Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Totals

This will just be a short post to cover my month of January.

The month marked the beginning of my Ironman training program. As such it meant an increase over my previous "normal" training levels. In January I swam 14.86 miles and ran 103.85 miles. I did not track bike miles due to spending most of my bike time on a trainer or spin bike instead of riding on the road; however based upon the training time I estimate around 325 bike miles during the month. My mileage in each of the swimming, running and biking categories is the most I have done in a single calendar month. All of my hard work did not go unrewarded as I finally dropped under 200 lbs on the scale after 50 months of working towards that goal since I took up running in December 2006.

Finally, I closed out the month by attending the Kickoff Party for the Inaugural Woodlands Marathon, which goes off March 3, 2012. Ryan and Sara Hall were in attendance as part of the official festivities and were very much available to meet and talk with. However, my highlight of the night was not meeting the Halls but was winning a free entry into the race next year! I will be doing the full marathon in March 2012, which will be my 4th or 5th full marathon (counting IMTX in May and maybe Disney 2012 next January).

An unexpected benefit of the Woodlands Marathon kickoff party was seeing some of my local running friends that I had not seen in several months or more. It was strange (in a strange way heartwarming) to not be initially recognized by some of them because of the weight I have lost (although growing out the beard may have had something to do with it as well!).

IMTX Training - Week 4

With the end of week 4 of Ironman training also comes the end of my first recovery week at the end of the first 4 week cycle of 3 build weeks plus 1 recovery week. I won't say I feel entirely recovered at this point, but I do feel more rested than I did at the start of this week. I also took the opportunity this week to bring some foods back into my diet that were more calorie dense, even if only in controlled portions (then there were the 2 large slices of pizza I had yesterday!!) I still end the week weighing 2 pounds less than I started it--and nudging that scale below 190 lbs., so I believe I had the room to spare for the extra food.

Here is how this past week of training breaks down:

Swim - 4900 yards, 2:02:11
Bike - 25.8 miles on roads plus time on spin bike or trainer, 2:52:52
Run - 18.35 miles, 3:52:44
Other - stretching or other training workout, 0:45:00

Overall training time 9:32:57

This week had decreases by about 1/3 across the board as it was a recovery week, designed to let my body get some rest and still not lose any of the recently gained fitness levels. Although I am training for overall endurance and not speed, I must be improving in both because I can feel my moderately-paced treadmill workouts getting easier at the same paces I ran previously.

Week 5 brings a return to the building phase. Included with my increased workload will be the longest swim and bike distances that I have ever done in a single workout for each. With swim distances of 3500 and 3600 yards planned, my biggest problem way be fitting them into my schedule time-wise; especially considering my preference for early morning swimming, opening time at the gym, and when I have to be at work. A planned 70 mile bike ride will beat my longest previous training ride of 62.5 miles (aka 100km) and will probably take me around 4.5 hours depending on road conditions.

Sometime tomorrow I hope to look over my monthly totals for an overview of how Ironman training is shaping up.

111 days until Ironman Texas......

Sunday, January 23, 2011

IMTX Training - Week 3

With the end of week 3 of Ironman training also comes the end of my first build phase of training. I leave week 3 feeling tired and just a bit sore, however I am also feeling on a personal high from doing several increasingly long and hard training weeks. In addition, I have gotten my weight down to an area (191.8 lbs this morning) where it has not been in about 17 - 18 years.

Here is how this past week of training breaks down:

Swim - 7800 yards, 3:08:08
Bike - all on spin bike or trainer, 6:19:52
Run - 24.33 miles, 5:13:10
Other - stretching or other training workout, 0:56:02

Overall training time 15:37:12

This week had slight increases in running and biking, even though I shorted one running workout a couple miles because I was not feeling up to it. This week also included a large jump in my swimming yardage and an increase in the speed of many of those yards.

Week 4 brings a recovery week with the chance to get a little rest on a slightly reduced workout load, which is also very timely with a busy work schedule ahead this week.

118 days until Ironman Texas......

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lunchtime Ramblings on the iPad

I decided to take a much needed and (IMHO) well earned break from the office to eat lunch out-although I am staying with a healthy option. It is interesting in that many places I would have gone before were not even considered due to their less healthy fare. These days my appetite is quite strange, I can quickly go from famished to full and back to hungry again quickly at times, other times I have to make myself eat a healthy snack periodically or I won't eat at all for many hours. I suppose it is all the training and stress on my system these days. It seems my biggest trouble in my immediate future is going to be eating ENOUGH calories! Please feel free to laugh with me over that ironic predicament.

