Friday, September 30, 2011

All in All, Another Brick in the Wall (Of the Fortress of Fitness) Plus Bonus Funny!

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 100- 1:30
3 x 200- 3:00
3 x 150- 50- 5, 7, 9/50- Stroke count/ 50- Swim
6 x 50- 0:45
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 2100 yards

Brick Day
Ride- 20mi/1:04
Run- 2.5mi/21 minutes
Total- 22.5mi/1:25

My swim felt full of holes for most of it. But I haven't been in the water much for the last two weeks, so I'm not beating myself up over. Pretty sure I missed my time standard on the last 200, which is annoying. That's ok, it'll come back.
And the brick went well. There has been no brick laying in a while and with the Anniversary Tri coming up soon I needed to get my legs back to making a strong transition. I really tried to pound the ride since I don't feel like I've have a fast ride in a while. Got up Kolekole in 14 minutes, and that's nice to see. The knee twinged once or twice during the climb but that was all. And then coming off base I got out of the saddle and tried to ram it up a small tiny climb and felt a more obvious spike in the same area, which wasn't as awesome. Didn't really feel it after that though.
Quick change at home and out on the road. It was getting dark, gloaming, so I only went to the end of the block and back. Did my damnedest to keep a strong, smooth pace with relaxed shoulders. I'd say there was a 75% rate of success there. Meh. And again, no knee problems on the run. It is nice to run as the sun is setting. Much more the cooler.
However, last night after sitting for some time I got up and the outside of the left knee went, "Hi, Jerkface!" There was soreness. There remains soreness. And irritation that there is soreness. So last night before bed I iced and Ibprofened. This morning I pilled some more. Today is a rest day, even though I have pretty much rested all week I try to leave Friday alone so that I can get back into the regular rhythm next week. Of course, with knee making grumpy noises again I may take Saturday's long ride off too and just do the long Sunday run. I am looking forward to switching back to a sprint-focused training plan. Finding the Fast and Explosive.

***Bonus Funny***
(stolen from Tri Cook. See all of them here)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Honolulu Century Ride Report

Distance- 107.45mi*
Time- 6:23*
*at 100 miles my time was 5:58**

**Two minutes under my goal time***

***not that that's important****

****but it is kind of neat

One hundred miles on a bicycle. For fun and fitness. And it was glorious.
Did I match my earrings to my bike? Maybe
I have to say, while there are some things to complain about, by and far I had a great ride on Sunday. My first century was something I'll never regret doing and never forget doing. I felt strong, happy, and solid for 90% of the ride, which is as much as you can ask when you're out on the bike for that long. But I get ahead of myself.
My day started at 3:30am, when my alarm went off. Then it started again a 4:15am when Super Awesome Wife woke me up and asked why I hadn't gotten up with my alarm. Whoops. So I shaved a few minutes off my planned morning preparation and ate my Clif Bar and banana breakfast in the truck on the way downtown. That's right, I had to drive 30 miles to get to the place where I was going to ride 100 miles. And, it being an island and all, the 100 mile turn-around is actually about 35 miles from my house. The mind boggles.
Kratos is prepared for destruction

