Monday, February 28, 2011

For the Ladies

Shoe shopping!  Most females reading this just got very interested.  I'm in the midst of figuring out which running shoes to buy.  I did all of my training and racing for the Goofy Challenge in two pairs of shoes, and am still using those same two pairs.  Since I started training to qualify for Boston, up until today, I've run just over 676 miles.  Split down the middle, that's 338 miles per pair, which is quite a lot.  So, time to shop!

I've always found the best deals to be online.  It would be much nicer to buy the shoes in a store, so I could go try them on and make sure everything is all good, but I'm too cheap.  So I search around online, find out which shoe I want, then find the best deal I can and make my purchase.  I previously have been running in the Adidas Adizero Tempo.
These are the ones!
When I first started running years ago, I was wearing some other Adidas shoes that had a super elevated heel.  I've done some reading about shoes, and obviously everyone has their opinion.  But what I've come to understand is that the shoe industry has given us too much heel cushion.  So this pair, the Adizero Tempo, has a lot less cushion, and is considered a racing flat.  It seemed to treat me pretty well during my training and racing, so I was planning on getting a couple more pairs.  Another reason I bought these was because they were one of the cheaper racing flats I could find.  My trusted internet shoe store,, had them for under $60!  I went back to the site to buy them again,  and they no longer have my size!  Crap!  So back to the drawing board.

There's a whole "minimalist" movement when it comes to running shoes.  I like the theory, but I'm not ready to go barefoot, or really anywhere near it.  I have sensitive feet!  I do have a pair of Nike Free's that I use for shorter runs, but they really destroy my non-existent calves, so I limit them to about 4 or 5 miles at the most.  
Above is the pair I have
This is showing how "free" or flexible these shoes are
These are called Vibram Five Fingers.  This is a little too free for me.
There are a ton of shoes on the market now, though, that claim to be a minimalist shoe.  Realistically, that doesn't make any sense.  You can't be a shoe AND be minimalist.  Regardless, these types of shoes are supposed to allow your feet to move more naturally and be able to feel the ground better.  While searching through these types of shoes, I came across the Saucony Progrid Kinvara.

There's a huge variety of colors, so I'm not sure which ones I like best yet.
They claim that this shoe is "minimalist" in nature, but I'm not too sure it looks that way.  Either way, most of the reviews that people have given it online are very good.  It looks to be very similar to the shoe that I am currently wearing.  So I'm very interested in this little guy.  There is one other shoe that I'm considering.  It's the Saucony Grid Type A4.
Saucony Grid Type A4
As you can surely see, the sole on these shoes is pretty slim pickins.  Definitely a racing flat.  The only thing that would concern me about buying this shoe is logging all of my training miles on such a small sole.  Recovery is a bit longer.  One thing to note is the holes in the bottom of the shoe.  Saucony says they are designed for drainage, which would be good during a triathlon, or any run in hot weather when you are dumping water on your head.  I did read a couple reviews that said they had problems with little rocks get up into the shoe through those holes.

I've been comparing these shoes a lot, because I've narrowed it down to these two finalists.  I've read opinions from people who have worn both shoes, and they actually lean toward the Kinvara.  One thing I could do is get a pair of both, and use the A4's as my racing shoe.  That's always an option.

I'll probably come to a decision later on this week.  Once I do, and I receive whatever pair I decide on, I'll write up a little review to post.

Ragnar Relay Del Sol Recap

 As you can tell, by reading this post, I survived the Ragnar Relay!  I avoided getting hit by any cars or eaten by coyotes, which means my wife can't cash in on my life insurance policy (Sorry Laura!).  This is probably going to end up being a pretty long recap, so sorry.  Let's get to it!

If you don't know anything about the Ragnar Relay series, it's a running series that spans around 200 miles at each event.  It's done as a team, and most teams consist of 12 runners.  They can be all male, all female, or any sort of mix; there's a ton of division that you can compete in, based on your teams' makeup.  There's also teams of 6, and those are considered "ultra".  Using your public school education, you can understand that the runners on the teams of 6 run twice as far!  I'm only going to talk about how a team of 12 works, since that's how we rolled.

Each runner runs three times, and everyone's distances vary.  I was running third in the rotation, so my legs were going to equal 21 miles.  We had 2 vehicles with 6 runners in each.  While van 1 was running, van 2 was off in the distance relaxing.  When van 1 finished, van 2 started running and van 1 went to relax.  We actually did things a bit different, and we had a 5th wheel (a big camper that attaches to the back of a truck) for our second vehicle.  Technically, this was against the rules, but rules are really just suggestions, right?  Anyway, it was definitely the way to go.  Sleeping in a bed for the 90 minutes of sleep that I got during the race was awesome!  Way better than sleeping in a van.

This is almost exactly what we used
The race started on Friday, with teams starting all throughout the day.  Each runner submitted their 10k pace, which then led to a team average, which led to a predicted finish time.  The Ragnar people try to get everyone to finish within a certain time frame, so there's teams starting all day long, with the slower ones starting first.  We started in the second to last group, which meant we were apparently going to be pretty fast.

