Florida Challenge Triathlon Countdown Clock

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Let the Poppers Pop and the Breakers Break!

Let the the Poppers Pop, and Breakers Break

Today I decided to hit the bridges in Clearwater for some hill work. It's spring break, and that means I had to get out there early to beat the crowds. 

My shoulder feels fine. I only feel discomfort if I reach back as if I'm throwing a pitch in a baseball game, or if I'm simulating the forward crawl swimming stroke. Seeing how I'm not  doing either anytime soon I think I'm good. Lol

Today, my goal was to ride the bridges to get some good conditioning in. I also decided to ride the bridges in a slightly higher gear. This was a mental trick to tell myself I've ridden the hills in a higher gear in training, thus my training rides were harder than the actual race itself. I'll ride the bridges this way from here on out. Will that work? Who knows, but I'm gonna use all the mental tricks I can! Lol

I was lucky enough to finish the 1st part of my ride without running into many people. This is Sand Key. The beach is still empty in the far background:

I felt really strong today. In addition to riding a slightly higher gear, I focused on my form. There are some riders who can sprint up a hill, or accelerate with a quick burst of speed at will. Unfortunately, I ain't one of them. Lol I have to ride at my own tempo, pretty much on cruise control like an old diesel.  Lol 

With that said, I have to focus on my own ride. If someone passes me going uphill, I have to resist the urge to try and ride faster to keep up with them. 

Triathlons are won on the run 90% of the time. I can't risk using too much energy on the bike and have nothing left for the run. With that in mind, I have to keep riding so I can find the perfect speed for me come race day.

I rode the Sand Key Bridge for 90 minutes today. Before I rode to the other bridge, I stopped in a secluded spot to stretch a bit and get mentally prepared for all the people:

Sand Key Beach and Clearwater Beach are literally 10 minutes from each other, but it seems like most people go to the Clearwater Beach. It was PACKED. Today was a perfect day to be at the beach, and everybody and they momma was on their way:

The traffic on the right is all the cars headed to the beach. It was thick. Government cheese thick! Lol  Notice I'm on the sidewalk away from all the traffic.  I HATE riding on the roads, especially now.  

Hit and run drivers are a serious problem down here. I refuse to be a statistic.

When  people get to Clearwater, all they  can see is the water, the sun, sand, and swimsuits. The last thing they see is my black a** riding a bike! Lol So I keep my distance!

All in all, I had a great ride. I rode for a total of 3 hours today. The only thing that happened was I had a cramp   
in my left thigh as I went up the bridge on my last ride up, which was 2 hours and 50 minutes in. I wasn't extremely tired when it happened, so I don't know if it was fatigue, dehydration, or lack of fuel. Whatever it was, I'll have to figure it out by race day.

After my ride, I take my standard 20 minute walk and do my stretches.  Usually, I have this spot all to myself, but today people were all over having a good time:

Eventually, they walked over to the beach and I had My Spot to myself again.  A couple minutes later, the Pirate Ship sails by and people are on there doing the Macarena:  Lol

All in all, I had a great ride and a great day. People were out in droves just having a good time, and seeing others enjoying themselves can be quite  relaxing. 

I will take Monday off and just relax. No workout. Tuesday I will hit the treadmill at the gym. Wednesday and Thursday I'll do an interval on my bike trainer. Saturday I'll do a long run.

When my shoulder gets better I'll do an open water swim at Sand Key. It's about that time I get reacquainted with salt water! Lol

Thanks for reading! Till next time, Peace! 


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Body Language

Body Language

In the 15 years I've done triathlons, i've never had a serious injury. But I've had plenty aches and pains. When I was younger I was able to shrug them off, but the older I get, the more I have to take care of them and make sure they don't become a serious issue.

All my injuries have come from overtraining. I'd push myself too hard without enough recovery time between workouts.

I've had issues with:
Both knees - running 
Right achilles heel -running 
Left calf - running
Right wrist & elbow - weights
Right shoulder - swimming 

These have occured over the years and thankfully never at the same time! Lol

It has taken me years to realize that as much as I want to train, I have to listen to my body and make sure I'm recovered from my last workout.  If I'm not, the most I should do is a lower intensity training session.

