Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

I started off with a well planned week of workouts around traveling for the holidays and it quickly got turned upside down by mother nature.  The initial plan was to leave Minnesota on Thursday to travel to my parents place in Iowa for a few days and then to the in-laws for a few days.  Mother Nature had other plans with a wonderful winter storm brewing.  We decided to leave MN on Tuesday afternoon and drove the full way to avoid heavy snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain, wind, and just about any other cold weather term you can conjure up.  Since I did not bring my bike, and there is no pool within 35 miles, on top of actually getting there, I will be having a very run focused week of workouts. 

I had a great workout on Monday night on the trainer while watching the Kona broadcast I put on the DVR.  I enjoyed watching this, and it provided me much motivation to pedal strong.  Shortly after it finished, as my wife and I were headed to get cleaned up, the following conversation took place:

Her: “Baby, I know you are going to do an IM someday”

Me: “Hah, Yeah you are probably right”

Her: “And I know that you will not be satisfied unless its Kona”

Me: “Hah, Yeah you are probably right” While smiling at her
Her: “And I will support your decision to do that when you want, but could we have a kid first so I can have something to keep me busy while you are doing those crazy workouts?”


It is wonderful to have such a supportive wife.  Thanks baby!  Back to the trainer ride.  I am currently reading Training and Racing with a Powermeter and I am loving every minute of it.  I hope to join this community after the first of the year and take my training to the next level.  The bike ride this week was 1:30 for 27 miles or so.  Nothing extreme, but building as the workout progressed. 

My run on Christmas Eve:

.5 Warmup

6x800 with 400 recovery

imageSome of the interval lengths look a bit off as I was trying to track to the hundredth of a mile on a treadmill that only reads tenths.  I am digging in deeper with SportTracks exploring the details a bit more, quite the powerful tool. 

Hopefully everyone has a safe holiday season, be careful traveling, and I hope that you have been good so Santa can bring you something nice!

Windows Photo Gallery Wallpaper

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, yes I know... Thanksgiving was last week and I am a bit late with this post but what do you do?  It just gives me a good amount to write about.  I did a long run since I had Wednesday off.  This is the first double digit run since the marathon nearly two months ago, and my body was a bit uneasy with the second half of the run.  I saw the forecast said 34 degrees and spotty drizzle turning into rain later in the day, so I set out first thing in the morning as the drizzle had not started.  I took one step outside, and turned around to put on another layer. It is amazing how cold it felt that day!  I started off on the run feeling good, running at a good HR and pace, averaging 9 minute miles on the way out.  I have never run this route before as I was out of town, but found myself running on a paved bike trail through some farm lands and cattle fields.  At one point I thought I needed to use the facilities, and then reconsidered after realizing my gloves were starting to frost over, I would just tough it out and hold it.  Only a few minutes later I saw that the fence next to me happened to be an electric fence, WOW! That could have been a very unpleasant experience.  I suffered back as the winds picked up and I felt my knee get sore and my lower back.  End result 10.2 miles in 1:40.  A bit slow of what I would have liked, but what do you do?  Next time, I am not going to run out 45 minutes and expect to make it back in the same amount of time for a 1:30 run.


Turkey Day!  The day when my willpower begins to be attacked for a solid month and a half.  My family always has much to do with food and socializing, then again how many families are not?  This is the time of year when people see the winter weight begin to stack up and wonder what happened.  As you will see in the coming month, I have a sweet tooth and love the holiday sweets and treats.  Since I have been hovering right around my recent low of 167 lbs, this is a tough part of the year.  I want to continue my fitness journey and drop a few more pounds by trimming off some of the extras and building up some more muscle mass.  I love all the food, but knew this year I was going to save myself for pies.  Obviously there would be pumpkin pie, but my other two favorites, chocolate and banana cream were also going to be available.  Little did I know they would be homemade from scratch (not using jello pudding!)  I purposely did not have seconds on the meal so I could have room for a slimmed down piece of each type of pie.  What a wonderful day!  I must say I am thankful for good cooking.

Sidetrack in the timeline of things, but today, Monday, a local radio station is doing their annual Wish-a-thon where people submit requests to have Christmas wishes granted for someone they know that is in a difficult situation.  Things range from job losses, to illnesses to recent deaths.  Every year this never fails to make me realize how lucky I am with a great family, our health, and overall life situation.  Many days it is easy to overlook the things we take for granted on a daily basis. 

Most of my Black Friday was spent inside, while some people were out chasing deals, I went to the pool for a pretty intense speed work day.  After a warm-up and some technique, I had 16 sets of 50m.  I forgot they were supposed to alternate between RPE 5 and RPE 9.  My sets looked more like 16x50m at RPE 8-9 on 20 seconds rest.  I did some errand chasing and unpacking of Christmas decorations to prepare for the weekend.  We spent some more time with the family and taking care of things around the house and snagging some gifts.   We picked up a new TV, luckily I found something online that beat any price I could find locally by nearly $100.  We picked up a ski/snowboard rack for our trip to Colorado this year since the boys are driving and the girls will be flying.  I also managed to find a sweet set of new skis to replace my older ones that got cracked on my last Colorado trip when I skidded across a boulder in the middle of a groomed run!  The new skis ended up being 2cm shorter than my older skis, so it looks like I am taking a step backwards in skill level, but a shorter pair of skis will allow me to ski the trees a bit more comfortably, especially since they are a bit wider and have some more flex!

Saturday also included a long bike ride.  It called for 2:30, but I cut it short since that is significantly longer than my previous long.  I ended up biking for 1:50 and covering 35.2 miles.  All in all, not a bad ride, the first half I covered 17.6 miles in 51 minutes.  With relatively low winds, I was pleased with this, a fair gain over my last bike ride especially for the length of the ride. Some time in the pool on Sunday and back at it again early this week. 