My first leg was advertised as a 7.0 mile leg, with a difficulty rating of hard.  It was overall a downhill run, but was straight as an arrow and in the middle of nowhere on a 2 lane road.  Pretty boring.  I'm assuming that's why they labeled it as hard.  The only excitement was when a semi would come driving down the road!  I felt really great during the run.  I locked in my pace and ended up averaging 6:58/mile during this first leg.  The one thing we noticed early on was that Ragnar is really bad at letting you know when each leg is almost done.  They put up "one mile to go" signs, but I'm pretty sure they just put them out randomly, without measuring the distance at all.  My "one mile to go" sign came at mile 5.8 (according to my Garmin) and I ended up running 7.05 miles.  So either my gps was way off, or that last mile marker was a quarter mile off!  I'm going to have to trust my $300 watch.  Funny thing was that this was pretty much the case on every leg.  Those signs were almost never right!  Regardless, I finished the run feeling really good.  Once van 1 finished all of our legs, it was our turn in the 5th wheel.  Time to sleep?  Nope.  We stayed up playing pitch.  Probably not the smartest thing we could have done.

My first leg
 Quick, well, not-so-quick side story about our pitch games.  I know most of you probably know nothing about pitch, but just know that you don't have to be a rocket scientist to play it (which is probably why us firefighters like it!).  As we were playing, I was having the hardest time thinking straight.  I said hearts when I meant to say spades.  I was having trouble figuring out which cards I was allowed to discard.  And I repeatedly had to ask what the trump suit was.  Typically this doesn't happen, but obviously staying awake for so long and having run earlier and only eaten one peanut butter and honey sandwich and some Gatorade was taking it's toll.  The funny part was that I knew all of this was going on, and didn't think to do anything about it.  I just kept on playing pitch and getting ready to run my second leg of the race.  Oops!

My second leg (leg 15) was at 12:33 a.m. on Saturday morning.  It was pitch black outside, and the only other souls I saw were the ones in my support van.  Talk about lonely!  From the moment I started this leg, my right IT band was killing me.  I kept hoping that it would loosen up as I ran, but it didn't.  I have a few different theories as to what caused this issue.  First, I never did my typical warm up and stretch or cool down.  Next, I was sitting in an Excursion for about 3 hours, then jumped out and started running.  Another reason might be that during my first leg, I was running on a slightly slanted shoulder.  Or maybe I didn't rest enough after the Goofy Challenge, or run out on the roads enough before this race.  Lastly (and I know my wife will say this is garbage), I did yoga for the first time last Monday and maybe I over did a stretch or two.  Either way, it hurt and I'm not too excited about walking during a race, so I just kept running.  To make things worse, there was a section about a mile long that was down in a river bed/trail.  During the day, that would have been fine.  But at night and with a hurting IT band?  Awesome.  Some of it was in sand, some of it was over big river rocks.  It was really a good time.  After the off road experience, it was uphill for the next four miles, which also does wonders for a hurting IT band.  Really.  Next time your IT band hurts, go out and run uphill for four miles.  You'll thank me.  I was pretty glad to finally see the exchange chute after this run.  I immediately began icing my knee and trying to stretch it out as best I could.  I was kind of concerned because I still had my longest leg left.  Leg 15 was advertised as 6.3 miles.  I did 6.41 mile at an 8:37/mile pace.  Pretty good for a bum knee!  This time, when we got to the 5th wheel, we all fell asleep immediately.

My second leg
When we started our third and final rotation, we realized how beat up our runners were.  We had one guy who had a bad knee before we started, and his knee was now locking up, meaning he couldn't run his third leg.  We had another guy who's back was spasming after he finished his second leg.  He was going to start his third leg and go as long as he could.  And my leg still wasn't feeling great.  The good news?  After this, we were done.  The guy with the bad back was before me.  I decided that once he tapped out, I would just take over for him and start my 7.7 mile leg early.  Well, he had to tap out with about 2.5 miles left of his leg.  I took over and felt pretty good for the first 3 miles.  I had been rubbing and stretching my leg for about an hour, and rubbed a ton of flexall on my knee.  I was able to hold on for a total of 8.85 miles, which was a mile short of finishing my leg where I was supposed to.  I felt that my pace was slowing too much and decided to let the allstar of our team take over.  He was covering the leg after mine anyways, so he added a mile onto that section, making it around 5 miles.  This was my longest, and slowest showing of the race.  I held an 8:47/mile pace, which was disappointing for me, but was definitely happy to be done.

My third and final leg (minus the two or so miles I added to the beginning)
Once our van finished, there was total relief all around.  Now it was time to head to the finish and wait for van 2 to finish up.  We were originally a team of 12 public service people (all male), but due to some injuries and last minute cancellations, we had 2 females and one other guy who were not public safety.  Because of Ragnar's stupid rules (not all of them are stupid, just ones that we didn't like.  The "no campers/5th wheels" rule for example), we just replaced our runners without telling them because there is a fine for swapping runners.  So don't tell them!  Officially, we finished in 27:19:37, which was good enough for 3rd place out of 11 in the Public Service Men Regular division, and 39th out of 306 overall!  Not too shabby. 

