Thursday, April 30, 2009


April, well, it kind of sucked. That's what I had been thinking anyway. I've been composing this post in my head for a good week now. It's always started with that same opening thought. But now that it is over I look over everything, I'm thinking maybe it wasn't all that bad.

The bad, I didn't make any of my time/distance goals I set for myself at the beginning of the month. I missed way to many workouts, including a couple of the big ones. Can't keep doing that. Averaged roughly 10-hours a week, maybe a bit more.

Swimming is coming along, missed hitting the 30k mark in April by 600 yards. I did manage to break 10-minutes for a 500 twice, roughly two weeks apart. First time was 9:59:40. Sub-10 is sub-10, and yes I was wearing my watch. More recently I did it in 9:46. Yeah me! I also did a 11:40 earlier this week, so I'm not getting to excited about it.

The stroke clinic was well worth it. Picked up a couple of things to work on. Body position is ok, catch and pull are weak. Need to work on keeping the elbows up. Haven't swam enough since last Saturday to know what impact it will have long term.

Running is still going strong. Hoped to hit 100-miles for the month, missed it by less than 5. Average pace for the month, including the hellish 20k trail run from last week, 9:17. Double yeah me! There were a couple of individual 10-minute miles sprinkled in, but all my runs in total came in at sub-10. Last April my average pace was 10:35. Big improvement. Looking forward to running the Madison 1/2 marathon at the end of May.

I took the bike off the trainer early in the month and refused to put it back on when the weather turned shitty. As a result I actually rode about 60 miles less than last month, for a grand total of 240 miles. I did get a couple of good long rides in, one loop of the Ironman course earlier in the month, then last week I rode from Madison to Verona and up through Sauk to Devils Lake.

I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm going to have to pony up the dollars and get a proper bike fit. I'm still slower than dirt, actually quite a bit slower than last year at this time even though I have significantly more miles in. I monkeyed with the fit some this winter on the trainer, and now self doubt is really creeping in about everything fit related. I meant to call Chronometro today but totally forgot. If nothing else it will get rid of the mental games going on in my head, at least the fit related ones.

So May is upon us, I hope to start commuting to work by bike regularly. Looking forward to getting in the lakes and out of the pool. Can't forget to keep running. Last May I ran 11.7 miles, total, that can't happen again. Really getting the itch to race, but still nothing on the schedule in the immediate future. Madison 1/2 marathon and I think the first Aquathon of the year. That's it for May.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bear Tracks

Where to start, this morning I ran the Bear Trax 20K at Lapham Peak State Park. It was an inaugural event in memory of Nancy Sellars, an avid endurance athlete who was killed last year by a drunk driver.

Apparently Nancy liked to run on trails, really really hilly trails. And if you're not aware, it's been raining here for pretty much the last two days straight, including this morning leading up to the race. So on top of an insanely hilly course, we got to deal with mud and standing water wherever there happened to be a low spot. And there were a lot of them.

To help illustrate how tough the course was, my mile splits are posted below. I've never been accused of being able to run a consistent pace, but given a reasonable course, even I can do better than this.

Mile 1 - 9:42
Mile 2 - 9:27
Mile 3 - 10:20
Mile 4 - 10:42
Mile 5 - 9:08
Mile 6 - 10:21
Mile 7 - 11:29
Mile 8 - 9:08
Mile 9 - 9:25
Mile 10 - 12:29
Mile 11 - 10:38
Mile 12 - 10:32

The mud made going downhill almost as hard as going up. Less than two miles in I took a spill going down a hill. Not really sure how it happened, but my lower right leg took the brunt of it. Post race investigation only yielded a small scrape and a couple scratches, but I did feel some soreness for the rest of the race.

This would be the leg I fell on, I can only imagine that my ankle is clean because of the depth of the standing water we repeatedly ran through.
As for my race, it was hard but enjoyable. I didn't go in with any real goals, but I did hope to break 2-hours. I hit the 10-k mark at exactly 1-hour and based on how I felt and the hills I knew to be in front of me, 2-hours wasn't going to happen. Ended up coming in at 2:03:14, 21/24 in age group, 72/111 in the male group, and 90/187 overall. Good enough.
On my way into the finish line there was one last big puddle. Inspired by KT, I jumped in it. Both feet, big stomp. What I wasn't expecting was the amount of water that came straight up.

As challenging as it was, the course was really nice. Around the midway point two very confused looking deer wandered to within about 50-yards of the trail and just stood there while we ran by. To top it off the race was incredibly well organized and run, definitely didn't feel at all like an inaugural event.
One last photo, my old running shoes, what used to be white socks, and a couple of dirty feet. It may just be the last hurrah for those shoes.

I actually feel pretty good right now, not really looking forward to the day after.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


We had a "biometric screening" available to us at the office today.  Height, weight, waste measurement, blood pressure, and cholesterol.  Took about ten minutes.

All good except my HDL number, which I guess is the "good" cholesterol, was a bit low.  While not extremely low, it wasn't as high as I guess it could/should be.  When I ask how I might get that number up, aerobic exercise was the answer.  Diet to some extent, but mainly aerobic exercise. 

Interesting, I'll have to look into it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Morning Swim

I don't know how people work out in the early mornings.  I'm just not a morning person, but do to some scheduling issues I needed to swim this morning.  It was my first early am swim of the year.  The following is a synopsis of my morning.

3:30 - Wake up, pray that I slept through alarm and don't have time to swim.  Look at clock.  Crap.  Try to go back to sleep.

3:50 - Get up, use bathroom, back to bed, try to go back to sleep.

4:15 - Dog's up, get up, let him out, back to bed, try to go back to sleep.

5:06 - Alarm goes off, snooze, try one last time to sleep

5:16 - Alarm again, finally get up.

5:33 - Arrive at pool.  Many cars in lot, going to be a busy pool.

5:45 - Finally get out of truck, walk in the building, walk through locker room to check status of pool.  Looks like there is room for me.  Damn the luck.  Use bathroom, get dressed, use bathroom again, shower, head for pool, talk to lifeguard (one last attempt to stall).

6:00 - Start swimming.

I'll admit, once I started swimming it didn't completely suck.  The one good thing,  a whole new cast of characters in the water.  People that I typically don't see at night.  Nothing too unusual, but enough to keep it interesting.

I had until 7:30 to complete my swim so I didn't feel rushed at all and I just swam while trying not to fall asleep.  Got through my 3,000 yards in 1:18+.  Good enough.  The last 1,000 or so were hard only because I was getting really hungry.  I get the feeling today is going to be one of those days where I eat constantly.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stroke Clinic

For you locals out there. The Stoughton High School pool is hosting an adult stroke clinic. I don't have all the details in front of me, but I think it is at noon on Saturday April 25. I know it's limited to six people and it's only $10. I was the first to sign up on Tuesday.

I don't know what to expect from it or how long it lasts, but for $10, if I learn anything at all it will be well worth it. You'll spend more than that next week on gu, energy bars, and recovery drinks.

There is a link to the Stoughton pool site over there on the right. I doubt there is any info on the stroke clinic but there may be a number you can call if interested. I can't do all the legwork.