Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two Scoops Kolekole

Ride Day
time- 2:11
distance- 33mi

Rode home from school today. I like being able to do this. It's certainly better than having to drive home, change, then go back out. Saves some time, doncha know. Kunia road north is way lotta much easier to work when there isn't forty miles already sitting in my legs. Still wasn't awful quick, but it didn't hurt like it can. On to base from there and up Kolekole Pass. This was my first serious climb and I like going back to it a few times a month to get a direct feed on my improvement. Felt strong getting up today and my mileage back down at the bottom was only around 20, out of a planned 30 minimum. Well, I didn't get to ride Monday and was feeling the itch so I flipped Kratos around (for those of you just joining us, Kratos is my bike) and did it again. The first time up took about 14:30, and the second time faded to nearer 16:00 or somewhere in the high 15 minute range. Still, not bad, not bad. Every time I do it I feel lighter longer, more able to spin with a good cadence at a deeper grade.
From there it was the normal route home. The only special notes would be the weather and nutrition. I think next time I'm doing 30+ from school I should bring along a GU and take it right before or near the front end of the ride. I was starving by the time I got home and I'm sure that effected me out there. As for the weather, it was overcast most of the ride and started sprinkling/raining for the last two-thirds of my time out. Nothing irritating or dangerous, just enough to make my ego think, "Yeah, hardcore cyclist, gettin' it done out in the elements." My ego can be kind of a spaz.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blame the Pool/Bomb the Run

Swim Day
1 x 200- Warm-up
5 x 200- 3:00
5 x 50- Sideline kick
5 x 100- 5, 7, 9 drill
2 x 300- 4:30
1 x 400- even- easy/odd- hard
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 3050yds

Run Day
time- 30:27
distance- 3.67mi

My regular pool is closed this week for maintenance.This is probably a good thing. "Cloudy" is not an adjective you want to use when describing your pool. But this means that instead of driving five minutes to the nearest 24 Hour Fitness, I have to drive twenty to the 24 in Pearl City.
Similarities: They are both pools. They both have three lanes. They are both 25yds.
Differences: My pool is outdoor. The Pearl City pool is indoor.
If you don't think that's a big ass difference you haven't swum enough. All kinds of things change inside. Its warmer, louder, more humid, and more people are there early because it's out of the rain (not a small thing when it means you get shoved to te outside lane by the wall while the ancient lady jogs [JOGS!!! JOGS!] back and forth. And yes that did call for a bracket within a parentheses.) and, oh yeah, it's warmer. You might be saying, "But Dirtbag, while I hesitate to ever doubt you, I do wonder, if I may be so bold, how can warmer be bad?" Well, good follower, allow me to enlighten you. And I admit, this could be a completely personal preference. Warmer air temperature and warmer water temperature mean my muscles are more relaxed. Too relaxed. Its hard to fire the big guns when they are nice and cozy. (Yeah, I said big guns. What?) Obviously, too cold makes them brittle and they shatter at the slightest movement, but cooler is preferable to warmer. And then when you poke your head up after each set, its just as warm. It screws up the headspace.
Or maybe I'm just a whiner.
But seriously, this pool is slow. "The slow?" you cautiously ask. Yes! Talk to some swimmers. Some pools are slower than other pools. The way they are built, their depth, the kind of lane lines and gutters, all of that makes a pool faster or slower. And the 24 Hour Fitness pool in Pearl City is simply not an ideal swimmer's pool.
I'm not making excuses! Stop looking at me like that.
At least I've entered the taper for my RoughWater Swim, which is why the yardage has dropped from 4k to 3k. I realized last night (read: "My wife pointed out to me last night") that the race is Monday. Holy cow! So soon. So more drills, less speed work, more stroke focus for the next two swims. You may have noticed there was no workouts posted for Sunday or Monday. Sunday I was super-stuffy and didn't feel like running and slowing my recovery. Monday morning I accidentally turned off my alarm and went right back to sleep. And Monday afternoon I had a doctor check-up that was dead-center in the middle of my workout time and nothing could be done. So I got an extra two days of rest. Wuss!
As for my run, it felt strong and quick. I set out at a quick pace, and decided to do my best to hold it. Came off well, I think. I had faith in myself, repeating, "I am a cardio machine," in my head to keep my feet spinning. My form actually felt better during the run than it did during the swim, and that never happens. My back straightened up, shoulders squared, chin was level with the ground, and the feet were spinning well. It was an Everything Is Clicking kind of run, and a good confidence builder. I need more of those coming in to the next tri. I'd like to get my 5k under 25 minutes off the bike. That would be killer.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Long Adjustement Ride (and Pictures of Stuff I Bought!)

