Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The hills of Ohio

Joke: What’s round on the outside and high in the middle?


And boy do they have the High part right!

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Mrs. and I went to Ohio to visit her family and friends. While there I needed to get some kind of workout in.

I needed something to justify all those glorious home cooked meal and gluttonous drinking occasions!

The good news:
Last year - I ran the neighborhood and was the hills forced me to walk. It felt like it took forever to get anywhere. I ran down to the end of the block and back. Whew! What a workout.

This year - Hills? What Hills? This is easy, the end of the block?! Way to easy! Let’s keep going!

The bad news:
I'm feeling so good, I decide to find some serious hills (not a hard thing to do around here). I found the hill from hell! Short and steep!

14 % grade - 0.3 miles – 100+ feet from top to bottom.

Hill repeats – 2 miles worth! That’s 5 times up and down.

Down 14%! That’s a nice workout on the quads.

I thought that the Midwest states were supposed to be flat!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

There’s gold in them thar hills

Hills, hills and more hills.

Hill repeats suck! They suck even more at 5:30 in the morning; they suck even MORE when you’re running with a new group and trying to impress; they suck EVEN MORE when you're running on sore legs.

It turns out that the RD for Silverman has a running group 10 minutes from my house.

Showing up at 5:30 took some coaxing, but once there I was greeted by a good size group of about 12-15 people. I’d say 90% were women. This in itself is an impressive feat.

Today was hills and we are looking to repeat the .3 of a mile hill (12-15% grade) 4 times.
1. Run (80-90% of max) two street lights jog 1 repeat until the end and recover down the hill

- Um…’recover’ down the hill??!! Recover is supposed to mean stop moving and catch your breath!

2. Run three lights; jog 1
3. Run four light; jog 1
4. Run five lights; jog 1
5. Run the entire hill

The astute will notice that there are 5 runs, not 4. FIVE! Five. Someone said “I’m feeling good, let’s do another one”. I hate ‘someone’!

On a good note: I think I have moved into another echelon. I am now the slowest of the fast! While that may not sound good - it is! It’s (just) a step better than the fastest of the slow.

It’s always nice running with a new group. I have no idea what their plan is. I don’t know their path; I don’t know their speed and it’s all I can do to hold on.

Here’s us heading home from the hills*

See them?….No - neither do I. (maybe I should go back to being the fastest of the slow again)

You: That’s a great run and all, but what about those tired legs you talked about??
Me: Oh, OK.

After SG, I decided that a little more hill work would be good for the soul. Luckily, there’s a nice course right outside my door that leads to the “dreaded 3 sisters”. Three hills that while short in length, they're long on steepness.

It’s always a 'riot' to watch the Heart Rate shoot through the roof when I hit those hills.

I’m not going to say that the sisters are (finally) gettting easy, but they are starting to lose their awe. While not quite a ‘bump’ in the road. They are no longer the ‘holy grail’. Mind you, they still hurt and my legs will vouch for that!

Add in an hour long gym class full of lunges and squats and MY LEGS ARE SORE!

It’s great! My quads hurt, my hams hurt, even my butt hurts!

Anyone know where I can get that donut seat cushion thingy??

*that’s not REALLY the road, but it felt like that.

Monday, May 12, 2008

DFL – SG Tri Report

Warning: this is not a pity party. This is the way it is. Some times tri’s suck and sometimes you suck in them. This is one of those times. I created this blog to show the world that normal suck-y people exist in the Tri world.

With that…

It’s got to be tough for a RD. Imagine looking over your swim course and seeing whitecaps. You feel the wind gusting at the athletes. Everyone is either cowered in the water or grouped up on land to stay warm. You look into the eyes of each athlete and see either the fear of the swim or the desire to tackle this impossible sea. It’s a tough call; these people paid a lot of money to be out here. They’ve signed the waivers, they know the danger. If you ask them, a majority of them will say they’re ready. But are they ready for death? Are they ready to be drowned out there in those swells? Waves are coming over the sides of the rescue boats and the kayakers are struggling to stay in position. Do you cancel the swim and piss of the die-hards or do you go for it and risk shattered egos and slow swims as people struggle with the ocean-like waves? Or worse, do you worry about the risk of death, it could happen out here. With waves like this and beginner swimmers who only know the comfort of the pool and guided lanes. People who don’t know how to handle the waves. How to deal with the lack of visibility and no clear way to site. With waves coming at you from every direction and every third breath is a mouthful of water.

Finally as a last ditch compromise, you decide to let the Olympic people go, thinking that they’ll bitch the most. You cancel the swim for the Sprint people and have them do the bike and the run.

Swim time = 55:38 (it was rough, it was brutal, but I survived)


The nice thing about a swim that sucks the life from you is that when it’s over all you want to do is lay down on the boat ramp and take a nap. Maybe cozy up to a nice hot chocolate, some quality porn and pass out.

