Monday, October 23, 2006

Saturday Bike.

Saturday was to be a completely lazy day. I was invited to a 'guys-only' day of football, beers and brauts at a friends house. It started at noon and really didn't have an end time [you were expected to just crash for the night]. This was an annual event for the guys to get away from the kids, the wives and the honey-do lists, and just be guys... and drink... a lot!

While some parts of this event were appealing to me, some weren't. I liked the idea of being able to 'get away' for the day, but I couldn't bring myself to spending the entire day there. The weather was too nice to spend indoors... and it was too nice to skip out on a workout.

It was sunny, but it was windy... the wind made it cold... but the sun helped [it's definitely Fall here]! So I geared up for a long bike ride. I thought I would take the last route, but take that loop in the opposite direction for something different. Once again, the hills were brutal! But I took them on with a smile.... I welcomed them... I sought them out, in fact. I deviated off of the original course for the purpose of seeking another, steeper climb. My legs weren't happy about that, but I had this 'sickness' in me that said, "Hills? Bring 'em on!"

The wind added a difficulty that I'd not yet experienced. It wasn't a heavy wind, it was more of a heavy breeze, but when you're on a bike, even a breeze can be a burden! Wow.

I was expecting to ride the 14.2 miles that I traveled last time, but my deviations were obviously going to extend that distance, so at mile 10 I set a goal of 20. I had the time, but whether I had the legs was yet to be seen.

I got lost again. I missed a turn somewhere, but that was okay. It forced me to ride further. It was a long steady down hill that I got carried away with. It took me about a 1/2 mile out of my way and added another 1/2 mile worth of climb for me to get back to the turn that I missed. Oops.

When I got near the house my cyclo-puter was reading 17 miles. I was thinking of routes where I could add the 3 miles to reach my goal of 20. I knew where I could go, but at that time my a_s started screaming at me. I was experiencing some deep saddle soreness from being in the saddle for an hour and a half. The pain was shooting down into my legs, so I decided to call it off. I'd just bring it into the house and call it good. I guess I need to work out my 'cheeks' for those long rides... and maybe look into another saddle.

Overall I was pleased with my ride.
17.4 miles
Time - 01:36:42
Top speed - 43.4 mph!
Avg. speed - 10.6 mph
1358 feet of climb

Friday, October 20, 2006

Yesterdays bike ride.

When I got home after work yesterday, the weather was really quite nice considering how gloomy it 'looked' all day. It had been cloudy and dark all day, but never produced any precipitaion. So I had this wild notion to jump on the Mountain Bike for a ride before the night fell upon me.

It was completely unplanned, so I was a little unorganized trying to find my gear. It took me a good 40 minutes or so before I was finally on the bike and riding down the road. In my haste I'd forgotten to put air in my tires. I had enough to ride, but I'd dropped the pressure for my off-road excursion this past weekend, so I kind of felt like I was riding through molasses the entire time I was out. Determined to get in a good ride before it got too dark, I powered on. I was already too far away from the house to warrant turning around and taking the time to get more tire pressure.

Off I went. I was taking some roads that I was kind of familiar with. It was my goal to get as far as I could in approximately an hour... because I knew that in about an hour it was going to be too dark.

I remembered that there were lots of rolling hills and many of them were quite challenging, but one forgets just how tough they can be. I guess I still haven't gotten use to how hilly it is around here. Until you get on a bike, it just seems so flat.... until you get on a bike!!!

Pushing myself as I was, I ended up getting a little lost. Thank God for technology! I was able to pull out the cell phone and call my wife. She then whipped out the laptop [we have wireless, so it's always handy] and logged on to mapquest. I told her about where I was and she could tell me where I needed to go. Yeah, I could have just turned around and returned the way I came, but I was determined to make a loop towards home. I knew it could happen... and it did.

As with all of the hills that go UP... there are also the hills that go down. They make all the climbs worth it! I tucked every hill that I thought would be worth tucking... and sucked every once of energy out of that hill that had once sucked the energy out of me, on the other side. One hill shot me out at 40 mph! Now that's intimidating! I read a bumper sticker recently that says, "Don't drive faster than your guardian angel can fly"

I hope my guardian angels are fast, cuz I'm not about to slow down!

...and yeah, it was a little too dark by the time I got home. I need to get better set up with lights. It sucks how it gets so dark so early during the winter months. Power on....

14.2 miles, 01:06:15
1024ft. of elevation (according to USA Track and Field)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Yesterday I went for a run... in the rain.

