Moe's first winter run

Cheri wanted to run outside, so we headed out this morning for her first winter run. We drove to Pacific Cycle and ran on the bike path because they plow the path regularly and we didn't want to run in the road. I'm not sure what she's pointing at since we ran in the other direction.

The run went well and I think she had a good time even though she said it was a lot tougher than she thought it would
be. She hasn't been running lately and she hasn't done any working out outdoors in quite a while. Breathing the cold air made her lungs burn and her heart rate was really high the whole time. But she was a trooper and kept on going despite the fatigue and burning lungs.

Since she braved the frigid temps and we're both going to try to eat healthy in the new year, we decided to stop at the grocery and treat ourselves to a couple of donies...and then we stopped at Starbucks on the way home as well. That's not the healthiest way to end a workout, but we'll save that healthy crap for the new year. There's no need for that nonsense on December 29th.

An hour on the trainer and an hour in the pool today and I'm done for the week. Piece of cookie.


Snow Run

Yesterday we got pounded with more snow (we're only 2.5 inches from setting a record) and I went for my first real snow run. And I'm glad I did. It was really fun.

I had planned on running at lunch because I thought the snow was coming late in the day. I was wrong. The snow started about 8am and continued through the day. By lunch time, we had a few inches and I was starting to reconsider going for a run. Heather got a little too much pleasure from me "wussing" out on my workout so I put on my running gear and got out there.

It was really fun and peaceful. Surprisingly I saw a few other runners out there, but other than that it was just me and the snow. It doesn't compare to running in nice weather, but as far as winter running goes that was the most fun I've had.

Today, I rode the trainer for 2 hours and then went to the pool with Cheri. I wish I could get her to go to the pool with me every time because it's definitely more fun when she's with me. Lately I've been dreading my swim workouts. I don't enjoy swimming that much and it's been getting boring.


Tis the season

Six parties in four days. New world record. Saw the families, hung out with friends, lost another poker game to Cheri. It was fun, but I'm glad it's over.

I even snuck in a few workouts over the holidays. The only one worth mentioning is my run on Sunday, because it was pretty brutal. It rained on Saturday and then the temperature dropped...a lot. It was only about 15 degrees Sunday with wind gusts up to 50 mph. Had I known it was going to be so cold, I would've brought warmer clothes. Running 3.5 miles on a sheet of ice in strong winds isn't my idea of a good time, but I'm dumb enough to do it. Some of the looks I got from people driving by made the suffering worth it. Priceless.

After the run I had to hurry over to the Cheri's promotion/Packer/Omelet party. Sure enough, every time you're in a hurry something stands in your way. This time it was ice. My car was one big chunk of ice and I couldn't get my doors open. I found a bag of salt in the garage and dumped that on my car, which worked but now I have salt in my car I need to clean out. Then I had to let my car warm up for about 20 minutes before I could get the ice scraped off. I missed most of the first quarter, but I didn't miss the omelets. Good thing too because Johnny makes some killer omelets. Johnny signed up for Ironman WI too so maybe we'll have to throw some training/omelet parties next summer.

Today I went to SBR Coaching to ride the computrainer (no work today). They're pretty fun - as far as trainers go - and they're more realistic so the time passes much faster. I plan on going in every now and then to mix things up a bit. Plus it's easier to push harder when you're paying for trainer time and other people are there watching and all of your stats are projected on the wall. It gives you a little extra motivation. You can upload courses from a gps so I might have to do the gun show there someday or maybe the Janesville triathlon course. That could be fun.

Right now Cheri is napping on the couch so as soon as she wakes up we're off to the pool. Then we're going to make a nice, healthy dinner and then go watch Juno or Charlie Wilson's War. We haven't decided yet.

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays.

Today's Ride:
Computrainer Course: Diamond in the Rough Triathlon
Distance: 27.79 miles
Time: 1:16:53
Ave Speed: 21.69 mph
Max Speed: 34.69 mph
Ave Watts: 230
Max Watts: 400
Ave HR: 155 bpm
Max HR: 172 bpm
Ave Cadence: 85 rpm
Work: 1062 kJ



Mark asked about ZMA so I thought I'd write a little more about it. In my last post, I said glutamine was my favorite supplement but now that I think about it I'd say ZMA is my favorite. Glutamine is probably the most beneficial for endurance athletes, but it's no fun. You have to mix it with water or juice (I put some in my morning coffee) and it doesn't dissolve easily. Plus it's best taken after a workout so I have to remember to take it, and if I want to take some after my lunch rides I have to remember to take some to work. It's kind of a pain. But ZMA is much cooler...

1. As far as supplements go, ZMA is cheap. I bought Optimum Nutrition ZMA from dpsnutrition.com. 180 caps for $20. Serving size is 3 per day, so it will last 60 days. $10 per month. Not too bad. If you buy some, be sure to check out the serving size and amount of zinc per serving. The standard seems to be 30g of zinc, but some companies go with less to lower the price.

2. Better sleep. I've tried sleeping pills, but they make me oversleep and I have a hard time waking up. When I take ZMA I get a great night's sleep and I typically wake up earlier than usual and I'm instantly wide awake and ready to go. That's great if you're planning a morning workout.

3. Side effects. The only "side effect" I know of is weird, vivid dreams. The only problem with this is that the dreams seem a little too real sometimes. So if I tell you about the time I was driving a VW Bug that had tires made of a purple gel so they wouldn't pop on the interstate made out of a bed of nails, pay no attention. It was just a dream. If more people knew about this "side effect" I think ZMA sales would go through the roof. It's kind of cool.

4. Strength and Endurance. ZMA is supposed to elevate natural testosterone levels. There are some studies that "prove" this, but I can't say for sure. The first time I tried it was when I was lifting a lot and taking creatine. I used it a little last summer, but not regularly. I mainly just took it when I wanted a good night's sleep (not sure why that wasn't every night). Even if it doesn't elevate testosterone levels I think it's worth the price for the sleep.

I must admit I'm also curious about Nitric Oxide. I'm only using it on my knee right now, but I'm tempted to give the powder a try next summer to see if there's any benefit. I'd like to spend some time doing a little research to see if there are any studies backing up the claims and find out if there are any side effects. I don't know much about it right now.

I'll be the first to admit I'm a bit gullible when it comes to supplements, but I try to be smart about them. I don't have a lot of money to blow on supplements that don't work, so I try to do a fair amount of research and find supplements that are safe, affordable and effective. Safe being #1. There aren't that many supplements that fit that formula, but I believe ZMA is one of them and that's what I like about it.

As I was getting ready to come down to Janesville for x-mas, I put a few servings of glutamine and BCAA in small zip lock bags. Then I threw some ZMA and vitamins in a zip lock. Then I realized that if I should somehow have my car searched by the cops, I might have a hard time explaining the bags of pills and fine, white powder.


The Juice

My doping program arrived today, so I thought I'd go over the supplements I'm taking. Right now the list is pretty long. Definitely the most I've ever taken at one time. Here's what I'm on....and why...

Glutamine: My favorite supplement. It's good for recovery, and supposedly helps your immune system. I can't really say because I take something else for that. But I do believe in its ability to help you recover from tough workouts.

BCAA's + Glutamine: This is the first time I've tried Branched Chain Amino Acids. I've read good things about L-Leucine, so we'll see. I went with the one with a little glutamine so I get a little more glutamine for recovery. This one I'm hoping will help with strength and endurance.

ZMA: I love this one. It's supposed to help elevate testosterone levels and all that jazz, but I mainly take it because it helps me sleep (recovery) and I'm an insomniac. You take this one before bed and then it's lights out.