The beauty of this sport is if I have some pain in 1 area, I can usually cross train in something else without skipping a beat.

In December, I had the sore calf and couldn't run for about a month.  But I was still able to walk and  ride the bike no prob and swim. 

Now for the last 6 weeks i've been hitting the pool pretty hard. On top of that, i've been hitting the weights pretty hard too,  (even though I know I'm supposed to back off the intensity a bit.)  This is important, cuz my shoulders are getting a double workout.

I had 1 hour swim sessions on Monday & wednesday this week, and lifted weights tonight doing my usual routine:

Dumbells presses
Standing lateral raises
Barbell bent rows
Shoulder presses
Standing barbell curls
Tricep extensions
Planks, crunches, leg raises etc.

I felt fine all thru my workout until I got home and started to relax. I feel a twinge on my right shoulder as I type this.  This is the same shoulder I had issues with 2 years ago. It's nothing serious YET, but I know I need to give my shoulders a rest.

I've learned the difference between muscle soreness and an injury. If I don't rest my shoulder, this would turn into something serious.

I don't like taking pain meds. Actually, I don't like taking meds period. I'd rather eat healthy foods and let my body recover on it's own.  I'm not a pro athlete who MUST play on Sunday. I do this for fun, so I can have a more relaxed attitude about it.

And I also know if I try to train thru an injury, my form will be off because I'm trying to protect the injured area, and that could cause another injury! 

With that said, no swimming or weights next week, just rest. No pain meds necessary.  Instead, I will cross-train and do some yoga,  run on the treadmill and ride my on my stationary trainer. I want to be in my best shape come race day, but I also want to be injury free in race day too!

I'm glad this happened now instead of the week before the race. I have plenty time to make my adjustments and make sure I'm 100%.

A week of resting my shoulders will do me some good. I might even take an extra day off from training to just relax.

But that's next week! Lol My shoulder hurts, not my legs! Lol This weekend I'm riding my bike and hitting the bridges. Those hills won't be easy so I have to be ready for them.

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!   

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sight Seeing

Sight Seeing

It's Monday night, and that's pool night. I like to swim at the start of the week because it's my weakest event of the three. As a result, it gets top priority.

I was a tad tired when I hit the pool. I have a real bad habit of staying up late, especially on Saturday nights. This past Saturday I was up till about 3am watching 1 of my all time fav movies, Car Wash! lol They really shoulda made a Car Wash 2, or at the very least a tv series out of it because I have several unanswered questions:

What happened to Abdullah? Did he get his job back?
Did Lonnie get the promotion from Mr. B?
Whatever happened to Daddy Rich?
Did Mona go out with T.C, and most importantly, did she break him off a piece?? lol

Anyway, that's why I was tired. I was watching Car Wash. lol

But tired or not, I had to have a good, solid pool workout. The race is fast approaching, and it's time I start swimming like I'm in an actual triathlon. That means I have to adjust my swimming style a bit.

Swimming in a pool is pretty simple. All you have to do is follow the line at the bottom of the pool, and if you go slightly off course, you have ropes to keep your absent-minded a** in check. Pretty easy & downright mindless training. This is why my mind can wander. I have nothing to focus on. All I have to do is follow the line.

Swimming in a triathlon is totally different. TOTALLY. In a pool you can look straight down, never looking ahead to see where you're going. But when swimming in a race, all bets are off. There's no blue line at the bottom of the lake or ocean. In most cases, you can't even SEE the bottom or tough it. If you're not careful, you can swim waaaay off course. No ropes to corral you in.

So tonight, I swam as if I was in a race, and I do that by "sighting." In a pool when you breathe, you breathe to the side & look to the side. In the open water you MUST look forward to make sure you're going where in the right direction.

Tonight I made the conscious effert to practice looking forward to see where I was going, and to alter my arm stroke as if I were swimming in waves.

Speaking of waves, in a pool, there are no waves. The water is flat, so your arm turnover can be very precise and barely over the water. In the open water, it can be hard to do that. If there are waves, your arms must go a little higher out of the water in order to make sure you get over them.

