Sunday, October 29, 2006

Back to Basics part 2

The actual first "real" ride.

Well the build is completely done. I chose to go with the 52 front and at the insistence of the shopkeeper at the LBS a 19 tooth rear track cog. I originally wanted to go with a 52/16 but that was way to aggressive. The rims from last time were also changed out. I decided not to throw the Hed3's on for a winter trainer.

The front cranks are Shimano XT with a 52 big chainring. The rear cog is a Surly 19 tooth with NO freewheel.

Now for the first ride I wasn't sure what to expect for having never rode a fixed gear bike before. The aggressive gearing even at 19 was a little tough starting out from a dead stop. After momentum has started getting used to the pedals moving no matter what, took a few miles to get used to. Imagine being in the big ring in the front and almost the little ring in the rear and never being able to shift gears throughout the entire ride, not something one is used to. The hardest part for me was the "no freewheel" option there. I was going to hit a rather large bump in the road, so I pulled up a bit to "freewheel" and let the knees absorb the bump but wait, I do not have a freewheel. Well the cranks kept going, catapulting me up in the air holding on to the handlebars only. Since I was going over a bridge at the time, thank god there was a railing there or I would have been off the road completely. Slamming down on the seat on my tailbone, I grabbed the aerolever and pulled it for a stop to catch my breath. It freaked me out a little bit.

Other than the one "scare" the fixie was a little tougher than I thought. I did a 10 mile route in about 40 minutes. Not having the ability to "take a break" while riding will take a bit of getting used to. I will put in the time over the winter and in the spring the work should pay off. I will have stronger legs that are used to the demands of a full circle, powerful pedal stroke. Keep pedaling!!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Milestone in swim training with a little reflection

Saturday morning October 21, 2006.

This is the date I will not forget. This is the date that I went over 100,000 yards of swimming for the year. "
I am not a swimmer".
"I am still not a swimmer."

Well for the first time in my life I think I can say that I might be starting to become one. When I started swimming a few years ago I was out of shape from years of loafing and doing nothing really. I decided ,at the urging of my brother to "try a tri", I figured it looked easy and he always placed well so why not?
Easy was not the word of that day. My first tri consisted of a 500 yard pool swim, 13.1 mile bike followed by a 5k. Being an accomplished cyclist I figured I could breeze through the bike and just jog the remainder. 5k was nothing. Boy was I ready for a rude awakening!

The Swim - Having never trained really for a competitive swim I had no idea of what 500 yards was like nor did I really know how many laps it was. I figured a few, no problem. Fast forward to the swimming---->Total swim time was 11:38 and I was completely exhausted. It turned out to be 20 laps in the pool. Up to this point I had never done that before. At least that was a personal victory. I walked a bit in the pool till the HR came down and started swimming again. This was only after 10 laps. As I got to the wall I kept asking the person doing my timing for the swim
"am I done yet? This is killing me!"

After a few laughs I was told I was only at the halfway point, sorry.

The Bike - Finally I could go to what I thought was my strength. I hopped on the trusty new road bike and went. As I left I noticed a lot of the bikes. Some had the fancy rims, the aerobars and the Bento boxes filled with gels. I hopped on my trusty ride with just my inspirational IM Wisconsin bike jersey (I will do that dream someday, sooner that I think though)and the helmet which I forgot coming out of T1. Finished the ride in 48:56 and felt pretty good about my ride till I saw the actual time I did it in. I only averaged a measly 15.3 miles per hour! Oh well chalk that one up for room to improve!

The Run a.k.a "my personal deathmarch" - Wow I was not ready for this. Now I am supposed to run after that? I was an overweight hurting unit. Barely held together by whets left of me. During the deathmarch I had to walk a substantial portion of it. I got side stitches, the HR was absolutely through the roof and I was just spent. I managed to make it look like I ran the entire route by kicking it up for the last 200 yards, but boy did that take everything I had! I finished the run in 42:35. I was the happiest I think I ever was even with a showing of sub-standard numbers. I finished my first tri!