Good morning, handsome
Today I am 578
I found parking at Kapiolani park, which was easier than I expected, got my gear out, and started pre-ride prep. The night before I'd put everything I was going to need into a Ziplock and into my backpack, then checked it, then laid down to read before I fell asleep, then got up and checked it again, then crashed out. So, of course, I couldn't find my watch in the bag. Which kind of frustrated me, but I decided that I wouldn't worry about time because this was supposed to be a ride for fun. Even though I really wanted to know how long it would take me. Turns out I put my watch in my cycling shoe. You know, so I wouldn't lose it. Right. Good star, Dirtbag. I decided these were my two small problems, and everything else would go swimmingly, er, cyclingly. Which actually worked.
Zeroed out, ready to go
I forgot to sunscreen before leaving the house (have to forget something) but lucky for me the Planet Sun guy had a booth. He has a booth at every single event I go to. Never tried his stuff before. But I didn't want to cook like a lobster on wheels so I grabbed some free samples. This was a good call. I was out for six and a half hours and didn't redden at all.Might have to actually buy something from him next time.
The reported attendance for Sunday's event was two thousand. That's a ton of bikes. I, fact, I would go so far as to say a fuck-ton of bikes. The pictures don't do it justice. These are just of Group A. Group A was supposed to be, according to the ride fliers, only experienced cyclists who plan to ride at around 20mph. What it actually turned out to be was those people, plus the 700 tourists flown in from Japan who don't read pre-ride flyers or listen to pre-ride briefings given in both English and Japanese. This brings us to my start and my only real gripe of the ride report. Can you guess what it is?
Group A-ish
Mass of cycling humanity
That's right! The first fifteen miles were madness bunched against craziness riding inches from blindly ignoring the other thousand people on the small space of road we had. I want to be clear: I don't blame the ride director or the Honolulu Bicycling League. They did all they could to keep the start organized and safe. It's just that there is only so much you can do to save people from themselves. At the risk of veering into racist territory (which is different from veering into the path of another rider trying to pass you without running into two tons of car), let me just say that the reason traffic here is often so bad became extremely clear in those first fifteen miles. Yeah, many of the people here can't drive to save their lives, but it looks like all of the people who visit from a certain island nation to the east whose name rhymes Hapan can't.
Still, it wasn't awful and I knew that as we got out of town the groups would thin out, so I got through it. Also inside of that first little bit was our first real climb, the aptly named Heartbreak Hill. To be honest, I was concerned about the climbs during the ride. I've never ridden over on the Windward side of the island so I've only heard about Heartbreak. The name seemed to say it all. But, aside from dropping my chain at the base of the climb, it wasn't that bad. I wouldn't want to do it all the time, but it wasn't awful. Oh, I forgot, at the very start was Diamond Head, another climb that seemed much bigger in my head than it actually was. Easy. I have living on top of Pineapple Hill and my diesel-powered riding partner showing me Pupukea to thank for my climbing. Not that I'm the best climber in the world, but there was some passing going on on the way up these hills. And the payoff is magnificent. In the spirit of keeping the ride fun, and because I'm really seven years old, I did whoop and  holler while zooming down the other side of Diamond Head and Heartbreak. And Makapu'u. And any other descent we had.
Aid Station #1- 20 mile turn around
My plan was to not stop at every single aid station and I didn't. But I did need a nature break at the twenty mile turn around. Guess my pre-race hydration was up to par. The aid stations were spaced, with one exemption, at the possible turn-around points during the ride. So the first was 10 miles out of town for the 20 mile ride, the next was 25 miles out of town for the fifty mile ride, et cetera.And the course was clearly marked with yellow signs and black arrows. This was only a problem once.
You see, dear reader, I arrived at the 50 mile turn around/25 mile aid station with plenty of water and energy. No need to stop. So I pulled in, looped around, and followed the arrows back out. WRONG! I followed the arrows marked RETURN back out. As in, "If you are only riding 50 miles and would now like to RETURN to the start, follow these arrows. Otherwise, continue in the direction you were headed prior to this aid station." Luckily, I only went a short way before figuring out my mistake. How? I thought to myself, "You know, this all looks very familiar." So I called out to another rider, "Hey, this is headed towards the 100 mile, right?" "Uh, nope." Damn. Flip around, backtrack, and straight through the aid station. I was annoyed with myself for making such a silly mistake ("Hey, why are we headed to Vegas?") that I neglected to pay attention to how far I went out of my way. Had it only been a mile? Five? This information would have been nice at the end of the ride.
The rest of the way out was uneventful and fun. The roads were, for Hawaii, clean and safe. I rode in or near groups for much of it. I'm pretty sure I was pulling a couple of guys there for a while, but I didn't really mind. I was feeling strong, the weather was perfect, and I was having no mechanical or physical difficulties. It was a great day to be out on the bike. Broke off from the group I was riding with at the next aid station to fill up on water and HEED, and then it was a straight shot to the 100 mile turn-around at Swanzy Beach park.
Up until now the cages shared the road with as much patience as a person can expect. There were a lot of us, we were impacting traffic, but Hawaii has this Drive With Aloha myth/saying and that was on display. Only once did I feel threatened by an idiot driver. I was near the back of a group, maybe half a dozen riders single file like we should be. Occasionally someone would jump to the left to pass, which was my plan. Passing was difficult here because cars were starting to pile up too. Narrow road, right? Not much of a shoulder, so we were kind of in the way, especially if another car were coming from the opposite direction. And this bitch revved her engine at me and mine. She also scooted ever so much to the right, making passing her safely impossible. I don't want to dwell on this because it was the only dark part of a very nice day, so I'll just say that another rider and I had a quick conversation and showed her our lycra-clad butts. Next stop: 100 mile turn-around.
Awesome. Excellent. Wonderful. I'll take Adjectives That Describe Volunteers for $200 please, Alex. At ever aid station they were great, but I really noticed at this one, mostly because I spent more time here than at the others. it was a chance to get off the bike, stretch the legs a little bit (my right quad was starting to tighten up on me), and top off the cylindrical plastic hydration containers. This was where I discovered one of the most wonderful things on this Earth: Ice. Ice is fantastic. Ice is like water, but so so much better. "Would you like me to scoop some of the ice into your bottle before you fill up?" asked the pleasant woman who had been standing behind a table under a tent doling out water to crazy people all day. I swooned. "Ice in a water bottle? Brilliant!" I had been on the road for about three and a half hours at this point, and with a start time of 6:30-ish, that meant that the sun was beginning to strut its stuff. Someone remind me to write a letter to the Vatican nominating Nice Aid Station Lady for sainthood. ("Where do you worship?" "Oh, we go to Our Lady of Great Aid Station in Ka'a'awa.") Also, it was here that I saw another cyclist, a woman, wearing the same jersey as I was, a pirate-themed, "The Beatings Will Continue Until Moral Improves" number. How did we meet? I was getting off the bike and heard, "Yar! Ahoy there!" We are now best friends. "Oh. My. God. I can't believe someone else is wearing the same thing I am! I'm so embarrassed!" I'll let you guess which one of us that was.
(It was me.)
Coming out of that aid station and turning around I hit the hardest part of the ride for me. My knee, which you may remember I babied all week, was fine, but my quad hadn't really loosened up like I wanted it to. So I may have found a friend and turned him into my domestique for a few miles. That's right, I sucked some wheel and I liked it. Hey, I'd been pulling groups too. He owed me. And it got me through the rough part. Not that it was too rough. The HBL had placed photographers along the course and I mugged for all of them. Getting down in aero and looking tough. Flexing and looking tough. Pointing at the camera and looking tough. Kissing a baby and looking tough. Sucking down a GU and looking tough. Explaining the delicate intricacy of the rise and fall of the Time Lord race and looking tough.
I also got musical. Somehow my jersey doppelganger got ahead of me and when I passed her I had to sing, "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!" She joined in. I told you we are best friends now. We even took a picture together and spoke pirately at the next aid station, where more ice water was gotten. Yay, ice! There was also a lady with a guitar singing to keep resting cyclists entertained. I may have requested Free Bird on my way past her. Alas, there was no love for Skynyrd.
Aid Station 25 miles from finish (aka, where I got lost earlier)
I was now back on familiar territory. Familiar because I had already accidentally done this part once. But this climb was much easier three hours earlier. Some time since I'd gone by someone had stretched the hill and upped the angle. Jerks.  Though this did lead to another impromptu sing-along. Someone I'd been riding with for a while was complaining about the length of the climb. Not obnoxious whining, just the complaints you have to voice after 75 miles in the saddle. "Is it over yet?" he'd call. "Almost," I called back. "Just close your eyes and wish." So he started singing, "Close your eyes something something..." but never finished the lyric. "Dude, it's the Beatles. You can't forget the Beatles! Close your eyes and I'll kiss you..." He said that no, he was thinking of a Boys 2 Men song and sang the next lines. Oh, don't know that. I was thinking of the Beatles. He agreed that was a good song, so on the downhill our voices rose in non-harmony, "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you. Tomorrow I'll miss you. Remember, I'll always be true."
And before I knew it we were back at Makapu'u. I was sure this climb would be harder. I had a ton of miles in my legs now, I remembered it being all kinds of steep, and
was prepared for brutality.
Not so much. Dropped my water bottle at the base so I had to stop to grab it, but then I ground right up, passing another gaggle of tourists, thanking Pineapple Hill, Pupukea, and Mr. "Diesel" Price the whole way. One more ascent to go. The backside of Heartbreak Hill. This side is more shallow, but longer. It hurt way more and felt slow. But I conquered it. On every hill I passed people who had gotten off their bikes to walk. In the words of Mr. Mercury, "Get on your bikes and ride!"
It was about this time that I got a bad taste in my mouth. Because I'm not the bright sometimes. I had grabbed some Ibprofen before I left the house and thrown them into one of my Ziplocks in case my knee started hurting. I also through my pieced-up Clif Bar into the same baggie. Anyone want to guess what happened? Yes, you in the back. That's right! Ibprofen will embed itself in Clif Bar over the course of six hours. So I went for a Clif Bar chunk, forgot to check it for stowaways and CRUNCH. Mmmmm, anti-inflammatory-y. Just like momma used to make. Took half a bottle of water to wash that taste out of my mouth. Stuff got ground into my teeth. Blech.
The last bit of non-ordinary excitement came right after Heartbreak. All day I'd been passing people on the side of the road dealing with flats. Hey, it happens. And the ride coordinators had a ton of Sag Wagons out, cars with volunteers keeping an eye out for stranded bikers and giving them a ride to the nearest aid station or back to the Finish. And here was this poor guy walking is bike down the road. I slowed and called out to him. He called back that he'd gotten a flat and ad already used his spare earlier in the day. That sucks! I wasn't sure if we had another aid station were they would let him buy a tube or if he was S.O.L. for the duration. So I stopped and lent him one of mine. Since my training flats I keep two in my seat bag. His tires were the same size as mine, he only needed one so I would still have a spare if leak happened, so I had no problem helping a brother out. I only had my little emergency pump, but it would have done the job had a Sag Wagon not just them appeared, complete with real bike pump. Yay for volunteers! Yay for me being a helpful Dirtbag!
I looked down just in time to see my bike computer tick over to 99 miles and my blood started pumping. There was never any doubt about finishing, but it was a thrill to watch the numbers count up. As it passed 100 I whooped and did a little happy dance in the saddle. One century down. And in 5:58, two minutes quicker than what I expected. Booyah, grandma. Booyah. Of course, I wasn't at the finish line yet and I wasn't sure exactly how far I had to go, but I knew it couldn't be much.
Turned out I was seven miles away and those alternatively zipped and dragged by until I was climbing Diamond Head for the last time. No problem at all. Crushed it and glided back down all aero and awesome. Super Awesome Wife had taken the bus to the park and was waiting at the finish for me cheering along with a group of kid volunteers who were banging those annoying (but for some reason not today) inflatable sticks together and shouting.
And across the line!
Not nearly as tired as I thought I would be, though I wasn't feeling up to a marathon to be sure. My legs sure did get sore over the next two days, and it was that perfect soreness that you know you earned and makes you smile every time you stand or sit or walk or move. I felt like I nailed my hydration and plan and my nutrition plan, which makes me very happy. Never once did I bonk hard or feel like I needed a drink. Those are victories to me. And I have to thank my sponsor, Background Profiles, who made it possible to buy all the foil packets of calories and rear-mounted bottle cages and whatnot I used, and every once else who supported and encouraged me during my training. Specifically, Sister Dirtbag, Official Trainer of Team Dirtbag, and Super Awesome Wife, Official Super Awesome Wife, Nutritionist, and Chef of Team Dirtbag.
We chilled at the park for a while, I picked up my t-shirt, lunch, and a Coke, and I allowed myself some pride. Not that I ever have a pride debt, but this time I earned it. I never doubted my ability to finish or my will to go on, but I was surprised at how much fun I had. I really enjoyed my day out. Sure, there were rough parts where the climb seemed awful long or the breeze would stop and it would just be us and the beating sun, but that passed and I was off again, riding with cool people along one of the prettiest roads in the world, getting some, going again.
In the words of Ghandi, "BAM!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Time Travel (With Special Unrelated Side Note!)