The holidays and travels make sticking with a schedule difficult, but in order to enjoy all my tasty treats this holiday season, it keeps me motivated.  Again hopefully everyone really takes some time this time of year to count your blessings and enjoy the time with your family!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Something to keep you going

I sit and write this message while wishing I were feeling better.  I seemed to have picked up a bug this past weekend that is making me extremely miserable.  Luckily for the most part this is all in my sinus and head, although I am run down, I think I am safe to say its not the flu.  This will be a rather short post since I am lacking energy in general.


I have had some extremely good workouts recently, a 3.65 mile run that was done at 8:15 pace.  Hey it was outside, that makes it good in general.  I had a pretty heavy swim week last week ending on Saturday with a 1000 yd TT at 16:34.  Not too bad, gives me an idea of my baseline and what to expect for next spring.  I got in the pool again on Monday despite feeling the onset of a cold for a good workout, about 2300 yards, during one of the main sets it had me do 100 yards at RPE 9, I came in right at 1:20, not anything to brag too much about, but still good for me.


Today was spent at home relaxing and trying to get better, although I still had to dial in to work for a little while, for the most part the day was relaxing.  I just wish I could kick the cold, it bothers me not being able to train!  I will probably take a couple of days off so I can make sure to recover before hitting it again.

A few things that keep me going through this time.  A new package came with another item for the future Hydration Post, this one I am very excited about and if I muster up some energy today I will start adding to that draft.  Another item on its way to me is a pair of Shimano TR51 shoes.  I cannot wait to get these to me.  My old shoes just never quite fit right so I think these will do the trick.  One strap will make transitions and maybe someday a flying mount a bit easier. 

Back to rest, movies, and an occasional nap for the rest of the day and evening, hopefully I will start getting some energy back tomorrow.  I may have to sneak in a few games of COD:MW2 tonight at some point if I am feeling up to it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 Training Log Graph

I have had a good amount of people ask about the training log graph I have on my side bar that shows my weekly workout summary.  This is linked to and the workouts I upload there.  It is a pretty simple process if you are already uploading your workouts to the webpage training log, and if not that is also quite easy.

- Open the following link:
Login Screen- Under Your Training Volume, click Add to your Webpage
- This directs you to customize settings, enter your BT account name so it knows what data to use, also enter your title
Customize - You can preview your settings
- Click Get Your Code

- Click in the area with the code that begins with <script

- Hit Ctrl + A to Select all
- Hit Ctrl + C to Copy the code
- Log into your blog and click on customize

- Click on Layout then Page Elements

- Click Add Gadget where you would like to place the Training Log
Add Gadget
- Select HTML/Javascript
- Give your Gadget a name (Training Log Graph)

- Paste the code into the Content window and Click Save
- You can either preview the entire blog to rearrange where the Graph is located or Save to save the changes

- The Result:
Final Product

Monday, October 26, 2009

Recovery, Offseason, and Training













So what have I been up to the past few weeks?  By looking at my blog some would think not much at all, which may be partially true, others may think I have been extremely busy.  If you are in that group, you would be correct.  Work has been absolutely insane the past few weeks which came at a good time in the training road, right after the Twin Cities Marathon, and before I ramp up my off season training. 


I will not go into details about how busy work has been, except that thank goodness for my workouts to keep me sane!  I did not take a ton of time off after the marathon, but gave myself some time to relax and get ready for the winter.  I have been riding the bike inside on the trainer and having some issues with numbness of the goods.  I have adjusted seat angles like crazy with the Fizik Arione seat only to result in varying degrees of bad.  I snagged an Arione Tri2 seat hearing that this helped many people out with the additional padding in the nose.  Well… it arrived and after some adjusting, still about the same results.  My thoughts are the next step is changing to the ISM Adamo seat.  (Skipping ahead in time to when I am writing the post, it causes no issues on the road… no idea what to think)

I started my offseason 26 week plan this past week.  Although it appears to be tailored for race season with some A, B, and C grade races, it is a good start until I am comfortable from reading the Triathlete’s Training Bible and making my own plan.  Here is what my workouts looked like this week:

- Monday: 2475 yd Swim, long set (Missed the bike ride due to some scheduling conflicts

- Tuesday: 45 Min Bike RPE 4, 30 Min Run RPE 2-3

- Wednesday: Rest Day (But I did Monday’s bike workout) 45 mins RPE 3 with 6x20 second top cadence spin ups

- Thursday: 30 Min Swim 3x400 RPE 3, even pace; 1 hr Run (45 RPE 2-3, 15 RPE 5)
- Friday: 2300 Yd 45 Min Swim

- Saturday: OFF!!!

- Sunday: 15 Min Swim (400 yds RPE 7, remainder RPE 3); 1.5 hour Bike RPE 3

This was the first week of the plan and it pushed me outside my comfort level, which was a good thing.  The swims are longer than I have been in the pool before, but it sounds like good way to get better at swimming.  The bikes have been painful with the annoying seat issue, and the run on Thursday was a challenge on the treadmill.  Luckily the bike on Sunday was nice enough that I could be outside.  Nice is a subjective term, nice to me meant mild winds 5 MPH or so and 49 degrees.  I put on some warm clothes and socks this time since the last time I rode outside my toes about froze. 

Lets continue to talk about the bike.  1.5 hours the longest I have biked before for a workout.  I decided to do a route I normally do 20 miles in about an hour give or take, a simple out and back.  Another 15 minutes on to the end of this would get me my workout.  I somehow forgot about wind, and the fact this would be my longest bike.  What did it result in.  45 minutes out got me 16.1 miles.  The way home did not go as quickly, winds picked up above 10 MPH and were conveniently in my face, so much for feeling strong.  The good news, no numbness, at least from the seat.  The toes started to go numb about 40 minutes into the ride making for a long ride back.  I made it back home in 1:42, not too shabby, not my 20 MPH average I was hoping for, but then again it was nearly 10 miles longer than any other ride I have done before.


I spent the majority of the day Saturday installing a new laminate wood floor after tearing out the carpet in our living room.  Not too bad for a days work.



Spent the night watching the amazing Iowa Hawkeyes win on the last play of the game to move on to 8-0.  I got a bit nervous, but they seem to pull out all the stops and do what it takes to win.

