Archive for August, 2008

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New Triathlon Gear! Compression Socks

August 29, 2008

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

 

I was greeted yesterday after work with a sweet package in the mail. My compression sleeves finally arrived!

Unless you have been under a rock recently, you’ve probably noticed that compression socks are the cool new thing on the triathlon scene. At first, I was pretty skeptical about some of the claims: reduced fatigue, increased blood flow, etc.

Eventually I just heard about one too many blogger buddies, pro triathletes and tri magazines jumping on the boat and raving about them and I had to dive in too.

I ended up getting Zensah Compression Sleeves. I’m really picky about my running socks, so something that just goes down to my ankle lets me still wear my own super comfy running socks is perfect. Unfortunately they only make the pink version in size small, so I couldn’t rock my metrosexuality and had to go with the always fashionable black.

I have do admit, I do sort of feel like an 80’s aerobics instructor with leg warmers, but thankfully missing the spandex thong, but don’t worry. Taking pictures of myself doing ninja moves in my bedroom totally adds some man points back to the situation.

Problem: Solved.

Don’t knock my ninja skills. You know you are jealous.

I did a sprint interval workout on the treadmill last night and ended up wearing them to bed last night to see how sore I may or not be in the morning. Although I probably would have been more sore if I did a long endurance run and the results don’t mean much, I woke up with my legs feeling pretty good.

My calves felt nice and tingly and fresh this morning. Not that pins and needles/ I just sat on my own leg and it went numb kind of tingly. A tingly like maybe these things did actually help keep up blood flow in my legs. Cool gear!

Overall, the jury is still out how much they exactly help, but hopefully they’ll come through strong on a nice long run this weekend.

At the very least, it is a cool new piece of gear to test out and play with. I’m going to be doing a lot of running this fall to hopefully get a lot faster, and even maybe do a late fall/early spring marathon soon.

Who knows, maybe I can manage to get myself a charity spot and run the Boston Marathon next spring?!

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Bar Harbor Weekend

August 25, 2008

This weekend I made the trek up to Bar Harbor, Maine. Despite awesome running trails, beautiful ocean beaches, awesome mountain roads and more glacial lakes and rivers than you can shake a stick at, I did absolutely zero triathlon training.

All about some nice quiet QT with the GF, kids.

Thankfully she puts up with my love for looking stupid in pictures and Sam snapped this pretty sweet shot of me in a lobster hat. Unfortunately, the hat didn’t come home with me.

Bar Harbor, ME

We bummed around the tiny little downtown area on Friday afternoon and it was beautiful out. Awesome August afternoon, without the summer crowds. (Apparently it can get pretty claustrophobic up there in mid-summer.)

After wasting some time checking out the stupid little tourist-y shops, we aimlessly drove around the island with GPS in tow trying to find the best westward facing hunk of coast to sit and watch the sunset. (Gotta work hard for those brownie points!)

We ended up finding two pretty nice spots. None directly facing the ocean, but still pretty nice. Here is one around Seal Cove somewhere.

And here is the second place we checked out by the sea wall on the south west corner of the island. Both had HUGE mosquitoes everywhere, so we didn’t hang around too long, but it was otherwise a really sweet spot.

Saturday was adventure day! A seven mile kayak tour in the morning had us up early and out on the water with a bag full of PB& raisin sandwiches and a canister of nuun.

After checking out some local wildlife (bald eagles, porpoises, harbor seals and sea urchins), I managed to save the group from the giant star fish attack.

The villagers rejoiced. They gave me a medal and carried me on their shoulders around town. I rocked it.

After refueling with a burger, fries and clam chowder we headed out for a hike straight up Cadillac Mountain. The mountain is about 3 miles from the shore and 1,500 ft high.  Because it is so high and so far east, it is the first place in the US to see the sunrise from October through March and is the highest point on the eastern seaboard.

I also snacked on a few wild blueberries on the way up. They were everywhere and were calling my name. Sam yelled at me because she was convinced that they were toxic, but I’m stubborn. I kinda wished that I had a few more…

These are the Porcupine islands just to the East of Bar Harbor.

All along the trail there were all of these very zen-like rock piles that marked the way. Apparently they are called cairns. I kept stopping to put together ones that had clearly fallen over, until I got all the way to the top and saw a big sign warning people not to mess with them since they were maintained by the park rangers. Oops. My rock piles looked better than theirs anyway.

I’m not sure if the steepness of this trail comes out in the picture, but MAN was it a hike. It made the view from the top SO much more enjoyable.
Bar Harbor Weekend

Here is a crappy video taken as we are about half way up Cadillac mountain.

Now I’m back in Bean Town, getting back in the training groove and struggling to find that next race to keep me moving forward.

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I just need one more hit

August 19, 2008

After my last post about my IT band recovery, I got even more advice from the always awesome Sheila who sent me her ab and hip strength routines. With a stomach like she has, I think I need to take notice and pay serious attention. I’ve already done some of her hip strengthening exercises a few times and am feeling ’em getting stronger, which isn’t saying much considering how weak they probably were in the first place.

Here are links to download the word docs that she sent me.

