Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Treadmills Blow

I really don't like to run on a treadmill. It is sooo boring. The only comfort is the discomfort.

Yeah, I mean that.

I am comforted by the fact that my discomfort/pain on the treadmill is making me better/faster. Which is more than I can say for the discomfort/pain that I felt about 8 hours after I ate at Taco Bell the last time.

When I am on the treadmill it is all about the workout. There's no scenery to look at. No change in terrain. No weather to worry about. It is just me and the stupid machine.

Oh, and the heart rate monitor.

My adversary is the treadmill. The HRM is the moderator/negotiator.

I go too slow and the HRM is there to tell me I can give more to the treadmill. I push it too hard the HRM tells me to ease up on the machine. I hate the machine and I want to get the damn workout over as fast as possible, thus I tend to want to go just slow enough to ward off heart failure.

This is a common theme with me and the treadmill. If I wrote about this last year I apologize--but I am going ahead with this post anyway. I have a hard time just going slow and easy on the treadmill. I get bored and then I start to play with the speed I am running, usually going up higher and higher until I start to get way too close to my max HR. Really, this is probably a great way to train less-effectively. Especially for a longer distance triathlon. I should be doing a lot of base miles at a lower effort. But, that just plain sucks. I am pretty sure that both DTP and Fish do the base mile thing much better than I do. But, then they are both probably more patient than I am, too. And they will likely do better than I if I continue workouts like this one.

Tonight I went to the gym with the goal to only run 2 to 3 miles. Afterall, Monday was my first run in months and I didn't want to do much more tonight than just reset my muscles and loosen stuff up. Just an easy mid-week run before I run a longer distance later this week.

I did the first 2 miles at a nice slow pace that bounced from 5.5 to 5.7 mph. My HR was in the upper 130's to low 140's. But that made me itchy. Once I hit 2 miles I ramped it up. I went to 6.5mph for about a 1/2 mile but my HR wasn't moving much so this mental conversation went down...

"6.5 mph and still at 145-146 beats per minute? Let's see what the engine can do."

Right index finger furiously hits the "up" arrow to ramp up the speed to 7.0 mph.

At about the 2.7 mile mark (.2 miles after I ramped it from 6.5 to 7.0) I felt good. A little discomfort, but there was more pedal left to push I could tell.

"Man, I am fitter than I thighs feel it a bit, but my HR has barely crested 150..."

"Should I do it?"


My right index finger even more furiously than before hits the "up" arrow on the treadmill speed to bring it all the way to 8.0 mph.

I realize that this is probably pretty stupid.

My second run in months and I am running at around a 7:45/mile pace.

I worry about my knees which initially tonight had some slight pain, but which has since gone away.

I worry about where my HR will top out at and if I am wiping away any of the good I did running for 2 miles at a nice and easy pace.

But I don't care enough to back off the throttle because my HR never got above 164 and I am feeling good about that.

At 3.6 miles I back off because I have run more than I wanted to--my common sense finally managed to catch up. Well, that and the fact that I had become bored again since the thrill was gone. I dipped to 6.5 until I hit 3.8 mile mark and then stretch and head home.

The fact is that the engine is in pretty good shape considering where I was last year. I think that the Voodoo singlespeed has done me a great service so far. Otherwise there is no way I could do what I did. My running muscles need some work. My knees aren't used to the pounding so I need to probably take it slower than I am. But, crap considering I don't feel like I am in good shape--I am in pretty good shape. Now if I could just lose another 15 pounds all would be well.

Oh, and if someone could do my swim in the 70.3 for me, that would be great too.

Infatuated with myself picture:

I found this pic of me posted on the net from the Villebois Cross Crusade Race back in early October. Back when I still was shaving my legs. Here is the link to the site.

Packfodder watch: It has now been 15 days since was killed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Running Ain't So Bad--Tri Training Begins

Today was my first run in at least 3 months, maybe 4. I was a little wary about what it would feel like. Bridget asked how long I was going to go out for, "An hour?" she asked.

