Archive for May, 2008

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News Flash: Sunburns are no longer cool

May 20, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

One thing I forgot to mention in my last post, I got SO BURNT this weekend. I can list my excuses for not wearing long sleeves or using more sun screen, but that won’t do anyone any good.

When I was a lifeguard in high school and college I would just let myself get burnt once in the beginning of the summer, and then I would never have to wear sunscreen for the rest of the summer. It was this funny little contest that I would have with the rest of the guards.
Showing off my killer sunburn

While it sucks to admit that I’ve gotten old and more “mature” I do have to say that I’ve realized that getting sun burned is no longer cool or funny. But it does make for some pretty funny swimming pictures.

I’m totally investing in some arm warmers and a big ‘ol bottle of sun screen this season. IT HURTS!

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New Hampshire Training Weekend

May 19, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

Last weekend was my triathlon team’s training weekend. There were about 40 of us that all headed up to Franconia, New Hampshire to do some training in the white mountains, booze up a little, and actually hang out with eachother when not wearing workout gear. Overall: absolutely awesome weekend.

After pulling in to the Inn where everyone was staying on Friday night, hanging out and tossing back a few beers, I headed to bed to rest up for the 9:00 ride on Saturday morning. We split up into a half dozen different groups based on speed and distance of the routes we wanted to take. I jumped in with the 60-ish mile B group.

After a few miles, It was pretty clear why we headed up here. Northern New Hampshire is HILLY. About 10 miles in, and after one long steady bitch of a climb, it was all down hill from there. Nice smooth pavement, no big turns, it was beautiful. I just kept picking up speed, tucking down as aero as I could get in my drops and VERY cautiously passing a few other riders.

I was 100% focused on the road ahead of me and keeping a nice smooth line through some gentle sloping turns. I only looked down at my bike computer once and it said 54 mph. HOLY FUCK! I started screaming with excitement, but with all the wind blaring past me, I could barely even hear own voice. It wasn’t until a few miles later, when I was actually going slow enough where I could start pedaling again, when I looked to see what my max was. 57 mph!

I know that the pic is fuzzy, but trust me. It was Ca RAAZY. It was the fastest I had ever been on a bike by at least 15 mph, and I’m still absolutely terrified/excited thinking about it 2 days later. I’m SO not telling my mom about this one. She’ll flip.

I do feel the need to give a shout out to ROL Wheels. While I’ve admitted several times to the high crap factor of my Fuji Ace, I did upgrade to some nice few wheels that I won from a Simply Stu TdF contest a few years back. I can’t imagine the stock wheels would have handled so smoothly at a 57 mph decent, but those things were amazing and (for whatever ungodly reason) I felt pretty damn confident on them.  If a high speed decent isn’t a good test of a set of wheels, I’m not sure what is. I ride the SL 28’s, which are discontinued, but all there stuff is made for the “cost conscious” rider and I’m a real big fan after really pushing their limits this weekend even after I’ve been riding them for two seasons now.

And as with any downhill, it is inevitable that you have to start heading uphill again and we headed to the top of the Kancamagus Highway. For reference, the Inn we left from was at 800 feet and the top of the Kank is 2855. That is 2000 feet of climbing (not counting the first hill we did. DAAAAAAMN. After training like this I better bust through the bike course at Mooseman in a few weeks like I’m racing in Florida.

Wheelworks Training Weekend

In the end the ride was about 67 miles with 4:25 in the saddle. The ride took much longer, but we had to stop a few times to refuel, rest up, take some lunch, etc. After we got back, a few of us headed out for a 20 minute run, which actually felt pretty good. Now I’ve actually been doing a lot more running in training (since I slacked on my running so bad last year) I’m super psyched to see it is actually having an impact. Sure, my HR was in the high 160’s the whole time, but it still felt great.

And now, more pictures:

Wheelworks Training Weekend


More mountains.

Wheelworks Training Weekend

Cruising along the bike path past Echo Lake (i think).

Wheelworks Training Weekend

More bike path. While these pictures don’t really do it justice, this was by far the hilliest bike path ever. It is like a mountain bike trail that was paved. I was switching gears constantly. Not cool.

Wheelworks Training Weekend

Taking a quick look at directions to make sure we weren’t lost.

Wheelworks Training Weekend

Sunday:

After boozing it up at the Inn’s bar and pulling the late night party crew into the hot tub until they ended up turning the lights out on us the night before, we packed up our wetsuits on our backs and headed to Echo Lake for a nice chilly swim.

Bike ride? You guessed it, more hills. 4 miles, straight up. It was like trying to ride my bike up the side of a building and I kept tapping my shifters hoping that I had one more magic gear that would help relieve my quads. I don’t think there was a single one of us that wasn’t blurting out expletives at some point in the climb.