Here's a pic of me from a race a couple years ago:

Looking at this pic, you can see 2 guys immediately to my right. I have to keep my eye on them to make sure we don't bump into each other. Then there's a guy right in front of me. I have to watch HIM to make sure I don't get kicked in the face. (Not a good look if you get kicked in the nose &/or lose your goggles!) Then there's a guy right behind me. If he's swimming faster than me, there's a chance he can literally swim right over me. So have to be aware of my surroundings at all times.

Most races are very early in the morning, so the sun is coming over the horizon, and sometimes when you look up, it's right in your eyes. That can make it hard to see also.

The water here wasa tad choppy. That means you have to make sure you get your head out over the waves toget a breath. Swallowing salt water is NOT FUN.

If that isn't enough, I have to look for the orange buoys to make sure I'm going in the right direction. I've been in many a race where people are zig-zagging thru the water, bumping into other swimmers like a pinball game, wasting energy & swimming much further than they should. Hell, I've done that myself! lol

Swiming while trying to do all that wears me out to be honest. My form isn't the best when trying to look around in the fraction of a second you take a breath. When I look forward, my legs sink a bit, & I have to work a bit harder to get my form back in order, putting more more emphasis on my shoulders. Not only that, I swim slower because I'm not as efficient.

So from here on out until the race, I'm going to work on sighting. Tonight was my first time swimming this way for an extended period of time, and it wore me out! My timing is off. There's an art to looking forward to see where you are, getting a breath, and continuing your stroke in a fluid motion. If I want to have an "easy" swim I have to get my form up to par.

I was also swimming a tad slower bcause I wasn't as aerodynamic as I should be, but I will work on that. It felt like I was fighting the water tonight. It just didn't "feel" right. I will cut back on lifting weights and add another swim session to my weekly training as I get closer to the race. That way I won't put too much of a strain on my shoulders.

Now that I think about it, I'll let my shoulders rest tomorrow & either take the day off to recover or ride my indoor trainer. I'll see how I feel after work.

I still have a lot to work on, but I'm really not losing sleep over it because I know I'll make the proper adjustments in time for race day. And even ifI don't, I'm too tired to NOT sleep! lol We'll just have to see what happens!

Thanks for reading! Till next time, Peace!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

This week I was looking at the Ironman Florida 70.3  website to get a feel for the race. The closer I get to a race, the more I like to visualize it:  the starter's gun and me starting the swim; finishing the swim and running to the transition area feeling strong and getting on my bike; passing people on the bike,  starting the run, and most importantly, crossing the finish line! 

I replay the race in my mind over & over in hopes that's how it will actually play out. Kinda like a dress rehearsal. So I'm getting ready for the race physically AND mentally.

With that I'm mind, I found the course maps for the bike and run. Here's the bike course:

I really don't care about this map. I don't know this area at all. Long as the cops and volunteers tell us where to go I'm good! Lol

This map here has my full attention:

THIS is the bike course! I thought the race description said "fast and flat with a small section of gently rolling hills??"

It don't take Stevie Wonder to see there's a lot of hills on this course, and it won't be as easy as they said. Looking at this makes me want to focus on the bike a lot more.

But that's the challenge of triathlon: it's 3 events, not 1. I can be the best biker this side of Lance Armstrong, but if I can't swim or run, it's all for naught.   

So I have to stay focused and hope that my training will suffice.  Trying to juggle 3 totally different sports is hard, but that's what makes it so rewarding when you cross that finish line.

I was debating for the last couple days if I was going to go for a long run or long  bike today. I need to get in as much hill work as can, but I can't sacrifice the other sports in the process. That's like a guy who lifts weights, but only works his chest and arms, but never works his legs, abs, or back. Bodybuilders need to be well rounded and so do triathletes.

With that in mind, last night I decided to go for an 11 mile run today at Bayshore. Once I made that decision, I put all thoughts of the bike out of my mind and focused all my attention on today's  run and the official run course:

The run course will be a challenge and I have to prepare for it also. I MUST get some quality training runs in.

