Wednesday updates

I finally got to the doctor yesterday after suffering a lot longer than I probably should have with not feeling right. I really like my doctor; she’s smart, funny, and explains what she’s thinking and why. She took a look at me and said “your eyes tell me you have allergies, but let’s take a look at some other stuff too”. I didn’t know I looked that bad, but this might explain why Rachelle has been asking me to wear a paper bag over my head around the house lately. Come to think of it she’s always asked me to do that from very early in our relationship. When she started putting pictures of Sidney Crosby or David Beckham on the bag, I just thought it was “role playing”, or some such.

Anyways… the doctor made a stunning pronouncement “You’re a guy”, which was indeed news to me, considering I had recently loudly said  ”AWWWWWWWWW” and hugged my dog while watching this video:

 

The reason she said “you’re a guy” is that she was thinking out loud about my shortness of breath at the top of hills and during runs recently was thinking aloud if it made sense to do an EKG based on my age. She decided it did. Fortunately, it came back normal. Not just normal, but very good. She said it very much showed signs of my training. First off, my resting HR is now sub-60. I never ever thought that would be true. She said that it also showed signs of my training in other ways. I assume these are magical things she can see in the ups and downs of the chart. Really I was just happy they didn’t yank all my hair out taking off the pads for the leads. Then she prescribed me some Flonase (which is already helping), told me to take Claritin in addition if I need it, and to enjoy my vacation.

One thing you might not know about Rachelle is that she is VERY COMPETITIVE. I on the other hand am not (no jokes about how you knew that by looking at my triathlon results), but she does bring it out in me. One thing we compete on is blood pressure. One day we got out blood pressures taken at a machine in a mall and I beat her, SOUNDLY. Ever since we have competed on this front, which explains why in the middle of my doctors appointment yesterday, I sent her the following text: “BP: 112 over 72. suck it.” Yep, that’s how I roll.

Now as to training, It’s been hit and miss this week as we prepare for the cruise. Monday was rotten for weather but I still got in my 70 minute run walk, and had a pretty good go of it. Yesterday, due to a ton of running around I missed the available pool time, so I am getting in a run and swim today. Tomorrow is just a swim, and that’s it for formal training while we’re gone. I’ll talk more about the cruise tomorrow, but I am definitely planning to still get some training in, and the boat has everything I’ll need to accomplish that.

Finally, In a partnership between Eleonore Rocks and Life Time Fitness, I’m getting a code to share for 10% off any of the Life Time Fitness triathlons this season. I don’t have it yet but I will soon.

 

 

Race Report: Tar Heel 4 Miler; I met Meb, but I can’t build a bike

When you go to do a race, even one you’re just seeing as an organized training day with 5000 other people, do you take it easy, enjoy your day, and make it fun? Evidently, I don’t. I woke up late, got 2 miles from the house before I realized I didn’t have my visor or my Garmin, had no idea where I was going, and got stuck in traffic. And that was all before I got parked. Then, because I was late, I had to climb a big hill and walk almost a mile before I even got to where the race start was, and climb a set of stadium stairs to packet pickup. Then after tying my car keys to my shoe I ran down the stadium stairs to the starting line.

While I was stretching at the starting line, I saw 2 things: Meb Kaflezighi winner of the New York City Marathon and soon to be Olympian was standing right next to me, and I saw that the keys I had just tied to my shoes were not at all attached to my shoe. So back up the stadium stairs, across the 2 sections I had to cross to get into the crowd, and back to where I tied my keys on hoping they were there. Thankfully a friendly volunteer at the t shirt table had picked them up. So, back down the stadium stairs and over by the starting line and again passing Meb (this time I at least had a chance to say hi as I passed) and a minute or so later they signaled the start.

With the way I’ve been feeling the past two weeks I didn’t know what to think about how the race would go; I didn’t know the course, saw the 10 mile folks who started before us running up a massive hill, and I was already sweating by the time the race started due to all the running around. I guess the warmup must have done me some good, I was on a 13 minute per mile pace for much of the first couple of miles, alternating walking and running 1/4 mile at a time.