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
3 x 200- 3:00
1 x 300- 4:30
1 x 400- 6:00
1 x 500- 7:30
3 x 50- Sideline kick
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 2200 yards

This week was supposed to be next week. This week I was supposed to finish my century training strong, get some decent runs and swims in, and head into Sunday feeling awesome. Then, after the century, I was going to take the next week super-easy.
Then I over-compensated for a sore knee. I admit, I probably don't need to be going quite as easy as I am. My swim felt all right, but as I was teaching and standing all day today my knee got more and more sore, so I decided to take the run off. Could I have run? Probably. But I'm overly concerned about Sunday's century, I really want to be tip-top for it, so I'm resting and icing instead. And next week will still have to be an easier week as a fade out of Century training-fade in to speed work for Ko'Olina.
I need a Doctor.

***Totally Unrelated Side Note***
The new Primus and Anthrax albums, Green Naugahyde and Worship Music respectively, both kick major ass. It's great to have both bands back.

 Worship Music

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Knights of Knee

Ride Day
time- approx. 40min
distance- 15.8mi

Not a long ride today. More of a test ride to see how the knee is feeling. It's better, but not great. There is still some tenderness and some tightness when I put any kind of heavy pressure on it. I think I overdid it on the long rides and now I'm paying for it. Added too much mileage too quickly. Better to know for next time. Not that it will stop me from doing the full 100 Sunday. I played with my seat height, raising it juuuuust a teensy tiny bit and making sure it is straight on in line with the frame. And I'll keep in lighter gears to keep my cadence high, which I've read should help alleviate some of the pressure. And I iced when I got home, I'll ice again tomorrow, ice ice ice ice. Ibprofen Ibprofen Ibprofen. Then, after Sunday, I'll go easy on the bike for a week to help the recovery process.
It's been a strange week. Skipping Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday means that I've missed five workouts. That's a lot of sweat to make up. But I needed it I'm sure. Can't forget about the knee. I'm going to swim and run tomorrow though. Still have the Ko'Olina Sprint Tri, my Anniversary Triathlon, to look forward to.
I also used today's ride as a test for the re-fixed rear mounted water bottle cage. I mended it! Tri Cook's observation that I installed it upside down the first time seems to be correct. So good call. We shall never speak of this again.
Oh, and I would kneel to you, Century. But I seem to have made my knee sore kicking so much ass on my weekend rides.
Pictured: Badass

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Neither Wind nor Rain...

