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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Energy Bars & Gel

I wrote before about El Tour de Tucson and how I had problems because of the Cliff Bar I tried to eat.
Some of the energy gel packs are good and some aren't and some affect my stomach and some don't. One of my nutrition books suggested trying several and seeing which work. So I went to the store and I was reading the ingredients of different brands and they are all the same. They're all almost completely maltodextrose. Some have caffeine and some have electrolytes and some have some simple sugars in them but the majority of the gels are all the same complex sugar.
I found a recipe for the energy gels but I didn't know where to buy the maltodextrose. I called my brother Kirk who runs a food manufacturing operation in Chicago. He asked me if I need a 5 lb or a 50 lb bag of it. At 100mg / serving I told him 5 lb would be enough.

The week so far...

This is a rest week for me. Rest means that you do about half your normal work. I'm ignoring that rule (sort of) on the bike and swim.


45 degrees when I left the house this morning. Man! Easy ride to work and Ken's knee was bothering him so we skipped Mummy Mountain. I hope it's a little warmer on the ride home tonight. I had my second swim lesson last night so I'm excited about getting into the water at lunch. I actually get to use my arms in my new set of drills and it's starting to look like swimming!


Welcome to Winter!! Mid 50's this morning. For some reason I didn't ride on Monday morning. I don't know if I just got out of bed late or what. I was thinking of doing the ride at lunch since it's a rest week and the ride is only supposed to be 45 minutes long but I had a dentist appointment so that was a bust. I swam 1000 meters in the early afternoon and I was still thinking about maybe riding at night but that didn't work out either.
So this morning I got up and did my 45 minutes on the bike and then transitioned into a 25 minute run. Later I did another 1,000 meters in the pool. Piece of cake. I like rest weeks!


Sunday is the day for long runs. At this point in my training a long run is an hour. Pretty easy. About half of it at level 1 and the other half at level 2. I ended up running a little over 7 miles. Really felt like I could have gone longer or faster. I hope that feeling stays with me. Swam 1000 meters in the afternoon.


Saturday is the day for long rides. A long ride right now is 4 hours. After the success in Tucson I decided just to carry enough water and food for the ride and try not to stop. Very easy. Again, 3:35 is at level 2 the rest at level 1 so it's an aerobic ride and not designed to be very difficult. That said, level 2 can be surprisingly difficult just when you need it not to be.
But it was a great ride. I left at about 5:30 and went down to Tempe. From there I took the Ironman route up to Fountain Hills on Route 87 and then Shea home like I was doing Rio Verde. 72 miles and I pulled into my driveway at 4:01. The timing worked out perfect. I didn't get a chance to swim because we had to get over to Katie's parent's house to watch ASU kick ass over UofA.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

In memoriam...

There was probably no one less likely that I would be friends with.

Joan was a temp in my office. I met her getting out of her car. I can't remember the first thing I said to her, but with her "Kerry / Edwards" and "Don't eat meat!" and "Boycott Exxon" bumper stickers, it couldn't have been anything too flattering.

Joan and me used to go at it every morning in the break room. We used to fight I mean. She WAS in her 70's for God's sake. Our monthly company lunches were a blast! We'd debate politics and cuisine. I'd always have logical reasonable arguments and she'd just sit there and argue. But she was really funny.

When she was younger she was one of Lee Iaccoca's secretaries at Ford. She used to just hold my attention for hours recounting stories of the good old days. She tirelessly campaigned for animal rights. I even signed a petition of hers to get an anti-cruelty measure on our ballot. I must confess to voting against the proposition though. I always vote 'no' on all of them.

A couple of people just came into my office to tell me that she died Friday. She'd been battling cancer for a while. Cancer's a bitch and that's all I have to say about that. She requested no memorial service, only that donations be made to the humane society. I think I'll do just that for Joan.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Never too early...

