Monday, February 22, 2010

The Challenge Returns

During February we didn't complete a "Challenge" so to speak but just tried to have a more balanced approach to training. Things have been going well, but I have been inspired to do another challenge. Dean has been asking what we're doing for March, so I made an executive decision to make March the month of a Bike Challenge.

This is very straight forward, and I have added a little competitiveness to it as well by throwing in a "points" component. Heck I'll even have a prize. If you want in on this let me know ( the prize will be a prize pack with gifts from GU, Brooks, and maybe other cool things that I don't even know about yet (get the movie can even add a bonus point to your March total for responding with the right movie). Alright here is what the plan is. You have to bike every day in March for a minimum of 30 minutes. If you don't have a bike available (which is realistic due to life happening sometimes, you can substitute the bike with a run of the same amount of time). The point system is as follows:

1 point - 30-40 minutes
2 points - 41-60 minutes
3 points - 61-90 minutes
4 points - 91+ minutes
1 point - If a ride is a weekday computrainer ride @ Endure It
2 points - If a ride is a weekend computrainer ride @ Endure It
1 point - If you complete a 15+ minute transition run after your bike
If you want in on this and want the spreadsheet to keep track of your points let me know and I'll send it out to you. I'll repost this information in a few days for those of you on the fence about this...remember "you'll never regret a workout".
Reminder as well...there will be a "Triathlon 101" clinic held at the Lululemon store in Oak Brook on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. Come check it out!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Zensah Compression Shorts - Review & Endure It Computrainer

First of all, Ze'ev and the awesome crew at Zensah sent me out a pair of their compression shorts. I have been wearing their compression socks and leg sleeves for the past year. Thanks to Zensah I have trained and raced at a new level. I was excited to try out these new compression shorts and they did not disappoint! When I arrived home on Tuesday there was a box waiting for me, which I was stoked about. They couldn't have come at a more opportune time either, seeing as I had computrainer at Endure It on Wed. morning (more on that later). My class went well, and I had a tempo run on tap for the afternoon, so I knew I needed something to help keep the blood flowing to help aid in recovery. I put the Zensah compression shorts on and the fit was perfect! I felt a nice compression throughout my quads and hamstrings, yet I wasn't restricted in other regions...I'll just leave it at that. The nice thing was that I continued to feel the compression throughout the day, and my legs did indeed feel fresher than usual for my tempo run last night. The material used was extremely comfortable, and the functionality unparalleled. I'm am certain that without the aid of these my run would not have been as successful as it was. I ended up running a 6:33 pace for 6 miles, not too shabby after a tough computrainer in the morning.

Yesterday morning Ron had given me the opportunity to lead my first computrainer class at Endure It. 13 of the 14 spots were filled, and we definitely had a motivated group (as we always do). I mean you have to be motivated to be set up and ready to start a bike workout at 5:30 a.m. on a work day (unless you are Chad who only works when he feels like it). Ron even had me write the workout, and since I despise the typical "Step Up" warm up I came up with my own, which gradually built up power. Enough about the warm up...the main set was as follows:

6 x 5 minutes
- 2 minutes @ 90%
- 1 minute @ 110%
- 2 minutes @ AT
2 minute rest interval
I feel as if it was a solid set, and my numbers were good throughout. It was nice to share some things with people and to help them push themselves. I got a couple of nice comment and emails from people about class, which is reinforcing. Teaching every day I know what it's like to help people, it's just nice when you actually hear about the impact that you're having.
Training continues to go well. Jeff and Jenni Keil are in town for a few days hanging out with the crew at Endure It. Jeff and I went out for a run this morning around the neighborhood, a nice 7 miler with the dogs. We had a nice little pace going, and it's just nice to be able to train with people, as I usually run by myself. Thanks Jeff!
Masters swimming tonight, hopefully we'll hammer out another 4000 yards. I'm over 90 running miles this month Saturday afternoon I should be at 100+ awesome!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lululemon - Lifestyle Challenge

With the help of the awesome crew at Lululemon Oak Brook we are hosting a "Lifestyle Challenge" to try to get people involved in living a more active lifestyle (hence the name...). Living an active lifestyle can mean so many different things, to so many different people, and Lululemon completely embraces that! The first part of the Lifestyle Challenge is a "Triathlon 101" Clinic that we are going to hold at the store. For those of you that don't read all of my rambling I'll put it below here to maybe catch your eye:

What: Lifestyle Challenge - Triathlon 1o1 Clinic
Cost: FREE
Date: February 28th, 2010
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Who: Anyone and Everyone!
Well hopefully that got some attention of those "skimmers" out there, which I will admit I'm guilty of. If you're at all interested in living a more active lifestyle come on out and check out this clinic. This is just the first in a series of clinics that we'll host about various topics. Sure there will be a focus on the triathlon element, but there is so much more than just swimming, biking, and eating and sleeping. Not to worry this won't be a sit and listen while some guy (mainly me) tries to convince you that you should give tri's a try. There will be some of that, sorry no way around it, but you will have an opportunity to try a tri...well kind much as we can mimic one without having a pool, closed roads for a bike, and anywhere to really run. I do have a master plan to give you a taste of triathlon though.
Any questions you have feel free to shoot me an email and I'll be happy to answer them. We definitely look forward to a good turn out!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Long Run = Whoops

So this morning after a little breakfast and relaxation with the pups I decided to head out for my long run of the week. Since it's early in the season my long run isn't very long...only 11 miles. Last week I went out for 10 miles and had the dogs with me the whole time, seeing how they were dragging at the end of the run I didn't want to do that to them again. I decided that they are good for about 7 miles at a time. So today I went out with the intention of running 7 with them, dropping them off at home and then finished up with 4 more miles.

It was an awesome morning to run! A little cool, and windy but more importantly it was sunny. The time with the dogs was great, we were clipping along nicely and probably a little faster than I should have been going, but I just went with it. We made it back home and I dropped them off just to take off again. When I took off they were looking out of the front window barking and whining because they wanted to keep going. I felt bad but had to keep going. I didn't want them to crash out, and don't want them to hurt themselves by pushing them any further. I also wanted to push the pace a bit for the last 4 miles. Here is the breakdown of the mile splits today:

Mile 1 = 6:47
Mile 2 = 6:39
Mile 3 = 6:41
Mile 4 = 6:48
Mile 5 - 6:39
Mile 6 = 6:44
Mile 7 = 6:46
Mile 8 = 6:35
Mile 9 = 6:40
Mile 10 = 6:37
Mile 11 = 6:38
Overall it was a 6:41 pace, which is faster than last weeks 10 mile run, but my heart rate was also higher. I felt comfortable the whole time though so I'm ok with it I guess.
Exactly a year ago I ran 11 miles as well for my long run on this Sunday. I ran it with Noel and Wanner at Waterfall Glen and ended up holding a 7:53 pace. So a year later I'm running one minute and twelve seconds faster per mile...I can definitely appreciate that kind of improvement. I'm not sure what exactly to attribute that to because that's a significant improvement in a year. The cool thing too is that I have more time until my "A" race, and I'm already ahead of where I was last year. The key is to keep this going! Any motivation you want to throw my way I will take. Things are going well. Time to go swim!
Oh yea and I'll have a post of my "Chicago Winter Ice Bath" soon enough, probably tomorrow. I figure that I'll try to use what nature gives us for my ice bath. It's a bit chilly!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Lululemon "Fun" Run & A Flat Tire

Being an ambassador for Lululemon has been great. There are so many nice people who live a life of fitness and are genuinely happy and interested to talk to you and hear about your goals. This morning I headed down with Guy to the Lululemon store on Halstead in Chicago for a "fun" run that they were hosting. First of all the store there is ridiculously nice, it's a good thing that I left my wallet in the car because I could have been in some serious trouble! The plan was to head out for a group run to one of the other Lululemon stores which was on Rush Street. I'm not familiar with the city at all so I was just kind of sitting in for the start. Before long Guy and I decided to push up to the front of the pack of 60ish runners. We let our legs go a little and it felt great. There was food and drinks at the store on Rush Street, which had some super cool clothes as well...again it's a good thing I didn't have my wallet. After talking with some people for a short while Guy and I ran back to the store on Halstead (where the car was parked) and called it a day.

Prior to heading downtown I rode on the computrainer at Endure It. It was a solid session of 4 x 10 minutes at threshold or above. This was tough for multiple reasons...40 minutes at threshold is never easy, it's boring, and my training load has been pretty high lately so I'm not feeling as fresh as I am used to. Something interesting happened today though...I got a flat tire. Yep as I was cooling down my computrainer was skipping a bit, at first I thought that I was just pedaling too slow to cool down...then it kept happening. So I felt the rear wheel, yep flat. I'm just going to chalk it up to the massive power that I was putting out during the set...haha yea right.

It was a solid day of training with an hour and forty five minutes on the bike and a 6 mile run. Tomorrow has a long run, a trainer ride and some time in the pool, should be fun.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's Good to Know I'm Not Crazy...