Ride Day
time- 3:31
distance- 57.66mi

Longest ride I've ever done. I'm pretty proud of that. In fact, every Saturday from now until my century should be my new Longest Ride.
There was some adjustment stops along the way though, but all in the beginning. You see, dear Dirtbag friends, after my Wednesday ride I decided my seat needed to come forward a smidge. Turns out, I may have gone a smidge and a half. So after 20 or so minutes I stopped and readjusted. Still too far back and I hadn't leveled the seat correctly, making the nose too high. This would have been tolerable, exept I was planning to spend another three hours up there and some of the time would be spent in an aero position. High nose + aero position = much manly bit discomfort. So I stopped again and fixed it again. I think that did it because I felt much better afterwards. I also think that the seat is back to almost the exact same spot it was before I "fixed" it on Wednesday. Someone take my Allen wrenches away before I hurt myself.
Pineapple Hill was good. So good, in fact, that I missed the final climb. As in, I thought to myself, "I should be near the top here soon. Wait a tick, there's Dole. Huh..." There is no attacking the climb on Saturdays, but even without that it is getting easier and easier. This is good. I looped on base to add the right number of miles to last week's effort, then went down and back to school.
Nutrition wasn't as strong as last week. I went with a three bottles again, can't carry any more without buying an under-the-seat cage, and filled one with Hammer Heed Melon. It's got 100 calories, which I figured would be good for me to take in, but the calorie intake from a water bottle is different than the direct shot from a Gu gel, which I also took one of. So I had a bottle of Heed, a Gu, and a Clif Bar in three pieces. Same as last week, plus the Gu. Figured that would be good enough. Not sure it was. I was feeling more tired this time around. Nutrition timing wasn't as on, I left bigger gaps I think due to Heed-overconfidence. Next time I'm bringing two Gus, along with the Clif Bar and a bottle of Heed. That should be better.
No link to the Runtastic page today. It seems three and a half hours of GPS is too much for my phone battery. It didn't quite all the way die, but it missed some spots and isn't accurate.
Looking forward to getting a bigger slice in seven days.
And now, pictures of all the stuff I bought from IT&B on Friday. Much thanks to Background Profiles, it was their money.
Gu, HEED, tubes, and anti-chafe glide for running. I'm a triathlete

The Melon only slightly tasted of melon. Could have been much much worse.

The Mandarin Orange actually wasn't too bad. Not YUM! but not ICK either.
Note to White Dummy: Wear sunscreen on long rides.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Finishing and Turn-Over

Swim Day
1 x 150- Warm-up
10 x 100- 1:30
1 x 500- 7:30 (7:45)
1 x 50- easy
5 x 200- build intensity by 50
1 x 1000- 15:30- Focus focus
5 x 100- Strong stroke, pretty stroke
total- 4200 yards

Run Day
Time- 35 min
Distance- 3.88mi

More longness going on in the pool today. I wanted to increase my ability to focus and be present, hence the 500 and 1000. I fell off the pace during the 500 a little, but I was tired from the 10 100s right before hand. The 1000 I thought I would miss by a lot and came in at 15:30. The goal for that set, as you can see, is a Focus focus. The final set, 5 100s, was mainly to stroke check. I'd been noticing that I wasn't finishing all the way past my hip and, therefor, was losing important power at the end of my stroke (called the "finish," for obvious reasons). So I spent three of those making sure everything was going where it ought too, even when tired. And then I decided to blow my doors off and attacked 100 number four. Pulled it in at 1:14. Not too shabby. My swim ego screams that it needs to be under 1:10 for me to even think about being happy with it, but the rational part of my brain knows I never swim like that and that's a pretty damn decent time.
The plan for the run was...there was no plan. Run hard. It's not a great plan, but it is one that will make me faster, stronger, and more able to suffer. So I went out and ran hard for 35 minutes. My cadence isn't where it ought to be, so I thought about getting that kick turning over quicker. Think it worked ok. My Runtastic stats say my pace was a 9:02/mi. But it looks like a constant pace. Guess that's better than a decreasing one. I didn't know how good of a run it was going to be at all when I set out. My hammys were killer tight. Never judge a workout by the first five minutes.
*Gross Side Note* You never fart once during a run. If you start farting, its going to come back to get you a few times. And it might make you giggle. After all, you're running away from it. Who cares? Hey look, a bus stop! Hehehe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Unfocused and The MaccaNow Foundation

Ride Day
time- 1:26
distance- 25.5mi

I'm not terribly pleased with today's ride and I have no one to blame but myself. Who else would I blame? You? There is lots of non-work frustration at work and it occasionally follows me home. I've written about it before. So part of today's ride was spent talking to nobody, sometimes out loud, which isn't great for my breath control or pacing. Annoying when I realize what I'm doing, try to bring myself out of it, and then find myself doing it again five minutes later. I need to be stronger. Still, guess it's better than sitting on the couch having that same conversation with myself.
In other, more positive news, Dirtbag Fitness has decided to throw its not-not inconsiderable weight behind The MaccaNow Foundation, a charity conceived by Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack. From the website:

The MaccaNow Foundation is set up to commemorate Chris McCormack's mother who passed away from breast cancer in 1999.  Our initial intention is to raise $2,735,373 to provide assistance to families who are in active treatment for breast cancer in order to lessen the financial burdens and improve their quality of life.

This initial goal is based on Chris' mother having been alive for 19,455 days which multiplied it by 140.6 (# of miles in an Ironman) = 2,735,373.  Please help us reach our goal and donate today.

 Dirtbag Fitness has connections to families like the ones this foundation supports and, while there are many worthy causes out there, this one strikes close to the heart. My ability to donate and our team might be small, but just as a triathlon is made up of many single strokes and steps stacked on top of one another towards an end, so too can this goal eventually be achieved.
I've set up a permanent link to The MaccaNow Foundation on the sidebar of this page. 
*gets off soapbox, puts it back under couch*

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting Out There

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
1 x 200- 3:00
1 x 300- 4:30
1 x 400- 6:00
1 x 500- 7:30
1 x 600- 9:00
1 x 500- 7:30
1 x 400- 6:00
1 x 300- 4:30
1 x 200- 3:00
5 x 100- 1:30
1 x 100- Cool down
total-3900 yards

Run Day
time- 30:40
Distance- 3.66mi
pace- 8:38/mi

Yes, that swim ladder was brutally long. The 500/600/500 stretch is a long time to stay focused and present on what is happening but I feel like I did fairly well. As far as the pacing goes, I made every swim going up, and missed every one on the way back down, starting with the second 500. Most were only missed by a few seconds, but I think I might have been off by as much as 45 at one point. That's some major fade. So there might have been a little more lack of focus than I thought. Still, its a long ass set, with not much time between each interval. The set of five 100s at the end seemed like a good cap to such a huge distance. A good way to get the real fast back into the muscles. And it worked. I made all of them. Some by only a few seconds, most with about ten seconds rest. It hurt. It was good.
The run felt strong to me. I know a 8:30/mi pace doesn't really look like it if you look at some of my previous runs, but it was. The goal today was an attempted negative split over thirty minutes. I failed, but only by just over a minute. Should have been closer. I know my run goals have been all over the place in this space, but right now, at this moment, I'm thinking I should focus on a blistering 5k at Ko'Olina. This run training will be at odds with the bike and swim training happening now, which are both endurance-focused. But that might be a good thing. The muscles should work in more than one way. Right?