Back to work and workouts this coming week with a few more posts to be completed this week.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Good to Great…

Since my last post, there is a lot of very good news which makes this posting very easy to write.  Each of them is something special to talk about and I would be hard pressed to say which is the best news so I will address them in chronological order.  As my previous post indicated, my bike was to be delivered on Wednesday, I was not around so the delivery failed and I had to wait another day.  Luckily I was working from home Thursday and would be able to sign for it when it arrived.  Despite a very crazy week at work, I was free when the delivery man came with the large box!  I finished up work for that day although putting in more hours that day than a typical day.  My first free moment went to unpacking the box.

Packed upAfter a little handy work, the final product looked like the following setup on the trainer with the Fi’zi:k

Arione seat I decided to start off with on this bike. 
SetupCan you imagine when you were a kid, opening a present at Christmas and then being told you could not play with it until the next week when you go back to school? This is exactly the pain I felt.  With the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday I wanted to make sure I was rested and recovered and ready to race.  Outside of a few minutes just spinning to test seat height, I let it rest after installing the Garmin cadence kit.  A few more pictures that combine my photography interest with my triathlon interest! The first is not that great of a photo by any means.



The second on the other hand, turned out pretty well.

Third not too bad, but cut off a bit of the seat and I think there is a small hair on the bike!DSC02017
Finally the last photo which made its way to the banner was just an interesting perspective on things.DSC02022
As I said, there are multiple good things that have happened.  The next thing to report.  Since my heaviest stage late last winter or early spring where I weighed myself at one point at 184.5, although I would not doubt I was higher than that, this is the highest measured weight I have had since my ‘fat stage’ in college that consisted of pizza dipped in ranch, fries dipped in ranch, and lots of sugary drinks and beers.  The good news? I have been keeping track of my weight daily (or pretty close) with SportTracks.  Saturday morning, I hit the lowest weight I have been in many years, 169.5, marking a point where I have lost 15 pounds.  Although I have only been recording in SportTracks since the end of June where I was around 183, the graph below shows my progress although not the full 15 pound loss.
Jeff Vanis - Weight

One side note, not directly related to the events in this post, but as we went to pick up our packets for the marathon and 10-mile, we came across this at the expo.  I had to geek it up and stop for a photo. The lady in the booth couldn’t believe that it was me and said that had never happened before.
As excited as I was about the bike, I cannot say this did not also give me a great thrill.  I have been being very careful about what I eat and working to watch how much junk intake I have.  I even started to feel much better about my body composition before noticing some numerical results which is almost just as good for me as a number.  If you would have asked me 9 months ago what I thought my ideal body weight was, I would have told you around 180, as I struggled to lose or gain much around that weight even with regular running and exercise.  I am looking forward to what my body has in store for this winter where the treats get more and more tempting since I figured out a few great recipes for fudge last year!

Finally, I follow up with Sunday activities, a nice 26.2 mile run through the Twin Cities (official race report to follow) I am going to save most of the details of the race for the race report that I will finish up tomorrow.  My long run for training was 16 miles, due to some knee issues. This left a lot of doubt in my mind and come to find out Heather had similar feelings about my expectations. 

My first marathon was the Twin Cities 2008, finished with a 4:48:28 chip time which averaged out to 11:03/mile.  I said any improvement will be welcome, and I really hope to not be slower than the previous year since my training had lacked.  The next tier, sub-4:30, a good improvement on last year especially considering my focus towards short distance triathlons this year and skimping on the longer runs for marathon training.  Finally was the 4:15 goal, aka the ‘I don’t know what I did to make this happen, or how I even deserve this, but I may just crap myself if I could by some miracle run this time.’  The data behind my workouts explains the name:

9/27 – 9.08 miles @ 11:07 pace (with Heather)
9/20 – 8.08 miles @ 11:07 pace (with Heather)
9/13 – 16.39 miles @ 10:03 pace (by myself)
8/28 – 14:29 miles @ 10:37 pace (by myself)

For those who are not driven by numbers, obviously the 4:48 translates to 11:03, about the same pace as the runs I did with Heather for her 10 mile training.  Take my 16 mile run for example.  That would equate to roughly 4:23, smack dab between the other two goal times I had.  Since I said I was going to save the details for the race report, I will cut to the chase.  My finishing time:

09 marathon 4:12:38 chip time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Exceeded my top of the line tier.  More to come in another post.  Thank you to Andy and Brandis for your encouragement and through the race! You guys helped me hang on at the end when my body was ready to shut down.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Weekend Update

Where to begin besides I had a great weekend and I wish they were all this good.  Heather and I went out to eat at Chilis Friday night and got the 2 for $20, what a great deal, especially because they have some very good choices that include desert!  At one point I said that I was going to get the buffalo chicken salad and try to be a bit healthier since we would have the loaded fries appetizer and desert of deliciousness.  Heath then suggested a burger would be just as healthy since the chicken is breaded and the ranch they include with it.  I decided to get the salad since I used to live on it when I traveled thanks to Chilis To Go.  Again I cannot stress enough how good of a deal this meal is!  About as soon as we were seated we were interrupted by a work phone call which luckily only took a few minutes to resolve. 

Saturday we went to the Albertville Outlet Mall.  We went for two things, letting her look for some clothes and to go to the Carter’s store for our niece.  We stimulated the economy a bit more than expected by the end of our trip.  She had some good luck finding clothes that she was looking for, and we spent some time looking around at the different shops since I had never been to this mall before.  We went into a kitchen store to see what I could not live without, and by the end of the day we came out with a new shiny 15 piece stainless steel set of Emeril pots and pans.  I have been wanting to make the switch from our Cusinart non-stick to stainless recently.  I just do not care for the teflon pans, both from a cooking and cleaning aspect, but from some negative things I have read about some possible health issues from the teflon.

We also picked up a few other pieces of clothing for ourselves and a bunch of stuff at the baby store for our niece.  Overall it was a very good day, although we spent a bit more than anticipated.  After dropping off the clothes for our niece, we went home and made dinner.  Mmmm turkey burgers with all the fixings.  We then sat and watch the Iowa football game vs. Penn State.  What a game, although our offence looked lacking for most of the game, the defense looked amazing outside of the first play they were on the field.  What a great victory!  Yet again Iowa as the underdog is the team to watch this season. 