With that said, today was a perfect day for a run. I started out with a slow trot to warm myself up. I prefer to start out on the grass because it's easier on my knees:

I ran at a slow pace with short strides.  I have discovered that shorter strides are better on my knees than the longer strides I'm used to, so I'm in the process of changing my running style. The shorter strides are actually better for triathlon because after you get off the bike, your legs are quite stiff. If you increase your leg turnover with shorter strides you can still run pretty fast.

After about 40 minutes I made it to Ballast Pointe:

Tampa has quite a few little "chill spots" near the water and Ballaste Pointe is just minutes from Bayshore.

On the way back from Ballaste Pointe I decided to push it and run at a higher intensity. I felt really strong and focused on the shorter strides with a faster leg turnover. When I started to get tired I made sure my form was good and would breathe deeply and stayed calm. 

All in all, I finished the 11 miles in 1 hour, 41 minutes, followed up with a 20 minute cool-down  walk.               

I am very happy with today's workout, and I'm glad I ran today.  I think my conditioning is pretty good at this point, and now I'm almost ready to start doing some speed work, which I will probably do on the treadmill. Finishing the race is the #1 priority, but I'd really like to have a fast race also!

In order to do that, I have to get those hills in check. I will hit the bridges with a vengeance in the upcoming weeks. I am determined to hit the starting line ready to put it down!

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!      

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The 3rd Ingredient

The 3rd Ingredient

I've talked about 2 important parts of preparing for my race (rest and the training,) but there's 1 more crucial piece of the puzzle: my diet.

When I was in my teens I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was working out, but didn't pay too much attention to my diet because I had a fast metabolism and felt invincible.

But in 1987 I had kidney problems, a disease called nephrotic syndrome. My kidneys basically stopped working properly and I started retaining water. Thru the grace of God, I made a full recovery after taking many different meds and going on a VERY restricted diet. I haven't had any kidney problems since.

To this day they don't know what caused it. 

After that ordeal, I started to read more and more how your diet could drastically affect your overall health. It was also at that time I noticed how cancer seems to really like my family: my mother, uncle, grandfather, and several cousins have all died of cancer.

So I started to take my diet seriously because I want to do what I can to keep myself as healthy as possible. They don't have cures for diseases like cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure, but word on the street is your diet can have a major impact on your health. 

A website that I find very helpful is this one:  Worlds Healthiest Foods

Thanks to this site, I have gradually added many foods to my diet.  I also changed how I view food. I eat now for the nutrition, not the taste. Since I'm in my 40's now, I have to be careful and eat healthy. Do I like eating carrots? Honestly, not really. I'd rather eat a slice of devils food cake! Lol But I have to stay focused.

Here's a sample of some of the foods I have in the house right now:

What's not shown are my oatmeal, strawberries, skim milk, oj, spices, etc. 

Thanks to this site, i've learned many interesting facts. For example, I thought eating fish or taking pills was the only way a person could get omega 3's. Omega 3's are believed to help       
 reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. 

Good stuff, but what if a person doesn't eat fish?? Does that mean they are SOL?  That's what I used to think until I did some research. You can get omega 3's from foods like spinach, romaine lettuce, brocolli, cauliflower, walnuts, and even strawberries!

But you don't hear things like this on the news. You gotta go get the info yourself. I also discovered if you don't like 1 food, others have some of the same nutrients. For example, I don't like bananas. Bananas are known for potassium, but since I like oranges and strawberries I get potassium from them instead. 

So, this ties in to my training because I look for foods that give me energy, help me recover after workouts, pre-workout meals, and foods that are just plain good for me.

Through trial and error, I've discovered that eating 6 mini-meals a day works best for me.  This helps me keep my energy levels up, I don't binge eat, cuz I know I'll snack on something in a couple hours...