Every Fookin' Light

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 200- 3:00
5 x 50- Sideline kick
3 x 300- 4:30
5 x 100- 50-5, 7, 9/50- stroke count
1 x 500- odd- easy/even-hard
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 3400 yards

Ride Day
Time- 1:30
Distance -29.65mi

Back into big swim sets and I feel strong. Not super-strong and not overly fast, but it is getting there. I made every time standard today, and even brought that final 500 in under 7:20, which means that my hard laps were pretty quick compared to my easy ones. I really like a set like that, it helps me dig deep and attack each lap because I know I've got a cruise coming.
As for the ride, I counted and there are approximately 97,563 lights on my route into town. And every single one was red. Not a couple of them. Not one or two. Every damn one. Check out the pace graph on my Runtastic page. See all those stupid yellow peaks and valleys. That is a visual representation of GO! Pedalpedalpedalcrankcrankcrankwhatthehellyellownononononodon'tturnnoooooooRED. Very annoying. Screwed up my pace too. Nevertheless, I persevered. There are plenty of smaller bump climbs on this ride, even though the big opening is a long descent. And I have to admit something. When I go over a bumpy part of the road I make a motorcycle noise, "Br-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-m-m-m-m-m-m!" It keeps things fun.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Running in Cruise

Run Day
time- 48min
distance- 5.16mi

I am not fast right now. I was never fast on foot, but right now I'm really not. I guess I'm not trying to be, because my focus is on the upcoming RoughWater 2.3mi swim and Honolulu Century ride, but it still bothers me. There has been little-to-no suffering during any of my runs so far and that does need to change. Today I kept a very steady pace, but it was 9:20/mi. That sucks for me. I have to run better. So here and now I'm rededicating myself to making it hurt, finding thresholds and breaking through them. My runs won't be as long comparatively as my rides or swims, but they should still burn.
Again, I'm digging the Runtastic app on my phone. I really like the pace/altitude graph. If you're in need of a decent fitness app, I suggest checking it out. Free download. Here's my stats for today. Ain't great, but I can't be too hard on myself. I will, but I shouldn't.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Eating on the Road

Ride Day
time- 2:28
distance- 49mi

Today was an experiment on the bike. How would I react to taking on nutrition while riding? The verdict? Pretty damn well.
I went with a PowerBar Energy Gel and a Clif Bar. Why? Because we have a good stock of Clif Bars in the house for my post-swim breakfast on school days, and I was given the PowerBar Gel at some race I did. You use what you've got. Also, the Clif Bar splits up nicely and I figured it would be easy to eat on the road.
After 45 minutes or so I popped the Gel. I decided to go with that first because I was taking on Pineapple Hill in the next few minutes and thought I could use the energy, assuming I'd be able to feel anything. And I don't know if it was that I'm getting stronger, the Gel worked, or both (probably that last one there), but today's front 25 felt good. I got up Pineapple without much to do, and no stomach issues from eating on the go. My Gel was Green Apple, not the choice I would have picked for myself, but it actually wasn't that bad. I'll be experimenting with different brands and flavors over the next few weeks until I find what works best for me.
Normally, I guess I'd keep popping Gels but I only had the one. So at about 1:30 I went for my first chunk of Clif Bar. Before leaving I broke the bar into three pieces and put them into a small snack Zip Lock. Ate the second at around two hours and the third as I was nearing home, around two hours forty-five minutes after I'd left. I probably didn't need that last piece, but what am I gonna do with 1/3 of a Clif Bar?
Never once did I feel as tired as I've felt any other time I've done this distance. Eating a little something every 45 minutes or thereabouts seems to do the trick, keeping Dirtbag blood sugar up and fending off bonk. I guess I shouldn't be shocked. Basically every blog, book, and magazine article about distance cycling mentions something about nutrition. I just had to jump on the bandwagon.
Also, eating on the bike adds one more piece to the Feeling Like a Real Cyclist puzzle. I've got the aerobars, the fancy tight pants, a few jerseys, clip-in pedals, skinny tires, and now this. I'm such a nerd.
I'm also trying out a new fitness tracking app on my Android called Runtastic. I might start using this more than the JogTracker I've been using because it tracks elevation. Here is the link to today's ride. I don't know about you, but that elevation chart looks like a lot of up and downing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I 66% Suck at Recovery

Bike Day (Wednesday)
time- 1:11
distance- 20mi
Time up Kolekole- 14:30

Swim Day (Thursday)
1 x 150- Warm-up
3 x 300
1 x 500
1 x 400 odd-easy/even- hard
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 2050yds