Right after mile 2, there’s an insane hill that is so tough, they actually record splits for it and it goes most of the entire 3rd mile. So far they haven’t published all the splits, just the top hundred, but I know mine was SLOW. The day was warming up by this point, and there was no wind, and it was just plain HOT up that hill. I wound up walking most of it. But once I got to the top, I was able to run most of the rest of the way in. The race is officially a 4+ mile course, but my Garmin had it at almost exactly 4 miles. I did it in 58:20, and I have to say I was pretty happy with that considering how my workouts have mostly been going lately. And without the massive hill I would have been faster.

The race was sponsored by CEP Compression, who also sponsor Eleonore Rocks, and there were tons of goodies; a nice race medal, a tshirt, and a water bottle, plus plenty of healthy post-race food. This is a race I would definitely do again.

The rest of my weekend was spent attempting to build my bike. It was mostly a dismal failure because I still cannot for the life of me properly tension a rear derailleur. I was able to install the bottom bracket and crank, neither of which I had done before, but I just couldn’t finish the most important and hardest part, so now I’m taking the whole thing into the bike shop tomorrow and there will be no rides for me until I get back from the cruise. Thankfully they have a gym with stationary bikes looking out over the ocean so I can get some miles in while we’re sailing the high seas.

Oh, and Rachelle found my Swimsense, it was hiding in the car. So it was a pretty good weekend.

A REALLY Good Day!

I’ve really been struggling, and not sure why, and when I got on the bike last night, it sure started out the same way. I had a 20 mile ride on the books, but because I had to wait until late to start I only got in 18. Rach started her coaching with Dr. Pain last week, and some days we get the same workouts, so we rode together last night. It was scheduled to be a hilly ride and I was already in trouble on the first hill. The first hill we climb is 1/3rd of a mile long and averages 4% grade ;I was breathing so hard on the way up I had to stop to rest at the top to catch my breath. I made the decision I was going ahead no matter how many times I had to stop to rest along the way. It turns out that was the worst I felt all ride, and that not only did I make it through the other hills my ascent of that first hill was my 2nd fastest out of 16 tries. I’m trying to figure out if that means I’m trying too hard on those hills where I’m getting that out of breath or if it means I’m just having cardio problems right now due to allergies or the like. Either way, I made it through the ride.

A lot of the motivation for that ride came from the two boxes that made us wait to start riding in the first place:

1. From BuildASign.com. the car magnets we’ll have on the truck for every race. BuildASign was kind enough to reach out to me last year during my fundraising for Team Fight and ask if there were any products they could donate to my cause in exchange for a link and mention. Because of everything that was going on, I couldn’t come up with a good way to use their services that made sense for me and for Team Fight without feeling I was just taking advantage of something free. So when they reached out to me again this year, I thought about the races I’m doing, how I’m getting to them, and how I can have the most impact/impressions without asking too much of the folks at BuildASign. I figured a car wrap might be asking a little too much (oh, and that Rachelle would kill me), so I decided on a couple of magnetic car signs with the idea that I’m driving to all but one of my races this year and that People just sort of tend to notice me anyways, so a big pink logo on the sides of the car will probably attract attention. The sign creation tool that BuildASign lets you use is pretty easy, and they have a pre-press effort that makes sure you don’t wind up using web graphics that look like garbage on a sign (which I almost did). My mom has been a desktop publisher since the 80s, and I know that making large graphics like this used to be a lot more challenging and didn’t come out looking this good.

In retrospect I would have made the logo HUGE

 

2. The other box that arrived, I have been awaiting patiently like a child at ChrismaHuanaKwanzica: MY NEW BIKE FRAME. It is as beautiful as I imagined. No, it is MORE beautiful than I imagined. And it’s not even built yet. Even with the generous support of Kestrel as one of our team sponsors, and months of saving, I could only put together enough to order a frame and fork. Mind you, I’m not complaining, as I know many people go years without a new bike. Which is why as soon as I get my new one built, I’ll be donating my road frame to a local bike charity or new rider/triathlete as soon as I can find one. My Fuji has some miles on it, and a little bit of paint wear, but she’s in excellent shape, and is a nice racing bike for someone just starting out. If you know anyone who could use it, and are in the Raleigh area, or willing to cover shipping to someplace else, let me know. I’m hoping to have the new bike built up in the next few weeks in time to train on and ride it for my next tri in late May, so the Fuji frame will be available after that.

Picture it with wheels and gears and stuff, oh and me riding it VERY FAST!