I shook me head. I was just going to play it by ear, but there was no way that my first run in such a long time was going to be an hour long. I don't hate myself that much. Besides, I still have to ride to work this week.

First, I headed out around a 1.2 mile loop around my neighborhood. I felt decent. The first hill was a little harder than I expected though. Instead of turning back to home I continued onward to a nearby school that has an outdoor track. The track is a little over a 1/2 mile from home. I started timing my half mile times once at the track. 5:07, then 4:53 and finally a 4:50. My heart rate was a little high during those times, but I didn't feel like I was dying. It also wasn't much more effort than what I had been I felt pretty good about that too. I ran a lap and a half and then headed back home. Roughly 4 miles total in about 43 minutes. Taking into account that other than the time at the track it was a hilly run, I feel good. My thighs feel a little tight tonight, which means that it will hurt to get out of bed tomorrow, but it could be worse.

I am pretty sure that if I had to do a 10K right now I would be able to hold sub 10 minute miles times on a fairly flat course. This is a great place to start my training for this year's triathlons. Much better than last year as I recollect.

Assuming that there will still be a spot available at the Ironman 70.3 in Boise this June I think I will do fine on the run if I can get a good training regimen going. Whether I can beat Fish or DTP is questionable. But then, that is not really the goal. I just want to do well with regard to what I am capable of, as in better than last year. If those yahoos beat me then so beat it. I am not overly concerned. I am not concerned because I have put this whole triathlon thing into its proper place in my life. I do them because they help to keep me fit, not because I enjoy them or because I need to beat such-and-such to validate myself.

No, I seek out my validation on the cyclocross courses. I get totally bummed out when I don't do as well as I envision. If I don't drown during the swim, and finish the bike in the top 1/3 and run the 13.1 miles without stopping all is well. Where I finish is secondary.

At least that is what I tell myself at dawn of this training season....

PACKFODDER WATCH: Days since blog was mercilessly killed, 13.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Miscellaneous Stuff


I am going to give a RCMT Blog-Slap to Packfodder Jim. I have been meaning to do this for awhile but haven't gotten around to it until now.

I went to his blog a couple of weeks ago, which is still linked on this blog, only to find this:

Jim, I know I have complained to you via email and in-person about you scrubbing your blog, but since you persist on not persisting on your blog I am giving you the first ever RCMT Blog-slap. It is sort of like a bitch-slap, but in without the bitch or really even the slap.

I liked your blog. Even if you no longer wanted to maintain it, you still had some funny stuff on there. For instance, I can longer refer to your website for the post that had the guy that shaved his butt crack. That alone was worth the price of admission....

Anyway. It had value and even if you only post infrequently from here on, it is still worthwhile, ATMO.


I love the Ask Mr. Biggs Podcast. It is also available on iTunes for free in the podcast section.

If you like The Office TV show, you will probably enjoy this postcast. There is a new one up every month or so.

The premise is this: find calls made to real call-in radio show and edit them into a semi-scripted show for comedic effect.

I started with the first podcast and worked my way toward the more recent ones. Just finished with #14....yeah, that one was hilarious. It may take an episode or two get what the schtick is, but it is a great show and I have been listening to them on my iPod in bed before I go to sleep. I have made the bed jiggle with my giggling a few times.

And Finally: Singlespeeding Update

Singlespeed commuting has been going better. My legs are definitely getting stronger. My back feels a bit better. I need to get running though. It has been hard to find the time though. But at least I feel I am getting back to where I was fitness-wise around the beginning of last cross season.

Friday, January 16, 2009

4th Consecutive Day Commuting on the SS

I have commuted 4 consecutive days previously to work by bike. But until today I had never done so on a singlespeed. Yeah it hurts. Actually, it really only hurts bad on the way home when I have to climb back up a few hills near home. Hate those hills.

My gearing on the Voodoo singlespeed is 42 x 16. This is great on Day One and I had tons of power and spring in my pedalling. It hurts quite a bit climbing up the last mile or so to the house on Day Two. Day Three I decided to take a detour home that added an extra mile or so to my ride just so that I can avoid crying out in pain while climbing up the last couple of hills on my normal route ('cause there is no way I would get off the bike to get up those hills). Day Four is best described as the ride when my legs felt like they had been been Frankenstein's, because they were pretty dead. They had no "umph" in them to speak of. I took the same elongated route home but it still was miserable at times.

