Friday, November 30, 2007

Getting Back on Track

I started off the week with the almost getting sick feeling; sore throat, stuffy nose, sort of cough, etc. Since I knew we were heading up to Sacramento this weekend for the CIM (I am watching, Jen is running) I wanted to be sure not to get sick. It seems like I get a case of this every year and it hangs around for a week or so. This year I was on top of it with Vitamin C, tea, OJ, and plenty of time in the steam room. For some reason when I really wanted the steam room to be filled with the smell of Eucalyptus it wasn’t, go figure.

My training for the half marathon starts next week and I am really looking forward to it. I feel like I have been drifting along on the periphery of working out for the last three weeks; getting in a run here, a lift or a swim there, while making sure to eat as much crappy food as possible (yeah, makes a ton of sense I know). I think the problem started with not really having a goal to work towards and was compounded by my starting a new job. It seems like life changes like that always throw a wrench in the best laid plans. Of course if I look at it in a positive way I guess it has given me motivation to pick an event and get back into training and eating right which will be a really good thing come Christmas. I will have a good reason to avoid all the candy, cookies, and other delicious but deadly treats that show their faces around the holidays.

Toward the later part of the week I got in a couple of swims and a run:

Tuesday pm swim at 24 hr. – 500m
Total Time: 8:57

I was feeling like I needed to do something Tuesday evening and I also wanted to hit up the steam room so I headed up to the gym for a swim. I only did 500m but it was nice to be doing something and I felt pretty good. After swimming for 9 minutes I sat in the steam room for 20 minutes or so.

Thursday am run – 4mi
Total Time: 30:16
AP: 7:34

Well the good news is my legs had trouble keeping up with my lungs; the bad news is my legs had trouble keeping up with my lungs. I set out for my first run in a while on Thursday morning and I decided just to run and not try to push myself very hard. I could tell right away that my legs were feeling heavy but I figured that as long as I didn’t push myself too hard I would be fine. Turns out that was easy enough given that my legs felt pretty heavy the whole time. I was happy with my pace when I finished up and I stretched out pretty well but this morning when I jumped out of bed I could feel that I didn’t stretch well enough because my legs were sore. Sore! After 4 miles!

Friday am swim at 24hr. – 500m
Total Time: 9:22

Up to the gym again this morning for a swim steam combo; 9ish minutes of swimming followed by 20ish minutes of steaming. I focused on keeping my stroke count low and was successful the whole time – 14 on the way down, 15 on the way back. I also tried to feel myself pulling the water with each stroke instead of letting my hand “slip” through the water. After the swim my legs felt better and I stretched out really well in the steam room; however, while I sit typing this I can feel that my legs are pretty tight again. I think I’ll take a little walk at lunch and then stretch them out again.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wonderful Thanksgiving

Not much new to report – I took the days over the Thanksgiving break to relax, do some golfing, and decide on a goal for the next couple of months so I can get some motivation back. I’ve decided to do a half-marathon in the beginning of Feb. and will start training on December 3rd. My goal for the race is to beat my previous PR which is an AP of 8:12. Jen will be running the race with me which will be pretty cool; in the last half-marathon we did together she was up ahead of me for all of the race. This time I should be able to hang in there for the majority of the race. This week I am planning on running, spinning, swimming, and maybe getting up to the gym for a lift. Jen is running CIM on Sunday so I am not planning on getting in any rides this week at all.

We spent Thanksgiving down in San Diego again this year and once again we had a great time. Dinner was at my Dad and Step-Mom’s place this year so we didn’t have to worry about driving which was nice. The food was great again this year, we had turkey, stuffing, roasted potatoes, cranberries, salad, soup, and a very delicious lemon cheesecake that my Dad made from scratch. In addition to Jen and me were my parent’s friends Mary and Murrough with their two children Conner and Jack, and their two friends Jonathan and Dave. All are from Ireland with the exception of Dave who is Scottish. Jen and I took the opportunity to ask them where they thought we should go when we take a trip to Europe and they all said Italy was the best place to see. Later on when Jen and I were talking about it we both thought it was funny that no one mentioned Ireland or Scotland.

I’m working on my schedule for the half marathon now and will start posting the weekly plan during the first week of training. I think I might finally have to break down and buy some running tights since it has been getting down to the low 40’s/high 30’s in the mornings and that is when I will do the majority of my training (the only exception would be my Saturday runs since I can sleep in a bit that day).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Ok - so for some reason the computer at my new office was bookmarking my blog from the first time I visited it so I couldn't see my updated post from yesterday - so you will see that today I repeat much of what was said yesterday - freakin technology confusing me for no reason!

