Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is That All?

I got in from my run this morning and plugged my favorite toy/tool into my PC. My Garmin 305 has been on my wrist for every single training ride and run since I started my triathlon dreams in January. It has been a constant reminder that I am getting faster and in better shape.

As I reviewed my run from this morning, I was disappointed to see that I was slower and had a higher heart rate than the last few runs. Not sure what that's about - but I will keep an eye on it and see if I can bounce back in the morning.

I was looking at some comparisions between today and older runs when I clicked on the "Running" heading at the side of the page. I hadn't realized that the software was keeping a running tally of all my training. It's cool that it does, but what I read didn't make me happy.

Here's what I learned:

* Running - 194.7 miles and 33,127 calories burned this year

* Biking - 491.5 miles and 40,912 calories burned this year

* MultiSport - 159.2 miles and15,998 calories burned this year.

* Total - 845.4 miles and 90,037 calories burned this year

I don't know what totals I was expecting - but this doesn't seem like enough. It's a bad comparision but the Ultramarathon Man, Dean Karnazes has covered that running distance in one race! Clearly, I needed to find a more positive spin on this data!

My next stop was Mircosoft Streets and Trips. Why? I was curious how far I would have made it if I had gone "Forest Gump" and just started running at the beginning of the year. The answer, I would be a couple of miles outside of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Hey, that sounds better!

Next question - what about the calories? Well this is cool! I have burned the equivilant of 1664 Oreo Cookies! I'm not sure how many packages that is - but it's a lot! My other favorite "bad food" is Brown Sugar Frosted Cinnamon Pop Tarts - I've burned 450 of those. Last, but not least is the foot long Dairy Queen Chili Cheese Dog. Feel free to beat me down for this one - but I do love a good chili dog. So, I have burned the equivalent of 127 Super Dogs!

Now I feel good about the numbers! I could be sitting on my butt eating Oreos, Pop Tarts and Super Dogs, or I can be moving through Louisiana getting better every day! I like the second option. I wonder how long it will take me to reach the Pacific Ocean???

Take care friends!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Is This An Illness?

Now that I find myself on some triathlon mailing lists, it is becoming commonplace for me to receive emails about various events. One came into my office email this morning and with only a quick glance at the calendar - I pressed the "Register" button. No big worries or nerves. Just the realization that it was filling up and I could still get in. Compared to the fear that I had before registering for my first race - this was almost too easy! I guess that's progress.

My next event will be the Sand Key Sprint Triathlon. It has a short swim and bike (1/3 mile and 11 miles), but I'm looking forward to it. I have been in a bit of a funk since my last race. Nothing on the immediate schedule had me feeling a little lost. I guess I should expand on that.

I have my first half marathon on October 4. For some reason, that doesn't count as a real race in my book. Now really - what's wrong with that thinking? My goal for the half is to do it, finish it and get my mind around what it's like to cover the distance. My running is getting a little better, so I hope the increased running mileage will pay dividends on my tri's. It's already working - so it's a good thing!

Tomorrow I'll be doing about 40 miles on the bike. Doing the Clearwater bridge loop for two or three laps. I'm riding with a new group tomorrow - I can't wait to see the pace and find out how I'm doing compared to the group.

That's it for now. Everyone have a safe and fun weekend!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

This Hits Too Close To Home!

Gotta get a carbon frame!!!

What's That????

When I was training to do my first sprint, I found it comforting to go out and do "the distance". I was in lousy shape, so running 3.1 miles for the first time was a big deal. The 15 mile bike wasn't anything to worry about, but the .5 mile swim felt like a big accomplishment. Once I had done the distance, it gave me confidence that all I had to do was get fit enough to string them all together. Probably not the best training method, but it fits well with the way my mind works.

Fast forward a few months and I'm now looking at much longer distances. Going back to what has worked for me, I decided that last night would be my first attempt to swim 1 mile with the gang from the St. Pete Mad Dogs. First, the mile walk down the beach seemed like it took forever! I know it's twice as far as I've been walking, but it feels like more than that! Into the water we go and the water is bathtub HOT! So much for it being a refreshing swim.

Heading south, the current is pushing us a little and I start to fall into a nice rhythm. Doing my best to make long strokes and to get some glide on each pull - I'm feeling pretty good about myself. As usual, the faster swimmers make it past me and the herd begins to thin out. As I start to get a little tired, I notice that it's just me and a girl in a green swim cap. I notice her as she swims past me. By the half way point, I'm getting bored and I'm totally alone. Ms. Green Cap has a 40 or 50 yard lead and is pulling away a little bit at a time.

I'm swimming a good distance out from the beach and have the realization that if something were to happen to me - no one would know! I've spent a lot of time on the water, so I'm not particularly worried about sharks or other creatures - but you are responsible for your own safety. I decide to work my way back towards the beach a little when it happens . . . .

I take a breath and when my head goes back under water, I seen the front of something swimming directly underneath me. If you watch enough space movies, you've seen the scene where the good guys think they have won the battle only for the huge and ominous "bad guy ship" to glide up behind them (or in my case, underneath them). Yep ~ that's how it felt!

