Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tyranena / Jingle Bell

Couple of weeks ago we received a mailer for the Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell run/walk. This seemed like a great first event to kick off my ironman quest so I put it on the mental calendar. It's appropriate because I actually have arthritis, and it's only 5k or 10k.

Then this weekend while parked on the couch I came across the Tyranena Beer Run. This seems much more my speed. Run (likely pronounced walk), drink beer, and eat lasagna. What more could one ask for? They have 1/6 keg (marathon) and 1/2 keg distances. This would definitely be a 1/6 keg (4.37 miles) for me. If I attempted the 1/2 I'd be worried they would run out of beer/food by the time I finished.

Let me know if you want to partake in either with me. I think Tyranena is on Nov. 10 and Jingle is on Dec. 8.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I can't for the life of me figure out why anybody would decide to head into the field of urology. Honestly, if anybody has any insight, I'd love to hear it. Probably not the type of profession where you come home and talk about your day over the dinner table. Reminds me of a movie quote....

"Dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick"

"That's a lot of dicks"

I'm sure there is more to the profession than what I've experienced, but I can't imagine anything in it being all that appealing. Of course, I work at the landfill, who am I to judge.

With the help of ice and some codeine infused tylenol I feel a little better. Earlier I felt as if I had been kicked square in the groin. And not your average 3-year old girl kick to the groin, more in the league of a Brandi Chastain or Ryan Longwell kick to the groin. I don't anticipate getting off the couch for at least the next day, so despite a lack of actual training, you may find me rambling on about one topic or another here.

Oh, and although they are probably fine, if you're coming over for dinner in the near future, I wouldn't eat the peas.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


For whatever reason I've lacked a little motivation lately. Sunday I went for a short ride, but yesterday I blew off my alarm clock in the morning, then decided to lay on my butt last night. Bad timing, especially considering my forced 7-10 day layoff starting thursday afternoon. We don't need to get into that here.

Today was a different story, not exactly planned, but it just worked out that way. Started with a noon swim up at MG. Unfortunately 25 minutes into it the fire alarms went off. I was told to get out of the pool, was allowed to grab a shirt, and then ushered outside, where I sat for the next 20 minutes. It was reasonably nice, but still cold when you're wet. Apparently there was a fire in the art room. Must have been paint with gasoline day.

Turned into a very nice afternoon, so after getting home from work I went out on the bike. Nice ride, 16+ miles. Heading down the river trail I almost hit a deer, when I turned my head back forward from the first I realized there was a second running next to me. On my ride Sunday, 8 or 9 turkeys were standing on the shoulder of Skyline Drive directly in front of me. I didn't really move over, and they weren't too concerned about getting out of my way. It's little things like this, and chasing the ducks and geese off the Virgin Lake trail, that make riding outdoors so much more interesting than sitting on a stationary in the basement.

According to my log, it had been 9 days since I've walked the dog, so after a quick dinner G and I headed down to PT conferences, dog rode along. Patrick is doing well, and dog and I took a round about walk home from school, including a trek up the river trail from town. 5+ miles later we made it home. Legs hurt now, I'm dreading the morning. But basically I finished a sprint distance triathlon today (with 4.5 and 1 hour transitions), so I feel pretty good about that.

Plan to get as much in tomorrow and thursday morning as possible, then it'll be the couch for a while. Not sure what to expect.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

First IM in the books

That's right, with this mornings ride, I've finished my first Ironman, at least the distance of one. Only took me about six weeks. In actual training time, just over 20 hours. Five swim workouts, 9 on the bike, and 7 walks to accumulate my first 140.6 miles. Swim took two plus hours too long, bike about one, and walking was pretty much right on pace. I think I'm ready, bring it on :) I'm actually quite surprised by the total time, thought it would be higher. It's somewhat encouraging.

Yesterday I went bike shopping. I hate shopping, even for something as cool as a new bike. Machinery Row was by far the most helpful shop I stopped at. Found a couple possible options, great end of season deals, but I'm not sold yet. I have a hard time pulling the trigger on purchases of this type. Took me forever to buy new golf clubs after I started looking, there's something so final about it.