Back in the Gym

This Sunday Jen and I went up to the gym, did a quick lift, then had a nice long steam. It was really foggy that morning (visibility was a couple hundred feet if that) so I decided to skip the group ride. It was nice to be back in the gym and we are planning on getting up there a couple of times a week.

Monday am swim at 24hr - 600m

Yesterday morning I got up and headed up to the gym for a swim before work. I did 250 warm up then 5x50 sprints w/ 20 seconds rest in between. The first couple were good and I felt great but then the Sunday lift caught up to me (and the fact that I really haven't done multiple sprint laps) and the last three were pretty tough. I averaged :41 so I was pretty happy with that. I think I will keep the sprints in my routine at least once a week and will build them up to 10x50, 15x50, etc., etc.

I had my first day on the new job yesterday and everything went well - pretty much just a "watch and learn" day. From the sounds of it I will ramp up over time and they will take me step by step until I have a grasp on the big picture - much better than just being thrown into the mix and trying to keep my head above water.

Tuesday am run w/ Jen - 5 mi.
Total Time: 43:12
AP: 8:34

Was up around 6:10 this morning and headed up the Iron Horse trail with Jen for 5 miles. She continued on to do eight but I had to stop at five to get ready for work. It was pretty cool when we started out but we warmed up after the first half mile or so. Not too many people out on the trail, I think we only saw three people on bikes and no runners. The muscle on the front part of my shin was a bit tight around mile two but it loosened up after a while. After that nothing else was bothering me.

Today is my Friday which is pretty cool - we will be heading down to San Diego for Thanksgiving so I took tomorrow off.

Well probably no more updates until next week - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lifting Again and Yes, I am Sore

Sunday afternoon I headed up to the gym with Jen for a lift and steam (it's been working for a few days now!). We just did some light weights but I am still a bit sore this afternoon. It was nice to be lifting again, I forgot how much I liked it.

Monday am swim at 24 hr - 600m

This morning I headed up to the gym for a quick morning swim - I did 250 to warm up then did 250 of sprint drills where I just swam 50m hard then rested for 20 seconds. I could tell right away that I was sore from lifting yesterday, but I'm sure a lot of it was due to my slacking on the swimming lately. The drills did make the time go by a bit faster so I think I will do 5x50 w/ 20 seconds rest for a couple more weeks, then move up to 10x50, 15x50, etc. During my warm up I focused on keeping my stroke count low but that went to hell once I started the drills. The first couple were ok, but the count increased by about 5 per 25m after that. I averaged about :41 for the 50m "sprints".

Well, it's the first day on the new job so I'm going to wrap this up - I've got some reading to do (non-blog) but will get caught up on my online reading over the Thanksgiving weekend. Tomorrow is my Friday so this week was short and sweet!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Off Week in Review

Well the end of my "vacation" week has finally come - I start the new job on Monday. I'm really excited about starting in the new role, learning new things, and working at a big office again. This first week is going to be pretty relaxed - I have to be there at 9am on Monday for my new employee orientation then I work a full day Tuesday and the rest of the week I have off. Jen and I are heading down to San Diego again this year for Thanksgiving and we are both really excited. She is going to run a 5k on Turkey Day and I will do some golfing with my Dad on Friday while Jen and my Step-Mom do some early morning shopping. Following is a re-cap of my week off:

Monday - Ran 5mi w/ Jen - Total Time: 44:32 - AP: 8:54
Tuesday - Had lunch with some former co-workers from Fisher Investments
Wednesday - Went to LA w/ Jen - Watched Hockey at Patrick Malloy's on the Strand and had many, many drinks (2 for 1 happy hour) and dinner.
Thursday - Ran 6 mi w/ Jen on the Strand in Hermosa Beach - Total Time 53:29 - AP: 8:55 - Flew back to Bay
Friday - Slept in - Played golf at Callippe Preserve in Pleasanton w/ my buddy Chris (I shot at 45, he shot a 54 (9 holes)) followed by dinner and drinks at the Dublin Sports Bar
Saturday - Rode 16 miles w/ Jen while she ran on the Iron Horse - lounged around while she made Thanksgiving dinner (pre-Thanksgiving dinner since we will be in San Diego for actual Thanksgiving)
Sunday - TBD

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tale of the Two Part Ride and the Magical Multi-Directional Head Wind

