bike time, but I was too chilled after that run to head outside, so I hit the trainer. I did all big ring work with fast spinning and four 5-minute hard gear seated resistance intervals. And then...the sweet glory of rest.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Two's A Crowd

March 21, 2009 -

Had a long bike and short run brick today, same as last Saturday, which I wasn't looking forward to. However, my training partner came over and we cranked it out. It is amazing how much faster and better the workouts go with some company.

We talk trash to each other, shoot the breeze, complain a little, and then it's over. I figure during my race I will have to just make some friends. Find some lagging people who want to hang out and just bang through all the miles.

The benefit of a training partner is that, instead of fighting your brain on issues such as level of tiredness, chaffing, nutrition, time left etc., you are forgetting all that for the most part and just hanging out with a buddy. Plus I think we like to get a little competitive with each other which always drives the other person to work harder.

Way to go special little training buddy....I will most likely beat you in the race, but I appreciate the training company.

Day 80 Training Log - So today was a 3 hour bike and a 30 minute run. My buddy Marcus came over at 8a this morning and it was still 35 degrees out so we hit the trainer. I was building a mix of big ring fast spinning and higher gear resistance work. After two hours on the trainers we decided to head outside for the last hour. It was still only 40 degrees but I had to get out of the garage. We did an hour loop that had some really great hill work. There was a 3 mile gradual grade and a another two mile steeper grade, and then of course, the downhills that go with that. Which, but he way, we froze our tails off coming down. After the ride we swapped biking shoes for running shoes and hit the trail. We were running about an 8 minute pace except for a couple big, steep hills that slowed us down a little. After we were done, we stretched it out a little bit and I was feeling pretty solid. Much better than last week's same workout.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Longest Yard

March 20, 2009 -

Wow, only a swim today but every yard, was the longest yard. Every lap today seemed to be difficult. My body is tired, my legs were sore, and my shoulders are achy. I have been on for 16 days straight of some heavy training. With two more long training days to go until my much needed day off, I am trying to stay tough.

I was at fight club today in the pool with my brain trying not to focus on the fact my body is tired and my swim was seemingly taking forever. I was just focusing on swimming the best I could and getting it done. Oh, and the number one rule of pool/brain fight club....you don't talk about pool/brain fight club....duh.

Eventually, the swim ended and thus my training for today. I have really been focusing on supplements, quick recovery, and stretching so I can stay on top of this training with minimal impact. I'm really looking forward to next week, which is a recovery week including two days off! It will me a good week to enjoy (and train hard) on shorter workouts and enjoy the days off.

Until then, I prepare to grind through two more hard workouts, and rocking each of them. What's up now Ironman, you don't have me yet.

Day 79 Training Log - Today was a 2450 swim, which was a 2 x 150 warm-up, a 4 x 500 main swim and a 150 cool down. The wondrously endless swim somehow ended as quickly as it began however, getting to that end was another story.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hello Clarice

March 19, 2009 -

So today I was Clarice and Ironman training was my Hannibal. I was this smart, well trained, prepared athlete and the training was this deceiving, brilliant monster waiting for me to let my guard down so it could eat me with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

But neigh.....

I win.....barely.

I had a long workout today, a speed swim and a long run. In fact, it was my longest run since my last marathon, which was....geesh...like four or five years ago. I have run tons of half's since, but I forgot what starts to happen to your legs after 13 miles, after a speed swim, the day after hill repeats, two days after an hour run and a two hour bike etc....

Wa wa wa wa call the wambulance I know.

What I'm saying is today was a mentally challenging day, and my legs are feeling it now...but I finished it, came out ahead, and ate today's Ironman training up before it ate me.

Day 78 Training Log - So today was a 2500 yard speed day at the pool and a 2 hour run. The swim was a 350 warm-up with the last 50 in every hundred as kick, then the main swim was 10 x 200 EBEH (50 each of easy, build, easy, hard). This was challenging for me. The easy's were no problem, but the 50 yards of build and 50 yards of hard ten times was tough. Then, I finished with 6 x 25 cool down. Then I hit the trail for my two hour run. I was pretty cool until about 11 miles and then I felt my legs start to turn. I just grinded through the last four and ended at 2:05 with 15 miles at an 8:20 pace. It's funny because as I think these workouts may be hard at the time, I push myself to new levels and then the workouts are over just like that...and I am happy to be elevated to this new place. See you at the finish line.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Steep Is As Steep Does

March 18, 2009 -

I was Forrest Gump today on the bike. That is the only reason I can think of that I would voluntarily throw in six, steep, half-mile hill repeats into my 90 minute bike ride. I found this ride that heads out on moderate hills for 10 or so miles and then stops. Where is stops however, it empties onto a street that has a steep half-mile hill.