Tonight it's back to the old mistress, poker. Perhaps if I talk to her real nice I can convince her to pay for this whole IM adventure. I haven't really figured it out yet, but the downside of this journey is definitely the cost. Bike, wetsuit, registration, shoes, clothes, etc. I'm guessing that when all is said and done, there could be a $2k to $3k bill attached. Time to start a new spreadsheet.

We got a live one!!

After carefully selecting the bait, setting the line out just so, and patiently waiting for almost two weeks now, I've finally gotten a bite, and happier I couldn't be. Josh, who I'm guessing was hip deep in a new batch of his own brew, has decided to join me in riding Chequamegon. Welcome to the nuthouse Josh.

Shortly after reading the news reality set in. Forty miles on a mountain bike, off the comfort of a paved road, is a long, long way. Time to start putting in some trail miles. Josh, we'll have to talk, perhaps over dinner, I'll cook.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Strange Happenings

Something strange happened at the pool today, I didn't want to get out. I started to feel at least a little bit at home in the water. I didn't swim any faster, any further, or have any more endurance, but I wasn't white knuckled during the drills either.

The drills you say? The book I bought, Triathlon Swimming Made Easy, has a series of drills (13 I think). The first five deal primarily with balance. I've tried 1-3. Simplified, they are something like this:
  1. Float on you back, hands to your side, gentle flutter kick.
  2. Same position, rotate body slightly so one arm, shoulder to hand, is out of the water. Keep eyes, head looking straight up.
  3. Same position as #2, but take lower arm and extend forward in front of head, slightly under the water's surface.

Tuesday I didn't get past #1, I floated on my back ok, but was extremely tense the whole time. I attempted to go into #2 position once, it didn't work out. Today was a different story, and I got into drill #2 and #3 without much issue. Three has the added benefit of keeping me from hitting my head on the wall, not that I'm ever moving that fast.

The first part of the swim was primarily drill #1, with an odd length of back or front stroke. After I figured out 2 and 3, I alternated between the three drills and more odd lengths of actual swimming. It was at this point I was actually almost having fun. I could see it, that little glimmer of hope, that tiny ray of light at the end of the tunnel. Some day I might actually be able to swim.

On a somewhat related note, I work down in Verona a lot, probably there 2-3 times a week for a couple of hours at a time. Figured I'd look at the Verona pool schedule, see if I could work in a swim there at lunch instead of at Monona Grove. Did a search for "Verona Pool", didn't find much, searched for the high school, looked around there, turns out Verona doesn't have a pool.

Verona has a natitorium. This is a term that's new to me so I had to look it up. According to Merriam Webster, a natitorium is, are you ready for this, an indoor swimming pool. On principal, I will not be swimming in the Verona pool. It's a pool, call it a pool, reminds me a George Carlin skit on language, it wasn't this one, but it still gets my point across well. Why on earth do we need to add unnecessary complexity to common terms in the English language. Us simple folk don't get it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ride Report

I swam yesterday, but wasn't really in the mood to post about it. Instead I scrolled through some other triathlon blogs looking for inspiration. Some of the ones I thought I might follow are linked over to the left. Spandex King recently posted a rant from Jay Leno. I have to say, I completely agree with him. It's an interesting read, go there. Now!

Today I rode, except for the wind, weather was great. Seems the first couple of miles are always tough. I intentionally went out slow, but within a mile or so I fell into my typical pace. Swung through town then headed east towards Oregon. Seems like on every ride (and perhaps to a lesser extent run/walk) you get to this point where you're not sure which direction to go. This happened today at mile 10 or so. The wind had been at my back most of the way and I was feeling pretty good. I went left, the wrong way. I knew where I was and where I was going, I simply underestimated the extra distance, figured it might be an extra mile or two, turned out to be closer to 5 or 6. It also took me further west on a day when the wind was blowing hard from the east.

Big mistake, I didn't really feel it until about mile 16 or so, but when I did it hit me like, like a two ton heavy thing (quick, name that tune). Really struggled through the rest of the ride, part of it was the wind, but for the most part it was dead legs.

Overall I feel pretty good about the ride, much better than the swim yesterday. 20+ miles is my longest ride to date, and at 13 mph, it's also my fastest. Tomorrow will likely be a pool day if anything.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Impromptu Ride

I guess it's that time of the year when outdoor training (specifically on the bike) turns into an opportunistic endeavor rather than one that follows a schedule. This afternoon the weather was about as good as I thought it could get this time of year. So off I went.

