Wednesday, February 28, 2007
There's been some talk recently about which part of triathlon is more important - swim, bike or run. There's argument about putting time into swimming so that you are fresher for the other events, and then there's counter argument that fitness in swimming does not cross over to the other events. Some folks use the mantra, "its all about the bike", and there are many who aspire to save their legs on the bike so they don't crack on the run.
Personally, and I'm no coach or fitness expert, I think it's all about balance. We should balance our workouts to the effort required on race day (with an exception I'll bring up later). I think it relates to the concepts of specificity - train like you race. I've read about guys and gals who spend time in the gym doing squats and leg presses arguing with the guys who say it's best to press big gears in steep hills to build leg strength...just for one example.
For an average age grouper, I guess, in an Olympic, a swim time might be 35 minutes, a bike would be around 1:10 and a run in the neighborhood of 55 minutes, for a 2:45 time. Of course the times would vary, but in this set of "ifs", the swim accounts for 21% of the overall time of the race. The bike is 42% and the run is the 33%. (interestingly, pro-triathlete Normann Stadler's percentages at the Ironman World Championships were 9% swim, 52% bike and 36% run) This means that if you have time for 10 hrs of training each week, you should be spending about 2 hrs swimming, 4.5 hrs biking and 3.5 hrs running. This assumes that you are not relatively "weak" in any one area, and does not account for your natural abilities. If you are weak, or feel that you are, then concentrated blocks of time - weeks - spent with more focus on the weakness makes sense. For planning purposes, however, the balanced approach makes sense to me.
As a Clydesdale, in the first year or so of training, I spent as much time off my feet as I thought I could get away with. As the exception I alluded to above, I figured that I would lose as much weight as possible spending more time on the bike and in the pool so that I would lesson my chances of injury while running. this approach worked pretty well for me - aside from the the obligatory plantar fasciitis on the right foot, I've stayed injury free. After losing the weight, and becoming more "competitive", I've switched to a more balanced approach with running as well. If you compare my running volume to my recent history, it would look like (and it feels like) I'm focusing more on running now. I'll bet that for anyone (like me) who's weak in a certain area, they probably have spent less time training in that area and the challenge would be to be more balanced. I don't know where that point would be for your training - for me it was at about the year mark, after a couple of Olympic races and a couple of disheartening "death-walk" finishes.
Most of us like one event over the other two. We probably came from a particular sport where we were good at what we did - unless you were a Linebacker or Shot-putter - but even big guys, since we can swim pretty well compared to our run, and we can bike, on the flats, pretty well compared to our run, have parts of the triathlon we like better than others. Once the inequity between ability in one sport compared to another becomes too great, that period of "off-sport" focus becomes essential to achieving that necessary balance. You can bet that the weeks leading up to Escape from Alcatraz, I'll be having a swim focus period...big time!
Monday, February 26, 2007
So my day is made, now that I've ordered my rA jersey. I even managed a lunch swim - a short one, but it's done. I'm usually pretty much a slouch on Mondays - so any calories burned today are bennies. Last week I did a really cool bike workout - cool because I made it up - even cooler because not only did I dream up this doozie, I actually completed it:
It was a 12.4 mile warm up at 20mph average, then 8 x 1mile intervals with a 2m spinning rest. I managed the first 4 intervals well over 23mph, closer to 24 actually, then the last 4 I was just hanging on, trying to stay over 22.5mph. Since I only had water to drink - too lazy to buy a bottle of gatoraide at 6am on the way to the ride - I pretty much bonked during the last 12.4m cool down. This workout was prompted by me being worried about all the even-paced base workouts done this year so far, and wondering if I had any speed left in these legs.
