Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Announcement Clue #4

Alright!  We made it past the half way mark.  Only two more clues remaining!  I know you'll figure it out, if you haven't already.  If not,  remember, don't get discouraged.  It may seem difficult at times, but don't worry, we'll all arrive at the finish line together, just some a little later than others.  Here's all the clues, including clue #4:

Clue #1

Clue #2

Clue #3

Clue #4
 Only one more clue to go!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Welcome to the Dungeon

I've made mention before that I have to do some, well, a fair amount of my running on the dreaded treadmill.  This isn't something that I prefer, but it's usually my most time-efficient option.  Almost every time I run on a treadmill, it's while I'm at work.  My job allows for me to take some time and workout (though it's never guaranteed that I get through a workout without having to get back to work, and understandably so).  So the reason why running on a treadmill at work is a great time saving option is because it doesn't take away from any of my family time, like my other training does.  The down side is that it's not a definite that I'll be able to get it in, and again, it is on a treadmill.

This is what I lovingly call the Dungeon
I've spent many lonely hours in this place, though secretly I do actually enjoy it.  Usually there's another person in there working out too, but not always.  It just depends on the time of the day.

There's my mistress.  The ol' treadmill.
I've gone through a few different relationships with this treadmill.  I first started using it last year when I had stress fractures in my shins.  After not running for over three months, I did 12 weeks of training for the Disneyland Half Marathon 2010 on this beauty (assuming that it was easier on my legs and less likely to bring back the stress fractures), and ended up setting a PR by about 30 minutes!  When I first started my training, I thought that there was no way I could improve my time in a race by only running on a treadmill.  I was clearly wrong.  Since that race, however, I have changed back to wanting to get most of my running done outside.  When I did the Goofy Challenge, I did more of a mix, but the majority of my running was outside.  And even though I prefer to run outside, I do see a use for running on the treadmill.

When I do run on the treadmill, I don't just turn it on and run on a zero incline and make it an easy run.  I try to make it a little challenging in hopes that I can simulate running outside.  For starters, I usually do a ten minute warm up, followed by a five minute stretch.  This is my typical routine for all of my runs, whether they are inside or outside.  I know everyone has their own opinion on warming up and stretching.  My opinion is that you need to find what works for you and stick with it.  My routine has been working pretty well for me (as shown by qualifying for Boston), so I think I'll be sticking with it.  Next, I always have the incline set to 1.0, at the least.  I usually will keep it at 1.0 for a couple miles and bump it up to 3.0 or so for a half mile or so, sort of like rolling hills, or random hills, or whatever you want to call it.

I also like to utilize my Garmin 310xt while I'm on the treadmill.  Unfortunately, Garmin's ant+ technology is not typically compatible with cardio workout equipment (Polar usually is).  So what I do is place my little Garmin unit right on the ledge of the treadmill so I can keep it in my sights.

There's my 310xt, and my water bottle.
I turn off the GPS signal on my watch and just do a manual lap every mile, according to the treadmill.  There is a footpod that can be purchased, which would give a more accurate reading as to how for I've actually run, but I don't have that, so I just trust what the treadmill says (I could go into a lot of depth on how treadmills aren't accurate because they just about never have any maintenance work done).  For my purposes, my method works very well because it shows up to my GarminConnect page as one mile laps, which makes it very easy to see what pace I did for each mile.

Take it from me, since I'm obviously well versed in all that is treadmill running, that you shouldn't dread the tread.  Just use it as a tool to enhance your run workouts.  You can get such a great workout in a controlled environment, and you can even do the same workout periodically to test yourself and see how you've improved.  So again, DON'T DREAD THE TREAD!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

IMAZ Training - Week 13

Just a reminder that I'm doing this blog with my phone, so I'm not sure how it's going to look. Hopefully it's readable!

Monday: BIKE 1:30 with BRICK RUN 1:00. YOGA 1:00.
Tuesday: SWIM 1:00. RUN 1:30.
Wednesday: BIKE 1:30.
Thursday: BIKE 1:30.
Friday: REST.
Saturday: RUN 1:30 and Relay for Life.
Sunday: BIKE 2:00. SWIM 1:00.

