Florida Challenge Triathlon Countdown Clock

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Brotha From Anotha Planet!

The Brotha From Another Planet!

Growing up in Chicago exposed me to a lot of things. Some great things: 

Harold's Chicken, Lake Michigan, Taste of Chicago, Giordano's Pizza, Michael Jordan, The Super Bowl Shuffle, 24 hour public transportation, Michigan Ave, House Music, The FEDERATION, my family, etc etc etc. Good stuff!

Then there's the not so good:

Vice Lords, GD's, Latin Kings, drive byes, snow, COLD AZZ WINTERS!!! The Hawk, etc etc etc.

With that said, I thought I had seen and done it all by the time I moved to Florida. There's nothing down there but palm trees, beaches, and ernge juice. What else is there??

Well, moving down here exposed me to triathlon, but before that, the Tour De France. I don't remember exactly how I stumbled up on it, but I hadn't seen stuff like this growing up:

What in the world is this, who are these guys, and how come I never heard if this before?? In all my years of riding my mountain bike on lake Michigan I had never seen people riding bikes like this, wearing uniforms like a real team and hauling ass!  I was intrigued! Lol

I soon discovered the Tour has been going on for DECADES and is EXTREMELY popular around the world. Kinda like the World Cup: popular everywhere but in the USA. Many of the cyclists are mega stars and quite wealthy.  

I had "discovered" a new sport and couldn't get enough of it! (This was before Lance Armstrong became a household name.) I started watching all the cycling I could find on tv (which wasn't much) and reading the mags at my fav store Barnes & Nobles. 

I soon found my favorite team: T-Mobile/ Team Telekom. In the 90's and early 2000's they were the equivalent of the New York Yankees. Extremly popular and dominating many races around the world.

I come from a predominantly black family (lol) and no one I I'm related to or know is into anything like this. Nor had I seen anyone who looked like me riding in the Tour De France. But why should that stop ME from liking it and trying to get in where I fit in??

It doesn't, and here's why: 

Life is too short to limit yourself or not like or try something because it doesn't fit the status quo or is considered "cool" by your peers. Only YOU can live your life, not anyone else. Happiness comes from within, and no one can (or should) steal your joy or decide what makes YOU happy...

So even though I knew people would look at me as if I was a brotha from another planet, I didn't care. I decided this was something I wanted to try and turns out I liked it! 

That was 15 years ago, and now fast forward to today's 42 mile training ride:

I have A LOT of biking and triathlon gear and even though I'm used to it and think nothing of it, many people still aren't exposed to it on a regular basis and look at me like I'm crazy... Lol

I get a kick out of the reactions. This morning I  put on my T-Mobile gear and head out to Flatwoods Park. But on the way I gotta get gas! Imagine how some people react when I roll up to the pump with the bike on the roof of the car and me wearing a tight bike shirt that just so happens to be pink and black...lol

Anyway, I had a GREAT ride today. I rode 42 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes  and felt pretty strong. It was very hot today, but when riding the bike it doesn't feel too bad because there's always some sort of breeze.

This blog wasn't really about my training ride. It's about finding something you like to do no matter who else likes it. Get out there and have some fun! You never know, you might turn others on to it to!

After my ride I did my usual cooldown walk and my yoga.  I snapped a couple quick pics of the park on the way out:

 After that I went to the bike shop and bought some more Gu:

I can't live without my Gu! Lol 

I get my Gu and lo and behold? Who do I see on the wall? One of my fav cyclists, T-Mobile star Jan Ulrich!

Finally! A place where I don't stick out like a sore thumb! Well not as much! Lol 

Next project is having MY poster up on the wall! Hey, if you're gonna dream, dream BIG!!!

Thanks for reading! Till next time, Peace! :)


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

After my mistake of running in the blistering heat last week, I decided to take it kinda easy this week. I still worked out, just not as intensely. Today is usually my day for long workouts, but I stayed in the house and hid from the sun like a vampire! Lol  I wasn't dealing with that heat today! 

