Monday, April 28, 2008

Costco ROCKS!

I was almost completely out of food I could eat for dinner this Saturday. I had only 2 more sausage packages and 2 pieces of chicken thighs plus 1 bag of pasta. I had just spent $170 2 weeks ago on food and I was already down to barely anything. I really have been eating a ton lately and my training is just starting to ramp up even more.

I decided to bite the bullet on gas and just see really how far away the nearest Costco was again. Last time I looked I swore it was like 20 something miles away. I looked again and it seems the nearest one is only 10 miles away. Sweet!! That's easily within going once every 3 months or so on the gas prices. I was stoked as I haven't been to Costco since I moved for some serious shopping. I loaded up Elena into the car and we were off.

Another bonus of driving the 10 miles was that gas prices were 15 cents cheaper so I filled up my tank before coming back home. It was crazy busy at Costco but that's typical for a weekend. I went insane and proceeded to buy the entire Costco. I was able to get my boneless skinless chicken breasts. Yay!! I got some stir-fry vegetables as well. I was starting to run low on my rice so I got another 25 lb. bag of long grain white rice. A true staple in my diet. I ended up buying 33 different items. Woohoo and with that $320 worth. Most of this stuff will last forever. All except the 4 lbs of sharp chedder cheese I bought. Those will be gone in a couple of weeks.

The only think I really hate about Costco is unloading all the food because they never give you any boxes to help carry multiple items together once you get home. This is always a pain and makes me wish I had a house with garage but then I look at all the people out cutting their grass this weekend and I'm glad I don't have a yard.

More and more people are moving into the condos here so that's positive. They filled up the pool. They're idiots though as they really didn't clean it too well before they did so there's still tons of dirt and leaves in it. I guess that's why laborers aren't engineers because they just aren't that smart. It's a pretty big pool and I need to measure it to see really how long it is. It might be like 20 yards or something well I can hope.

It's under 3 weeks til the first big milestone on my path to Ironman Canada, the Half Ironman at Disneyworld. I'm getting more confident in my running off the bike each week. As I mentioned last week's workouts were completely sucky except for Friday's brick run. I did my typical hard intervals on the flats for the just under 30 miles on the bike. It was nice and hot at 80 degrees. I hopped off the bike and went out for a run. My plan was to do my typical 6.3 out-n-back and if I felt good extend it to my 8.4. I went shirtless on the run for the first time this year. I figure why not get some extra sun on the typical farmer/cycling tan. I felt good right at the beginning of the run and strolled through the first mile in 7:05.

I usually feel pretty good that first mile but depending on nutrition seem to feel bonky at the 20 minute mark. I've been working hard to get better about my nutrition on the bike so I've been taking a gel about 10 minutes before the finish of the bike. It's worked so far. I made it to my turnaround point for the 6.3 loop and still felt really good so I decided to go for it. I made it to the 8.4 mile turn around and proceeded to head back. I hit a 6:50 middle mile and felt fine. I didn't feel like I was really pushing it. I ended with a 6:50 mile and was feeling the heat w/ no water during the 56 minute run.

I think my current plan is to cruise the first 2 loops in Orlando and really push the third 4ish mile loop at the end. The only positive thing about being a slow swimmer is there will be people to pass on the run which will really keep me cranking out a good pace. It will fuel my competitive fire to be burning up the run course. I haven't raced since last summer so I'm just excited by the notion of being able to race.

3 months 27 days...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Spring Play and Charley's

So yesterday, my daughter made her acting debut and is hoping for a nice run at the 2009 Oscars although it will take a major marketing push. It was the entire kindergarten class at her elementary school which includes 6 separate classrooms. Wow! Who knew, I guess 1st grade is going to be a little packed.

It was a cute spring play about a gardener named Herb, the "h" is silent you know. They sang songs and she did a couple of lines on stage. Plus they even had a rap song about "Weeds". The words were actually quite witty and cute. During the songs, they did hand motions and danced a little. Elena was totally into the singing and hand motions. She was having a blast even though she said she was nervous with all the parents.

