Wednesday, January 24, 2007

12 Mile Hil - ***ABORT!***ABORT!***

Well, I kind of had a bad night tonight.

I met up with the Axis of Evil for another run. The group is getting larger; there were 7 of us tonight. I think they were looking to do a 12-mile run: about 1-2 miles of hills, then 6 miles of flat, then 4 miles of hills. Or as they call it, "a fun run." I don't think I ever planned on doing the entire thing. I felt I could probably stay within about a minute of them for the first 5 miles, then turn around and take a slightly different route back to the car (avoiding the initial hill) at a slower pace, and I'd get a great 9-10 mile run out of it. Such was the plan, anyway.

Things didn't work out that way, and it's my own fault. I made the mistake of racing home from work, wolfing down a dinner, and then dashing out to meet up for the run. It's probably not such a good idea to run on a full stomach. I did pretty well on the first hill segment, and wasn't falling too far behind in the flatlands but I could feel a big solid lump in the upper part of my stomach. It was shaped like a steak and buttered roll, which coincidently is what I ate about 45 minutes before. I could feel myself slowing down a bit, and then all of sudden I just stopped in my tracks and let out a very wimpy dry-heave. I think mentally I wanted to throw-up just to relieve the pressure, but I wasn't in bad enough shape to actually do it. I know that sounds wierd, but yes: I wish I was MORE sick just to get it over with.

I made it about 3 miles out and basically said "I'm done." The problem now was that I still had to get back to the car. That kind of sucked. I tried jogging a few times but each time I did I could feel myself getting sick and I decided not to push it and I walked most of the way back. I got back to my car 90 minutes after I left: about 27 minutes on the outbound path, 63 minutes to return.

I realize there is a fine line between "explanation" and "excuse", and I don't want to place all the blame on my rushed dinner. A lot of the problem was simply that I can't run that fast. But next month I will run faster than I do now, and in March I will run even faster. And hopefully eat less.

There is a bit of a bright side to this. A year ago, I would have been a little upset if I couldn't complete the run. Two years ago, it would have thrown me into a deep depression. But now I have achieved a certain comfort level with my own abilities (and limitations), such that if I can't keep up with a workout I have no poblem saying "screw this shit, I'm going home!" and not feel bad about it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Daddy lost a new pair of shoes

Last Monday I bought a new pair of running shoes. My old model has been discontinued and it took me a while to find a replacement. I finally found a pair which felt OK (at least in the store) so I bought them. The problem is, I never saw them again.

I remember buying the shoes. I remember the impulse purchases of some Clif Blocks and Body Glide. I remember after paying for the shoes, that I also wanted some Yankz laces so I went back and picked up a pair of those and paid for them with cash. I remember telling the salesguy I didn't need another bag, I'd just put them in with the shoes. And that's it.

The shoes are not in my car. I've looked everywhere around home, nothing. I called the store asking if maybe I left the bag on the counter. Nope. I'm really not sure what to do. Do I just suck up the loss and buy another pair? Do I continue to run with my old dirty sneakers and just hope the new ones turn up eventually?

This is my world. I don't understand how I make it through each day alive.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

1/3 Ironman

Well, I hit another milestone... yesterday I did a 112-mile bike ride with IronmAnnie. The World's Greatest Triathlete (TWGT) joined us for a few loops, and by coincidence we also ran into Tri Team Tracie and Tri Team Todd.

We did four 28-mile loops along the San Gabriel river and they all kind of blur together. I think I recall the 1st and 3rd outbound loops being very difficult because of the headwind, but the 3rd return loop was (literally) a breeze. I don't know. I just remember being sore around mile 50 and thinking I wasn't even halfway done.

TWGT skipped loop 3 to run some errands and I asked him to bring me back a Snicker bar. When we met up with him again 2 hours later, he handed me not the small Snickers, not the normal Snickers, but the mongo, King-Sized quarter-pound Snickers. Oh boy it was the yummy. That definitely bought me a few extra miles. Forget Powerbars, just stick with the fat and sugar.

We were kind of fighting the daylight on the last loop. We probably beat total darkness by about 10 minutes, but we did make it. We celebrated our victory with sparkling grape cider in exclusive "Ironman 112" glasses.

I realized that this is the farthest I will ever ride my bike; there is no good reason to ride more than 112 miles. Of course, you may argue there's no good reason to ride 112 miles in the first place, but it's a little late for that now, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Up, Up, and Away

Let me start by saying it was 45 degrees when I left my home. The Axis of Evil took me on another hill run tonight, but instead of running on the trails we ran up the road to just below the Griffith Park Observatory. This is the elevation for the first 3 miles or so:

It was basically just one giant hill, always going up. I was pretty much done and ready to stop at the Greek Theater (around mile 2), but some peer pressure and a few pats on the back got me to go up further and I was very glad I did. The top of that hill was the bottom of the SECOND hill, but one mountain was enough for me so I let the Big Boys (and Girl) go have fun and I turned around to head back to the car.