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Belews Lake International Triathlon Race Report

When I left you last, I was hoping I would recover from my recent battle with exhaustion (at least that’s what my publicist says to call it Warning NSFW) in order to put on a masterful race and start my season off with a bang. I woke up Saturday feeling just as I had the prior days; a feeling of being very physically tired sets in about an hour after I wake up and other than occasional fleeting bursts of energy, stays with me throughout the day. Nevertheless, I decided that after all the work I’d done, I was going to see this thing through and race whatever race I had in me.

The race course at Belews Lake is pretty idyllic. The swim comes out of a boat launch into a clean lake surrounded by trees and cabins, then after forcing you to ascend The Toughest Driveway Climb in The World ™, you’re treated to two loops of a 13 mile course that gives you the chance to test your climbing legs (hint: my legs will be taking remedial climbing next semester) and descending balls (not descending testicles, that’s very different) equally for the majority of the course. The race ends with a run that “consists of no major hills” according to the race website (more on that later).

Swim: If there was one thing I felt like I’d be alright doing, it was the swim. Even with my energy levels down, and not feeling right, my swim was the one thing that had mostly been consistent, and that I felt like I had a shot at having a good split in. I started strong, checking my watch as I sighted to the first turn 200 yards in. 5:00 straight on just past the buoy, and I felt strong. 200 yards later as I made the first turn that flash of energy was gone, and so were my chances at a good split, as I was now averaging 3 mins/100. So, I did the best thing I could do; I stopped looking at my watch, and just swam as hard as I could sustain for the duration. 1500 meters later, I got out of the water, and as I walked up the ramp I looked behind me to see I wasn’t the last one out of the water. I knew that didn’t mean much, as this was a time trial, so I’d been passed already by quite a few folks who started behind me. With a very short walk up to transition, I probably only dealt with about 1 minute of out of water time, to get into transition.

Rev 3 Anderson: 44:16

Belews Lake Goal: 41:00

Belews Lake Actual:  46:50

T1: Transition was nicely organized on a slightly sloped uphill from the boat ramp and my rack wasn’t far from the swim exit. The racks were a bit tight but being so late out of the water, the only people I had to worry about were front of race folks coming in from their bikes. I didn’t have any mistakes in T1, and I got in and out pretty quickly considering how tired I was. Plus, I’m definitely considering going to no socks for riding as sitting down to put them on adds at least a minute to transition.

Rev 3 Anderson: 8:16

Belews Lake Goal: 4:00

Belews Lake Actual: 5:21

Bike: I said I wanted to start my season with a bang, and I did just that with the sound of my left quad muscles exploding as I was climbing the first couple miles of the bike. There just wasn’t anything in my legs for climbing sadly, and it showed when I got to about mile 5 where the downhill section started; I was 4 minutes off my race pace by that point. Not having time the night before to survey the course, I didn’t want to go flat out in the downhills, but I definitely put as much effort into getting aero, taking advantage of downhills going into little uphills, and getting as much rest as I could for the 2nd loop. By the time I got to the beginning of the second loop, I’d made up most of the time I’d lost to pace in the first loop, and was thinking I might have a shot at some revenge on loop 2. It wasn’t to be; as soon as the road went up, my legs and cardio went away and there I was sucking wind in the granny gear. The pain in my left quad was excruciating, and when I say I was sucking wind I don’t just mean out of breath, because the wind by this point was brutal and acting as a straight on headwind during most of the climb. Near the end of the uphill section on the second loop, I actually had to walk a small hill to get my heart rate under control. I’ve walked 2 other hills since 1/1/12; both far more difficult than this one. To say I was upset is a dramatic understatement, so as I was now familiar with the downhill section I like to think that I looked like I was screaming down a Tour de France descent. I know I averaged 25 MPH for a couple of consecutive miles, but on the last hill I suffered again and found that I simply had lost too much time on the second set of climbs to make up.

Rev 3 Anderson (25 miles, with a little more climbing): 1:50:21

Belews Lake Goal: 1:47

Belews Lake Actual: 1:55:15

T2: Because I was close to the water exit, that meant I had a long jog/walk in from the bike exit to my rack, and with the small space I lost at least 30 seconds fighting to get my bike back on the rack with everyone’s junk from around me in the way. Once I got done fighting with that, I was actually pretty quickly up and out. I still need to be better, and being able to jog/run at that point in the race would have made a difference.