I also noticed that I went under 70 days before the 101 race - I missed the fan fair, the bugle horns and the cymbals - what I really need is a swift kick in the butt! This morning the Bigun's weight was down to 249 - after a hearty dinner the night before - and the cool thing was that last week, keeping track of my meals, I had a 6,030 calorie deficit. I hope that means I lost some weight last week. I'll try and match that this week - maybe better since I've got some good efforts planned, and get a foothold in the 240's again. Weight goal for end of March - get to 240 even.For those of you who don't know the system well, Training Peaks has a neat tracking system for logging your meals and seeing what you are eating in regard to calories, carbs and fat. Your logged workouts automatically transfer into that section, so you can see the calories you spend vs the calories you take in. Finding the exact food items can be a little tricky, especially if you are not eating branded foods, but I'm thinking I've been picking stuff that's close to what I'm eating. I'm finding that I'm a horrible eater - I eat way too much fat. Knowing that there's a problem is the first step, right?
Friday, February 23, 2007
Lately, there's been lots of chatter about why we do what we do. Folks have goals that they've set for the year, people are fighting with finding the time to train vs. time with family and work, and there are blogs with lists that explain a few things about their authors. It seems to be a time to reflect and try and figure out why we endure the pain and suffering. So I've been doing some introspection myself, and this morning I finally hit the nail on the head when it comes to explaining this part of ME - I don't get satisfaction from my job.
Some people complain that they hate their job. I don't hate my job. Some folks hate the people they work with or for - not me. I have moments where I like my job a lot. There are many things about my job that I really like. I just don't get satisfaction from it. It does not define me, like it does many people, especially those who gain deep satisfaction from their career. I used to have that, years ago, when I was in the Army.
By having a job define them, I'm not implying that it's the only thing that defines them. A Doctor can be a doctor and a parent and a spouse, in fact anyone who loves what they do can have their career or job be an integral part of who they are. I think one major test of your feelings about your job is when you are at a party and folks start talking about work, do you actively participate, or do you just say, "I'm an RV salesman" and leave it at that?
I was talking recently with a good friend from college, Roger, who's at a huge crossroads in his life and career right now, and he has one last opportunity to do something special that he feels he was meant to do. He's lucky in that not only does he truly KNOW what it is but he also has the opportunity to do it. This road definitely defines him, and in taking it, he'll forever be able to say, "I'm Roger C., and I'm a United States Army Special Forces Officer and I served in Iraq, etc, etc (stuff I can't talk about...)". He'd be turning down huge financial opportunities to follow this path, spending time away from his family and friends, and risking his life in the service of others - but it defines him.
Being an RV salesman in no way defines me. With few exceptions, I don't trust the people I work with and for, I'm tired of letting down my customers with inferior products and incomplete service, and most of my attempts to make this work environment better have been thwarted or abandoned at some point by my leaders. Its pretty frustrating at times, yet there are some good things.
Even in a down market (the RV industry as a whole has been "off" 15 - 20% for 2 years now) I can make the money I need to do what I want and pay my bills. The hours are long, but they are easy hours. I have NO responsibilities other than my sales quotas, so my work stress is, compared to my Army days, pretty low. I come home and sleep in my own bed every night, and I am supervised very little - I can sneak out of here pretty much at will. I've been a salesman going on 9 years now in varying industries selling different stuff - so it is what I do. And for you other salesman out there - I'm not knocking the career, just how I, personally relate to it.
Thankfully, Triathlon found me. The physical challenges, the discipline of it, learning about training and physiology, the gear - it all was new yet familiar. Being in the Army and especially Special Forces was very much physical - and I missed that. There's a camaraderie in Triathlon that is similar to the trust formed in the Service that's based in sweat and purpose - and I missed that too. There's honor in Triathlon - it's very much about doing your own work, and it's difficult to corrupt what Triathlon is. It's unique and select - there's a right of passage in Triathlon that few people commit to. I've found something, again, that can help to define me. It gives me a sense of worth - I'm proud of being a Triathlete, and at parties, I can talk for hours about it (to the chagrin of my wife...).
