Thursday, June 11, 2009

So far, so good

In my last post, you probably noted that I was fighting off a bug - well, the bug is history, and so far it's been a pretty good week. On Tuesday, I had a bit of insomnia - the internal alarm went off at 3:30 in the morning, and for whatever reason I couldn't get back to sleep. So after surfing the internet on the BlackBerry while lounging in bed (and trying not to wake up my wife), I decided that I'd take advantage of the early Oregon daylight and get in a 5am run. I managed to crush a 4-miler - slightly under an 8:30 pace, making it one of my faster runs. And I love the fact that an early morning run really helps you get going for the day.

Wednesday was another good run. Sure, I slept in since I was sleep-deprived from the insomnia the day before, but I got in a nice 5 mile run at a reasonable 8:45ish pace. And when I synched my iPod after my run, I realized that I was now in first place in a Portland marathon training challenge that a friend put together. We'll see how long that lasts after he gets back from injury, though...

In other news, I finally got a new bike helmet. My friends at Performance Bike were having their anniversary sale, and between it and the 15% off coupon I had, I managed to get a new Giro Ionos for 30% off:
Sure, it would have been great to get one in the LiveSTRONG colors, but you can't beat 30% off on a quality product!

Speaking of quality products, I'm only a few chapters into it, but Spent by Frank Lipman looks to be a great read so far.
It delves into the fact that a ton of us are overstressed from various aspects of life, and as a result have no energy. That is me. In fact, in Chapter 1 there's a 13 item questionnaire that highlights the maladies that can come from modern life. Sadly, I scored in the 10+ category (but not all 13!). So far, it looks like it's a good combination of western medicine, naturopathy, Chinese medicine and various other holistic treatments. Yeah, it looks like there's probably some snake oil there too, so I'll let you know what I think of it once I finish.

Well, that's all for today... in between conference calls, so I've gotta run. Wish me luck getting in a run sometime this afternoon to keep the streak going!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A change in plans

As I mentioned in the last post, Saturday was supposed to be a long ride. I figured that I did a long ride two weekends ago, then a (sort of) long run one weekend ago, so Saturday should have been a long ride. Then I would transition to a three week cycle: long ride, brick, long run. Well, it looked like it would be a little more convenient to get in a pretty full day with the family to do a shorter workout than a 3-3.5 hour ride. So... time for my first brick of the season!

The brick started out ok... I had a pretty good ride. Sure, I tried going up Cooper Mountain, my arch nemesis which gains ~400 ft in ~3/4 mile (that's a ~10% grade!), and the score is now Cooper 3, Mike 0. However, at least this time I got up the first steep wall and actually had a little acceleration across the first false flat before the second steep incline. With some solid training this summer, I should be beating that thing sometime before the half-Ironman. I hope.

70 minutes after setting out, I got back to the house. Made a pretty quick transition - changed shirts (yep, I don't have a tri singlet yet, and I wasn't going to run in a long-sleeve thick cycling jersey), plopped on my shoes and iPod and headed out the door. And of course, my legs felt like I was running through wet cement. Or oatmeal. Or mud. Or maybe all three. My planned run was going to be a 4 mile run, but after a mile... ugh. My legs were starting to feel better, but the digestive system was warning me something was up. I cut it short, got home without any incidents, and called it a day. But when I checked out my Nike+ workout summary, I got a pretty good laugh:
What exactly is that? Was I really speeding up and slowing down that much? Is that what a bricked run looks like? Looks like I need to work on the bricks a bit more...

Right now, I'm still fighting off whatever bug came on during the run, but hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to get back to training and put in a couple of solid runs on Tues & Wed. Maybe even get in a mid-week ride? Would love to get to the point where there's only one rest day per week, because I need to put in some serious focus on burning some calories (and not putting them back on) if I ever want to even the score on Cooper Mountain!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A crazy & busy week