Thankfully, once we got there, it was gorgeous. Cold, but gorgeous. The water was about 55 degrees, and wasn’t so bad once I got my feet and hands in the water, but it made me want to tear my face off. I had to “man up” and get at least about 600 meters in, but it was a really nice swim and totally made the ride up there worth it.

Here is the view from the beach.

Wheelworks Training Weekend

Jane taking a swim after a run around the lake. She was an absolute machine. She forced a few brave souls to take a different look and go on a 90 mile ride with her on Saturday and never let up all weekend. She is turning 50 this year and I can only hope that I’m that bad-ass when I’m older.


Wheelworks Training Weekend

Matt and I flexing. Flexing somehow turned into the theme of the weekend.

Wheelworks Training Weekend

Group shot.

Wheelworks Training Weekend

And just to be clear, YES. That IS SNOW in the background. (me on the left)

Wheelworks Training Weekend




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Cervelo P2C Demo Ride

May 15, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

 

Okay, enough about puking and being sick and lame. Lets get down to business and talk tri.

While I love my Fuji Ace road bike and I can’t imagine ever parting with it, it wasn’t eactly built for racing, let alone triathlon. Fully loaded with saddle bag and bento box, I think it comes in at around 28 pounds. It isn’t exactly built for speed, but the thing is a tank and I love it. It is the first real bike that I ever owned since my little bmx bike I had when I was 14 and it holds a special place in my heart.

That being said, I still think I need to upgrade between now and next season now that I’ve upped my game, gotten totally hooked on training and racing and have started taking things a lot more seriously. After doing some drooling over the gallery of beautiful carbon bikes at the multisport expo earlier this year, I totally fell  in love with the Cervelo P2C, an all carbon beauty of a triathlon bike that has been calling my name ever since.

Lucky enough for me, one of my teammates works at Cervelo and stopped by the shop with a truck full of bikes this week as a part of a Cervelo demo tour. It was perfect. Show up, sign out a bike, take it for a ride, and make it your bitch. That was all the convincing I needed. I finally had that chance to stop dreaming about a new ride, get some smooth carbon between my legs and take her for a ride.

I felt like a spoiled kid and just crying out “Mommy I want it NOW! Give it to me!”

I suited up, had fellow teammate and Wheelworks employee Jared hook me up with some pedals, and off I went with a few other Wheelworks Mutisport teammates.

Okay, so here is my half assed attempt at a review.

Full disclaimer: I feel totally unqualified to provide any real review of any high-end bike of any kind. I have not even ridden that many different bikes, and this is my first ride ever on a tri bike, so take that all into consideration with whatever else I have to say from here on out.

First impressions:

This is a gorgeous looking bike. You can see all the attention to detail that was put into this bike. From the carbon aero tubing, to the seat tube cutout, to all the internal cable routing, this thing is sex on wheels.

Weight? Just pulling this thing off the rack, rolling it down from the sidewalk and onto the street I was amazed at how light it was. It made me fully realize how much extra weight I’ve been dragging around with my Fuji. But hey, no one ever said anything bad about resistance training, right?

Out on the road:

Once out riding, I started to really get what everyone talks about when they talk about the smooth ride quality of a carbon frame. It totally makes sense now. Granted it probably isnt’ fair that I can only only compare it to my aluminum road bike that costs 1/4 of the price, but hey, it is all I can do. Deal with it.

This was also the first time I was able to play with aero bars. It was a really weird experience and totally uncomfortable at first, but after a few miles I started to feel a little more in control and was able to enjoy the added speed and started really pushing it on downhills. It even felt like I was using my leg muscles differently to turn the pedals around. Good stuff.

The one thing that I totally fell in love with was how it felt going fast downhill, cruising along in the big chain ring in the aero bars. Sure, going fast down hill is always fun, but it was a totally different experience. I didn’t feel like I was really doing 35 mph, or that there was that much much wind blowing past me. No huge rushing noise past my ears or skipping along across the cracks in the pavement, just a quiet smooth dart cruising along (what at least felt like) fresh and smooth asphalt. It was a blast.

Overall:

I’m not going to try and make typical bike technical comparisons about crap that I just don’t know about like aerodynamics or geometry or flex in the bottom bracket or stuff that, so I’m not even going to bother trying to use some rating system.

Lets just say I had pretty high expectations coming in, but had way more fun and was more impressed than I even expected and was all smiles on the ride home.

Now, I just have to figure out how I can justify making a P2C sized dent in my bank account. 🙂

I’ll definitely have to play around and test out some other tri bikes this summer. More reviews to come, I hope. Because this was fun!

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Dr. Strangeburning or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Malox

May 13, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

Some days  you just go along your normal routine, not expecting to have anything special happen, or learn anything new about yourself or anything else. Today was one of those days. Plain boring old Monday.

Woke up, went to work, went out for pizza and bowling with some coworkers (I rolled a  157 by the way, woohoo!) and went for a 4.5 mile run.