She had been practicing her lines for the last two weeks but never really mentioned all the songs she was learning at the same time. Every so often she lets us know some interesting tidbit about her day at school but she's not much of a talker. She gets that from me. I did the only child dad my child's a star by taking video of the whole thing. I'm not sure how it turned out because I had to basically shoot with a full extended arm to get a view over the throngs of parents.

The play was almost an entire hour which was amazing. That wasn't the only cool thing that happened yesterday. I found out that Amber and Joe will be getting a rental car when they come down to Disneyworld to watch my half ironman. This means Charley's Steakhouse!!! And the infamous PRIME CUT...

This is a 56 oz porterhouse. I had one of these when Elena and I went to Disneyworld in December 06. My buddy Orion also polished off one of these and my daughter ate an entire 16oz filet. Orion and I both attempted this massive chocolate cake dessert but failed to finish it. This time I'm going to take it all down. I can't wait. I'll be using that steak to get me through the tough times during the Half.

In my continuing training for the Half, I swam my longest continuous swim ever this morning. It wasn't as fast as my swim where I experienced the swimmer's high. I went back to look at that week to see why I was so fast and I just can't explain it. I was consistently 2 seconds slower per 100 this time around. It was still a decent swim as I swam 3100 in just over 58 minutes. I wanted to swim for 60 but its always hard to making sure you have the right time for me. The last 1000 yards I stopped counting and it just seemed to last forever. I'm just over 1000 yards away from the total Ironman swim distance. One of the toughest things is to stay focus on good technique in order to keep a fast pace without using a ton of extra energy. Stuff like make sure you pull your hand all the way through and not immediately pull it out of the water. Keep high elbows on the recovery. Because of the requirement to stay focused the time goes by pretty slow because you can't daydream.

At the event in Orlando, I'm worried about pacing. I really don't have a feel for pace when I'm swimming especially as I get tired. In the pool, it's quite easy to see your pace and monitor it. I might not push myself enough in the swim. It's definitely a catch 22. You want to stay aerobic and fresh for the bike and run but you could easily lose 2 minutes or more in the half during the swim by being too lackadaisical. It's same for people who are knew to running. I have even been struggling with pace on the running side of things because of my overall slower pace than when I was running exclusively. 6 minute miles feel like 5:30 miles back in the day even though I can tell my leg turnover isn't that fast. I'm still working on my pacing strategy for Florida so we'll see.

Well we're under the 4 month window now...3 months 30 days...scary!

Monday, April 21, 2008


On Sunday, I was basically doing a 12 mile run in the shower. Luckily, I had made use of band-aids to prevent chafing from my long sleeve poly-pro shirt. This was my first time skipping the body glide and going with the band-aid method. I'm totally sold on the band-aids. My shirt was so soaked it was basically just draped on me.

I was trying to build up some needed mental toughness but the it was pretty comfortable temperature wise. I wasn't suffering too much and legs felt surprisingly fresh considering the meltdown on Saturday.

Again the strangest part of living out here right now is the huge changes in weather on a day to day basis. I still can't get used to it but at least overall the weather is better than Oregon. I'm sure come this summer I may change my mind but right now I'm liking it more than Oregon.

I finished the weekend by going to bed early after just sitting on the couch the rest of the day. On the weekends, I don't have Elena I lead a pretty uneventful life. I have almost finished CSI: Season 7 for my non-workout accomplishment. You know I was so tired that watching TV was all I really could deal with. Actually having a real life or someone to engage in an intelligent conversation would've been futile.

Elena's first school play is this Thursday. It's a spring play and she is one of 8 gardeners. She was disappointed that she didn't get to play a flower. She's been working on her 2 lines for the past weeks. I'm still worried for her that she'll freeze up on stage. I hope she won't feel totally overwhelmed but we'll see. I'll be there all super dad'd out with the video camera.

