Saturday, January 31, 2009


I've mentioned it only in passing, but it's official--this year, I'll be doing my first half ironman event. Lawrence 70.3. June 14, 2009. And yeah, I just registered. So I'm $240 into it, now, and no turning back.

I'm not scared. Not even particularly excited. Somewhere deep down inside me, I know I can do it. I know it.

My only concern is that it takes me away (at least a little bit) from those short, quick sufferfests that I think are my calling. You've seen pictures of me. I'm clearly not built for distance. The gods don't give legs this massive and muscles this dense to marathoners; these legs are built for sprinting, preferably over very short distances and with the intent to hit somebody really hard at the other end of it.

Yet I find myself setting out on this journey (admittedly a little half-assed), more to see what it's like than to make an honest go of it. And if nothing else, it'll serve as early season base building for those short, intense sufferfests later on.

So the training plan is one week in. I'm loving it. And in five months, I'll be joining the ranks of an elite few who can swim 1.2 miles, bike 56, and run 13.1 all in one day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It Really Does Make it Better

I have a Swimp3 player.

Keep in mind, this is something I would never have bought for myself. It's a device that costs over $100 (that's $100 that could be going towards my new bike, yo) that I will use for only one, specific purpose; in fact, it can't be used for any other purpose. So it's like a lot of products in triathlon--a cool toy, but not much more than that.

However, one of my dad's co-workers is a triathlete, and he suggested this as a gift for me.

So now I have one.

And let me tell you, I love it. Love love love. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy swimming, I don't mind long sets, and I have no problem losing myself in the meditative motions of glide catch pull recover slow smooth strong fast. But the music? It makes it even better.

And because I'm good at this sort of thing and I enjoy it, I decided to make a list of songs that seem (to me) perfect for swimming. This is probably a highly individual preference--even more so than biking or running music--but what the heck. Here's my swim playlist anyway.

23 by Jimmy Eat World (141 BPM)
In the Sun by Coldplay/Michael Stipe (123 BPM)
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol (149 BPM)

Both Hands by Ani DiFranco (144 BPM)
Fireflies by Amy Cook (88 BPM)

And who knows? Maybe I'll even put together a swimming podcast, one of these days. Although, considering that this falls into the "cool toy" category, I might be the only one who ever uses it.

Does anyone else have one of these? What's the group's opinion of this nifty (but admittedly superfluous) device?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Race Report: Derby Rec Center Indoor Triathlon '09!

Well, I didn't do as well as I would have liked. But let me tell you about it in detail . . . 

Breakfast was egg and toast (chickie in der baskie!). My heat started at 9:00, so I had plenty of time to hang out and relax at home before heading over to the DRC, but elected instead to get there at around 8 to take pictures. Which did not go as planned. When I pulled my camera out, it refused to turn on, which I thought strange, because I knew I had just charged it the other night. And the battery was fully charged! Unfortunately, I left it on its charger, still plugged into the wall. So no pictures. But the captain of the local tri team did get some pictures, so you can expect those in the near future.

One of the greatest parts about this race is that it has a friendly, communal feel. We all want to do well; many of us have been doing this long enough that we know what to expect from the race and from ourselves, and we want to see that happen. But there are plenty of first-timers, as well--swimmers or maybe runners who heard about the race and wanted to try it, or just everyday people who thought that this race was within reach. I like to imagine that this is what most races felt like about 15 years ago, before the sport developed into the veritable franchising opportunity that it's become today. Don't get me wrong--the big, well-constructed races are a great boon to our sport. But sometimes I wish we had more races where people didn't take themselves quite so seriously.

I digress. Fact is, it was a great place to hang out, even without the camera. Oh! My one complaint is that the (one) lady who was doing body marking would NOT draw a smiley face on my leg! And she wasn't very nice about it, either.