Yesterday morning I was waking up early for computrainer class and woke up 1 minute before my alarm to things in the house shaking...mainly the dogs crate. I thought that maybe I had rolled over and kicked it or something, so I jumped out of bed. The crate was still shaking and making noise. I thought I must just be out of it and started to get ready for class. I went about my usual routine of eating oatmeal and watching sportscenter. It wasn't until I was almost to class that I heard on the radio that we had an earthquake...huh? Really? It was nice to know that I wasn't going crazy and wierd to have now experienced an earthquake.

Class was nothing special for me. My legs just weren't there and everything was a battle. I hit the numbers that I was supposed to hit, but it did not feel good. It was just one of those days I suppose, actually my run last night was the same way. I wanted to run "easy" and ended up running 5 miles at a 6:38 pace. I wouldn't call it "easy" from the effort I had to put forth, but the bottom line is that I wanted the run to be done! I pushed the second half just so I could get home. I thought about walking home, but I know I would have gotten cold and I had dinner in the oven.

I'm proud of dinner though...Bison Meatloaf, which had flaxseed, wheat germ, one egg and a half of an onion. It was really good, and super easy! You see if I had walked home I would have burnt my meatloaf...hahaha I'm finding humor in that sentence. I skipped the weights yesterday and did them today. I felt pretty good lifting today, still have to run and swim tonight. I'll probably do my longer run (~7 miles) tomorrow and do a quick 5 today. I'm going to take a different route today as I'm tired of my old out and back. The people on that route are getting to know me though as I'm getting a lot more waves and cheers as I run through the neighborhood...well they are probably cheering for the dogs and not me but I can take it how I want right? 3 day weekend coming up...I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A New Swim Highlight, For A Non-Swimmer

I wasn't sure how last night's masters class was going to go because I wasn't sure how my body would feel after the monster swim from Saturday. The warm up felt like crap! All we had was 400 yards where we went 50 free/50 non-free. This shouldn't have felt so hard and my lane mates were just pulling farther and farther away. I stayed the course hoping that things would come around. We had some more drills and kicking to do before we got to our mainset. Things seemed to get a little better, but I was worried about the main set. You see the main set was a 1000 yard time trial followed by 6 x 200 yards where the coach put my lane on a 3:15 interval, and she wanted us to get at least 15 seconds rest for each 200...meaning I would need to swim a 1:30 pace.

Anyway it was time to head off on the 1000 yard time trial. Last week I had a couple of 500's that took me 7:30...a 1:30 pace. I was happy with this seeing as that was fast for me. Considering I was going to be swimming twice that distance I decided that I would be happy swimming somewhere under 17 minutes. It was time to start...I started swimming and felt alright. I wanted to chill through the first 500 and really I did. Then things never seemed to get harder, I was sort of in the zone (for me ok...remember I'm not a great swimmer, but am working to get better). I only got lapped by Chad his 1000 was my 877 or something like that. I ended up swimming a 1:29 pace and finished in 14:58. I'm very happy with that as I can see that progress is being made. I then nailed the remainder of the main set and finished up the night with 4200 yards total. I have already swam more than my entire Ironman Coeur d' Alene build that I did in 2008. Crazy that in 5 weeks I swam more than an entire 9 months. I guess I know what I did wrong in that race. I have a solid goal for Arizona, and I will need to keep working at this in order to hit that goal. I still have 284 days until the race, and will need everyone of those to hit my swim goal...and really the bike and run goal as well.

I also had a solid weight session yesterday and will hit up the bike and it looks like a snowy run after school today. Thanks to Chad I have some yaktrax to wear in the snow today.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monster Swim Update

Well Saturday was the "Monster Swim" where people either did 50, 75, or 100 yards, 100 times, in 100 seconds. I decided to do the 75 x 100, which would be by far the longest I have ever swam at one time. There were about 70 people who participated, so that makes for a crowded pool. For the first 50 I was in a lane with Chad, and 5 others...3 of us on one side and 4 on the other. We took turns leading every 10, which worked out pretty well. Everything was going well until about #80 when I started coughing...and couldn't stop. Have you ever tried to swim while coughing? It's interesting to say the least. I was glad to be done, and really the wheels didn't fall off until the last 25 yards.

None of this is too bad condsidering Chad and I rode on the computrainer for almost 2 hours prior to the swim. I had a solid bike session, and things are progressing nicely on that front.