Paige learning to get into the "Praying Landis" aero position. We'll be introducting the testosterone laced Pedialyte next month.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I feel very remiss that I haven't been updating this on a daily basis. Really though there's not much to say different from one day to the next. I haven't been updating the daily totals though. That I'm really sorry for. I'll get on that starting December 1. Oh my God. It's almost December!

Nothing special today. A little run and swim and weights. Long ride tomorrow and a long run on Sunday and then next week is a rest week.
Thursday - THANKSGIVING (my favorite holiday)

Today was the 24th edition of the Turkey Day Ride to Help Fight Erosion on South Mountain. It's a totally unsupported, unsanctioned, un-everything ride that about 200 people show up for every year.
Me and Ken waiting for the 6:30 am start.

This is either the 6th or 7th time I've done it. It's a little 12 mile ride to the base of South Mountain where you load up rocks in your jersey and then there's a little unofficial race 6 miles to the top. I think I unofficially finished about 20th this year. It's a much better ride since they paved the road up the mountain a couple years ago.
Doug tells a good story about the ride in 1993 when he had just bought his new OCLV Trek the night before and he drove off the road and almost plummeted to his death. This is him waiting for the start of the race to the top. Very stylish the way we both showed up in the same jersey.

After we get to the top we feast on donuts and hot chocolate supplied by Joel Nelson, who originated and organizes this ride every year. If you happen to find yourself in Phoenix on Thanksgiving, really make an effort to do this ride. It's the best in the valley!
Nothing big today. Weights, rode to work, and swam. I had my first actual swim lesson last night so I really am not allowed to "swim" at all until I work drills for the next couple weeks.

Monday, November 20, 2006


I'm literally not as young as I used to be.

November 19. A date in history replete with auspicious occasions. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. My birthday.

Got up at 5:00 and ran 6 miles. I was so hung over I wanted to die. Not really from booze but from dehydration; which is what causes a hangover so it feels the same. My Mom always calls at 8:00 am CST (the time I was born) to wish me a happy birthday so I wanted to be back in the room at 6:00. As I finished I realized that since the clocks changed everywhere but Arizona that 7:00 am is when my Mom would be calling. She didn't call so I called her. Apparently I get my inability to tell time from her because she was waiting until 10:00 Florida time to call me.

Anyway, I made my way back to Phoenix and drank a lot with family and friends. I got my new Giro Atmos. I like the red color but the straps are red as well and that might be a little overkill.

Still not feeling my best Monday morning. 1:25 minute ride to work with 45 minutes at HR level 3. It was a little tough to maintain that level today.

El Tour de Tucson

One of the biggest rides in the country and it's in my backyard and this is the first time I'm doing it. Doug was a no-show. Too bad. He really would have had a great time.

One of the big surprises this weekend was that John was going to ask Michelle to marry him. I met John and Michelle in France this summer. Great people! John had mentioned that he and Michelle come down to do this every year since this ride is sort of the reason they met.

First he was going to do it at the start line. But people talked him out of it saying that if she said no it would be a really tough ride after that. He was going to do it at dinner the night before. He chickened out in the restaurant. Eventually he asked her when they got back to their room. She said, "Yes." Congratulations!

I met up with them after dinner to pick up my rider packet.

There were 4,000 plus riders lined up for the start of the 109 mile ride. 8,000 plus if you include all the other shorter rides. John, Michelle, and I lined up for the 7:00 am start at around 4:55 am. We were pretty far up. Once the race got started it only took us 1:20 to cross the actual start/finish line.

Floyd Landis was at the start line. Not to race but just to make an appearance. I wonder what he gets for an appearance fee now? Probably less that he used to. There were mostly cheers for him but more than a few jeers and boos.

Off we went. John's goal this year was to finish the 109 miles sub 5 hours. This gets you Platinum standing next year so you get to start sooner. Last year he missed it by like 2 minutes. There was no warm up and my heart rate skyrocketed right away.

8 miles or so into the ride you jump off your bike and have to carry it over a quarter mile through a dry creek bed. All my cross training really came in handy here. As we got out of the creek a pretty large group formed.