I slept like crap on Saturday night for whatever reason, which made getting up in the morning for our 9 mile run a challenge.  It took me a while to get going, and the weather was a bit cooler and windier with some strong 20 MPH gusts.  It made the run a bit more of a challenge than I expected.  This was my confidence builder for the marathon since my last long run was … eh at best.  Although this did not have the distance, my knee felt pretty good and all in all it was a success.  I am still a bit sore today, Tuesday, in my quads.  Hopefully in the next day or so it goes away and I will have a few days before the race.  We picked up some new flooring and purchased a water softener which I later installed that day to replace the broken one from when we moved in to our place over two years ago.  The install was pretty painless since it hooked up to the existing bypass valve with no modification.  We now have soft water, and hopefully no more hard water spots on our dishes, showers, and toilets! 

We had dinner with Heather’s aunt and grandparents to celebrate her aunt’s birthday on Sunday.  I helped pick out the cake, chocolate fudge surprise.  it was a surprise I did not put more weight on for as much as I ate, and as I am writing this, I wish I had another piece!  Sunday night I was ready for bed at 8, talk about lame!  I held off a while, but as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out like a light. 

We have a week of cleaning and getting the house ready for company this weekend (and it just has needed a good cleaning for a while.)  This will keep my nights somewhat busy fixing a few things (a piece of trim that our dog decided to use as a chew toy.)  Since this is supposed to be a recovery week, my final run was tonight, a easy 3 mile run with Heather before this weekend. 

Looks like the bike is to be delivered tomorrow, although I will not be around to sign for it, go figure, but then again it is not like I am going to be riding before Sunday afternoon.  I must say, I have been reading a bit more about MetriGears new Speedplay power pedals.  They are set to release in Q1 2010, just about perfect timing.  What a great location for a PM.  Not tied to wheels, although I do not have race wheels, not tied specifically to a bike like a crank is, not that I have two bikes, but dang pedals.  Considering the cost of a set of Speedplay Zero pedals and what they are talking for these, they will be a strong competitor in the market if they turn to be as reliable as they say. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

On the Juice…

So I did it… broke down and went in to visit a doctor at Fairview Sports & Orthopedic Clinic due to knee pain while running.  Note this is the same issue I was having last year, but only this time it was in the left knee.  Pretty typical ITBS just not quite as severe as when it was on my right side.  I recover much quicker, within a couple of days rather than a week of massively limping around, but none the less it still bothers me after only a few miles of running.

I made an appointment to be seen and ended up walking out with a little extra.  They did a cortisone injection to hopefully get me through the race.  I was not looking forward to this since after last year it made me almost pass out, and I am normally fine with shots and needles.  I think it was more the fact that they have to move the needle around to spread it out a little that got me.  That and the fact that when I looked down last year he had barely started the injection.  This time was better since I was laying down and not watching every move.

I dislike having to go this route, but on the same page, I want to get through the race and not be crippled for an eternity afterwards.  I want to give myself some recovery time and get back into tri training in the offseason.  My training is going to be extremely limited for the next week and a few days.  I may squeeze a 6 mile easy run in early next week to keep myself from losing too much.  I will be spending a good amount of time in the pool pushing some hard laps out for cardio work.

My Goals:


I am going to loosely throw out my goal of 10 minute miles for the marathon, putting me at a 4:20 marathon, about 28 minutes faster than last year.  I do not think this is too far of a stretch if my knee stays pain free.  All things considered under 4:30 will be pretty good for me.  Ideally I would be able to run it in under 4, but using my better judgment, I do not think that is realistic.

I mentioned I will be swimming, but not biking.  Although they said biking would be fine, there is a bit of a problem.  The Trek Equinox 5 and I parted ways Monday evening.  I got in a 30 minute Spinervals Technique drill, which I must admit provided some very good benefit.  He came and picked it up later that evening after we tweaked his position a bit for the interim until he gets a professional fit.  I think I will be looking to buy a few more Spinerval DVDs or ask for them as gifts this winter to help pass some time on the trainer.  That is of course when I get my new bike.  Now that I do not have a bike around to ride, I am extremely anxious to receive the new one.  The store received it last night and will be building it up and getting it ready to ship out to me.  (Hopefully by the end of the week)  I am very glad to have the old one gone, but I am also very ready for the new one.  It is probably good I do not have it too far in advance of the marathon.  It will force me to spend more time in the pool and not pushing hard on the bike. 

It is hard to believe less than a week and a half until the marathon.  I am nervous that I will not be able to run much before then and hope that things go well for the race.  Speaking of waiting, I am waiting for The Home Depot to call and let me know my flooring materials have arrived, it was supposed to be in Tuesday at the latest… guess that was wrong.  We had a dehumidifier overflow and stain/ruin some of our carpet in our living room.  We have decided to replace it with wood laminate flooring to match the kitchen and dining room.  I should not be in such a hurry to get the flooring since I will not put it down until after the marathon anyway to save myself some aches and pains. 

In the mean time I will be reading Triathlete’s Training Bible, BT, and SlowTwich to pass some time.  I am also currently putting together a list of recommended reads.  Hopefully most of them are available at my local library and I will be able to start reading through them over these winter months. 

One other thing I almost forgot.  We ordered our Garmin Forerunner 50 kits at Costco for 79.99 plus some tax.  I bought them for a few reasons, the first of which is the extra heart strap.  Why not have another, or maybe some day I will snag a 310xt and need a new strap for it.  Another reason, the foot pod for running indoors this winter.  I know it is not ideal, but better than nothing and a spendy accessory if you purchase it on your own.  Finally I want to have a watch for swimming since I normally do not record lap times etc.  I read some negative reviews about battery life not being great but we will see how it works out.  Last but not least, it gives me a winter project to write a review about the watch!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Run, Run, Run some more!

