Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008 and a bunch of other stuff about triathlon

ok – I get in so much trouble for not writing more.  I no longer have a commute to write this blog on, so I have to write it during Disney movies (watching Wall-E right now).  Christmas is over and I’m a BIG FAT COW.  I know this because Greta got me a new Ironman scale that is apparently right.  I’m 180.5 lbs and supposedly 20.5% FAT.  Thanks for that darling – I thought I was really making progress towards hitting 165lbs for New Orleans 70.3.  I did ride and run a lot this week – I got out for about 30+ miles of running (3x11.25 mile runs) and a good 120+ miles of riding.  I set a new record riding out to Pt. Reyes and back yesterday but only ate about 480 calories in 3 hours – I kept bonking the last hour and would die, eat some gel, ride 15 mins and then die again.  Today I ran with Marc Malott where we did a 20 min warm up (8 on the opener and 7:30s for the rest) and then did 40 mins of 7 to 7:20 pace and then the last 20 mins was 8-9 mins cool down.  It was a good run but my legs were pretty tired from the riding and from eating too much and of course too much wine.

Christmas was good – Piper got a bike and Sada got a roll-top desk.  I took the girls out for a ride but Piper wasn’t so keen on riding just yet – so she managed to drag her bike up and down the street like a donkey.  We’ll continue to work on this over the next 2 weeks since we won’t have a nanny and I’m left to run the circus.  This means I won’t be able to get out except at 6am for runs and on New Year’s Day for a long run and ride (Greta will be home then). 


The day after Christmas we went out to Muir Beach (which I ride by all of the time) for a short hike with the girls and Jack.  The weather was great and the waves were pretty spectacular.  Sada continues to prove that she’ll be a monster cross country runner one day as she raced up the side of the cliff and left us all behind. 


On my next post I’ll explain this picture:


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Beat Up By a Girl

I rode today – a Z2 easy 3 hour team ride with the ZteaM… team.  Except being Christmas week and something around 40 degrees (it’s ok cause it’s sunny) no one else showed up.  So since I always bring an iPod in case I get lonely or bored on a team ride – I figured we’d be off together.  Then I caught up with Alison Starnes who I sort of knew from some physio testing I’ve done at her employer Endurance Performance Training Center.  I knew she was a good ride because about a week ago I saw her name in Cyclingnews and read that she had moved into the pro ranks with Team Tibco.  Her ride was easy, my ride was easy and we both were headed in the same general area Pt Reyes.  Except her easy and my easy are not the same.  I always remember that when you’re a triathlete riding with a roadie and you hit a hill – running does NOT help you ride hills. 

It makes it sort of suck. 

My max watts were supposed to be 300, until we hit the climb – then it looked down and saw 358w.  I cried mercy and she agreed to ride easy-er.  Then Tom from the ZteaM showed up and she sped up.  I think my HR hit 172.  But I wasn’t going to get gapped by a girl, not even one under 25, or one who is SUPER talented and competitive.  But I did.  And she chatted the whole time.  She could offer 32 words for every one of my 2 – mostly ‘yeah yeah’.  Tom I think may have still been sleeping as he just spanked me too. 

imageAs we left southern Marin, it got cold and signs for ice were out.  Alison wore bike gloves, no fingers.  Hers were red but she didn’t want one of the two pair I had on – I asked at least 3 times.  It then got to 34 degrees.  She never complained – she’s probably of Belgian decent.  If I ever hear ANYONE complain on a ride about being cold….

I left Alison and Tom (really they left me) and began the 1.5 hour slink back to my home - because they were doing 3.5 hours and I REALLY needed to do 3 hours and a 30 min run.  I saw another ZteaM guy on the way back but he didn’t look very happy and he was going slow and since I needed to get home – I thought a 275W-300W interval from Nicasio to the top of the hill (I’m guessing it was about 3 miles) would help me get ahead of my desired schedule, or at least on track.

It went fine until I snapped a spoke on my Power Tap rear and there was no amount of opening of the brakes that would help ease the extra work it was going to take to overcome the rubbing.  So I just rode home at the same pace I’d normally go –except this wheel wouldn’t even spin around 1x.  So that sort of sucked but having Ozzy and my iPod helped me stay motivated and I got home in 2:59:51. 

