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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Lactic Acid.

This is the bane of my existence. Lactic acid is created by your body as a byproduct of your muscles burning fuel for energy. The harder you work the more lactic acid you create. It's really nasty stuff. It's what causes your muscles to tire when you sprint for 20 seconds. It's what causes your calves to to burn when you climb stairs for too long. It's what killed PFC Santiago for God's sake.

Anyway, your body produces this stuff all the time but your blood flow allows it to be flushed from your system. To be honest, I have no idea where it goes. There is this magic heart rate level at which your body can no longer flush away the lactic acid. Your body produces more than your can eliminate. This is called your lactate threshold (LT). It's important to know this number because theoretically you can work out at a heart rate level below LT forever. Knowing your LT also allows you to focus on the "zones" at which, if you work out in them, will either increase the amount of fat your burn and increase your aerobic capacity or strengthen your muscles. So last night I went in to find out my LT on the bike.

I've done an LT test many times in the past. You ride 3 x 15 minute intervals at a maximum sustainable effort with 10 minute rests in between and then you take 97% of your average heart rate over those three efforts. That should be your LT. The problem with that test is that they say no one actually works out at their maximum sustainable effort.

So in the lab they put you on your bike on a stationary trainer (boring) and set it up so that no matter how hard you pedal you generate 80 watts of power. If you've never done this I highly recommend it because I can't explain why no matter how hard your effort your work doesn't change. Anyway after a 10 minute warm up the goal is to maintain a cadence of 90 rpm while they raise the output watts by 20 every 60 seconds. Your vitals and subjective level of work are recorded each minute until you can no longer sustain 90 rpm. They use this data to determine how many watts of power you can sustain and your LT.

Results: 340 watts, LT 167. I think a power meter might go on the Christmas wish list.

Thursday: LT on the run. They say it's different, I can't say, I've never done it before.

By the way; if you didn't get it, the PFC Santiago line was from A Few Good Men.

Friday, October 27, 2006

52 degrees this morning...Brrrr

Ken got over to my house to ride at 5:45 am. He was dressed like he was going ice fishing in Canada! I threw a long sleeve t-shirt on under my jersey and headed out.


This "no gloves" thing might have to end soon. Ken was wearing full finger winter gloves and I'm riding with none at all. Even when I tried to blow into my hands it didn't do much good. Although I wasn't suffering much from the saddle sores the fatigue and the cold caused me to feel a great deal of doubt about the ride.

As we began the climb onto Hummingbird Lane a great thing happened: As I crested the first hill I could see a sliver of the new day's sun break over the mountains to the east. Immediately I could feel the rays begin to heat my body. The warmth spilled over me like an optimistic baptism.

That's why I love the morning rides. It's when you get to see the day that is coming, not think about the day that has passed.

5 Days - 500 miles

510 technically. Nice time. But I'm not ready to qualify for RAAM.

Back to running and swimming tomorrow. I hired a coach this week. I go in for LT testing on the bike on Monday and Thursday we do a run LT test.

Friday - 70 miles

Great ride today! A little tiring. Maybe I'm just a little tired.

I remembered that back in France we had very cushy seats and nobody complained about their butts being sore. You see, normally you want as hard a seat as you can stand because you don't want any energy being wasted by your butt bouncing up and down on a foamy seat. The seat I'm about to get is just a molded piece of carbon fiber with no padding whatsoever.

For today's ride however, I cannibalized Katie's bike and took her comfy seat and put it on my bike. Very comfortable. I had no issues whatsoever and I don't even think I lost that much energy to the seat.

Thursday - 100 miles

Can't decide how I felt about today's ride. Very windy out on the west side but that helped in some areas as much as it hurt in others. Nothing really noteable about the ride other than I can't read a map correctly I guess. I got to work and I was at 70 miles. Since it's about 20 home I had to add 10 in town here. That is my least favorite thing to do, ride around with no destination.

I'll say this - I don't know about this saddle sore. Every pedal stroke is agony. My butt finally went numb at about mile 65. Ugh. I'm really not sure about Friday at this point. The goal was 500 in a week. I'm the one that pushed it to 500 in 5 days. Maybe I could take it easy Friday and rest it up and finish up on Saturday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wednesday - 103 miles - CRASH!!!!!

Today I went North instead of South. I put a ton of Lidocain on my saddle sores. That REALLY kept the pain away for about an hour. There was no wind and I kept to my active recovery pace and the ride pretty much passed without incident. That is, until....

I was on a bike path and coming up out of a tunnel. The road veers right but dumb ass me was paying attention to something else when a curb jumped out in front of me. I crash a lot and I'm starting to get really good at it.