This week could be a classic case of not taking enough recovery time after a workout.  I do not think the race was my strong effort, but I am not sure what would have zapped all of my energy.  I went out Sunday with Heather on her 7 mile run and felt good running the day after a race.  These runs are in my lower range, but help get my mileage in for the week. 

Monday I was going to bike, and realized that I left my helmet in Heather’s car.  I figured this would be a prime opportunity to test out the trainer and a Spinerval DVD that it came with.  I was not sure what to expect, but did enjoy the session.  I got a good workout from it as you can see below.
Spinerval I will be purchasing some more DVDs to get me through this winter on the trainer focusing on building my speed.  I will be making a post soon with some of my winter goals after the marathon is complete. 

Tuesday was a 6 mile run, but I felt like I was pulling a plow the entire way.  My pace was 8:17, not quite what I wanted from this workout, but none the less I got the workout complete. 

Wednesday was a good workout in the pool, working on form.  The guy that was swimming between Heather and I made us look very slow.  We both could tell how good of a swimmer he was. 

Thursday… oh Thursday.  I had some time I had to take off this week so I decided on a couple of hours Thursday afternoon and some of the day Friday.  I figured I would try and squeeze my long run in on Thursday so I could run with Heath on the weekend for her long run.  My workout was supposed to be 20 miles, my peak before the marathon.  I made the first 8 miles and managed pretty well.  I started out on the second 8 mile loop and felt like the darn plow was back for this workout.  I pushed through a few miles, but then realized I was not going to make as much as I thought and took a walk for a mile.  I ran the remainder and cut part of it short, ending just about 14 miles. 

This was a huge let down for me.  My longest run has been 16 miles, so the marathon is going to be quite the adventure.  To add in complexity on top of it, my knee has been causing me issues again.  I think I am going to see if I can get in this week and get it looked at before the race.  There is not much time left before the race, but I hope something can be done to get it a bit better.  I think its the same old ITBS as my right knee had last year.


Friday I rode the bike again for almost 21 miles since a huge combine went past me right when I was going to turn around and I would have been stuck behind him, so I went a bit further than normal.  The workout averaged 19.9 MPH, not bad over that distance. 

Sunday was Heather’s long run of 8 miles so we ran together, again my knee flared up, but this kept my HR zone very low, even dipping below my Z1 in Training Center.  I recalculated my LT zones with my 6 mile run earlier this week although I felt slow, it gave me some pretty good numbers. 

Things to look for this week: Selling my Trek, my new bike being shipped to me, some more miles running, and a few other workouts.  I have a few things in the works and cant wait for the bike to come in and get some more pictures on here.

As a final note, I just got my copy of Triathlete’s Training Bible and am very engaged in reading it.  It has grabbed my attention and hope it continues that way. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Square Lake Triathlon

Square Lake Triathlon, the last race of the season, one of the longer sprint distances at .5 mile swim, 18 mile bike, and 5 mile run. I do not even know where to start on this race, so how about the beginning?

Heather and I were going to register for this as our last tri of the season due to the longer distance and training for her 10 mile race and my marathon, mostly for her and another tri for me.  We were going to do the race with a few of my co-workers, and were even trying to get my father-in-law to do it as well.  It did not take us long to figure out he would not be doing the race as he travels a lot for work and did not get in the pool nearly as much as he needed to be comfortable.  We procrastinated and my co-workers registered, and then the day I went to register the webpage was down.  3 days of downtime, and when it came back up, it was listed as full. 

I spent some time trying to find other races around that weekend but were not very successful.  About two weeks before the race it came out that one of the guys I work with, Adam, was probably not going to do the race, so being the nice guy I was, I offered to give him an out and take his place.  We agreed, and I was going to be Adam for a day.  Heather decided to voulenteer for the race and got a free entry to a future Vacation Sports race (next year.)

The Race:

I show up plenty after transition opens and packet pickup is supposed to start, and they were still getting stuff setup for transition.  This made it difficult to setup transition so I tracked down someone who was helping and asked which entry was bike in/out and run out.  He told me, so I picked my spot and setup.  15 minutes later I notice signs on the in/out, yep opposite of what he told me, time to change my location. 

I get things settled in as Heather goes and checks in to help do body marking to start, or course I went to her line after picking up my packet.  I went back up to stretch and get some things organized a bit more.  I saw the person I was playing for the day, and his girlfriend who also works with us and was doing the tri.  We walked down and got their packet and headed back up.  I slipped into the wetsuit, ok it is a little more work than that, but then we headed down to the lake.

I got in the water after getting Adam to hold my cap and Garmin while I warmed up.  I was in wave 1 with elites and males under 30 and teams.  I must say the lake was very clear and fun to swim in.  I settled into my groove quickly feeling strong in the water.  That would be great if I was applying that strength in the right direction!

   I had started a bit to the left of other racers to take the outside and get past some of the people who would be slower than me.  Well I did not converge into the line as well as I would have liked, in fact circle number on the left side shows my big oops.

swimThis is where I decided to cut inside the markers, I do not know how I went so far without noticing it, looks like I need to work on sighting a bit better.  I was even breathing on both sides and was still all goofed up.  The other marks on the way back show some areas I was doing the water slalom, only I was not skiing.  A lot of poor swimming on my behalf.  Garmin says .56 miles, in 16:32.  Not too bad, if only I would have swam in a bit straighter line. 

Transition 1 – ICK it starts with 68 steps from the lake to the parking lot, son of a… Heartrate does not not take well to climbing steps.  It looks like my transition time was about 2:24, fair I suppose for climbing steps. 

Out on the bike I go, oh but wait, when I hit lap on the Garmin, it says Transition… SHIT!  Somehow my bike segment got skipped very fast and was all of about 18 seconds covering 100 feet.  After screwing around with it a few seconds I got it to start recording something at least.  It looked like between 16.5 and 17 miles.  I averaged 18.8 on the Garmin, will be interesting to see what the results show.  This is where reality sets in.  I was not ready for this race.  There were more hills on this course than I could imagine.  I must also add that hills are my weakness and I have got to train harder on some inclines.  They were rolling hills so I could just not get set in a gear and comfortable in my aero bars.  (One advantage to the new bike will be bar end shifters and not road shifters.)  I still need some significant effort building the motor. I learned my lesson at this race, sunglasses are probably more of a help than a pain.  Because fishing gnats out of your eyes after running into a cloud of a million of those little things slows you down.   