My first instinct is to scream (bad option with my face under water). I'm thinking it must be a rather huge sea ray gliding by. Sorry, much too long for a sea ray. My curiosity turns to panic when I decide that it's too long to be a ray, so it must be a shark. I should append my statement from two paragraphs ago. I'm not afraid of sharks as a general idea. I do however fear sharks that are swimming directly beneath me at dusk when I'm all alone in the ocean!

As the shark continues to glide by, I notice that there is no dorsal fin and the tail is all wrong. Suddenly I realize that it's not a shark - it's a manatee! How fun did this swim just get??!! I'm being tracked by a Sea Cow! I watch some bubbles come up as the mammal glides out of site. I have to turn my head to take a breath and it's gone.

The rest of the swim went well. I did have time to decide that being passed by a sea cow is probably an accurate representation of how I swim! I was the very last person out of the water (except for the folks that got tired and got out early). So, now I know I can do the distance. Could I have hopped on my bike and done 56 miles? I think I could. Run after that . . . not so much! I plan to do my 56 miles over the weekend and get that hurdle behind me. Not sure when I'll be ready to tackle the 13 mile run, but I know that no later than October 4th, that will be done too!

Good news - I'm down to 234.2 this morning! This exercise and eating right really works!


Monday, August 3, 2009

A Quick Update

As planned, I was ready and waiting to post my entry at noon today. It was a strange experience - I was actually nervous as I went through the process of completing my entry. I'm not sure if it was my brain trying to get me to think through this one more time, or maybe just excitement as I thought about what the future holds. Whatever it was, I'm registered and committed!

When I got home this afternoon, I jumped on the scale to check my weight and body composition. I'm pleased to say that I'm down to 235 pounds. Better yet, for the first time EVER, my body fat percentage was in the teens. To be exact, it was 19.8%!

I was so juiced by the new low number that I jumped off the scale and grabbed my cell phone to snap a picture of the readout. I got back on the scale, let it do its job and the number popped up at 20.2%. I guess the lesson is that kharma doesn't like to be photographed!

With my new low weight and the motivation from a goal in May - I headed out into the 92 degree heat for a run. It was slow - but I covered a little over 6 miles, which is my longest run ever! If the next 284 days go as well as today I won't have to worry about finishing last!

Another Goal to Work For!

It's Monday morning, August 3rd. In a few hours I will pull out my debit card and set into motion another major goal for myself. About 9 months ago, I got winded as I walked up the bridge to snap some photos at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. I watched as people a lot older than me and several people with severe physical handicaps raced up and down a bridge that I was laboring to walk on. It was a defining moment for me.

Two months later, I signed up to compete in my first triathlon. I gave myself about 5 months to get into better shape - knowing that I would work hard to finish and not be last. Well, I finished and I wasn't last (I really appreciate small moral victories like that!). I can honestly say that it was the toughest thing I had ever put my body through. The best part? I loved every minute of it!

Before competing in my first event, I had already signed up for my second. I wanted to be sure that triathlons wouldn't be a "one and done" thing for me. No worries about that - I loved the racing and was hooked by the end of the first race. I have now completed 4 sprint triathlons and have yet to have any major problems. To the contrary, things continue to get better and I'm having a blast.

This weekend, I ran in the Top Gun Triathlon at Fort Desoto Park. I had a great time - but was a little bummed that the swim and the bike portions of the race were a little short (1/4 mile swim and 10 mile bike). Actually, to be honest, I was bummed that the bike portion was only 10 miles. I tend to be pretty good on the bike and somewhat below average on the swim and the run. More time biking is my best hope to improve my standings at the finish! (Truthfully, more training time on swimming and running would be a better use of my time - but that's for another blog!).

I left the race thinking that it's time to try a longer distance triathlon. An Olympic distance event is about twice as long and would certainly be a bigger challenge for me (not that the sprint isn't challenging!). There are a couple of Olympics this fall, so I have time to train and hopefully the weather will be a little cooler.

But there's more . . . . My IPhone "dinged" as I was waking up this morning. While still in bed, I ran through the e-mails that had come in overnight. All of the emails were spam, except one. An email had arrived at 1:21 am, announcing that registration would be opening at noon for the Florida Ironman 70.3 race in Orlando, Florida. The race is about 10 months from now and I've decided that I'm signing up at noon!

This journey has been a great one for me. I have met such wonderful and inspiring friends and in the last 8 months have done things that I thought were well past my physical ability. Now, I'm ready to take on a bigger challenge. I think this one will be big enough to hold my attention for the next 10 months. A swim of 1.2 miles is long - but "do-able". The bike ride of 56 miles is long, but I love the bike, so I'm looking forward to that. Then the hard part . . . at least for me - hop off the bike and start the 13.1 mile run! I'm guessing that the run will be a long, slow, hot ordeal. That's fine! I'll be lighter, faster and in better shape for all of it by then.

So, today it begins. First with a couple clicks of a mouse - and then the hard part. Lots of miles, no doubt some injuries and setbacks and hopefully 285 days from now, a good finish in the biggest physical challenge of my life. My goals for the race will be just like my first sprint - Finish and don't be last!