Swim - 500 meters in 8:30 (or so)
Oh, it was a great time. My time keeper (each competitor gets their own teenager with a stopwatch who follows them throughout the race) and I were shouting introductions to each other across the short-course pool. The girl in the lane next to me asked me to demonstrate a flip turn (she was all set to try them for the first time ever IN A RACE; needless to say, I advised her against that). The guy on the other side and I kept cracking jokes about how our tri shorts felt like parachutes when we pushed off the wall. And our heat started 45 seconds late, because someone put down their walkie-talkie. That's a great atmosphere to have around the beginning of a race, at least for me. It's too easy to stress out when everyone's all serious and concentrating.

Each heat had 12 participants, two in each lane, which means that every competitor has to split a lane down the middle (unless there's a DNS). I was hoping that the guy sharing my lane would be a good pacer, and he was through the first 150 or so. In fact, he was a little bit faster than me, so I encroached a little on the center (he was almost right on top of the lane line as it was) and got a little bit of a draft off him. Hurray! Less work for me! But after the first 150, I started brushing his feet. I was gaining on him. By the end of the next 50, I had passed him. I started keeping an eye on the swimmers in other lanes, trying to push myself by pacing off them, but I couldn't really see much--maybe a hand every now and then.

I finished my last length and pushed myself out of the pool, slightly winded, but not over-taxed, by any means. The official (a.k.a. head lifeguard) called to me as I got out, "8:30! Good work!" and I thought, "Sweet!" A couple weeks ago, I did a 500 m time trial, and I did that in 9:34, so I'm very pleased with my swim split.

T1: 49 seconds
Um, we were not allowed to run into T1, because it's on a pool deck. So we had to walk until we got out of the aquatics area, at which point we were allowed to run the 20 feet to T1 (folding chairs with our lane numbers on them). I threw my cap and goggles down (not on my chair, mind you), wiggled into my running shoes, and ran over to my assigned bike to spin my  brains out for 6 miles. Had some issues getting my feet into the toe cages, but it wasn't worth it for me to change shoes twice.

Bike - 6 miles in 16:43 (21.54 MPH)
The stationary bikes we use for this race are the DRC's spinning bikes, the Lemond type that looks like a yellow X (which is great, because those bikes are highly adjustable). Which means that wattage and resistance mean zilch; it's all about how fast you can spin your legs.

And I can spin pretty fast.

So I held 138-150 RPM the whole time and was the second off the bike (third on the bike, so I frickin' passed someone on the bike "course"). I was cutting up the whole time. I sure hope I wasn't one of those obnoxious loud-mouths who aggravate everyone else. But I was having a lot of fun, even if I was!

T2: 16 seconds
I think this is a conservative estimate. T2 (I didn't have to change shoes) consisted of running halfway across the gym, up a flight of FRICKIN' stairs, and straight onto the indoor track. So I think 16 seconds is probably less than it took me to do all that. But it's convenient to guess this time, because it's included in my run split, and my run split is 18:16.

Actually, on second thought, let's say it took me 4:16 to get up the stairs and onto the track.

Run: 2 miles in 18:00 (or so)
You know, now that I'm looking back at it, this really isn't a terrible run time for me. It's the first race of the season; I haven't run in about two weeks; and it's been at least two months since I ran straight off the bike (especially after spinning at 140 RPM or so). Yeah, the more I write about this, the better I feel.

The real issue, at least for the first half mile or so, was some serious GI pain. Not "issues." Pain. I felt like I was going to vomit. And I say that pretty frequently when I'm working at this intensity, but I actually had to dial my speed back a bit, this time, whereas normally I can just push through it. I suspect it was the Accelerade that I had on the bike (I drained about half the bottle), which I was hoping would give me the energy I needed to run strong.

The DRC's track is 10 laps to a mile, and after the first 5, my stomach had settled down considerably, so I was able to push the pace a little bit (is it just me, or is that sentence the longest compound sentence ever? Shit, now it's even longer). About that time, a few of the guys from KSRVTC (my local tri club) showed up to start cheering me (among others) on. Having those guys cheering my name meant a lot to me; I'll admit I'm a bit of an approval whore when it comes to the older, wiser athletes in this city.