Ride Day
time- 5:30
distance- 84.48

...nor pain of knee nor crappy screws can keep me from my goal. The Dirtbag must go through!
Today was a tough one. Tons of headwind all the way out made it a strugglefest to maintain 15mph. As a result my time today was somewhat slower than previous rides. But that's ok, wind makes me strong.
Leaving the house today is sprinkled. All that really means is I was covered in mud spray from minute one. Nice to get that out of the way. I'm a dirty dirty Dirtbag. 
Pupukea was easier. Not easy. Not fast. But easier. It's coming along.
It's knid of a headtrip, being out this long. To put it in perspective, today I rode for longer than it used to take me to drive from the University of the Pacific (Go Tigers!) in Stockon, CA, home to Palmdale, CA. That kind of blows my mind because that drive always took forever.
I did have some fail today. Fail number one was the rear-mounted bottle cage. Oh, it held bottle just fine. Not one rocket. What it didn't hold was the screws it came with. Hawaii is not known for the smoothness of our roads. They are not veeery niiice (that joke will be gotten by exactly three people and it was completely worth it). So the jiggling and jouncing loosened the screws to the point where one at some point came out. I only noticed because I had been reaching back to check on the condition of the bottle and it seemed to be making quite a racket. And it was sideways. But still in the cage! See, bright side. So I pulled the bottle out, back in my jersey pocket it went, and I went clink clink clinking on down the road. Yeah, that never got the lease bit annoying. Time to head to City Mill for repairs.
Yeah...that's not right
 Interesting to note, my turn around point was in Ka'a'awa, which, if you look at this map of next week's ride, intersects with that ride's course. So I'll be covering some of the same ground, which tells you how small the island really is, I guess. And in the Too Much Information category, I stopped to pee at the actual turn-around point in Ka'a'awa, Swanzy Beach Park.
Awww, a whale!

It rained some on the way back. Actually, to be specific, it rained at Sharks Cove, right where I planned to stop and stretch before making the run at Pineapple Hill. I still stopped, I still stretched and, because it was a tropical blessing, it only rained for a few minutes. I caught back up to it later, or it caught back up with me, but it was never too bad. A little downpour never hurt nobody.
Pineapple Hill was an adventure. It hurt, of course, but not in the normal way. My left knee went sore as soon as I hit the grade. Just a little tight spot on the outside of my knee. But as the climb went on, the soreness spread and occasionally flared to pain. Maybe a 5 on the scale at some really heavy points. This makes the climb extra long and extra slow because I spent some strokes trying to do more work with the other leg, avoiding putting too much pressure. I don't think its anything serious and it went away nearly completely as soon as the ground leveled back out, I probably have overdone it a little and am getting complaints. To be safe I'm going to dial way back for the next week. I'm considering taking the next two days off, but we'll see how I feel tomorrow morning. Running shouldn't hurt, its a different use of the joint, but Monday might be a total rest day. You would think swimming would be ok, but I push hard off the walls and that is basically a squat jump. We'll see. I'd rather rest it and be better for Sunday than be a tough guy and hurt for six hours.
Standing in the shower after my ride I couldn't help but smile. 85 miles, man. That's a long way in a car. If someone grabbed you right now and said, "Hey, let's take a drive. There's this cool place I know," and you asked how far it was and they said, "Eh, 'bout 85 miles," would you go? I fuckin' did that today on a bicycle. How cool is that? Of course, I've been pretty useless since I got home, but I earned it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dirtbag Doing Work

Swim Day
1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 200- 3:00
5 x 50- Sideline kick
1 x 300- odd easy/even hard
1 x 300- 4:21-ish
total- 2000 yards

Run Day
time- 36:21

Well, today was better than the last two days. Not great, but better. My swim still sucked for me, but at least I got further through it. Rather than re-write a workout I decided to knock down the one I punked out on Tuesday. Nearly did too. There was supposed to be another odd/even 300, and a hard out 200 at the end too. Stopped feeling it and decided to save my energy for the run or brick in the afternoon.
Up until I left school I planned on bricking today. I haven't put a brick into the Fortress of Fitness in a while and I need to get a few in before the Ko'Oina tri in mid-October. But it was raining all around my house and while I don't mind getting rained on while I'm riding, I didn't feel like it today. So I went with a straight run instead, choosing to save my riding legs for Saturday's big push to 85. My runs have been so up and down recently I've decided that unless I'm feeling stellar my run goals are becoming very simple:
Run consistent.
Try to relax and enjoy it.
That is all. I need to work my way back into running and get my brain out of it so I can find the Fast in fartlek runs and cruise strong on LSD (Long Slow Distance) days. Today went well towards those goals. If I didn't negative split it I came close. I never went all the way to Suffering but I was in Mid-to-High Cruise for most of my time out. It'll come back. Patience, Dirtbag. Patience.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let the Wussy Win (Or: Is That A Bottle Coming Out of Your Butt?)

Rest Day

Today's plan was a brick to make up for the lameness of yesterday's run. But I got home from school, looked a my gear, and just felt tired. So I'm taking the day off. I feel guilty, even though I know I shouldn't. It bugs me to no end when I know I ought to work out, but I'm not feeling it at all. I'll end up burning out if I'm not careful. Days like today make me respect Ironman triathletes even more. So I could spend 500 words dwelling on my two days of bleh, or I could move on.
I have once again mended something! After being inspired by Tri Cook's hydration set-up and being tired of shoving a third water bottle in my jersey pocket, I went to Amazon and did some shopping around. I ended up with a Minora Rear-Mount Saddle bracket and a Cheap Basic Water Bottle Cage. After little fussing, almost no cursing, and never saying the magic words, "How hard could it be? Really?" I was able to get that bad boy on there. 
I moved my spare bag out of the way for mounting.