I got home and was feeling kind of blue... sleepy really... and ready for a nap. It had been raining all day, so getting outside never crossed my mind. I had surrendered to being confined to the indoors for the evening... because that's what you do when it's raining... you stay inside!

Perhaps this was why I was feeling blue. Perhaps this is why I just wanted to take a nap and forget about the world [I really was sleepy, but that's another Oprah]. Perhaps....

I was mulling over the idea of taking a nap and had mentioned it to my wife. She says to me, "Why don't you go for a run?" I'm thinking, "Wha?"... and then say, "... Because it's raining outside!" "Duh."

But then I thought to myself, "You know... You really should go for a run. Who cares if it's raining!" The idea quickly became appealing to me. I threw on my gear, grabbed the dog and out the door I went.

It was a step in the right direction. I was just talking with a buddy of mine about how I need to get over being a "Fair Weather" runner. I typically only run outside when it's nice out. The other reason I didn't want to get out in the rain is because I didn't want to get my running shoes dirty. Up until yesterday I'd preserved them from being exposed to any water or mud. I'm just kind of anal like that... but running shoes ain't cheap! I'll get over it.

I took a familiar route, but took a detour on the way back in an effort to lengthen the distance of my run. I wasn't sure how much further it would take me, but was pleasantly surprised to find out that it took me quite a bit further than I had expected. Thanks to USA Track & Field route mapping I was able to map out the distance of the detour. The total distance measured out to be 3.9 miles. My longest run to date.

I started out feeling really sore and tight from the race this weekend, but by mile 3 I was feeling O.K.

My legs are definitely sore today!

3.9 miles in 43:53 [you could probably take off three minutes for all the pit stops the friggin' dog had to make... sheesh!]

Monday, October 16, 2006

I guess it's time for a race report...

I did it! I've accomplished my first race!... and I lived!

That's about were the boasting ends. I think I was second to last, overall, coming ahead of one other woman. :-(

The results haven't posted yet, but I think my unofficial overall time was 01:46:10 (according to my watch).

This off-road course was a lot tougher than I had expected it to be. The run course was quite rocky and washed out in places, along with needing to jump over fallen trees and navigate through exposed tree roots. Parts of the bike course were similar, but less so. There was one fallen tree that people were obviously having difficulty riding over, as they were high-centering. I think one guy may have damaged the chainring on his cyclocross. I thought it crazy that people even tried to do this course with a cyclocross, but there were about four guys who brought them. I'm not sure whether they all made it or not.

The bike course was a 4 mile loop (x2) of hiking trails and fire roads, with short sections of paved road. The flyer mentioned theis one particular climb which rose 400 feet at 12% grade for over 1/2 mile, but I think the 12% was an average! I had to walk my bike up most of this climb (both laps). I just didn't have the legs for it. I saw one of the cyclocross bikes being walked up this hill, as well as a few others, but I'm sure that most of the racers needed to walk their bikes up this climb.

There were a couple of fun declines. One was paved. It came just before the big climb... steep enough to get 36 mph without even trying. You couldn't ride it out, because at the bottom there was a sharp left turn, so slowing down took up a big part of that section. The other declines where trail. I would go as fast as I could, but at one point was feeling unstable on the loose rock, so I told myself, "Slow it down, Eric, you're not that good!" I was not about to wreck at 20-something mph on loose rock!

I knew that I wasn't in contention for a medal on this day, so I just ran my race. My goal was to finish and I did. While I was out there I was reminded of how unprepared I was for this race; of how out of shape I am; of how 'fast-twich' I am vs. 'slowtwitch.' I was out there thinking, "This is the best workout I've had all year!" I was out there thinking, "I love this!" I'm definitely going to be doing this race again next year... and others just like it.

Fortunately, my wife made it out to the race and got a couple of photos to prove I was out there. If you look closely, you will see that I'm wearing my TRIFUEL hat, doing my best to represent!

(apparently my she didn't set the date correctly on the camera... but, oh well... Thanks for being there Honey!)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I struck up a conversation with a coworker yesterday. I was just leaving the gym locker room after my workout, when he came in after his run. I was asking him about what routes he takes around the area, telling him of my need-to-know-how-far-I-went compulsiveness. He mentioned trying out this site... USA TRACK & FIELD
Are you kidding me? This is way cheaper than buying a Garmin! I realize that this mapping tool may not be completely accurate... and don't get me wrong... I STILL want a Garmin... but it totally solves some of my issues! Yay!