Sunday Group Ride w/ Cyclepath and solo ride - 45mi total
Total Time: 2:31:19
Avg mph: 17.7

Sunday morning I went out with the Cyclepath group to ride mines road/Del Valle but about 9 miles into the ride I got a flat tire. I had a feeling it was coming because we were on a section of road that had several large rocks on the shoulder and I couldn't move over to ride into the road because there was someone riding next to me on the left side. I tried my best to avoid most of the rocks but ended up hitting a few. Sure enough, I eventually had the wobbly feeling of a flat and I pulled over to the side. I told the group not to wait for me since I figured I could have it changed in a few minutes and I knew the B group was coming up behind us so I could always join up with them then catch back up to A. I got the tire changed and was pumping it back up when I noticed a thumbnail sized split in my back tire. I put a dollar bill inside between the tire and tube but even then I was a bit nervous about riding further out away from town with the split in my tire. I called Jen and asked her to come out and pick me up because I didn't really know exactly where I was and like I said before, I was worried about the split in the tire.

As I rode to find an area to wait for Jen to arrive I came to a road that I knew would take me to the LBS so I called Jen and asked her to meet me there. I figured I could get the shop's opinion on the tire and at least have them check the pressure and add more air if necessary. When I arrived at the store they said I "could" keep riding on it but it would need to be replaced in the near future so I just decided to buy a new tire and have them put it on so I didn't have to worry about it coming apart on a future ride. Once they had the tire on Jen had arrived so I put the bike on the car and rode with her to the grocery store at which point I headed out on a solo ride.

For the first two or three miles the going was great then I turned onto Dougherty Road and hit a monster headwind. This continued for the next few miles as I rode along and even kept up as I turned from North to West on the road (it has a long bend in it where it changes directions). I finally came to a junction and turned North again and the wind was still in my face. I knew that in about a mile I would hit another junction and would be able to turn East and hopefully out of the wind, but noooooooooooo that was not the case. I made the turn and the wind changed with me. I rode into a headwind for the next 10 miles, even after making a couple more turns. Finally the wind ceased and I finished out the ride with no wind to speak of.

Overall it was a great ride and I'm glad that I just replaced the tire so I don't have to worry about it when I'm 20 miles out of town and don't have any cell reception.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Back in the Pool

Friday morning swim @ 24hr.
850m - 500, 100x2, 50x3, plus 50 side/sweet spot drill (so actually 900 total)
500: 8:52
100's: 1:31, 1:37 - 30 seconds rest between
50's: :42, :54, :50 - 15 seconds rest between

Man I slept good last night. I woke up feeling great, so great in fact that I wanted to curl back up and enjoy it for a few minutes longer. After considering that for a few I got up, grabbed my gym bag, and headed out the door. Once I was in the water I felt pretty good and worked on stroke count and high elbows. Of course once I started pushing hard my stroke count went to hell but hopefully that will improve as I start putting more time in.

Oh yeah - the steam room was back in business today too! I hit it up after my swim and was even a bit late for work because I stayed to get in a few extra minutes of steam. I figured that with the way things go there it might be broken again after today so I should get in as much as possible while I had the chance.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Last week of the old Routine, Upcoming Goals, and a bit of Rambling

Tuesday am loop solo - 4mi
Total Time: 29:12
AP: 7:18

Tuesday Morning I was up for the morning loop. It was a clear night on Monday so it was COLD. After the first quarter mile or so I was warmed up a bit and settled into a groove. I kept a nice pace which felt pretty even for the first 3.25 miles then picked up the pace at the end.

Wednesday am Spin at 24hr.

Wednesday I was up at they gym for the morning spin class. The bike I picked turned out to have a really crappy seat that I kept sliding forward on which was driving me up the wall. Finally after about 10 minutes of that I got off the bike and pulled the seat and seat post out and changed it with the bike next to mine. When I climbed back on it was sooooooooooooooooooo much better. After that I was able to focus on the spinning instead of the crap seat. I sat over to the side of the class for the first time and received direct air from the fan. This was nice because it dried the sweat off my arms and hat (I was still sweating up a storm but it didn't seem nearly as bad as in previous classes). The class has been pretty full for the last couple of weeks; there was probably about 35 people this time but I still have a good selection of bikes to choose from when I arrive so I don't really need to worry about getting there any earlier at this point.