The one good thing about having a steep climb for the first 3 miles, is that this is the elevation for the last 3 miles:

Now THAT was fun. Unlike the trails, the road was fairly well lit so I could go down pretty quickly. My knees felt fine, my shins were fine, and it was just a great feeling to let gravity do all the work. I sort of regretted that I didn't try to continue on the run a little farther (and higher), but I think I did the smart thing. I've run a total of 9 miles since the marathon in early November, and I didn't want to hurt myself too much right away.

It was a good night.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Good: My condo building has a 25-yard lap pool. It makes it very convenient to go swimming.

Better: The pool is heated and kept at a very comfortable 88 degrees.

Much Much Worse: It's an outdoor pool, and climbing out of it into the 46 degree air is painful.

At the next homeowners meeting, I'm going to propose building a canal leading into the lobby.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mister P: He-Man

Before my cold bike ride this weekend, I asked IronAndre for advice. He instilled the fear of God in me: "You need a headband and a neck guard and arm warmers and knee warmers and a portable generator." I didn't get everything he suggested, but I did do some shopping at the bike store. I was looking at the arm warmers, which are kind of like thick nylon stockings with the toes cut out. I wasn't sure how they were suposed to fit, and the way they were packaged you couldn't really try them on easily. I asked the salesguy "how do these sizes work? Are they based on arm length?" The guy said "no, it depends on the size of your arm." I grumbled a bit to myself, thinking "oh great, here we go again" and I grabbed the small arm warmers. But then the salesguy reached out, grabbed my upper arm, and said "you should probably go with the medium". HA! No girlie-stockings for me!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

84 Miles

Yesterday was a pivotal day in my triathlon career: I learned to respect (fear?) The Bike.

In my future Ironman plans, I've always felt it was all about The Run. Oh sure, if you want a fast time you'd better be strong on the bike. But if you are "only" interested in finishing an Ironman, then it had to be about surviving the run. I've done two marathons, they suck. And as many people say, "you can always coast on the bike."

Well, I don't feel that way anymore. I did an 84-mile ride with IronmANNIE and it was ROUGH. We were fortunate that rather than being the expected 34 degrees when we started, it was a balmy 44. We did the San Gabriel River trail again, and the first 14 miles down to Long Beach weren't bad. But then we had to turn around. And ride back uphill. Against the wind. We're talking Katrina here. It was pretty bad. We then did a few more loops on the trail, but stopped short of the extra-windy sections.

Around mile 50 I was starting to struggle, and I couldn't understand why. After all, I've done farther, right? The problem is that I did a 60-mile ride one week before my last marathon, so my legs were kind of in decent shape at the time. Not so much now. The river trail is pretty flat, but every now and then there might be a small dip and a rise when it goes under a street - maybe a 15-20 foot elevation change. I swear, on some of them I didn't think I'd make it.

I did complete the ride, and my legs felt like they do after a 15-18 mile run. I wouldn't want to have to walk to the starting line of a marathon after that, and this was only 3/4 of an Ironman distance. So I am now of the opinion that in an Ironman, the Marathon sucks. And the Bike sucks as well.

But the swim must be easy. :)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Numbers Game


One of these numbers is the distance in miles I need to bike with IronmAnnie tomorrow.

One of these numbers is the expected temperature in fahrenheit when we start.

One of these numbers is the percent chance I will regret getting out of bed tomorrow.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

50 minutes, 10.3 miles.

The Axis of Evil has been doing Wednesday night runs in Griffith Park (my regular turf) but they've been starting outside the park, in Silverlake. I hadn't heard if they were running last night, but I planned on going to the starting line. I figured if people were there I'd join them, if not, I'd at least get a run in and see their course. I checked google maps: it said the meeting place was 5.3 miles away and would take about 9 minutes. I left home at 6:15.

It wasn't all the red lights that bothered me so much as the fact that it would take 2 or 3 cycles for me to get through many of the lights. It was a royal pain-in-the-achilles to get there. I didn't make it until 6:50. By then I was so frustrated by the traffic that I didn't want to start running; I figured I would just drive over to Griffith Park and do my regular route. But somehow, amongst all the merging and honking I missed a turn and wound up on the wrong side of the L.A. River and the 5 Freeway. By then there was just no turning back, and I went home. I arrived at 7:05.

50 minutes. 10.3 miles. No running.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007