After 45 minutes or so it was time to eat something. I've found that when I try to eat the little gel packs my stomach turns inside out so I brought cliff bars instead. BIG MISTAKE!!! I made a few big mistakes on this ride and that was one of them. It's impossible to eat a big chewy granola bar and breathe enough to stay with the group so I immediately fell behind. After 20 minutes or so I finally managed to finish the bar (most of it anyway) and then I made a push to catch the group.

I caught them after another hour or so and guess what? I caught them just in time to eat again. This time I just took little nibbles off the bar and washed it down right away with water. That worked pretty well for the rest of the ride.

The group stayed pretty much together until the next creek bed. This one was really long. Some people stopped for water, some to eat, and some to pick rocks out of their cleats. John went out hard from there thinking he was behind everyone; he wasn't. Michelle, Colleen, and I got a small group together and we all took turns at the front until we finally caught another big group.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful until the end. We were all pretty much out of food and water with 20 miles left but nobody wanted to drop off the group. Fortunately as we passed the next rest stop some of the volunteers held water bottles out for us to grab. That's the first time I ever did a ride that long without any stops. Michelle bonked towards the end and Colleen stayed back with her as they peddled in.

An hour or so later John and I finished towards the front of a big group. 4:52. John got his wish with a platinum finish. Michelle and Colleen ended up coming in platinum as well with 5:08. The festivities afterwards were kind of lame so we all just split up and met up for dinner later.

I felt really good afterwards except for the dehydration headache. I did a short run and swim just to see if I could do it. I still have the headache 2 days later.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What I've been doing this week.

On Monday I rode early before work. Just a little 1:30 level 1 & 2 thing. But it was cold!!! I swam 900 meters at lunch.

Tuesday I ran. Not much to report. Easy. Fun. Hit the weights a little. I talked to Chad for a little while. He definitely wants to improve his run next time.

Wednesday. Christ it was cold out. 50 degrees at 5:00 am. I kind of just sat around and waited for the sun to come up. Katie was getting ready to take Paige and Ken to Disneyland so I played with the kids until about 7:00. I rode to work and back. Today was a 45 minute level 3 ride with warm up and cool down at level 1. I really needed to do something about my levers. I totally screwed them up in the last couple crashes.

I got home and took the levers off Katie's bike (Ultegra 9 speed) and then took my levers off and I'm going to swap them until I decide if I'm going to buy a whole new 10 speed group or maybe see if my bike store friend will score me a deal on a new 5900. Anyway, now I've got parts all over the living room floor and cables and housings everywhere. I need to stop at the bike store and get some new cables and end caps. Hopefully I get everything back together tonight.

Thursday I ran. Great time! I now have 10 similar runs to compare I think. There is a definite improvement in total time and pace at each HR level. I'm very stoked. I just keep telling myself, "gotta get off the bike feeling great." The race is all about the marathon. The ride sets up the run. Might be a good idea to remember not to drown.

I swam at lunch. I've done my swim assessment and I've been working the drills that I was taught. I found some stride today in the water and cut 2 strokes off my 25 yard count.

Tomorrow I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm supposed to ride but with El Tour on Saturday I may just save myself for that or do a short level 1 ride. Assuming of course, that I get the bike back together. I'm not supposed to run two days in a row yet so that's out. Maybe I'll swim.

Tonight I'm going to drink beer and eat spaghetti. I need to "carb-up" for Saturday's ride.

It's a boy!

I guess we knew it was going to be a boy. Congratulations to my Brother Keith and his wife Vicki on the birth of Jake Ryan Petrine on November 15.

Funny story I'll share about Keith. He never reads this blog anyway. Three funny things Keith did when he was little: 1. Wet his pants when he laughed. 2. Sleepwalk. 3. Pass out when you show him a needle.

#3 is really funny because he's so scared of needles that he gets his teeth drilled without Novocaine so that he doesn't have to get a shot. If I were in a POW camp all they'd have to do is show me a dentist drill and I'd give up any secret they wanted.