Well this is the last week of my current job and with the change in jobs will come a change in my workout schedule. Really the biggest changes will be the length of my morning runs/swims and the addition of some evening weight lifting and possibly some swim workouts. I could potentially get in some morning rides while there is light for the next few weeks - but that puts me on the road w/ the morning commuters and their eating, shaving, make-up, etc. while they are driving routines so I don't really see myself getting out there on my bike.

I've decided to register for the two races I mentioned a couple posts ago - The NAPA Sprint Tri and The Vineman Showdown at Sundown (Sprint that starts at 5pm). Jen will join me for the Showdown but I will be doing NAPA solo. Last night we were talking about our plans for the upcoming season and the training that will go along with it. Tri will definitely be my priority this year but I have a buddy in Seattle that recently got into cycling and we have talked about doing a Century ride in Northern CA or Oregon in late August/September. I would also like to get in a couple of running races including a half marathon. There is a half marathon in San Francisco in Feb. that I might do and I think it would be nice to get it out of the way now so I don't have to think about doing one in the summer and using up training time focusing on the run. I'm not really sure what my goals are for the seasons so putting those down will definitely help in making a plan. Now that I have picked two spring/early summer races (they are in May and June) I need to find a couple more in July and August. In September we plan on going back down to San Diego for the Mission Bay Tri and there I hope to beat my time from this year (which hopefully will be pretty easy given my short unorganized training this summer).

Now what about specific race goals? I could say that I want to place in my age group at my races this year and that could be feasible, but you never know who is going to show up at a race so I think I should focus on me and my performance time wise, not place wise. Since I'm pretty new to it all I have been thinking quite a bit about what I can do performance wise this year and what are realistic time expectations. For the bike I think I can average 22/23 mph in races, I would like my swim time to improve to where I am averaging 1:30 per 100 and be able to hold that for 800-1000, and for the run I would like to get my AP down to a 6:15-6:30 range for at least 4 miles after coming off the bike (current 5k PR is 6:37 AP). If I can accomplish these goals I would consider it a great season even if I didn't place in my AG in a single race.

Once I get a training plan put together and get a few weeks into it I'm sure I will realize how practical these goals are but at this point I think I just needed to write it down so I have something to work with - if I'm setting my sights too high then lesson learned, if I'm setting them too low then I'll have more to work with the following year. Either way I will gain performance and knowledge which will help me no matter what.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Weekend Rides and an Increase in Training Time

Saturday Solo Ride - Sycamore loop - 25.5 mi.
Total Time: 1:23:32
Avg mph: 18.2

Saturday I rode the Crow Canyon to Sycamore loop solo and after warming up for the first few miles my legs didn't feel too heavy. Overall I felt a bit sluggish/tired on the hills in the beginning but toward the end of the ride my energy picked up and
I was able to maintain 22/23 mph for the last 9 miles or so. That afternoon we just relaxed around the house then went to Yoshi's, a jazz club in Oakland, to see Eddie Palmieri; it was a really great show.

Sunday Ride w/ Cyclepath Group - 30.2 mi. - Palomares Road loop - CLIMBING
Total Time: 1:47:40
Avg mph: 16.7
Top Speed: 45.2 mph

Sunday I once again headed out with the Cyclepath group and this time we went on a new route (new for me at least). The shop owner was driving a van and had a photographer along with him so hopefully in a couple of weeks I should have a couple of pictures to post. There should be at least one of me cruising in the pace line and one of me near death on the climb up Palomares. So yeah, the climb was tough. I like to think of myself as a pretty strong rider but that is really called into question on rides with climbs. This was the toughest climb I have ridden on so far (granted that is not saying much) and I was humbled at the end of the climb to learn that the first guy up (who was right in front of me when we turned onto Palomares) was 60 years old. Friggin awesome is all I can say about that. Anyway - back to the ride. In the beginning of the ride the van passed us and two guys took off to ride in the dead air behind it. I took off after them and sprinted hard to get there, standing up out of the saddle at one point and hitting 33 mph on a flat/slight uphill stretch. Once I caught up (maybe 60-90 seconds later) I was very glad to see the van had dropped them and they were down to about 26/27 mph; my legs were screaming at this point.