I eat a lot of fruits & veggies. On any given day I will have 7-8 servings. For example, today I ate the following:

Oatmeal w/glass of skim milk & oj

Mid morning snack
Mixed nuts with raisins

(baked) Chicken fettucini w/California Blend veggies  
Strawberry applesauce

Mid afternoon snack
Salad w/romaine lettuce, tomatoe, baby carrots, diced onions & crimini mushrooms with honey mustard dressing

Post workout snack
Granny Smith apple

Meatloaf sandwich with ground turkey on wheat bun & glass of 100% cran apple-juice

I also drink a glass of green tea with honey when i get to work, and I drink water all day with a slice of lemon in it for taste (and for extra vitamin C.)

Even though I eat healthy, I still have INTENSE cravings for junk foods like chocolate and fried foods. I try to eat fruit to satisfy that craving for sweets, applesauce,or mixed nuts with raisins.

I think if a doctor told me I MUST stop eating fast food I could, but since I haven't gotten that news yet I still treat myself every Saturday night to eat whatever I want. Lol This way, I can satisfy my craving for junk  without feeling guilty or binging.  Also, if I go out with friends or co-workers on the occasional Friday night I'll get a burger and fries w/o a 2nd thought.

Moderation is the key for me. Long as I try to eat "clean" on a daily basis I won't feel guilty if I eat some fast food.  

That's my diet in a nutshell.  The powerbars and other stuff I only eat during workouts, because I prefer to get my daily nutrition from natural sources. 

As time goes on, I look forward to finding new foods I like and learn about new breakthroughs in health and nutrition.  In addition to the website above, this book has been very informative:

I know tomorrow's not guaranteed and a freak accident could prevent me from waking up like my friend Trent Leggs, .who died from a pulmonary embolism.
Trent was in better shape than me, but look what happened to him. Life really isn't fair sometimes...

At any rate, I will continue to try eat healthy and live my life to the fullest!

Tonorrow's a rest day and Saturday I'm going for a run. Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Attitude Adjustment

Attitude Adjustment

Monday's suck! They gotta be the worst day of the week, well for me at least. Today was extra bad:

Daylight Savings Time (lost an hour of sleep)
Half of my department was out today, so I had to do work I don't normally do.

The whole day was just "off." I got nothing accomplished at work and was just spinning my wheels.

When I got off work and head to the gym,  I'm still wound up, but I'm  trying to calm down.  I get to the gym and get mentally prepared to swim, but I see this guy walking back & forth in the locker room wearing just a towel. 

I try not to pay him any mind, but after the 4th time he walks by I start to get aggravated. Very aggravated! I'm already in a bad mood, i dont ecen LIKE this gym and this mofo ain't helpin me none.

I'm thinking: "WTF! They got gay security guards in here now?? Go sit your a** down somewhere!!"

I apolgize if I offended anybody, but I'm just keeping it real. I'm not politically correct. I'm just writing a blog, not running for the Senate...lol
Turns out somebody stole dude's stuff! He put his clothes on a locker and did NOT lock it. I thought people stopped doing that in the '80's, but I guess not.

What does all this have to do with my training? Everything: The mental aspect of training is just as important as the physical. If your mind isn't on your workout you can have a lackluster workout, or even worse, injure yourself. 

So I hit the pool still wound up from the day, and now I'm thinking about how they are stealing stuff in the locker room. I'm glad I have a lock, but it's  still unsettling...

Needless to say, my swim started out VERY badly. My arms felt heavy, like I was holding 5 pound weights in each hand.  I was tired much quicker than normal, and I  really struggled. 

On a positive note, I let my mind wander as I swam (like I always do) after about 25 minutes of doing laps. What I realized is I was upset over things I gave no control over. I wasted an entire day in a bad mood for nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

All that negativity is just wasted energy. It drains you and clouds your judgement. If I was in my right mind, I might have noticed that dude in the locker room was in straight panic mode.  But all I could think about was some bs that really meant nothing in the grand scheme of things...

When I finished my swim he was gone. Don't know how that story ended, but the moral of that story is to lock yo s*#! 

I completed my entire hour long workout on a positive note. I ended up finishing strong and felt good when I was done. 

I have to remember to stop sweating the small stuff, and letting things I can't control bother me. Just another benefit of working out. It helps me clear my mind and get all that stress off me.

