Florida Challenge Triathlon Countdown Clock

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Intervals: Up Close & Personal!

So now I'm officially in "Training Mode." That means no more Peanut M&M's! I think I have an addiction! lol It'll take me a week or so to get over the craving for them, but until then I'll need help. I have stopped taking dollar bills & loose change to work, and last week I told my co-workers if they see me eating them to take them from me. Hey, whatever works! lol

So now I'm focused on this upcoming race. I'm not signed up yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll do it. But I want a couple weeks of good training under my belt before I commit.

This week was a good workout week. I swam on Monday & Wednesday for an hour each session. I'm still pretty slow, but my focus is to swim at a relaxed pace where I don't use too much energy & fell relatively fresh. So far so good.

Tonight I lifted weights. Hurting my back several months ago might have helped me (to an extent.) What I mean is, since I couldn't lift, it forced me to focus on my swim & bike. As a result, I had a pretty good swim. So this time around I will swim in place of one of my weight lifting sessions. That means I'll only lift once a week until after the race, and I'm fine with that.

Tuesday I rode the bike. In my previous blog I talked about the hills that I'll be riding on for the next race. Those hills are very tough, and I'm not the best climber. There are zero hills in Tampa, and I don't get a chance to ride the bridges until the weekend. But I also have to RUN on the weekends too. There are only so many days in the week...

So to compensate, I have to use my indoor trainer to the fullest. I can't ride hills as much as I'd like, but doing intervals on the trainer can be the next best thing.

Truthfully, I HATE intervals. They are HARD. VERY HARD. I'd rather ride outside in the rain for 3 hours than do a 45 minute interval workout. The reason why is because intervals force you to ride as hard as you can in several short bursts.

Here's my interval routine:

15 minute warm-up

start of interval
15 seconds all out
45 seconds recovery

30 seconds all out
30 seconds recovery

45 seconds all out
15 seconds recovery

15 seconds all out

5 minute recovery

repeat interval

20 minute spin at vigourous pace

10 minute cooldown

This workout is anywhere from 46 minutes to an hour long, depending on the warmup & cooldown times.

Here's a first! Here's a video of me doing the first interval of the session this past Tuesday:

Let me say that it was ROUGH! When I start the interval, I put the bike into a higher gear, stay seated and ride as hard as I can. When I recover I take it down to an easier gear, only to repeat the routine again. This is the closest I can get to riding the hills, so this is what I'll have to do.

There's a 70% chance for rain this Saturday, so looks like I'll be running on the treadmill. If that's the case, I'll run for 2 hours at a moderate intensity. (I might even video this one as well.) This race is much harder than Ironman Florida so I have to make sure I'm ready. I've always liked a challenge, so let's see what got!

Thanks for reading (and viewing!) Till next time, Peace!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Going Up Yonder!

Well, the Florida Challenge Triathlon is fast approaching and I have to make a decision. The race is September 12th, and as of today I'm not 100% committed to racing. I'm pretty sure I'll do it, but I have to make sure I'm ready for it mentally. Physically of course, but the mental aspects of these races can NOT be overlooked.

I've done this race several times before, and each time it takes me to my limit. Some races were better than others, but what makes it so tough for me is the bike portion. Florida isn't known for hills, but Central Florida has A LOT of hills.

Here's the bike course description for this race:

Bike Course: A 56 mile course consisting of one loop along rural country roads. No major elevation changes, but you will experience a few rolling hills and a steep but short climb up Sugarloaf Mountain. Support/aid stations will be located aproximately 10-15 miles apart. The official bike course cut-off is at 2:00 pm. All participants still on the course at that time will not be allowed to continue and will be removed from the course.

Now the race I did earlier in the year had some small hills, but this race takes the hills to another level! The description above spoke of Sugarloaf Mountain.

The 1st time I did this race, I was STUNNED at the sight of Sugarloaf. I wasn't ready for it. Even now, years later, I get nervous thinking about it:

These pics don't do the hill justice. It's a steep hill that comes at about mile 30 of the bike ride. The heat of the day and the other hills before this one make it for a very challenging bike course.