Where does this relate to the now? Well a 500 yard swim is now the warm-up for my swim workouts which typically go 2000-3000 yards total, the biking has now progressed to finishing a half IM bike with a little over a 3 hour split, and nor running a 5K in 24.00 and some change. I have proven to myself it can be done. All that needs to happen is the work to get there which with a family and work can sometimes be hard, but IT CAN BE DONE! There were many night of less sleep that I wanted to get up before the sunrise to get in that dreadfull 70 mile ride, many a cold freezing day in the winter to get in that 2 hour run and lastly many a 5:30 am swim call at the pool to get in those laps. Looking back it is all worth it seeing the progression I have made. I only hope I can improve upon it even more and get to the goal. The starting gun in Lake Monona in '08.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

New PR baby!

Local race called "Run the River" in Verona Wisconsin. I took the trusty ipod Nano with a kickin' 5K mix, Nike sensor, and my warm Craft gear at 8:05 am to the race site. I had to walk up the hills a few times due to ITBS kicking in again but still managed to pull off a PR of 29'47. But wait, it gets better it was a mismarked 5K which turned out to be over 6K for a total run of 3.84 miles in 29'47 for a pace of a 7'44 mile. This will probably never be duplicated. I guess the 5am speedwork the past few weeks really did help :)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Back to basics

I am giving up everything! Not quite what you think though. I am only giving up the freewheel. I am going back to basics. I want to experience training like a child again. Remember the days when you got on your bike (that Huffy single speed) and just go all day? You gotta remember it, be home when the streetlights come on?

Well this is what I want and will do over the off season without the restriction of the streetlights. See I live in the country and we have no streetlights out here :) What I am talking about is riding like a kid again.

I am almost finished with my fall project which will help me achieve this new dream. I took an old 1973 Takara steel road bike I got from some farmer who was cleaning his garage out. I stripped it down to a lightweight sleek machine. Cut the roadbars into bullhorns, added an aero lever brake, removed the derailers, rear brake, freewheel and small ring on the cranks and made a fixed gear training ride. Now a few of you might think I am crazy for putting a $1000 wheelset on a $12.59 bike. This is only temporary. I am having a wheelset built up for the "winter time."

Yes it is true I do only have $12.59 invested in this. The aero lever and brake cable and 1 innertube are the only things I have purchased. I still have the chain for $10.00 to buy and like I stated before, the new wheelset will add another $200. this will be a pretty built up fixie for not a lot of dollars. The majority of the parts were lying around the workshop from old bikes. Makes it part of the fun seeing what can be done with old stuff.

Fixed gear for training outdoors in the winter (or for the next 4 months). Well let me break it down for you what a fixed gear will help you with. If the bike is moving, you are pedaling. You stop pedaling you don't move. This will "retrain" my legs to increase my cadence (hopefully). If you ride five miles at 10 miles per hour, you pedaled for entire time consistently. This will dramaticly improve areobic capacity in the end. You will gain strength also because you only have one gear, no fancy granny gear ratios to "make it work for you". You pound out the hill and burn your quads!

I have to admit it but I am a bit scared about the winter months ahead. I have NEVER trained in the snow and ice of Wisconsin. Heck I have never bike trained when it was under 50F and I have only biked in the rain twice! This is challenge number one. Get over the mental part!

All the self talk like
"go inside on the trainer,
maybe tomorrow,
its too cold,
it looks like it might rain,
ect, ect, ect ....

When I succed in hitting the pavement in the yuck of January the first obstacle is overcome. Damn those demons!

I really want to go into this spring ready to hit the season totaly prepared instead of biking like crazy 2 months before the Half IM to post a dissapointing 3 hour bike split. Challenge on! Ride through the winter on the fixie while others are doing nothing and get that half IM split to a respectable 2:40.

Friday, October 06, 2006

If this tri thing doesn't work out....