Multi-Vitamin: I take Centrum because it has more iron than the others.

Echinacea: I think this one is a must have for everyone. I haven't gotten sick since I started taking it a year ago. You don't take it everyday. You only take it when you feel a cold coming on and then it works it's magic. This stuff is great.

Nitric Oxide: To help increase blood flow to my knee. This one is temporary...only until the tendon heals.

Vitamin E: Also for my knee. I read that vitamin E helps speed up tendon regeneration. Again, temporary.

Glucasamine/Chondroitin: I think this one is temporary as well. I'm giving it a try to see if it gets rid of the crackling noise I'm getting behind my kneecap. So far...nothing. It's been about 4 weeks.

Whew...that's quite a list. A lot more supplements than I'd like to be taking, that's for sure. I can't wait until my knee heals so I can narrow it down to a multi-vitamin, BCAA's, ZMA and Glutamine. I may add a whey protein to the mix, but we'll see. You can get protein in your diet and that's a better way to go. I also like Endurox for a recovery drink after hard workouts, partly because it has glutamine. Oh yeah, I forgot about the hornet juice. I'll talk about that one in a later post. I haven't tried it yet, but the curiosity is killing me. Cheri thinks the hornet juice is pretty ridiculous, and I have to admit I agree. But if it works....

If you noticed, most of my supplements center around recovery rather than muscle building. I'm big on recovery and I believe most of the muscle building supplements are either bogus or filled with side-effects (pro hormones and, of course, all of the illegal ones). I tried creatine when I was lifting weights a lot a few years ago and it works great, but it makes you retain water, gain weight and there's no evidence it helps endurance athletes. But if you want to lift more iron than ever, start taking creatine. Here's a tip (this works for glutamine as well): use hot water. You can get it to dissolve in hot water, but not cold water. If you don't get it dissolved it goes right through you and then you're just wasting your money, and you might get a nasty case of the runs. It's no fun drinking hot water, but when I was taking creatine I was doing sets with what used to be my max.

If you can't tell, I'm kind of a sucker for supplements.

Swimming at the high school was great when I started going this summer. Most times, I went with Cheri and we practically had the pool to ourselves. Now...well, times they are a changing. The kids are out in full force, and kids are disgusting. Last week one of them was sucking on the mirror. This week, one of them took a shit on the floor in the bathroom. Maybe the same kid. I don't know. I'm getting so used to their disgusting ways, it didn't even faze me. For some strange reason, I find the pretzels in the shower room more disgusting than the crap on the bathroom floor. I have no idea which kid is eating pretzels in the shower, but it's really gross the way they soak up water.

After training at the high school, I don't think there's anything that can happen at the Ironman that will bother me. I heard someone threw up during the swim last year. I say, bring it on. I swam with the kid who craps on the floor, eats pretzels in the shower and sucks on the mirror. A little puke in the water... who cares?


Day 1 again

It's day 1...again. I'm back on my Ironman training program - 3 weeks of increasing volume followed by a recovery week. I'm going to focus on base miles for several weeks and keep the intensity in check so I don't hurt my knee.

Today I went for another run at lunch. This was my second run back, and it went better than the first although running in the Pose method is making my calf muscles really sore. This time I felt a little better and wanted to go a little faster, which made sticking to my new form more difficult than last time. I wanted to lengthen my stride and revert to my old heel striking ways. I focused on sticking to the Pose method, and I think I did a pretty decent job. It's going to be a while before it feels natural for me and I don't have to focus on it so much.

I usually swim on Mondays, but I haven't put many miles on my bike lately and I've been itching to ride so I opted for a little time on the trainer instead. I watched the Giro Di Lombardia, listened to some music and rode for an hour occasionally standing up for the length of a song here and there. If I'm going to spend a lot of time on the trainer this winter, I'm going to need a few new CDs. I haven't bought any new music in a while.

Looking at my stats for the day, I noticed my average heart rate for my run and ride was the same: 151 bpm (81% of max). Interesting.

Run (Outdoors)
Time: 27:55
Distance: 3 miles
Pace: 9:17
Ave HR: 151
Max HR: 166

Ride (Indoors)
Time: 1:00:00
Distance: 20.26
Ave Speed: 20.2 mph
Max Speed: 23.96 mph
Ave Watts: 205
Max Watts: 284
Work: 743 kj
Ave HR: 151
Max HR: 170


Indoor TT

I did an indoor time trial this morning at SBR Coaching, which is only a few minutes from my house. I didn't know what to expect since I've never done a time trial, indoor or outdoor. And they do them on Computrainers and I've never ridden one before.

I had no idea what average watts I should shoot for. It was only a 10K, so it was short and intense. Yet, it's still long enough for you to blow up if you go out too hard. And the course was rolling hills - and finished uphill - so you had to save a little extra for the hills. I looked at the watts from some of my previous rides and decided to shoot for a 300 watt average.

The heats are supposed to be 4 riders, but one of the guys in my heat did a little too much drinking last night and showed up late so he opted for a later heat. So there was just 3 of us. Right off the start I was doing about 350 watts and I was going about 24 mph. I checked the screen (example of the screen pictured) and the dude next to me was doing 31. I looked over and he didn't look like he was working that hard. Unreal. The other guy was going a tad faster than me. It shows how far behind you are and I was only a few feet behind him so we were basically running the same speed. I tried to ignore the guy next to me, but when I checked again at about the .5 mile mark he was still over 30 mph. This dude is superman, I thought.

That's about the point he had the girl running the TT come over and check his set up. It turns out his trainer wasn't calibrated right or was malfunctioning or something. So eventually he pulled out and it was the two of us. I was a little happy to see that because he was making me feel like a squid. I eventually pulled a bit of a lead on the other guy and won the heat. I think my average watts were 277 and my average speed was 22.4 mph. I can't remember. They haven't posted the results yet, and I forgot to hit the interval button on my computer at the end of the TT so I screwed up my data by doing some light spinning to cool down.

I was in the first heat, and there were supposed to be a total of 15 people competing so I have absolutely no idea how I did. I hope I did well, but I'm not that concerned about the results. I'm mainly doing these time trials to help motivate me and give me a way to see how I'm progressing through the winter.

I wouldn't say I held back at all - although I did try to pace myself - but I think I could've pushed a little harder and gotten my average watts up closer to 300. I don't think I pushed hard enough on the downhills (if you've never ridden a Computrainer, the tension increases on uphills and decreases on downhills). I used the downhills to recover from the uphills and I think I could've pushed a little harder on those. It was pretty short so you can push pretty hard without completely blowing up.

They have another one in January and my Ironman training officially begins Monday so I'll go into that one with a little more training under my belt and a better idea of what to expect. I think I'm going to shoot for a 300 watt average on that one.


Pose Running

Here's another problem with swimming at the high school... there was a little kid sucking on the mirror in the locker room. Very strange.

I ran for the first time in 7 weeks today at lunch. I took it slow and easy and tried to stick to the Pose method since I got the video and book for my birthday. It was a decent first run, I suppose. Nothing to get excited about.

Running in the pose method (pictured) is all about landing on the balls of your feet and not pushing off with your feet. When most people run, they push off with the back foot and extend their front foot and land on their heel, which puts a lot of stress on that leg. Landing on the heel slows you down, and pushing off speeds you up. It's a series of accelerating and decelerating. Not the most efficient way to run.