Run Day (Thursday)
time- 30min

I really meant for this week to be a recovery week. But it wasn't. Not really. It was in the pool, although I had to modify lots of things to make it that way. But not so much in the other disciplines. I should explain.
Yesterday's ride was short. 20 miles at this point is nothing, even with Kolekole in the middle of it. And I tried to take it kind of easy, I really did. But I couldn't. There was a climb. A climb I know well. And it was in my way. Climbs talk to me. They say (in a German accent), "Look at chew, chew leetle man on your leetle bicycle. I scov at chew. Chew cannot defeat me. Vy don't chew joost go home unt cry?" And I don't take kindly to that type of talk. So I drilled it up the pass. 14:30 is pretty decent too. Whoops.
The swim this morning, much like Tuesday morning, had to be modified to suit my recovering body's needs. Like, I had to shave 1200 yards off it. I may have been slightly overzealous with the planning of the workout. So I mostly cruised this morning. Except for the first two 300s and the even numbered laps on the 400. Those I pumped. Whoops.
As for the run...I haven't had a strong run yet. Well here's a Dirtbag Recovery Tip for you: Don't select DevilDriver from your mp3 playlist to run with. It is counterproductive. You will not run slowly. You will, in fact, run hard and possible air drum, air guitar, SOSM*, and fake-sing along. (Also, Cycle Dirtbag, I think your new name should be The Mountain and you should make that link your theme song.) But you will also have a strong run, feel good the whole time, and kick ass. And be looked at funny by the lame people in cars driving by. There has also been non-student related stress annoyances at work and the run really helped with that too.
But tomorrow is a real rest day and I plan on enjoying it. No school even! Yay.  Which is really good because I plan on getting after some mileage Saturday.

*Sudden Onset Slayer Moment Syndrome (SOSMS) presents as a sudden uncontrollable urge to thrash, mosh, headbang, and/or air-instrument, most likely more than one happening at once. A SOSM can occur without warning and does not need audible music to happen. Often affected are fans of the band Slayer.

Pictured: SOSM

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wherein I Talk to My Body

Ride Day (Monday)
distance- 30mi
time- 1:32

Swim Day (today)
1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 200- 3:00
5 x 50- Sideline Kick
5 x 100- 50- 5, 7, 9/ 50- stroke count
1 x 500- long
total- 2400yds

Run Day (today)
time- 31min

This morning in the water my body felt pretty tight during warm-up. But I have learned never to trust the first five minutes of a workout. Once everything loosens up things tend to go better. And that kind of happened. I made it through the first three 200s before my body said, "Hey, could you cool it a second?"
"Sure," I said. "What's up?"
"You remember this last weekend? When we powered through a 2.3 mile open water swim?" asked my body.
"Oh yeah. You were great. Why?"
My body shrugged. "Ya see, we still kinda feel that. I know we're super Dirtbag tough and all that stuff you and Brain write about ad nauseam, but, uhhh..."
"What?" I demanded.
"Boss, I'm kinda beat. And I don't think the workout you have planned for this am is going to go very well." I had a great big workout planned. 3900 yards. "I would really appreciate it if you would reconsider."
I thought about my body's request over the next two 200s, watching myself slip closer and closer to not making the time. After missing my time standard by five seconds on the final 200 of the set I gave in. So this week has become a sort of recovery week. Monday was a great ride. Real powerful, I feel like my legs are coming back. And my run, since it was post-conversation, was pretty kick back. I know this isn't ideal. I haven't had a bombed out run yet. That'll come. Running is third on the list right now. I'll probably try to be chill with my workouts the rest of this week, but come Saturday I need to stack the miles. Time to do some more reading on nutrition on the go to keep energy levels up during the long stretches of training rides.

The Barbarian Horde 1K

I have had a brilliant idea and I must share it with the world!
The Barbarian Horde 1K.
Here's how it works:
As people register for the Barbarian Horde 1K they are split into two teams. Call them the Barbarians and the Vikings, though I'm open to suggestions. Pre-race preparation should include face and body painting, costume design (kilts and bare feet encouraged),  as well as repeated watching of Braveheart and any other movie with a massive, foot soldier-waged, edged-weapon battle in it.
As participants arrive they are sent to one of two sides of a 200m field, the side of the field determined by their registration. Once there, they are rallied by their Horde Leader, an arm-waving, nearly-unintelligible encouragement-yelling crazy person, until they are whipped into a frenzy.
Then, on shouted count between the two Horde Leaders (or possibly tossed sword), both side run screaming for the center of the field, 100 meters away. As they meet in the middle the goal is to run straight through, high-fiving as many of the opposing horde as possible, thus "killing" them, and then complete the run all the way to the other side's start point. A key point of all of this is everyone must be screaming, shouting, and hollering war cries the entire time they are in motion.You are, after all, a Barbarian Horde. Also, no weapons of any kind, even foam, would be allowed. This is supposed to be fun, with danger kept to a minimal.
Once both sides have recovered from Wave One, the entire thing is repeated. In order to reach a true 1k there would have to be five waves of attack (200m x 5 = 1000m = close enough). If both sides agree to an accord before that happens, after all running full tilt while screaming is hard work, the Barbarian Horde 1k can end early.
The post-race meal will not be normal fare. It will need to be some type of burnt meat product wrapped in charred animal flesh. Prizes will be given for Most Enthusiastic Barbarian, Best War Cry, Best Barbarian Outfit, and Scariest Barbarian To See Coming At You Full Speed.
I'm convinced this would be a ton of fun. Assuming everyone played cool and didn't try to purposely deck anyone in the melee (and signed injury wavers), wouldn't you get in on this?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

