Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My 2007 athletic goals.

I think setting some athletic goals for 2007 will be a good motivator in my training. The goals will keep me focused and on track for racing. I am glad to list my race calendar for this year and look forward to having fun times.

The highlights for this year will be running the Boston Marathon and completing my first Half Ironman Triathlon.

I began training for Boston on December 26th. Part of my training for Boston includes running in a half marathon race on March 4th. Other than the one race, all my training is focused on running Boston in under 3 hours.

After the marathon I will focus more on swimming and biking for the summer triathlon race season.

For those of you who have set some goals for this year I wish you great success. And remember to enjoy life to the fullest.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

What's to eat.

I've had family and friends ask me if I consider myself a vegetarian. They notice I don't eat much meat and eat weird things like hummus and tabouli on a whole wheat pita bread. My first thought is heck no and I wouldn't claim to be one even if I didn't eat meat.

My feeling of people who claim to be a vegetarian or a vegan guy or some other diet nut are like those who claim to be a Pentecostal and say all other Christians are far from the truth. To take an extreme stand of eating certain foods because you think it's better than the rest is to be exclusive. But, to be inclusive by eating many types of foods and to learn what is their nutritional value, is good. To eat in moderation and to enjoy variety is probably where I stand when it comes to eating healthy.

I don't eat meat regularly but when I visit my family who love to have stuff cabbage, a honey ham, and a baked turkey for dinner, I can't turn my nose up on it and say, I don't eat meat. Instead I'd take small pieces and enjoy it all with thanksgiving.

If I choose to eat something, whether it's meat or a box of pasta, I choose it for it's nutritional value and how it will fuel my body in a healthy way. And if you catch me eating some type of Mediterranean food, it's because I enjoy it's nutritional value and taste, not because I'm going vegetarian on you.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What was it like to run 20 miles?

Four weeks into my 16 week marathon training for Boston, I ran my first 20 mile run this past Saturday.
I think running 20 miles in 20 degrees with strong head winds wore on me physically and mentally. My face was frozen and legs were tired after 16 miles. I had to have positive mental thoughts expressed verbally in order to finish the run. I began to think what happens to you mentally when you're involved in a long run. I'm sure there are more writings to define the effects of mental stress from endurance activities but I like this little article I found online at Mens Health

Behind the Science - Does running by yourself hurt your brain?
Edited by: David Schipper
The study: Research at Princeton University suggests that exercising alone hinders neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells. Rats that lived alone and exercised alone showed a loss of brain cells; those that lived and exercised in a group showed an increase. Researchers speculate that having a partner blunts the cell die-off that typically occurs when the brain reacts to the stress of exercise.

A closer look: It was a rat experiment, and the lonely rodent runners had to live alone, too. "Running is not at fault here, but the living in isolation that can cause the brain to deteriorate is," says Charles Hillman, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois who has studied the effects of exercise on the human brain. When Hillman measured cognitive function in men who had exercised in isolation for 30 minutes, he found improvements in their brain function. "It's a definite sign that your neurogenesis is not being negatively affected," he says.

Our advice: Run alone or with somebody. Either way, it's smart.

OK, but my spirits did get a little pick-up when someone driving by gave me a friendly wave and toot from the horn. And when another lone runner, coming from the opposite direction, said words of encouragement for running early in the morning cold. At that point I realized I need someone to run long with. I feel much better when there is someone else I can share the pain with. But if I have to go at it alone, maybe it'll make me tougher and that my neurogenesis will not be negatively affected, I should be OK.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Fasttandem Challenge Completed.

I took the challenge this past Monday and can say these workouts from fasttandem is tough.
The setup included: my Quintana Roo Kilo on a Cyclops Fluid2 trainer, a water bottle filled with water and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and the boom box set to play Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium.

I began the workout with a short 6 minute warm up and then continued into the intervals of trying to spin at 100+ RPM at various gear ratios. To spin with the gears at 53 x 17 for four minutes requires a mind, heart, legs, and lungs of steel. I guess I don't have any of them just yet, because I averaged about 80 RPM during the 53 x 17 four minute interval. Maybe after completing more and more of these workouts I might be able to keep pace, I hope.