The run went pretty well. I had this weird tightness on the side of my calves, but that went away after about a mile or so, so I was happy. I was worried it was something worse, but I’m glad it was just some tightness from not stretching enough before.

I kept having some chest pain and just burping up some pizza, which was funny and made me feel better. Only it was less of a relief to the chest pain every time I burped. At about mile 4, it was totally unbearable. My throat was dry, my throat felt like it was closing, and my heart rate monitor strap felt like it it was strangling me. I thought that every smoker and truck that I ran by was breathing hot dry smoke directly into my chest. NOT a good time.

Thankfully I was only about 2 blocks from my house and stumbled home from there, giving blatantly dirty looks to every smoker I passed by and I felt like they were ALL out tonight. Every Single One.

After scrambling for my keys, stumbled up the three flights of stairs to my apartment and downed a glass of water. What I was hoping would be refreshing hurt like hell going down. Worst glass of water I’ve ever had in my life. PAIN. Then I turn around, run to the bathroom and say goodbye to every single piece of pizza that I stuffed my face with less than two hours ago.

Thankfully my personal nurse/girlfriend was awesome enough to run to understand my garbled commands for Malox from behind the bathroom door and ran to the store to get me the good stuff. I used to think that my stomach was a tank and that I could handle anything on a workout, but clearly after some some bowling alley pizza induced heart burn, that is not the case.

Lesson learned:

Stick to the hippie food. It never made me feel like death.

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Triathlon is making me a hippie

May 11, 2008

Granted, I was never some super conservative hummer-driving war monger and I’ve always leaned a little bit to the left politically, but I feel like I’ve gotten way more hippie-ish in the six months since I’ve really started taking triathlon seriously and made it more of a “lifestyle” than just a hobby that I trained for whenever I felt like it.

I’ve started a little herb garden outside my kitchen window. I completely stopped drinking coffee and switched to herbal tea, sweetened with stevia instead of sugar. I take cod liver oil every morning with chocolate soy milk, two things that I NEVER thought I would ever do. I’m planning to start commuting to work by bike at least once a week this summer and am way more conscious about the energy that I use. I also started running to my gym instead of driving since it is less than 2 miles away and it saves me from having to want to claw my eyes out when stuck running on the treadmill. I’ve even started re using plastic grocery bags, or getting paper, at the grocery store.

I’m not exactly sure what is going on, but it is just weird to see all these changes so quickly in my daily routine after I had been stuck in my old ways for so long. No real deep reflection here, sorry. Just an interesting observation I decided to share.

Oh, and I went on the longest ride of the season so far and it was aaaaaawsome. Almost 55 miles through the woods Concord, MA. It was a pretty nice and easy pace, but let me play with my nutrition and hydration a little bit so I can have a better idea of what I need for the Providence 70.3.

1) Straight Gatorade is not enough and at least one GU or pack of Clif Blocks an hour is a good idea.

2) Only two water bottles for a +3 hour ride isn’t going to cut it. I’ve gotta plan out some places to stop and refuel along the way.

3) My legs are whiiiiite. I got a little bit of a burn today, and probably could have used some sun tan lotion, but hopefully now that they have seen some sun, it won’t be too much of an issue for the rest of the year.

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Swimming Breakthrough

May 4, 2008

After spending any amount of time doing any sort of training, you are bound to come across a big breakthrough. I have yet to pull off that 20+ mph bike ride or that sub 20 minute 5k run (at least since I was 18 )  yet but yesterday I did something that I decided needed some celebration.

I have pretty good swimming form, but there is always one thing that has plagued me no matter how many stupid drills and techniques I tried. bi-lateral breathing.

Sure, I COULD breathe on both sides, it just isn’t pretty. On the right side? I’m as good as gold. But when my head turns to the left, all of a sudden I go into some weird spasm, my arms start slapping the water, I start choking on water, and my kick goes all sideways. Not a pretty thing, at least until yesterday.

Yesterday I went to a swim clinic with my triathlon team and I got some much needed critique on my form. After a few new drills and realizing that I do this weird cross over and quick correction with only my right arm, that makes it really hard to breathe on the left side without lifting my head out of the water, all of a sudden breathing on the left side is SO much more comfortable.

I know seems like a pretty small step, but I’ve always tried to breathe on both sides, especially so I can sight better in open water and not go as far off course in open water swims,

Bilateral breathing? Check. Now on to that 20 mph average bike and sub 20:00 5k….

But first, I might actually want to think about working out again since the few hundred yards of drills that I did yesterday is the closest thing I’ve done that resembles a workout since last Sunday, exactly a week ago.

Being Sick Sucks!

I’m feeling really good and have finally fully recovered, but am still going it pretty easy with a nice light treadmill run this afternoon.

Happy training everyone.