We had a few snags along the way, and probably would have enjoyed the experience a little more if we had planned it out a little better.  Don't get me wrong, we had a great time and even though we don't want to admit it now, we'd probably do it again.  It was hard at times having the 5th wheel, because we had to go off course to meet up since it was against the rules.  We also spent a lot of time searching through stuff in the Excursion, because it was a car full of guys and got quite messy.  I'm still missing a few things in fact!  I will say, though, that the goody bags were extremely lame, as well as the finish line amenities.  We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what exactly we paid for...the roads weren't closed so there wasn't any police to pay for (only a couple were out at night), we only saw 4 water stations on the course, and those were manned with volunteers, and the stuff we did see at the major exchanges (the exchanges where not only runners switched off, but the vans switched) was most likely donated.  I've seen better stuff at 5k's!  Even still, I'm glad I did it and would consider doing it again in the future.  I guess the only question now is, where do I get my Ragnar tattoo?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

IMAZ Training - Week 5

I know I said I'd post my weekly training on Saturdays, but I was a little preoccupied with running 21+ miles this weekend from Wickenburg to Tempe.  So please forgive me.  Better late than never, right?

Week 4 was a bit of a disaster, I guess.  I got in a good bike ride, a great run, two swims, and then I had the Ragnar Relay.  So, it wasn't a disaster, I just didn't get in the bike rides that I was hoping.  Oh well.  No point in dwelling on it, just gotta move forward!  I'll have a post about the Ragnar race in another day or two. 

Welcome to the PREP phase!  What does that mean?  Not much really, just a slight increase in weekly training hours.  This first week of the PREP phase is a testing week though.  I'll be doing a test in each sport to get a baseline as to where my fitness is at.  Here's how the week looks:

Sunday - rest day (good thing because I wrote this post Sunday night!)
Monday - Bike Test.  This test is going to be a Trainer Time Trial.  It is a 5 mile test @ 9-11 bpm below my lactate threshold, which puts my goal heart rate at about 146-155 bpm for this test.  It's also done using one gear for the entire test.
Tuesday - Swim - Nice and easy for 1:00.
Wednesday - Run Test.  This is a 1 mile time trial done very similar to the bike...9-11 bpm below my lactate threshold, however, HR is sort of unreliable at such a short distance.  So instead, I will be using Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and will be just below my max.  Swim - easy swim for 30 minutes.
Thursday - Bike - 1:30 easy zone 2 biking with varying gears and single-leg drills.
Friday - Swim Test.  Swim 10x100m (2 laps) with :10 rest interval at max effort.  Run - easy thirty minute run.
Saturday - Bike - 2:00 of easy biking, staying in zone 2 or low zone 3.

Next week I'll get back to the normal schedule, with slightly longer workouts.  Should be fun!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ragnar Sun

As you most likely were able to gather from a previous post of mine, I'm pretty much bilingual.  And to show off my translating skills again, I went ahead and translated the name of this weekend's race to a more understandable English version...Ragnar Sun (originally known as Ragnar Del Sol).  You can thank me later.

I agreed to do this race on somewhat of a whim.  A guy I work with called me up and said he was trying to put together a "public safety" team for this ridiculous foot race.  I agreed to do it because it sounded like fun.  Originally, I was assigned to run first in the rotation.  This would have put me at 18.8 miles total.  Well, due to some other participants canceling and having to be replaced by others, I'm now running third in the rotation.  No big deal, except I now run the most out of anyone on the team, topping out at 21 miles.  Which, isn't much farther that I was planning on running.

The problem with switching legs is the progression of the legs that I'm running.  Runner number 1 has their hardest leg first, a moderate leg in the middle, and an easy leg at the end.  I was looking forward to knowing that after my first leg, it was all downhill from there.  Now, I'm basically doing the opposite.  My first leg is my easiest leg, and my last leg is my hardest and longest leg!

It's all good though.  I figure by the time I get to the last leg, I won't have slept for about 28 hours, so I probably won't have any idea as to what's going on anyways.  I'll write up a little race report once it's all over and done with, assuming I avoid running into any cars on the not-closed roads we are running on for 190 miles.  YIKES!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Holy Yoga Batman!

After months of telling my wife no, I finally gave in.  I finally went to a yoga class.  Realistically, there's no reason not too.  I'm not sure that there's any negative to doing yoga, unless you force yourself to do things that you're not quite ready for.

We arrived to the scene of the crime about an hour and a half early, so I had plenty of time to think of some way to suddenly become ill so I could skip the class.  I couldn't think of any way that wouldn't also include my sleeping on the couch.  So, I set up my manly yoga mat (it has skulls and fire and tribal designs and guns on it.  Not really, but maybe that would make it feel a little more manly.) and said a prayer that I wouldn't pull any muscles or let out a loud air horn type know what I'm talkin' about! 

Fortunately, none of that happened.  The class was actually pretty good, although I'm pretty sure the instructor took it a little easy on us since there was a bunch of us newbies.  After going through the class, I can see that yoga will most likely benefit me.  It's probably not going to make me faster, but it will probably help me to avoid injuries.  The one aspect of yoga that I'm not quite sure I'll ever get is the meditation/internalization portion of it.  Now, this class a went to was called Holy Yoga, and is a Christ-based yoga, so I can relate with that.  But during the actual movements, I find myself concentrating more on form and not falling over, rather than relaxing.

So yoga is going to be a weekly thing, unless I'm working.  If I am working, I'll probably just do my own stretching session and make it a rest/recovery from yoga week.  Now I just have to figure out if I'm going to start wearing my special ordered yoga speedo...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Pressure Is On

If you've ever been to a triathlon, whether it was as a spectator or athlete, it's almost a sure thing that you saw somebody wearing what appeared to be knee-high socks.  Though that would be awesome, that's not exactly what they were.  They were either compression socks or a compression sleeve.