So he gets to the hospital and Vicki is just wracked with pain from a contraction. No one will come help her. The anesthesiologist is busy and there are no nurses around. So Keith walks in the room and he's trying to help Vicki when some nurses start talking about the epidural and how they'll stick the needle in her spine. Suddenly Keith starts to swoon and the nurses all rush over to Keith. They tell him to sit down and they get him some orange juice. Now every nurse comes in the room and they all ask Keith how he's doing.

He finally tell them, "look, if anybody else asks ME, how I'M doing, Vicki is going to kill me." So they stopped worrying about Keith and helped Vicki deliver.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my wife Katie!!!

Am I allowed to say that I wish I was 32 again? Maybe I'd be able to run faster.
My Brother Keith's wife, Vicki is a week past her due date. Maybe she'll have her baby (a boy this time) today.
That's all this family needs is a couple more Scorpios.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Long ride and run

On weekends I'm supposed to do a "long" ride and run. 4 hours doesn't seem real long on a bike and 45 minutes isn't very long on the run. I know it's going to get harder and I'm sure that I'll be begging for weekends like this in a couple months.

I'm back to wearing gloves while riding. I wore them Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday just because it seemed too cold out.

We didn't stop during the ride and I didn't eat much before we set out. I kind of bonked after 3 hours. I need to work on my nutrition on the bike.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I called Giro today and ordered a new Atmos under their crash replacement program. Basically they sell you a new helmet but Katie's nervous about me riding around with the helmet that wiped out in. My current one is fine but I don't need her bugging me all the time about it. :)

Swim assessment

I met with Ann from Camelback Coaching last night. They filmed me underwater, above water, from the side, coming to her, swimming away, etc. Then they downloaded the video into the computer and used a program to show me where I should be and where I actually am in the water. The good news is that I have a lot to work with. Seriously, I do almost nothing correctly and the couple of things that I do, I only do on one side.

I anticipate great gains in my swim times.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

HR Training

I have to remember to find out if riding too much will hurt me. I'm making sure I get the prescribed miles in at HR level 1, 2, & 3 with the required warm ups and cool downs in level 1 but I find that I'm adding a bunch of miles at varying levels of exertion.

On Monday I rode following the HR rules in my training plan to the letter. You'd be surprised how difficult it is to stay at a certain HR (+ or - 2.5 beats per minute).

Tuesday and today (Thursday) I ran, again following the HR rules. Man is that easy. I can't believe that I'm actually preparing for a marathon length run. I don't want to sound like I know what I'm talking about here, because I don't. But right now I'm just running for 15 minutes at HR level 1. This puts me at a 10 minute / mile pace or 6 mph. Then I run for 15 minutes at level 2. I move at about an 8 1/2 minute pace during that part of the run with 2 30 second sprints into level 3 & 4.

On Tuesday I noticed that I was keeping within the letter of the rules, but not the spirit. Yes, I did the run in level 1 but I really spent all my time at 1.9. Ditto when I was supposed to be in level 2 I ran at 2.9. It's much easier to stay at a certain HR range when running that when biking. I swear if you move back or forward on your seat your HR jumps or falls 5 bpm.

I swam 1,000 meters on Monday and Wednesday. I think I did the whole swim; warm up, rests, intervals, and cool down in a shorter time than I did the LT test last Saturday. Today is my swim assessment (finally). Now I get to see what's wrong with my stroke (everything). I'm sure after the swim tomorrow I'll use muscles I've never used before and I'll be dying.

I love doing something physical for the first time. The learning / improvement curve is so steep that you can't help but have fun doing it. I'm sure I'll be complaining like everyone else when I'm doing 4,000 meters at lunch 3 times / week.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

First run

So I woke up this morning as usual at 4:45 am. But this morning I just lay there. I seemed to be unable to convince myself to get up. So I just stared at the ceiling for 2 hours before I finally rolled out of bed and got dressed.

Besides my LT test the last time I ran was two weeks ago Saturday and that was the day that I hurt my hip but I had a great run other than that. So I think I was a little nervous about running even though this run is done pretty much at HR level 1 & 2. Anyway I just wouldn't get out of bed.