Rev 3 Anderson: 2:58

Belews Lake Goal: 2:30

Belews Lake Actual: 2:55

Run: Walking out of transition and knowing that I know had about an hour until the course was expected to close, I looked for visual clues for where I’d need to stop if the finish line was no longer there when I got back. I wasn’t going to let the fact that I’d be finishing beyond 4 hours stop me from finishing, even if my time wasn’t going to be official. My quads in my left leg were still screaming at me, so running for the moment was out of the question.  I hoped that they’d calm down once I got a chance to stretch them a bit walking the first mile, and that I might be able to into my planned 1/4 mile intervals. I attempted jogging the few flats in the course, but by the time my leg stopped hurting, there just wasn’t any gas left in the tank. The course had more shade than I’d been led to believe, and the sky was overcast for my entire second lap, so my sunburn wasn’t too bad (forgetting sunscreen was my one actual mistake this race). But unless there’s some new thing that says 1/4 mile of 5%+ grade isn’t a “major hill” then I think they need to revise the course handbook.

Rev 3 Anderson: 1:36:19

Belews Lake Goal: 1:24

Belews Lake Actual: 1:41:20

Overall: Starting my second lap of the run I learned that I wouldn’t be DNFing; though they were picking up the volunteers from the aide stations, they let me know they left me plenty of filled cups at both stations and that they’d be keeping transition open for me. this made the last 3 miles a lot easier to bear, knowing that the organizers would be making my finish official even though I would be going well beyond the 4 hour limit. My second lap was even slower, but it didn’t feel as bad, and shuffling through the finish line while biting my lip to stop from crying was somewhat of an unusual feeling. It wasn’t the first time the finishing chute has been held open for me, and it wasn’t even close to my last DFL. But as disappointed as I was in my body for betraying me, and for having put all the effort into training only to not have it materialize on race day, I was really proud of myself for finishing. I learned my lesson that day at Patriot, even if the race directors had said they were DNFing me, I was going to finish. Besides, I was parked only 100 yards from the finish line so I would have had to walk all the way back anyways.

Rev 3 Anderson: 4:22

Belews Lake Goal: 3:59:59

Belews Lake Actual: 4:31:38

I’ve got to try

I’ve never had a worse week of workouts. My last scheduled work for the week was a simple 10 mile easy ride on the bike. By the time we got back to the house where Rach turned off to do the rest of her scheduled 15, I turned home and finished just shy of 10 miles. And when I say finish, I mean I was finished, exhausted, kaput, dead tired, et al. Now call me a wuss if you will (but you won’t, because you don’t feel lucky punk, do ya? It’s Friday the 13th after all), but I’ve been training my butt off and I have the Garmin and Strava records to prove that 10 mostly flat miles shouldn’t be putting my body through the ringer right now.

The weird part is, I don’t feel sick. It’s not like I want to puke or cough or even have a runny nose. I just get out to exercise and I don’t have any pop in my step.  I’ve been eating pretty healthy, sleeping 6-7 hours a night, and not training very hard this week, or for the most part last week even, so it’s not like I’ve been pushing myself too hard. It’s something I can’t explain. I’ve had a checkup scheduled with the doctor on Monday for a couple months so I’ll bring it up when I go in.

But just because this week has been bad doesn’t mean I’m throwing in the towel. I’m going into tomorrow as if I’ve had good workouts all week and that I’m ready for whatever the day brings. Ive got to try, no matter how it might feel, because:

- I’ve put in the work to earn this race. I’m stepping up to the starting line knowing I’m prepared for a race (honestly maybe for the first time)

- We never know how our bodies will respond on race day, we can only go out there, do what we’ve trained for and see what happens

- For Rachelle who was patient with me when I went on long rides without her, or on nights I needed to hurry through dinner so I could make it to the pool in time

- For Dr. Pain; because she wants me to suffer, and race days are the best kinds of suffering

- For all the little babies and their families that I’m racing to help make a difference for

And that’s why I’m going to try. And that’s why I’m going to succeed.