At first it stuck right up the back of the seat. Luckily I am very manly and strong so I bent it down veeery slightly.


I also squeezed the cage around the bottle to get the fit nice and tight.

I'm hoping this will prevent bottle rockets.

Pew pew!
I will report back after my first ride how well this set-up works. I'm hoping I can get the bottle in there tight enough that I won't go flying when I hit a bump. And bumps we got plenty of here in Hawaii.
Tomorrow is a swim/run day. Depending on how I feel after school it might become a swim/brick day to make up for being covered in weak sauce today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Swim Day
1 x 150- Warm-up
3 x 200- 3:00
3 x 50- Sideline kick
total- 1000 yards

Run Day
time- 20:48
distance- 2.5mi

Soooo...I don't know what the hell was going on today.
I woke up this morning and was tired. No, not tired. What's more than tired? Fucking tired. (Yes, I realize using "fucking" as an adverb to imply a greater state of tiredness seems low-brow. It's also funny. Suck it.)
I was unmotivated but figured that when I got in the water all would be better. That's how it works sometimes. I'm not feeling it, but I force it and everything works out for the best.
Not today. Today was one massive suckfest. There was nothing going on in the water. I was making the times, but feeling however the color beige would feel. Beige is no way to workout. I could smell the fail in the water and decided to get out early. Maybe save something for the evening's run.
Well, it was hot and I was tired after school. Today was an all day meeting that did its best to destroy my will to live, so I took a nap. Dirtbag don't nap. This should tell you something. I napped for two hours. This should add to what you were just told. At 6pm I finally got my shorts on and got out there. 20 minutes, people. How lame. The only consolation I can take away from my run was I negative split it. I hit the turn-around at 10:30, got back ten seconds faster. So there's the silver lining.
I need to get a good night's sleep so I can go get some tomorrow.

Tailwinds are Confusing

Swim Day
1 x 150- Warm-up
10 x 100- 1:30
3 x 200- 100-5, 7, 9/100- fingertip drag & finish
3 x 100- 1, 2, 3, Swim
1 x 500- Hard (7:04)
1 x 100- Cool down
total- 2650 yards

Ride Day
time- 1:46
distance- 35.72mi

Big huge focus on finishing past my hips in the water today. I think I'm shorting my stroke and that is not acceptable. Longer stroke means it takes less strokes to get where I'm going means better energy usage. Pretty pleased with that 7:04 500 at the end of the workout too.
The ride went well too. I'm able to really work hard for the entire 35 miles for the most part. There are some short climbs along the route that I'm getting out of the saddle for and stomping up. But the biggest thing about yesterday's ride was the extra five miles I added to the route. I took Lagoon Drive off Nimitz for a quick 4.5-ish mile out and back. I've been thinking about this road since the Honolulu Tri. It kicked my ass that morning. By the time I was getting back to Nimitz (right before I crashed) my head was all screwed up and tired. So I wanted to see what that was all about in a non-race setting. And I was confused for the first half. Out along the lagoon by the airport I was flying, easily holding at 24-25mph , thinking, "Wow, was I really sucking it up during the race or what?" Then I made the turn around. Ohhh, headwind. Right. That's why I was flying. Tailwind. My average speed dropped to 17-18mph at the fastest for the way back. That explains why that part of the ride hurt so much. Good to know. Tired now.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Slow and Steady Something Something

Run Day
time- 45:30
distance- 4.92mi

Today's run went fairly well. It was short for a Sunday, but I'm building right now. Strange though. Yesterday I rode my bike for 4 hours and 45 minutes. Today I only ran 45 minutes. Makes me feel like a running wuss.
But the run was as smooth as any run I've had recently. My stride was thoughtless and when I did tune in it felt like gliding for the most part. According to Runtastic (linked above) my pace hovered steadily around a 9:20/mi. Not blazing, simply comfortable. That's what I was going for. Today I was also thinking about the recent advice of a barefoot superhero, The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy. His advice: relax your shoulders. This is not mind-blowing advice, I know. But it was one of those things I needed someone else to say to remind me that it's important. Like when your friends remind you to bathe. You think, "Oh yeah! I knew I was forgetting something." So a focus of today's run was relaxing the body. No fists, shoulders loose, shake it out. I think it worked.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today's Ride is Brought to You by the Letter "S". S as in Suffer

Ride Day
time- 4:43
distance- 74.95mi

We creep closer and closer to that century mark and I feel ready for it. I also feel sore, tired, and useless for the rest of the day after a ride, but ready while I'm on the bike.
Today was harder than last week from the start. That might have something to do with the lack of other rider, though I did pass him on my way down Pupukea while he and a group of riders were on their way up. But whatever the reason, the legs took a while to loosen up and I never really felt in a solid groove. The left knee decided it would spend some of the ride being sore too, which helps.
Freakin' scoop was buried!
Started my morning in the pre-dawn, prepping to get out of the house early to beat as much of the heat and the crazy local drivers as possible. I bought some Hammer Perpetuem from REI (thanks Background Profiles!) and went with that for my sport drink of choice today, along with two bottles of regular water. That, plus two GUs, a broken Clif Bar, and I was ready to hit the road.
Pupukea hurt again, but not as bad as last time. I also think I might have been slower up it, but I don't remember. Might have just felt slower alone. The rest of the ride out was good times. Windy on occasion, but safe and clear. I turned around at the 40 mile mark and headed back. Coming in the wind is more to my tail and I got a slight push. On the flats I'm trying to average 17-20mph. It's doable without blowing myself out, but I'm not going nuts with it. When I feel like slowing down I do. Sustainability is the name of the game.
Drank more regularly than last week and refilled two of my three bottles at my turn-around, finishing all of them off by the time I got home for five bottles over 4 hours 45 minutes. That's about right.
Pineapple Hill was brutal today. I was not fast. I was not attacking. I survived it and got it done. That's some rough stuff after 60+ miles on the road.
Beautiful day out. The longer my rides get the further around the northern tip and back down the east side of the island I get. It's dead pretty out there. The anti-Waikiki.
map of Oahu
Today's turn-around was between Hau'ula and Kaaawa I think.
Only one more long training ride before the century. Think next Sunday's goal will be around 85 miles. That will mean the century will only be another 15 new miles on my legs, which is eminently doable. Bring it on.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Am the Tortise Goo Goo Ga-Choo