Compression Socks

Compression Sleeve
These little things have become quite the popular trend in the endurance sports world.  They may not look like much, but they actually do a very good job at making your legs feel better.  There's all sorts of articles on the internet that have opinions for or against compression, and whether or not they should be used in races or just as a recovery aid.  I'm not going to focus on what other people think.  I'm just going to explain my point of view and my personal experience.

I have a pair of the compression sleeves (I actually have a pair of what is pictured above).  When I did my first Ironman, I saw these things all over the place.  I didn't even know what they were until I did some research.  The jury is still out on scientific proof, but it seems that every person that uses them swears by them.  So I started to look into different brands and styles, and got pretty discouraged because it seemed like they were all on the pricey side.  Luckily, I have some awesome in-laws and they bought be a pair for Christmas (thanks John and Ronda!) a couple years back.

Since becoming the proud owner of these 2XU Compression Sleeves, not only have I had the wonderful opportunity to embarrass my wife by making a pretty ugly fashion statement, but I have been able to be pleasantly surprised by such a small piece or fabric!  I've used them in races and in training.  During races, I haven't seemed to notice a difference.  Theoretically, the compression garment prevents your muscles from doing any extra, unnecessary movement, and also assists your muscles in staying warm.  So, wearing them during a race should be beneficial.  Where I have personally felt the sleeves working is after I run.  More specifically, after I do a hard run and my calves feel like they might explode.

The other day, I did probably the most intense run workout I've ever done...I've done the same workout, just not as fast.  I could tell during the workout that my calves and shins were going to be sore.  After my workout, I jumped into a cold shower (it's like icing your ankle after you twist it) then immediately put on my sleeves and my legs felt great!  Once I took them off, they were only slightly sore.  No where near what they would have been without the sleeves!  I've recovered from many runs with and without the sleeves, and I personally feel that when I wear them immediately after a fun, they make my legs feel so much better.

So how do I use them?  Pretty simple actually.  I try to use them after every single run that I do.  Running is so tough on your legs, I figure I could use every type of recovery aid there is!  Immediately following a run, I do my normal post-workout routine...recovery shake and shower.  Once I'm all cleaned up, I slide on those super sexy sleeves.  My goal is to keep them on for twice as long as I worked out.  For example, if I ran one hour, I'd keep them on for two.  If I ran three hours, I'd keep them on for six.  Like I said, pretty simple.

I highly recommend you go out and get yourself a pair of these gifts from God.  Your legs will be thanking you for the rest of your life.  You will find that they can be a little expensive, but I feel that the benefit has been worth it.  I know that once mine lose their compression-ness, I'm going to pick me up another pair.  But, for those of you that don't want to spend your hard-earned dollars, there are cheaper options.  Compression socks are sold at most pharmacy locations.  Pharmacy compression socks do the exact same thing, but are nowhere near as sexy.  If this is the option you choose, I'd recommend you only use them for recovery, as some tri-specific compression socks are designed to be worn during workouts and pharmacy compression socks most likely are not.

Monday, February 21, 2011

IMAZ Training - Week 4

Three weeks down, and now is the final TRANSITION week!  Which also means, next weekend is Ragnar Relay Del Sol.  Again, my intentions are to train through this race, rather than taper.  This past week was an alright week for training.  I got in a few rides and a few runs and one swim.  I can tell that I've been pushing on the runs, because my legs are dead.  Oh well.
I'll keep this post short.  Here's next weeks schedule:
Sunday - Run - 1200m @ 4:08, 1000m @ 3:23, 800m @ 2:41, 600m @ 2:00, 400m @ 1:19, 200m @ :39.  All with 200m RI.
Monday - Swim - 30 minutes of easy Zone 2-3 swiming, including drills.  Bike - 45 minutes of Zone 2 spinning, including rolling hill simulation.
Tuesday - Run - 5 miles @ 6:41/mile.
Wednesday - Swim - same as Monday.  Bike - 1:00 of Zone 2 spinning, including rolling hill simulation.
Thursday - Swim - 45 minutes of Zone 2-3 swimming, with drills.  Bike - 1:30 of Zone 2 spinning, including 5 "spin-ups", followed immediately by 30 minutes of marathon pace tempo running.
Friday - Ragnar Race
Saturday - Ragnar Race

Thursday, February 17, 2011

La Musica!

That's about all of the Spanish I speak and/or write.  Thank you high school education!  On to the post.  I thought I'd write about my music selections while working out.  Actually, to be fair, my wife suggested this.  Thank you sexy lady!

I actually have a little bit different view of training with music than a lot of people, I think.  I love music, and really enjoy working out to it.  I find that it does take my mind off of the pain I'm causing myself, which I also see as a problem for a couple of reasons.  The main reason, for myself, is that in Ironman races, ipods are typically not allowed.  I feel that if I can't use it during the race, then I shouldn't train with it.  I wouldn't train with a better bike, only to use my POJ (the cleaner version of POS) for a race.  So why would I do it with music?  Secondly, if I don't specifically focus on my form, whether it be biking or running, I find that my mind will wander and my form, what little there is, will deteriorate.  I've noticed that my pace usually gets off track as well.  If it weren't for those two things, which I view as pretty important, then I'd probably use music all the time.

There are two instances when I do choose to listen to music.  Those two instances are treadmill runs and bike rides on my trainer.  Why do I use music in these workouts?  Because it is so dang boring to not actually be moving, it can actually be hard to motivate myself to keep going and not just stop.  With music, or the TV on, it's a little easier to keep the body moving.

