Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10/6-10/12 - Of the Trainer and Crossfit

Despite being in the midst of run training, I'm trying to make sure I cross-train as well. Strength-training is staying around and I'm also attempting to swim.

The main thing I've been trying to do (mostly for next year's plan) is to get on the bike. Outside time hasn't happened so much, but I got on the trainer twice last week for a whole hour. That's nothing compared to what I was doing (five hour trainer ride, anyone?), but if it helps me get back into it, all the better.

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Getting back used to this view ...

I also tried something technically new on Tuesday, October 8 - Crossfit.

It was somewhat intentional. SkirtSports does monthly group "runs" (although I hesitate to use the word run as this one was NOT really a run) on the first Tuesday of the month. I thought there was going to be more running then there was, but there WAS Crossfit. 

More specifically, two laps around the office complex, stretching and then three sets of 25 each squats, push-ups, and lunges (with a short lap in between each set) followed by two more laps to cool down.

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Stolen from the SkirtSports Instagram feed. I'm in front in the pink shoes and IMAZ shirt. Taken during stretching.

I ... couldn't walk for a few days thanks to that workout. My manager who does Crossfit says the workout we did was no joke (and it was technically half of what was supposed to be done).

My thoughts? I get the appeal. I really do. I finished the whole thing, but both my squat and lunge form purposefully went to hell by the last set - I did NOT want to pull something and I felt that if I kept trying to keep proper form AND go fast ... I would injure myself. Which is something the detractors of Crossfit mention, and I totally agree with. I like how Crossfit gets people lifting. I really enjoy lifting (and need to do it much more often than I actually do), but you need to lift safe, and I'm not sure that always happens with Crossfit.

I will also say that I probably could have slowed down and kept with proper form even if it took me longer because we weren't actually being timed (like we would in an actual CF box), but I'm a little competitive and felt like I had to go fast. I do think Jen (our instructor, who was great) maybe should have told us to NOT go as fast as one normally would so as to keep proper form/reduce injury risk, but maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

9/29-10/5: In Vegas Training

This past week's recap will actually not be as fun as most of them are, unfortunately, as I haven't done anything all that fun. 

That being said, we've officially started training for the Vegas half-marathon.

The week started off slow (going to a metal show on Sunday night and then working very, very early both Monday and Tuesday will make one terribly exhausted), but on Wednesday, things picked up and have been progressing nicely since then.

I've also decided, for October, to do what I did back in January and commit to moving/working out at least 10 minutes every day. I can find 10 minutes a day. 

In terms of running, I had what I'm pretty sure was my largest running week in training yet this year - 17.22 miles (this does NOT include racing) including quite possibly my longest training run this year - 9.29 miles.

That 9-miler was ... interesting. If you paid along to my weekly recaps I did on here last year during IMAZ training, you may have noticed that I had a lot of things in "CCSP." CCSP is Cherry Creek State Park, which we happen to live down the hill from (no, literally, down the hill). We ride in there a bit, but I've rarely ran in there because I never wanted to attempt running-mapping the trails.

Then I got a Garmin, and I started to run in there a bit, but only a bit (my main 7 miler is an out-and-back into the park). Sunday, I decided, screw it, I have a Garmin, I may as well run in here.

Because it's me, and the universe likes to screw with me, my Garmin lost satellites at some point on the run after the 6 mile point. I glanced down, saw "6.03 miles in 1:03:xx" and thought, "okay, I thought I was moving a bit faster than that, but whatever," and kept running. 

After a while, I hadn't heard my Garmin beep for mileage (which I sometimes don't hear anyway), so I looked down ... "6.03 miles in 1:22:xx." Huh. That's not right. Stopped it, restarted it ... and oh look, distance registered again. 

Since thankfully the time kept running, I knew how long I had gone for, but I knew there was no way I only ran 7.whatever miles. So I ended up having to map the run ANYWAY. Thanks, universe, you a-hole.

In any case, it capped off a great second week of half-marathon training, so yay for that.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Running Shoe Lament (Free Verse of the Wide-Footed)

(Poetry corner on the blog today ...)

my feet, they be tricky;
bunions make buying shoes
an awful, awful experience.
let's go up a size
or ideally, in wide
for comfort is hard to be found.

since i started running,
lo these many years
(okay, seriously since 2005),
i've maybe had two pairs i've loved:
an adidas microbounce in black 
with teal and silver accents
and fun inserts in both teal and purple
that i got cheap at sports authority
(knew what i was doing? pshaw.)
and my glorious wonderful
(and unfortunately pinkish red)
mizuno wave rider 16s,
the shoe of ironman
(and thank you mizuno
for putting a wide in a fun color
that's not just boring white.
even if it was technically pink.).