I'm approaching my own crossroads in the realm of Triathlon, the thing that helps define me. Ironman. One word says so much. Commitment. Pain. Suffering. Pride. Honor. Of course I mean the distance, not necessarily the brand. Becoming an Ironman. Joining the exclusive club - club's the wrong word - joining the brotherhood of Ironman finishers. Sharing that moment and moments with the special people who also find meaning in the accomplishment - my wife, my family, my friends, my fellow triathletes.
I'm jealous of my friend Roger and any of you who can find definition, satisfaction and/or meaning in what you do for hours and hours five or six days a week. For now, every stride, every stroke and every cycle gives that feeling to me. Very easily, one or two changes at work could change the way I feel about my job - it's funny how it happens that way - but for now, I'm thankful for the way things are. Hi, nice to meet you, I'm Marc - let me tell you about Triathlon!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Di aka Mrs. Bigun wants to blog about this topic, so that's all I'll write. Thankfully, there are some singers now, so it's worth a watch, at least on girls night.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Many folks enjoy the auditions - we watched, but how many times can you watch Simon make fun of someone that they put in that room on purpose - just to have us watch them get ripped up by the judges? At least this final 24 are supposed to all be able to sing - they have talent - and that's what I like to watch.
I can't sing. I like to pretend that I can - when I'm alone in my car on the way to work is usually when the fantasy comes to life the most. But I do have a decent ear - I can play guitar and pick up songs pretty easy - and what I heard last night, in a nutshell, sucked.
I looked at Mrs. B and asked rhetorically, "don't any of these guys watch the show?"! Out of 12 dudes, there were only 2 that did anything decent and didn't' completely bore me to tears. One of them just won't make it too much further - the jokester - Funny Chris (Chris Sligh) - with the giant hair and belly to match. Decent singer, and has some personality, but probably not good enough (plus, he really pissed Simon off last night - between him and Seacrest, granted, Simon deserved it with his "darling" remark or whatever he said - it will be interesting to see how that plays out, if at all...).
The only one that showed ANYTHING last night was the Beat-box Boy (Blake Lewis) - cool song, good voice; as of last night, he's the only male with any long-term potential. I really don't like the sound effects, so I was glad he showed that he could sing, and that he's not just a gimmick. I'm not calling him my favorite - still have the girls tonight - but I'm picking him as a contender (looking at them again, JT Clone Guy (Chris Richardson) had a good performance - nothing great vocally, but he'll be able to ride his "look" for a few shows...)
So, who's leaving the show on Thursday? My pick would be the show opener - Slurred Word Boy (Rudy Cardenes) - well, his nickname says it all for me...enunciate, ya jerk! I mean, unless your singing Nervana you don't have an excuse. He'll have competition with Gross Goat Boy (Sundance Head) who didn't sing a single note in tune and picked possibly the worst song he could sing. No, I don't vote, so I can't complain (too loudly) about the results. I just hope there's a girl or two that can bring it, or I'm going to have to find something else to watch.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Right out of the starting gate, I looked at the pace compared to how I felt, and I got pretty scared. I mean, I was flying for the Bigun, but I felt pretty darn good. Then I checked my HR - it said 172 - I thought, "must be a glitch". Well, the HR never dropped below 170, at least while I was checking it, so I pretty much ignored that metric and just kept on running. From the first step, I had to use the bathroom. Nothing too serious at first, but by the third mile, I had to GO! I kept looking at that pace and I just couldn't bear to lose any time. The whole time I was thinking, "man, your doin' it, don't mess this up!" - so I held it. All the way to the finish. That was the only unpleasant thing about this race.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
80 days seems like a long time, but really, it's only 2 training cycles. That's it. I've got a big 5 week block, an easy week with a century ride at the end of it, a race week, then a 3 week block, with a two week taper (oh, and throw in another race - St. Anthony's - during the taper). The 5-week block will turn into 3 or 4 hard weeks, then the last week will pear down to the last week taper for my first race of the year (yea!).
