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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Doug called me on the phone Friday. He asked if I had any New Year's resolutions. Before I could answer he said, "Wait, I forgot who I was talking to. As if there were any way left to improve yourself! People should call you and ask your counsel on how they can improve THEIR lives."

In all seriousness; I'm three month's into this and it is by no means a foregone conclusion that I'm going to cross that finish line. Well, of course I'm going to finish, but I'm a long way from finishing strong. Stop by the pool any day at lunchtime and watch me swim if you don't believe me.

So as far as Ironman goes, I'm resolving to not only stick with the training but to get the runs and weekend rides done earlier in the day. Besides that I have a couple others:

1. Get a haircut every month. I was born lucky in so far as hair goes and I've still got (most) all of it. With the possible exception of my experimentation with the mullet in the 80's it looks good at every length and style. I really like it short but I procrastinate getting it cut until it's completely out of control. So I'm going to get it cut monthly this year.

2. Improve my penmanship. God, if you've read something I've written you understand what this is all about. Why do men have such rotten handwriting?

If you've ever been unlucky enough to sit through one of my motivational speeches you know it's all about goal setting. I won't bore you with the steps but this year I'm going to follow my own advice. I had two resolutions last year. One of them was to not gain weight this year. Since I'm almost 20 lbs lighter than last year at this time I'd say I was successful. On the other resolution I changed my mind on in May but until then I had kept up with it.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for a pretty good year and believe me this one is poised to be really great.

Time to get serious!

I must say something like this every time I get my next month's training plan. But this is BS!

Doug says that a BS ride is when you are out riding on a long hill and you climb and you climb until someone screams, "This is BS!"

My weekday rides now include 4, 10 minute efforts at level 4 to 5a. Believe it or not, I'm actually a little excited about this because this is exactly the kind of work I started doing when I got back from France. It's one of the things that really put some speed into my legs.


My weekday runs now include 3, 7 minute efforts at level 4 to 5a. Basically this is saying that while I'm out for my usual 7 mile run in the morning I need to run 3 of those miles in 7 minutes each.


On Saturday, after I get done with my 6+ hour ride (with an hour of it in level 3) I have to get off my bike and run for 20 minutes. No kidding, I remember when a 20 minute run WAS the workout. Of course Sunday I get to follow that up with a 2 hour run.

Bottom line: You see the workouts really don't seem to be getting longer, but they sure are tougher all of a sudden.

I'll keep you posted as to my progress.

The rest of the Rest Week

Pretty uneventful Monday - Friday. The rides were supposed to be less than an hour. On Wednesday I rode to work and then rode and met Paige and Katie and Ken at an ice skating rink. I ate wings and drank beer and played with Ken while Paige and Katie ice skated. If I find a picture of Paige in her outfit I'll post it. Somehow I just missed getting rained on Wednesday night.

Tuesday and Thursday were short 25 minute runs. I'd say no problem but my right hip never stopped bothering me after last Sunday.

I blew off the Friday ride figuring I done enough Wednesday to cover it and just swam. I swam Tuesday - Friday with some serious yardage on Thursday.

Saturday was just a fun easy 2 hour ride out to Cave Creek.

Today was a blast. The end of the rest week and my plan called for a 45 minute run with 20 minutes at level 2. I did the ride while pushing Paige in her stroller. I can't say for sure but I think the stroller made the ride easier. I still had to do the time at the HR level but we definitely covered 1/4 to 1/2 mile more than I think I've done in the past.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The weekend and now a rest week

Saturday's ride was spectacular. I left my house at 7:30 am. The temperature hovered around 35 degrees. I met Ken and then Doug as we traveled south. A funny thing happened when we approached downtown. The fog was so thick you couldn't see 200 feet in front of you and the temperature dropped suddenly.

Doug threw in the towel and went home. He hadn't even worn full finger gloves so he was miserable from the start. When we got to Tempe town lake it was spooky. You couldn't see the water as we crossed the Mill Avenue Bridge. The water looked awfully cold. I really need to remember to go pick out a wetsuit.

Anyway, Ken was concerned about time so he bailed out as well. I completed the ride. While I didn't do the entire ride as fast as I wanted to I climbed the hill from Tempe to Fountain Hills averaging well above 18 mph and never let my pulse out of level 2. I think I can go down that road about 26 easy! The Ironman course has 3 big loops that include that up and down.