Swim Day
1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 200- 3:00
5 x 50- Sideline kick
5 x 100- 1:30
1 x 500- Stretch and finish
total- 2400 yards

Run Day
time- 36 minutes

I have to admit, it was really nice to only swim 2400 yards this morning. After regularly topping 3500, this was a welcome drop. And, technically, I'm still swimming way further than I should be. I'm training for sprint distance triathlons. That's 600 yards, tops. My workouts don't need to be longer than 1500 yards. But that feels stupid to me. I am not waking up at 4:45am to be in the water for thirty minutes. If I'm making that kind of effort, I'm going to make it worth it. Besides, I love swimming. It's the most fun discipline for me. So I'm going to stay somewhere between 2500 and 3000 yards during my workouts. If I'm feeling saucy I might even bump one or two up higher.
The problem with this thought process is that I'm taking away energy from the afternoon's bike or run. If I don't need to be spending that extra time in the water, if I could save that fuel for the other workout, wouldn't that be a better use of my time? Maybe. But swimming brings me pleasure, and for me an extra 500 or 1000 yards really doesn't mean the difference between a 9 minute mile pace and an 8:50/mile pace (or faster). Its not taking that big of a toll physically. (Here is where my Swim Ego, The Tattooed Wake, jumps in and says, "Then you ain't swimming hard enough!" Just ignore him. I'm swimming hard enough to get stronger, but not so hard that I'm negatively impacting other things.) What is negatively impacting my runs is my head. I think too damn much when I'm running. It always happens after a run with severe cramping. I worry and fret and run too slow for the next few outings. And then I'm frustrated with my pace and my attitude. The doc gave me some meds and I'm experimenting with ways to stay hydrated, but that doesn't stop the runner's voice in my head from constantly fretting and screwing up my mindset. I need to get back to the place I was during my Olympic training, when I was knocking my six mile runs out of the park with no worries at all. It'll come. I should spend some more time over at the Run Smiley Collective. Those people have got their priorities in order over there. I've lost that attitude.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Peat and Repeat (Plus a Special Edition of BIKE PORN!)

Ride Day
time- 1:38
distance- 31.44mi

At the suggestion of my diesel-powered friend with whom I rode on Saturday, today I headed out to Dillingham Airport for some repeats. The road out there is a mostly flat, mostly straight stretch of basically clear and smooth-ish tarmac frequented by few cars. A perfect place to get down on the aerobars and hit it hard. I parked at the far end of the road and my lap for the day would be a 10.5 mile out and back, with the turn-around at 5.25 miles at the local high school. Heading towards the high school was more into the wind, so it was a little tougher and a little slower. The back out was quicker with the wind at my back. A perfect place to continue the Search for Fast.
I did three laps. The first was mostly a test lap/warm-up lap. I pushed hard in and back out, holding steady around 20mph. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower, but that's about where it averaged out to. This was going to be fun.
For the second go-round I took it easy for the first 2.5 miles, holding steady at about 17.5/18mph, then got down and pumped for the second half, trying to keep my speed above 20mph. Worked for the most part. And the five miles back were all about getting going and time trial-ing it.
For my third go I decided to break the first lap into three parts. The first was a cooler 1.25 miles, then I went after it for 2.5mi, then cooler again for the final 1.25. I was saving a little, I admit. Because I wanted explosions and pain for my final five. There was pumping, grunting, heavy breathing, and sweating. You know, stuff that means you're having fun. I decided to, as James May would say, "give it the beans," in the final half mile and I got Kratos up to 25.5mph on that flat road. Granted, that's full out and not terribly sustainable, but it means its doable and can be recreated. And recreated for longer and longer periods of time. I think I'm going to like this. I'll be out there probably twice a month now at least.
And now, the part you've all been waiting for:

Where did you ride today?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Waikiki RoughWater Swim Race Report

"Which way to the race?"
Distance- 2.34mi of beautiful open water
Time- 1:08.24
Result- 9th in age group/ 229th out of 864 swimmers
Official Map of Officialness
I came in to this morning with high expectations of myself. I'm back into a solid training routine, I've been killing it during my swims, and I felt like I should be able to get out and get to the Go today. So that's what I did.
But first, a short history about the race. (Haha, I'm a teacher.) This course is the course swum in the original Ironman, setting the now traditional distance for that event's swim. Also, the bike of an Ironman is 112 miles because that's one lap around the island, a course still celebrated today by the Dick Evans Memorial Road Race, which happened yesterday. And the Honolulu marathon course is the course that closed that inaugural race out. The Ironman World Championships have since been moved to Kona on the Big Island, and will be taking place on October 8th. So this race, this swim, is an important one for me as a triathlete. Without it, the sport never would have taken off as it has. Thus endeth the lesson. See? Short. (Matt, I can hear you laughing from here.)
It was a 9:00 am start time, because swimmers are much more reasonable that triathletes, which meant Super Awesome Wife and I didn't even have to leave the house until 7:00. This is better than a school day! We got to Waikiki, didn't struggle to find parking, and I got chipped and numbered. Right away we ran into Team Bloody Mary, who I mentioned in a few of my other race reports. The whole team was out to support Tim, their relay's swimmer, who has no interest in beating anyone and complete interest in enjoying the race. Apparently I've been around them enough that he and his runner have decided I'm one of their Three Musketeers, but they haven't determined which one yet. I'll let you know when I find out.
I also ran into the Tri-N-Hawaiian and some of his friends pre-race. It was cool to meet people who up until then existed only in cyberspace. Blogs forming actual social interaction. Who knew?
From left: Friend Guy, Dirtbag, Tri-N-Hawaiian

Through the magic of seeding, I was in the third wave out, C group. Probably could have been in wave B, but whatever. So I had a green cap. Green for C. Got it? Wave B had red caps and the wave behind me, you guessed it, D, has yellow caps. This is important so let's review. Red for B. Green for C (and me). Yellow for D.
Why there were five waves. You can see Wave B starting out.

