Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fun in the Sun

Tuesday, May 31, 2011  at 8:40 PM
Are you ready for summer yet?  It's getting hot out there!  I'm starting to get a tan...well maybe just some serious tan lines in strategic "triathlete-only" areas like where the bike shorts and jersey stops.  Who wouldn't be proud of those babies?  I am lovin' me some sun!

Last week was solid with that personal-distance-record-breaking ride of 104 miles plus another short ride with Jenn, a couple decent swims, and two good runs of 4.5 and 6 miles at 8:25's.  But I wanted to start this week off a little different.

Instead of a long long ride and only a long ride on Sunday, I started out with my "long" run of the week.  Now keep in mind that this week is a recovery week, so my long run was only 7 miles.  But, it was some of the best mileage I've run.  I left around 10am with the temps already hot and humid and headed out on one of my favorite 6.2 mile loops.  The plan was to just add .8 mile on the end to make it a full seven.  I don't know if it was because I had fresh legs, or if I was just happy or what, but I felt good the whole run!  I ended up stopping my Garmin at 7 miles @ 8:09's.  That's really quick for me.  I followed that up with an easy 20 mile ride averaging 17mph.  Not a bad start to the week.

Memorial day, Jennifer and I had decided that we were going to do a long ride.  Her longest ride so far was around 30 miles, so I convinced her to go big!  Monday was REALLY hot, so we packed a couple water bottles each with plans to stop and refill a couple times at gas stations.  We got three miles down the road into downtown Berrien Springs and ran into a parade.  So, we stopped and watched the local high school drum down the street with the sousaphones and flutes in toe.  We saw John Deere tractors, an old Ford Model ?, and of course the town firetrucks.  Here we are right before we slipped through and continued our ride.
I know we always wear the same thing, but that's my most comfortable jersey for long rides!
Ten miles into the ride, Jennifer felt like her seat needed adjusted, so we stopped at a gas station to make the adjustment.  I pulled out my bike tool and loosened the bolt through the collar of her seat tube.  We slid her seat up about a half an inch, and I cinched down on the bolt only to find that IT WAS STRIPPED!  I know the guy that probably had tightened it too tightly many times before (ME), but taking the blame didn't help the fact that we were away from home with Jenn's seat all the way down.  We thought for a minute, and knocked on the front door of the gas station.  We could see a guy in there, but he came to the door to tell us that he just cleaned there and couldn't help us.  He directed us back down the road 2 miles to another gas station.  So, off we went with Jenn riding "clown style" like she was on a BMX bike.  I should have taken a picture, but I don't think that would have been a good idea.  We made it to the gas station, but they didn't have anything for us except to point across the street to a place called the fruit exchange.  Here's what it looked like, thanks to Google Maps Street View:
We went inside, not knowing what it was, but found rows and rows of bolts, nuts and washers.  The owner came over and helped us get just the right setup to get us back on the road.  He had one of his employees grab his tools to tighten it up for us, and HE DIDN'T EVEN CHARGE US.  What a blessing he was to be open on a holiday and then to be so generous.

This little incident didn't deter us from continuing our ride, so back on the road we went.  Josh and I found this sweet stretch of nice pavement that has a big shoulder that we call our "Time Trial Road," so Jenn and I headed there.  We did an out and back and finally made it home, ready for showers!  Jenn set a new distance record at 43 miles.  Way to go, babe!  It was a great day that included a cookout with a bunch of friends and then an evening full of moving boxes and furniture for some more friends.

All in all, I've had a decent month, and although I usually don't throw my monthly numbers around for fear of embarrassment, here's what I did in May.

  • Biking: 336 miles
  • Running: 57.15 miles
  • Swimming: 11,400 miles
  • Weight Loss: (Since December 26) 35 pounds

So far, the training is going super well.  Jenn and I have 4 weeks till our Olympic triathlon, but I've got my mind set on bigger things, like the Steelhead HIM!  August 14, here I come, baby!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

First Century of the 21st Century

Tuesday, May 24, 2011  at 10:22 PM
I did it!  I rode my first century!  Does that give me membership to the Century Club?  It was AWESOME, but I'll get to that later.  First, I have to tell you about all the fun I had this weekend.  ***Warning, this may be a long post***