But I am going to get stronger. I already am. I could not have done four days in a row on the singlespeed a few weeks ago. And tomorrow I go for five. Luckily, I doubt it will feel any worse than today.

I am going to keep killin' it out there in the near freezing temps so that once the weather turns nicer, I will be better shape than in years past. I am grateful that the weather here stays above freezing for the most part. When we lived in Utah my lungs had a hard time with long workouts in the frigid winter air. This is much better in comparison. Still, riding home when it is windy and 33 degrees is a little rough.

I need to mix in some runs and swims into my training. For now, I like where I am at...except I need to lose my holiday weight gain. It would be really great if I were still in the 188 to 191 range instead of 195 to 197 range. That part sort of pisses me off. I have been back on the wagon again with the exception of the bit of Spam a couple of days ago and probably a few too many peanut butter sandwiches when I get done riding.

Oh, and the coolest part about the ride in to work today is that I rode the whole 12.5 miles there without dabbing or clicking out of my pedals once. There are 42 signals I pass on the way to work and I probably had around a third of them that caught me on a red light. I was able to track stand at those lights adequately, if not perfectly. It may be silly, but I was quite proud of myself today for that. I may be getting older, but I really feel like I am a better rider than ever.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Because Brianero asked for it, another Foodie Post.

Brianero likes my food posts, so here is something on the opposite end of the food spectrum.

Today was a banner day. It has to be the first time since moving to Portland that I cooked up a can of Spam. I sliced it and fried it up for some good breakfast eatin'. Spam and toast is what it was. I ran out of time before Ryan had to go to school to do Spam 'n eggs.

Bridget won't touch the stuff. The smell alone is something that she frowns upon. 3 year old Jack had no interest either. I feel pity for them. But Ryan, my Kindergartener, and I love it. He ate more today than I did. He ate it for breakfast and then he ate it for lunch. I bet he would have eaten it for dinner to if Bridget had let him.

The way I prefer my Spam is fried. I love how it gets all crispy on the outside. And if you cut it to just the right thickness and get the perfect ratio of crispy to juicy it is even better. The tastiness of properly fried Spam really just provides more support for my theory that proper preparation and cooking of any dead animal will result in the meat being crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. If it is good enough for the likes of El Goucho, Mr. Morten and even Colonel Sanders it is good enough for me.

And Spam....seriously I don't know why people don't like it. Spam has helped keep American strong during times of strife. Would we have been on the winning side of World War II without Spam? I don't know, but Spam was one of the main staples of our soldiers. If we could win World War II on a diet of Spam, it is good enough for me for the occassional breakfast. I support Spam and all of its salty chopped hammy/porkiness. Long live Spam!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Extremes: Disgusting Stuff and El Gaucho

I often get great ideas for a blog post on the middle of the night. I will think to myself that I am sure to remember what it was in the morning, only to forget it. Sometimes when I read others blogs I remember some of these former ideas. The only thing is I usually don't act on them because I don't like to appear to knock off someone's idea.

For instance, today I read Fish's blog regarding boogers. It was fairly disgusting. I have several grosser than gross stories too but I don't think I will reveal them here at this time. But, they sure are funny...well at least they are to me. And none of them have to do with ingesting semi-solidified snot, thankfully. Maybe mine are worse though. I will write down three things and leave it at that: College dorms, poop, toes. That event came shortly after another event that involved these three things: a plugged bathtub, around 30 college guys, and way too much Coke and Pepsi to drink. Yeah, gross stuff.

Anyway, on to other matters. Worst to first here my friends, enough of the base things. I am going to relate a tale of wonder. It is the tale of my visit to El Gaucho in Portland.