Bike riding (especially over hills) is generally speaking easier for lighter cyclists than heavier ones. The less weight you have to lug over the hills, the better! That's why many of the top riders in The Tour De France are skinny. But at the same time, their weight to power ratio is high.

Seeing how I weigh 210 pounds, it takes a lot of energy to climb hills. Luckily for me, this race has a division for the heavier athletes: Men over 200 pounds are called Clydesdales, and women over 140 pounds are Athenas. That way, we're not competing against athletes who weigh significantly less...

Like I said, I'm not fully committed to the race as of yet, so I need to test myself a bit to see if I'm ready. The bike ride is the key. If I don't feel my bike is up to par, I won't do the race, because the last thing I want to do is start a race then quit because I wasn't ready to race!

So to get ready, I have to ride on hills or bridges I can find in my area, and here they are:

The Sand Key Bridge:

I ride this bridge first. In order to simulate rolling hills that I'd see in a race, I ride over the bridge, ride about 2 blocks, then turn around & ride it again. Over & over. I try to ride at an even pace, using the least amount of energy. Try as I might, I have a VERY hard time accelerating or riding fast uphill. It's just not my strong suit! Everyone has a weakness and riding uphill is mine.

But I don't use that as an excuse to slack off or give up. If anything, it makes me work harder!

Yesterday was my 1st ride on the bridges in a couple months. My goal was to just see how my legs would respond. I practiced sitting down and riding up the bridge, and standing up periodically.

Hereare pics at the top of the bridge:

(An old pic)

I rode the bridge back & forth for 90 minutes, then rode 10 miutes over to the other bridge (Clearwater Bridge:)

Here's an old pic from the top:

The key for me when riding uphill is to go at my own pace & stay calm. Over time, I've discovered that if I'm using too big a gear my lower back will hurt, specifically my right side. The reason being is my right leg is my dominant leg, so I'm over-compensating. (When I strained my back a couple months ago, it was on my left side.)

When riding a bike, the muscles used are your abs, calves, glutes and calves. When my back starts to hurt, I ease off and go down to an easier gear.

All in all, I had a good ride yesterday. I rode a total of 2:55 minutes, with a 20 minute walk for a cooldown. It was pretty hot out, but I had plenty liquids and electrolytes. I'm going to train pretty hard for the next 2 weeks and make my final decision at that point as to if I'll race or not.

Seeing how I completed a half ironman already I feel pretty good about my probability of doing this race. But the key is the bike ride. Struggling over hills is NOT FUN! It's pure torture. So the bike is my top priority. With that said, I'm going to lift weights only once per week for the time being and ride the bike instead by doing intervals.

I'll know within 2 weeks if I have enough gas in the tank. Tme will tell!

Thanks for reading! Till next time, Peace!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sights Seen And Unseen

Sights Seen And Unseen

I've missed out on a lot of good things the last couple weeks. Two weeks ago I didn't make it to my family reunion in Chicago. There were cousins there I haven't seen in over 20 years, and cousins I've never met...

Then yesterday I missed the Old School House Picnic, also in Chi. I missed an opportunity to see friends from high school and college I hadn't seen in years also. I also missed an opportunity to hang out with The Federation. I consider them family as well. I didn't make it to the picnic, but at least I was there in spirit:

As much as I miss Chi, it just aint the same without my mother there. It's still hard to go back, but at the same time, every time I go home I have a BLAST. It's something I need to accept & move on cuz I'm missing out on some go times...

So even though I didn't see my people back in Chi, I had to make the best of the situation. With that said I was determined to still have a good weekend. I didn't see my Chi-Town family, but I did see some of my old Brownco/Etrade family this past Friday!

I saw old co-workers that I hadn't seen in 3-4 years. It's really cool when you see people for the 1st time in years that you're happy to see & vice versa! It was good to catch up & reminisce about the good old days at Brown! LOL

I woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty good, but still had Chi on my mind which was nagging at me. The best way to clear my mind was to go for a run. Running (outdoors) is 1 of the best ways for me to clear my mind & relieve stress. So I decided to hit Bayshore.

What I like about Bayshore is being around the others doing their thing and having fun doing it. You always see something new almost everytime.