4 months 3 days..

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I'm wiped out

I was so slow on my brick run that I got into the show and there was a bug in my hair just hanging out. I have no idea how long he was there for the ride and then the run. The bike totally destroyed my legs today. It was my longest ride of the year so far.

My nutrition wasn't adequate. I still need to work on finding out the best plan. I started getting full and just lethargic towards the 3 hour mark. I thought I might just puke on the side of the road.

So how did the workout day start...I got up and decided I would run to and from the pool to save gas. Gas prices are over $3.50. OUCH!! I just did some form work at the pool but I may have had a breakthrough on my stroke. I decided to roll my hips a little on each stroke to use them as leverage for the pull. It worked awesome. I'm not sure if that's the right way to do it but I keep reading that rolling a little and using your hips and lats for the pull rather than just your shoulder is better. I'll continue to refine. I ran easily on the way home.

I had the bike loaded with 5 bottles. 4 bottles of 300 calorie Infinit and 1 bottle of water. A 5 hour endurance ride was on the schedule with easy 30 minute brick run. I started out the ride and felt fine. I was staying easy and practicing pacing which will be crucial in the Ironman. I got 2 hours out and there was a little convenience store so I bought a water and reloaded. That's when the wind just picked up. I had 30 more minutes to head out and by bad luck it was with a massive tailwind. At the turnaround I had rode 49 miles which was just under a 20mph average. The headwind on the way back was killing me. It took me 45 minutes to get back to the store and I knew I was going to be in trouble.

I had switched to water with some clif bar, clif shot blocks, and power gels. I think this screwed up my stomach because I was having stomach troubles and my legs were going south in a hurry. I was starting to doubt that I could make it back. This is all good because I'm sure this kind of self doubt will happen in the Ironman. I tried to focus on just turning over the pedals and hoping it would get better. It was off and on the rest of the way back.

I got off the bike and was relieved but usually this translates into a nice fast run but that wasn't the case. I was planning on trying Coke during the run to see how the stomach would respond. I found out half way through the run with a nice side stitch that Coke isn't the way to go. I was probably doing 8 minute pace and it was a struggle. Definitely wouldn't have been able to run a marathon.

All in all I know I need more training because the bike course is going to be harder at Canada than what I rode today. I still need to find the magic nutrition potion. In two weeks I have a major hard 3 and half hour ride with 60 minute tempo brick run. This will show me if I'm ready for that half on May 18th. I just need to find my bike legs.

I'm just sitting and my stomach is so screwed up I'm just trying to drink carbs since I really don't feel like solid food. I guess if it was easy the Ironman wouldn't be a challenge. It's going to be a beast!

4 months 5 days...

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm back from Germany

Ugh, I really hate international travel. The plane rides always suck no matter what even if you get lucky with an upgrade to business class. I didn't get an upgrade as I hadn't been traveling for a long time. The seats are hard and it's hard to get comfortable. I usually make the adaption to the new time zone pretty fast because I can sleep once I arrive. The hotels are always an adventure. I stayed at the Innside hotel and it's has a plastic tube for the it's shower stall right in the middle of your room.

Plus you get one small comforter for a blanket and no sheets. The business went well so the trip was a success.

As for my workout regimen, it's still out for a vote. I had been pushing really hard for the last 4 weeks in all the disciplines. So having a the two days off on weekend as well as 3 more days hopefully will get my legs all fresh.

I had a good 14 mile run Monday morning. My pace started slow. I seem to have problem getting into a rhythm with just runs. I run so much faster if I come off the bike. Now that's funny when you think about it. I got warmed up and brought some gels with me to help work on nutrition. I determined that I think I'll be going at least 3 miles between gels for my stomach but will get liquid at every aid station. My legs started to feel a little tired at the end but not too bad.