It was my father's-in-law and my brother's-in-law birthdays last week. The result was that the birthday dinner was going to be held at El Gaucho's in Portland. I had never been there. I had heard that the steaks were among the very best. I was very happy to be invited. As many of you know, we are pretty much on the very low end of the income spectrum, and so to be invited (and not have to pay a dime) was a happy thing. I mean, we didn't expect to be invited at all, it wasn't either of our birthdays after all.

It was a little nerve racking to leave 4 month old Colin at home with our niece, but the call of the prime beef was too strong. We arrived there and sat at the bar until our table was ready. I knew that the bill was going to be steep, so I resisted having anything other than water, while others had miscellaneous drinks. Soon our table was ready and we ordered. I had a salad with crab and shrimp. I expected perfection, but it was merely good. Bridget had the french onion soup and that was pretty amazing.

We waited for for the main course. I was having a 16 ounce New York cut. Cooked medium. They cook the meat over Kingsford charcoal. This is, personally, my favorite way to cook a steak. The waiter told us the temperature that steak is cooked over is 1500 degrees. Awesome. I was told to expect a nice crust with a juicy inside. Yeah. Juicy and crusty meat. You may not be excited reading those two words together to describe a steak, but it turned out to have been beyond my expectation.

The steak was rather large. It seemed like it was bigger than 16 ounces, but not big enough for my appetite at that point. I cut through the mantle and then through the soft molten core. I gently salted the slice and gently put it on my mouth...perfection. It really doesn't any better than the first bite. But it wasn't any worse either. I ate it all and thought I probably could have could have pounded the 24 ounce New York. Gluttony at its finest.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Long Layoff

It has been a bit since I have done much riding. Snow. More Snow. Christmas. Lots of family in town. Lots of other things going on. Basically way too many excuses and way too little motivation.

I did ride to work today. Man, the roads are still crap. Lots of gravel on the side of the road made riding sketchy at times with road tires. And then between a strong head wind and little riding for 3 weeks made it a harder commute than I had thought. I swear that that 16 tooth cog on the Voodoo got smaller. I felt like I was running a 14 instead. Geesh.

I also have not had the motivation to post much here. Nothing really to write about really. I could write how I don't have the funds to register for a triathlon that I have promised to enter. Or about how I have little motivation to do much training right now. But those are downer subjects. No one really wants to read that stuff.

I remember being in a funk last year at this time, too. Part of it is that the future is somewhat foggy--or certainly foggier than I would prefer. Professionally, I would like to get to a particular goal. But, I am uncertain of the route to get there. Very uncertain. But I need to get there sooner than later so that we can get out of the hole we are in. It would be nice to be able to pay on all of my school loans instead of deferring them. I have half of them that I can no longer defer which means this year is going to be really tight.

What I need is continual positive feedback. I need to figure out how to take my mental anxiety which at times paralyzing, and turn it into energy that propels me to succeed. If anyone out there has experience starting a solo law practice with practially nothing in the bank--please let me know. We will have about 4 to 5 thousand to get us going. Very little overhead, but my biggest worry is where to get clients. Seriously. Where to put the precious little money we will have to good use. I need to talk to some folks around here that have done it. No need to re-invent the wheel if someone else has some helpful hints.

Anyway, these are some of the things I am mulling over. Usually I mull them over to the point where I can't sleep. That is where my iPod comes in. I can usually fall asleep somewhat quickly if I am listening to one of several podcasts that I subscribe to. If it weren't for those podcasts I would have some serious bags under my eyes.

In happier news, we have a crew going to the Cyclocross Nationals in Bend, Oregon in December of 2009. My family is going, Packfodder Jim, his wife and daughter are coming, Dave/DTP has said he is in and Brianero may be there for a night too. A couple of others have been invited and there is still room for a couple (or even more if you don't mind sleeping bags). We are going to be staying at my in-laws' home in Black Butte Ranch. Four bedrooms plus a queen size hideabed means there is room for 10 if not more. I am thinking of making Dave/DTP sleep one of the two twin beds in the room that some of the kids will sleep in. Why? Because the thought of that makes me laugh. The hot tub will be stellar after each day of racing. Yep, if I can hold on to my sanity this year those 5 days, four nights in Black Butte should be a heck of a lot of fun.