But wait! There is still a 25 mile ride ahead of you. But first don’t forget to stumble your dizzy, discombobulated ass around the Transition zone looking for your bike. Grab your nutrition, helmet, bike, shoes, race belt, gloves and go! Umm…wetsuit? Take that off! OK, Now go!

T1 = 5:51


I know what you're worried about. You’re worried that I spent so much time on the swim and T1 and now there will be no wind left for me on the bike? NO, no worries mate! There is more than enough wind for me on the bike.

Which is a good thing too! I looked over the results of last year and the year before that (and the year before that …) and was astonished to see how fast the times were. This is a fast course! I’ll be smokin’ out there! I don’t know if I can handle a fast ride on the bike.

The wind too care of that. No worries mate! Instead of flying along at 20 mph, I was lucky to scrape out a measly 13.5 mph. No worries about breaking the speed barrier here.
Oh! And those Sprint people? Now would be a good time to let them go on the bike. Because there is NOTHING better than being passed by 100+ people on their nice fresh legs out to take their anger on the bike course.

On a good note, due to law of averages, I was bound to get a break sometime! Despite the wind ever changing direction, it was able to propel me down ‘the hill’ at a nice clip. Finally broke the 40 mph mark. Screaming down the mountain at 47 mph, now that’s worth the price of admission right there!

Bike = 1:45:35


Because the bike was so easy, now is a good time to active ‘operation body failure’. Begin IT band issue on right knee. Now that I’m reduced to a hobble walk/run of 11 min-miles, begin phase two and activate IT band issue on left knee.

Perfect! I have now achieved 14 min-miles! Nice and slow. Just like I practiced. Of course, previously my HR was low and I was running slow on purpose, now I’m running slow because of the pain and I am walking if the trail has too many rocks. Why? Because having rocks requires me to lift my feet more than two inches off the ground. The IT doesn’t like that idea. Either i kick my foot out to the side or I walk. It may work for Hillary, but it doesn’t work for me.

Run = 1:21:38

All that equals up to:…….Dead F@#$%ing Last! Woohoo! Dead last in my age group.

Good news! I PR’d!

That’s the benefit of having a horrible first Oly. It’s all up from here!

Lesson(s) learned:

  • Swim more
  • Bike more
  • Run more

Other than that it was GREAT!


Special thanks to Stef for carpooling with me up there. Now you know it was a rough swim, if Stef doesnt like it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bad day in slowville

I luv going slow

I luv noticing houses and building that I never knew existed

I luv watching the flowers bloom

I luv literally watching the grass grow

I luv looking at the light and knowing “don’t worry, it’ll change before you get there”

I luv chatting with men in walkers as we mosey up the road at the same pace

I luv the blank stares from the passerby’s as they zoom past me in their cars

I luv the look of pity in the other runners as they cruise pass me as if floating on wings

I luv the tender ‘beep, Beep, BEEP’ as Garmin lovingly reminds me that my heart is WAY too fast to go up this hill at this 'speed'

Stop! Slow down; enjoy the fact that ants are now your competition

I luv holding a 14+ minute pace

I luv base

Happy - Happy day!

And to all you people that have already done the base training (probably for the 50th time) and are now ‘floating by on wings’ – I luv you too!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Whale of a good time

Building base is good for the body but it’s bad for the blog.

I’ve got very little to say. There are no ground breaking records to break; there are no lung busting runs or rides.

It’s slow and steady from here.

That said, it’s not all boring turtles and naps. There is the occasional hare too. Or in this case perhaps a whale is a better example.

This weekend, the Mrs. and I met up with Stef. She had already done her swim workout but I joined her on the run. We ran for about an hour at a good pace and worked on the Rage course.

Let me just say that the ‘sand pit’ sucks! I watched my HR climb through the zones right through the roof! I was running on fresh legs. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to run that beast after a long swim and longer bike. Whew! Stef was doing it today after swimming for 45+ minutes. Impressive!

After the run, it was on to my swim. Mainly it my chance to see if the wetsuit was my demise or if the open water was my form of kryptonite.

I realized (or rather the Mrs. did) that the wetsuit was too low and lifting my arms up was like trying to use the stretchy rubberbandthings at the gym. No wonder the swim was so tiring! It was my own private bootcamp from hell!

I yanked, I pulled, I stretched, grunted, moaned, farted and gasped all in an effort to get my wetsuit WAY up! I had so many folds of neoprene around my shoulders that I could store food in there. I looked kind of like

Yeah! Something like that!

Long story short…it worked! I was able to get some long yards in. All open water. Man it was great.

1 hour = 2800 yards.

Thanks for the suggestion IronTriTim