North Shore Swim Series: North Shore Challenge Race Report

Distance- 2.3mi
Time- 1:19:14

According to nearly everyone I've talked to, heard from, and Facebook-stalked, the fourth and final event of the North Shore Swim Series, the North Shore Challenge, was somewhere between an utter disaster and really annoying.
But, you know when you and a bunch of your friends complain about something incessantly, (i.e. the food sucks, the waiter sucks, the movie sucks, she didn't look like a dude, she didn't look like a cop, whatever) there is always one guy, one jerk, who looks at the group and says something along the lines of, "What? I didn't think it was that bad at all."
I'm about to be that guy. I don't want to be. I don't want to sound like an asshole. But I can't help it. I really didn't think the course, the swim, the current, or the pre-race advice was all that bad.
I want to add a disclaimer here: I've never done this swim before. I have nothing to compare this particular course to. I've never even swum this distance before at my current fitness level, so I can't with much certainty say what my time should have been. I guess a lot of people got pulled or got out. Not once did I feel remotely like that needed to happen to me. I do feel bad for everyone who didn't finish for one reason or another. I can only imagine how bad it must suck to have a lifeguard come tell you that it's time to get out because you've had enough.
On to my report, which is not all sunshine and rainbows, contrary to what my extended introduction might suggest.
We arrive at Waimea Bay nice and early so that Super Awesome Wife could set up her Spousal Support Group Tent-brella. It was a brainstorm she had at the last swim and, though not many people stopped by, I think it has promise. I think the sign needs to say, "WE HAVE SNACKS." People will come, Ray, people will come.
Of course, after getting there early I managed to catch the very last bus shuttling swimmers to the start. Why? Because I got distracted talking to the parent of one of my students, there because her older daughter is swimming and she volunteers the snack tent. Love parents like that. Way to be involved! *teacher cheer* But I'm not sweating being on the last bus, the race director is too, and they can't start without him. Our fates are tied. On the bus ride over we noticed the swell was much more western than he expected. This was going to change things. It would mean there would be an unexpected current and he was going to have to advise as best he could.
Once we reached the beach the pre-race meeting went off right away, with the race director telling us to stay more to the outside of the buoys and away from the shore. He and the lifeguards thought that would keep us from the bigger swells and from getting dragged around too much. Worked for me. Not so much for others.
Just keep swimming...
The swim out to the water start was much easier than last time (see: reef, ouch), and I made for the far buoy to try and get a good position right off the bat. I did hear the start this time and was off in good form. In fact, unlike Chun's, I swam in a group for nearly the entire race. This was both good and bad. Good because it let me keep an eye on my competition, follow people, and feel like I was racing rather than just our for a swim. Bad because, well, people piss me off sometimes. We had the entire ocean to swim in. All of it. And I understand the start of things like this get crowded and that's fine. I understand the waves throw off your line and that's fine too. But stop cutting me off and running into me. You have open water three feet to your right, go over there. I'm swimming here. (I promise, only one more grumpy thing about other swimmers.)
The best part of being right in the thick of everything was being able to find friends swimming about my speed and hang with them. I spent a lot of the race thinking, "Ok, where did Guy In Black Zoomers go? And what about Guy In Full Body Tri Suit? Did I lose him?" And then swimming with them. About that, listen to me, Guy In Full Body Suit, you don't need to buy those things for swimming. There is not way the only trunks you own are BlueSeventy Swimskins. I understand you bought them for swim racing, but Guy In Sports Authority Speedo-Brand Zoomers (you're truly), just passed your expensive ass. Spend more time in the pool, then go buy that stuff. (And yes, I would totally wear one of those suits if I owned one. I would immediately become a hypocrite. I'd feel all special and fishy!) And thinking like that helps. I swim a little angry, it helps keep the blood pumping and keeps me competitive. Wait and see how it helps me finish strong.
I knew my training was working and I was getting stronger because my mindset was so much better this time around. I wanted to get some, I wanted to mix it up, and I wanted to catch some people. This is called A Glimpse Inside The Head of The Tattooed Wake: "I see feet. I will catch those feet. If I can see you, I can reel you in. Given a long enough course I will pass you." That is the mind of a competitor. And when I'm in and my body is working as well as it was Saturday, that's all true in my head. I will pull you in and push you by. It's gonna happen.
Also in the head of a competitor, though, is a shorter fuse than normal. As in, "If you don't get the hell off my feet right now I will kick you in the head!" Some dummy spent at least a thousand yards drafting off me. Which I don't mind in and of itself. That's part of this kind of race and I'd do it to him. But he touched my feet every other stroke for a thousand yards. I want you to imagine how annoying, how aggravating, how maddening this can get. Feeling fingers brushing your feet, toes, and ankles constantly. I never stopped, but god how I wanted to. Smack him in the head and tell him to pass or back off. I tried accelerating and cutting by other swimmers to shed my shadow, kicking extra hard, and finally went for it and turned the intensity way up for about a minute to get separation, which worked. Grumble grumble douchebag grumble.
I should note that through I didn't see too much wildlife during my time on the course we did pass the aptly named Shark's Cove. Not a clever name. But a cool one. One which appeals to your favorite Dirtbag.
And after one hour and eighteen minutes I was nearly done. The last twenty or so had been the hardest. For a while there it was me and one other guy with no other swimmers in sight, very different that the rest of the race. I settled into a, "Gee, hope this guy knows where he's going," mindset, ignoring the thought that he probably was thinking the same thing about me. At some point I could see the top of the church which marked the turn-in point and was swimming hard at it. Distanced are deceiving at the water line so it felt longer than it was and look shorter than it was to get to the finish. I was hurting by the end but the whole swim my body had been working like I expected it to. I'd had strong, steady strokes, no major muscle issues, and only one problem. Chafing. I know, right? But for the last twenty or thirty minutes I'd developed what felt like a rash at my left armpit which burned every stroke. Not sure if it was the rubbing of skin on skin plus the salt acting as a irritant or if I managed to swim into something that stung me, but it kind of hurt. I was ready to be done. I wanted to finish. And I was pushing hard for it.
Can you see my little orange head?
Then I saw her. There, to my right, just off my hip. A Stanford cap! No way in hell am I letting some tart from Stanford beat me! Not now. She put up a good fight but the day was mine. Psh, Sanford. Whatever. 
And if you're looking for inspirational stories about people not named Dirtbag, check this out: The lady in a wheelchair finished this race too. Very cool to see her and her friend swim in, wave for the special beach chair, and get pulled across the line.
Go! Mush! Mush!
All in all a nice day our for me. Again, I'm sorry so many people didn't enjoy their swim and there was so much struggling. If I could change anything about the course I would ask for more marker buoys. I know there were three on th course, but I only saw one. Two more might have helped. I am curious to know what my time would have been had conditions been ideal. I'm looking to drop a few minutes next month at the Waikiki RoughWater. We'll see how that goes.
As always, much thanks to Background Profiles for helping make this possible for me. And thanks to Super Awesome Wife for her support.
Get some, go again.