This weekend I'm hoping for a good brick in some great weather. My cobbled together schedule has a 5 hour ride with a 30 minute brick. I'll be putting in hard riding and try to really push the run to see what happens. I still need to figure out some nutrition for this type of run since my current 30 to 40 minute loop doesn't have a drinking fountain. I might hit up the close high school track and run on the track to really get into a nice rhythm with the convenience of an aid station right there. We'll see.

I did a long swim this morning after not swimming for 6 days. Man, I was slow all the way. It was amazing at how hard it was to keep some form in the water. This has me a little worried and I have to be careful when I taper to make sure I get in the water just to do a little. I did swim for just over 45 minutes and 2500 yards. I wasn't too wasted after getting out. All in all I'm happy with my swim but I keep reading that if you're not going 1:30 for a 100 yards at distance your stroke is all F-d up as well as you're body position. I keep trying to keep my hips up but it's hard.

I lost a couple pounds traveling which is cool and I should be back down to 142 after eating a little too much the previous week. My cycling is getting a little stronger as I think the intervals are helping but I need to get some long rides in to build up that endurance.

4 months 6 days and more importantly 30 days til the Half...

Friday, April 11, 2008


It was the first short sleeve and bare knees ride of the year. I was so psyched. I was just planning a nice easy ride to spin out the legs from the Wednesday. I did a hard brick on Wednesday and I think finally my cycling legs are starting to come around. I ran just over 6 miles and didn't bonk for the first time in awhile or have trouble with my stomach.

I tried a different swim workout this morning since I hadn't swum for the last two days. On Wednesday morning I was tired so I bagged an easy form swim for sleep. This is really the first time I've bagged a swim just because I was tired. I decided to swim at race pace for the first 1000 yards and then go as hard as I could for the last 1000 yards. If I blew up, no biggie. I was doing a decent pace and then the last 1000 yards started and I tried to speed up. I was able to go about 4 seconds per 100 faster. Not outstanding but definitely tough.

It's suppose to warm today as well, so I'll be hammering a long ride with a run afterwards. It'll be good training for the hot/humid weather I'll be experiencing in Orlando during the upcoming half ironman. I'll be trying my new Profile Aero bottle for the first time. It attaches right onto the aerobars and has this big straw so you don't have to reach down for a drink. The directions for installation are pathetic. I'm not sure the best way to get it attached but I'll just hope for the best.

Elena and I are spending the weekend together so I won't be getting any workouts in this weekend. It's my days off every other week so I can recharge. Not sure what we're going to do this weekend except some choirs like grocery shopping. We'll watch some TV including catching up on American Idol. We'll watch Shrek 3 and/or Bee Movie. I've been burning through various TV series via my Netflix subscription. I saw the Dexter the first season. It was quite good and interesting. I've starting watching House which is also quite good but of course season 7 of CSI just came out on DVD so I've switched back to it. I love that show even though I haven't watched it ever on CBS. It's getting a little harder to keep watching DVDs because normal TV has started again.

Hell's Kitchen has started again and its still just as good as ever. Ramsey hasn't dumped any food onto someone's apron yet but overall it's had some classic scenes so far. There was actually someone who after 2 dinner services still didn't know what food was on the menu. Good stuff!

4 months 13 days...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Celebrate and Curse

I swear I curse every time I drive around DC. Coming from Portland, the traffic lights out here aren't on sensors. They're all old school timed. It's ass. There could be no cars waiting at the side street light and the main light will change just as you're coming up to it. You have to wait a full cycle as no one is around. It's pathetic. I know why everyone out here runs red lights all the time. Especially when there's only like 1 car planning on going through....but

I celebrate every time I ride around DC on the bike. I know I don't have to worry about banditting through red lights because my carbon bike won't ever trip the sensor. I can also time my effort pretty well to get to the intersection just as the light is planning on changing because it's all timed. There are no extra long green lights for numerous cars. Each light is the same every time. I feel safer at intersections because of the timed lights.