Pose running is all about switching weight from one foot to the other and using gravity to your advantage. You don't push off with your leg; you just pick it up. When your right leg is up, you pick up your left leg and your right leg will naturally drop. You want that landing to be soft, under your center of gravity and on the balls of your feet. You use gravity by leaning forward so you're almost falling forward the whole time. You're just switching support from one foot to the other. No pushing off. No landing on your heel.

I think it's going to be good for me because the pushing off is what bothers my tendon. Lifting my leg straight up underneath me doesn't hurt.

I can't really say if I like the Pose Method yet (even though I think it will be good for me) since this was my first run and it was a little weird. Plus I haven't been running so my conditioning is down. Also, I intentionally took it easy and the trail was covered in snow. Lots of things making this run less than stellar...actually it was one of my slowest runs ever. 3 miles in 30 minutes.

I'm going to keep working on the Pose Method for a while until I decide if I like it. Even though I think it will be good for my knee, I don't want to change my running style if it's going to slow me down a lot. I don't think it will, but we'll see. If it works the way they claim, it will eventually make me faster. I hope so.

My Ironman training program officially begins Monday. I'm not too fired up for it so I need to find some motivation. Winter is so depressing it's hard to get motivated to swim, bike and run.


Pool Closed

The problem with swimming at the high school is snow days. We got hit pretty hard with more snow today, and the school closed. I was looking forward to my workout tonight, but it wasn't meant to be.

I went to physical therapy this morning and they told me to start running. What a surprise that was. He said I should start slow and take it easy, but as long as my knee doesn't hurt I'm fine. Then he asked if cycling hurts my knee, and I said no. So he told me to ramp that up as well. This was not what I expected to hear. I was expecting him to tell me to take more time off.

He also told me to expect it to take the entire winter to heal. That's going to be the tough part. I have no patience with injuries, so I'll need to work on that. I'm going to try and keep my training at a low to moderate intensity for at least the next six weeks so I don't do any more damage.


Eat Your Veggies!

I haven't been eating that well lately. I've been lazy and taking the easy way out too often: pizza. I love pizza and will always argue that it's not as unhealthy as many people make it out to be. But it should be eaten in moderation because it's not nearly as healthy as many people would like it to be (me, for one).

I have always eaten a fairly healthy diet naturally. I don't eat much fat. In fact, I had to work on adding fat to my diet a few years ago because I was getting almost no fat (seriously, I was getting less than 10 grams of fat per day). I eat a lot of turkey and chicken and lean meats. Whole grain bread. I love fruit. It's easy for me to stay away from sweets and alcohol (I think I've only had one drink since February. That was a margarita I had this summer that was...well...it was a little embarrassing. It was hitting me hard and I milked that drink forever. Pitiful). The tough part for me is veggies. I'm learning to like them, but it's not easy.

I did some veggie research this weekend, and I'm going to make a new year's resolution to eat at least 2 servings of vegetables per day. I should probably get more than that, but 2 servings per day would be a lot more than I'm getting now so I want to keep it realistic.

Veggies offer tons of nutritional benefits for everyone, especially athletes who are training hard. They're packed with antioxidants and nutrients. I read that cucumbers have a mineral called silica that's good for your connective tissues such as ligaments, tendons and cartilage. Yes, I picked up some cucumbers at the grocery tonight. Garlic supposedly (it's debatable) increases the nitric oxide production in blood vessels and helps increase blood flow. A lot of athletes are paying big money to supplement with nitric oxide and they're not getting the other many health benefits of garlic. Spinach, broccoli, asparagus...most all green veggies are completely packed with nutrients. It should be everyone's goal to eat at least one per day. If you want more info, go here... http://www.whfoods.com

My Nitric Oxide showed up, but it's not what I ordered (maybe I should've ordered garlic). I bought the 4 oz tube, and they sent the 2oz tube of Nitric Oxide 4 Her. I'm counting on it being the same thing in a different bottle, but now I'll have to contact them and see if I can get another 2 oz bottle or partial refund. If I start lactating or crying during commercials, you'll know why. Maybe this will make me a more sensitive person...or maybe not since that last sentence wasn't very sensitive and I already used some Nitric Oxide.

Speaking of being sensitive, here's a story that proves we've become a bit too sensitive...and ridiculous. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=499827&in_page_id=1811


The white blanket of death

We've gotten over 15 inches of snow in the past week. I don't remember the last time we've gotten this much snow this early into winter. This might be an ugly winter. It's good for the skiers, but for those of us that despise snow it's not good.

Last night I had a terrible swim workout. I'm not sure what the deal was, but I was really struggling. My form was bad. I was slow. Unmotivated. And the water was way too warm. So I decided to cut the workout short and head home.

Today I went back to the pool first thing in the morning to redeem myself and I had a great workout. That felt good because last night's workout was a little discouraging. I try not to let bad days get to me, but that's easier said than done. Bad days running or biking don't bother me that much, but I lack confidence in my swimming so a bad day makes me think I'm losing what little I've gained. I guess you just gotta let it go and try to make up for it with a good workout the next time.

After the pool, I did my favorite Spinervals...Big Gear Strength. That is one brutal workout. If you don't end this one with shaky legs, you did something wrong. I barely made it up the stairs, which is a little pitiful since my wattage info isn't that impressive (yep, got the powermeter back). I can tell I've lost some cardio conditioning by not biking much and not running at all in the past 7 weeks. My heartrate wasn't dropping as quickly as it usually does after intervals.

My big mistake this morning was eating a Snickers Marathon bar and drinking a Sobe after swimming. My stomach doesn't appreciate peanuts or peanut butter. After my Spinervals workout I hobbled up the stairs to the bathroom because I was sure I was going to throw up. Luckily, I managed to keep everything down, but that was a close call. It reminds me that it's time to focus more on nutrition and stop eating crap. It's not worth it.

I started my home physical therapy last week...and I made an appointment to see the physical therapist but I wasn't able to get in until next Tuesday. Tendons heal very slowly so it's hard to say for sure, but I think I'm making progress. There hasn't been as much pain the past few days. Everyday, I'm doing a ton of lunges..front lunges, side lunges, back lunges (you step back instead of forward...I don't know what you call those). Then I stretch and do some core work.

One of the reasons tendons heal so slowly is because they don't get much blood. Heat increases blood flow so I've been putting a hot pack on my knee a few times a day. Plus, I ordered the secret ingredient the other day: Topical Nitric Oxide Cream. I know, it sounds crazy, but there's some research to back it up. A lot of bodybuilders - and some cyclists now - use Nitric Oxide because it's supposed to increase blood flow. I read a few studies where they used a topical Nitric Oxide cream to heal tendons and had some success. They used a cream (or a patch in some cases) so the Nitric Oxide was hitting the injured area instead of the entire body. I don't know if it will work, but I've wasted my money on nonsense with less research backing it up so I figured it's worth a shot. Plus, I'm getting desperate. I'm tired of this injury. Lastly, I read that Vitamin E has also shown to help heal tendons so I'm going to try to get more vitamin E.

Oh yeah, there's more snow on the way this weekend. It's sickening...much like Marathon bars and Spinervals.


Still avoiding the trainer

Today's weather is ugly. Snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice pellets. That's right...ice pellets. The storm was supposed to roll into town late morning and hit hard after noon. So I figured if I got up early I could get a ride in before the weather turned ugly and avoid the trainer for one more day. I succeeded, I suppose, but it's debatable.

If you look at the radar, you'll see the really nasty stuff has yet to hit Madison, but the storm definitely rolled into town earlier than I expected. I headed out about 8:45 am. The temp was 19 and winds were about 5 mph. It was overcast, but no snow in sight. Cold, but no worse than the lunch rides I've done all week.