Starting to Gain Milage

Ride Day

Time- 2:27
Distance- 40mi

The century is registered for and now every moment in the saddle my focus shifts towards going the distance. Every ride I need to be a little longer out, and feel strong for more time. Today was a good step towards that goal.
The route started normally for my long weekend rides. Down to Haleiwa, around town, and back up Pineapple Hill. We are reaching the fitness point where this climb isn't as brutal anymore, though today's wind sure didn't help. There are points where there are trees acting as wind breaks, and points that are wide open pineapple fields. Wind blows and spokes hum and Dirtbag struggles to stay centered. And I repeat to myself, "It does no good to complain about the wind, it is my friend, it only makes me stronger."
Sometimes that works.
Up and past Dole, the climb from Haleiwa to there taking about 36 minutes, which means faster than last time. Then its on to Wahiawa, on to Schofield Base, and home. I'm not sure I've mentioned it before, but mayhap I have. There is a small climb heading north from Wahiawa proper to where I live. The road dips into a gully, crosses a bridge (this is all under a half mile total), and then climbs out of the gully. But that climb going north just sucks massive amounts of sucky sucking. It's seriously a couple of hundred feet, not far, but the grade at the end of a ride feels massive. Or I'm a big whinny pants. Could be that.
Good ride all around, decent time. I'm looking at a three hour 50 miler, which means if I don't fade too hard, a six hour century. That's the unofficial goal that I might still be bummed about if I don't make it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Falling Victim

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
10 x 100- 1:30
1 x 500- 7:30
5 x 100- 50-5, 7, 9/50-stroke count
5 x 200- 3:00
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 3250yds

Ah, the first morning swim of a training cycle. Shaking out the cobwebs, feeling good and getting sleepy in the middle of the workout, especially if you put a slow set there.
The ten 100s set was a consistency drill. I wanted to hit all of them on the 1:20. That was pretty successful. I started fast, about 1:16, and then settled in and lit them all up for right around a 1:20 pace. Can't complain about that. Once I get hardcore I'll do the set again on the 1:25. 25 seconds is such an awkward number to calculate when tired though. It's not simple like 30. *bitch moan complain*
The drill set today was supposed to just be 5, 7, 9 breathing drill, but that got boring really quickly so I switched it up for three, four, and five to the 50/50 and that helped. Anything to stay invested in the workout. And the final 200 set, well that wasn't my finest hour. Let us just say that I made the first three, then fell off the pace like Wille E. falls off cliffs. But I finished, and that's important. A nap prior to my run this afternoon may be called for.
Aaaaaand fail. I have fallen victim to Tight Hamstring/Gassy Stomach/Wife Nap. THGSWN is something that affects many athletes all over the world. Sometimes we beat it, sometimes it beats us. Today I lost.Seriously though, damn hammy is tight. Stretch streeetch sssttrrreeeeettttccchhh.
Also, check out my little favicon now! I'm excited about small things like that (that's what she said!). Thanks to Super Awesome Wife for helping get it set up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Talking to Myself

Run Day

time- 42 min
distance- 4.5mi

Today started out with a decent pace. And it finished with a decent pace. But no where in there did it become a difficult pace. Let me explain.
School started last Monday. Today we had meetings. And then I had extra post-meeting meetings. And then I did some prep for tomorrow. And then I went home to run. But I was still in meeting mode. Tomorrow, I plan on grabbing my principal's ear about some things I need to discuss. So I spent the last 2.25 miles of my run talking to him. Out loudish. While running. This does not an efficient runner make.
Knee felt a little tight after I got home, but there is no pain, so no worries. Keep and eye on it.
Big swim Saturday and I need to out on the bike Sunday, so I'm going to double up tomorrow with a swim before school and another run afterward, then rest Friday.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Little Courson in Me

Swim Day

1x 150- Warm-up
5 x 200- 3:00
2 x 500- 7:30
5 x 50- Sideline kick
5 x 100- 1, 2, 3, Swim
3 x 300- 4:30
1 x 100- Cool Down
1 x 50- Underwater
total- 3950yds

Big yardage swim today. Felt good though. I made every single time standard solidly except the second 300 at the end, which I made at 4:31. So I hit the wall, checked my watched, took time to curse quietly, and was off again. Made the third 300.
On both the 200 and 500 set I was getting around ten seconds rest, which is solid and a great confidence builder. I'm trying to decided how much emphasis to put on my swims now that I have the century coming up. The Waikiki Rough Water is also nearing, and is earlier in September, so I don't think I can really let off the gas in the pool. Which means there will be slack in my runs. Those are going o be shorter and a little more neglected for the next two months. Need to be working it in the water and stacking miles on the bike. The only run I've got coming up is the Ko'Olina Sprint Tri in October and I'll be ready for that 5k no problem. Its not like I'm going to stop running. I just might keep it at twice a week, while making the swims and rides three times a week.
And that 50yd underwater at the end? Some teens were challenging each other to try and make it across once without coming up and failing. It made me get a little Courson and I quietly sucked some wind, cooled my mind out, and went for the deuce. No problem. That's The Way.

It's At Home?!? D'oh!