I am in the midst of IMTX Week 3 of training, which is my last build week before a recovery week, although "recovery" is relative in that case. Today was the first day this week with only one scheduled workout, although it was a good brick workout (1.25 hours on the bike and a 2 mile run). this morning was the first morning my body has felt any fatigue going into the workout, which has my coach instructing me to cut short tomorrow's first workout if that is still the case in the morning.

Things are going pretty well at work considering I lost my Operations Manager to his new job this week, leaving me to do all the supervision until I hire his placement-although providing me with ample excuse to tackle some overdue reorganization.

Finally, let me respond to my friend Rae, who several weeks ago told me she wanted to see me at 195 lbs after I posted about making it under 200 lbs for the first time in years. Well,'s look at the scale first thing this morning was......194.8 lbs.....look out 180's, I am coming for you!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

IMTX Training - Week 2

It appears that I survived Week 2 of Ironman training. Here is how my training for the week breaks down.

Swim - 4800 yds, 2:00:38
Bike - all on spin bike or trainer, 6:17:48
Run - 23.16 miles, 4:57:44
Other - stretching or other training workout, 0:30:00

Overall training time 13:46:10

This week added about an hour to the overall training time from last week, pretty much all in the bike category, while the run time was down a small bit.

This week's toughest workout was the 3 hour bike ride that ended up on a spin bike due to poor weather. Fortunately, I was spotted by a friend and called over to where a group of triathletes had put a few spin bikes in a circle to ride together. I ended up doing all but the last 40 minutes with someone else for company. One good thing about doing this workout on the spin bike was that I was able to maintain a high cadence pedal rate at all times, without having to stop for traffic or lights on the road.

So far my body is still holding up fine. I am trying to pull out all the stops in the area of recovery, using whirlpool, compression, stretching, recovery drinks, etc... as I go the post workout periods.

This next week adds in increasing workouts with another build week before I have a scheduled recovery week. I am really interested in seeing how far I can push myself and still hold up effectively through these workouts. Also up next week is a group run with my training team OutRival Racing on the Ironman Texas run course.

My most interesting personal thought this week was wanting to know when a short week became 6 miles. Also this week I kept up with the diet as well as all the exercise, weighing between 195 and 199 pounds all week.

125 days until Ironman Texas!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

IMTX Training - Week 1

Week 1 of training for Ironman Texas is in the books. Here is how my training for the week breaks down.

Swim - 5000 yds, 1:56:24
Bike - 41.1 road miles plus two spin classes, 5:00:28
Run - 24.0 miles, 5:26:23
Other - stretching or other training workout, 0:30:00

Overall training time 12:53:15

My body had held up fine this week, even running 3 consecutive days at one point (which is not something I will normally do). I am making a point not to try to do too much in my workouts as I know I have a lot of training ahead of me and know that I will need to pace myself. Some heavy, cold rain on Sunday drove me indoors for my 10 mile long run. Fortunately, I saw a few friendly faces and grabbed a treadmill next to some of my teammates, which allowed me to enjoy some good conversation, before I set up my iPad to catch a movie while training as well.

An extra plus was also attending the OutRival Racing team event held at The Goose's Acre, a self described bistro and Irish Pub as well as a popular spot for local athlete's to gather. It also happens to have a patio area adjacent to the run course of Ironman Texas. I got to meet several new people and also got to know a few others better.

Week 2 will look a lot like Week 1 with respect to planned training numbers.

The Road Ahead for 2011

I have been giving a lot of thought to my plans for the year 2011. I am torn being two competing lines of thought for my annual plans. Normally, I would set some specific quantifiable goals such as new race PR's , specific race time goals, etc...but for me this year is already going to be far different than recent years, so I have decided my training and racing goals need to be different, too. So here is a look at my personal training goals for 2011.

1. Get to the starting line of Ironman Texas trained and ready to race.
Sure, I really, really want to run a successful Ironman race on May 21st, but this is a journey into uncharted territory for me. I am committed to try to enjoy the entire journey towards Ironman, and the actual race is more the reward for successful training than a goal in itself.