I felt my pace slowing again after the first mile, but at that point I was able to talk myself through it. "Remember when you were way back at lap 5? Doesn't it feel good to be at lap 15? Remember how much you wanted lap 17? Just a quarter mile to go, now!" The last lap, I turned on the afterburn, and brought it home with the big, Trihardist style (can I say that without it being ridiculously lame?)--"nnnyyyyyeeeeeeerrrrrrooommmm" (the sound of a plane landing).

Post-race: 44:19 (3rd in 20-29 F)

Post-race was ridiculously fun. Four of the athletes I coach were there, and I hadn't seen two of them for months. We made what I'm sure looked like an elitist circle (because that's what people think about Genesis members anyway, I think), but we were just catching up with each other. We all got to watch and cheer each other on. And everyone made it through! It reminded us of why we love this sport, but also sort of kicked our butts and reminded us that it's not an easy thing. Also got to catch up with one of my buddies who I met at the same race last year and has since gone on to great things in the 40-45 age group. She took 10 minutes off last year's time at this race, and in a race this short, 10 minutes is huge! Besides which, she beat me by 5 seconds.

44:19 was enough to get me 3rd in my age group, but not good enough for a medal. So no award for me this time. And man did it hurt! I haven't by any means been sedentary this year, but it's been a while since I went all-out like I did on Sunday. I am very, very sore.

This race kicked off my 2009 season. Not only was it my first race of the year, but it also kicked off my first week of training. I am now officially (as of yesterday) in training again. And I'll talk about that more soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pre-Race: Derby Rec Center Indoor Tri ('09)

Admittedly, it's a little early in the week for a pre-race article (entry? column? what the heck do I call these things, anyway?).

But I'm just so darn excited.

First race of the year. First triathlon of 2009. First triathlon with no Bush (in the White House, that is).

Can't even tell you. I'm so stoked.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

When Work Attacks

I haven't had a day off in over three weeks.

This is my third seven-day work week. I'm getting a little burned out.

And what's more, I haven't had time to write cool new articles for my blog! I have a new spinning workout that's only half-done, and will probably remain only half-done at least until Friday.

This business is so weird; it's either feast or famine. Two weeks ago, I was complaining that I wasn't getting enough business. And now? I was booked solid from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. today (fortunately, my last appointments canceled, and I got to go home and take a nap). I had four 12+ hour days this last week. Sometimes they start at 5:00 a.m. Which isn't so bad if I'm waking up to swim or run or something. But waking up to work? Not so much. Because then when do I swim and run?

Needless to say, this situation is not conducive to my training. And my body is starting to rebel. It's saying, "Hey, you better let up or I'm going to get sick, and then where will you be?" I've been drinking antioxidants and munching on zinc, trying to keep my body in line. But the stress of training is something I haven't wanted to chance for the last couple days.

At any rate, my half Ironman program (!) starts next Wednesday, so I'm going to have to find some balance in my life, some sanity. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Recipe File: No, really

It's a good thing I made a smart-ass recipe last time, because I have no idea what I would name this post otherwise.

This meal came about after I grabbed a can of tuna, looked in the refrigerator, and found that the mayonnaise we have at my house has high fructose corn syrup in it. Seriously. Why the hell does mayonnaise need high fructose corn syrup? It's not supposed to be sweet!

Anyway, tuna salad was out. So I thought back to the last time I made fresh tuna (which was during March Madness last year), and came up with this little recipe inspired by the sesame/ginger glaze I made for that. This wasn't as good as fresh, pan-seared tuna, but it was still pretty tasty, especially after I wrapped it in lettuce.