I finished a good hard weekend of workouts but gained weight. I ate too much ice cream after each workout. I was weak and I have ice cream in the freezer. I went and suffered for 80 miles on the bike on Saturday after a killer interval workout in the pool. The interesting thing about the bike ride was at about 30 miles I was in the middle of nowhere. It was wild. There were one lane bridge crossings and no cars for miles. In all the riding around Oregon, I really have never experienced single lane paved roads out in the middle of nowhere. The pavement was actually in better shape than most of the side streets around here. There wasn't much chip-seal at all which was nice. I fought a headwind the whole way out and then rode the tailwind all the way home. I thought about doing my brick run on Saturday as the weather was quite nice but it was supposed to nice on Sunday as well and I wanted to get another good ride to beef up my cycling.

Sunday sucked! It was raining and cold. I decided to do my form work in the pool and then do the spinning class instead of riding on the trainer or outside. I felt like if I got the legs hammered in the spin class and then hit the streets for my run it would be beneficial. The run was pretty tame. I decided on trying to hit 90 minutes but decided to turn around at 40 minute mark. I was clicking off nice 7:20s and then upped to 7s on the way back. I keep thinking about making it through that 112 mile bike and then trying to relax through 26.2 miles on the run.

It's worrisome unless I get my bike to come around. I think my legs on the run can take the pounding and I've suffered through 3 marathons so I know what to expect at mile 18. That's the mile for me where I always say to myself I don't want to be out here anymore.

4 months 17 days...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Swimmer High

I didn't even think about it but it makes sense. I've heard of a runner's high and even experienced one just one when I was a sophomore in high school. I can still remember it because it was such a cool thing. I was at Hagg Lake for a cross country invitational. It was our 2nd or 3rd race of the season as I was still junior varsity at the time plus it was a nice morning. I finished my warm-up and it was nothing special. The JV runners were doing a 3K which I always stunk at. I figured oh well I'll just try my best. I always did better at the 5K. This is where it got a little interesting. We were hovering around the starting line when head coach comes up to me. He tells me that he overheard another coach was having one of his varsity guys run the JV race in order to get an easy win. I'm so competitive I immediately was ready to rip up the course even though my coach gave me some key pieces of motivation that I still can't remember him saying. I was already seeing red. What a bastard, I would give anything to be racing with our varsity team rather than sandbagging and getting cheap JV wins. I think my coach even pointed out the person but it didn't matter to me at the time.

The gun went off and I was jostling for position towards the front of the pack. The race started at Boat Ramp C parking lot and went up the little steep hill to the road and turned right. As part of our warmup, we'd always jog the course. I knew that we'd do a bit on the road then make a hard right onto a trail. The trail would start out normal sized and then hit some killer single track during a switchback downhill. I knew this so I pushed the last 200 meters of the road to get to the front. I was about 5th when we hit the trail. Just right before the switchback I made my move. I hit the switchbacks in the lead with a major surge. I think there were like 200 meters or so of single track before the trail leveled off and opened up again. That's when it happened. The trail opened up and I felt awesome. I mean it was light I was flying with absolutely no typical run suffering. I started to push even faster because it didn't feel hard.

I created this huge lead and in my head just assumed someone had went down in the jostling on the single track. I heard later that no one fell. I had to be going close to 5 minute mile pace. I was motoring and a few spectators were on this section. They were cheering but it was all muffled. I was just in the "ZONE". I felt invincible. I hit the parking lot all alone and finished to my cheering teammates. They all were shocked at how far in front I was. I PRed by well over a minute. It was guessed that the course was a little short as most everyone had some sort of PR.

I don't think I'll ever forget that race. It's one of those defining moments as a runner. Well today seemed to be a key moment in my brief swimming career so far. I was planning on doing intervals but at the last minute as I slipped into the pool I decided just to do a long time trial, my normal 2200 yards.