Here’s what I’m suffering for…

While my workouts have been mostly a mess this week, I did have some good news this morning; Im now at my lowest weight of the year. Ive now lost 16 pounds, and I’m pretty happy about it. This is nice coming into race weekend as I have a little climbing to do on the bike this weekend in the race.  So from a personal and weight loss perspective I’ve put in the training, my weight is coming down, and I know deep down somewhere inside me is the training and effort I’ve put in this winter and spring to be ready for my race. It hasn’t shown itself this week yet, but it will.

As for what I’m fighting for outside of my own health and waistline, here’s a perfect image to demonstrate just that.

Pictured above are 2 of my teammates Jayne and Jimi, at Sparrow Hospital in Michigan dedicating 5 rocking chairs Eleonore Rocks has donated to their NICU just the other day. We’re right on the verge of being able to donate the first one from the fundraising you’ve all been helping with. just $79 dollars more needed. Those chairs look really comfortable and an ideal place where a mother or father can precious time with their at-risk or terminally ill child. I hope you’ll consider giving what you can. I know this is exactly the kind of thing that pushes me out of the house on the days I’m unmotivated, or reminds me when the workout goes bad there’s a lot worse that could be happening in my life.

Did someone open a vent?

People have always told me they love the positive upbeat vibe of my blog. Today is not going to be one of those days.

- Monday I had a long swim and a run. Both workouts had an ok result for the day after an 11 hour car ride, but I felt AWFUL throughout both. At the end of the 45 minute run I was pretty sure my legs would need amputation.

- Between the swim and the run, I thought I put my Swimsense swim watch in the car. Apparently not, as it is now completely missing, probably left in the locker room and upon my return on TuesdayAM it was nowhere to be found.

- Yesterday, I had a 15 mile hilly bike which felt good for about 2 miles before it went downhill. I simply didn’t feel strong at all and with only 400 feet of climbing in 15 miles, it wasn’t close to the hardest ride I’ve done. My legs were shaking and I had sore muscles all along the outside of my right calf. I wasn’t going harder than normal, and I even cut some of the climbing out.

- Our hamster died on Monday and it really has me bummed out. We had her for about 2 years and I get pretty attached to my pets, so I’ve been pretty sad.

- I haven’t had a chance to get in an open water swim and I’m getting more and more nervous about it. I haven’t even had my wetsuit on since November, so I’m going to at least address that tonight. It’s just been sitting there in the mud room, taunting me for weeks.

- My new role at my company is stressful. A ton of learning all at once about systems I had no knowledge of whatsoever last week. Overwhelmed.

- Stanley has decided he’s not done teething/chewing, and although he has my old office chair to destroy in the office, he has taken to attacking our couch in the living room. And the new one is now in the warehouse on the north side of Raleigh so I have to figure out how to get it home. We need to get that dog into discipline course at the pet store.

- The cruise is 2 1/2 weeks away and other than our fun money and travel money to and from, it’s all paid for. It cannot get here fast enough.

IIIIIIIIIIIT’S RACE WEEK!

It’s the first race of the year and I am absolutely stoked to be this close! I’ve been training hard for 3 months, and just winding down a little bit last week and this week in preparation. I’m a little nervous that I haven’t done an outdoor swim yet this year, so I’d like to try to get one of those in before the race, but it’s not looking too promising at this point. There just aren’t very many lakes around here that are open for swimming at this time of year. But it’s not like I’ve forgotten how to swim outside, so I’m sure I’ll be fine.

For those of you who don’t know, I went to Tampa for the weekend with my father in law to watch the Frozen Four college hockey tournament. I had a great time, did a ton of walking, a little swimming, and got in a couple of good runs. Running in Florida is ridiculous; I don’t know if i have enough willpower in me that if I lived in Florida that I could do triathlons. It’s way too hot and humid most days to even consider running. I got up early 2 days while I was there, and one was absolutely awful. Thank god it was my short run. The longer one was on a much cooler day following a rainstorm in the evening, so it wasn’t too bad. I don’t know how Florida people do it but I know I’d be a lot skinnier from it from just sweating so much… hmm… maybe I SHOULD move to Florida.

It’s really exciting that race season is here, and that fundraising is also going well, now at $355! That’s about 1/8th of what we need to hit to give away the iPad 3, and 1/3rd of the minimum that I’d like to raise this year! So by either measure, making good progress!