My music selection is pretty large.  There's really too many to name all of them.  I'll just talk about some of the highlights.  Anyone who knows me and my musical tastes would only assume that I have some 311 in the ipod.  And I do, of course.  Here's a taste of 311 (just ignore the 1 or 2 swear words...):

Next is a little taste from the band Muse:

And as of late, I've added something to my ipod that I never would have considered adding, until my wife and I stuck around to see the last finisher come across the finish line at IMAZ 2010.  It was quite the party at the finish line, and all the DJ was playing was phat club beats yo!  Whenever I hear that music now, it reminds me of when we were waiting at the finish line and we were watching the pro's on the big screen TV.  So I did my best too look up some of the stuff that the DJ was playing, and I came across Deadmau5.  Here's two of the songs that made the cut:

It's sort of like having my own little spin class at my house!  Aside from those three bands/artists, there's really an endless list of artists on my playlist.  To name a few:  Yellowcard, Andrew W.K., Metallica, Beastie Boys, Black Eyed Peas, Alien Ant Farm, The All-American Rejects, Foo Fighters, Blink 182, Sugarcult, Finch, Jimmy Eat World, Papa Roach, The Used, Incubus, Maroon5, P.O.D., Hoobastank, Nickelback, AFI, Queen, Metro Station, Thrice, Our Lady Peace, The Gap Band, and Steriogram.  There's about 15 others, but I'm tired of scrolling through the list.  And besides, you get the idea.  It's a pretty big variety.  I just put it on "random" and let the ipod do it's magic.

If I had to limit it to one band, I'd probably go with 311.  Mainly because they are awesome.  But also because they have a gazillion songs, and they range from fast to slow to mellow to intense.  They're a good band to do intervals to: I'll sometimes match the tempo of the song with my cadence, or increase the resistance on my trainer for the duration of a song.

The long and short of it is, if you use music, great!  I try not to most of the time because I don't use it in races, and I prefer to prepare for race day as much as possible.  But when I do use music, I absolutely enjoy it, and it makes me wish I'd use it all the time.


This goof ball is most definitely NOT in my playlist.  Sorry, I'm not a Belieber.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Boston Atheletic Association's Big Announcement (Boston Marathon)

There has been a lot of talk lately about whether or not the B.A.A. will adjust the Boston Marathon qualifying times.  There's a lot of people out there that feel the times are too relaxed, or that the gap between gender qualifying times are to large, or that they shouldn't allow so many charity runners.  I personally think the times are perfect how they are, but that's probably because I only qualified by 35 seconds!  The real reason why all these people are voicing their opinions is because last year, the Boston Marathon sold out in a little over 8 hours.  That left a lot of people who didn't get a chance to register, and therefor pretty grumpy.

Well all of those grumpy people got their way today.  The B.A.A. made an announcement today that they are not only adjusting the qualifying times for future races, started in 2013 (whew! I'm safe!), but they are also adjusting the registration process.  Here's a cut and paste of the article:

BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced today a change in its registration process for the Boston Marathon, allowing the fastest qualifiers to enter the earliest and with a rolling admissio...n system while also offering all eligible runners an increased registration period. The changes in registration are a response by the B.A.A. to greater than ever demand by runners to gain entry into the Boston Marathon and culminate more than three months of analysis, including input from the running industry. Rather than accepting runners who have met the qualifying standards on a first come, first served approach, a more systematic, performance-based process will be employed.

2012 Boston Marathon

For the 2012 Boston Marathon, registration will extend for two weeks, beginning on Monday, September 12, 2011 and continuing until Friday, September 23, 2011. The qualifying times for the 2012 Boston Marathon will not change from recent past years since the standards had been previously announced and have been in effect since last September. However, the new registration process addresses the increased demand among qualified runners to participate in the Boston Marathon and will accommodate those who are the fastest qualifiers first.

Registration will occur on a “rolling admission” schedule until the maximum field size is reached, beginning with the fastest qualifiers. On the first day of registration for the 2012 Boston Marathon, those who are eligible for entry by having met the qualifying standards for their age and gender group by 20 minutes or more will be able to enter on the first day of registration (September 12). On the third day (September 14), registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standards by 10 minutes or more. On the fifth day (September 16), registration will open for those who have met their qualifying standards by five minutes or more. During this first week of registration, applicants will be notified as they are accepted and their qualifying performance verified.

If the field size is not reached after the first week and additional space remains, then registration will open to all qualifiers at the beginning of Week Two (September 19) and those who have met the qualifying standards by any amount of time will be able to apply for entry. The application process will remain open for the entire week, closing on September 23. At the conclusion of Week Two, those who are the fastest among the pool of applicants in their age and gender will be accepted. Accepted athletes will be notified on September 28.

If space remains available after this two week process, registration will remain open to any qualifier on a first come, first served basis until the maximum field size is reached.

The field size for the 2012 Boston Marathon will not represent a significant increase from the most recent years.

Registration Process for the 2012 Boston Marathon

Date registration opens for runners with times...
September 12, 2011 20 min., 00sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)
September 14, 2011 10 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)
September 16, 2011 5 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)
Second Week
September 19, 2011 All Qualified Runners
September 23, 2011 Registration closes for qualified applicants
September 28, 2011 (appx) Qualifiers from entry during second week of registration are notified of their acceptance.