I watched A and B carefully to see where the first buoy was. Unlike my last two open water swims, this course was beautifully marked the whole way. Straight out and then a right turn 677 yards from the beach, follow the yellow buoys, which appeared probably every 200 yards or so, for 2300 yards, then a right at the last orange for a 842 yard drive to the finish. I'm jacked and ready to go.
I got myself to the front of the group and toed the water's edge. There was no way I was swimming over people to start. They gotta catch me. At the horn I gave a shout and out I went. Hard. I knew that I needed to be in the thinner leaders group at the turn so I wouldn't have to worry about traffic. Got it done.
After the turn I thought, Ok, now the race really starts. I put my head down, nailed my cadence, and went after it. Having regular buoys was very helpful because I didn't worry about keeping on track. An easy heads-up stroke every few yards was enough to make any small course corrections needed. For a while there in the middle I swam right next to another guy and we were trading leads for probably 75% of the middle section. It was great. Helped me stay motivated and on course. When I'm in the water and I get to play with someone like that, the Tattooed Wake wakes up and says, "He's gotta hang with us, because we ain't going anywhere. We will wear him down." Sometimes I love that guy. I don't know where my shadow finished, but I think I dropped him.
It wasn't too long into the middle section that I started passing red caps. Red as in Wave B. As in they started five minutes ahead of me and I'm rocking by them. This did wonders for my mental state, fairly strong to begin with. The current was friendly, I was feeling no pain, my stroke felt well put-together still, and gains are being made.
Then a yellow cap zipped by me. I don't know how many passed me, I wasn't counting and it wasn't that many, but they were flying. There was no, "I shall hang with you and wear you down," about it. There was only waving good-bye to their feet.
Eventually I started looking at the next yellow buoy and thinking, Anytime now for that orange buoy to make an appearance, that would be stellar. And lo and behold, there it was. Time to turn in to shore and gun it. I hadn't been saving my legs, but there comes a time in every race where the swimmer decides to cut loose what's left. So I focused on keeping my stroke long and strong and bringing my legs to bear. There will be no ride later today, I decided. And there will be some discomfort from exertion post-race. Bring those things, I'm going to start writing checks that I'll cash later. Before the race started I had committed to suffer and burn. I was not going to fear out of that commitment now.
I nearly got lost on that 800 yard swim in. There were two buoys marking the path but after the second I had a hard time getting a visual on the finish. If I had one complaint about the race it would be that the finish line should have had taller flags or balloons. It was the only time during the race I breast-stroked to get my head up long enough to be sure I was headed in the correct direction. Then down and go. In this final drive to the finish I saw something I was hoping to see: A big sea turtle cruising along the bottom in the other direction. How cool is it to race in Hawaii?
I got to race someone else to the finish and, to be honest, he beat me to the beach. But I beat him across the line. I know it's a swim race, but the finish line is a hundred yards up shore. I can sprint that and I always do. The race isn't over until you cross the line, and I ran hard for it. Why stop pumping now?
My race clock time was 1:18, take ten minutes off that for the first two waves and I end up with a respectable 1:08. My goal time was an hour, which would have meant that I held a 1:30/100yd pace the whole time. I wasn't really expecting to get that, 4000 yards is a long way, so I can't say I'm displeased with my result. I got in, I worked hard, and when I hit the beach I don't know how much more I could have put in to it. As an athlete who is never satisfied, there is part of me that thinks, I could have given more, hurt more, pushed harder. But that part isn't very loud today.
After the race, Super Awesome Wife and I hung out with Team Bloody Mary on the beach for a bit, chatted with the Tri-N-Hawaiian, and then we went to the mall because its cooler than our house right now. And where else would you go after making it hurt for 2.34 miles in the ocean?
I would like to thank Super Awesome Wife for her support, and my sponsor Background Profiles. Because of them I get to do this, and I got to eat a GU before the race, which probably helped. And thanks to Team Dirtbag Friends and Family who tried to watch the race online but missed my finish because my Dirtbag Awesomeness overwhelmed the series of tubes which make up the interwebs.
Got some. Go again.
Official Race Key Chain

Really nice race t-shirt (and keychain), I love race swag!

No armpit chafing this time! Yay Body Glide! (You may now giggle at the name)

Dirtbag Tough. (Look at how intimidated the girl to the right is.)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Lot of Miles and a Few Excuses