I have been hearing about the importance of adding hill repeats into the training and getting more nervous about the hills at Wildflower (an unofficial 70.3 famed for its difficult hills, which I am doing as a training race in May), so I thought I should get busy.

First time up I stayed seated a little over half way up and then had to stand-up and crank a bit. Second, third, fourth, and fifth time up I was stronger each time and stayed seated longer each time making almost all the way seated.

I thought the sixth time up would prove to be the one, but instead, it proved to me that my legs were dead. Hills are like a box of chocolates, you never know which one is gonna suck. For me it was six. I had to stand up similar to the first one, a little over half way. I cranked it out and then headed the 10 miles back.

Day 77 Training Log - 90 minute bike ride today turned into a hill repeat workout. All in all, a great ride. It was so nice being outside. I feel like I forgot how freeing it is to be hauling on your bike outdoors. I have been trapped inside too long. It was 50 degrees, kinda windy/kinda sunny, and all good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thunder Thighs

March 17, 2009 -

I'm still struggling with this totally lame weather here in Seattle. It has been below normal cold, very windy, and rainy. Typically by mid to late afternoon it warms up and becomes decent for outdoor workouts, but this is not a time I can get out to workout. I need it nice in the morning....bah!

I had a run/bike today and could not build the motivation to bike outdoors in the wind and rain so I hit the gym. I did two hours on a stationary bike at six minute seated resistance intervals of med-hard to hard. WOW! I have never sweated so much in my life. Every article of clothing was dripping wet including my towel and the floor surrounding my bike.

It was just lil 'ol me, Mr. Thunder-thighs cranking away for two hours oblivious to anything around me or the fact that I was just sweating everywhere and ruining my legs. I got off the bike and weeble-wobbled my way down stairs and into the locker room...I was worked.

It took the 'ol leggers a bit to get it together.

Day 76 Training Log - I had a 50 minute run today and a 2 hour bike. I hit the run outside this morning and the weather blew, but the run was nice. I ran in a mixture of rain, wind and sun in 39 degrees. It ended up at 52 minutes as I just ran all over town, no real route, which was cool actually. Then to the gym for two hours of resistance work on the stationary bike. After that, I had to help the Irish celebrate their beloved holiday.

Monday, March 16, 2009

We Got A Floater Here - Start Week 14

March 16, 2009 -

Just as I broke the 3500 yard, two-mile milestone last Friday; I crushed it again today. Today I just beat up the pool putting in 4000 yards which is 2.27 miles. Just an eek away from the Ironman swim distance. Sweet.

Something else I found out today....I'm a floater. My body, it floats as I swim. Breaking news I know, but this wasn't always the case. It used to be that my legs would sink, or my wobbly body would be dropping down as I was trying to get my stroke right. Not today though. I was swimming along noticing my body gliding along and floating nicely, not ever sinking. Sweet.

The swim itself was long, but fortunately it was broken up making it not so monotonous. Before I knew it, I was done. It was especially cool that I never felt too tired or out of breath. It was a strong swim and I maintained consistent good form throughout (good form for me). Sweet.

Day 75 Training Log - So the longest swim to date today at 4000 yards. It broke down to a 4 x 75 warm-up. Then, the main was 500 swim, 500 kick (which blew), 500 pull, 500 swim and then 15 x 100 EBEH (easy, build, easy, hard). Finished with a 200 cool down and found out I was starving my face off so I strapped on the food-bong and was much better. I was definitely drained a for about an hour afterward, which got me thinking, that was only stage one of the race and it's the easiest stage. Sweet.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

That's Not Lemondae

March 15, 2009 -

So I went to the pool at the gym today and grabbed a lane at the tail end of "family swim." This was a first for me as I usually get my swims done in the afternoons during the week. I have to say the water was a little murky today. It had this cloudy yellowish tint that I have not seen there to date. Gross.

I was swimming my laps thinking....am I just drinking up pee right now? Oh well, small sacrifice for Ironman. Plus I saw that guy on "Man Vs. Wild" drink his own pee to survive in the dessert....so it's gotta be fine.

Also, if you're a reader of this blog, you will remember my short (but pointed) letter to Seattle weather yesterday. Well, I must have angered him because this morning what I got was snow. Big, huge snow flakes coming down like crazy. Then rain slush, the really really cold rain. Then, winds. Wicked winds today, gusts up to 50 mph.....bah!

Anyway, today's workouts were more of a nuisance than anything. Two short workouts that I barely had to workout to complete, but whatever, I got my sweat on, they went well, and I'm ready to hit another heavy week of training.

Day 74 Training Log - Just a 45 minute run and a 30 minute swim today. I hit treadmill at an easy 8:30 pace for 45 and then jumped in the pool for a 30 minute continuous swim. Swim was good and continuous all right. A little slow too. I hit 1500 yards when I got out.