Archive for December, 2008

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Homework From Coach Brett

December 28, 2008

Today was sixty two degrees in Boston. In December. 62! We just had two big snow storms last week!

Needless to say, despite it being a recovery week, I had to take advantage of the weather and knock off a nice easy 12 miler. And just because it was 60 degrees in December, and I could, I had to wear the shortest shorts that I own. I did of course cover up my calves with compression sleeves. I at least have a LITTLE modesty! 🙂

Classy, right?

December Running Shorts

I was even able to pull off the same 12 mile route, at the same heart rate, 12 minutes faster than than I did last week. I guess running in a foot of snow does actually slow you down. Who knew?

Coach Brett did give me some homework this week. With a decrease in training volume and some extra rest and time spent with the family, I had some questions to think about to keep my training focused.

  • What am I doing to make sure I don’t get injured with new injuries or old ones?

I’m trying to use the foam roller and stretch as much as possible, and make sure I tend to any pain that is beyond the normal aches and muscle soreness. I’ve also been especially focused on stretching before, not just after, workouts after I’ve done a little to let my muscles warm up. Stretching out warm muscles makes a huge difference.

Getting semi-regular massages is also part of the plan. My goal is at least every 2-3 months or whenever I start to get any issues that can’t be taken care of by stretching, yoga or the foam roller.

I’m also working on a lot of core work and squats/lunges that should hopefully take care of any muscle imbalances that caused my IT band issues the last two years.

  • Am I getting enough sleep? (Sleep is when your body rebuilds)

Yes. I’m a PRO sleeper. Other than staying up late to go to midnight mass on Christmas eve with the family and then “play Santa” to deliver presents under the tree, I got pretty good sleep all week. In less than two minutes after my head hits the pillow, I am out and off to dream land.

  • What are my real goals this year?

I want to be strong enough to confidently race and compete in 70.3’s, not just survive them and cross the line in under 6 hours, and by more the better. I don’t expect to have a blast doing every single workout, but I want to make sure that overall, triathlon is having a positive impact on my life and I’m having fun doing it. And I need to make sure that I can pull it all off while still having a semi-normal social life (see the next question).

  • Am I striking a good tri/life balance?

I don’t get it, triathlon IS life! Right?! I’m obviously a little biased, so I had to ask the girlfriend.

Sam says I get an 8 out of 10. Good, but not great. I’ve been giving her a heads up each day about the next day’s workouts so we can coordinate other responsibilities, but there is still room for improvement. She definitely has noticed the increase in time spent working out, but except for a few small occasions, it hasn’t had too much impact on the relationship or our social lives.

  • What is that “one thing” that makes me want to do triathlon?  Am I centering my training around that?

Life long fitness. I want to make triathlon a sustainable lifestyle. I don’t care much about placing in my AG now (although if my training and body bring me to that point, I’m all for it) but I’d much rather sustain a healthy lifestyle well into my old age and break some +70 men’s course records at Kona. Plus, it would be cool to be a hot DILF. : -)

I think striking a good tri/life balance will be a big part of getting there and so far I’m on a pretty good track, but still have some work to do.

  • When is the last time I had my bike cables serviced and cleaned my ride?  A clean bike is 10% faster than a dirty one.

I cleaned it a few times (because just once wasn’t enough) after my last cyclocross race where it was absolutely covered in mud. It took a couple cleanings to get mud out of every little nook and cranny and the chain running smoothly again, but she is nice and speedy again.

  • Who have I helped in the sport lately?  You all are already great athletes.  You have much to offer those who want to learn.

I try to post advice where I can on Triscoop.com whereever I can on topics I’ve  had personal experience with, but probably could do more to schedule group runs/rides with my triathlon team and other local tri buddies. Long runs alone are great to clear my head and stick to my own comfortable pace, but it is always good to share the road with some friendly faces.

Rest up kiddies, there are more training stories to come!

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Beauty In Numbers

December 23, 2008

I think I’ve discovered the most uncomfortable part of being coached this year (at least so far). Taking meticulous notes on each workout and letting Brett know exactly how each workout went, my avg/max HR, speed/distance/soreness/fatigue/etc on a daily basis is something completely new to me.

I did record all my workouts last year, but I just scratched brief notes into a notebook to make sure I was meeting some very general goals and going in a general upward trend as far as speed and distance covered each week. It wasn’t really much more than that.

Now I’ve got graphs, reports, plans, schedules, the whole 9. A huge swing in the opposite direction. It has even become a habit to sit my sweaty ass down for a few minutes in front of my computer immediately after a workout. I have gotten pretty anal about mapping out the distance of each run and recording each specific swim interval immediately after finishing to keep things as accurate as possible.  I hope Santa brings me some Febreeze. My desk chair needs it.

