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