It has rained a lot in Tampa this week so the grass was a little greener (and thicker) on my running path:

I'm still not officially training, but I'm still having some good quality workouts. I decided to run 8-10 miles this morning, depending on how I felt.

Now how I felt I wasn't sure about because I did party the night before! I had a DELICIOUS cheeseburger, FOUR Long Island Iced Teas, and a mystery shot. What was the shot? Hellifino. Someone bought a round of shots. I HAD to partake! lol

I have to be honest about my diet. I do eat healthy, but I also like to eat my junk food, chocolate, and drink socially from time to time. I could easily omit that from the blog, but I'm just gonna keep it real! :)

With that said, I knew I'd probably suffer today, but I wasn't going to push it. Just a nice leisurly run. I also made a point to get out there early to beat the heat.

It was hot today, but not as hot as it normally is. There was a slight breeze and a little cloud cover. I started out slow to get the kinks out and see how my body would react after the previous night's activities! lol It usually takes me about 5 minutes or so to tell if I'll have a good workout, and it turns out I was feeling pretty good.

I was having a pretty good run, and It didn't take long to get a runner's high. (Or was it the Long Islands?? LOL) I was just cruising along enjoying the sights. It was high tide and I saw 2 dolphins in the distance. One day I'll catch them closer to the shore & get some pics of them...

In addition to the dolphins, I saw some other cool unexpected sights. Bayshore is in a high class neigborhood, full of million dollar mansions. It's nothing to see new Mercedes, Lexus, Porsche,and BMW's cruising along. You'll even see Rolls Royce & Benltey's out there too. But this time I saw quite a few classic cars as I was jogging along. I didn't think much of it, then I saw where they were going. A car show!

I'm a car nut. Love cars. Hot rods, luxury cars, sports cars, and classic cars. I just HAD to stop and snap a couple quick pics!

I came up on this 30 minutes into my run. I was hot & sweaty, so I didn't stay long. I literally walked by the outside of the car show, snapped some quick pics and kept it moving!

This just another reason I like running outdoors. You never know what you'll stumble up on!

I ran for 93 minutes today, but truth be told, I'm not sure how far I ran. I was just enjoying the day, and actually had a great run. I was still bummed about not going home and seeing my friends, family, and The Federation, but I did see some old co-workers who I consider friends also.

I may not see my Chi-Town peeps as much as I'd like/should, so I have to stay in touch other ways. Thank goodness for Facebook, unlimited texts, and free weekend minutes! lol A cousin I haven't talked to in 20 years called me. I'm looking forward to catching up with him. That's gonna be a long call! lol

I think I'll have 1 more "easy" workout week before I take it to the next level and get ready for my 2nd half ironman of the season. I'm injury free and anxious to start training.

But before I do, I think I want 1 more week of eating some good junk food! I see a Double Quarter Pounder w/cheese large fry, and chocolate shake in my near future!lol

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Songs in the Off-Key of Life

Even though I haven't been posting as of late, I'm still working out on a regular. This week I lifted weights twice, swam for an hour, and rode my indoor trainer. The workouts have been pretty good actually. I wanted to do a sprint triathlon later this month, but to my disapointment (but not to my surprise,) it was cancelled:

Schools Out Triathlon Cancelled.

The website says it was cancelled because of low regitration numbers, but I don't buy that because the race is still 3 weeks away, and they cancelled it about 2 weeks ago. I think it's due to the oil spill even though there's no oil in the Tampa area, but it's just a guess...

Now I'm startign to wonder what they're going to do with the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater this November?? Time will tell...

Anyway, that still leaves the Florida Challenge Triathlon for me in September. This another half ironman that I'm pretty sure I'll be racing in. I haven't started training yet, but I'll start very soon...