I must have looked like Ninja Man going over the handlebars because I was totally relaxed and I was in a pretty tight tuck. I flew about 10 feet over the handlebars and hit the ground rolling. I banged up my helmet (Katie must own stock in Giro because she's making me get another one) and got some road rash on my left shin and my back and left hip ended up getting torn up a bit. But, this is the cool part, my hands are pristine. I don't wear gloves and usually after something like this your hands are all torn up because you try to stop yourself with them. It's really a bad idea to do that because that's how you end up breaking your wrists.

So when I hit the ground my bike pulled a little "Evel Kenevil at Caesar's Palace" and it tumbled over me. Then I'm laying there on the ground laughing because nothing was broken. The bike's OK. It's taken some shots over the years and the shift levers probably need replacing but besides that it's OK.

Tuesday 107 miles

What did I do today? Oh yeah, I rode my bike. I can't describe how bad I felt this morning. Man, I hurt all over, especially in the saddle region. I don't understand where it came from but I have a really uncomfortable saddle sore.

I rode with my buddy Ken this morning to work and then I went South to Tempe Town Lake and then East out to Fountain Hills and did one lap of the Ironman course. Doesn't look too hard. Of course that was done without swimming for an hour before.

After leaving Ken I rode the rest of the way pretty much at 130 bpm HR and I never stressed out my legs. I was really surprised how good I felt for the ride home. That active recovery crap really works.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Kenneth Anthony Petrine who turns 1 today!

Monday - 130 miles

Maybe it wasn't the smartest thing in the world to do, drinking 2 beers, 4 Mohitos, and 5 cognacs. I only know that it felt good - until this morning that is when I decided to ride out to the White Tanks. So there I was, hung over, hip bothering me still, getting on my bike for a day which promises to be as long as any day I've spent on the bike.

After 65 miles or so I was down in the lower left of the map at about point 'D'. My average speed at that point was 20.5 mph. It was a great ride. Calm winds and either flat or 1% up or down. As I turned left to get to the town of Buckeye - WHAM!!!! I ran into a wind that had to be 25 mph. Up until then I was trying to maintain a speed above the average. Immediately what had been an easy 25 mph pace turned into a 13 mph struggle. It would be 3 hours before I would be able to maintain a speed above my average and my average will have dropped to 18.5 mph at that point. It was 111 to my office but I did a 1 mile loop so that I'd be at 112 (ironman distance). So, technically I still have 18 miles left to get home but I'm still counting the mileage here to get to the 130.

Another not so great thing that happened out there was that my back wheel slipped into a crack in the asphault in Buckeye and scratched the rim really bad. There's no damage and it runs true but it sure makes a funny noise when I brake.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Something neat about the run...

In general this is a pretty restful couple of days. I rode 4 days, swam 3, and ran 4 this week but I'm not sure I really overdid it any single day.

I'm taking the week off of running next week because I have something special planned on the bike. More on that later. To prep for next week I did something I rarely do; cleaned my bike. My new Mavic Kserium wheels arrived so I put those on. It's time for a new chain and I planned to put a new cassette but when I opened it I discovered I had purchased a 12-27 instead of a 12-23. I just told the guy at Performance Bike I wanted an Ultegra cassette. He must have taken a look at me and made the value judgement that I needed a 27 to climb the hills around Phoenix. Or maybe they were just out of 12-23s because they didn't have any when I returned the 12-27. I cleaned the old gears and ordered a new set online. I also cleaned up Katie's bike so we'll be ready to take Ken and Paige out in the carrier next weekend.

Today I had a little epiphany on the run. Day started bad. I got up at 4:00 but I couldn't motivate myself to get out of the house so I just watched 2006 Ironman Arizona and Coeur d'Alene. After the kids went down for a nap I decided to get out there. Temp was 89 degrees and sunny. It's been a while since I ran when it was that hot.

Immediately I had problems. My phone's mp3 player fritzed on me so I listened to "No Myth" by Michael Penn 3 times while I got ready and headed out. I had planned on doing my (now) usual 5 miles but a little faster than usual because I knew I wouldn't be running next week.

I went out at a 7:30 pace and within 1/2 mile I had a huge cramp in the muscle right above my right shin just to the right of the bone and my right hip felt like I had dislocated it. I struggled through another half mile and decided to walk for a second and fix my mp3 player while I contemplated my future.