EXCUSE: Last Sunday I ran REALLY hard on my long run and it’s still killing me – I also did this same exact ride but finished 7 mins faster, so I’m probably a bit still whacked from that.  I also keep trying out 95 Merlots as a recovery drink and it’s really not working.  Thank goodness for Jan 1. 

But Alison still is a genetic freak and will be doing some amazing things in her career in cycling.  I do appreciate NOT having to race against her and my ride only made me a little bit better – so thanks Alison!


Here’s a part of my ride – you’ll see the out and back – I’m getting spanking around 12 miles (the green is elevation) and 16 – but thank goodness I’m the one doing the spanking around mile 35 and 39 (red line is Heart Rate).  The 2nd graph is the same exact ride I did back in July without using a Power Tap. 

I rode almost 1 mph slower then – but with all of the coasting I did using HR as my target, my HR was 140 vs 150 avg (150 bpm was my HR today – my max is over 200bpm – so lots of extra work in the future on the top end). 
















Friday, December 19, 2008

Does that say “Gilmore”?

Why there aren’t more well funded women’s cycling teams I don’t know.  I mean… well… here are approximately 2,000 words as to why more dollars should flow to teams that may one day employ my daughters.  I know I took at least 2 more seconds to see what sponsors were on these kits that I ever have looking at who else the Quick Step boys are schlepping for.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Giving Experiences

I think this year I’m stuck – who needs another sweater or DVD player or even DVD?  At this point when people ask what do the girls want for Christmas – I respond with clothes or art supplies.  They have everything they want and they never see commercials on TV – so they don’t even know what they’re missing.  If I need something – it’s because I really NEED it – like a spare tube, or gel or ummm a new bike – I’ll just get it.  So I think from now on we’ll be trying to give experiences instead of ‘stuff’.  For instance, we’re flying Greta’s parents down instead of sending gifts.  For my family – which is bigger than Greta’s – we’re (CHRISTMAS SPOILER – STOP READING MOM) going to be renting a place over memorial weekend and flying out to Nantucket, MA.  Here we’ll stay at this place – it’s a home owned by my friend Hunter from whom we’re renting it from. 

  • 10 acre waterfront estate on Polpis Harbor
  • Swimming pool with pool house
  • Boat house, mooring, swim dock
  • Sports field (soccer, volley ball)
  • 7000 sq. ft. main house, 4 bedrooms / 7 bathrooms
  • 2000 sq. ft. 3 bedroom/2 bath guest cottage
  • Full lower level with theatre, gym, wine cellar, game room and bar
  • Integrated stereo system and 7 flat panel TV displays
  • Now isn’t a week with my entire family – sisters, brother’s in law, kids and nana a better present than a wool sweater for all?  The only drawback is that it rents for $25,000 a week.  It sleeps 15 and should be great – since we’re only 15 including little kids. 

    speaking of kids – here are two of my favorite videos that I’ve posted before:

    Happy Birthday – Sada doesn’t miss a lyric despite the beating.

    When you’re at Disney and you’re so excited that you can’t walk a straight line – you just HAVE to give the thumbs up!

    Monday, December 15, 2008

    Big Weekend

    It wasn’t an epic weekend – but it was big.  I rode Friday and Sat – getting in about 100 miles.  I rode my longest ride of the pre-season, a whole 3 hours, a distance I’ll continue to push for the rest of December.  My watts per kg are still up about .23 from 2 months ago and I rode at my highest avg  - besting my previous mark at this same effort by 30 mins. 

    P8170147In my Power Tap software I set 2 new records on this ride for 60 min and 120 min power – about 20w higher than last year.  Goals for this ride were to ride between 220 and 260 watts and ride hills in a big ring at 45-50 rpm – my avg HR was 150, which is my Z1.  It was windy and I still had a record speed for the ride.  There was a point on the ride where I looked down and I was doing 17.5 mph at 260 watts on a 2% downhill slope!  Normally I’d see 25mph.  With the hills on this ride I spent about 40 mins at 280+ watts!

    It also helps that I’ve dropped 5lbs since I last posted about being a tank.  I simply don’t eat much – except on rides and runs.  For instance, the other day I have a Lean1 shake from Nutrition 53 and then rode for 2 hours.  I came home and had a half cup of cottage cheese and the crust of my daughter’s sandwhich.  Do that for a few weeks and you’ll get light.  Not ideal for Jan/Feb and March as I build for New Orleans 70.3 – but it will get me in a better position to do well there and qualify for World’s 70.3.