My weight loss has been disappointing at best so far. More like non-existent. After Gasperilla this Sunday, I need to increase my focus on my diet. I'm easily distracted - I love to eat. I think what I need to start doing is tracking my calories and what I eat - keep a food log. Just like anything else - it's hard to fix if it ain't being measured...
I'm not sure if I've set realistic goals for the 101 yet. Initially, I was planning on swimming in 1:10, biking under 4:00 and running under 3:00. So that's about a 2:06 per 100yd swim pace - reasonable - a 20.2 mph bike - reasonable - and a 9:40/mile run - which is the biggest challenge of them all for me. I've been getting used to a volume of 15 - 20 miles of running a week - nearly double last year's average weekly run volume, and over the next few weeks I'll up that ante to the upper 20's (I've got to push my average run volume to over 20 miles per week - ha!, to do that by week 22 - 8 weeks from now, I'd have to run 29 miles each week...).
Monday, February 12, 2007
I could do without the Zipps - I just don't trust a wheel with spokes mounted into carbon (even clydesdale zipps...) - and I don't like the way he routed the shift cables. I guess I'm really worried about carbon over time, on one hand, and would really like to have a better ride than the all-aluminum bike I have now. Since this one has carbon mixed with aluminum, and the aluminum seems to be in the places I'm worried about (chainstay and bottom bracket) - and - it's got a 78 degree seat post angle, I really like it!
I'm always finding myself riding on the tip of my seat - and I have a long Profile Design Stryke saddle that's mounted as far foward as possible. My Felt has a 76 degree seat angle - who knows how much a difference 2 degrees would actually make, but it can't be a bad thing. I really should invest in a new seat post that extends foward a little - I've read somewhere that the ride on the seat is better when it's mounted in the center of the rails, like it's supposed to.
This bike is also priced right - $2k - and I like the colors, which really is the most important thing. I'll have to keep it on the wish list for a while, since I'm trying to save for a PowerTap setup. Maybe I'm crazy, but I want to get the hub mounted to a tubular rim - and get a matching front tubular for training. Then, I'll get a wheel cover for the PowerTap wheel, and on race day I'll put on my Hed Jet 90 up front, which is also a tubie. Why tubular? If it's good enough for the Discovery team on the tour, then it's good enough for me. I've glued one on my Hed Jet, and it really wasn't that hard - next time I'll try using the tape.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Thursday, February 08, 2007
A change of scenery sure made it nice. The friggin wind in my face, however, kept my head down for most of the 35m trip out. I started out at the Lutz Fern Trailhead and headed North, right into the 5-10 mph wind (it sure seemed stronger than that - the trail is very exposed, running right along the parkway) The last few miles were in some nifty hills (a nifty hill is one that does not require shifting from the big ring, but does require some standing up) which blocked the wind a little. I stopped for a minute or two to hit one of the two bathroom facilities that are on the trail, and refilled with water and got back out on the trail.
The first thing I noticed on the way back was a lack of relief from the driving, in-your-face wind that I had to deal with on the way out. I remembered reading Myle's 300k brevet report on how in Arizona the wind blows one way in the morning and then the other in the afternoon. Well, I started before lunch...to be fair, the wind didn't do a 180 - more like a 90 degree shift, and instead of wonderfully at my back, it was now blowing across the path.
I also realized I need a bunch of work with the new pedals - the Looks - those are heck to clip in and out of! The old Speedplays I had let me twist out of them completely - these require a twist and then a pull, and while I haven't fallen yet, I've been close a few times while flailing about trying to get my foot unclipped. All those road crossings today shed some serious light on the joys of owning one-sided pedals.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Retribution has been demanded of me. For too long now I've been riding Bold on his taste in music, namely his obsession with JT. For the life of me, I can't understand why someone in our Age Group would groove to the beat of JT, even if said person was handicapped by, say...nationality or hairstyle. Different strokes for different folks - but still, a grievous error has occurred by me, and an act of retribution is necessary to bring the stars and planets back into alignment. So what could I do?
