Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Go to Bed Hungry?

I really love spicy food. Mexican Food, Chinese Food, Pepperoni Pizza with crushed red peppers, Hamburgers with onions--mmmm. My problem with eating is I love the taste of these certain foods. I know I am full, but my taste buds still crave the flavor. If it is in front of me I will eat it. Its a good thing I am active!!!

This leads up to something I read the other day. I wish I could remember where I read it. Two teachers are talking about their weekend. One commented that she had completed a triathlon and when asked about why she had got started, she commented that as she got older she needed a new challenge to stay in shape and just fell in love with the challenge. The man that was questioning her was a rather slim and in his early 60s. She asked him how managed to maintain his slim waistline. He told her that he always went to bed just a little bit hungry. About this time, a rather fat man walked in grumbling about being hungry. He put his money in the machine, got a candy bar, looked at the others in the break room and stated he was just starving. The author of this piece decided at that moment that maybe going to be a little hungry is a good thing.

Now that Charolettsville is over I plan on doing that. I have about 10lbs I would like to shed. I get the exercise--now to moderate my caloric intake.

Wish me luck.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Uphill Both Ways

I had always been told that the Columbia Triathlon was the toughest International Distance Race in the area. That is until I tacked the Charlottesville International Tri. My intent for this race was not so much to race it, but to use it as a long training day and get a gauge of where I stand for Chicago. The bike course was listed as moderately hilly. For a flat lander in the DC area I felt like I was climbing the Pyrenees. I also don’t do much trail running. The run course at Walnut Creek Park is a single track mountain bike course that is used for the XTERRA run course. This course is good for the body—but not for the clock!!

Prerace – Donna and I arrived a little after 0600 and I was able to get a nice spot for my bike at the end of a rack. I found the body marking area which what right next to transition. However, I could not find the chip pickup—only a long line for race day packet pickup. I finally realized that there were actually two lines, one for packet pickup and one for chip pickup. I got my chip and headed to the bathroom. ONE STALL was working (Need I say more).

Back in transition a little more talking with the DC Tri-Clubbers. It was good to see Hugh, Tamera, Stuart, and at right before transition closed my buddy Jeff showed up. I was glad he made it.

SWIM – The swim was an in water start at the left side of the beach, a lap and three-quarters and exiting at the right side of the beach. It was very nice to be in such a small group. This was not full contact swimming as I have experience in the past. I got into a decent rhythm and made the turn at the first buoy. About 100m past the first buoy I was viciously attacked by some sort of aquatic plant. Luckily I was not the only one. After I freed myself, I swam on to the next buoy. I sited ahead and thought to myself—“Wow, you swimming pretty fast. That’s the turn buoy.” Guess what? It wasn’t. However there were people on both their first and second loops that did turn at this point. Looking at the final times I can assume which one did that. I did the second lap with out running into the ferocious aquatic plant. I came out of the water, looked at my watch was very disappointed. I was hoping for a 28min swim and my watch had me at over 32min.

Prior to the race I debated to wear my wetsuit. But I opted not to wear it and see how my time differed from Columbia. I think a three minute saving on the swim is worth a wetsuit. I could tell on the swim I was working harder than I had in Columbia. So if the race is wet suit legal—it will be used.

BIKE – T1 was a short run up a hill to my bike. I dried my feet, put on some socks, biking shoes and I was off. The ride out of the park is UPHILL. I still had not regulated my breathing from the swim and here I was peddling up a very good hill. I peddled and peddled and peddled. So I shifted down to my granny gear and guess what?—the chain came off. The few seconds it took put my chain back on was exactly what I needed to get my breathing and heart rate back under control. Out of the park and turning left I was on the main part of the course. I was happy to hit my first down hill and take some of the pressure off my legs. As I stated above, the course was hilly. I was going up and down hill all morning. I had hoped for about 1:20 ride, but with these hill finishing was a laudable goal for me.

At about the 12.5 mile mark I saw a box turtle in the road. Its head was stretched out and he was taking his sweet time to cross the road. My comment to myself as I passed his the turtle was, “At least there is something out here slower than I am today”. Another couple of miles on the bike and I was climbing a fairly steep hill, I shifted to my granny gear and guess what?—it happened again. After fixing that problem I was off again and I finally made it back to the park.