Four miles in, the flurries started and the winds picked up. No big deal, I thought. By mile 5, things got a little more serious. The snow was flying and it was already starting to accumulate on the sides of the road. Again, no big deal. With the wind blowing I figured the roads would stay clear for the rest of the ride.

By mile 8 the roads were completely covered in snow but it wasn't really affecting my ride. My rear tire slipped a little on one of the steeper climbs on Sunset, but otherwise I was fine. I took the descents pretty slow. No need to get stupid.

I was surprised how much traction I had in the snow considering I was riding slicks. I took it slow in the corners, and was actually having fun. The worst part was my frozen toes and face. The snow melted on my face and then refroze and it was getting cold. Also, my glasses fogged up and then froze so I was having a hard time seeing.

By the time I got to Seminole there was about a 1/2 inch of snow covering the road but I couldn't hold back. Seminole is my favorite road. It's straight and flat and a great road to put your head down and push hard for a few miles (they're putting in a 4-way stop next week which really sucks...I'm so disappointed). There was a strong side wind but I still kept it above 20 mph...21.5mph most of the way. It was fun, but the wind chill from going that fast did me in. When I turned on to Lacy Rd. my face was very cold and my toes were hurting. And my glasses had fogged up a little more so vision was limited. I was ready to head home.

At this point, I only had 2.5 miles to go, but things were getting tough now. The snow was really coming down and blowing and drivers were looking at me like I was crazy. Traction wasn't a problem, but the snow was much deeper and I had to use caution to make sure I didn't crash, especially since there was a constant stream of cars...surprisingly. By the time I made it home there was about an inch of snow. I wish Cheri had been there with her camera to get a picture of me in all my icy glory. I had big chunks of ice on my eyebrows. But I made it and avoided the trainer for one more day.

Tomorrow I think I'm going to have to dust off the trainer and break out the Spinervals for a Coach Troy beating.

Time = 1:09:59
Distance = 18.15 miles
Ave Speed = 15.6 mph
Max Speed = 29.2 mph
Elevation Gain = 976 feet



I went to the sports medicine doc today, and he did an ultrasound on my knee. I have a tear in my semimembranosus tendon. It's one of the tendons that attaches the hamstring muscle to the tibia.

The cure? Physical therapy. *sigh*

I'm quite frustrated about the whole deal and I don't think I'm going to go to physical therapy. I'm sure they're just going to tell me to take time off and do some more lunges and maybe walk a hill or two. I'll do lunges and I'll walk hills, but I'm not taking time off. I don't believe it's the answer. Tendons don't get a good supply of blood, and that's why it takes forever for them to heal. Not working them isn't going to help pump blood to the tendon.

I think what frustrates me the most is that I always injure myself when it seems like I'm starting to get into a groove. When I raced motocross, I broke my collarbone for the first time in
what was my best race to date. I had crashed in the first turn and gotten up in dead last. Within 2 laps I was in 3rd with the leaders in sight. I was flying. Then I made a mistake coming out of a corner, came up short on a jump and pummeled myself into the ground. Same thing happened a few years later when I was hitting another groove and riding really well. I did a swan dive over the handlebars and broke my collarbone, dislocated my hip and broke my thumb in a few places. So I switch sports and do the same thing.

At this point, I'm not really sure what to do about it. I'm frustrated and a little pissed off. Maybe I'll give it some thought on my ride Saturday. My lobster gloves, balaclava and wool base layer showed up today so I'm ready to take on old man winter.



Brrrrrr..... It was cold today. I didn't realize it when I got to work, but that was the high for the day - 29 degrees. It had dropped down to 23 by lunch time. Luckily, it was sunny, which helped, but the winds were 10-15 mph which puts the wind chill around 15 degrees.

I ordered some winter riding gear, but it won't be here until tomorrow so my lunch ride was pretty frosty. I wear leg warmers and shorts and, trust me on this one, shorts don't block the wind. And my gloves didn't do a good job keeping my fingers warm. I didn't realize how cold they were until I stopped at Gino's for lunch. My fingers started warming up and it was painful. I could barely sign the receipt.

My face was pretty cold and so were my toes. My upper body was fine...that's about the only part of my body that wasn't cold. That paper thin Pearl Izumi jacket I wear worked it's magic again. Maybe one of these days I'll get a real winter jacket. Maybe.

Even though I froze, I avoided the trainer for another day. Victory. Well....kind of. The ride was pretty brutal, actually. I felt really sluggish out there. Luckily, Chris said he was feeling sluggish too (that's right, I'm not the only sucker riding at lunch - Roy and Joe rode as well but they take the bike path). Seminole was tough with the headwind and I eventually cracked and Chris pulled away. I don't know how he was holding 20 mph into that wind but I just couldn't do it any more. I think it's a combination of the cold and my mileage being down. I've only ridden 200 miles in November, which makes this one of my lowest mileage months of the year. I feel slow these days and it sucks. I can't wait for spring.

Here's a good recurring theme: another great swim workout tonight. I'm on a roll. My main set was 3 x 450 on 9:00 (450 yards is a 1/4 mile). My times were 7:29, 7:23 and 7:31. My best times yet.

I was listening to an old podcast of The Competitors today at work and they interviewed Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. He said he swims 8-10 miles per day. I'm swimming about 1.4 miles a few times a week. I couldn't imagine putting in that much time at the pool. That's insane.

Time = 1:00:00
Distance = 2500 yards

Time = 1:05:14
Distance = 18.12 miles
Ave Speed = 16.7 mph
Max Speed = 30.90 mph
Elevation gain = 969 ft.


Becomming a swimmer

Now that I realized I need to use my legs more, my swimming has improved quite a bit. Tonight was probably my best swim ever. I did 2500 yards and my main set was all short intervals. I started with 10 x 100 on 1:50 (meaning I start my next set of 100 yards every 1:50). I managed to do every 100 yard set between 1:37 and 1:39 so I had about 11 to 13 seconds of rest between sets. I've never been so consistent. Then I rested for 3 minutes and did 8 x 50 on 1:00. This time I did every 50 yard set between :43 and :48. Not quite as consistent, but once I saw I was slipping a little I stepped it up and finished with my fastest 2 sets of the night - :44 and :43 respectively. Then I practiced a few flip turns. I didn't do flip turns during my sets because they still need some work. I haven't been practicing them lately so they've been getting sloppy...sloppier.

I'm really enjoying swimming these days. I feel like I'm starting to become a swimmer. It's fun. Now if I could just get over this knee pain I can become a runner too.

The snow is still holding off so I got in another lunch ride today. There's a chance of snow later in the week, and I'm hoping it's a light snow that melts quickly. I want to get out for a ride Saturday even though the high is only supposed to be 20. I think I'm going to get some lobster gloves for that ride. My gloves are decent, but if it gets any colder (it was about 35 when I rode today) my fingers are going to freeze.

Time = 1:00
Distance = 2500 yards

Time = 56:08
Distance = 16.28
Ave Speed = 17.4
Max Speed = 36
Elevation Gain = 804 ft.


Thanksgiving weekend

We got our first snowfall of the season last week. Just a few inches, and most of it has melted already.

Thanksgiving was decent. Lots of food, family and more food. Friday we got to hang out with Abby and Toby the whole day, which was a lot of fun. We started out with some Red Robin and then hit some bike shops Toby could see if he could find some new tights. After that we met up with more friends and all headed out for some bowling.