After I got the tunes going again I decided to just go along at a fast walk. That didn't hurt and I sped it up to a slow jog. Suddenly I felt great. I checked an I was cruising along at a 10 minute mile pace. Slow, yes, but almost effortless. I forgot my HR strap again but I'd estimate my pulse was around 120 -130. I was almost able to breathe through my nose exclusively. I was just cruising along and I noticed that if my pace went any faster than 9:30 my hip would start to throb. Funny thing was, I think I could have gone forever at that 9:30 - 10:30 pace. So I realized, that's my base pace. Just like on the bike, you have to get lots of miles in at a slow pace in order for the blood vessels to grow in the correct places to feed the muscles quickly and efficiently. I've just never really tried to go that slow before. So anyway, I kind of lost track of myself and ended running about 10 miles. That is by far the furthest I've ever run at one time.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Something to look at if you ever start to take yourself too seriously or if you, like me, mistakenly start to think that what you are trying to accomplish is really meaningful in the big picture.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Couple of kid pics

Nothing to do with training but here's a couple cute pics of Paige and Ken.

Paige is obviously very much hamming it up for the camera.

Love this outfit. We have Pictures of Paige wearing the same thing.

The Stockdale Paradox

"Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be... while retaining faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties."

This came from Jim Collins' book Good to Great. It describes the duality of the situation Admiral Stockdale faced as a POW in Vietnam. On one hand POWs needed to have faith that they would be rescued one day while at the same time understand that it might take several terrible years for that to happen.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Don't lose focus...

Two, count them, TWO life-flashed-before-my-eyes moments today on the way in.

First I was flying down this steep short hill after doing a short steep climb on the edge of a small cliff. There's a right turn that I usually go slow around but today I just dove into the turn and leaned hard. As I started to come out of the turn I hammered the pedals and I WAS IN THE LOWEST GEAR! The rear tire came up off the ground and then slammed down hard. Then it rocked back and forth and the bike fished left and right and left again. Usually that is when you go down. In this case it would have meant going over the little ravine. But thankfully it just sort of straightened itself out and I continued up the next climb.

Second time I was descending right after the next climb. I got to about 40 mph and I felt a rock hit the front of my foot and then I heard it bounce on the ground. Then another rock hit my foot. I looked down and saw that it wasn't a rock but the battery for my headlight. It was tethered to the light by its cord and was bouncing hitting the ground and my feet. Now it bounced right into my front wheel. Fortunately it bounced off the spokes and started bouncing some more. By this time I'm pulling as hard as I can on the brakes but they aren't much good. I unclipped my right foot and I'm using it to block the battery from bouncing into the front wheel. I don't know if it gets into the spokes if the spokes will just shear off the cord or if I'm going over the handlebars "Breaking Away" style. As the bike slowed to about 15 mph the battery bounced off the ground and I leaned over and snatched it out of mid air, coasted to the bottom of the hill, and reattached it to the frame.

So anyway, I saw my life flash before my eyes twice today. Let me tell you. My life is fucking awesome!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Decided to swim after my haircut.
I was telling somebody a story about Paige last night. She's three and pushed a stool over by the couch and started diving from the stool to the couch. Then she would move the stool back a couple inches and do it again. Finally she missed the couch. Then she moved the stool in a couple inches and started doing it again. She went on like this for 45 minutes.
So this person says, "Don't you wish you had the energy to play like that?" I guess I might have the energy if I didn't run 5 miles this morning, ride to work, swim 800 meters, and ride home.

Panic sets it....

I was riding home last night with Ken and I said that I don't feel like I'm training enough. He said that he's not sure what else I can be doing. He's a real downer by the way. I'm not exactly sure what he does for a living but it has something to do with analyzing risk. God I can't stand analysts. So all he does is go on about why I can't do this. I told him that I won't be hiring him to be my sport psychologist.

Speaking of which, I have to interview a new therapist today. And I have to hire a swim coach. Do I keep saying that?

This morning I ran 5 and rode to work. Considering skipping the swim this afternoon and getting a haircut which I desperately need.

Had a complaint yesterday about the lack of pictures here. Not much to really show. I wish I had a good before picture of myself. My legs and stomach have completely transformed. It's weird because my legs have gotten so thin since July. I had no idea I was carrying around so much body fat in them I guess. None of my clothes fit. I look silly in everything. I had lunch with my buddy Dustin the other day. He hasn't seen me since before I went to France and his first words were, "Are you trying to lose weight, or do you have cancer?" I don't really want to buy new clothes though because I'm going to be putting on some upper body weight.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ride & Swim

I was riding with Ken this morning but he called and was running late so I met him on the way. Very lethargic on the ride this morning. Heart rate was low but so was the average speed. Might have something to do with giving blood a week ago but more likely it was the massive amount of beer and Irish Car Bombs (A shot of baileys in a glass of stout) I was drinking last night until midnight.

700 m of swimming at lunch. Very fun. I forgot how much I enjoy working out.

57 degrees

About to leave for a ride to work. There's this magic temperature here in Phoenix - 59 degrees F. As soon as it is 59 degrees in the morning you have to start wearing arms and legs in the morning. It's 57 this morning. I wasn't ready for this change. It'll still be very nice in the afternoons.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

6 months!