Tomorrow's a new day, and it will be a good day. I guarantee it! 

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Bridge over troubled waters

My race is in 8 weeks. Can't believe it's already March!  Where does the time go??

Funny. When I was 14, I couldn't WAIT to be 18. When I was FINALLY 18, seemed like it took forever to become 21. After 21, I couldn't wait to be 25...

Once I hit 25, time sped up! Hell, I don't even remember my 30's! Time is just flying by! Lol

Which ties in to my upcoming race. I feel good about my training, but is it good enough?? My swim and run are in need of improvement and I'm working on that. My bike feels good, so in ready to take that to the next level. 

So today, it was all about the bike. I pulled my Marvel Comics kit out the closet for today's ride, hoping for some superhuman strenght! Lol

 I'll worry about the swim and run next week! Lol

This is the official bike course description on the Ironman Florida website:

56 miles (1 loop)
The bike course will travel through western Orange Country. With aid stations at approximately 20 miles, 31 miles, and 43 miles.   It is an open course with local traffic sharing the roadway, please stay alert. Orange County police and volunteers will be located through out the course to help keep you safe.  You will travel through residential and country side roads passing orange groves, lakes and golf courses. Keep your head up as you are expected to have a fast time on this course with only one section of gently rolling hills.  You will bring your bike back to the same bike rack in the transition.  Bike cut-off time will be 5 hours and 30 minutes after the swim cut-off.

Sounds pretty "easy" except for the "gently rolling hills" part. I've raced in Central Florida before, and those hills are NOT gentle! Them mofo's are hard! 

The best way to get ready for the bike course is to actually ride the course so you can get a feel for it. I would, if it weren't more than an hour away. Unfortunately, there are no hills in Tampa, so I do the next best thing: I find the biggest bike-friendly bridges in the area and ride those.

There are 2 bridges within 10 minutes if each other that I like to train on; the Sand Key Bridge and the Cleareater Bridge. 

I start out on the Sand Key Bridge 1st:

I like to do bridge repeats: I ride over the bridge, ride a block or 2 to recover, then turn right around and ride the bridge again. This will help me simulate the rolling hills of the actual race.

This is 1 of my fav workouts. Not only because it's so hard, but because the views from the top if the bridge ocerlooking the Gulf of Mexico are picture perfect:


It was windy and in the high 60's today, but all in all a good day to be outside.

Riding hills/bridges is hard for me. Going uphill Zaps my energy if I try to ride at a fast tempo or accelerate quickly. The lighter you are, the better climber you are. The heavier you are, the harder it is. This is the primary reason I want to lose a little weight and get down to 200.

But I can't use that as an excuse! If I want to be a better climber, I gotta shut up and ride the damn bike! 

It takes  me about 90 seconds to get to the top of the bridge.  Thats not bad by itself, but when you ride back and forth over and over it gets tough! The key for me is to remain seated and ride at a relaxed, steady pace. If someone passes me, I just relax, save my energy and try make up time on the flats.

I rode this bridge back and forth for 1.5 hours today and felt pretty good.

When I finished with this bridge, I rode over to the Clearwater Bridge and immediately started my same routine of riding it over and over. This bridge is bigger and takes me almost 3 minutes to get to the top. I ride this one last because it's the hardest. I want to really push myself deep into a workout to simulate race conditions as much as possible:

With it being windy today, this was a VERY hard workout today. My legs were burning, but I just kept calm, ate and drank to replinish myself and refused to stop. I slowed down quite a bit on the bridges, but the key is not to stop.  On my last ride up I took these pics:

All in all, I had a great ride. The total workout was 3 hours. I was pretty fatigued so I walked for 20 minutes afterwards to loosen up my legs. 

Instead of immediately heading home, I found a nice spot to do some stretches, lay down and relax on my Chicago Bulls blanket for a few minutes:

After a couple minutes I'm totally relaxed and I'm not thinking about anything. Just enjoying the day and watching the ships go by:

After eating an apple and a Subway sandwich I was feeling pretty good. But sitting out there was GREAT. Sometimes you just need to get away for a little while and think about nothing and just chill!