Now That's Hawt!

Unfortunately, the charger for my computer decided to get a little over heated and burned/melt. This means that the only way I can do blogs for the next few days is with my phone...slightly more tedious. I'll do what I can, but no promises that the blogs will turn out right (this is my first phone blog....did it turn out alright?). On tap, I have my weekly training schedule, an update on the new Tinkerbell Half Marathon, and if they get everything figured out, then the results of my latest dealings (which is an indication of how that situation is going). Until then, happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Better Luck Next Time, RunDisney.

If any of you are members of the elite group that is Facebook, then you may have heard the news that RunDisney was going to be announcing a new race on their Facebook page.  To build up to the announcement, they had a month-long series of clues, which were basically unsolvable.  Well, they made the announcement on Tuesday, and they are the proud new owners of a new race in Disneyland...the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.
Not sure if this is the official logo, but here's a logo from the internet.
If you go to the RunDisney fan page, you will see that there are a large number of people that are pretty upset about this new race.  Mainly because they build it up for so long, only to announce a half marathon (as opposed to a marathon or triathlon).  Also, because this is a "women's" race.  That means that the race is designed specifically for women...the participant shirt is a women, the expo is geared toward women, and all the support on the course will be geared toward women.  Men are also not eligible for any awards.

I don't have a problem with this, in theory, I just think that RunDisney missed a great opportunity to include everyone.  There's a guy on Facebook (I don't remember his name) that had a great idea:  RunDisney could easily stick with the Tinkerbell theme, but could have added pirates for the men.  Then make the race a competition between the men and the women, with the women getting a slight head start.  Then, each year the course theme would be based on the winning gender (pirates if the fellas win and Tinkerbell/fairies for the ladies).  I thought this guy basically hit a home run with his suggestion, and hopefully someone on the Disney team took note.  It's a really great concept.

I will say that I wouldn't have a problem signing up for the race, if I was running it with my wife or some other female.  I wouldn't sign up to run it by myself though.  Not that I would ever win an award, but I don't really want to pay $120 or so for a "fun run" to run by myself...that's what the 5k is for.  I can pretty much do that at home for free.   I sign up for a race, it's because I'm wanting to beat my previous time.  Whether or not I would ever win an award doesn't really matter, but it does take away from the other competition that would normally be there, as they won't be registering either.

I am glad that there's another race in Disneyland, I'm just a little disappointed that it was designed to exclude men (like I said, I know men can race, it's just not as appealing).  Oh well, I'll probably still run it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Announcement Clue #3

How did you do on week 2?  Is the anticipation growing?  I know I'm excited.  We're at the half way point!  Remember, don't get discouraged.  It may seem difficult at times, but don't worry, we'll all arrive at the finish line together, just some a little later than others.  Here's clues #1, #2, and #3:

Clue #1

Clue #2

Clue #3
 Good luck!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Free Speed!

This is not an advertisement for drugs.  The speed I'm talking about isn't measured in grams, but miles per hour.  If I told you that you could have some free speed, would you take it?  I sure as heck would! (again, the miles per hour, not the drug!)  However, by purchasing a road bike instead of a triathlon bike, I basically said no to drugs, I mean, free speed.  Let me explain...

In triathlons, there's a gadzillion amount of ways to set up your bike.  It really all boils down to comfort, especially for the longer races.  However, with comfort, the trade-off is typically to give up some aerodynamics.

A typical road bike set up.
Triathlon bikes, or time-trial bikes, are made specifically to be more aerodynamic and to put the rider in a much more aerodynamic position.

A typical triathlon bike set up.
You can see that the triathlon bike is designed to make the rider lean forward more, created less wind resistance.  When I bought my bike, I didn't even know that there was anything other than a road bike.  So, I purchased my bike and added clip-on aero bars.

Almost exactly the same as my set up.  The longer bars sticking out on the right are the clip-on aero bars.
This type of set up is sort of a make-shift solution for people who own a road bike and want to do a triathlon.  Aero bars are definitely not a requirement for doing triathlons, but as the saying goes: Any time out of the aero position is wasted time.