She also got me stretching out my tight ass with a tennis ball, so I’ve been spending plenty of time this week sitting on the floor in front of my TV, watching the Olympics and rolling around with a tennis ball under my butt. Oh, and I found out that tennis balls work much better than racquetballs. Either way, both do a way better job of working out my tight gluts than the foam roller does.

Now that my tri season has gotten a second wind, albeit a little late, I’ve gotten back into my healthy eating habits. Organic, whole wheat and veggies all the way. Here is a pretty sick chipotle chicken burrito that I made for dinner tonight with my own homemade mango salsa and tomatoes that my neighbor grew on her porch. D-licious.

Now I just have to see if I can squeeze in one more Oly, or even a sprint, before the end of September I’ll be a very happy boy. Most of my weekends are booked already with weddings and mini-vacations, so it may be tricky, but I REALLY want to hit the race course again before the season ends. I miss the smell of race morning. 🙂

Now I’m off to spin class to do a BRick on the treadmill and finish off with a little stregth training. More to come…

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The Illusion of Talent

August 16, 2008

With a healthy diet of Olympics coverage this week, I’ve been having some deep conversations withmyself on talent vs training. It always gets under my skin when people make comments about an athlete’s “natural born talent” with their training as a mere side note.

Sure, it may be genetics and specific body proportions that turn Phelps from what would otherwise simply be a world class swimmer into the freak of nature (in a good way) that he is today, but it is very dangerous to overemphasize the impact of genetics in his success.

If Phelps had picked up football in High School, he may still have the same general body proportions, short legs and huge wingspan, but his flexibility and strength would be like from an entirely different animal.

My point is that personal physiology is not a static element in someone’s life. The human body is insanely adept at reacting to the environment that you put it in.

Personal physiology is not a static factor. The human body reacts to the environment that you put it in.

Train, live and eat like a marathoner. You will have a marathoner’s body.

Train, live and eat like a weightlifter. You will have a weightlifter’s body.

That is not to say that if you train like an Olympic runner, that you will necessarily be taking home gold, or even making it to the games, but you will certainly take on some of their physical characteristics.

For example: In High School I was a running machine. Cross Country was my thing. That is all I did. I was 6 feet tall, 140 pounds, ate like a bird and you could see my ribs when I ran shirtless. I ran 5-6 days a week almost year-round and could pull off 17 minute 5ks. I was never fast enough to break any records, but did pretty well for myself.

Flash forward to today. After realizing the whole skin and bones look wasn’t exactly what the ladies were looking for and taking a few years off in college from running to become a gym rat and drink Keystone Light on a regular basis I completely changed my body. I balooned up to about 195 pounds, actually got chest and arm muscles and I barely looked like the same person. Since college I’ve slimmed down to about 175 now that I’ve gotten in to triathlon training, but you get the point.

There is no way that, with the body I have now, I can pull off runs like I did in High school, but also I probably couldn’t climb hills on a bike or zip across lakes as smoothly with the body that I had then.

My point is that natural born talent is an illusion. Most of us may never break the tape at Kona, it is key to remember that our bodies are products of the environments that we choose to put them in.

And now for the movie that is reponsible for helping to form most of my views on “talent.” If you havent’ ever seen Without Limits, go rent it now.

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Back in the saddle

August 13, 2008

Blogging has been light because I have been lame.

In the 4 weeks after Rhode Island I didn’t do much except for a few spinning classes, with varying degrees of discomfort, and a few 1 and 2 mile runs. But I have been a stretching machine, which has really helped out my IT band and I’m ALMOST back to running normal distances again without pain.

I ran 2 miles yesterday and just felt a little tight at the end. WAY better than the excruciating pain that I felt after one mile about 6 weeks ago.

I think one of the reasons that I’ve seen some more progress in the last few weeks is this new stretch that I’ve been doing a lot. After doing tons of my normal IT band stretches, the foam roller wasn’t even hurting anymore and it felt really loose, until I would actually run on it. I figured something down there was still tight and the stretches I was doing just weren’t doing the job.

I eventually poked around YouTube and found this stretch.

Trust me, I look just as hot in those little booty shorts. I swear.

Anyway, as soon as I started doing this new one and a few other glut stretches, I could tell I had this big ‘ol knot of tightness in my left but cheek that I hadn’t noticed before. Hot, right? After stretching it out every morning before work and at night before bed for a week or so, I’ve gotten pretty flexible and now my running is almost back to normal!

Just in time to squeeze in some training to get for a September Oly! Woohoo! There is a lobsterman race in Maine that is calling my name.

Now that I’m starting to get back in the groove after exactly one month off, I feel like my endorphin tolerance has completely dropped. As soon as I start running (without pain) I get SO PUMPED and am reminded why I love it. I got in the pool for the first time in a while this morning and my warm up was almost 800 meters. I just kept swimming because it was fun and completely forgot about starting my real workout. It was the most fun I’d had in the pool all year.

Nothing like a little injury to refresh yourself in the middle of the season, eh?

Oh, and my work had a caricature artist come in today to draw me and the rest of the new people. Everyone has a pic of themselves by their desk instead of a boring sign or name plate. Kinda cool. I think this was the first caricature I’d ever had done. He even gave me disk wheels without me asking. Sweet! I didn’t bother trying to explain to him how to draw aero bars though…

What do you think?