If you want to sneak a peak, you can see my public Workout Log here: http://www.workoutlog.com/log/public/Jamiebull/log.cfm

Anyway, I don’t like ever just posting my weekly workout totals here, but would rather write about the random happenings and funny stories that happen while training here. If my training stats become the most interesting part of my training, we have a serious problem.

The one thing that I noticed the other day was now consistint my run training has been progressing, something I probably wouldn’t have noticed at all if I didn’t have the tools to play with. While I have been running/swimming/lifting too, my running has taken priority since my first 2009 race will be the Hyannis half marathon, my first stand alone half marathon.

With the addition of my snowy 12 mile run on Saturday I was able to get up to a total of 4.5 hours (25 miles) last week! Just looking back on the last two months of my weekly running time totals to see how things have built up makes me smile. Things are looking good for 2009 kids. (All my swimming, biking and lifting numbers aren’t counted here.)

december-weekly-running-totals

And yes, I’m strategically publishing this before Christmas because I have no plans on continuing this upward trend during Christmas.  Recovery Week Baby!

I’m off to Connecticut tomorrow morning to spend some time with the family, eat lots of cookies, drink lots of beers, and open a few presents with maybe a few little workouts sprinkled in.

Merry Christmas tri-peeps!

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Snowy River Run

December 20, 2008

Despite almost a foot of fresh snow on the ground this morning, I kept up with the training plan and actually pulled off a decent run this afternoon down the Charles River. Most of the sidewalks weren’t even shoveled yet, but a good couple inches of packed snow are just nature’s form of resistance training. All in total it ended up being about 12.5 miles in about 2:20. Really slow pace, but my ankles, calves and gluts definitely got a workout jumping over and through tons of snow drifts and making sure I didn’t land on my ass.

I assumed not many people would be out along the river but was hoping the city might look nice all covered in a fresh layer of white snow so I brought my camera along to snap some pics. Unfortunately everything was still pretty gray, and the snow and wind picked up a lot around mile 10 of the run, so there weren’t any nice chrismas scenes but you can at least enjoy me running and talking into the camera while I almost bite it hard on a patch of ice.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1607228&dest=-1]

Higher-res version of the video here.

The one good thing about cold weather running is every time you do  your coldest run ever, everything else gets easier from there. Last week, 30 degrees and windy was a stretch. This week, it doesn’t seem so bad after doing a 20 degree run in the wind and snow.

While the run was actually a really good time, until my energy level and body temp started to drop quickly around mile 10, it is good to know that I can hunker down and pump out a decent performance when the conditions suck. That isn’t to say that I’m hoping for conditions like today for the hyannis marathon, but it is at least a little confidence booster.

I hope wherever the hell you are reading this right now, it is warmer than it is here.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside

December 14, 2008

Winter running is hardcore. Yesterday it was 30 degrees outside, but was windy as hell with a 15 degree wind chill. With a 10 mile run on the schedule for the day, I sucked it up, tossed on tons of layers and headed out to the streets.

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I was decked out in wool socks, wind blocking tights, two long sleeve coolmax t shirts, wind breaker, gloves, neck warmer, scull cap and head band. Even with all of that on, the first 2 miles were a little cool, but after that I warmed up and was nice and cozy. When the wind calmed down, I was actually feeling really good and took off my gloves for a while to cool down, but about half way through my run down the Charles River I hit a killer head wind. I was really thankful that I decided to bring my neck warmer to cover part of my face because the wind got so cold that even the fillings in my teeth started to freeze and hurt if I left my mouth open. Brutal.

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Here is one of the views from the river at about the mid-point of the run.

This was my longest run so far and my body knew it. Even with doing nice and slow 10 minute miles and stopping every 10 minutes to do a set of pushups, my back/shoulders and legs were all a little beat up by the end, although having good gear for the run definitely made all of the difference. While my average HR was probably a little higher because of the added miles and the gusting 15 degree winds, I never felt that bad and cruised along pretty easily though the whole run.

I do love my new CW-X insulator tights too. They freakin’ rock my socks off and have been keeping my legs warm for the last few weeks of cold runs. This was the coldest run I’ve brought them out on so far and was super happy with them. They will definitely be coming with me to the Hyannis half marathon starting line in February.

Winter Running Gear

After the run I jumped on the trainer and watched most of the IM World Champhionship on my DVR. It was really good to do a workout inside and out of the cold and give my legs a little rest after pounding the pavement for 10 miles. If you can watch Ironman Hawaii without being inspired and wanting to race there, I’m not sure if I can relate to you as a human being. That race and everyone that does it is freaking amazing. I rarely get emotional for any sappy movies or TV shows, but the race coverage definitely pull at a few of my heart strings. I’ll be watching it plenty more times before making way for anything else on my DVR.

Bundle up kids. It’s COLD outside!

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Only The Finest Ingredients To Protect Your Junk

December 12, 2008

Check out this YouTube Video ad from Dave Zabriskie and DZ Nuts.