Ride Day (Saturday)
time - 4:05
distance- 66.6mi

Run Day (Sunday)
time- I'm A
distance- Big Wuss

Saturday was a great ride day. At 6:30am, I met up with a Dirtbag follower named Sean who had been offering to let me join him on a weekend ride. This was a great plan. I got out and on the road early, I got to follow someone with plenty of experience, and the miles go by a lot faster when you aren't riding alone. Safer too. And I discovered a new road to destroy my legs on. Good times.
Instead of my normal out-and-back through Haleiwa, Sean and I coasted down Pineapple Hill and struck out north. He set a strong pace and I did my damnedest to keep up. Which means he pretty promptly dropped me off the back. But, being a gracious riding partner, he would stop or slow many times during the ride so that I could catch back up. I, for the most part, played Dirtbag See, Dirtbag Do. Sean pedaled harder, I pedaled harder. He dropped onto his aerobars, so did I. I wasn't really trying to keep pace with him, though. That would have been bad for me in the long run. Dude runs super distances and is preparing for Kona next month.
A few miles after Waimea he tells me, "Ok, we're going to climb Pupukea." Uh, ok. I don't know what that is. This was probably a good thing. You see, as of Saturday I officially stop calling Kolekole a "climb". It's not. Pupukea is. It's about three miles of lots of up-ness. And I'm huffing and puffing up this thing and Sean is cruising along next to me, having a conversation. If you could call this a conversation:
Him: "So, how'd you get in to triathlon?"
Me: *huff* "Well," *huff breathe huff suck wind*, "I'll tell you at the top."
Him: "Ok. I *talktalktalk like it's easy.*"
Not that I'm, complaining. It helped keep my mind focused on the task at hand and I think I got up faster than I would have alone. The part that sticks out is right near the beginning, I'm already thinking, "This is tough, but I've got it." And he goes, "This next part gets a little steep." I look and, I'm not 100% on this but I think, the road goes straight up. Good stuff. Makes Dirtbag strong. But the way back down was worth it. Made me think of something Cycle Dirtbag told me once. He said, "I'm not build to be a climber. But I've got a perfect body to be a descender."
The rest of the ride out was uneventful but fun. Beautiful weather, some headwind but not too bad. Pretty cool to zip past the shrimp trucks. We stopped at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. This was my turn-around point for my target distance. He was heading on for another fifteen miles or so before turning around. And he was tackling Pupukea again. No, I wasn't. We chatted for a while about all things endurance sport and some things life then went our separate ways. It was fun, and we should do it again.
The trip back alone went quick and well. No problems, no worrisome cars or blind pedestrians. I did a mini-lap when I got back to Haleiwa because I was actually going to be a few miles short of my goal if I went straight up Pineapple and home. Forgot about that six miles up and back Pupukea that wouldn't be there going the other way. No worries, easy fix.
Pineapple was as brutal as it's ever been. Remember, on these long ride days I've been tackling it in the first 30 miles, call it the first hour and a half. Saturday I hit the bottom 3:11 into the ride. Very different attitude coming out of my legs. Struggled up it, got it done, ain't so bad, manly noise, manly noise. Overall a great ride day.
Of course, then I became a moron. I don't think I drank quite enough during the ride, but it would have been ok. And my nutrition on the bike was good. Unfortunately, I didn't think about water when I got home and only drank another water bottle of H20 in the next two hours. Bad choice, Dirtbag Dummy. I was feeling terribly dehydrated and had to chill on the couch nursing a Powerade. Didn't help we had roofers mending the roof (what else would they be doing?) and had to windows closed, making it *bleep*ing hot. I won't make that mistake again.
Today was supposed to be a run. I have many excuses for why it wasn't. Ready?
- I woke up later in the day and it was already *redacted* hot.
- We went grocery shopping in the afternoon and got back after dark, so I missed the part of daylight when it wasn't *expurgated* hot.
- I'm a big wuss and my cramps Thursday shook me up. I'll get back on the horse, no worries there.
- I have the Waikiki RoughWater swim tomorrow morning and I really want to do well. So I'm using that as an excuse for not running too.
See? Lots of excuses, none of them make me happy. I hate missing workouts. But I felt like it was unsafe-hot today to be out when I could have been. I need to be better. After Monday's swim I'll start getting more balanced with the workouts again. After all, Ko'Olina is coming right up too.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I'm better trained than I have been for either of the other two swim races this summer so as long as Mother Nature plays along I think I should have a good showing.
Also bought some toys for the bike today, so look for that update in the coming weeks. How far along depends completely on

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"How" vs. "Why"

Swim Day (Taper)
1 x 150- Warm-up
1 x 300- 4:30
1 x 400- 6:00
1 x 500- 7:30
1 x 400- 6:00
1 x 250- cool down

Run Day (Fartlek)
time- 40min

Notes on today: Easy swim to rest and prepare for the Waikiki RoughWater on Monday. There was a little high school girl there sprinting 25s and 50s of breaststroke and keeping pace with my freestyle. I both respect and hate her.
The run started well. My fartlek sprints never felt fast but they felt ok for the most part. After 30 minutes I got wicked bad stomach cramps which first killed my pace, then forced me to walk for about five minutes, which led to stopping in the shade for a few minutes, then jogging slowly the rest of the way home. I wish I knew how to fix it.
On to the Main Thought of the Day
Today I read BikerNate's race report on the Leadville 100. This is a 100 mile foot race with a 25 hour time limit on trails in Colorado. This is for people who run to marathons, run the marathon, run home from the marathon, and then call it a "rest day". It's an inspiring read and I will wait while you click over and check it out.
Ok, back to me. When you and I read this the thoughts that went through our minds was probably different if you are not an endurance athlete, and probably similar if you are. If you aren't an endurance athlete you probably thought, "God, I could never do that. How can you do it?" If you are you might have though, "God, I could probably do that eventually, but why would I want to?"
See the difference?
For a while now in endurance sport, and for much longer in life in general, my mindset has been, "I could do that." It has to be. An athlete cannot think about not being able to do something. Not being able to accomplish a goal. I don't go in to my 2.3mi swims wondering if I can finish. And I'm not looking at my century ride hoping I can get it done. I know I can get it done. Speed is another issue, completely separate from the act. When I read Nate's Leadville report I was inspired, impressed, and completely unmotivated to go out and run for an entire day over hills on top of a mountain. No thanks, not for me. But I never thought, "Wow, man. I could never do that." Because I don't believe that. If I wanted to, I could train for it, I could figure it out, and I could push myself to that limit. But I don't want to, so there is no motivation. And this is not to take away from anyone's accomplishment. It isn't a, "Psh, aint so bad, I could do that," in the least. What he did was huge and I have nothing but respect for it. But I won't allow myself to think I couldn't do the same.
In my teacher-fancy, rose-colored world we can all accomplish whatever we set our minds to. I really believe that any person reading this blog, if you wanted to, could complete and Ironman. Any one of you. Yeah Mom, you too. You could figure out how to get through 2.3 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling, and a marathon. But you don't want to, and why would you? Its not fun for you. What's impressive about these extreme acts is the will it takes to train for and execute them. But once you commit to Doing It, all that's left is to Go.
Simplistic? Probably. Is there a ton more that goes into these events? Of course. But the mental aspect is, I think, the major hurdle in anything. Aside from naturally talented genetic freaks (Micheal Phelps, Usain Bolt, Jordan) everyone is playing at near the same capacity. We are, I think, a lot more equal than we tend to think. So why are some better than others? They decide to suffer more, sacrifice more, go greater.
Today I was talking with some other teachers about my century training rides and they were saying things like, "Wow, I could never do that," and I don't think that's true at all. Of course they could. A more true statement would be, "Why would you want to do that?" We all can, the difference is whether or not we do.