Immediately I felt the after affects (effects?, I don't know, I'm tired) of yesterday's ride/walk. Sore legs, aching knees, etc. But it was nice, and after riding a portion of the river trail yesterday, I decided to ride the rest of it this afternoon. This led me downtown, then out of town to the south. Fourteen miles later I was back home. Legs loosened up and I felt pretty good most of the way.

I like riding off-road so much more than on the streets. No traffic, out in nature, twisting trails instead of arrow straight roads, what's not to like. If only I was fast enough to out run the mosquitoes. I wish we had more trails in the immediate area.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Back At It

Three days without any exercise and I feel like a total slug. Thursday was a planned day off, Friday I got stuck at work for two hours after I had wanted to leave and didn't get my planned workout in. Yesterday I worked in the morning and spent the afternoon working in the garage. Today the weather was crappy, but it didn't take much of a break in the clouds for me to get out on the bike. At least I don't have to worry about sunburn, this looks like it really hurts.

So after the ugly Packer game I headed out. As I walked out the door the dog just sat on the edge of the carpet staring at me. "Don't worry, I'll be back for you in a bit" was my response. Yes, I talk to my dog.

Plan was to bike, then walk. A lot of the info I've read emphasizes the need to get used to the run after biking, and doing the two together allows you to practice transitions, more on that later.

So with the heart rate monitor on I headed out. Patrick set it up to tell me if I'm out of the target heart rate zone. If you're high or low, every 5-seconds it plays a little message to tell you the error of your ways.

"Kick it in the ass, lazy bones."

"Are we working out or sleeping here."

"My grandpa works harder than this."

Actually it just beeps, but after a while it feels more like the above. It took about 5 minutes to get my heart up to the point where the thing stopped beeping. Then it beeped pretty much whenever I stopped pedaling. Hit the high alarm on a couple hills (the one by the hospital at the end of the bike path was a killer). Average heart rate was 132, and after about 11-miles I made it back home.

Transition time. Apparently transitions can be a big time drain, so they should be practiced. Here is mine.

  1. Remove helmet and gloves.
  2. Open garage door.
  3. Replace bike on new storage thing.
  4. Enter house, remove shoes.
  5. Turn on tv, check cowboys/patriots score.
  6. Watch cowboys score defensive touchdown.
  7. Remove bike clothes, search three rooms for walking clothes.
  8. Get dressed, search for shoes.
  9. Shoes on, find ipod, find headphones.
  10. Grab poop bag and leash.
  11. Drink some water, use the bathroom.
  12. Leave house, close garage door.

According to my handy watch, elapsed time was 10 minutes, 9 seconds. Apparently changing clothes on a regular basis for the last 30+ years has done some good. End of transition practice. I can live with 10-minutes.

Walked about 4-miles. Nothing much worth noting I was surprised at one point to look down and see my heart rate in the 120's (I had turned the alarm off). The average for the walk was 117, not far off the previous outing.

That's about it, probably get back in the pool this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Toy

I finished what I'm going to read of Be Iron Fit at this point so if anyone wants it let me know. It's good, and I'll probably use one of his training plans rather than the one previously mentioned from the web. I'll need it back down the line, but I got what I needed from it for now. It emphasized one point which I had read previously, the importance of training by heart rate and time rather than by feel and miles. Luckily, my brand new heart rate monitor came in today. It's a timex ironman something something something. About $60 from amazon.

Works great, if you can read an instruction manual printed on something the size of a matchbook and you have an advanced degree in, well, something I don't have a degree in. How they can cram so much crap in a watch with only five buttons I don't know. But with Patrick's help I got through set up, and having this new toy, I had to give it a try.

So with the kids safely in bed, dog and I went out for our evening walk. Nothing noteworthy about the walk, cold and windy but tolerable. I learned that walking isn't enough to get my heart rate into the "aerobic zone" or whatever it's called. First half of the walk I averaged 107 bpm, second half 112 (resting I'm around 50). From everything I've read, I need to be doing most of my IM training in the 120 - 150 range to get the most benefit. I was tempted to run a bit to see what my heart would do, but I really wasn't up to it. Very curious to see where I'm at on the bike. Hopefully friday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Odds and Ends

The two books I ordered came in today. First is beIRONfit by Don Fink. Second is Triathlon Swimming Made Easy by Terry Laughlin. This is the book that is supposed to teach you how to swim from square one. I will probably be through both books by the end of the weekend. If anyone wants to borrow, let me know.