This is hilarious. I’m becoming a huge Zabriskie fan just through all of his ball/taint jokes.

I’ve only used it once so far for my first cyclocross race, and actually thought it was pretty good. The only other time I’ve used chamois cream was for my century ride this summer and it was some other random cream that I got in some race SWAG bag. Utter Butter maybe? I got this major menthol-y sensation like I was smuggling a tin of altoids in my bike shorts. NOT pleasant.

Not with DZ nuts though! I wasn’t too quick, but at least I was comfortable. 🙂

Once the weather warms up and I do more long rides outside, I’ll definitely be putting DZ nuts to the test, on my nuts.

via Bike Hugger

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2009 Triathlon Goals

December 8, 2008

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

During a nice long slow run tonight, I had some time to clear my head and think about lots of things, including all the plans that are falling into place for next year and everything that has to fall into place between now and then. I had a really good run through Harvard square and Cambridge and along the Charles River.  Despite the strong winds and snow/freezing rain that was stinging my face, I got totally in the zone and I think I may have fallen back in love with running. I even got a few strange looks from people confused by my big smile as I trekked through the dark.

I stole this pic from Flickr, but this was pretty much my view for half of my run tonight. I love it.

With some nice slow miles to clear my head, I was able to knock off a few more goals for next season. These will be a work in progress, but I at least wanted to get them out there on the interwebs to keep me honest.

  1. Finish the Hyannis Half Marathon under 2 hours
  2. Be able to race, not just survive, two HIMs
  3. Finish sub 6:00 in at least one HIM (preferably both). Maybe even sub 5:45?
  4. Have a blast whenever I race, no matter what happens.
  5. Upgrade to a tri-specific bike.
  6. Keep the rubber side down = no crashes on the bike. (Unless I have a nice soft pile of mud to crash into. )
  7. Be able to do laundry on my stomach.
  8. Even when I’m beat up, tired and grumpy, still listen to Coach Brett.
  9. Take full advantage of my tri coach and make sure we keep up good lines of communications.
  10. Still maintain a normal social life and not get so engulfed in training that I can’t talk to non-triathletes about anything other than training. (I’ve seen it happen to a lot of other people. It isn’t pretty.)
  11. Break my 1 day long ride record of 127 miles.
  12. Find a way to keep myself from getting mentally/physically burnt out.
  13. DON’T GET INJURED

And on that note, the training is going really well and I’m definitely the fittest that I’ve been in December in a LONG TIME. Granted I’ve never started my tri season in November before, but you get the point. As long as I can ward off either a physical or mental blow up between now and Timberman in August, I’ll be set to rip it up. Here are my weekly swim bike and run time totals:

Swim: 2:05

Bike: 2:55

Run: 3:23

From what it looks like in the training plan, I’ll be holding my Swim/Bike numbers pretty steady and ramping up my running hours/intensity to get ready for the Hyannis Half Marathon in the end of February.  Hold tight. More to come.

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Top 10 Twitter Triathletes To Follow

December 2, 2008

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

I haven’t written about it here before, but I’ve been pretty active on the microblogging platform Twitter over the past few months. At first It was just a lot of tech geeks and public relations peeps like me, but lately a lot of triathlon folk have joined the twitter ranks.

I tweet at twitter.com/jamesonbull

If you haven’t heard of it before, twitter lets you post short messages (140 characters max) and send messages to friends or “followers.” These messages can even get pushed to your cell phone if you want and you can update all your friends on what you are up to via text messages too.  This video explains it better, but Twitter has turned into more than just a tool for sharing “what you are dong.”


This morning I also saw a lot of people creating a bunch of specialized top 10 lists for their favorite dad/mom/ITguy/sewing/cooking/religious twitter users, but no triathletes were getting any love. So I decided to create my own top 10 list of some people that you should follow if you are just getting on to twitter and want to see what is out there and how it works. I follow a lot more than just these guys, but they post pretty frequenty, and almost exclusevliy about tri stuff, so they made the cut.

Okay, well there are 11(technically 12), but screw it. In no particular order..

  1. Bikehugger
  2. texafornia
  3. coachadam
  4. lancearmstrong
  5. jessistensland
  6. konaguyim
  7. staytunedreport / triboomer
  8. usatriathlon
  9. triathletemag
  10. simplystu
  11. tdf_updates (Only really important in July, but still cool)

Who would you add to the list? Am I missing anyone?

UPDATE:

Because she is an attention whore (in the best possible way of course) I’ll add this one to the list. If you need advice on nutrition/holistic health issues, there none better/more awesome.

HolisticGuru – Christine Lynch

UPDATED UPDATE:

As twitter has gotten more popular, more cool endurence athletes joined in on the fun. I’ll be adding more triathletes worth following here as I find them.

Pro Triathletes