then they died, as shoes are wont to do
and replaced, they needed to be.
the 17s? though pretty they were,
the seamlessness
and the top of my foot
were not friends when they met.

with 18s months away from release,
off to the internet to find more 16s
(old models meant cheap
or so i hoped)
and of course they're cheap
except the ONE PAIR of 10 wides i needed.
i needed shoes, so here, take my money.

but ... 
they never fit the same.
they try to blister my heels.
wide? you mock me, shoe!

people i know
who know people themselves
made me think i got a bad batch
(for the shoe says wide,
but believe it i don't).
a waste of my money
(serves me for not shopping local).

the 18s are out soon
(yesterday, in theory)
yet i haven't been able to find a wide
(i need to try before i buy)
(stupid feet)
as of yet.
i have a half-marathon in six weeks
and would like new shoes.

brand loyal i need not be
(i usually am
but said feet? mean shoes can not be)
but i think mizuno i'd prefer.
(never liked asics.
saucony? you wear out too fast.
nike misses more than they hit
and while zoot intrigues the triathlete within,
skepticism still reigns.)

so wish me luck in this journey
as my feet need to be shod
(barefoot i'll never run;
especially in vegas - yuck!)
and uncomfortable running shoes
are misery indeed.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Today I did an 8.5 mile run, which went really well.  I'm dramatically increasing the running, and the body and mind are responding.  I'm feeling like I'm making good gains, and that my Vegas goals are in line.

What's hard for me right now is patience.

For those who know don't know me, I tend to be impatient.  I'm that guy who is tapping his foot when I'm held up for whatever reason, looking at his watch, etc.  Maybe it's my nature as a pilot.  I don't know.  What I do know is that on long runs, where I'm holding back as much as I can, is I want to go faster.

It's an exercise in patience.  Dial it back, force yourself to go slower.  Gains are made in the LSD runs as much as they are on the track or treadmill.  

The other point where I'm forced to exercise patience is in the shape of my body/my weight.  Yes, I am starting to lose the lumpiness I've gained over the past year and seeing gains there.  But not as quickly as I'd like.  I'm forced to remind myself that I didn't gain the weight overnight, and I won't lose it overnight either.  Patience.

Friday, October 3, 2014

9/15-9/28: What I've Been Up To

Yeahhhh, we know I've been a bit remiss with blogging lately. As a result, I've got some workouts to catch up on!

On Wednesday, September 17, we rode into Cherry Creek State Park ... mainly so I could test out my new helmet.

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At Crescent Moon, I won a free Rudy Project item (sunglasses or helmet), so I decided I'd try out a new road helmet. The chin strap is a bit bulky, but other than that, I like it okay.

A few days later on Saturday, September 20, I went on a group ride with Richard and Carlos and a few other people from Kompetitive Edge. We rode from the store up to Dinosaur Ridge, past Red Rocks, through Morrison and back to the store. It was a fun 30 mile ride.

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Almost back to the store; stopped at a light.

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Stoplight selfie.

September 24 we hit up what is seemingly turning out to be our monthly track session for some 200s. We successfully managed one more this time than last outing, so yay for that.

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After we finished.

Finally, on September 25, also known as our third wedding anniversary, we played a little hockey. I forked out quite a bit of money for an hour of ice time so we could skate and shoot and realize how out of hockey shape we are. It was a total blast, though.

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Messing around.

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Kind of looking like I know what I'm doing.

Yay, fun times, right? I know y'all missed this ...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Round-Up

Anniversary mini-vacation meant no blogging. Which is unfortunate, because I have workout posts about fun things. They'll still come, though.

Anyway, September. September was only half-way decent thanks to Harvest Moon. And only kind of.

Running: 37.62 mi
Swimming: 2881.21m (1.79 mi)
Cycling: 105.51 mi
Lifting: four sessions (1:11)
Other: one walk (:24), one session of hockey (1:00)

Did I do something non-S/B/R related?: Yes! We rented ice for our anniversary and played a little puck and it was AWESOME.

Am I strength-training regularly?: Still averaging that once a week, but yes.

Am I injury-free?: Unless you count frying my skin, including a horrible triathlete tramp stamp, which I did at Harvest, which actually did affect my run ... yes, yes I am.

Motivation has been hard to come by since the spring/early summer. Vegas is on the horizon, though, and we are picking up the running. The cycling and swimming are going to be tricky, but I know we need the cross training, so hopefully I'll still have some progress in those. We both want the strength to get ratcheted up so I'm hoping to have a few hours worth of that next month.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On Being "Slow" and the Fear of Success

This is a post I've been thinking of sitting down and writing since probably May. Today was a good time to just get it over with since I don't really have anything else to talk about otherwise. Took a good chunk of last week off/easy (70.3s on little training tend to beat one up pretty badly) so I don't have any fun workouts to post about.