My training partner (or at least this guy that I ride with every once and a while), we'll call him Captain Peele, has a more tradition triathlon bike.  The bike he has was built with a geometry to support a more aerodynamic position on the bike.  This fact is blatantly obvious whenever we go downhill.  I'm typically pedaling in my largest gear, and he is typically coasting behind me.  Granted, he has a few more pounds on me, so that helps too, but he really goes downhill much, much faster.

His trade-off, for being more aero, however, is that he is not positioned well for long hill climbs.  My bike is much better for that.  If we didn't purposefully ride near each other, we would probably leap frog one another during the course of a ride.  Maybe we'll trade bikes for a ride some time and see how different it is (and then I'll just take off and let him keep my lame excuse for a bike!)...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

IMAZ Training - Week 12

Week 11 was pretty rough.  I was taken down by some illness that is going around, and I missed almost the entire week.  Normally my weeks are pretty full of training.  This week, not so much.

My week begins on Monday and ends Sunday.  You can see that the first four days are completely empty.
But, no point in getting caught up in thinking about how a week would have been if I wasn't sick.  I still had a great bike ride at the end of the week!  Onward to week 12!

Monday - Bike 1:30.
Tuesday - Bike 1:30 with BRICK Run :45.  Swim 1:00.
Wednesday - Swim 1:00.  Run 1:00.
Thursday - Bike 1:30.
Friday - Bike 3:30.
Saturday - Run 2:00.
Sunday - Bike 1:30.  Run 1:30.

Now you have the schedule, so join me already!

*Saturday's ride was great!  It was me and Captain Peele, and we went over 51 miles and averaged 18.6 mph for the ride!  This makes me pretty hopefully, because my goal speed for the Ironman is 18.67 mph (a six hour bike ride).  I just hope it wasn't a fluke and that I can now build on this ride!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I See You!

The internet is an interesting thing.  It has most definitely changed the world.  I doubt that anyone reading this is unfamiliar with this technology...if you are, then how are you reading this?  It's always very amusing to me to see what types of things people will put on the internet!

Whether or not these people chose to have their videos on the internet, I'm not sure.  My question is, did you really think you were that good before the failed audition?  Look at American Idol.  I haven't watched this show for a number of season, mainly because I keep thinking, "If they've had X number of seasons, and the top 10 aren't allowed on the show again, aren't this seasons 'top 10' last seasons rejects?"  The part that really confuses me is the beginning of the season when all of the horrible auditions are shown.  Who was lying to these people to make them believe that they were actually not wasting their time by going and auditioning for the show?  But that's a whole other subject...

The internet is also very interesting because people seem very wishy-washy about security.  I'm willing to bet that most people would just post their address online, right?  I probably would either.  But, if you own a little Garmin device, and you elect to make your workouts public, there is a very, very detailed map included with each workout.  And typically, people start their workouts from their house.  That is my neighbor's case.

This is a Garmin Nuvi, not the typical workout device.  But it has a pretty map picture, huh?
Earlier today, I was searching around on Garmin Connect just to see what other people that live near me had been up to.  I came across a workout that hinted at a hill just down the road from me.  I clicked on the workout, and it appeared to start and stop very close to my house.  I zoomed in and knew exactly who this was!  It was a guy who lives in my neighborhood, but North of me by a couple of streets.

I've never talked to this neighbor, or really ever even seen him out on his bike.  I knew he had a bike because I've seen it in his garage before (he had it open one day when I was heading out for a bike ride), and there was someone who rode by our house a few days ago which I assumed to be him.  I did some further investigation into his Garmin history and discovered that this guy is a pretty good cyclist!  Much better than me (which isn't necessarily saying much...).  He has a few races saved on his profile that were pretty impressive.  I don't know how he placed, just what his stats were.

Like I said, I don't actually know this guy.  Maybe he doesn't mind having a map drawn directly to his house.  I just found it a little funny that I was able to learn so much about a guy that I don't know.  Is that creepy at all?  It is to me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Riding in the Canal

In my neck of the woods, there's a canal that runs pretty much across the greater Phoenix area.  The canal has some various uses, and has been constructed, and reconstructed many times throughout the year.  Lately, one of the additions they've been making to the canal is completing some sort of paved path that goes through the entire canal!  Sometimes it is a sidewalk, other times it is asphalt.  It's actually pretty nice.