Saturday night my Dad and I went up to Madison to watch the Wisconsin vs Michigan hockey game which was played outside at Camp Randall. It was a good game, we only lasted 2 periods because my feet were absolutely frozen, but fun none the less. There were a ton of people there...pretty much the stadium was full minus the first 20 rows where they wouldn't let people couldn't see the ice from there anyway!

I had a solid 10 mile run yesterday with the dogs, they were tired when it was over. I tried to hold back the pace, and ran easy with a pace which ended up at 6:50...not too shabby! My HR was down too...154. I finished up with an easy 60 minutes on the trainer. It's a new week, time to keep things rolling!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Heart Rate is a Funky Thing...

So I have decided that I'm going to try to do a better job of collecting data from my workouts. Swimming all I have been able to compile is the total yardage...the workouts are usually so detailed that I need to check the sheet after every set, so yardage and important times are going to have to suffice. Biking I have been downloading my powertap data, which is solid, but when I'm home on my trainer I don't always want to know the power...some days you just need to go by feel, and if I was staring at my powertap data I wouldn't be going by feel. I need to throw on my HR monitor for my bike sessions though to keep track of that.

I have been keeping track of my HR on my runs this month and it's kind of funky! Here's the data:

February 1 - 5.16 miles - Average HR = 157 - Average Pace = 6:44
February 2 - 6 miles - Average HR = 159 - Average Pace = 6:37
February 4 - 7.25 miles - Average HR = 159 - Average Pace = 6:31

So how is it that going longer, and faster really doesn't have much of an impact on my HR? Yes I'm fairly fit, and I know there are many variables to affect HR, but I'm still confused a bit. Last year at this same time my pace was about a minute slower at these similar heart rates, so at least that is promising.

On tap for today is some strength work, an easy bike session and an easy 5 mile run with the dogs...definitely looking forward to it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A New Sponsor = Lululemon & A New Threshold

I have some incredible news. I've been talking with the awesome crew over at Lululemon in Oakbrook for the past couple of weeks about getting involved with the store. I'm stoked to announce that they are now a new sponsor and are doing some awesome things this year at the store. I'm going to be running a "Triathlon 101" clinic in a couple of weeks at the store and it is just the start of an ongoing series of clinics that will be held throughout the spring/summer months. Lululemon is an awesome store which has clothing for yoga/pilates/running. I can honestly say that the comfort is like nothing I have worn before! The staff is friendly and outgoing...stop in and check them out!

On the training front I also have some good news. We completed another threshold test yesterday, which is a 30 minute time trial effort where you are supposed to ride as hard as you can for 30 minutes and then workouts you complete are based off of that. Last year our threshold tests were only 20 minutes long, and let me tell you an extra 10 minutes is a long time! The last time we tested was in November and my test was 285 watts. I was happy with that, and was above my number from last year at the same time (it was 279 for a 20 minute test). I wasn't sure what to expect from this test, and had a plan as to how I wanted to attack it. My plan was to build up my effort slowly throughout the 30 start low and finish high. My goal going in was 293. I wasn't sure if it was going to happen or not, but I wanted to give it a go. As I started things were rolling along well and I was sticking to my plan, slowly increasing my wattage. When it was all said and done I ended up with a new threshold of 297. Last year at this same time for a 20 minute test I was at add 10 minutes to that test, I'm happy with where I ended up. I have a new number to shoot for in my head, It's going to stay in my head as motivation, but things are looking good right now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February...Time to Focus

February is a short month, and in all reality there is the potential to get outside to ride in that means it's time to step it up a notch. January was a solid month overall, mostly from the swim front in which I swam over 54,000 yards, the most I have ever done in a month. But I was not as solid on my bike or run. I did get some good time in on both and feel as if I have made progress, but it's time to get a little more focused. I started out the month yesterday with an easy 5 mile run with my dogs, my first strength session of the week, and a 4250 swim last night at masters where the main set was 4 x 500. The funny thing is that a 2,000 yard set may have been my whole workout a year ago...and now it was the main set. Since we're talking about "funny" things last night we had 5 x 100 IM work...hahahaha me doing the butterfly = pure comedy. I did do it, it wasn't pretty but I did it none the less.

Chad had put together a training schedule for February, so we're following that, and it gives us a great balance for everything, which is really nice. I'm loving the fact that I'm back in the weight room, I now remember why I used to do this daily! Today I have a 6 mile tempo run on tap followed by an hour on the trainer. The trainer ride will be really easy seeing as we are threshold testing tomorrow. I'm not sure what to expect tomorrow morning. I do have an idea of where I would like to be, but I'm not sure whether I will be or not...only time will tell. I'm going to need to put together a mix of songs that I can play on my i-pod to help take me through.