Pop into T2 and swap out shoes and out I go on the run.  I took water right out of transition as I felt like I had been sweating out more than I had taken in on the bike because of the humidity.  About a mile into the run my stomach starts to slosh around.  My first thought was “Go make yourself get sick and forget it now” I should have listened to myself but did not.  The course was a mix of pavement and gravel roads with some more… yep you guessed it… rolling hills.  About mile 3 it hit and I felt like I hit the wall.  Most of my run was in Z4 at least how I have it configured right now.  I struggled up a few more hills and finally came up on the last stretch up a hill, sweet!  The best I felt on the run was as I knew where I was in the park and heading towards the finish line.

Needless to say I was not expecting anything significant from this race.  I ran across in 1:55:16, far from what I wanted.  Averaged 8:45 minute miles on the run, not quite the 7:30s I was hoping to achieve.  The unofficial results I saw said 107th overall and 10/21 in AG.  Nothing spectacular, but now I have the winter to train hard and come back strong in the spring ready to podium.

I am still a bit upset the results have not been posted online, but should know better coming from Vacation Sports.  I will probably do New Brighton since that was our first tri and St Paul since it is a bit larger and a pretty good course next year.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, no dedicated photo person means not many pictures.  This week needs to have some good runs ending the week with an 18 miler!  Hopefully my P2 shows up at the shop this week and they can get it put together and ready to send out to me by early next week! 

This was the first race I used the Podium Quest Aero Bottle, look for a review very soon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Last Race Eve…

So I have been trying to hold back but it is now time to release the big announcement I mentioned in a previous post.  I have been working to line up all the details, but last night things got finalized…. I am getting a new bike!  I sold my Trek Equinox 5 that I had used for just under 600 miles this year after having a few inquiries and only having it listed for about 3 days.  Must mean it was priced well for the bike.  Do not get me wrong, I loved this bike.  As I got more into the sport I learned many things I wish I would have known right away when making the initial purchase, but hind sight is 20/20 and I would not have gotten approval if I tried to buy the bike I wanted when we first did.

Speaking first to learning through experience.  I will use my wife as an example because she knows I like giving her a hard time about her first choice.  We went to pick out bikes and after visiting multiple places, we found a place we felt comfortable with both service and selection.  I pushed her to buy a road bike with drop handles and a typical road tire, 23mm.  I could not get her convinced this was the best option, so she went with a Trek 7.5 Hybrid.  Smooth tire, although wider, flat bar handles much like a mountain bike.  It did not take her long to realize that there were things about her choice that did not fit, mainly the less aerodynamic position and the general‘coasting’ speed of the bike.


We did some searching and ended up stumbling on a Quintana Roo Chiquillo tri bike.  With some modifications, we swapped the wheels and cassette to her hybrid bike for an upcoming race, and then swapped back after she was done.  The Trek got put on Craigslist and sold pretty quickly, although the buyer was awfully picky about the bike for being used.  “The wheel is out of true already and that is around 40 dollars to fix”  They hit a nerve with me and I decided to prove them wrong on that with a quick call to the bike shop to find out it was only 16 to true a wheel.  That was the only thing wrong with the bike, but it comes with normal wear and tear on a bike. (Vent off)


My first bike purchase was the Trek Equinox 5 tri bike.  It is called a tri bike by Trek, but knowing what I do now, I would have a hard time classifying it as a tri bike and call it more of a road bike with aero bars.  The bike was a great choice with the aero tube, aero bars etc, but I started learning more things about it that I wished I could change.  I would have preferred bull horns to drop handle bars, implying bar end shifters and brake levers on the horns.  The aero bars on the Trek were Profile Design Aerolite bars.  Not a bad set, but also not the most comfortable.  I learned this after trying Heather’s QR that had Vision aero bars, much more comfortable on the elbows.  To do the swap would have been a spendy procedure even using secondhand parts.  I decided in the long run it would be better to hold out for a bike.  Funny how it turned to the short run!


A few other things I noticed was internal cable routing, just giving an overall cleaner look and some aero benefit.  Finally my deciding factor was trying to get it sized properly, I just could not get as aggressive as I would have liked, although I must admit I never got a professional fitting.

At this point some of you are getting bored with my rambling, others have already scrolled down to spoil the ending, and hopefully a few are still engaged in the topic.  Now for the good part… the new bike, after the commercial break! Ok lame American Idol reference I know, but I am going to give a bit more detail before revealing the good part.  I stumbled on this opportunity by pure luck.  In short, I am doing some website design for someone, and my payment for my work… a bike of my choice (with some stipulations.) So what is that choice you ask…. 2009 Cervelo P2C!

 p2c blue

Sorry for using a canned picture, but until I get the bike it is all I have to go off.  I made the choice after exploring my options to meet the stipulations and my requirements.  I had debated between the Felt B12 and the P2C, although there are very strong points to each bike, there were some downsides to each as well.  Without going into too much detail because I could go on for hours with all the research I did.  Although I loved the look of the 2008 model with black and grey, the 2009 model is also sweet being blue and grey. 

This choice should be everything I need and more.  I have a ways to go to get the motor up to the level even close to push this bike to its max.  A Kona winner, so it will do all I need and more!

A light week this week in preparation for Square Lake Sprint Tri where I will be sporting the Trek for one last race.  I am going to be training hard on the bike this winter to give myself a boost next year when I am sporting this fancy new bike.  I do not want to be the slow guy on a really nice bike who thinks gadgets and money can make him faster.  I have no excuses now for a slow bike speed besides myself.  Time to train. 

I was going to purchase a trainer tire, but now I may just ride the stock tires on the trainer and get my miles out of them and put on a set of Continental Grand Prix 4000s in the spring when I start riding outside again. 