I finally got some workouts in today. I started out with some swimming, and I finally found some more speed. I've been getting a little frustrated with my swim times lately. My shoulders have been getting tired when I swim and it seems like my times aren't improving even though my form is. Today was no exception....until my last set. When I started swimming I was kicking way too much and it was killing me. In the swim clinic I took, I was told I looked like I was riding my bike under water. So I started working on not kicking as much and it turns out I took it too far. I've barely been kicking and I think I'm doing too much work with my arms. So I kicked more on my last set and it was my fastest 1/4 mile ever. 7:37. That's a 1:41 100-yard pace, and it felt easy. I could've gone a little faster.

Then I got out for a ride. It was kind of cold and windy, but it was great to get some more miles in and avoid the trainer for another day. The forecast doesn't look so great so I'm not sure how much more outdoor riding I'm going to get in this year.


Kicked out of physical therapy

I had physical therapy today, and as painful as it is to say...[I can't believe I'm going to put this in print. I'll never hear the end of it]... Heather was right. I should have gone to a sports medicine doctor in the first place. Today, my physical therapist told me I need to go see a sports medicine doc for an MRI. He didn't put it in these words, but he's throwing in the towel. I asked if I needed a referral and he asked which insurance I have. When I told him, he said I didn't need a referral. Are you kidding me? I should have gone there in the first place.

He gave me two names of doctors he thought could help, and I went with the one that's into cycling. I go see him next Wednesday, and I'm going to push for a rapid treatment. I don't really care what that treatment entails, just so it's quick. I'm tired of screwing around.



That's the Middleton/Cross Plains high school pool where I swim. It's a nice pool, but it gets a little crazy with all the kids taking swim class there. A new session of classes just started, and it's a popular one. They're packing 'em in there like sardines. 5 or 6 to a line.

Luckily, they always have 2 lanes open for lap swimming and there usually aren't more than 4 people swimming. I usually share a lane with some dude (the same one every time...maybe I'll ask him his name someday) for about 30 minutes until his workout is done. Then I have the lane to myself for the rest of the night. It works out pretty nice, and the price is right. I was planning on joining a club, but at $60 per month it would cost me about $5 each time I swim if I go 3 times per week. I got a one year membership here and if I swim 3 times a week it costs me about $1.30 each swim. If I swim more, it's cheaper. Sure, it comes with some inconveniences (kids and limited hours) but the cost savings frees up some money for me to spend on other things like recovery drinks. Plus I plan on swimming outdoors a lot next summer so the club would be really expensive since I wouldn't be using it as much as I should. It was a good decision, I think.

Today, I had a great swim...surprisingly. My expectations were low tonight. I went for a ride in the foggy drizzle at lunch with Chris and as embarrassing as it is to admit, he killed me. It was brutal. I kept dropping back. I don't say it's embarrassing because Chris is a bad rider. He's not. He's a very good rider, and me and him have a bit of a friendly rivalry. We ride together a lot and constantly challenge each other. Every hill is a race to the top. It's a given. We don't need to say anything. I have my moments, but I would say Chris comes out ahead more often than not. Anyway, it's embarrassing because Chris wanted to ride what we call the old man loop because he was dead tired from his cross race yesterday....and he rode his fixie. He absolutely destroyed me today. He out climbed me (on a fixie) and out pulled me down Seminole (on a fixie). You name it, he did it better today. I don't know what it was, but anytime the pace picked up, I couldn't breathe. The humidity was 100%, which might have something to do with it but he was dealing with the same conditions. Either way, he definitely got the best of me today. Despite that, it was a decent ride. I had fun...but it would've been nice to have felt a little stronger. Oh well...can't have it everyday.

So after that, my expectations for my swim workout were pretty low. I figured I would try to get through my 2500 yards and go home. But I felt pretty good and was really focused. I came up with a new workout that I have tried to finish twice, and failed both times. It's not that it's that brutal; it's that my conditioning is down a bit after taking some time off. I could do the distance before, but I couldn't hit the times. Tonight, I finished it. It's a good workout. Challenging. I can't wait to do it again. It's made up mainly of short intervals, so it's a lot of short, fast efforts. I plan on coming up with 3 more good 2500 yard workout each with a different focus - medium intervals, long intervals, recovery - and do each workout once a week throughout the winter. That will give me 10,000 yards a week for the winter, and that should really help improve my swimming and set me up for a good summer.

If you want to see something funny, go to youtube.com and search for reaction videos to the 2girls1cup video. They're pretty funny. I haven't seen the original 2girls1cup video, nor do I plan to. I have read the description, and that's enough for me. But people have been taping themselves watching it for the first time and posting it and they're pretty comical.

Time = 52:39
Distance = 15.61 miles
Ave Speed = 17.8 mph

Time = 1:10
Distance = 2500 yards



I never made it out for my ride yesterday. I was set to go, but it started raining and never let up. It was a very light rain, but 39 degrees and rain is a little too much. The line must be drawn somewhere.

But today was nicer, so I got my ride in. It was 45 degrees and partly cloudy. I wore my headband, cycling cap, helmet, long sleeve base layer, PI Kodiak Light long sleeve jersey, vest, PI winter gloves, shorts, leg warmers, thin socks, shoes and shoe covers. I took a jacket and knee warmers just in case. The toughest part about riding in cold weather is dressing properly. You can always find enough gear to keep you warm, but the trick is not getting too warm. If you sweat too much you'll get very cold and could get frostbite if it's cold enough. Today, I got it right although I probably could have gone without the vest...especially on the way back with a tailwind.

I rode from Janesville to Carver Park outside Clinton back to Janesville. The big difference between biking around Madison vs Janesville is that you will almost always see other cyclists around Madison. There were rides this spring where I think I saw well over 100 cyclists. I figured with the cold temps, there was no way I would see another cyclist on today's ride. Oh well. No big deal.

At mile 28, I saw another roadie. Good to see the Rock County cyclists are representin. Then a few miles later I turned onto Wright Road to head home and what do I see? A bike lane. Holy smokes. That makes 2 roads in Janesville - that I know of - that have bike lanes. Very nice. Janesville has a long, long way to go before one could call it a bike friendly town, but it's good to see they're working on it. You gotta start somewhere.

I'm watching Ironman Louisville on the tele right now, and this is definitely one of the best IM broadcasts I've seen. They're actually showing the race instead of filling the whole hour with inspirational stories. The commentary is a little different and reminds me of sports commentary from the 80s. And the course looks awesome. I'm glad I'm taping this one. This will be a good one to watch again on the trainer this winter. I think I might like to do this one someday. It's not too far away and the course looks fun.

Today's Ride
Time = 1:46:07
Distance = 32.94 miles
Ave Speed = 18.6 mph
Ave Cadence = 82 rpm


Winter's coming

Since my knee has been so slow to heal, I've had to bump back my training program a little, but it might actually be for the best. I start up again December 17. I'll do 5 months of training for the Florida Half Ironman (3 months of base, 2 months of build), then I'll take a few days off and start training for the Ironman. All total, I'll get in about 8 solid months of training for the Ironman, which should be enough. I'm still training right now, but it's informal. I haven't run in a few weeks, but I have been riding and swimming. I'll keep it informal until Dec. 17, then step it up. Hopefully my knee will be better by then. I hate to admit it, but walking the hill is helping.

It's that time of year when I need to decide what I'm going to do about cycling this winter. The w
eather has changed, and the highs are now in the low 40s. I really want to get my old bike set up for winter commuting and riding, but I'm not convinced I want to make that commitment right now. It seems like a lot of fun, but unfortunately it all really comes down to money. If I had a lot of disposable income, I wouldn't hesitate.