Sadly in a small bit of bad news, our poor little dwarf hamster Wangles passed away today. She joined our family in October of 2010 so she’s been with us quite a while, but sadly today she passed. She bit and was grumpy a lot (which reminded me of Rachelle) and she was furry, liked to make a mess, and stuff her face (so she reminded me of me). She will be missed.

Dark Clouds, Silver linings; The Jennifer Webb Memorial 5k Race Report

5k’s are so short, that it’s hard to do them justice in a race report. You go, you run, it’s over. With it being that short of a race you’d also think there’s not much time for things to go wrong. Actually, there’s plenty of time for things to go wrong, it’s just that there’s not as much time to solve the problems so that you’re forced to just deal with it.

The weather on Saturday was rainy and cool in the morning, but heated up less than an hour before the race, which made my choice of just my Underarmor base layer designed for warm weather seem like a good choice… except that I accidentally put on the one designed for cool weather. And because I didn’t get a chance to put new laces in my older running shoes, I wore the cheap tennis shoes I bought the other day. So, I spent the entire race hot and in pain from my hips to heels; the new shoes are Saucony’s but not the right style for me to run in according to my foot type, and let me just say what I’ve been told about having the right shoes for my feet makes a real difference. Even though I was hot, the first silver lining was that we weren’t racing in torrential rains like we did at Paddy’s Road Race a couple years ago. Ruined iPod and wet, blistered feet are just not a fun way to race.

The roads we ran on are ones Rach and I are really familiar with because the race was held at the school Rach works at. It is held annually to benefit the athletic training club at Campbell. Jennifer Webb, the girl the race is held in honor of, was an athletic training student, hit by a drunk driver on her way to school about 10 years ago. Besides being a worthy cause that means a lot to Rachelle, it’s also a fairly flat course very close to home. Other than one steep but thankfully fairly short hill it was almost all flat.

As you know I’ve been training a lot, at least in comparison to my personal history, and I’ve been taking this season a lot more seriously in terms of preparation. I still haven’t made the progress I’ve wanted on my running, but my general fitness does seem to be coming around enough that it’s helping my running just from having my cardio capacity and tolerance for suffering higher than usual. That training was the second silver lining of the day.

I started the run with the idea of trying to run the first half mile, and seeing how I felt as that approached. When I got to the half mile, I still felt pretty fresh so I kept going and didn’t stop until I hit the 1 mile marker at 13 minutes on the dot. I walked a few minutes and then started running again, mixing segments of running and walking throughout the rest of the race. I found I had a lot more stamina than I thought I would and was able to run 3 to 4 minutes at a time without risking blowing up completely, even in the heat and leg pain I was dealing with. The race finished on the school’s track, and I ran the most of a quarter mile finishing lap with even a little bit of a sprint kick for the last 25 yards or so.

The race measured short, only about 2.95 miles according to my Garmin. My finishing time was 40:30, which put me ~70th out of 115 or so folks. I don’t have the official results yet, but I was fairly happy. If I’d put the right shirt on, I’d have definitely been able to run more, and if I’d had the right shoes on I wouldn’t have hurt as much in the last mile so I’m guessing I would have been faster. Even so, when compared to my previous 3 mile races, it was the slowest, by about 45 seconds. Both of the previous 3 milers were run in much cooler weather, and with better clothing choices made; but it shows I need to keep working on run fitness and weight loss, the two biggest factors in my running.

The really great part of this race was seeing Jennifer Webb’s mom and the joy she felt knowing that her daughter hasn’t been forgotten. That alone was worth racing this race.

As a follow up, I woke up sore on Sunday, very much feeling the result of the wrong shoes. But after watching the Tour of Flanders and Ironman Texas 70.3 Sunday morning, I pushed myself out on the bike, where I had one of my best rides ever, though it didn’t feel like it for much of the ride.

Finally, I have some fun pictures of Stanley to share with you that I took late last week. We have a hay field behind our house that hasn’t been planted yet, so it looks like a big prairie and it has a bunch of wildflowers growing in it. Stanley was kind enough to be in the mood to pose pretty much whenever I snapped a shot, and you can see in some of these how he’s not even as tall as some of the flowers.

He was distracted by a butterfly at the last second

 

A dog truly out standing in his (neighbors) field

 

I bet you can't see me in these flowers, huh?

 

Make sure to get my good side

 

Let's go! There's so many more bugs to chase... and eat!