1 can of tuna
about 1/4 cup of sweet onion, diced
4-5 radishes, sliced
1-2 tbsp teriyaki sauce (read the label; you might find high fructose corn syrup in it, as well)
salt, pepper, and ginger to taste
4-5 leaves of iceberg lettuce

Heat a (very) small amount of oil in a pan or wok. When the oil's hot enough to run quickly around the pan, throw in the onions, stirring constantly (you want them to caramelize, but not burn). As the onions start to turn brown, add the radishes. Cook just until the radishes start to turn translucent around the edges, then add the tuna. Splash in some teriyaki sauce, ginger, and salt and pepper. Taste, and add seasoning if you need it. You only need to cook it long enough to heat the tuna, and you don't want to overcook it and end up with mushy radishes. Spoon the tuna stuff onto lettuce leaves (iceberg works best for wrapping, in my opinion), and eat as lettuce wraps. Without the lettuce, it ends up a little dry, but as a wrap, it's just right. 

Let me know if you try it and come up with any variations (i.e. different spices). My next project (I think) is going to be a green tea protein shake. I'll let you know how that goes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First Fast Running of the Year

Yesterday (as a result of a last-minute cancelation from a client) I went to the track.

The night was clear and unseasonably mild. The temperature was sitting at around 54 F, with a light northern wind. Apart from wanting to run fast (after reading the article about lactic acid/lactate in this month's Triathlete), I absolutely had to get out and run in that weather. I got to wear shorts in January in Kansas. That's something (I'm guessing) I won't be able to do next year in Boston.

Anyway, the workout was short and sweet. Oh so sweet.

1600 - 10:16 (and I was talking on the phone for the first 1200)
400 - 1:45
400 - 1:45
400 - 1:46
400 - 1:49
800 - 7:14 (because I could barely walk after that last 400)

I'm not sure (I haven't bothered to dig through the annals of old training logs), but 1:45 might be my fastest time ever for a 400. And even if it's not, I think that's a good--nay, great--place to start the season. Even if I can only do a few of them. Even if I thought I was going to vomit at the last two. That's a frickin' 7:00/mile pace.

And after doing that, I didn't even care about the damn cancellation.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Recipe File: Ice Cream

Letting you in on a secret, guys; here's my top-secret recipe for my favorite post-workout snack.
Step 1: Buy ice cream.
Step 2: Gather the following ingredients: ice cream, bowl, dessert spoon, ice cream scoop (you may substitute a large spoon in a pinch).
Step 3: Using the ice cream scoop, combine ice cream and bowl. Add dessert spoon as garnish.
Note: This dish should be served immediately and consumed as slowly as possible in order to reap all the benefits of this very special recipe.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bike-o-Latte: "The baseline is alive!"

I've been having trouble with motivation. Haven't wanted to do much of anything the past couple weeks. Maybe it's the winter doldrums. Maybe it's that I haven't really raced in a while. Maybe it's the feeling of restlessness related to the knowledge that my current location is not permanent.
Whatever it is, after reading Bike-o-Latte's post on re-building the base, I feel a little bit more fired up to go out and just get 'er done. Hope it helps you too!

Monday, January 5, 2009

2008-2009: What I Will Achieve

These aren't resolutions. They're just things that are going to happen. 

I will perfect my butterfly. Or at least get it good enough that I'm not embarrassed to whip it out at the pool.

I will get my body fat under 20% and my weight under 140.

I will run my first marathon.

I will complete my first half Ironman.

I will frickin' win, dammit.

I will break a 26:00 5k.

I will complete all 50 swim workouts.

I will break a 60:00 10k.

I will be able to keep up with Erin when she's running. 

I will not skip run workouts.

I will not be the trainer who never lifts weights.

I will ensure that the Genesis multisport club makes money this year. 

I will move to Boston.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why You Should Tri in 2009

I was going to do a top ten list, full of reasons why those of you who (for some reason or another) haven't joined us crazies in the swimming, biking, and running. FYI, the reasons included lycra and the fact that triathlon doesn't hurt nearly as bad as cyclocross.

But, after a little bit of thought, I realized that my primary testimonial for trying triathlon is way less tongue-in-cheek and way more visual. These aren't the only two reasons you should begin preparing (right now!) for a multisport event, but they're good ones.

What are those two good reasons?



And from where I stand, that's reason enough.