All in all, I had a great workout. I think my bike will be fine, but I still need to work on that swim and run. I have 8 weeks to get it together. Monday I hit the pool and will work on my drills and endurance. All I can do is take it 1 workout at a time.

Tonight is my "cheat" night on my diet, so the wife and I are going out for Chinese. That shrimp fried rice is gonna be delicious!! Lol

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sea World

Sea World

Tonight I hit the pool to do some laps. I call it Seaworld because of the setup:

You can watch people workout, and they can watch you swim! Lol


Taking last week off was a good look for me. I  went to bed at a decent hour last night had plenty energy for my swim session.

I bought new goggles over the weekend because my old ones aggravate my skin:

Why 2 pair? Simple: if I were to lose one, or even worse, snap on me while I'm swimming or at a race I'd be screwed!!!

My swim tonight was the same routine that I've been doing for the past month:

 warm up with breast stroke for 5 minutes; 
25 minutes of forward crawl;
 1 arm drills for a couple hundred yards; 
Breast stroke for 5 minutes; 
more forward crawl for 10 minutes
Breast stroke cooldown

Total workout approximately 1 hour

It took me a minute to get my goggles the way I wanted, but once I did I was good to go.

I'm still working on my endurance. Come race day, my primary goal is to finish the 1.2 mile swim using the least amount if energy, but still going fast enough to be competitive, or at the very least not ve left too far behind.

 I want to finish anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes.  The plan is to make my workouts  longer (and harder) than my actual race swim, so that way I won't be as tired when I start the bike.  
The only way to do that is to swim laps. Over and over. Truth be told, swimming in a pool is boring!! All you got is a line at the bottom of the pool to look at, and make sure you don't crash into the wall! Lol 

After a couple minutes of swimming endless laps, your mind starts thinking about all types of crazy stuff:

What am I eating for dinner?

"fresh out the jet to the 'jects where the cheese at? What you know about that? I know all about that!" Damn, I STILL like that song!

Damn that mofo swims fast!

These are some nice goggles

Them mofos been over there talkin for 20 minutes. Are they here to workout or hangout? Is this a heslthclub or a nightclub,??

Damn. Feels like I'm at Sea World, all these people walking by, watching us swim. Look! A black turtle! Lol

I work with some crazy mofos! 

Like I said, your mind can really wander when you do laps...lol

But all in all, I like to swim. It's a great full body workout, and it's great for helping me recover from the other sports because there's no stress on my joints.

 I have 8 weeks left before the race. I think that's plenty time to get my swim where I want it. The 1 arm drills are really helping me even out my stroke. My left arm is still weaker than my right, but it's getting better.

I don't expect big improvements overnight, but I do see some progress which is great. Next month I will add another swim workout per week to make sure I'm ready. I REFUSE to be the last person out the water!! Lol

Tomorrow I hit the weights. I'll go light tomorrow because my shoulders got a really good workout tonight.

Time for bed now.

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!    

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pounding the Pavement

Pounding the Pavement

That's a good thing if you're looking for a job, but not when you're running! That's especially true for me, because my knees (primarily my left one) are old and crusty! Lol

When I was in high school, the track coach made us run 7 miles everyday for our cross country workouts. Everyday at 6 minute mile pace. 

Man you couldn't pay me to do that now. Lol I'd last maybe 2 days before I'd have to quit the team! Lol

That was way back in '85 & '86, when i was a pure runner and weighed about 150 pounds. It's  2010 now and things have changed! Yes, I still love to run, but at 209 pounds I can only run sparingly. I just can't take running outside much anymore cuz of my knees. Gotta do it in spurts.

If it weren't for the treadmill, I woulda been forced to stop running years ago. The treadmill is GREAT for my knees. I can go all out without worrying about my knees or Achilles heel giving out on me. But the treadmill can't replace running outside. 

And that's what I did today. I finally feel well enough to workout again so I decided to do a 9 mile run on Bayshore.  This is my favorite place to run. Who wouldn't like running here:

Like I said, the treadmill saves my knees, but running at places like this save my sanity cuz mofo's be gettin on my nerves! Lol

I like Bayshore because it's a never-ending sidewalk that goes for over 3.5 miles without any breaks. No crosswalks, intersections, nothing. Just a straight shot right along Tampa Bay.