Check back this weekend for my Square Lake Race Report where I will be participating as my co-worker Adam! (Man will I be upset if I somehow get to the podium!)

A few closing remarks, Beatles Rockband is very well thought out and I had a great time playing it tonight, good escape from thinking about the race tomorrow.  I told Heather I would do a 7 mile run with her when we get home for her long run training for the 10 miler, and I figured it would be good for me to push some extra miles for the marathon.  I hope somewhere in Minneapolis carries the Iowa vs Iowa State football game tomorrow.  Sorry for any ISU fans but GO HAWKS!!! After going back for the game last weekend and seeing a guy in a University of Northern Iowa Bike Jersey, I figured they made an Iowa one, a fast Google search returned an idea for Christmas!

IowaHawkeyesGood luck to all those racing this weekend, especially Robb and Jim at IMOO!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

Traveling out of town for the weekend puts a cramp in training as many people know.  Heather and I went back to Iowa Friday night which left me with no workouts on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  Luckily I feel good today despite working out those days.  We had a busy weekend but Heather managed to get a short run in, while I was lazy or claiming to let my legs recover for the long run today. 

We initially planned on going to Iowa City to hang out with some college friends, but plans for that fell through last minute so it is a good thing that my mom had snagged us two tickets to the opening Iowa Hawkeye football game versus University of Northern Iowa.  Since we both graduated from Iowa, we enjoy getting back occasionally especially for football.  I was blessed to get a girl who enjoys college football nearly as much as I do.  We felt old after seeing some people who must have been freshmen because they looked 12!

   I wanted to get some pictures to share, and felt a bit like a tourist, but what can you do.
A picture of the former State of Iowa Capital, located in the middle of campus.  Anyone who knows Iowa, will know the above site is something rarely seen. The capital is not under construction or renovation.  Here we are posing next to a huge inflatable Herkey the Hawkeye. 

A shot of the marching band and an upside down tigerhawk formation.  Our seats looked straight out at the 45 and 47 yard line.  Not too bad!
They recently changed from grass to turf.  I must say the field looked great and hopefully will hold up better throughout the season.  I would like to hear what the players thing about the change.  I really enjoy the end zones, although we did not see enough action in them as I would have liked to see.
IMG_0728 IMG_0729

The weather was quite warm and I ended up with a touch of pink on my face, although it has made me feel hot all the time, especially when I lay down for bed.  There was just a bit of a breeze, but it was often dwindled down by the stadium.
flags We went home after the game and after I indulged on some Pancheros quesadilla and chips and queso.  It was not quite as good as I remember it, but it still hit the spot.  When we got home it had been a request that we have pot chicken.  Start a fire, get a lot of good coals, and then bread and fry up chicken in a pot of oil with some potato wedges.  So delicious!  We came home Sunday and had a relaxing night, as relaxing as can be knowing I had a 16 mile run in the morning.

I was up about 10 minutes before my alarm went off at 6AM.  I got ready and had a small bowl of oatmeal before heading out to stretch.  I got out just about 6:30, before the sun came up.  The temperature was just about perfect for running.  I set a cutoff shirt out for my second loop as I figured it would warm up as soon as the sun came up.  I wanted to start with sleeves to keep a bit warmer at the start.  As I was climbing the first hill, I saw the sun peek over the horizon.  One of the perks of running early in the morning, such a great sight.  I ran my first half which turns out was around 8.2 miles in 1:23.  I felt pretty strong with only a slight discomfort in my knee so it was a bit easier to cruise out for the second half.  Wanting to run it just a bit faster, I watched my time while keeping my heart rate in a nice low zone.  This was much easier than I expected today.  I rolled through Zone 2 almost the full day except for the end where I pushed just a bit to prove I had some left in me.  Overall finish in 2:44, not too bad!

Ran out and picked up a bottom bracket tool to replace Heather’s crank that got stripped out while trying to change pedals.  Hopefully I will have a fun update this week if all goes well.  Nice easy week with some workouts to prep me for Square Lake Sprint Tri, the final tri of the season.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Early Week Progress

I have started off the week on a good foot with a nice 5.28 run on Sunday for recovery and felt strong after the long run on Friday.  I found out Monday that I will be getting an entry into Square lake Short Course from a co-worker.  It will be a good race for me to finish the season on: 1/2 mile swim, 18 bike, and 5 mile run.  I will push myself hard for this race and then go home and have to run a bit more for the marathon training! 

Monday brought a solid 20 mile bike where I averaged over 20 MPH with some good winds from the side, and a 6.1 mile fast run Tuesday that I completed in 48 minutes, about 7:50 a mile.  I was glad to get below 8 minutes for that distance as I have not held that pace for the longer distance yet.  Hopefully race day I can drop it down below 7:30 a mile ideally.  We will see what it brings.


On a side note, Heather and I went to pick up a few things from Dick’s Sporting Goods in Burnsville and decided we should walk around and try to find the ‘banner’ that Fairview put up for advertisement that I was involved with.  Heather had a work event at the race track and we were able to see the billboard with my face on it, but did not get a picture.  I will have to go snap a few off sometime in the near future.  When they said banner, I expected something similar to a movie poster that they would hang by the store map and directory kiosks.  We walked out of Dick’s and started walking.  It did not take me long to spot it, slightly larger than I expected.

Yes, that is an elevator the banner is hanging on.  Not real thrilled about the shirt they used, my cycling shirts must not have been a good color for the photos.  Although you cannot tell, my shorts are not bike shorts, they are actually a pair of Under Armor compression shorts since I had done a full tri that morning as practice and wanted some help with recovery. 

Monday, August 31, 2009

Garmin Forerunner 305 Review

Find Garmin Forerunner 305 Review on my new webpage!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Time to Run










I must say this week has been extremely busy at work which caused me some issues working out a few nights.  I think I am getting a taste of how life will be in the future months.  Two people are leaving, one from my old area, and one from my new area, leaving me to do both, and try and train 2 other people on both areas.