After the initial stretch we turned onto a two lane frontage road that made me a bit nervous even though there were probably 35 riders in the group. At one point this ass&@le in a green suburban flew past us swerving into the opposite lane honking his horn the whole time. Most people in this area are very tolerant of bikers but this guy (or girl) had some sort of personal issue with sharing the road. Thankfully he just looked like an ass and no one in our group was put in jeopardy. Once we turned onto Palomares the climb started right away and the group spread out. I found myself at the back of the A group with one other guy and we stuck together for the rest of the climb. On this road there were maybe one or two cars so I was able to focus on climbing without having to worry about traffic coming up behind me. The total climb was about 4 miles and I'm not sure how much elevation we gained but it sure seemed like a lot to me. Once we got to the top the rest of the A group was waiting and re-hydrating so I drank some water and ate a pack of my transformers gummy snacks.

After a few minutes of talking a couple of guys started heading down the hills and I wanted to go with them since I was not familiar with the road. I had been told that there was one big turn then I would be able to open it up and pick up as much speed as I wanted to. Right away I could tell we were going pretty fast but I didn't dare look down at my speedometer. Later that day I checked and saw that I hit 45.2 mph; next time I'm pretty sure I will break 50 mph now that I know where the big curve is. Once we got to the bottom of the descent I grouped up with a couple of guys that were trying to catch the leaders (a tandem and one other rider) but fell off after a few minutes because I couldn't hold the pace (30/31 mph on rolling hills). After a couple more rollers I caught up to them once they realized they couldn't catch the leaders and they dropped back too. On the last climb of the day I saw first hand why you should never cross wheels with the person in front of you. I was riding uphill talking with another guy when the wind picked up so I dropped back two riders and got in the pace line. Two minutes later I saw a guy two riders in front of me go down hard and fast. I swerved to avoid him then stopped to make sure he was ok; thankfully he didn't get hurt (other than some scrapes and cuts) and his bike was ok. He said that he had gotten too close to the rider in front of him and crossed tires which caused him to go down. Luckily it was on the uphill stretch and we were only going about 15 mph. Overall it was a great ride and even though the hills were hard I am looking forward to doing that ride again.

On a side note, I had a bagel and coffee before the ride and afterward I was surprised at how not run down I felt. I think the carbs/calories and caffeine might have helped me during and after the ride.


So I got a new job which is walking/biking distance from our house. This will give me about an hour of extra time in the morning and at night. I am excited about going back to work for a big company. For the past year I have been working at a small firm in San Francisco; I didn't find the work all that interesting and the challenges were few and far between. The thing I like about larger companies is that usually if you work hard and prove yourself there is plenty of opportunity to take on more responsibility and move up within the organization; this was something I did not see at my current firm. There were some positives to working at a smaller company but in the end the potential opportunities, better pay, and shorter commute made it an easy choice. I will have a few days off in between and I hope to go on a couple of longer group rides during the week; something I have never been able to do in the past (and won't be able to do once I start the new job).

Friday, November 2, 2007

I Can't Wait to Sleep In!

Haven't posted for a few days because I really didn't have too much to post. The morning workouts were, well, morning workouts. Here's a quick rundown of the stats for the last three days:

5am Spin Class at 24hr

Solo Run on morning loop - 4 mi
Total Time: 29:47
AP: 7:27

Swam 550m plus 50m floating drill
Total Time: 10:31

Spin class was pretty hard on Wed. since we did a lot of climbing drills (out of the saddle) with heavy tension. I took a few extra minutes after class to do some extra stretching and that seemed to help since my legs didn't bother me during the rest of the day. The next morning I was up for my run after getting eight hours of sleep for the first weeknight in a loooooooooooooooooong time. I was actually asleep at 9:15 and up at 5:20 so I felt pretty good. After starting out on my run it took me a few minutes to figure out why my legs felt heavy - ah yes, it was spinning yesterday. I kept a pretty quick pace during the run but didn't try to push it too hard and after the first mile my legs warmed up and felt a bit lighter, but just a bit. This morning I got up and drove to they gym to get a few laps in. Today I focused on my stroke count and was able to keep it around 14/15 for most laps. I worked on speed once I got the count down but was resting between each 50m so now I'll focus on staying fast while keeping a low count. Yes, yes - it's a work in progress but hopefully one that will help me next season. Ideally I would like to get down to 1:30/1:20 per 100m and be able to sustain that for at least 800m. We'll see how that goes :) I was looking forward to a nice steam after my swim, but as usual the steam room wasn't working - boooooooooooooooo! Oh yeah - I've also noticed that it always takes a stroke or two more to come back down the length of the pool. Jen said she has noticed that too - I find it very strange but at least I am not alone.

This weekend I'm planning on getting a ride in on both Saturday and Sunday. I'll go with the group again on Sunday so Saturday I may just get in 20ish easy miles.