Ride Day

time- 56min
distance- 20mi

The ride started out so nicely. I felt like I was banging along, holding a good pace and feeling stronger than I had felt up to this point on the bike since we got back. Part of that, I think was my seat adjustment. I've been slowly raising my seat by a few inches, trying to get myself into the proper position for effective aero-ing and pedaling. I think I'm at the sweet spot, or very nearly there. Might need to move the seat forward a teensy bit. And yes, in cycling a teensy bit is the correct terminology for measurement as far as you know.I'll check out one of my many books and get back to it.
Anyway, things were going swell. (How often do you get to use "swell"?)
Until I nearly killed an old woman. I swear it wasn't my fault. We have bus stops here that flirt with being off the road, but aren't really. Which means that when handsome young man on bicycle and big ass bus come to occupy the same spot at the same time, handsome young man needs to choose to go around to the outside and in to traffic, or inside and thread the needle. I went inside because there was, well, traffic. And in my path, not standing in the boarding line, was an old woman. Now, when I say she was in the middle of the open space I don't mean middle-ish. I don't mean middle-like. I don't mean near-middle. I mean she was in the exact center of the open space, as if if was an assignment. As if someone had told her to stand there and she came early, brought with her a map, yardstick, a chalk liner, maybe a GPS, possibly a star chart, and a graphing calculator and determined the exact center of that space of road. And she wasn't moving. The only other possible explanation for her total lack of reaction as I zipped by her was that she was actually a mannequin left on the side of the road after the failed escape of a poorly-planned mannequin heist. I imagine it went something like this:
"All right, we'll take the bus to Sears, run in, grab the mannequin, and be out before anyone notices us."
"Will they let us bring the mannequin back on the bus with us, boss?"
"Sure, why wouldn't they?"
Some time later: "Hey there now, you can't bring that mannequin on the bus!"
"Noooooo! Foiled again! Leave it! Just leave it. Here come the Five-Oh! Drive, damnit, drive!"
"Fare, pleaase."
That's really the only two options.
The ride recovered after that near-hit (a "near miss" is a hit) for about five miles. Then, POP hissssssssssssssssssss! I made have let loose a few choice words which would call for a penalty if said during a race. No worries, though. I'll just pull over, pull the spare tube and flat kit out of my seat bag and oh yeah I left my seat bag in the living room after adjusting my seat. Cue more choice penalty words. How frustrating. So I called Super Awesome Wife and she came to the rescue with my truck. A good ride spoiled by lack of preparation.
And finally,
Good news, everyone! Yesterday I registered for my first century ride, the Honolulu Century. I've been planning on getting in on this for a while now and finally heard back from the HBL about my membership information and got in on the ride. There are plenty of distance options: 20 miles, 50 miles, 75 miles, or the full 100. Well here at Dirtbag Fitness do not do things part way. Of course I signed up for the full century. My training has already begun. The hardest part will be not jacking distances too quickly. I have seven weeks and am at 35 miles right now. I want to be at at least 85 before I attempt the full on September 25th. Just adding 10-15% every long ride out. And its not the distance that has me worried. Its working out my nutrition plan and practicing that. I'll have to do some research. I have no time or average speed expectations. I just want to be out with a bunch of other cyclists in a non-competition event and enjoy being on the bike in Hawaii. Looking forward to it. Much thanks to my Dirtbag Sponsor, Background Profiles, for helping make participation in all these events possible.
Oh yeah, and I'll keep a spare with me now.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

BRS-Hawaii Meet-Up

Ladies and Gentlemen, the BRS-Hawaii Chapter is active. Today we had our first meet-up run and I'm thrilled. It was small, only Ron the Unclad Lad and I were there, but it's a start.
Starting from the Mililani 24 Hour Fitness we ran for 33:54, going just over three miles at a moderate pace, allowing easy getting-to-know-you conversation. This wasn't about working out as much as it was about a meeting of similar-minded runners and running smiley. Ron had a victorious run, going further than he had since he got back in to running a few months ago. I admit, I ran in my Bikilas. Hey, its how I train. I race in them, so I run in them most of the time. I'm not a full-on barefooter like Ron is. But I think next time we meet I will do the run bare. Why not? Its a good time.
I hope more Hawaii BRSers can come next time. We are looking at a month from today as a tentative date for our next group run, September 4th. 

A Pleasent Surprise

Ride Day

time- 1:56
distance- 32mi

Once more into the breach, dear friends.
That was how I felt leaving the house yesterday morning on my bike. The plan was the same as two weeks ago, down to Haliewa, around, and back up Pineapple Hill. For a lot of advanced riders, Pineapple Hill does not pose a huge challenge. But its rough enough for me. And it kicked my ass last time I did it. I'm a few weeks stronger now though, so I was feeling hopeful that it wouldn't be so bad.
It was great.
I was shocked. I didn't fly up the Hill, and I wasn't pushing myself very hard, but I went right up with little to no hating of life. Huge confidence booster, that. I felt pretty good when I was down in Haleiwa, and felt so good when I got to the Dole Plantation (home of pineapple mazes and pineapple smoothies) that I decided to tack on a few miles by going down through Wahiawa before heading home. Ths has me very excited about getting in to my century training. A century which I haven't signed up for yet because I'm still waiting for them to email me back about a few things.
Also on the registration front, I've registered for the Waikiki Rough Water Swim on September 5th, Labor Day. Why? Because I forgot it was happening until Kepa, the Tri-N-Hawaiian, asked me about it. Oh yeah, an event happening on the island I haven't signed up for yet. Ok, I'm in. And you can't beat a swim around Waikiki. I did this course once when I came out here with my college swim team (UOP! Viva la Tigers!) and enjoyed it. More than the North Shore Swim Series events, the bottom really drops away and you are in the Big Blue. And let me tell you, it is big. And blue.
The only upcoming swim I haven't registered for yet is the one mile Duke's Oceanfest Open Water. And I haven't registered for that because they have not yet joined us in this century and I have to download the registration form, fill it out, and mail or fax it. Who does that any more? It's only $25 but I may have waited too long and its full now. We'll see.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