And I NEED to start training soon, because I have fallen of the diet wagon! lol Every day for the last 2 weeks at work, I have eaten a bag of peanut M&M's. For some people that's nothing, but for me that's A LOT! I can usually go weeks w/o eating sweets, but lately I can't get enough. It's to the point I can't bring any dollar bills or loose change to work! And with tomorrow being a holiday, I'm going to be eating sweets again. So I'll start back NOT eating sweets later in the week (I hope...lol)

Most people who know me know that I prefer to train outside, especially when it comes to running. There are so many fun places I like to run: (Bayshore, Flatwoods, the beach, etc.) But sometimes the heat is just too unbearable so I'm forced to train indoors. If I must use a treadmill, I'd rather use it at the gym than at home because the gym is busy and full of activity. Running on a treadmill at home is BORING! The gym has plenty tv monitors, people walking by, etc.

At home this is what I run on:

Don't get me wrong, I'm VERY thankful to have a treadmill in the house. This thing has been a HUGE help in my training. But I have a short attention span & get bored quite easily. (That's why triathlon works for me.) Running on this thing for 1-2 hours at a time can get quite tedious & monotnous.

Today I decided to run on the treadmill at a moderate pace. Immediately to the right of the last pic is a tv. When running I like to watch videos, so I had it on MTV Jams.

I don't use a heart rate monitor when I train, so I have to be creative and use other ways to check my intensity. The experts say you should be able to talk a bit while working out. If you're totally breathless and can barely talk, you're working too hard. Since I had the house all to myself today, I decided to sing while I ran! lol

I can NOT sing. I'm a TERRIBLE singer. No one will EVER hear me sing. EVER. I can lip sync with the best of em tho! lol My singing is about as bad as Stevie Wonder driving on the autobhan. At night. In a rainstorm. After having 4 shots of Patron! lol It's pretty bad...lol

I'm sure there's a rule book or by-laws out there that says I shouldn't like these songs, but I knew most of the lyrics and was singing along at the top of my lungs as I jogged at a steady clip:


good morning,
hello good mornin'

Got your boyfriend feeling like a groupie,
you know, you know, we know, we on that,
Stuntin like you looking like a movie,
you know, you know, we know, we on that,
And everybody know who the truth be

Let's work!Come on,
Let's work

Then they played Wale:

Pretty Girls,
Ask em do they smoke,
Ask em what do they know
Ask em can we goooo
Pretty girl,
Sunshine in the air,
Perfume everywhere,
Girls are evrywhere

Ugly girls be quiet,
pretty girls clap clap like this!

Then they played Beyone Single Ladies. As much as I like Beyonce and that video, I can't sing it! I don't care if nobody's around. It'd be just my luck somebody hears me singing If you like what you see put a ring on it...lol

Can't go out like that! lol

Trey Songs:

All the neigbors know my name!
My name!
My name!

Then there was DJ Kalid:

All I do is win win win no matter what,
Got money on mind I can never get enough,
And everytime I step up in the building,
Everybody hands go up,
And they stay there,
And they say there yeah,
And they stay there,
Up down, up down,
'Cause all I do is win win win,
And if you goin' in put your hands in the air!

I wouldn't advise putting your hands up in the air & leaving them there when running on a treadmill! lol

Like I said before, I really think it's not right that I know most of the songs that come on the radio, but the groups I grew up with don't have any new albums coming out anytime soon. When Cameo or Parliament Funkadelic come out with a new album I'll check it out, but until then, I guess I'll have to listen to Snoop Dog, Luda, TI & The Dream! lol
Since I didn't run as hard as when I'm training, the music was a nice diversion today. If I'm running really hard, all I can do is focus on my form so I don't bust my a** by falling! lol

All in all, I had a good run today:

I took this pic during my cooldown. I stopped at 100 minutes and finsished with over 12000 steps. I originally planned on running for 2 hours, but there's plenty of time for that. Today was more about having a long slow endurance run than how many steps or how far/long I ran. (I had the incline on 3 speed on 5, when I'm really pushing it I have the speed on 7.) After the run I did 20 minutes of yoga. The yoga is a great way to cap off a workout!

I think this will be my last "easy" week before I take it to the next level. September will be here before I know it, & I have to be ready to race! So in the meantime, I'm going to relax a bit, eat some good 4th of July food and watch the Tour De France which started today. (Alberto Contador is gonna win it all!)

I doubt I work out next Saturday, because I plan on patying it up wih my old co-workers from Brownco/Etrade next Friday. My last party before I hit it hard!

Thanks for reading, till next time, Peace!