Second, there's this comment button on the bottom of each of my posts, use it!!! I've gotten a lot of feedback, most of it second hand through G. Writing this blog isn't exactly work, but it's a lot easier when I know people are reading it. The way I see it, a bribe is in order, a two parter.

Back in early September I went up to hodag country to harvest wild rice. What's a hodag you ask? Good question, apparently in Rhinelander there is so little to keep people occupied they feel the need to make up mythical creatures and name town events after them. Anyway, the rice is back from the drying and cleaning place, and we have a lot of it. So to all out there reading this, I'm willing to share the harvest with any that are willing to leave comment. Be funny, be critical, be supportive, be stupid, I don't care, but comment, and the bounty of hodag country will be yours as well.

Second I've added a "tentative race schedule". I'll actually make dinner (with or without wild rice) for the first person (and their family) who commits to joining me in a race, either on my schedule or an event of your choosing. I'm trying to keep training interesting and diverse, so events out of the ordinary will receive special consideration. I'm also looking for suggestions for events to fill out the schedule.

I think that's it. I need to go eat, again.

Work Commute

Last night I decided I would ride the bike home from work tonight. Seemed like a good idea, so I loaded bike in the truck this morning, got all my riding crap together and headed off to work. Trouble is, it got cold and windy today. Cold enough I thought riding home in shorts would be too much. So on my way back from Verona I stopped off at REI for some pants and a warmer top. Enter ubber dork.

I left with a pair of lined black tights and a fleece type top long enough to hopefully cover my ass. How much of a dork did I feel like. I got dressed in the parking lot at work, rode out a side entrance of the AEC parking lot, and hoped like hell I made it home before the wife and kids. To top it off, I kept my head down while in the vicinity of my old office hoping nobody would see me. But warm and comfortable I was.

Either the padding in the ass of these tights aren't as good as my shorts, or the longer ride took it's toll, but my ass is sore. Ride ended up being 19 miles, and I was wiped out at the end, pretty much crawled up even the smallest hills. Luckily, I never really went directly into the wind, and had it somewhat behind me most of the way. All that said, my average speed was (drum roll please) almost 13 mph. Definitely wind aided. Probably would have been an average speed of 6 or 7 mph if I had to do it the other way with that wind. Likely a shorter ride again tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, October 8, 2007


As in biathlon or duathlon, get your minds out of the gutter. Du-day didn't sound any better, so bi it is, was. That said, today was a dual "workout" day.

This morning I got up and walked just under 5-miles. Knees are still aching from last week, so I'm going to put off attempting to run for a while. Nothing really worth noting. Felt good to get out again.

This afternoon I squeezed in a 6-mile ride between work and picking up the kids. Windy as hell out, but I never really had to go straight into it, mostly road north/south, perpendicular to the wind. Despite my best efforts to keep a decent pace. I once again managed (any guesses) just 12 miles an hour on this short ride. Perhaps mountain bikes have a governor of sorts limiting their maximum speed. Or maybe it's just me.

On the bike note, we did stop and look at tri-bikes last week. The particular bike I'm looking for (Felt S32 or S22, whichever is the cheaper of the two) is not to be found in Madison. Milwaukee has several dealers. Going to look there next. I'm curious what differences I'll see between the mountain bike and the road bike. It's been at least 16 years since I've been on a road bike. Should be interesting.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cross Training

G and I had the last week off, and with the nice weather you'd think I would have put a few miles on the bike. But it wasn't to be. Instead I did a lot of cross training. I sided the shed. Not exactly high heart rate activity, but on my feet and outside in the sun all week, it felt like a workout.

With the exception of the garage door, I finished it this morning. It looks nice, and we even managed to move the canoe out and get the tiller, garden tractor, and wheelbarrow out of the garage and into the shed where they belong. With a little more work, we may even get a vehicle in the garage this winter!

Turned into a good recovery week if nothing else. Legs feel good, although the knees are sore from kneeling, climbing, and leaning on the ladder all week. Next week should be back to normal, if the weather holds I hope to get in a longer ride or two.