My focus this week was on lifting weights. I'm still not back to where I was before I hurt my back. I'm close, but not quite there yet!

This is the reason I hate taking layoffs:  the longer you don't workout, it takes FOREVER to regain your fitness.

But sometimes a layoff is needed. In addition to your job, sonetimes you just need a vacation from the hard training to rejuvenate yourself and prevent injury.  So when I DO go on vacation, I get away from work AND working out. You simply have to have a life away from this crazy sport!  Lol

I need to get back up to Chicago. I miss the food, my family, and my Brothers from college, The Federation!

Then if you take a little break, it gives you something to look forward to. So when I hurt my back and couldn't lift, I was going crazy because that's my favorite sport.  Getting back to the gym was a huge relief!

I took this pic on Thursday before I started my workout:

It takes time to regain your fitness, and I'm not going to try rush it. This is a lifestyle for me, not a fad. So I just have to be patient and it'll come back to me soon enough. 

Luckily, I was able to cross train and swim more when I couldn't lift weights. My swimming improved, but I lost some strenght as a tradeoff. 

Truth be told, I think it's best I don't push the weights too hard during the season anyway because it's not my focus. I'll push it hard again when the season's over in September.

My weight training workout's the same pretty much year round. I stick with the basic exercises because I only lift 2x a week and  I'm not trying to be a bodybuilder. 

Here's my routine in order:

Various ab exercises

Dumbell bench presses (chest)

Standing lateral raises (shoulders)

Barbell bent rows (back)

Shoulder presses w/dumbells  (shoulders)

Standing barbell curls w/curl bar (biceps)

Tricep extensions laying in bench

Planks, crunches, leg raises etc.

2 sets of 8-10 reps works best for me. 

I prefer to use dumbells because I get a greater range of motion and it works more of the smaller muscles also.  

I will start back doing some serious training within the next 2 weeks. Until then, I'll just workout at a lower intensity.

I'm thinking about racing in the School's Out Triathlon on July 25th. It's a sprint:  a 1/3 mile swim, 15 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. It'll be a great workout and a change of pace from the long races.  

But seeing how we have a MAJOR oil spill in the Gulf and the swim is IN the Gulf, who knows if they'll even have the race??  What a mess!!!! 

My gut feeling is the race will be cancelled. The oil is already in Pensacola  and there's no stopping it unfortunately. I heard from somone that the oil is already in the Atlantic, but it isn't being broadcast as of yet. Not sure if that's true or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is!! 

That oil spill is affecting everything from wildlife, to tourism, the seafood industry, to triathlon and everything in between.  Speaking of, I wonder what they'll do about the World Championship they have every year in November over in Clearwater Florida?? Unbelievable.

I guess we'll have to wait and see how this all plays out...

In the meantime, I'll just keep working out, watching the news and trying to stay positive!

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace! 


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pleasure Before Pain!

Pleasure Before Pain!

The adage "pain before pleasure" has been reversed this weekend with a vengeance! Lol

Fridays are my favorite day of the week. It's the start of the weekend and after work I like to go to 1 of my favorite places: Barnes & Nobles! I can sit there for hours and read books and mags.

That's exactly what I was doing last night: reading and relaxing. I was packing up and about to call it a night when I got a call from some friends:

"we're at the Green Iguana 5 minutes from B&N. Come on thru!"

Awwwww dayumm!!!

I also like Friday's because that's the day I hang out with friends. (Saturday nigts are reserved for quality time with the wife.)  In other words, it was party time! Lol

So I'm chillin at Green Iguana sipping on a Long Islsnd having a good time, but in the back of my mind I know i'm gonna be hurting in the morning because I wanted to get up early and run! But that's a long way off so I won't worry about it until then! Lol

Keep the dranks comin!!

I get home and instead if going right to bed I stay up till 2 am doing a whole lotta nothing. Again, I know in gonna pay for it in the morning!