If the field is not filled at the conclusion of the two weeks, then registration will remain open and qualifiers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis until the maximum field size is reached.

2013 Boston Marathon

For the 2013 Boston Marathon, in addition to the new “rolling admission” process for registration which will be in effect for the 2012 Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. will adjust the qualifying times by lowering them by five minutes from the times which have been in effect in recent past years. The adjusted qualifying times will go into effect on September 24, 2011, and are as follows:

2013 Qualifying Times (effective September 24, 2011)

Age Group Men Women
18-34 3hrs 05min 00sec 3hrs 35min 00sec
35-39 3hrs 10min 00sec 3hrs 40min 00sec
40-44 3hrs 15min 00sec 3hrs 45min 00sec
45-49 3hrs 25min 00sec 3hrs 55min 00sec
50-54 3hrs 30min 00sec 4hrs 00min 00sec
55-59 3hrs 40min 00sec 4hrs 10min 00sec
60-64 3hrs 55min 00sec 4hrs 25min 00sec
65-69 4hrs 10min 00sec 4hrs 40min 00sec
70-74 4hrs 25min 00sec 4hrs 55min 00sec
75-79 4hrs 40min 00sec 5hrs 10min 00sec
80 and over 4hrs 55min 00sec 5hrs 25min 00sec
*Unlike previous years, an additional 59 seconds will NOT be accepted for each age group time standard.
Registration for the 2013 Boston Marathon will begin on Monday, September 10, 2012.

“As the number of qualified runners has increased combined with greater demand to run the Boston Marathon, our new registration process enables those who qualify by the greatest amount of time to have the longest period to enter,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “Our new registration process takes into consideration the many comments we received from runners this past fall and winter, most of whom urged the B.A.A. to institute a system which recognizes athletic performance above all else.”

Additionally, to recognize and to encourage longtime Boston Marathon entrants, the B.A.A. will allow those who have met the qualifying times and who have finished the last ten consecutive Boston Marathons to enter anytime during the registration period. Currently, there are approximately 500 runners who have run 10 or more consecutive Boston Marathons.

The B.A.A. last adjusted the qualifying times for the 2003 Boston Marathon, relaxing times for runners who were 55 years old and older. The last time the qualifying times were made more stringent was for the 1980 Boston Marathon.

The 2011 Boston Marathon reached its maximum field size of qualifiers faster than any previous year when qualifiers rushed to fill the race and the qualified field closed in eight hours, three minutes.

When I started reading this article, and I got to the part about the fastest qualifiers will be allowed to register first, I thought, "Sweet!  That's gotta be me since my age group has the fastest qualifying time."   But then I read on, and began to realize that I will most likely get left out from the 2012 Boston Marathon.  They are allowing the fastest runners by age group.  So everyone in my age group that finished in 2:50:59 will get to register on day one, 3:00:59 on day 3, 3:05:59 on day 5, and everyone under 3:10:59 beginning on week 2.  Doesn't sound like a bad deal, but for my age group, under 2:50 isn't that crazy.  They will allow registration on week 2 (when I'm allowed to register) only if the field doesn't fill up by then.  I will have my fingers and toes crossed!

What happens if I don't get to register?  I'm basically out of luck.  I'll still be able to say that I am a Boston Qualifier, but not a Boston Finisher.  My qualifying time will not carry over for the 2013 race.  Could I qualify again?  Maybe.  Only this time, instead of finishing in 3:10:59 or less, I need to finish in 3:05:00 or less.  I did run a half marathon before I ran my qualifying race, so it's possible.  I'm just going to have to train assuming that I don't get registered and now need a faster qualifying time.  The other catch is, if I barely squeak by each year to qualify, I'll be in the same situation each year...I'll be in the last group to register, hoping it doesn't fill up before I get a chance to register.

So, instead of "Boston here we come!" it's now "Boston here we come?".

Monday, February 14, 2011

Night Rider

Technically, morning rider.  But "Night Rider" sounded better.  Either way, it's dark.  I have decided to start riding my bike to work again, a little earlier in the year than I had planned.  Why?  Well, because I don't want to pay over $3/gallon for gas when I am more than capable of peddling my way to work.

I have to leave my house at about 5:45 a.m. in order to get to my station in time (usually around 7 a.m.).  During the summer, it's no big deal because in Arizona, it's plenty bright by 5:45 a.m.  But in February?  Not so much.  It's actually kinda scary at times.  I'm not too worried about getting hit by a car.  If that's going to happen, there's not much I can do about it besides have lights on my bike, which I do.  The scary part is only seeing about five feet in front of me when I'm moving at around 18 mph.  That's not a whole lot of time to perform an evasive maneuver!  Because of this, I usually end up riding at just a little bit of a slower pace.

As I said, I do have lights on my bike, they're just not all that great.  I think I paid about $20 for the front light.  There are lights that light up what I'm sure is an entire football fields view in front of you, but those lights are crazy expensive.  And really, I'd only use it for a short period of time during the year.  Not really worth it in my opinion.  Maybe I'll change my mind if I end up crashing into some object on my way to work.

The other complication of riding my bike right now is what to wear.  It's still pretty cold in the mornings, especially on a bike.  When I head home though, it's usually around 8 a.m., which is quite a bit warmer than 5:45 a.m.  I'm going to try different options with the clothing to see what works best.  Next up is bringing along an empty camelback/backpack so I can put my extra jacket/pants in the bag on the way home.  Soon enough, though, it will be warm out again so it won't even be a problem.