    Yesterday (Sunday) I ran long and THAT was epic.  It was raining a little – so I grabbed a hat and baggie for my iPOD  - this was also the first run I’d do with a HRM since last racing season.  Z2 after a warm up in Z1 and 40 mins in put in an effort at Z3 for 15 mins (I’ll build the ‘effort’ part 5 min each week).  The warm up went well and it was lightly sprinkling – since I had only run with perceived effort for the past 2 months – running with the HRM pushed me a little.  Z1 means <158 HR which I don’t think I ever went above in the past 2 months except on the mtn runs. 

    The opening miles were all sub-8 miles even with a pee and gel stop.  I then moved into Z2 where I went into the 7 min mile zone and as I got close to the end of 40 mins – I moved into a pace with a HR of 168-171 (or Z4).  About that time I rounded the south end of Tiburon and it started to get REALLY windy and the rain went from a shower to a downpour.  A soaked to the bone type of downpour.  I stuck with the plan and finished up with a set of 6x20 strides (sort of a sprint) and stumbled home.   I had an avg pace over 45 seconds faster at this same time last year.  11.25 miles.

    So far so good!

    Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    $397 for a tire

    I got a flat on our rear tire of our SUV – it’s a 2001 BMW X5 4.4 with the ‘sport package’.  This I think just means it rides stiff and has some big tires. 

    I didn’t know it was flat and drove home on it – about 2 miles but that was enough to pretty much eat the sidewalls and make it un-repairable.  It has a full size spare – so I changed it and brought the damaged tire to the BMW dealer.  When I showed up with just a tire it confused them.  No one they said, had ever brought in just a tire.  They didn’t have a process for writing up a tire so they said, let’s just pretend to write up the car and just note there is only a tire – I had confounded their computer system since I suppose no one expected a BMW owner to fix their own tire (sort of). 

    The tire was a Michelin but instead of a 700x23, it’s a 285/45 R19.  The tire was $350 and a new valve stem was $4.97 and labor/taxes got me to almost $400.  So for the Christmas that we had planned on ‘keeping simple’ and not spending a ton on stuff we don’t really need, we’ve got a $500 dog and a $400 tire. 

    I also haven’t done any workouts since last Thursday which I think makes me a big fat loser. 

    Pass the egg nog please.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2008

    Sleeping in Seattle

    IMG_8690Since I work for Microsoft but live and work out of my home, I have to travel to Seattle/Redmond WA on a somewhat regular schedule – so I head there about every 3-4 weeks for 3 days at a time.  It makes for long days since I usually take the first flight out on day 1 (getting me up around 4:30am) and the last flight home on day 3 (getting me home around midnight).  I don’t bring my bike because it usually is raining or misting or showering or intermittent showering or light showers or experiencing heavy rain (these are just a few of the ways they will give the weather forecast there).  This means running and swimming.  I will swim on Thursday with a master’s group at my old pool where Rhae Shaw and Chris Tremonte swim – though they swim at reasonable hours whereas I choose the 6am class so I can still get in a 1 hour run after swimming – all before work!  I’d never consider swimming with Ben or Aaron given their near 100% probability that there will be some sort of gang-like throw down or confrontation (maybe it’s more like a gang dance off ala Michael Jackson’s Beat It video). 

    I still have been unable to string more than 2 swim workouts in per week – but 2 hours a week is still about 30%-50% more than I have swam in the past and not swimming with fins, a pull buoy, wetsuit (which Soda consistently spells ‘wetsuite’) or noodle (I’ve only thought about trying the swim noodle in a race) – I’m definitely improving there.  For December I should be able to make 3-4 sessions a week until the Holidays and then keep at it through January where I can then start balancing out the three sports a little more based on the 70.3 distance. 