It's been pretty cool here in Florida, but usually it's pretty hot and humid. Doing anything outdoors here can be downright deadly if you aren't prepared for the heat. I take no chances when I run. I wear sunscreen and carry cold water and PowerAde with me:

The bottle on my hand is full of water, and the one on my waist has powerade.  I can also put a powerbar in the waist pack also. It's a lot to carry, Better be safe than sorry!

I was nervous about running today because I haven't ran outside in about a month. I wasn't sure how my knees would handle it. As a result, I like to start out slow to see how I feel by running on grass. It takes me about 25 minutes of jogging  to get warmed up. 

To my pleasant surprise, I felt good. Really good! So I picked up my pace.  No problem.

45 minutes in, I'm still feeling strong with no pain anywhere. I take an electrolyte tablet and a Gu to keep my energy levels up.

An hour into the run I have my runners high. My mind is totally clear and I'm feeling great!!!

I finish the 9 miles in 81 minutes. After the run, I walk for 20 minutes, then find a bench to relax on, stretch my feet, and eat my powerbar:


I'm tired, but relaxed. I like to chill after a workout instead of jumping into my car immediatly and running home. Sometimes you just need a little "me time" where you can just sit and do nothing but enjoy the day! Lol

All in all, taking the week off didn't hurt me. I'm still on schedule for my race.  If anything, it helped me, because I felt fresh and had a lot of energy. I will work on taking a rest day here and there to recharge my batteries. 

Tomorrow is a rest day, and Monday it's back to the pool!

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sick Day(s)

Sick Day(s)

This hasn't been a good week for me. I've been under the weather. I THINK it's my allergies. Whatever the hell it is, it's got me down for the count!

I don't like to miss work due to sickness, and I don't like to miss workouts either! I'm 1for 2 this week: I've been going to work, but I haven't been able to workout. I HATE missing workouts.

There's a delicate balance between training and rest. The harder you train, the more rest you need. If you don't get enough rest, your immune system suffers. If that happens, you can get sick. I think thsts^ where I am now. 

Last week I wrote about how tired I was. I think this week is just a carryover from last week.

Overtraining (for me) is too easy to do. I  have a really bad habit of staying up late and not getting enough sleep. Been doing it for years. I need to get out of this pattern, but I don't want to. All the fun stuff happens late at night! Lol

But it's killing me to miss workouts. My big race is in about 10 weeks and I still have A LOT if work to do.

When it comes to triathlon, I'm a competitor. A serious competitor. Yeah, it's all about finishing and pushing yourself to your physical and mental limits, but it's also about kickin some ass! Hey, I like to pass people, not get passed! Lol 

And to do that, you have to train. Hard. Looking back at previous races, I've struggled on the run and the same thoughts run thru my mind:

"why am I out here doing this???"
"I can't be getting tired already!!"

And the #1 thought:

"I shouldn't be this tired. If I woulda trained a little harder, I would've finished faster!"

That last comment can nag at you weeks (and months) after a big race. As an athlete, you want to look back and say you gave it all you had. You trained as hard ad you could, and left it all on the field.

When you miss workouts, you leave yourself open for self doubt. 

But at the same time, you can only push your body so far before you have to either give it a rest, or your body will MAKE you rest. And right now, my body is making me rest.

Not to mention, the older you get, the longer it takes your body to recover. See, I know all this, but still push myself too far...

So right now, all I can do is rest up. I  have to be patient and not try come back too soon, because if I do, I run the risk of getting sick again. Like I said, I think it's my allergies, but my symptoms feel like cold symptoms, so who knows? 

The positive about taking brief layoffs is I always come back a little fresher and don't lose much fitness. Which is all well and good, but I still don't like taking layoffs! Lol

I feel better as I type this. I should be 100% by Thursday. I'll take tomorrow off and see how it goes. I'll probably take the rest of the week off and hit it hard on Saturday. Time will tell!

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!