Six months from today and counting.

Ran 5 miles this morning. Supposed to have done it yesterday but thre rain got in the way. No more excuses.

Planning on many beers this week.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It rains in Phoenix?

Man, I was planning a 20 mile ride this morning and then a 5 mile run but it's pouring rain today. I guess if I'd have rolled out of bed at 5:00 am like I planned I might have gotten to it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Swim Swim Swim

700 meters at lunch. Really need to hire a coach.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Feeling better

Last night the ride home was much better than the ride in.

Ran almost 5 miles this morning before 5:00 am. Great run! Great time! I saw something I've never seen in the wild before: A tarantula. Big sucker! As big as my hand with my fingers spread out. Just walking on the side of the road. Of course my does-everything-in-the-world camera / smartphone /pda didn't have enough memory to take a picture of it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Spent some time looking at something this morning that I haven't looked at in a while: Ken's back wheel.

Wow I'm beat. I think the blood donation really took a toll on me.

Might take another day off from swimming and running.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rest day

Needed to work early this morning so I'm counting this as a rest day.

Gave blood today. Iron level came in at 49%. A little low for me. I'm usually at 51%. I asked them to test it again when I was done but they said they couldn't. I figure if I have roughly 8 pints of blood in my body and 50% of my whole blood is red blood and I gave them 1 pint of red blood (I give what's called a "power red donation") I have given them 25% of my red blood. My iron level should have fallen to 38%. That would make sense since you need a level of 40% or better in order to donate the power red.

Last time I gave I had ridden to work. They say to you as you leave, "don't do any strenuous activity for the rest of the day." Today this was not a problem. They also recommend you avoid alcohol for 24 hours. That's going too far and is just wrong! I gave them my blood already, what else do they want?!

I'm approaching desperation in my need for a haircut.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Slow progress

On Saturday I did 15 miles with Paige in her bike trailer. Look around, you don't see a lot of carbon Trek bikes pulling 3 year olds. On the way home a guy on a very nice Trek TT bike with Ironman stickers on it went past me. Even though I didn't quite keep up with him I think that's understandable since I was pulling 40lbs of trailer and baby.

That afternoon I rode 45 miles up to the towers in Carefree. Averaged 19 + up to the turn to the towers but didn't go as fast as I thought I would have on the final climb. Final average was 20.5 mph for the whole trip.

Ran 4 miles Sunday. Effortless. 8 mph pace. Need to get faster.

This morning I rode 20, ran 1, swam 700 m, and ran another mile before work. Have a 23 mile ride home this evening.

Need to hire a swimming coach soon.

A little history

I was always the smallest, skinniest kid you ever saw.

In 1982 I was a freshman in high school and I think I weighed 72 lbs at the start of the wrestling season. I think your average 5th grader weighs more than that. When I graduated high school 20 years ago I weighed 145.

I pretty much held that weight for 10 years. In 1995 right after I sold the pool hall I started kick boxing and lifting and put on 30 lbs of muscle. Then I stopped working out, went to school for my MBA, stopped kickboxing, and got married. My 30 lbs of muscle turned into fat. A lot of fat. Somewhere around my 33rd birthday I tipped the scales at 189 lbs.

Through exercise I reduced that over the past years to a manageable 160 or so. My pattern is that I ride my bike like a maniac in the Spring and watch what I eat and drink. I always quit drinking for Lent. By the end of the summer I'll be down to 155. Then over the holidays and birthdays I put on 10 to 12 lbs over the winter. This year I swear that won't happen. This morning I weighed 148. I've never been stronger on the bike. Probably never run or swam this well either but that really isn't saying much.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

How this started....

OK. I'm going to try and be a little more diligent with my postings on this one but I want to step back and talk about why I'm doing this.

Here's how it came about: As many of you are aware last summer I went on a trip to France to ride my bike and watch the tour. See for details. Anyway, my wife Katie is thinking about renting a house in the south of France with a friend of hers next July. If she did I would do another Trek Travel trip. I might even do a two or three week trip instead of the one-week I did last year.

Anyway, in September I got the crazy idea that she could do one of the weeks with me. She's thin and fit and young, but she's more into yoga than aerobics so it would take a great commitment on her part to train for such an event. After thinking about it for a while she decided not to attempt the ride. Whenever I'd tell that story to a friend they would laugh and say there's no way someone could get ready for a trip like that in 10 months. I commented that with 10 months training I could do an Ironman. Again, friends would laugh and say it couldn't be done which of course is exactly the wrong way to discourage me.

I checked online and although the open entry for the Ironman Arizona event on April 15, 2007 was closed there were still slots open if you made a small charitable contribution. I signed up and committed myself to the event. Of course I only have 6 months to prepare, not 10.