    December 1st also brings about my focus on getting closer to an appropriate race weight of 163-165lbs.  Right now I’m around 174-176lbs which is awful to haul around on the bike and run.  I’m back to using mine and Courtenay’s favorite LEAN1 from Nutrition 53 (I hear they’ll also be launching a bar – Natural1 and a new product Flex1).  I’m using Lean 1 as a meal replacement on light workout days (like today’s 1 hour run) and as a snack on heavier days (Friday where I’ll ride 2 hours and run 1 hour).  Of course you’ll see me obsessing about my weight for the next 3 months – so no, you won’t go nary a week without hearing about my gigante  bum. 

    I also went to the store and didn’t return with Egg Nog, which was a first time for me – so bravo for that!  But I did get a 2% egg nog latte at SBUX, boo. 

    Above is a picture that I took from my Thanksgiving run of 10.25 miles that I did in Medford, OR – the crystal meth capital of the northwest.  I’ll have to post the Garmin download – the run was up 5 miles and down 5 miles – not ever flat once.  The run went from about 2,200-3,500 – it was cold, foggy and wet below and at about 3.5 miles up it was sunny, 50 and clear. 


    I’m now in Seattle where it’s cold, dark and rainy.  I’m also not sure in what culture is it ok to let your 2 year old kick the living crap out of the seat in front of them – but today I was in the seat of someone from that culture.  On the descent into Seattle the mom says ‘oh no, stop that’ – only 98 minutes late. 

    Our new puppy jack only took about 32 poops on the floor yesterday.  He did pee about 12 times which is good.  Thank goodness for carpet cleaners, hardwoods and already badly stained rental carpeting (the house is rented, not just the carpets). 

    Sunday, November 30, 2008

    Another New Baby

    So I’m walking down the street in Jacksonville OR – a small historical town in southern Oregon.  We pass by a few stores and in the window of one is a cage with 2 tiny little puppies.  The girls ran in to see them and the next thing I’m thinking is how can I stand to hear about how cute and perfect those puppies would have been.  


    See- so cute – they reminded me of watching Ben and Aaron play. 

    Fast forward a few minutes and here’s Jack coming how with us – apparently a well thought out life choice.  He’s a feisty 2lb ball of hair.  He is supposedly going to max out at 7lbs and could probably fit in a water bottle cage and he already comes when you call him.  He’s almost 2.5 months old.  Piper calls him Jacky or Jack Boy. 

    IMG_8710 IMG_8722
    IMG_8728 IMG_8736
    IMG_8726 IMG_8722

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    My New Baby: 2009 Specialized S-Works Transition

    Here it is.  It’s a lot of carbon and incredibly comfortable.  I won’t race with the Hydrotail and will have the Profile aero bottle on the front bars – but not much else will change on race day. 

    I’m also registered now for New Orleans 70.3, Vineman 70.3, Timberman 70.3 and will sign up for Wildflower LC.  I suspect I can go 2:20-25 and still run 1:30 or faster in 2009.  I should thank Greta and the girls for indulging me in this new ride.  It’s either this bike or a family trip to Disneyland, I hope the kids understand one day.  Then again, when I finished racing Timberman 70.3 this year and ran down the finish chute with Sada, it is one of the highlights of her short life – beating out meeting Cinderella and Ariel while eating fries.  With that said, I’m still selling my 2009 TT bike – I’ll let the frame + components + bars go for $1k.


    030 032 031

    My mom just called to tell me that she was in the grocery store parking lot and that a man was walking his goat in the lot.  This was almost 10 mins of conversation about the goat, why didn’t she just take a picture, what did I want for Christmas, etc… 


    Here’s the forecast for this week.  Luckily we’re spending thanksgiving out of this zip code and will be back on Saturday. 


    The kitties will be here with their kitty-sitter and I’m sure will be pretty peeved when we get home since they rely on our rear ends while we’re sleeping to keep them warm.  I get such dirty looks when I’m flipping over and there’s a cat or two on me.  We had a cat Scully who could actually surf a moving body as you flipped over and she’d never move from the warm spot – she’d sort of surf the wave of bed spread until it stopped. 


    Friday, November 21, 2008

    It’s a whale dressed as a penguin

    I sometimes call Sada on her 5 year old artwork – if she hurries or doesn’t try, it’s usually pretty messy.  The other day she drew something and told me it was a shark.  I said that it looked more like a poop and to try again – so she did.  She came back and still had some explaining to do – and that’s where she came up with the whale/penguin thing. 