I wake up at 9, then spend an hour talking to the wife. I leave the house at 10 and soon as I step outside the humidity slaps me in the face like I didn't pay my bar tab! WTF! But I did pay it! I knew right then I was in trouble.

What I shouldve done is turn back around and just run on the treadmill for an hour and call it a day, but Saturdays are the only day I can have a long workout. I shouldve woken up earlier. I shouldve gone to bed earlier. Hell, I shouldn't have gone to GI last night, but I have to be Mr. Party Man! Lol

So I had to suck it up and do what I had to do!

I went back to Bayshore to repeat last week's run. Last week was hot, this week was even hotter!! It had to be the hottest day of the year, and starting a run at 10:30 am wasn't helping any.

5 minutes into the run I knew it was gonna be a long day because I was already sweating and felt the heat. At that point I went into survival mode and just wanted to finish the run in 1 piece. There was no cloud cover and a slight breeze, but it was the humidity that made it pure torture!  

By the time I made it to the halfway mark (Ballast Pointe) I was spent. The heat was unreal and I was maybe 5 minutes or so slower than last week. Usually when I get here I go to the bathroom, eat a GU take an electrolyte pill, refill my water bottles and keep going, but today I had to chill in the shade for about 15 minutes before I headed back. It was just that bad.  

Taking pics was the last thing on my mind at this point, but I went on & took a quick pic of Tampa Bay with the downtown skyline in the distance:

 I was standing on the shade and had no intention if getting out for a better pic! sorry! Lol

The run back was just as bad. It was still hot and even though I took the GU and it was helping, I just didn't have "it" today. I wasn't really tired from the run itself or in any pain, I was just suffering from the heat. 

To try keep myself cool, I stopped at many of the water fountains on the way back and topped off my water bottles so I could pour water over my head and on my arms.

Last week, I finished this run in about 1:55. This week I finished in 2:05. That's not counting the 15 minutes I had to relax at the halfway point.  On a positive note, I ran the entire way. It was a slow death march, but I didn't walk any of it, and I'm pleased with that.
The heat totally drained me today and it's my fault for getting such a late start. There problem with training is the sacrifices that must be made. I still like to hang out and I still like junk food. But this sport makes you cut a lot of that out. If you don't, you'll have bad days like I did today, your race results could suffer, and your bad diet will be reflected in your race pics for the world to see!

So yeah, I had my pleasure last night, but the pain I had today was a direct result of me trying to be Mr. Party Over Here! Lol

After my 15 minute walk cool down I got my umbrella out the car and grabbed a seat on Bayshore. I was drained from the heat and the umbrella was perfect shade while I ate my clif bar and enjoyed the view:

You never know what you'll see on Bayshore. Last week I saw a large group of stingrays. Today I saw quite a few fish jumping out the water but I wasn't in any condition to get pics of them. But while sitting down I saw a limo I've never seen before and hope to never see again:

Who and why?? Lol

After being blinded and recovering from that sight, I took my shoes off and resumed watching the water:

I sat out there for quite a while to recover. The umbrella was right on time! 

After I got home and ate I took a 3 hour nap. I've never taken a nap that long. Woke up didn't know what day it was! Lol 

 I'm much better now, but I'm still drained. Luckily I didn't hurt myself, but running for 2 hours in that heat was stupid on my part. I'm glad I can, but that'll be my last time running that late. If I'm not out the door by 8am  I'll have to either run on the treadmill or go for a bike ride or swim instead. Eff the bull ish! 

Last month I watched the NFL Combine and hurt my back trying to lift weights like I'm getting ready for the draft. Today, I'm running in the heat like I'm a damn marathon runner from KENYA and it's a miracle I didn't end up on a stretcher with an iv in my arm!  Somebody remind me I'm 40, not 20 cuz I keep forgetting! Lol

I'll probably take a couple days off next week to recover from today's debacle. I learned a valuable lesson today and I don't plan on repeating it any time soon!

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!