Monday, July 27, 2009

The week of halfs

I would start by saying half number one: Training - only about half as much as I would have liked due to this sprained ankle that is taking its sweet time getting better. I do feel I made a big jump in how it feels Sunday night to Monday morning, so as they say I am starting the week off on the right foot(its actually my left) I managed to get in a few workouts, including a new 14 or so mile bike that had some challenging hills. I spent one of the long stretches trying to catch up to another biker I saw, I gained almost all of the ground and then saw him turn when I was about 250 yards back. All of this kept me at a reasonable heart rate but I was still pushing hard for the new route.

I also did an open water swim on Sunday, thanks to Bill, race director for the Waconia Tri this coming weekend. He and his wife Wendy allowed about a dozen of us to come and swim the course. They even put up markers and had the GPS to map it out. .25 miles exactly! This was probably my last hard workout and was only about half what I would normally swim for a workout session, but it got me some time in open water. I even tested out my Garmin 305 on the swim, looks like I could work on swimming a straight line a bit better when in open water!

The race takes place in Clear Lake, my little rant to the people in charge of naming lakes... if its not clear... stay away from the name Clear Lake. Green Lake would have been a better fit. The water was calm which was a huge change from my last OWS with 2.5 ft chop.

All things said, I was happy with my swim as I did not push at race pace, but enough to get a good feel for the distance in my wetsuit and after having a bit of time off. See the results below.

I was the last person in the water, and the first one out. I shocked myself since everyone else started a few minutes ahead of me. Hope to have my swim split less than 8 minutes for the race, ideally 7:30-7:45.

Even with my ankle not being 100% my goal for the .25 Swim, 14 Bike, 4.4 mile run Waseca Tri : 1:31:30 by my rough calculations. If I do it less than 1:30:00 chances are I met all of my set goals for this race:

  • Swim less than 8 minutes
  • Under 3 minute T1 (I need work on this one)
  • 20 MPH Bike Average (nice flat course should help for this)
  • Less than 8 mins / mile on the run
Time to get back on subject of halfs. As some know I have a technical background and I love my technology and having information at my fingertips. I could read things on the internet for hours at a time just to learn new things. I also am a big fan of Craigslist for picking up some good deals.

When my wife and I started training for our first tri, we had to buy bikes. I couldn't quite get her convinced to get a road bike so she ended up with a hybrid to be in a less aggressive stance. Now she wishes she had gotten a road bike as I so often hear "Remember your bike is faster than mine!"

I happened to see a posting Friday for a Quintana Roo Chicqilo tri bike that was a year old and used, but at a very very good price. I did some contacting and we ended up going Friday to test the bike out, although we thought it could have been a bit large, it turns out it was a perfect fit. Picked it up Saturday after hitting the bank! Rather than having to go out and buy her a new bike, we snagged this good deal at considerably less than half the cost it would have been new, plus it has a wireless Cateye V2c computer and speedplay pedals included. We will eventually grab her a Garmin 305, but she loves her new bike, and its pink too!

[Her Bike]

We went out for a quick spin after swapping out to plain pedals until she gets used to clip ins. She noticed how much quicker it was, and I must admit I can tell its much faster than her other. She realized it very quickly that the more aggressive bike equals different muscles being worked and thus she will be building some new ones as she starts using it. We went out and snagged her some fancy new Specialized Trivent shoes and now just need her to get used to the bike and then start learning the pedals.

Of course learning to clip in is easier on a trainer... gosh wouldn't it be great if we had one of those, well we do not, but I am sure craigslist does! I had done research before and found that the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine trainer is highly praised, and thus has a higher price. It just turns out that in the Minneapolis area, two were put up within 2 hours of each other Sunday afternoon. After a few phone calls and a few miles in the car. I brought home a new trainer that had a total of 30 minutes of usage before the guy realized he did not like riding indoors at all. Sticking with the theme, walked out paying less than half the cost of the trainer new and it included a floor mat. Great for people like me that sweat just looking at a bike or thinking about running.


It would be a great if I only had to work a half week, but no such luck. I may end up with a half day on Friday at least to meet my family who is comming up to watch us do our triathlon. An easy week of training this week in hopes that my ankle recovers to almost full before the race.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Practice what you preach...

I started taking Monday as one of my recovery days and I now believe I am going to change that. Starting the work week off and not working out makes me feel like I have been slacking the whole week. This is going to change very soon.

A summary from last week:
Sunday 7/5 - 22.84 Bike - 1:30:00 and 6.19 run - 1:02:00 (Running after eating ribs is not a good idea and this postponed my long run for the week)
Tuesday 7/7 - 12.16 run - 1:56:34 -A bit slow from what I want, but hey it was the longest run I have gotten in yet.
Wednesday 7/8 - .91 Swim - 0:40:00
Thursday 7/9 - 16.34 Bike- 0:51:41 and 3.03 Run 0:24:33
Saturday 7/11 - 15.68 Bike - 1:00:56
Sunday 7/12 - 6 Run - 0:53:56 and 6 Bike - 0:24:11

Tuesday 7/14 - 1.14 Swim Speed drills then 1/2 mile swim
Wednesday 7/15 - 16.26 Bike

And then comes the title...I play on a co-ed kickball team from work and we have had two people on our team injured this year by playing softball. I jokingly made a comment at our game Wednesday night that our team needed to sign waivers they would not participate in sports (softball in particular) that could cause injury and harm our kickball team! (It sounds serious, but we just play for fun, although we had our first loss this week) Only a few innings into the game things took a turn for the worse. A high kick in the air to the outfield right-center... I ran towards it as did our second baseman running backwards, he called it and by that time it was too late to get out of his way... did I mention he played college football? We collided and he won, impact on my left side, my ankle rolled outwards, and my knee went inwards. I ended on the ground, but at least he caught the ball. I tried to stand and could not put any pressure on it immediately. My first thought was something along the lines of "NO I still have triathlons and my marathon this year!" I manage to start putting some pressure on it and am able to stand and very lightly jog on it. I played the rest of the game, but with limited movement.