    You probably thought that is how Ben described me to someone but no, I’m 176lbs and wear a M jersey.  I’ll get to 165 for New Orleans 70.3

    Below is a picture she did – it’s Sada, Piper and our Guinea Pig Elizabeth.  The pig is wearing a fairy costume which has wings (of course).  Because it was Halloween, Sada tossed a bat into the pig’s cage – you can see her water bottle on the side (the green thing), her food bowl and her sleeping area.  There’s also a ramp thing in the cage where we keep her treats.  So see, it’s simple. 


    The weather here has been amazing – high 70’s last week and low 60’s this week – but still sunny in between.  I’ve had a solid week of running and even swimming!  After having never swam more than 80 mins in 1 week – I’m now getting in 2 hours of master’s swim and hope to make 3 sessions, but between travel, work, family, etc… I still haven’t hit the magic 3 yet.  In case you wondered how easy you might have it with no kids or no spouse or no job – here’s the reality here:

    Next week:

    • Monday AM, bike 2 hours, swim PM 1 hour – work from 5am until 6pm or later.  Con call with Canada at 6am cause they’re 4 hours ahead and London right after.
    • Tuesday AM, bike 2 hours, swim PM 1 hour – work from 5am until 6pm or later. 
    • Wednesday: AM, drive to Thanksgiving, 6 hours north – run 45 mins
    • Thursday: you get the picture….

    This continues on until Sunday where we’re home and we put up our Christmas tree – which sometimes falls on our Anniversary, which is the 29th and this year it is 11 years.  I’m not sure how the time flies or how I’ve managed to keep Greta for so long but I’m lucky on that front!

    Try to get in 2.5-3 hours on the bike Sunday, ride 2 hours Monday, Swim. 

    Fly to Seattle on Tuesday AM, fit in 45 min run during the day.  Work, Run on Wednesday for an hour and then hit the 6am master’s swim with my old coach in Seattle, run 45 mins then work.  Fly home at 8:30, home at midnight.

    Not done yet….

    Ride Friday 2 hours, clean up house for Anniversary party on Saturday.  Run 1.5 hours Sat AM.  Work on house for party.  Party.

    Sunday, ride 3 hours, run 15 mins.

    Monday – master’s swim and recovery run.  Tuesday, pick friends up at airport – they’re visiting from Australia for a few days before they head East to NH for a few weeks. It goes like this – somehow getting in 14 hours a week of training until Christmas week where I’ll cut back to 10 hours before going back up.  Lots of base. 

    It’s all supposed to be easy but today and the other day Rudy just beat on me.  Don’t anger a Slovak by starting the ride going 23-25mph.  He said easy, I said easy, but 28mph on the flats and 350w on the hills didn’t feel like Z2.  

    Greta is running too.  Every day at 6 something AM.  She hasn’t missed a day at all.  She’s awesome.  I must be awesome too for inspiring her (I think I did).  Here’s a picture from a hike we did last weekend.  Sada is crushing it and is running up Ring Mtn with Greta chasing her down.  Luckily 5 year olds have short legs. 


    Monday, November 17, 2008

    2009 News

    Here’s the schedule for me right now:

    • April: New Orleans 70.3
    • May: Wildflower Long Course
    • July: VIneman 70.3
    • August: Timberman 70.3
    • November: 70.3 Worlds

    I’ll likely throw in a few of the fun ones I do in between: Sacramento International Sprint, UVAS and maybe one other.  I’d also like to find some 10k and maybe 1-2 half marathons to do as running is a big focus this season.  If you know of a local ‘must-do’ halves, let me know.

    I’ll be racing again for Z-teaM but will also be training and racing under the sponsorship of Under Armour – primarily focusing on their running line that they’re rolling out.  I’ll be in their running shoes and clothing and of course I have to thank Scott Fairchild for helping put that together for me. 

    image image

    Until things start getting more focused, I’m still enjoying a few of the ‘off-season’ highlights – which includes good wine.  This weekend we got up to Sonoma to visit a few of our usually wineries: Nicholson Ranch, Gun Bun and Valley of the Moon.  Until then, I’m swimming 2-3 hours a week, riding 6.5 and running about 4.  I’m also trying to fit in yoga for about 20 mins a day in the early morning.  I’ve definitely seen some good improvement in my hip and leg flexibility – but after a 2.5 hour ride up hills or at a decent constant power (I’m riding 220-270) – my legs get super tight.  My HR has been really low on the bike even at the 250w range and I’m barely in my Z2.  I’ve also improved my w/kg by .25 in just 4 weeks!  I’m sure that number might even be higher if I entered in my current weight – but I’m waiting a few more weeks to weigh myself officially and update my computers.