I would definitely want a light, taillight, fenders and new tires. Then I would probably want a nice jacket, warmer gloves and thermal tights or pants. But it doesn't stop there...I would want to get new shoes as well. I don't want to ruin my shoes and speedplay pedals aren't a great choice for sloppy winter conditions. I've read that some people go with flat pedals and hiking boots for winter riding, which is an option...except I don't have hiking boots.

Then I ask myself...will I actually commute all winter? My commute is less than 4 miles, which makes it sound like an easy commute. The problem is that getting bundled up for 4 miles seems like a hassle. I've thought about going out of my way to make the commute longer so I can get in more miles. I might be more inclined to bike everyday if it's going to be more of a workout. I don't want to spend money on new gear if I'm not going to get a lot of use out of it. I have a very nice trainer at home that I can use.

I'm also considering skipping the light and getting just enough gear to get me through some winter lunc
h rides. That wouldn't cost as much and it would allow me to get in some outdoor miles this winter. The trainer is okay, but it gets boring and I find that my rides are shorter indoors than outdoors. It's a tough decision. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket tonight and hope for the best.

It was my b-day the other day. I'm 33 and my best days are behind me now. I have knee problems, back pain and I think my memory is going already. It's all over.

My parents gave me the Pose Method of Running book and DVD for my b-day. It's supposed to be decent so I'm hoping it will help me learn a new style of running that will prevent injuries and help me run faster. Mainly, I hope it prevents injuries like it claims.

I watched the DVD already and it's possibly the most boring DVD I've ever seen. But I suppose you can't expect much more from an instructional video on running. I haven't tried any of the drills yet so I have no idea what to think about the program. We'll see.

Cheri bought me some new running shoes so I'm all set to be a runner. Maybe I should buy some winter running pants and run to work this winter. 4 miles isn't such a short commute when you're running.

Right now it's 39 degrees and time to get ready for my ride. 35 miles. Luckily, it's not too windy so it shouldn't be too cold although I would like to see the sun come out. That makes a big difference.


Ready to strike

I've never had an injury like this damn knee injury. I've done virtually no training for 3 weeks and there's no progress. I've been listening to the doc, doing my stretching, walking my hill...which by the way is in a bad neighborhood. Some co-workers told me I shouldn't walk there without a gun, but as Dennis pointed out, all the other hills are non-prescription hills. I was told to walk the hill at Elver Park. And I don't think the neighborhood is really that bad. Plus we bike through the worst neighborhood in town everyday and haven't had any issues yet...well there was the time a guy in a minivan took a swing at Stephen with a Swiffer mop but I didn't ride that day. I miss all the good stuff.

Anyway, I went swimming tonight and felt like crap. I was tired and my form was sloppy. I need to give up on this physical therapy rubbish and get back to training. It's more fun than walking hills in sketchy neighborhoods after dark.

When I raced motocross, I raced every weekend from March (sometimes Feb) into early November. Then I would ride until the snow fell. Inevitably, every winter I would get the itch and start looking at the Florida race schedule and start debating a drive down for the weekend. It's a lot of driving, but I always thought it would be worth it to get in some winter racing. And I had a friend who was willing to go with me so it would've been a lot of fun. I never went, but I was always tempted.

Triathlon is a little different. The race season is so short, and it feels like so long ago when I did my last tri. I found myself checking out the Florida race schedule over the weekend to see if anything is coming up.

I can't wait for summer...and winter hasn't even started yet. *sigh*

Enough about training, this is the best commercial on the tele...

I'm a hundred miles away son, ready to strike.

I probably shouldn't post this without Toby's permission, but I'm going to take the risk that he won't mind. He wrote this in an e-mail, and it's absolutely classic...

"Abby thinks you are just saying you like a bit of the Red Robin to wind her up and try and encourage me, i've insisted that, as a classy guy, you'd certainly enjoy a decent burger, especially when it comes with unlimited top-ups of fries, so which is it? i'm hoping i'm right, if not i think i might die a bit inside. I love red robin."

Has Abby been away from the States that long? Has she forgotten what America is all about? If there's anything Americans take seriously, it's food. And Red Robin is America's Gourmet Burgers. So there's no need to put yourself in a spot of bother. I do enjoy a bit of the Red Robin. Quite a bit.


Popliteal Tendinitis

Physical therapy is getting old fast. My doc finally diagnosed me as having popliteal tendinitis. I self diagnosed that months ago. So now he has me doing some exercises and walking down a hill several times twice a week. I have news for him. It's not going to work. I did my own thing and ignored it and the pain was a mild nuisance. I did his thing and the pain got worse. Plus, popliteal tendinitis is caused by running downhill. Now he has me doing the thing that created the problem in the first place.

I've done the research. I know the fix. It's an injection of a corticosteroid into the tendon. I say get the needle out and let's end this
thing already. I have things to do. Perhaps my constant begging for EPO hasn't gotten the point across: I'm not opposed to injections.

Speaking of drugs, if doping in cycling is a topic that interests you check out the interviews with David Walsh at The Competitors. I'm reading his book From Lance to Landis right now. It's good stuff. Very interesting. I like to believe Lance and Landis didn't dope, but I'm not convinced.

Even though I think all the doping is ruining cycling and they need to clean up the sport, I don't hold it against the guys. I can't say for sure I'd be above it. If I was a professional cyclist and someone told me that a few injections everyday or a blood transfusion here and there would put me on top of the podium in Paris, I'm not sure I'd say no. Plus I think some of them were doping without knowing it. Imagine this...you're a young cyclist dreaming of winning the Tour, you get your first ride and the team doctor gives you some "vitamins" to take everyday...would you question him or take the vitamins?

Anyway, the book and interviews are interesting.

I went swimming last night. It felt great to do some training. I definitely lost some endurance, but no speed. I did some sprints and turned in one of my fastest 50 yard time yet: 37 seconds (that's about the pace the pros do for the entire 2.4 mile swim...that shows you how horribly slow I am in the pool). And that was with a mediocre flip turn. Yep, I'm doing flip turns now. They're a little ugly, but I do them anyway.


Taking it easy is hard on a person

Since I stopped working out a week ago to let my knee heal, the weather has been perfect...for this time of year. Lots of sun and about 50 degrees. It doesn't get much better than that in late October in Wisconsin. Perfect for training...except I'm not training. I'm confident the weather will turn to crap when I resume my training.

When I started the week off I had hoped some rest would take care of all the pain and I would feel like a new man ready to take on some serious training weeks...not the case. Not at all. I overstretched my hamstring several days ago and it's really tight and sore now. Overstretching results in tight muscles. Go figure. And my knee hurts more than ever. I can't wait to get back to training because all this rest is too painful for me. I can't take it.

So tomorrow I'm going to do my first workout in over a week. I'm going to go to the pool, a good low impact workout to get back in the groove. It feels like I haven't trained in months. I feel lazy. I'm looking forward to the workout and getting back on a schedule. Maybe this will get the blood flowing and loosen up my hamstring. I figure it can't be worse than resting, which seems to do more damage to my body than working out.

I've been hooked on podcasts lately. It's been slow at work lately so I listen to them when I'm doing paperwork or running sales reports. Here are a few of my favorite:

The Competitors - I just discovered this one, and it's awesome. Definitely my favorite. Lots of great interviews with athletes. They've even interviewed David Bailey a few times, one of my motocross heros (I learned how to ride by taking his dad's motocross classes) who went on to win the Kona Ironman in the wheelchair division after a crash that left him paralyzed. Very good podcast.