To the Last Drop

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 200- 3:00
5 x 100- 5, 7, 9
3 x 300- 4:30
2 x 400- even laps easy/odd laps hard
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 3450 yds

This swim was supposed to happen Thursday. Then my body remembered teaching had just started on Monday and I had changed very little about my training. I was wiped when I got home Thursday. When I teach its a full body workout, and there was some adjusting going on. It ain't easy going from a few weeks off to bam in with 30 kids. Anyone who says different, punch them in the face.
So I was worn out and moved my rest day up. (These ideas are my own and also come from the excellent Run: The Mind-Body Method of Running By Feel. Read my review here.) There are benefits to training fatigued, like the body learning how to break through soreness and maintain stroke/stride/pedal quality and to suffer greater, but there is a line too. At some point in the fatigue spectrum you no longer do any good and start instead to over-punish, get past that last drop, and everything starts falling apart. My body told me we were riding an edge and laying in bed after school, then relaxing with the wife was a better choice.
Was it ever! I felt so much better Friday. Still tired after school, because that's how you feel, but nowhere near what I was feeling 24 hours earlier. And I killed the above workout. Everything was made on the time standards, the 200s set with ten seconds rest and the 300s with five to one second (!). Love that last set too! Having the safety blanket of an easy odd lap meant that it was easier to break through any mental bonds and really attack each odd lap. Having Rocket Queen by GnR on repeat in my head doesn't hurt either (By the way, Rocket Queen is one of the most underrated Guns songs of all time. The way the song shifts gears after three minutes and turns into a completely different song is amazing, and the lyrical content for the final 2:45 is unlike anything else on the album.) I was nailing that wall on the flip at the end of each lap and finished like a swimmer. Heavy breathing and wall hanging did ensue. I'm a pleased Dirtbag. Now getting ready and digested for today's long ride. Hope Pineapple Hill is a little more gentle this time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

To Run

Run Day
time- 41 minutes
distance- 4.5mi

Nice out and back today. I'm starting to feel stronger now, less out of shape. There still isn't much fast, but there is more potential for fast. Soon I'll be able to start my fartlek runs and I'll be bothering Fit Life for go-fast workouts. I need to suffer more during my runs and get my speed going. I want to be running six to eight+ miles every or nearly every workout so that when the Honolulu Tri (and any other Olympic distance) comes around again my base will be strong and I'll be able to pump harder than last year.
Ok, I'm tired, Colbert is on, and I'm digesting my non-vegetarian sushi dinner. Time to chill.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chun's Reef to Waimea Photos

Photos are up from this weekend's swim. Follow this link to 808Fotos. Your favorite Dirtbag is on page 13, picture number 258 and 259. I would copy them but the website is smarter than I am*. I'd suggest flipping through a few of the page just to get an idea of how pretty where I get to swim is.

*However, Sister Dirtbag, Official Trainer and Computer Nerd of Team Dirtbag, is smarter than the website. So here, for your viewing pleasure, are the two official race photos.

For this, I've doubled this month's salary from nothing to whatever double nothing is. Team Dirtbag takes care of its own.

Tacking on the Yardage

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 200- 3:00
5 x 50- Sideline kick
5 x 100- 1, 2, 3, Swim
1 x 500- 7:30
1 x 400- 6:18
1 x 300- 4:38
1 x 200- 3:00
1 x 100- 1:19
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 3500 yards

Plenty good distance for the Dirtbag today. And most of it was quality work. I made each of the 200s in the first set, though never by more than five seconds, and that shows growth already. I knew my swim would come back quick.
During the ladder I only made my time standard for the 500 and the 200, and missed it way wide on the 400 and 300. Not too upset about that though. I was working hard, trying to keep the core engaged and the stroke long. Core always feels weak the longest and it is an underrepresented muscle group when it comes to what make a swimmer fast.  A strong core is a solid stroke.
I am getting some elbow twinges. I do whenever I'm gone from swimming for a while and come back to it, or when I up yardage considerably. It's not an injury concern, just an annoyance. Makes it hard to push. It will go away as those small muscles and tendons strengthen.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Getting Stronger

Run Day (Sunday)
time- 31 minutes
distance- approx. 3.5mi

Ride Day (Monday)
time- approx. 1:33
distance- 30.5mi

Just a quick workout write-up before I pass out. Today was the first day of school, so that on top of my 30 mile ride has Dirtbag tuckered out.
The run Sunday went well. I'm still not running with a GPS yet, or going further than 30 minutes. Making sure all the foot and knee muscles are strong and ready to rock before I start pushing it. No hurry. After my first run back my calves were killing me. Oh yeah, minimalist running activates that muscle group a whoooole lot. Forgot. Led to, "Honey, why are you walking funny?" questions from the wife. She understands. But after Sunday's run my calves feel fine. No soreness anywhere in my feet either. I think after maybe another week of shorter runs I'll start slowly bumping time/distance up. Running will be the least-focused on discipline in the coming months, but I can't forget it.
Cycling, however, will become the major focus very soon. I have registered for it yet, but there is a century in September I have my eye on. It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine. Which means the quicker I can get my base back the quicker I can start stacking miles in to my legs. Looking forward to it.
Today's ride felt pretty good. Not great, not fast, but good enough. I jumped on the gas a few times and by the end of the ride my legs were feeling it and having none of that foolishness anymore. They'll learn. Had to take a traffic detour and play Dodge The Car, every cyclists favorite game show, and that slowed my overall time down. Plus, I think I forgot to start and stop my watch at all the lights, which is why my above time is approximate. Close enough for theater work.
On a final amusing note, as I was coming to the end of my ride I was passed by a much faster cyclist. The back of his jersey, in big bold letters, read, "Don't Run Me Over." I want one.