    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    The K-Swiss Keahou

    Since I’m a tank – I generally need supportive shoes, much like a healthy girl might need a girdle (I could use a K-Swiss branded Girdle too).  This weekend I decided to support my friends who are K-Swiss sponsored athletes (Ben, Aaron Scheidies and Chris Lieto).  I got a pair of the K-Swiss Keahou which they describe as a:

    “The Keahou is a lightweight neutral running shoe for serious runners. It features Superfom cushioning and a Guideglide construction for a stable and smooth heel-to-toe transition”

    Some first impressions were how nice they fit – I’ve never worn them with socks and they feel really nice.  No issues with seams or odd pressure points.  They’re also REALLY cushion-y.  I honestly have never put on a shoe that felt this cushy – the Brooks I run in feel like 2 pieces of cold, hard steak.  I got them out for a run today and they were delightful.  My first thoughts were about how good they felt but also how light and great they provided road feel.  I didn’t feel lumps and bumps – but I felt when I was striking correctly and when I wasn’t.  Naturally I wasn’t born a mid-foot striker but have worked on good running form and these shoes really helped give me that feedback.  I throw down some really easy miles at about a 7:25 avg. pace which included about 600 feet of climbing. 

    I’ll continue to use these on some of my trail runs with hard pack where I don’t need a ton of support but I do need quick feel and cushioning.  I’d definitely consider putting these on for a 70.3 run or even a 10k or half marathon – they’re light! 

    Check these puppies out.

    Lorpeedo ranking: 4.5 ‘peedos’.

    PS – I’d like to say I have an excuse why the ankle in this picture looks cankley – but I don’t.  gosh. 


    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Treasure Island Triathlon

    On Saturday I went down to see The Ben, Chris Tremonte and Brian Fleischmann race.  In tow were my 3 ladies who despite vowing to never watch another triathlon decided to make it a family outing.  This year there was a swim which made it a better race for Ben and without any rain it was going to be an honest race. 

    IMG_8412 Here’s Saturday morning from our place – a bit foggy on the Oakland side but it looked like we would see blue skies. IMG_8420
    The ladies were armed with their new Disney Princess lunchboxes.
    IMG_8416 It’s serious business laying out the lunches. IMG_8426 I was really there. 
    So handsome, so lean and so K-Swiss!  Ben in the flesh.
    IMG_8413 Since I couldn’t find Chris Tremonte I found his sweet new bike.  It’s even clean!
    He wasn’t kidding about these when he blogged.  
    Could Piper have looked more bored?  Probably not.
    The men’s field in the pre-race corral. 
    IMG_8429 I’m willing to put money on that arm being Ben’s.
    Ben Collins blog guest writer Brandon Basso.
    Marin tri-speedster Kelly Dunleavy.  
    IMG_8443 Brian Fleischmann running strong here. IMG_8444
    Ben looking at the fool yelling with a cowbell and camera.  Go Ben go!
    Massive arms.
    IMG_8446 Jillian Petersen runs so fast I could only catch her after she passed by. 
    IMG_8448 Matt Reed is big but not as fast as Victor was.  Matt has had a long and solid year.  IMG_8449
    Victor Plata – race winner.

    Here are a few videos I made during the race.

    Here’s the swim finish:

    Here’s Ben Collins leaning some pretty solid triathletes on the bike:


    Thursday, November 6, 2008


    The other day this was on my front porch


    And inside was this little beauty:


    It’s a 2009 Specialized Transition w/Dura Ace and Carbon CX15 Profile bars.  I got it out yesterday for about 35 miles and it’s incredibly comfortable with very little road vibration and I handled all of the fast downhills (35+mph) easily and with significantly more confidence than I normally had.  I made a few tweaks to the fit but seems to be just right (except for the 23 in the back).  I’ll have to get the new 4 spoke carbon wheel and my disc wheel on here to show what it will look like on race day.  Borat says ‘very niiiiihse’.