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). 

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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. 

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On my next post I’ll explain this picture:

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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!

ANALYST GEEK OUT AHEAD:

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). 

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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.

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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. 

    FLY TO SEATTLE…

    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).