Yesterdays workout included some ab work and a quick 30 minute workout on the stationary bike. It was the first time that I used this particular machine, but I figured since I'm racing this weekend, I need to at least get my legs ready to churn some pedals. I wasn't too pleased with the stationary bike, but it gave me the workout I needed. I had the 'resistance' [if you can really call it that] as high as it would go, plus I had the workout set to 'hill intervals.' Then I was peddling about as fast as I could, so that I could feel like I was getting a good workout. After the bike, I jumped off and onto the treadmill, for Brick sakes! I've never actually done a Brick, so I figured I'd better do something, since I have one coming up in the race. Wow. My legs felt so heavy. I only had time to run a half mile [@ 9:30 pace], but it gave me a good idea of what it's going to be like to run after the bike on Saturday. I'm scared, to say the least....

The weather is calling for Sunny and a high of 57degrees Fahrenheit, but I'm still concerned about having cold ears and digits... what to wear?... what to wear? Long sleeves? Short sleeves? Long pants? Shorts? I guess I'll just pack for the worst and strip layers as I need to.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I pounded out a 5k run on the treadmill yesterday. Something wierd happened and I don't know if I can explain it. You see... I went fast.

Now... don't get ahead of me. It certainly wasn't fast for a 5k, but it was fast for me. While it wasn't necessarily a personal best, it actually felt... well, not good, but not terrible and not so hard. In recent weeks of running, just getting 2 miles in was a chore. 3 miles was torture... but not yesterday. It was still painful, mind you, but something happened inside my head. Motivation? Perhaps... and most likely, really. It looks like I will be in my first race this weekend. An Off-Road Duathlon: 1.5 mile run, 8 mile bike, 1.5 mile run.
Lancaster County Off-Road Duathlon

I take that back... It doesn't "look" like I'll be in the race. I, in fact, will be in the race. I'm officially registered!

Wow. Now I'm nervous...

Friday, October 06, 2006

There won't be a workout today [unless you count taking a 2-year old cross country on a commercial airliner... which I'm terrified of, but I get to take it on...blek!].

My day is going to be too crazy for me to get in a workout today, but it comes at a good time. My legs are... well... not sore [surprisingly]... but they are definitely fatigued. So I'll take the day off, rest and heal. I'm feeling that tightness in the bottoms of my feet again. I'm not sure what's up with that. I guess it's just all part of getting into shape. I just don't ever recall having sore feet.

I read an inspiring blog entry yesterday. It has really made me think about something. I've ignored the 'Athlete' inside of me for a long time. I was a good athlete once... I'm still a good athlete. I just need to pay more attention to the athlete inside of me. He is good for me in many ways and my life just works better when I can maintain a close relationship with him. Here's the blog I read: "I Am an Athlete"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

2.25 miles today.

It was painful and exhausting... ugh!

[but I guess it still counts!] :-)

...that's all I have to say about that...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I don't get it...

It seemed to take everything I had in me to go 2 miles on the treadmill yesterday. I actually pulled out 2.4 miles, but it took me forever! I did a lot of walking, because I just couldn't hang.

Today was a little better... 3.04 miles... And I did this distance as fast as yesterdays distance. My knees are a little sore today. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my heart rate remained relatively low during today'’s workout. My respiratory is another story...

My energy, in general, has been especially low recently. I feel like I'm not getting enough sleep. I think I may have sleep apnea. Ah, the joys of aging! I've got the number to a local sleep clinic. I will get to the bottom of this. Who's robbing my sleep???

I've always been a fan of sleep. In fact, naps are a favorite pastime of mine. "Take-a-nap"” could be my middle name, but they are coming more out of necessity than enjoyment, anymore. I wish I were one of those people that could operate on little sleep. I have a hard enough time functioning on less than 7 hours of sleep. Okay... that'’s enough about that. I'm getting sleepy!

I have got to take the time to map some running routes around my office building. I'’m going to be spending enough time indoors, on the treadmill this winter; I need to take advantage of the nice days that are left, until then. The problem is... well... TIME!

I'm heading to Colorado for my long weekend. "What long weekend?" you're asking. I work for the State, so we get Columbus Day off... [Yay for me!] Anyway, my point with bringing up the fact that I'm going out of town is, continuing training while away. I'’m terrible when it comes to maintaining a regime while out of town, so I'm hoping to turn a new leaf [no "Fall season" pun's intended]. I'’ll be taking my running gear [priority over anything 'fashionable'’], with the intention of running while I'’m out there. The high altitude training will be good for me. ;-)