Hi all - sorry for not posting lately, but it's been a pretty busy week on the work front, as well as the challenge of getting in a few workouts. It started out last weekend with a planned long run on Saturday that definitely didn't go as planned. May in Oregon has a habit of fluctuating between summer-like weather and the rainy drizzle that stereotypes the Northwest. The weekend of May 30/31 decided that it was going to act like summer. Which is definitely nice if you want to get in yardwork or relaxing on the deck or spending some leisure time outside, but not if you want to get in a run. On top of that, I made the cardinal mistake of sleeping in - so by the time I got out there, it was already 57 degrees and rising fast.
The run was planned for 12.5 miles - run from home to the Nike campus, run the 2 mile trail at Nike, and run back. For those of you that haven't been to the Nike campus, it has an amazing loop that goes from woodchip trail through forest to pedestrian bridges across the entrances to the campus, to running by the parking garage that has murals of Michael Jordan, Alberto Salazar, Lance Armstrong and others. And the forested part of the trails are quite beautiful!
The run to Nike was pretty easy - but after 5 miles, I realized that it was starting to get just a bit hot outside. The woods on the Nike campus gave a bit of relief, but by the time I got back on open trails and road, I realized that not only was it hot out, but I had gone out waaayyy too fast (9:11). I probably could have kept up the pace had it not been already 70 degrees outside. So on this day, I let discretion be the better part of valor, and cut it short at 8 miles. And have I ever mentioned that running with a fanny pack is nice, because you can keep your cell phone in it and call your wife (who was running errands in the area) and get a nice air-conditioned ride back home?
On Sunday, since I had cut my long run short, I decided to go for a bike ride. Keep in mind, this would be the first ride with the new rear cassette - and it turned out to be a great purchase. While I didn't tackle any big hills during this ride, I was able to find a more comfortable range of cruising gears (53/21, 53/19) toward the middle of the rear cassette instead of crossing up from the large chainring to the larger gears on the rear. And I was able to take on some smaller hills and work on my climbing - I was able to get up and sustain a solid effort out of the saddle for a solid minute at a time. Sure, it's not a Lance Armstrong-type performance, but it's a good sign that I'm getting more comfortable on the bike.
Monday was a rest day, and Tuesday morning I put in an easy 4 mile run before work. Then the challenge started - a two-day trip to Arizona. Wednesday happened to be National Running Day, so I figured I would somehow squeeze in a run down in AZ. Well, after a pretty long day (up at 4:15am, hours of meetings and conference calls) and a fairly large dinner (PF Chang's is my Achilles heel when I travel down to Chandler), I wasn't quite ready to take on the 98 degree weather at 8pm. So National Running Day went on without me.
Thursday was also an adventure, but I missed out on most of it - we had the rare major thunderstorm in Oregon, and on the flight back, we ended up spending an extra 20 minutes circling the airport waiting for the storm to clear. And once we landed, it was drizzly and humid. It made for an interesting run, but I still managed to get my 3 miles in. All in all, I did manage to sandwich seven good miles (~8:45 pace) around National Running Day.
Today was a bit of a rest day, although I did get some "exercise" in... 9 holes of moderately decent (for me) golf. I shot a 51, which was only 2-3 shots of my best round of 9. The funny thing is that my friend Bryan and I got paired with another random pair. And one of those random folks turned out to be my in-law's across-the-street neighbor. It made for some fun discussions.
The plan for this weekend: long ride tomorrow, then maybe an easy run or swim on Sunday afternoon. I'm shooting for a 3 hour ride tomorrow, and it looks like I should be able to ride out to the lake where the swim leg and first half of the bike leg of my impending half-Ironman will be held. So I started doing some research on the tri course. I knew that the bike was supposed to be "challenging", and the new run course for this year was also a bit hilly, and here's what I found for the bike:

That doesn't look so bad! But I know that I've had problems with MapMyRide before, giving false elevations... so let's see what says:

Yes, the mileage is off by about 30% for some weird reason, but the elevation looks pretty accurate: total gain of 4000+ feet. And look at that isolated hill (which is really around mile 42)... nasty. Looks like it'll be a good idea to get some time on the roads out there before August 16th. I'm not planning to do that this weekend - just checking out the first few miles of the bike will be fine - but I've got two more long rides scheduled between now and the tri... better get out there and find out what I've gotten myself into. And right now, I don't even want to see the elevation gain and loss on the run.

I hope everyone out there has a good weekend and is able to get outside. I'll let you know how the long ride goes next time I check in...