So sorry guys, but I'm hoping for Summer to be here sooner rather than later.  Don't hate me, it just want it that way for my safety.  Now go buy yourself a bike and stop driving so much!  There's no excuse to drive when your traveling short distances!  (ok, there are some good excuses.  But most of the time, you don't need the car.  Your wallet will thank you!)

Oh yeah, Happy Valentine's Day to my wife!  And to the rest of you too!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Garmin Uploading Troubles Update

A couple posts ago I wrote about "Technology, Love it and Hate it".  To summarize, I had done a couple workouts using my Garmin Forerunner 310xt, and was unable to upload the files to my account on Garmin Connect.  After filtering through the message forums on the Garmin website, I found my solution.

There were a lot of suggestions about "corrupt files" (I'm not computer-literate enough to know much about fixing this problem).  There were also the obvious suggestions about reading the user manual.  Pretty dumb suggestion, thanks.  My solution just happened to be a lone-post.  And it wasn't even the poster's main point!  At the end of his post, he mentioned that one time his Garmin time stamped his workout with the wrong date.  So when he uploaded his workout, it was actually uploaded in the wrong year.  This got me thinking.  I decided to look at the master list of my uploaded workouts, and found 3 workouts on September 21, 2010 that were "untitled" (I always label my workouts, so I knew these were new).  I looked at each workout, and sure enough, these were my missing files!  Crazy!

As annoying as this whole deal was, I'm definitely glad to have found the files.  And, now that I know that this has happened once, if something fishy happens again, it will be the first thing I look for.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

IMAZ Training - Week 3

Another easy week down the tubes.  This week was pretty much as successful as last week.  I ended up with 2 runs, 4 bikes, and 1 swim.  I definitely could use more swim time, but my main focus is going to be on the bike, since I'm still quite slow.  More bike time now equals less bike time in the race, right?  We'll see!  I'm not going to include a daily recap of last week, since it's just a TRANSITION week, and really isn't required to have much structure.  I will, however, be doing the exact same workouts next week!  Woo hoo!  Here's that schedule again:

Sunday - Run - 400m, 600m, 800m, 1200m, 800m, 600m, 400m.  All done basically all-out and with a 400m RI between each.
Monday - Swim - 30 minutes in Zone 2 with drills.  Bike - 45 minutes in Zone 2 with variable gearing.
Tuesday - Run - 5 miles @ 6:26/mile
Wednesday - Swim - 30 minutes in Zone 2 with drills.  Bike - 1:00 in Zone 2 with variable gearing.
Thursday - Run - 9 miles @ 6:49/mile
Friday - Swim - 45 minutes in Zone 2.
Saturday - Bike - 1:30 in Zone 2 with 5 sets of spin-ups, followed immediately by a 30 minute tempo run.
So go ahead and train with me.  It's gonna be fun!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Technology. Love it, and hate it.

I've said in previous posts that I own a Garmin 310xt.  It's a personal GPS watch that is made for endurance sports, and more specifically, triathlons.  Here's a look at it:

You can adjust the screen to display about 20 different things, in an almost unlimited combination.
This thing of beauty has really altered how I train, for the better.  The way I like to explain it, is that it's like having a coach follow you around during your workouts and yell at you when you're not doing it right.  It can tell me to slow down, speed up, slow down or speed up my heart rate, pedal faster, etc.  It really is awesome.  And don't let what I'm about to say lead you to believe that I would ever consider getting rid of it.  Because I won't.

Though I do love my watch, from time to time I seem to have some issues.  Not so much with the watch itself, but with the uploading of my workouts.  Right now, in fact, I'm trying to upload my three latest workouts, a bike and two runs.  I am having no luck whatsoever.  And, it seems that other people are having issues too.  The forum is pretty full of people having my same problem.  The whole process usually only takes about 3-5 minutes.  This time, I'm going on two hours.  Crazy!  And all I really want is to get my workouts recorded into cyberspace so I can have them recorded with the rest of my workouts.

I know that "speed bumps" are part of technology, but they suck.  Especially when there's not really anything you can do about it, other than keep trying.  And so I shall.  Most likely all day.  At least there will be some good commercials on today that I can watch while I curse this uploading process.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

IMAZ Training - Week 2

Here's week 2 of my 42-week training plan.  Man, it is just flying by!  Again, I'm currently in the TRANSITION phase, which is basically just getting used to training frequently again.  I do have my weeks scheduled out, but I'm not too concerned if I can't find the time to get in a workout, or it is cut short.  Just getting into the habit of doing the workouts is what I'm shooting for in the next couple of weeks.  So here's a recap of week 1 (for now I'll just note whether or not I did a workout, since their not very structured.  Once the sets are more, well, set, then I'll post how I felt about all of that):

Sunday - completed a run
Monday - completed a swim and completed a bike.
Tuesday - completed a bike.
Wednesday - completed a run.
Thursday - completed a bike.
Friday - rest
Saturday - I have a swim and a bike scheduled (I'm writing this on Friday night, so my fingers are crossed for Saturday!)