The run on Sunday was great! I think I ran about 10 miles in 1:30. I was a little beat up at the end of it. There are some days that you can't wait to get out of the house and work out, like Saturday. Then there are days like Sunday where you just procrastinate until you just decide to get it over with. I'll tell you something, I don't really even feel good until 15 minutes into my runs now, but after that I feel fantastic. As the run was coming to an end and I started my cool off (10 minutes at level 1) I really felt like I could have run forever. When I finally stopped I realized how taxing the ride had been. I didn't really eat that day and I wasn't as hydrated as I should have been. I also kind of hurt my right hip. All these will heal of course.

I'm now in the middle of a rest week. Rest week rides and runs are very relaxing. Actually I guess this is my second rest week of the month since I took almost an entire week off because I was sick.

Halfway home

3 months down, 3 months to go; more or less.

I was asked what a typical training day consists of. Basically it looks like this: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I ride my bike for 1:30 at varying levels of difficulty. I usually ride to work so I get an additional 1 - 1.5 hours in the evening. Tuesday & Thursday I run for an hour or so, again at varying levels of difficulty. I try to swim each weekday between 45 minutes and 2 hours depending on what work looks like. Audit and tax season is approaching so time management will get critical.

Saturday is the long ride day. I go for 5 hours at level 2. The time for this ride might increase to approximately 8 hours in March. Sunday is the long run day which is around 1.5 hours now but will grow to 3 hours by March.

I lift weights 3 - 4 times / week, work my core muscles (abs & back) for 15 minutes , and stretch for 20 minutes or so or so every day.

The workouts get progressively longer and/or more intense for 3 weeks and then I have a rest week. A "rest" week really just cuts the workouts in half. All except the swim.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Best place to live.

After 18 years Arizona just passed Nevada as the state with the fastest growing population. One of the reasons is the 350 plus days of sunshine.

So I mentioned that I've got all this cold weather gear that makes the ride reasonably comfortable when it's cold. The one thing it isn't, is water proof.

I mention the 350 days of sunshine because today has turned into one of the 15 days of the year. Hoping Katie can come get me. I really don't want to ride in this weather.

Coughlin's Laws - Please let me know if I've missed any.

Anything else is always something better.

Bury the dead, they stink up the place.

No matter how liberated this world becomes - a man will always be judged by the amount of alcohol he can consume - and a woman will be impressed, whether she likes it or not.

When you see the color of their panties, you know you've got talent.

Never show surprise, never lose your cool.

Never tell tales about a woman. No matter how far away she is, she'll always hear you.

Beer is for breakfast around here, drink or be gone.

The Luck is gone / the brain is shot / but the liquor we still got.

Cool weather

My thermometer read 37 degrees this morning. Actually a pretty perfect temperature. Don't get me wrong, I was very thankful for every bit of cold weather gear I had on. I look like a Ninja with my shoe covers and Lycra leggings. I had arm warmers on and a long sleeve t-shirt on along with the whole head covering Lycra hat. I would have looked like a cat burglar except for my very cool Speed Racer jersey.

Actually a fantastic ride. The air temperature wasn't cold enough to freeze the exposed skin like on Monday and Wednesday but it was just crisp enough to keep the ride nice. I really need to work on drinking more water. I got to work and realized that I hadn't had a drop.

The ride was 1.5 hours at level 3. I was pretty tired at towards the end. I felt like I had been doing leg presses for an hour. As I approached the last 5 minutes of the ride before my cool down I noticed my heart rate starting to slip into level 2. Just then "Viva Las Vegas" came on my mp3. I just hammered it for the last couple miles.

I really need to take it easy in level 1 going home this afternoon. Big ride tomorrow with Doug and Ken.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I really don't like bananas

Wednesday we had a company pot-luck lunch. I made Bananas Foster. If you don't know, it's a dish of bananas cooked in a caramel sauce of butter and brown sugar. It's usually prepared table side. My friend Larry over at the Different Pointe of View restaurant in Moon Valley taught me to make it about 20 years ago. It's a flaming dish and it's so easy to prepare it's silly but it's really impressive when done correctly. And very yummy!