Something physical perhaps - some pushups or situps? No, too military. Give up something I love, like beer or pizza or pop-tarts? No, just too hard. How about a little self-depreciation? A picture of myself at my first multi-sport event, nearly 30lbs ago? Now there's a handsome fellow....thankfully there are no shots of me coming out of the water.
Something else, music related, perhaps? Ok - very few people know about this - you know the cell-phone commercial with the "Come and get your love" song as it's tag line? Well, until those commercials started to air, I always thought that song went, "garden guitar love" - yea, I'm a dork. I like ELO - yea, I'm a dork. Dr. Hook - I'm a fan. I've got issues, I'll admit it - just not too loudly.
Bold, I'm with you on one thing - massages. I've yet to ever get a massage. Not even the freebies after a race. Don't touch me - hey Ray, hey Sugar, Tell 'em who we are....(now there's a famous yet obscure reference...). I may come around to massages some day - I promice you, however, that I'm not going to rush out any time soon to buy a JT disc. Cameron Diaz, really? I know, old news - I'm such a dork.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Got me some new running shoes yesterday - the local Sports Authority was running a deal with the Gasperilla folks and I got half off my entry fee with my Nike purchase - saving $20. Nike's really run small - I had to get a size 15 - but they fit just fine. Ran with them last night and they felt great. It sure is nice running in new shoes. About 7 mile in, it started raining - crap! Not on my nice new Nikes! So instead of 10 miles, I ran 8.8 miles. Small sacrifice to keep the new shoes looking and smelling good for a while.
I got the Nokon cables in the mail this week - the brake set came missing a part. The place I got them from, ICYCLES, made me mail the whole kit back instead of just sending the part I needed. None of my LBS's carried the Nokon cables, so I had to order out - hence the aggravation. I bid on Ebay for some used Profile Design Sonic Stryke aerobars, but didn't win, bummer. I want some bars that will allow for internal cabling, so if not these, I may have to opt for the Ironman Carbon Strykes. Either way, I'm tired of wrapping my aerobars. I also got a set of replacement brakes - Kool Stop - for my new (used) Dura-Ace brakes.
I also modified my workout plan for next week. It would have been an easy week, but with my hamstring nagging me 2 weeks ago, it was like an easy week. Plus, I'd like to taper a bit for Gasperilla - and put out a good effort at that half marathon. So next week's a big effort week, to round out the cycle, and then it's a week taper for the half mary. When I registered yesterday, I got their race shirt - really nice cool max, tight, light weave, and a neat design - I tried it out on my long run last night and no nipple bleeding, so the shirt is a "go" for Gasperilla.
My running's improved with the focus and increase in intensity, and my bike seems to be hanging in there - biking is so time-intensive, and lately my work has been getting in the way of everything else. Swimming has been taking the biggest hit; I've been to the pool only once in 2 weeks! That's got to change - I'll try and take small bites out of that next week with 3 lunch miles and at least one long swim on a day off. Just hope the weather cooperates. All of our pools are outdoors, and the slightest bit of rain or cold air and it seems like the pools are closed for half-hour blocks until they can "re-evaluate". Feb 25th the schedules go back to normal at the YMCAs - right now the pools are only open during my work hours (and until 7pm - get off at 6, drive to the pool, change and I'm left with about 30 minutes...).
I'm really enjoying reading about raceAthlete's team trip to Temecula for the bike camp with Mel and Floyd and crew. Sounds like it was a great trip with some awesome people. Thanks for keeping us posted on it.
Only 8 weeks until my season-opening Triathlon - gosh the "off season" went quickly. I hardly feel ready to start up again. Two more training cycles to ramp up for that race - granted it's a "C" race, but it's still a race. It will be my litmus test for St. Anthony's - my "A" olympic and early season race - the Tri-America Triathlon has some different distances - 2k swim, 37mile bike and 9 mile run - and it's in the hills of Cleremont - so I'd better be ready. It's time to crank it up a bit.