One of the cool features of this pathway is that it is built to be uninterrupted, meaning they built tunnels to go under almost every street.  This means that for bike riding purposes, you hardly ever have to stop!  Pretty great concept.  Is there a downside?  Well, when they constructed the tunnels, for some reason the sidewalks that are going through those tunnels are not so smooth, and pretty narrow.  Probably still better than having to stop at an intersection for a red light though.

So how long is this pathway?  Well, I ended up taking it for a 49 mile round trip.  It could have been even longer, but I needed to get home, so I cut the return portion of the ride short by a little bit.  Here's a little map of what I did...

The only portion missing is in the upper left-hand corner, which would lead you to my house...
During all of those miles (once I was in the canal at least) there was only three roads that I had to cross, and they were small, not very busy roads.  Pretty safe ride for those riders, or even runners, that are concerned about being demolished by those crazy drivers doing their makeup, or texting, or talking on their phones, or changing the radio station, or just not paying attention.  And even better news:  there is currently construction to build a tunnel under one of the roads that I had to cross over!  So even less of a risk!

The jury is still out on whether or not I'm going to ride in the canal often.  My initial thought was, heck yeah!  But after riding it a second time, it wasn't as glorious.  Even though I didn't have to stop at all the streets, it is kind of hard to get into a rhythm because I had to slow down and come out of my aerobars every time I went through a tunnel.  I have a 37 mile loop that I created out by my house that I like a little bit better than the canal.  Right now, I think I'll use the canal if I need to get in a long ride on a weekday morning, or when there might be a lot of traffic.  Other than that, I'll probably stick to the real roads.  And really, I have a long-term disability insurance policy anyway, so what's the big worry about being pummeled by a car?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

IMAZ Training - Week 11

As I wrote in my quick little update post, I've been pretty sick since Sunday (as well as my family!).  It started with my daughter, then my wife, then me.  The strange thing is, I have a little bit different sickness than what my wife and daughter have.  Oh well.  Needless to say, I do feel a little better today and am hoping to be able to get back into action tomorrow (and if not, then definitely the next day!).

So here is what week 11 was supposed to look like....

Monday: Yoga 1:00.
Tuesday: Bike 1:30.  Run 1:00.
Wednesday: Bike 1:30 with BRICK Run :30.  Swim 1:00.
Thursday: Swim 1:00.  Run 1:00.
Friday: Bike 1:30.  Run 1:30.
SaturdayBike 3:30. 
SundayRun 2:00.

I'm also hoping to get a few other posts done, including a write-up about my lightning fast running shoes, and another update on Shoebacca!

Announcement Clue #2

Did you figure out last week's clue?  Maybe when you add this clue to last week's clue, it may make a little more sense.  Remember, don't get discouraged.  It may seem difficult at times, but don't worry, we'll all arrive at the finish line together, just some a little later than others.  Here's clues #1 and #2:

Clue #1

Clue #2

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Training update coming soon!

I know I promised that I would post my weekly training on Sundays, and obviously I didn't do that this week.  It's a lame excuse, but my wife, my daughter, and myself have all been pretty sick over the last few days, so the last thing I was worried about was updating my training blog.

I will post what I was planning on doing this week, even though I haven't done any of it since I've been sick since Sunday.  Hopefully today is my last day of this torture and I'll be able to get back on track tomorrow.  So, the weekly update will be posted hopefully later today, if not early tomorrow morning.  Sit tight!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Announcement Clue #1

Are you ready for this exciting journey?  I know I am!  And I'm even more excited for you to figure this out on your own!  It may seem difficult at times, but don't worry, we'll all arrive at the finish line together, just some a little later than others.  Here's clue #1:
Clue #1

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

There's A Big Announcement Coming!

As I've said before, I'm a super hip guy.  Or, really the complete opposite.  But I do take part in a few of today's cultural phenomena, such as Facebook.  If you haven't heard of Facebook, I truly feel sorry for you.

