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.