Have you ever considered doing anything else if you know you have no chance of "winning it all?" at a race? why do it?? Well this goes back to making choices. I believe that this is the choice I am going to make to make myself happy. I know I will never "win it all" but it is always enjoyable trying to achieve it. If this tri thing doesn't work out maybe the world of competitive eating? Note the pic? This picture was taken at the Burger King in Waterloo Wisconsin which is 1 block from the Trek Bicycle plant. Go figure? Now there is a choice!!

To each their own

There are many choices in life to make. Some take the easy road, some take the long way and some just do nothing. If you ask my wife, I am a person that takes the most F'ed up way around things. To me it makes sense the way I do things. Every action is a consequence, a series of events that lead to an outcome. This can be good or bad. It is up to the individual to make it what they want with the tools thay are given. I always feel everything I do, I am doing it the best I can.

For example I did the Spirit of Racine '05 as my first half IM. I got myself so worked up wondering if I was able to do the swim in the "big lake" if my bike was properly set up, if I was ready even doubting my training, that I ended up getting sick from nerves on the course and becoming dehydrated. I let nerves take over and defeat me, not to mention I didn't stick to my plan.

Nerves = DNF for me.

Fast forward to Spirit of Racine '06. I knew going into the day I had the goal of just finishing and enjoying the experience. I put no pressure on myself, no expectations, just go out and enjoy what I put the time in to do. I put in the training and I know the distance was not a problem. Mark one up for proper preparation.

Relax = Finish and enjoy what I am doing.

I am going at training a bit different this off season. I am dropping the competitive angle of the training. I am taking the approach to do the distance and get faster at the distance but not beat myself up say if I don't beat last times workout numbers. Enjoy the time in what I am doing and do not obsess about completing in x:xx ammount of time. I will be ditching all the fancy equipment and getting back to basics.

Evening run anyone? Count me .....out :(

Well no run happened tonight. This shot was at 6:15pm wisconsin time. The evening sunlight is all but gone. No more after dinner runs in perfect conditions. That really is the moon rising above the horizon. Weather is changing to definately COLD! I am so a fair weather person. Give me 75F+ and above and that is perfect training weather. With this "change of season", change of workouts will also change. I am now going to the track at the local H.S. at 5:30am (which strangely looks the same as the evening shot) to get some last of the season speedwork for the last competitive 5K of the year. I already know the distance is nothing, now I need to get faster. There might be another half marathon in November (Tyranena Brewery's Half Barrel run)but more than likely the 10K option will win.

For the next few weeks swimming will be a focus. I want to hit some LSD in the pool. I am almost at the goal of 100K for the year. I skipped this past wednesday mornings swim due to a lighning storm that night. The goal will have to wait another week. Sunday looks like it might be the day since the Pack is no longer a focus.

Fall is here!!

Fall is Here! The trees are changing colors and now it is time for base building. Colder temps mean going long and slow. The long runs are going to be held at a HR that a conversation can easily be maintained. This is the time for the body to regenerate and rebuild. A solid base is the foundation for the entire next season. I really want to get ahead of the curve and build a rock solid base. Injury beware! I will be more ready this coming year than last.

Monday, October 02, 2006

State of the State

Day one:
200lbs at morning wake up. 5k run for the day. Need sleep but the Pack is playing tonight so sleep will have to wait.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

October 2, 2006 + future plans

October 2, 2006.....entry one
It is starting today. I was aiming to hop on the "dreadmill" for a bit. Well 5:30am came and went and I didn't get up. Workout missed :(
On a good note, I left work a few hours early to enjoy the 82F on an October afternoon. Wife asked if I was going for a run and she would join me. Why not???
Ran a 5k 30.01 after not having ran since the last reported self proclaimed worst run of my life. Felt great and she came in a few minutes after me. We then proceded to sign up for the "Run for the Rivers 5k" in Verona in 2 weeks (oct 14). I will be doing some well needed speedwork like 400's between now and then. Goal time sub 24. Long shot but hey something to aim for.