Anyway I had enough bananas for 20 people but I only used about 8. So I have a few bananas to eat.

The proposed route for Saturday. It's an out and back and should be very boring. Hoping to get 90 miles in 4:30. Probably an aggressive goal at 20 mph and still staying at level 2. I'm going to put my old handlebars back on and clip the aerobars on next month.

Look Mom, no hands!

Something I forgot to mention a few weeks ago that I don't understand.

About a month before leaving for France I lost the ability to ride no-handed. This may not seem like a big deal but I took great pride in this skill. I once rode to Doug's house and back, 28 miles, and only touched the handlebars once other than to shift gears.

So one day, bam! If I let go of the bars the bike just veered to the right. I could correct but I'd end up going way left. It wasn't the bike because I couldn't do it on the 5200s we were riding in France either.

Anyway. Right after I finished the 500 in 5 days ride it came back. The family all went out for a spin and all of a sudden I can ride no handed again.

I hope this isn't like an episode of "House" or anything like that. If I end up in the hospital with some unexplainable neurological thing make sure you mention this to the doctor.

Do school bus drivers drink on the job?

I was at a stop sign playing with my phone/mp3 player when a school bus came up behind me. I was way over to the right, not quite on the curb but just next to it. The bus stops behind me and just sits there. I try to waive him around but he just sits there behind me. So I scoot over to the curb and he goes around me.

I'm paying attention to the phone when all of a sudden something touches my bike. I look up and it's the bus! Jag didn't swing out wide enough so if he goes any further he's going to crush me against the curb. What an ass. I'm not even yelling at the guy, I'm just shocked that he's got a license. So I pick the bike up and move it off the street and he pulls forward. The bus jumps up on the curb when he makes the turn.

It was like 30 degrees this morning when I left the house. I felt OK except for my face which which was exposed but other than that it was cool but comfortable.

I had two really cool moments on the ride this morning. The first was as I rode through a golf course. The sun was just getting ready to come up so the sky was a brilliant red. The green grass was white with frost and all the water hazards were steaming creating this surreal effect. I paused my mp3 so that the only sound I could hear was the whir of my chain. It was very zen and peaceful.

Second, my workout today was mostly at level two but I had to do some hills and I was allowed to let my heart rate rise while climbing. So I came up on this 1.5 mile road that just climbs at a reasonable rate but just keeps going up. The road goes South and out to the East you have a clear view of the mountains. The sun was just starting to peak out. A red ball rising in a clear sky. So I start to hammer it and the 80's song "Opportunity" comes on my phone. I spun out gear after gear until I got to the top. My heart rate was darn near maxed out but breathing the cold air felt cleansing. Of course what you don't realize when you are climbing is that you are beginning to sweat. This becomes apparent to you when you begin to descend and that cold air feels like an open refrigerator door. Brrr.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


My weight is now 1.5 pounds lower than when I graduated high school. I think I'm an inch taller too. My Dad said to me Sunday, "Could you lose a little more weight?" He was being sarcastic.

Anyway, funny run this morning. I had to do 55 minutes with 25 of that at level 3. It was an extreme effort to keep my HR up there. I really felt like I was working at 4.5. I think that my nutrician is off. I may not have eaten enough carbs last night.

Had my last swim lesson yesterday. While I wouldn't go so far as to call myself confident, I feel that I have the tools to rock the swim. It's up to me now.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Rest of the week in review...

Let's see. When last I posted I was feeling crappy but I wasn't going to let it bother me anymore.

I finally started feeling good this weekend. I didn't wake up coughing Friday or Saturday.

I'm totally back on track training wise.

Thursday was a 55 minute short run with some sprints up into level 4. I think I blew off the ride on Friday because I knew I had a long ride ahead Saturday and opted for a long swim instead.

Saturday was my long ride day. 4.5 hours doesn't really seem like that long a ride but it can be torturous because over 4 hours of it has to be done at level 2 on flat terrain. If you are like me and you love hills and sprints (sometimes both at the same time) it can be mind numbing to just pedal along for hours. Could be worse obviously. In the Midwest I guess they do entire rides indoors on stationary bikes and trainers. Ugh.