Since St. Paul was last Sunday, I figured I would have a light week at the start, but found myself pleasantly surprised at how fast I recovered.  The most sore area was probably my shoulders, see previous post about the wetsuit fit.  I think I am going to try and store it over the winter with some towels stuffed in the shoulder areas to stretch it out a bit more. 

I started out Monday with a nice 1300 yard swim, working on form and trying to glide through the water causing as little turbulence as possible.  This was not the case for the lady swimming next to me.  She was a quick swimmer, and by quick, I mean she was faster than I was which is by no means a standard of measurement of a swimmers ability, just their perceived speed in relation to mine.  This swim was supposed to be nice and easy to loosen my muscles up after the race and it turned into more of a training activity of group swimming.  There was water splashing everywhere, waves crashing over the ropes, and what felt like a large current below the water.  I was not even able to use this as an opportunity to practice drafting, but more fighting through rough waters.  It was fun!

We had Caesar salads on Monday, but I do not mess around when having salads.  I prefer to load mine down with meat and noodles.  I put together a nice sized salad along with some cottage cheese for additional protein and left enough salad ingredients to have another one for lunch the following day. 

Tuesday night I went for a run with Heather as she is preparing for the Twin Cities 10 Mile.  We ran 3 miles together and then I ran the same loop again for a total of 6 miles.  It helped me to run with her and keep my heart rate in a lower zone, although it did drift out towards the end.  I see a long winter ahead of treadmill time trying to get used to the lower zone heart rate training.  Running needs to be my main focus for the next 5-8 weeks.  With the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon rapidly approaching and my mileage nowhere near what it needs to be, I have quite the journey ahead of me to build up my distance.  I want to do all of this while maintaining what I have built for triathlons as well.  I think swimming and biking twice a week each, plus three runs a week will get me there.


As I get a little closer to the race, I will post what my goals are… I say that like I am competitive at 26.2 miles HAH!  I have a rough number in mind, but  need to see how some of my longer runs go to see if I will manage to hold a pace for the entire distance.  My time last year was 4:48:28 chip time, 4:52:04 from when the gun went off.  My goal is for improvement, how much is another question. 


Wednesday was a good bike ride, out and back just over 16 miles.  On my way out, I could not help but think about my last trip out on this path.  I think it resulted in a flat and getting a new rear tire after a phone call to the Mrs.  Biking is going to be my big focus over the winter months.  I want to go into next year with a stronger bike time.  I am not sure what I can realistically expect to gain, but it better be on the strong side of 20MPH average. We had dinner with Heather’s sister on Wednesday where I made a new pasta recipe.  It turned out very well and everyone loved it.  It will be going into my list of keepers, and I will eventually post it up here with some pictures to do it justice, lets just say it was very good and there were no leftovers between three of us although it was supposed to make 5 servings.

Thursday I got stuck at work later than expected before heading with Heather to a work function at the Casino/Horse Track.  I have never been to a track before, but had a good time, and we ended up a few dollars, not enough to buy me a new bike like I had hopped, but every bit counts right?!?!

Then comes Friday, I knew when I woke up in the morning I had to decide when I was going to do my long run, 12 or 14 miles, TBD.  The plan was to run it on Saturday, but about halfway through the day, I decided it would be better to get it out of the way.  I also looked at the weeks to come and decided I better run 14 if I could manage as my time is limited to build the miles.  Headed out of the house at 4:30 and started off.  This was the first time this year I used my Fuel Belt with newly purchased bottles since my last ones got left in the car and molded last year.  The goal was to finish my 14 miles, keeping my HR in my roughly calculated Z2.  This meant much slower miles than I was used to running recently, but after a while I got into the groove and just started running along.

The run was broken into two sections, and 8 mile loop starting and ending at home, and then another 6 mile loop after refilling my water bottles.  I run with 4 8oz bottles, so I intended to drink 8 ounces every 2 miles.  Since the temp was cooler and there was a pretty strong 10-15 MPH wind it was much nicer running than I have done in a while.  The first 8 miles went well, although when I got home I started noticing my left knee (same leg that had the sprained ankle) was starting to get a bit sore similar to how my right knee felt last year during marathon training.  I decided to keep running and luckily ran into Heather on her run when I was at mile 9.  A little “Good job baby! You look good, keep it up!” was all I needed to keep me going.  I pressed on, although I started noticing my knee getting more sore as I went on.


Long HR
I managed to complete the full 14.2 miles in 2:31:40, not bad considering it has been since July 7 when I ran 12 miles that I ran anything over 6 miles.  My time was slower than the 12 mile run, but I
am going to stick with the lower HR training in hopes that it pays off down the road.  I got home and was walking with a limp as my knee was sore, but after a little ice and relaxing the rest of the night after getting the $20 combo at Chili’s, it started feeling a bit better.  I felt my calves start to cramp up after showering so I had Heather hit them with The Stick.  I wrapped up my legs in ace bandages since I went to purchase some compression socks to try them out as I was told Walgreens sold them for less than 10 bucks.  No such luck they were around $35 dollars, for that price I would rather purchase a pair from DeSoto, Zoot, or 2XU. 

Although Heather said I looked like and old man with both legs wrapped in Ace bandages, I slept with them on and woke up in the morning.  I must say I was very impressed with how good my legs felt and almost no pain in my knee.  This gave me some extra hope for the marathon training.  I decided to purse something I have been debating for a while.  Stuffed Cupcakes! Some pictures below will show the process, not bad for a first attempt.  The batter turned out a bit more like a brownie, but I love brownies!  The filling was not quite as much fudge as I expected and will need some tweaking, we topped them with some chocolate cream cheese frosting which we bought at the store and would say they turned out pretty well.


You can see below the filling is white and the top ones are after being covered again with some of the batter.  Although the batch said it would make 30, I think I ended up with about 20, must have made bigger cupcakes than intended. IMG_0074 IMG_0075 IMG_0077


Sorry for the moderate pictures.  I took them on my phone since it was right there. I should have spent a bit more time to make them look more appealing, but wanted to get the post up.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

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