Tri-Talk - A short podcast, but it has a lot of good, technical info to help you improve your tri times and training. Good stuff.

The Fredcast - A cycling podcast. Not as good as the other two, but entertaining nonetheless. Lots of good cycling news.


Forget training, write a novel

Coolness comes but once a year...that time has passed.
- Steve Wood

I'm taking a little time off from training to let my knee heal. One more week, and I'll be back at it, but in the meantime I've been working on my training program and reading a great book, Lore of Running. It's one of the most researched books I've ever read. Lore of Running is an incredible book, but it's not for the faint of heart. Over 900 pages on running.

November is National Novel Writing Month www.nanowrimo.org for those who feel like taking on the challenge.

A friend of mine introduced me to Pride and Glory several years ago, and every time I listen to them Cheri accuses me of listening to country. You decide...

Here's a song that always makes my playlist for workouts...

Here's some Josh Todd from his brief stint as a solo artist when Buckcherry broke up. Buckcherry is a favorite of mine. Cheri doesn't accuse them of being country; she accuses them of being no-talent ass clowns.


Time off

Toby left a comment on my post about the Saris Gala that compelled Abby to write an apology e-mail. I must admit I'm quite humored by the situation. Good stuff.

Abby, no worries. When you read Toby's comment with a British accent it almost sounds charming. And that's why chicks dig the accent. Be thankful he doesn't have a southern accent.

Again, my doc urged me to decrease my training volume and take some time off because my knee isn't healing. I'd like to ignore his request and increase my training purely out of spite. But...for the first time in my life...I'm going to listen to the doc. I'm making this an easy week, then I'm taking a week off, then I'm starting out with an light week to ease back into it. Then it's 26 weeks of intense training for the Florida Half Ironman. Then about 3 months of intense training for the Wisconsin Ironman. Then I sit on the couch for the rest of my life....or maybe I'll do the London Marathon. How cool would that be?

Who thinks I should look like a jackass for the majority of November to compete in the mustache growing contest at work?


Saris Gala

It might be the British accent. I'm not sure. But whatever it is, chicks dig Phil Liggett. Cheri is one of those chicks, and Thursday she got a chance to meet him at the Saris Gala. The event started at 6, but we didn't show up til a little after 7. We registered and immediately ran into Mark and the gang. As we were talking to them, someone pointed out that Phil was wandering around. Immediately, Cheri headed straight toward Phil for a picture. As soon as she got close to him, she got nervous and turned into a bumbling idiot. She got a couple of pictures with him, they talked a little and then Phil headed on his way. Then he turned around, came back, grabbed Cheri's hand and off they went. Everyone looked at me and said, "You should be worried." Luckily (for me) they didn't make it too far before Phil was mobbed by people wanting pictures and eventually Cheri returned to the group. I'm sure I'll be hearing about Phil for the next few weeks (years). Hey, there are worse men to lose a girl to.

Later in the evening, Phil got on stage and spoke for about an hour. He's very entertaining...and a little feisty. Afterwards, I hung around to get a picture with Phil too...

Then, as we were leaving Cheri noticed Robbie Ventura was just hanging around and suggested we get a picture with him. After getting a photo, we were ready to leave...but then Robbie asked us what kind of riding we do. Then the conversation turned to triathlons and the Ironman. We talked to Robbie for about 10-15 minutes. He's planning on doing Ironman Canada, so we talked about the Ironman for a while. It was a fun conversation. Robbie is really cool and down to earth. He's also really motivating (good trait for a trainer) because he's so excited and passionate about cycling and triathlons.

All in all, it was a very fun evening. Saris does a good job with the Gala, and they raised about $60K for the Bike Federation of Wisconsin. Very cool. I'm looking forward to next year. I wonder who the guest will be. Bob Roll?

On the training front...yesterday was a tough day. I did the Ironman loop again and tore it up. 56 miles in just under 3 hours. That's the first time I've ridden the route in under 3 hours without aero bars. I ended with an 18.8 average, which I was very happy with since a good part of the last 20 miles or so were into a strong headwind. I pushed really hard and stayed focused the whole ride. I wish I had my power meter because I'm curious what my average watts were. Right after the ride I went for a 3 mile run with Cheri. This is when it became painfully clear that I didn't eat and drink enough on the bike. I bonked hard...immediately. By immediately, I mean the first 1/4 mile. Those were the toughest 3 miles I've ever run. I was barely moving and wanted to quit. I had no food with me and was craving sugar big time. Cheri wouldn't let me quit and kept me moving til the end. I managed a 9:38 pace, and I'm really glad I had Cheri with me to keep me going. Alone, I may have quit and walked home to make a pig out of myself. It was a great workout, but I need to get my nutrition under control.

Hitting the wall like that on a 3 mile run makes you wonder why you signed up for an Ironman. When I got home, I ate everything in sight, layed in the middle of the floor and declared, "there is no way I'm going to finish the Ironman." Even after getting a good night's sleep and recovering from the workout, I'd say it's about 50/50 on me finishing. I have a friend who's barely going to train for this thing, and I think he has a better shot at finishing. He'll be slow and steady and keep making progress toward the finish. I'll go all out and explode on the run and get taken to the medical tent. 50/50. But I wouldn't have it any other way.


Don't skip workouts

Sometimes you need to miss a workout. If you're sick, injured or if you're so tired and sore from a previous workout that another workout will probably result in injury, you need a day off. But if you're just feeling tired or lazy or there's something good on the tele you want to watch, you need to force yourself to workout. That's how I was feeling tonight. After work, I discovered a link to the rebroadcast of Kona ( http://ironman.edgeboss.net/wmedia/ironman/rebroadcast.wvx ) that I started to watch. I was tired and enjoying the race so I didn't feel like going to the pool. I started looking for ways to justify skipping my workout. But I forced myself to go and I'm really glad I did.

I discovered another little thing about my form and found a little more speed. I need to focus on what I'm calling my switch timing, meaning the transition from one arm to the other. When I start to fatigue, I tend to let my left arm drop in the water and start pulling before my right arm is past my head and ready to enter the water. The result is that I create extra drag and don't get a good pull with my left arm. On my last 300 yard set I really focused on holding my left arm up until my right arm was past my head and ready to enter the water. I also focused on really reaching with my arms and gliding for a split second. I swam that set in 4:47, my fastest time yet and I had already swam 1400 yards so I was already fatigued. That's a 1:35 100-yard pace, which would be a 1:07 Ironman swim if I could hold that pace for 2.4 miles. That would be awesome...not that it's going to happen. But it's fun to think about.

I also learned another valuable lesson today. Never let vegetables rot in the fridge. I found a cucumber in the back of the fridge that's been in there for a few months. I didn't know cucumbers could liquefy, but trust me...they can. That thing was disgusting. I think I'd rather see a rotting corpse than see that cucumber again. And I found an open bag of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots that had gone bad. What a horrible stink...like the stench of death.

Time to do my stretches and watch some more Ironman Kona. You don't get to watch Ironman coverage like this everyday. Good stuff.


Week 5 In The Books

Week 5 didn't exactly go according to plan, but it wasn't a total loss. I missed a few workouts due to my back, but that did force me to go to the voodoo doc which may or may not solve some back problems and hip alignment problems for me. Time will tell. I had a few good swim workouts and got a chance to try some pain relief creams. Aspercreme is okay, but nothing like the voodoo cream the doc gave me. I might have to pick some of that up. It's called Biofreeze.