Finally at 6:45 I got up and I was out the door. Man I keep forgetting how much I like running. It was so awesome out there.


Last night my coaches hosted their first in a series of monthly lectures about Ironman. It was about what you can expect over the next 5 months. To start Bill asked everyone to introduce themselves and talk a little bit about their triathlon experience. So it goes around the room and everybody had done a ton of sprint and Olympic level distances and several Ironman distances. Some people were doing their first Ironman but they'd done many long distance events. One woman has done 100 mile and 24 hour runs.

Then it was my turn. I said, "Hi my name's Marc. I've never done a triathlon and I've signed up for Ironman."

Every head in the place turned. "Are you nuts?" Was heard from several people in the crowd.

Monday, November 06, 2006

And so it begins...

I hired Bill and Anne over at Camelback Coaching and today was the beginning of my formal training routine.

Nice, it's about half what I would normally do. The plan is designed so that you peak on April 15. They say in January and February I'm going to hate them.

Anyway, today was some easy spinning on the bike with a 45 minute aerobic exertion. Pretty easy. 900 meters in the pool at lunch. Turns out that I really enjoy swimming.

I ran out of beer at home Friday so I really don't think I had anything to drink on Saturday or Sunday. No wonder I feel like crap today. I think two of my home brews will be ready this week.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Did my 1,000 meter LT swim test today. The test is a little different and less scientific than the run and the bike tests. It's tough to wear a HR monitor in the pool because the strap slips every time you push off the wall. So you just write down how fast you can swim 1,000 yards and you use those times to determine your workouts.

Result: Let's just say that this is my weakest sport. Let's also say that this is going to be the place that I improve the most. Thursday I go in for my swim assessment. They film me underwater and basically will tell me that my stroke sucks.

Congratulations to my buddy Chad who did Ironman Florida today. Spectacular swim and bike times. His second half marathon was a lot slower than his first half and he still posted a great time. I haven't talked to him yet to find out how it went. I look forward to that.

By the way, I drank an awful lot last night. I finished all the bottled beer I had left and then switched to tequila and finally to Jack and Diet Pepsi.

I have 3 new beers on draft but they are all still too new to enjoy. I'm hoping they develop some taste and character before El Tour de Tucson on 11/18. Hey, it might be nice if I developed some taste and character as well.

One more rest day and the actual formal training begins.


Friday, November 03, 2006

More testing...

This has been a very quiet week for me, training wise.

Last night I did the second round of LT testing. This time it was a test of LT while running. I'm still not completely sure I understand why the body can move different amounts of lactic acid out of the body at certain heart rates during different exercises, but hey, that's why I hired a coach.

Have I mentioned that I'm not the biggest running fan in the world?

So here's how the test works: You get on a treadmill and warm up for 10 minutes eventually reaching a pace that is super comfortable. For me that's a 10 minute mile pace or 6 mph. Then they start raising the speed by .2 mph every 60 seconds. At the end of each minute they write down your HR and ask for a subjective measure of how you feel and also note other data like how your breathing looks and how you look in general. You continue until you no longer think you can maintain the pace for a minute. That happened for me at 6:40 miles.

Final result: LT HR 175 bpm @ 7:19 pace. Again, I don't understand why this number is 8 bpm higher than my bike LT. Theoretically, as long as I don't hit 175 I should be able to hold that pace for extended periods of time. Sounds hard though. Good thing my training never calls for that.

Today I do the LT swim test. This I'm not looking forward to. Simple test: Warm up for 10 minutes and then swim 1,000 yards as fast as I can. I'm worried that "drowned" is going to be my LT result for this test.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Resting comfortably

Really taking it easy today. Well I did work out with the beer pretty hard last night.
That's Paige on the left as a Wild Thing from the book "Where the Wild Things Are" and Ken as Curious George and me as his friend, "The Man in the Yellow Hat".
And yes, I had to dye those clothes myself.