Anyway, we had a great ride. Doug and Ken were nice enough to join me on this exercise in torture. They get longer by the way. I think in February and March I'll be out there for 8 hours. We did a ride out to New River. I stayed out front for most of it but Ken was nice enough to do a long pull at the end fast enough that I could stay in level 2 even in the draft. I think we got about 85 miles in before we were done. Doug and I almost got in a fight with some guy in a Lexus right at the end of the ride. Coward wouldn't get out of his car though.

I did exactly 1/3 of a marathon tonight in exactly 1/3 of four hours. Now that was a fun run! I stayed in level 2 for 55 minutes and timed it almost perfectly that I ended up at home when the clock stopped. I really enjoy running.

I got some really cool news on Saturday. I'll share it a little later.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm back!

A little tired? Sure. Coughing up a lung? You bet. Hungry for training? Obviously!

I've been out of commission since, what, Thursday? That's when I killed myself with a couple hard runs. My head cold settled in my chest and sleep has been next to impossible. With as little sleep a I get get anyway I've really been out of it.

Monday I had another swim lesson. It really went great. I realize that coaches get paid to pump you up and tell you good things but I'm really starting to believe the stuff Ann over at Camelback Coaching is telling me. My goal is set and she tells me that it's very possible. I'm very excited. I'd be even more excited if I'd remembered my stupid goggles today.

I missed a total of one run and 4 rides including a 4 1/2 hour ride that I was supposed to do on Saturday. As I've said, I'm not super concerned about that. I did miss one run and I'm disappointed there. I missed a bunch of swims but they were all drills and it didn't seem to affect my performance at all.

Ran last night. Great run! A lot of time at level 3 with an extremely low perceived level of effort. Had some trouble at the end keeping the HR in level three. I just kept wanting to run faster.

Rode this morning. 38 degrees at the house. Wow that seemed cold. I put on all that cold weather gear I bought a few weeks ago and I was very comfortable. The toes on my right foot started getting a little cold towards the end of the ride.

Doctor gave me a 'Z' pack for my cold on the assumption that it's migrated into a bacterial infection. Normally I wouldn't take antibiotics unless the infection was confirmed but it's been 3 years since I took any so I'm not going to be worried about becoming resistant. On the paperwork the doc gave me it says "finish all medications even if you feel better." One of the things he prescribed was some cough syrup with codeine. When I picked up the prescription they gave me like a pint of it! I said, "I'm sure I shouldn't finish that if I feel better." The pharmacist said to save it for a rainy day when I want to sleep. Sure worked last night. Might consider not drinking with it next time.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The clock in hyperdrive....

Oh my God! Only 124 days left.

I'm a dead man.

I still haven't gotten over this cold and all I've done since Thursday is lift weights. Yesterday I missed my first run. I'm not real concerned over some missed rides but I'm real nervous that I haven't been in the pool Since Thursday either.

I have a swim lesson tonight.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I am soooooo sick

I never get sick. Everybody that sees me keeps saying, "I can't remember the last time you were sick." I remember. A little over three years ago I caught a cold similar to this one. Paige was a newborn and Katie wouldn't let me hold her. I was bathing in Purell.

So how stupid am I? Tuesday I flew to Seattle. I went out to dinner with everyone in the office up there and had a great time. I didn't get a chance to run before dinner. I'm not so naive as to think that I would get anything in that night after dinner but I thought maybe I might get a run or maybe some time on a stationary bike the next morning.

Trouble is everybody said that I had to leave the hotel by 5:00 am to beat traffic so that I wouldn't miss my 8:30 flight. So I got up at 4:30 am. I felt way better than I had any right to feel. I always feel like crap after I drink champagne and I think I drank and entire bottle by myself. That was in addition to the several beers that I had with dinner. UGH.

Anyway I got back Wednesday and I could feel a cold coming on. The flight was pretty miserable and my ears really plugged up. I went to work that afternoon and really hit the weights hard when I got home. Chad has given me some good stuff to work on to strengthen my back so I can really rock the swim.

I kind of had a panic attack at work Wednesday because I hadn't done anything for 2 days and I'd missed a run which always concerns me. My Tuesday run was designed to be kind of difficult - 25 minutes at level 3 with a long warm up and 10 minute cool down at level 1. That's way above anything I run at usually. I really felt bad about not doing it.