So, this. This instead. It'll be a bit rambling, so bear with me.

On Being "Slow"

I say I'm slow all the time. My times - especially in triathlons - tend to back up my words as well. Compared to some, it's also true. I'm also quite friendly with a lot of fast people:
- Mike - Olympian, marathon winner, second at the Leadville 100 this year
- Nic - marathon winner, Olympic trials qualifier, probably more that I don't even know
- Norm - half-marathon winner, consistent AG podium runner, qualifies for Boston at Boston
- Sonja - local triathlete badass, winner of my AG at IMAZ
- Ann - friend of Norm, qualified for Boston in her first marathon, just qualified for 70.3 worlds, 6th in my AG at IMAZ in her first IM
- Jenna - MX12 teammate and consistently places on podiums
- Richard - local triathlete friend, Ironman All World Athlete, podium-finisher
- Steve - speedy runner/triathlete from the Twin Cities
And even more that I'm not mentioning here. When I compare myself to them, I feel unbearably slow.

I also know, however, that compared to others, I'm also faster than them. I try to amend my words, to when I say I'm slow, that I'm comparatively slow

I wonder though, is this holding me back? Should I not say that I'm comparatively slow, but instead that I'm not as fast as I'd like to be? Or as fast as I could be?

I believe that this all ties into ...

The Fear of Success

I do believe I am afraid of success. I have been for YEARS. It is realistically why I'm stuck in my current job (essentially minimum wage slave, but I've been working there long enough that I'm in pseudo-management and definitely not making minimum wage anymore). This is partially because I don't like the spotlight, and success typically means the spotlight.

When a bit of success comes my way, I tend to downplay it. You've seen that here.

- Barkin' Dog Duathlon - My first ever podium. I justified it by saying I got lucky, that I didn't have to swim, that all the fast people did the long-course.
- SkirtSports 5K - Podium number two. Small race, all of the fast people must have done the half-marathon.

At the same time, just like almost every other triathlete, I dream about making it to Kona*. Realistically, if that happens, it'll be because I got lucky through the lottery or I raced enough to get a legacy spot, but why shouldn't I try for the qualification? I say it's because I'll never be a fast enough runner, or because my swim is such a disaster ... but is that negative thinking the biggest problem of all?

I know I am better than I think. I know there is potential in me that's waiting to be tapped (in more than just the athletic realm too, trust me). I know Nic sees it and I also know that Richard does. I see glimpses of it myself - the GtIS half where I pulled a half-way decent time out of my butt on little training (and an assist to gravity). The realistic notion that I feel with decent training, I could have pulled a sub-7 out on the Harvest Moon course despite it being fairly difficult. That I had a sub-7 (or at the very least, a PR/sub-7:30) until the lack of training caught up to me the same time a massive hill and headwind did.

The question then becomes, how do I (or anyone else facing this issue) fix this? Is it a mental block? Brandon says that in general, I get fairly decent and to a point of breaking through a wall, breaking through to that next step. I try to break through, maybe just a little, fail ... and then retreat back into the comfortable. 

The comfortable IS enough. It allows me to race and to finish and to be healthy. We stress in our household that we ARE enough. 

At the same time, I'd like to be more, too. The more intrigues me. The more terrifies me. To change the limits and push through the fear - that is what I need to do, to be not "slow" and to succeed.

I think that to do this, it is twofold:

1.) Change the mindset. Ironman terrified me as much as it excited me. I made it a mental game from the outset to a when not an if I crossed. It was never going to be a question. My conscious choice this year to embrace the hill on the bike has worked for the most point. I still don't like hills and climbing - as a bigger athlete, I probably never will - but I don't dread them and they don't mentally break me anymore. I do not need to say that I'm slow anymore. That I'm not that good. I need to say ... something else. Right now, I don't exactly know what will work, but I do know that I need to figure it out.

2.) Put in the work. I can change my thinking all I want, but if I don't put in the work, I'll never be able to back it up. In IMAZ training last year, the best point was when the work made me truly believe I could back up my when I cross claim. I've got plans for putting in the work next year - I won't reveal them yet - but I've already shared them with a few people. Some people say I/we'll fail; others can't wait to watch us succeed. I, for one, can't wait to see us succeed, either.

*Yes, despite all the bullshit surrounding WTC, and how much of a dick company they're turning out to be ... they've hooked me with this. I can't help it. I know I shouldn't want to feed the machine, but it's been so conditioned by this point. Damnit. It's exactly like my merch comment in one of my IMAZ posts.