A pretty good TRANSITION week.  The run workouts that I'm doing are pretty intense.  Since my run fitness is still pretty high, I'm planning on keeping the run intensity up instead of backing down during the PREP phase.  We'll see how that plays out.  On to week 2:

Sunday - Run - 400m, 600m, 800m, 1200m, 800m, 600m, 400m.  All done basically all-out and with a 400m RI between each.
Monday - Swim - 30 minutes in Zone 2 with drills.  Bike - 45 minutes in Zone 2 with variable gearing.
Tuesday - Run - 5 miles @ 6:26/mile
Wednesday - Swim - 30 minutes in Zone 2 with drills.  Bike - 1:00 in Zone 2 with variable gearing.
Thursday - Run - 9 miles @ 6:49/mile
Friday - Swim - 45 minutes in Zone 2.
Saturday - Bike - 1:30 in Zone 2 with 5 sets of spin-ups, followed immediately by a 30 minute tempo run.

So basically the same as week 1.  For the most part, weeks 1-4 are all going to be very similar.  Good luck if you're joining me.  And if not, you should!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Separate Ways...

When I see those two words, the first thing that comes to my mind is quite possibly one of the greatest songs Journey ever created.  If you're too old, suffering some memory loss and can't remember, or too young and have never heard of Journey, here's the video (quite possibly the best four minutes of your life!):

Music videos don't get much better than that!  The other thing that comes to mind is my recent separation from  I know I just wrote a post about joining up with them the other day, but I think I was just a little more hopeful than realistic.  To explain what happened, and how the decision was made, I took the time to grant a once-in-a-lifetime interview, that really gets into the mind of Jason.  Here is the interview in full:

jasontris:  It seems as if you were pretty excited about this new coaching site.  What changed in the last 48 hours?

me:  I think I just started being realistic with myself.  I'm already stretched pretty thin (and  that was not intended to be a pun about how skinny I am!).  I work 56 hours a week, and am just getting into my training for this triathlon season.  On top of that, I have my family to keep in mind.  There's only so many hours in a week, and I'm already gone for a good portion of those hours.  I don't think it's fair for me to demand more "me" time.  Sometimes you just have to know when to say no, which is hard for me.

jasontris:  Well, what about the other athletes out there that are in need of some coaching?  Are you trying to tell me that you are so greedy that you can't give just a couple of hours a week to help someone out?
me:  Wow, are you kidding me?  Feel free to speak your mind buddy.  Well, to answer your question, I know there are people out there who need help.  I'll be more than happy to help out through emails or blogs.  I just don't have the spare time right now to provide for one-on-one coaching.

jasontris:  But what about coaching during your training?  Wouldn't that be an option that wouldn't require more hours away?

me:  That is a possibility.  However, I feel that if I'm out doing my training, focusing on what I need to be doing, then I shouldn't be charging someone else to be there with me.  If I'm not going to be focused on a "client" 100%, then I shouldn't be charging them.  If anyone wants to join me during my training and ask questions, feel free.  No charge.

jasontris:  Really?  No charge?  What about making money off of your knowledge like other coaches?

me:  That's good for other coaches.  All of the things I've learned, not that there's a whole lot,  I've learned for free.  Nobody charged me for the questions I asked.  It's kinda like that whole pay-it-forward thing I guess.  And really, who am I to think that I can charge someone?  That's just crazy talk.

jasontris:  So where do you stand with now?  I can't imagine they were too happy with you.

me:  Well, I sent them a very apologetic letter.  They might be pissed and cursing me.  If they are, oh well.  I don't know any of them personally.  I figure, if they were going to let me be a coach, they have some "forgiving" standards, and there are probably a ton of other people out there who would love to be part of this start-up group.  I'm not saying I won't ever revisit the whole idea.  It just wasn't the right time.  I think my family would agree.

jasontris:  So, now that this coaching deal is off the table, what's next for you?

me:  In terms of triathlons/racing, I have a few races on the schedule this year.  Mainly, though, I'm looking forward to giving Eric Byrnes some words of encouragement as I pass him at this years Ironman Arizona!

Wow, what a deep interview!  Just in case you're wondering, I did not interview myself.  I would never do such a cheesy thing!  Ok, maybe I would.  Whatever.  I still think looks like an awesome thing, just not for me at the moment.  

Now don't everybody start sending me messages for free tips all at once!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yesterday, I mentioned a little something about  They are a start-up company/website looking to offer coaching services to anyone and everyone who wants them, in regards to triathlons.  It is going to be a little different than most other coaching services out there.  This website will not only have long term contracts, but will also have the availability of hiring a coach for as little as one session!  An athlete puts in there information and needs, that info then gets put through some computer processing magic, and then all possible coaching matches are listed.  It sounds like it could be a great tool for athletes with busy schedules, those who don't want to commit to long contracts, or those who have no friends and want to hire a friend to swim, bike, or run with.


This guy probably won't have any friends after this race and will be looking to hire some.  CRAP!
I was contacted through, a website that keeps track of all your race results in one location.  According to them, I have had some decent enough results to be considered for this nation-wide coaching program,  I'm a pretty busy guy, but I figured I'd at least hear them out and see what it's all about.  Well, it sounds like it is all based on how available I want to make myself.  One key point that this website is trying to stress is face-to-face time.  That's where I might have a problem, due to the amount of training I'm doing, work, and family.  But, I decided I'll give it a try for a little while and see how it goes.

So check out the website.  It's not officially open yet, but you can still look around and see what their whole story is.  I think the official launch date is 2/14/11.  That's when athletes will be able to start looking for coach's and start booking time.  So go, check it out and tell your friends.  I'll post more info as it become available to me.