So after I lifted I was playing with Paige and at 8:00 pm I just kind of fell asleep in her playroom on the floor. She ignored me and just continued playing. I woke up at 9:00, put her to bed and decided to do my Tuesday run. AWESOME!!! Perceived level of effort was pretty easy. I had no trouble keeping my HR in level 3 and I went pretty fast. Timed it a little wrong and had to run a little further than I expected but I ended up doing a 10k in about 53 minutes.

Now the stupid part. Thursday was supposed to be just a 50 minute aerobic run with 25 minutes in level 2. I got up and did just that. Even though I could definitely tell I was getting sick. Perceived level of effort: easy. But my HR was all over the place and my speed was crap!! DUH! Then at lunch I did 1,200 meters in the pool.

Let's see what I did wrong.

1. Not supposed to run 2 days in a row, let alone 2 six mile runs 7 hours apart.
2. Not supposed to train when you are sick. Give your body time to rest and heal.
3. Not getting nearly enough sleep.

I'm exhausted and should stay in bed but I have to get month end out of the way.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


It's like Wisconsin, without the charm.

I'm here on business for the night. I need to squeeze in a run tonight before dinner. It looks cold out. Perhaps I will try something on the treadmill. I plan to put away several beers at dinner and I don't think I'll be into running afterwards.

Last night I went to the second lecture at Camelback Coaching. This one was on nutrition. I was pretty familiar with most of what was covered with the exception of how salt and other electrolytes affect how well you perform on race day. I need to do a little experimentation here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A bad omen this morning

Maybe I should have known there was trouble ahead.

I keep my cycling shoes right by the front door. This morning I was barefoot and just about to sit down on the floor to put my socks and shoes on. There were some dust bunnies on the floor so I kicked them out of the way before sitting down. One of the dust bunnies was solid. I kicked it again and then I turned on the light and looked at it.

Holy Shit! A dead scorpion! I'm embarrassed to admit this but bugs give me the willies! While technically not a bug, I don't like scorpions either. I go get a glass to scoop it up with but as soon as I put the glass around the critter the dead scorpion sprung to life. Yipes.

Anyway, I kept my composure long enough to flush that sucker down the toilet.

Did I mention that scorpions (and black widows) like to hide out in shoes? You know, Arizona is about the best place in the world to live, but I really don't like arachnids that sting and bite.

CRASH!!! (again)

I'm becoming a menace to myself.

Today was a great ride in spite of everything. I got out of the house at 5:45 am. Temp was 45 degrees so I didn't wear the full winter regalia but I put on my new cold weather gloves. The ride today was supposed to be a 20 minute warm up followed by 45 at level 3 with a 10 minute cool down.

I met Ken on the road coming in and spent most of the time pulling. At one point we came to an intersection on a red light. I looked left/right/left and even though I saw a truck coming I knew we could make it so I yelled "Clear" hammered through the intersection.

Ken didn't feel as comfortable running the red in front of the truck so he slowed. When I realized he wasn't with me I slowed down and looked back. I saw he was coming so I just kept going. I turned around and just as I was facing forward my front and rear tires rubbed up against the side of the curb.

Ken said he didn't see exactly what happened but he did see plenty of sparks! I tried to control the bike but I went over on the right side and I came down on my right hip pretty hard. I came out of the pedals and rolled for a little while before coming to a stop right in front of the bike.

A quick inventory revealed no broken bones. I know my hip is going to be very sore. I've got some pretty nasty scrapes and my right butt cheek is one big raspberry. The good news is the bike appears to have escaped completely unscathed. I don't know who's watching out for me up there but they're doing a great job.

My new goal here is not to crash again until after April 15, 2007.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The rest of the week...

F - me! I said it was cold Wednesday. B.S.
Temperature dropped Thursday and Friday it was 31 degrees! It must have gotten into the 70s in the afternoon but I was miserable on the ride in.
Saturday after my ride I went to the bike store and bought some true cold weather gear. We'll see tomorrow how it works out.
So that was a rest week. Piece of cake! I actually liked it. I sort of ignored the instructions on the swim and stuck with the 1,000 - 1,200 distance.
So this week looks like there some tough stuff on the run. Looking forward to it! I'll keep you posted.