2. Spend more time with my wife.
My wife is a very understanding and supportive woman who has every reason to think my, I don't even know how many...say 30-40 races over the last 3-4 years, is a sign that I have gone off the deep end. Instead, she supports a not very athletic husband who attempts athletic feats. My time with her will be somewhat hampered by my Ironman training for the first 5 months of the year, but I will make the effort to spend more time with her as I can, and even more after the Ironman race. In some ways this will get easier as I only have one daughter left at home, and that is likely to change in just a few months as that daughter gets her job situation settled.

3. Find a better balance between training, work and family.
Actually I feel like a have a pretty decent balance of things here, but I want to make sure I take other people's concerns into account as I try to make sure I find the best balance in life. As part of this balance, I want to make sure that I take the time to enjoy the things that make life worth living while I move from point to point through life.

4. Training and Race Goals.
Did you think I would really go through a set of yearly goals without setting a quantifiable goal? I suppose I could but where would the fun be in that? In any case, here are some basic race goals for me for 2011.
IMTX - Finish the race in the official 17 hour time window. I figure I could finish in the 16 to 16 1/2 hour range at my current fitness level (assuming I had trained for it) and had the best possible day in each event. We will have to wait almost 5 months (actually, 132 days from the day I post this blog) to see how my race preparation helps me to be ready for race day.
Marathon - none planned
Half Marathon - I'll probably try to do a fall half marathon at some point. Ultimately, I would like to do a sub-2 hour half marathon, although since I just got under 2:30 last year, sub 2 hours is a tall order for this year but 2:15 might be doable.
5K - I hope to enter several 5K races this year. My best time last year was 27:05, so let's set 25 minutes as a goal to beat for this year.

I hope everyone has a good year!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

200 no more!

If you will indulge me for a moment of me thinking solely of myself......
In the years since my mid 20s, I have always seemed to have a tough time keeping my weight under control. Aside from a very brief period in my mid 30s where I was down to 199.5 lbs, I have always been over 200 lbs-and often well over, having been up to 266 lbs and 263 lbs at two different times.
Today that dynamic changed as I weighed in at 199.4 lbs, the lowest I have weighed in at in many years. I would like to take a moment to thank the many people who have been a part of supporting my running, triathlon and dietary goals over the recent years. No matter how small you might think your support was, it was valuable to me to have that encouragement.
I still have weight I want to lose, and I have other athletic goals ahead, but today it feels like an extra weight has also been removed from my shoulders.
Thank you!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reviewing 2010

Now that 2010 is in the books, I want to take a bit of time to review my
goals from last year and see how I did.

1. Run a sub-30 minute 5K. I've been after this one for a while and really feel I can do it this year.

I only ran one 5K this year, but I beat the old 5K PR of 30:20 with a 27:05 in late November.

2. Run a sub-2:30 half marathon. Just like #1, I really am going after this goal this year.

While I ran 3 half marathons this year, 2 were run for the fun of doing a Disney event; however the only one was run for time. In February I knocked almost 5 minutes off of my half marathon PR with a finish time of 2:26:45.

3. Participate in at least 4 triathlons this year. I did 4 last year, so I don't see why I can't do at least that many again.

2010 was a full triathlon year for me as I entered and completed 6 triathlons.

4. Get my weight under 200 pounds and keep it there.

I started the year around 212 lbs and finished around 202 pounds, never quite getting under 200 pounds, but I was successful at keeping my weight down and not regaining any of my previously lost weight.

5. My goals for individual activities: Running 600 miles, Biking 1500 miles, Swimming 60 miles and Total Exercise Time 17,500 minutes.

Well, I have looked over my log for the year and was quite surprised with my training totals for the year. It's not that I did not know that I had done a lot of training, but I had not been watching the monthly or annual totals for at least several months. I ran 626.2 miles, biked 2060.8 miles and swam 69.5 miles for the year (a total of 2756.6 miles). In addition, I logged a total of 20540 minutes of training activities for the year. (for which I say "Wow!")

In summary, I made 4 of the 5 goals while narrowly missing the remaining goal. All in all, I have to call 2010 a successful year...with any luck (and a lot of effort) hopefully 2011 will be as good or better! My thanks to all of you give up a bit of your time to read my ramblings in this blog.