I was just cruising along clipping off my new pace 1:50 to 1:52 splits. I hit the 2000 yard mark and I was trying focus as my stroke was getting tired...then it happened. For about 400 yards, I was in the zone. The stroke felt easy just as if I had just started. It was great. I kept going since there was no reason to stop at 2200. I was going to ride it until my split times disintegrated. I wish I had more swim experience as I would've upped my pace a bit just to take full advantage. I ended up with 2900 yards. I stopped counting during the swimmer high and figured I was close to 3000 yards. I guess I should've done one more 100 just for a nice new all time high round number. Either way it's only about 1600 yards til a full ironman swim. I feel that I'm not going to drown anymore at least in the pool. I'm hoping the half coming at Disneyworld in May will improve my swimming in a pack and open water confidence.

With such a great swim this morning, I'm thinking my new diet should be a Digorno pizza as pre-race fuel. I ate a whole Digorno last night. It comes out to be 2200 calories alone. Good times. I had completed a 90 minute hard ride with intervals and a 6.3 mile run during the day so I felt I deserved some calories. I keep flirting with bonking on the brick runs if I don't down a gel right before I head out the door. I need to get myself a running pack so I can take water/nutrition with me on these long brick runs. During the last couple of miles, I was willing my body to eat all this extra fat I have stored because my glycogen stores were empty.

I was just under 7 minute pace for the run and I was just cruising along easy. My run is right there and my swim is coming along nicely. I just need to get my bike butt in gear. I'm hoping to help the bike cause this weekend with some big miles. I know I can get my bike ready by August if I just keep on it but man it's disappointing right now.

4 months 20 days...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

To Heel or not that is the question

I just saw this interesting blog post and had to link it.

Running Technique: The Footstrike

It could be an April Fool's but I definitely believe it. I wonder if this really puts a hole in all that Newton marketing. Overall, it makes sense to me as I'm a major heel striker. So much so that I practically wear all the rubber off the heel of my shoes before the rest of it breaks down.

I've been wimping out on riding again. I skipped the ride yesterday because the roads were wet and decided just to run a nice long loop. I ended up with just over 9 miles for an hour 10. I felt fine for the most of the run but had some stomach pain. I decided to down a Powergel before going out and that was a mistake. I'll have to remember that.

My quads are still suffering from the pounding. It always takes them awhile to come around after an extended time off with only cycling. My running just feels good. I just need my cycling to come around. I should go out today for a hard ride but the wind was really nasty this morning so I hedged my bets and did the spin class this morning. I might still try to get an intense set of intervals in this afternoon as the wind doesn't seem to bad right now. We'll see...

4 months 22 days...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


My arms feel like jelly right now. I just did a workout I saw in the Triathlete magazine April edition. The pro who talked about the workout called it a pyramid. It's not one of those pyramids you'd find in Egypt, I'd say it was more like those pyramids in Mayan culture which at the top is where they sacrifice people to appease the gods. I felt like I was needed to be sacrificed when I reached the top just to make it down the other side. Its like in Apocalypto with my head rolling down the pyramid while my body was still at the top.

The pyramid consisted of 8x50yds, 4x100yds, 2x200yds, 1x400yd and then back down finishing with 8x50yds. I was consistently slow. My 50 yard pace was almost exactly my 100 yard pace. It seems that swimming is just like running for me. I can't sprint worth a damn but I can hold a pace for a long time.

I was fresh because I had Elena this weekend so I didn't do any exercise on Sunday and just rode easy on Monday. Elena and I went to the park both on Saturday and Sunday to fly her kite. She had a good time even though it was windy enough to keep the kite up for very long. It was a pretty laid back weekend with her. We basically just hung out and watched TV most of the time.

We caught up on American Idol. She thinks it hilarious that Simon never likes anyone's performance. She likes David Archileta. We watched some Food Network. I get the Food Network in HD so it's pretty cool as the prepared food just jumps off the TV. We saw Morimoto crush a wannabe american trying to do Japanese cuisine on Ironchef America. They don't show the scores like the old Japan version which is too bad.

4 months 23 days...