Why am I now using Aspercreme? Funny you should ask. Remember a few posts back when I said form is king? I have become committed to improving my form in all 3 disciplines and this week I decided to start putting as much focus on my running form as I have been on swimming. The first thing I learned is that I'm a heel striker, which means I land with my heel first. That's bad. You want to land on the ball of your foot. Heel striking is probably responsible for some of my knee and back pain. So I started to work on that, but since I missed some workouts due to back pain I only ran once this week....today for 10 miles. Don't make changes to your form on a long run. I didn't even think about how landing on the balls of my feet would affect my calf muscles. They are so sore right now I'm not sure I'm going to be able to walk tomorrow. But the Aspercreme seems to be helping. Here's to Aspercreme.

Besides running, I also went to the pool today with Cheri. What a great workout. One of my best swim workouts yet. It really helped having Cheri there. I haven't swam with her in a few weeks and I've missed it. We have fun at the pool and I much prefer sharing a lane with her than some old dude with questionable hygiene. Cheri said she can tell my form and speed has improved so that was really encouraging.

Yesterday I watched as much Kona coverage as I could on the Internet. They did a great job covering it live. I wish someone would pick it up (Versus maybe?). It's a long day of coverage, but I would think it would get better ratings than a whole day of bull riding. Plus triathletes are a great group to advertise to. They like to spend money. Anyway, I had to go for a long ride and go to 2 birthday parties so I didn't get to watch as much coverage as I wanted but that's okay. Jess's birthday party was a lot of fun so missing Macca win is no real loss.

Hopefully week 6 goes well.

Week 5
Total Time: 10:43:12
Swim Yards = 6200
Bike Miles = 76.69
Run Miles = 10.13
Weights Time = 1:00


Mike's on ice

I went to see the voodoo doctor, the chiropractor, about my back today. I was skeptical going in because I've been there before and they always want to schedule about ten appointments right away. They scheduled me for 12. Holy smokes. They might as well just set up a cot in the back room for me.

But I'm going to give them a chance because they might actually be able to help. Here's the interesting part: when I went to the physical therapist for the first time he asked if my right leg was longer than my left. I said no. When I had my bike fitting, they asked if my right leg was longer than my left. I said I don't think so. Today, the voodoo doc told me my right leg was an inch longer. Great, I thought. I need special shoes. So she cracked my lower back and hips and checked my legs again and said they were even. My hips were misaligned. Coolio. No special shoes.

She also said I had some vertebrae in the middle of my back that were out of alignment, and those are the ones that contain the nerves that go to your knees. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together. Tendinitis?

It's all connected. The human body, that is. The hip bone is connected to the knee bone. The knee bone is connected to the neck bone. The neck bone...or however it goes.

They started out by scanning my back and showing me an image on the computer of the muscles in my back that were spasming and the intensity (red being the worst). The entire right side of my back was in a full on spasm. Solid red. The left wasn't as bad, but there was plenty of red. Then they hooked me up to some goofy machine that sent a current through my lower back to loosen up the muscles. They also threw on some ice packs and I heard the doctor say, "Mike's on ice. I'm going to develop his x-rays." Mike's on ice. I like that.

They gave me some voodoo cream I have to put on my back before bed, and I'm going back in on Friday. And then 3 times a week, probably until I die...which might be at the Ironman next year. It's a $15 co-pay each time I go. This may turn out to be the biggest financial commitment of my life... unless I die at the Ironman next year...which we can't rule out yet.

I wanted to work out today, but I decided to take my physical therapist's advice and listen to my body. My back was saying no, no, no. So I took another day off, and should be back to training tomorrow. Hopefully next week I'll be able to get in some good, hard workouts to make up for this week. The IM is still 11 months out so I'm not going to let a few missed workouts get to me. I'm sure there will be more because I never make it through a winter without getting sick.


Out of commission

I'm out of commission today. No training. I'm not sure what I did, but my back went out on me last night. I did some pretty good damage to my back when I worked at UPS so this happens every now and then. I could barely move when I woke up so I took the day off work. It's a little better right now, but not much.

Since I'm stuck on the couch today, I thought I'd post some pictures from the summer.

The Ripon Triathlon

This was my second triathlon. This one was a lot of fun, even though this is the event that gave me tendonitis in my left knee. It was 1/3 mile swim, 15 mile bike (hilly) and a 5K run (also hilly...the swim wasn't hilly). The interesting thing about this event is that it has 2 transition areas - one for the swim to bike and one for the run to bike. They're about a 1/4 mile apart so it's not the most convenient, but it works. I finished in 25th overall (4th in my division) out of 204 finishers. My time was 1:23:06. I ranked 4th overall on the bike so I was pretty pumped about that. Here's a picture of me starting the run:

This is me heading toward the finish line. This is right before I spotted a competitor I thought I could outrun to the finish line.

The sprint to the finish....probably where my tendonitis came from. Turns out he started in the wave after me so this was all for nothing. The spectators liked it so I guess it was worth it. Anything for my fans.

I have no idea who this is, but I found it in the Ripon Triathlon pictures. Snot rocket while wearing her helmet backwards. Awesome. Better luck next year.

Team Schwinn at the Tour de Cure.


Me at the final rest stop...

Mark lounging before tackling the last few miles into a strong headwind...

Cheri again...

Dennis after ride...

The Janesville Triathlon

This was my first triathlon. I didn't do as well as I'd hoped so I was pretty disappointed after the race. I had a panic attack in the water and swallowed a lot of water, which affected me for the rest of the event. I did learn a lot and had fun so it wasn't all bad. I shouldn't complain because my time was decent for my first tri, but having a panic attack in the water really got to me and killed my confidence. It was a 1/4 mile swim, 16 mile bike, 4 mile run. Overall, I finished 43rd out of 220 finishers. My time was 1:29:15.

Here I am before the swim...

Here's a picture of Tim finishing up the run. Tim always get a big group together for this race, and then he throws a party afterwards. That keeps it fun and makes the Janesville Tri a must do event even though there are several other larger tris running that weekend. Janesville's my hometown too, so that helps. Gotta do the hometown race.

Here's the gang after the race...

Chicagoland Danskin - Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

Those who know about the Danskin know I obviously didn't compete in this one. It's a women's only triathlon, and this year's Chicagoland Danskin was one of the largest triathlons in the world with more than 4,000 women signed up. It was also Cheri's very first triathlon. It's a world-class event and I had a ton of fun being a part of it.

I knew Cheri was going to do well since she had trained hard for the event, but I have to admit I was a little surprised how well she did especially since she struggles in the heat and it was a scorcher out there. The event is a 1/2 mile swim, 13 mile bike and 5K run. She finished 234 overall (45 of 365 in her division) out of 3940 finishers. That's top 6%! I was really proud to see her dominate the bike finishing in the top 4%. And that's without aero bars. I can assure you she will have aero bars on her bike next year. Her time was 1:27:58.

Here she is before heading over to the swim start...

Here she is right before the swim start. I was impressed she was brave enough to get right up front in her first tri, although I did tell her about 50 times she needs to start in the front because she's a fast swimmer. She did the swim in 13:27. That's flying. She's a fish, a flying fish.

This is the transition area. Chicks like to mark their spot with a balloon. So many of them do it I have no idea how they find their balloon.

Here's Cheri after the finish.


Cheri and I took a vacation in Colorado this summer and rode our bikes to Breckenridge on the bike path. Here are a few pictures...

Hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow and I can get back to training for the Ironman.