On Facebook, I "like" RunDisney.  RunDisney, over the last few weeks, has come forward with a pre-announcement of sorts.  The claim that they are going to be announcing a new race (but it's unknown if it is a race weekend, or just another race on an existing race weekend) and have developed quite the build up for this race.  They created some clues in hopes to get people more interested in the big announcement.  Well, there are ten clues, and currently six are posted.  And, they are very, very confusing.  Most of the comments people are leaving are comments expressing how annoyed people are and how this better be a huge race announcement and not some little 5k (not that 5k's are bad, but probably not worth a month of anticipation...).  If you are on Facebook, go here and check them out for yourself, or, I've provided some of them for your viewing pleasure below.
RunDisney Clue #1
RunDisney Clue #2
RunDisney Clue #3
Ok, you get the point.

Even though I've realized that I'm not smart enough to decipher the RunDisney clues, I do like the idea of giving people clues so they can try and figure out your big announcement.  So I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and start my own little five-part series of clues leading up to my big announcement!

Here's how it will work.  Every Wednesday I will post a clue.  The five clues will then build on each other until the last clue is revealed and my announcement comes to fruition!  Now, I'm no artist, so I will do my best to use pictures that are at least clear, even if they don't make sense to you.

The first clue will come tomorrow morning (4/6), so start brushing up on your deciphering skills now!  This is going to be fun!  And just as a hint, so you're not trying to think of a completely random answer, this has to do with me and triathlons (as if that narrows it down.  Ha!)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

IMAZ Training - Week 10

And here's another weekly training schedule update!  I know, you have been sitting on the edge of your computer chair, hitting that refresh button over and over, hoping that I would post my schedule for week 10.  Well, you wait is over!  Here it is:

Monday: Run 1:30
Tuesday: Bike 1:00 and Swim 1:00
Wednesday: Bike 1:15 and Run 1:15
Thursday: Bike 1:00 and BRICK Run 1:00
Friday: Bike 4:00 and Swim 1:00
Saturday: Bike 1:00
Sunday: Run 2:00 and Bike 1:00

And that's all!  Not too much, right?  Enjoy!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Triathletes Against TBTS

Since today was a record-setting temperature day in the great state of Arizona, I thought I'd bring back one of my first posts from my old blog.  It's an issue that is very close to my heart, so please read on...

Well, things are starting to heat up outside, so I thought I'd take a moment to write about something very near and dear to my heart. This is something that I personally have suffered from, on a couple of different occasions. And so I want to raise awareness for this phenomena in hopes that we all can do whatever it takes to prevent it. What I'm talking about is what I call TBTS, or "Tri Bike Tramp Stamp".

Now, I know what your thinking. "What the heck is that?" Well I'm about to tell you, through a short, personal story. I was just starting out in the triathlon world and had decided to take my bike out for a 3 hour ride. I was in preparation for a race, so I was sporting my race attire. I didn't realize it until I got home, but every time I went into my aero position, my lower back was exposed to the deadly Arizona sun. This left me with quite a sunburn, since I had neglected to put any sunscreen on that part of my body. For the rest of the summer, it was a little embarrassing to take my shirt off, because I was very self conscious of my new tramp stamp. Sadly, it lasted quite a while.  But, it has since gone away, thankfully.

Now, there's two different types of TBTS, in my mind. There is the TBTS suffered on a training ride, which is basically inexcusable. We all should really take the time to put some sunscreen on our lower backs to avoid this tragedy because in training, you're not trying to save seconds in a transition area. Then there is TBTS suffered during a race. This can be bittersweet. To me, it means that you were in such a hurry that you were willing to risk future ridicule and humiliation by those who don't understand triathlons, all for the name of trying to achieve a PR. I think this type of TBTS is acceptable. Either way, they can both be hard to explain, and make you an easy target for comical comments.

So let's all do what we can to save each other from this horrible event. Carry some extra sunscreen with you on your long bike rides, and if you see another triathlete out there who has an exposed lower back, just go ahead and throw the sunscreen at them and let them know that you are trying to save their life!

(note: This is not meant to offend anyone. It is merely a lighthearted approach to the odd sunburns triathletes get at some point in their triathlon life.)

This was my back after a race, so it is deemed acceptable