RUN -- T2 was a short sweet affair and I waddled out on to the run course. The first thing you hit when you get to the single track is a steep and rocky downhill section. Since my legs were not yet working, I walked down the little incline and run up to the aid station at the dam, poured water on my head and drank a little Gatorade. Then it was into the woods. Running in the woods was nice since there was enough shade to keep the heat down. I still could not get my legs to work. They were just heavy and sluggish. I finally hit the 1 mile mark on the trail and thought that was longest *#$%& mile of my life. My first 3 miles took me over 40 minutes to complete. Somewhere after mile three, I really found my legs. The second lap (the final 3 miles) I ran about 4-5 minutes faster. As I was finishing up the first lap, Donna was yelling encouragement and she shouted “You still have another lap to go”. My comment to her, which the cheering section found absolutely hilarious, was “I am well aware of that”.

I finally did finish the run—much slower than I expected.

Overall—Charlottesville International is a small challenging course. Other than lack of bathrooms and a not so well marked swim course, the race is a good small local race. If you are looking to push your body at the Oly distance or what something an Oly/Xterra hybrid I would race it. If you want a PR—don’t even think about it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Last Workout before Charolettsville

Today was a very easy day as far works go. One last short run 20 minutes at a very slow pace. Since it was a humid 72 degrees at 5 am this morning I was glad it was a short run. Even after twenty minutes and less than 2.5 miles I was rather sweaty. But the legs feel good and I am ready to race.

Donna and I are going to see the Simpsons Movie this afternoon. I am not a big movie guy and definitely not one to go on opening day. However, the Simpsons just make me laugh. I really hope this is a funny movie. I really don't want to be disappointed.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Doping--The Tour de France and Baseball

First of all I will admit to being a new comer to the whole Tour de France thing. Sure I watched parts of it when Lance was going for six and seven, but I really did not follow it. Since starting my triathlon “career” I have paid much more attention to who the riders are, who the teams are, the tactics and of course to doping.

This week in the Tour we have had 2 racers removed for failing blood tests (Alexandre Vinokourov and Cristian Moreni) and Michael Rasmussen for not being honest on his whereabouts prior to the Tour and missing two pre-race drug tests. Because of these ejections from the race the European media is up in arms with some media outlets not even reporting on the race any more. Personally I am glad to see the cheaters get caught. Just because you have a few bad apples it doesn’t mean the entire bunch is bad. The trick is to remove the bad apples when you find them, so that you don’t taint them all. The more cheaters that can be removed from sport the better.

This leads me to doping in a sport I have played or watched most of my life—Baseball. There is such a cloud of suspension over Barry Bonds and baseball seems to be looking the other way. Why? Is the media interest (ticket sales and TV review) more important than the sports integrity? Or is it the mentality of “if we don’t know about it, it is not happening?”

We applaud the police for catching criminals and keeping us safe. We don’t blame the neighborhood where the criminal was caught. Cycling appears to be doing its part to police the sport—but where is baseball?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lead Legs?

This past weekend I did almost 3 hours on the bike (Sat) and then Donna and I took a Segway Tour of DC. I could have cared less about the tour, but being able to ride a Segway around DC was a lot of fun. I highly recommend it. After biking for a while, standing for another 3 hours on the Segway really made my legs heavy. I ran a little over an hour on Sunday. My legs felt like they weighed a ton. Even after resting on Monday my swimming on Tuesday was difficult. My legs just did not want to kick.

I really debated on whether to run this morning. Peer pressure is a great thing, so I was up and running at 520. Joe, Janel and I did a brisk 40 min run that opened my legs back up. One more swim tomorrow and a short bike ride then its off to the races.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Countdown to Charlottesville

Five days to go before the Charlottesville International Triathlon. I have not had a race since May 20th and the Columbia Triathlon. You would think that 60 days without a race and I would be prepared. However, with out pressure to get something done I tend to waste time on something else.

My swimming has been progressing. Swimming at the Alexandria YMCA with the Adult League has really bettered my swimming. My first race of 2006 was a 750m swim--time 22:something and my first race this year was 1500m--time 29:something. I would say thats a big improvement. I am hoping to swim under 29 minutes on Sunday.

My biking is well--biking. I really need to focus more on it. That will be my focus in the future. And if I could (had the strength, wasn't so lazy) lose about 10 lbs my running would greatly improve. But this sport is about having fun, staying in shape and pushing yourself to find new challenges.