The Cateye bike computer reported the following:
Time 57:06,
Max speed 27.8 mph,
Average speed 18.9 mph,
Distance 18.0 miles.

Oh, after the challenge I ran barefoot on the treadmill for an easy 2 mile run.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fasttandem Challenge!

I will be spinning on my bike trainer doing workout number 21 from and would like to invite all those interested in spinning this workout with me sometime this week. If anyone would like to use this workout click on the link below and print it out and take it with you on your bike trainer. You will need a bike computer that measures cadence. My bike has a front chain wheel of 39 & 53. The rear free wheel has a 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25 gears so when the workout calls for a gear of 39 x 16 I use 39 x 17. This is the only modification I make.

The workouts are above my level of strength and endurance but the more I plow through them the stronger I feel I'm getting. Maybe after a few years I might be able to spin at 53-17 for 4 minutes at 100+ RPM. Warning! You have to have legs of steel to spin at 100+ RPM for a period of time.

I will leave this post up all this week where you can post your results here.
What I will record is total time, distance, max speed, and average speed. I find I get 18 miles in around the 1 hour workout and that's when I stop. I'll post my detailed results and experience by Wednesday or Thursday.
The Challenge.

Note: 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off means: The total time is 1 minute. In the 30 seconds off, you can rest a little and bring your RPM up to 100, so that you can start > 100 RPM on the next 30 seconds.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

17 miles then 20

I've completed 3 weeks of my 16 week marathon training for Boston. Today's run was an easy 17 miler which lasted 2:07:12. The weather wasn't too bad for the middle of January with light rain and cool 34 degrees. During these long runs I'm trying to figure out fuel and water intake. When I ran 13 miles 3 weeks ago with no fuel or water I ran out of gas and was determined to not let that happen again during my long runs. I now carry my fuel belt with water and use 2 packets of gels. I eat the gels every 60 minutes and sip water every 15 minutes. So far this is working for me.
Next week I'll be running a 20 miler.

I love the snow for the beautiful scenery in the parks, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, and snow tubing with the kids, but I don't like it on the roads for driving, or running in the parks. Running long on icy snow covered roads/trails is no fun so I'm enjoying these dry days during our mild winter. But, then we are in Cleveland and I'm sure we'll get our share of wintry weather soon enough.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Barefoot stuff!

I think I found another cool way to help strengthen my foot muscles. It's doing my weight training workouts, barefoot. I still enjoy running barefoot but have had to wear shoes while it's cold outside. I'll get some barefoot running on the treadmill during the next few months. But till then I'll enjoy my strength, yoga, pilates, and some cardio workouts barefoot.

My favorite off season workout this year is the Cyclo-Core DVD. When I first attempted the workout I was shocked at how hard the workout was. I not only could keep up the pace but I couldn't complete the repetitions. It wasn't until after about 2 to 3 days a week, for 3 weeks was I able to keep pace and complete the reps. Now, I can increase the weights and do all the exercises barefoot. And I get a good sweat going too.

I finally found a good deal on ebay for the Cyclo-Zen DVD workout and made the purchase. I'm looking forward to this workout. I'm sure it'll put me to the test but it'll also make me stronger.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The come back kid.

They say when you buy a house that you can expect to sacrifice up to five years of your time and money for renovation. And that is what happened to me. Just about all my spare time was for getting the house to the point of our liking, while my training and racing was put on hold.
After all the major projects were completed I was able to slowly build back to a workout routine.

To help stay in shape during 'renovation time' I began to swim and ride my bike a couple times a week. Little did I know that having fun swimming and riding would lead to my first triathlon in the summer of 2004. I remember telling myself to just go and have fun while trying to compete in my first triathlon and ever since I have been enjoying meeting fellow triathletes, training, and racing for triathlons. What I found, especially this year, was that I am stronger, weigh less and run faster than I have in many years. I am thankful for having the opportunities to train and race and will continue for as long as I can. If things change, which will, I'm sure, then I will deal with what needs to be done.

I am looking forward to 2007 with running in the Boston marathon and possibly racing my first Half Ironman triathlon in August.

Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year to all my friends here!