Turns out I think I got very lucky and ended with a minor sprain. I have nursed this injury far more than any other in my life. Rest, ice, compression, elevation to every detail and it is feeling a bit better today. Thursday was pretty rough walking on it much so I hope that laying low (may sneak in some arm weight training or a swim this weekend) will get me back training next week.

Of course the weather cooled down a ton the past couple of days and would be great for a long run, although a bit windy. My next race is 2 weeks away, so hopefully I can get in a couple strong workouts before then and have a few days recovery before the race and be almost 100%.

I guess of all times it could have happened this is about the best, my sister-in-law is being induced today for her second child, a baby girl, and my wife and I are volunteering at the Miracle Kids Triathlon tomorrow in Minneapolis. I am very excited to share my love of the sport with some kids and make it a great experience. I wish I would have gotten involved with something like this at such a young age.

I will add some pictures tomorrow after the event, but for now I am stuck reading blogs and webpages to get my tri fix for the day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Me in a nutshell

Since I never formally started this blog outside of a lame attempt at the first post and setting up a blog, I figure this will give me something to start off with.

I am 26 years old and live in Twin Cities area. I have lived up here for 2 years and grew up in Iowa. I attended the University of Iowa where I got my Electrical/Computer Engineering degree. My first job out of college was consulting for a healthcare IT company which required me to travel 4-5 days a week. This is when I picked up running just to kill some time on the road. After not too long I decided that I should set a goal. I had always looked up to someone when I heard the term marathon runner, so I figured why not go big or go home. I started training and ran the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in 2008. I dealt with some injuries and annoyances mostly IT Band Syndrome, ITBS. I was able to do some physical therapy after running the marathon that literally helped me get back on my feet. It got to the point where I could not even run 2 or 3 miles without pain for days after.

As a side note, I just recently did some marketing and promotional material with Fairview Hospitals and Clinics and their Institute for Athletic Medicine. I am waiting to see the final copies of everything, but it was a good afternoon of makeup, video interviews, makeup, photo shoot in dress clothes, some more makeup, photos with my bike, and did I mention more makeup? I tend to sweat quite a bit when its 90 degrees out, so I was glad the lady was patient and stood nearby during the whole thing. I got to preview some of the initial materials including a magazine add and billboard advertisement! As soon as I find out where and when it goes up I will put some pictures of it up.

My wife was the one who started my obsession for triathlons. She enjoyed swimming laps and suggested that we do a triathlon together since I like running and she liked swimming. Since I did not have a bike and hers was pretty old, we both set out to get bikes after we had started training a little.

I ended up finding a 2007 Trek Equinox 5 Tri Bike for less than I could buy any current road bike for and figured why not? Atleast it will give me something to grow into and not need to replace as quickly if I get into it. I made a decision to not get clip in pedals right away and to get comfortable with the bike first. I am still using the big plastic little kid pedals they had attached. I plan on upgrading this fall/winter after the season is done.

I love downhill skiing and snowboard in the winter and now I have an activity to look forward to in the summer and train throughout the winter.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Next Tri Planned

Last night my wife and registered for the Waseca Sprint Tri to be held on August 2nd. This will give me 4 weeks of training between races for this one. 1/4 Swim, 14 Bike, 4.4 Run. This should be a good challenge that I can really work on my time. I have gotten some good workouts in this week already in the mornings while it was cool out. I am finding it difficult to train for the Twin Cities Marathon and train to be more competitive in my sprints.

I know one point of focus for me would be to improve my running times. I hope that the endurance aspect of marathon training helps me to store up some energy for the run finish. My 8 mile run this morning was just under a 9:00/mile average which is an improvement and what I would ideally average for the whole thing. I would like to get down to 8 minute miles for the triathlons if not even a bit lower. I am in the process of writing my review about the Garmin 305 and I will sneak a little teaser in... It has helped me initially by keeping my pace up and not losing speed as I progress through the run. More on the review later.

It was a little demoralizing the initial settings of the Garmin software said my pace would range between a jog and a fast jog! I think I need to revise how that works. I am also playing around with Sport Tracks to compare the two and see which I prefer.

I am enjoying every moment of the triathlon experience including training! I plan on doing the Waseca Sprint, St Paul Sprint, and finally the Square Lake Sprint. If I get very ambitious I would love to go back to my alma mater and do the University of Iowa Sprint Tri in September, but that is still up in the air.

I am hoping to see improvement in my age group rankings. My first race I was 20/32 and my second I was 14/21. Both would be low section of the middle third. My goal for the year is to finish in the top half of my age group at one of the races and start reaching for the top 1/3 of my age group.

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