Saturday, after we went to church (by the way, the sermon rocked as people around the world wondered whether the world would end), we had Nick and Taryn, Tiago and Carolyn over for lunch.  It was Jennifer's birthday, so we had to celebrate.  As soon as she woke up, I gave her the present that I was super excited about.  It was this beautiful blue Patagonia dress that only got prettier when she put it on.  You be the judge...
Maglee's trying to figure out where her dress is...
When we got home, we were starving and dominated some homemade Fettucini (my mother-in-law's recipe), garlic bread, a yummy salad and some lemonade.  It was good eatin'!  Jenn wanted a "funfetti" cake, so I made her one that was pretty good.  We chilled all afternoon because it was pretty nasty outside, and I was cool with that because I knew what was coming the next day.  Josh's birthday was Sunday, and he wanted to ride 100 miles on his b-day, so that's what the plan was.  We committed to a 50 mile out and back which would force us to go at least a hundred miles.  Several months ago, he plotted a route that would head up the coast of Lake Michigan, through St. Joseph, pass South Haven, and then back.  Actually, part of our route was a section of the bike course for Steelhead HIM that I'll be doing in a couple months.  Here's a look at the course from way out to see the big distance that it actually is...  
We started at the green arrow and then turned around somewhere around the 50
The weather was really nice, although I did sweat quite a bit.  We had bananas, pretzels, Powerade, cookies and other food with us to keep us going as well as a whole lot of water.  We stopped in South Haven to "drain the radiator" and get more fuel.  Everything was going just great.  We were both feeling good at the turn around at 53 miles, and our average, although we weren't really focused on that, was just under 18mph.  As soon as we turned around, we were straight into a headwind, and that was ok since we both were feeling so good.  On the way back, there was a beautiful neighborhood that went out to the lake, so we took a detour to get a better view.  We snapped this pic, the only one of our trip, overlooking Lake Michigan.
We stopped again to get more water and Powerade, and kept pushing on home.  At mile 67, the ride turned sour, because I had a flat tire.  That sucks, but it has happened to me more than once, and plus, I had everything I needed to change it.  We pulled off into the shade and the swarming mosquitos, and I got out my tube.  After making sure that the tube was fully inside the tire to avoid a pinch flat, I pulled out my CO2 cartridge only to discover that I had purchased the wrong kind the last time I bought them.  It did not have threads, and my "applicator" did.  Well, thanks to my buddy, Josh handed me his CO2 that would work.  I threaded it on and hooked it up to the stem but found out that my "applicator" would not work like it did last fall when I had a flat.  The CO2 cartridge was already opened, but I couldn't get any air out.  We didn't have any air!  We tried to use the non-threaded CO2, and got a little bit of the air in, but not enough to ride on.  There weren't too many options, so Josh got back on his bike and headed back 5 miles to South Haven to a bike shop that we had noticed as we came through.  I swatted mosquitos for a couple minutes till a man named Fred Brown (at least that's what he said his name was) came by on his motor/bicycle.  It looked very similar to this one only with bigger everything and two small gas cans strapped on to the sides.  He pedals with the motor and likes to ride 300-400miles.  He gets 75mpg, so that's not too bad.
I was glad to see that he stopped, and better yet, he had a pump!  We quickly pumped up my tire and were ready to go.  He asked which way I was headed, and I told him I was going towards South Haven to meet up with Josh.  He said that I could draft off him if I wanted.  That was music to my ears, so off we went at about 30mph.  Three miles down the road, I looked down and realized that I was flat again!  I pulled off to the side just as Josh pulled up.  He had bought a new tube and CO2.  We put a new tube in and pumped it up.  After saying goodbye to Fred, Josh and I continued our journey.  The wind was pretty brutal, but we were still cranking out the miles at a fairly decent pace.  We didn't do too much drafting because we knew that we would push the pace if we took turns pulling, and we didn't want to wear out.  So, we just kept riding side by side.  At mile 87, Josh heard a noise and said, "Bro, I think you've got another flat!"  Sure enough, the rear was down again.  I don't know what the deal was.  I am always super careful not to ride through crap out on the road.  We checked the tube super carefully to make sure it wasn't pinched...both times.  I was so frustrated!  AGAIN, we pulled off into the shade to figure this out.  We had checked the inside of the tire both times before to make sure there wasn't anything sharp poking through.  We had checked the inside of the rim both times to make sure nothing was in there.  We were really frustrated.  Just then, some "pro" guy pulled up in his Jeep with his dog.  He had his kit in the back and took over the situation.  He checked the tire, the rim, and then poured baby powder inside the tire.  He said that would allow the tube to adjust itself.  We used the last CO2 that we had and kept riding.  The last 20 miles sucked for me.  I don't know why it got so bad, because I felt like I kept eating and hydrating all day!  I don't remember a time where I stopped intaking, so maybe I just wused out because I was having a hard time keeping 14 or 15mph.  Josh was a stud and pretty much pulled me on home.  I was super tired, and took a cold shower/bath.  It was an incredible experience to do my first every century ride.  We ended up averaging 16.6 which I thought was fine for a chill ride for distance.

The day didn't quite end, because Brittany, Josh's wife, and I had planned a special birthday celebration for our spouses.  We met a bunch of friends at Cracker Barrel for supper and then went on a scavenger hunt that ended with some yummy Kilwin's ice cream.  It was a blast!  What a great wife and friend I have!

The training is going pretty well, and I'm stoked about Steelhead as well as this Olympic distance coming up next month.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I suck at kicking!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011  at 6:30 PM
When I was training for the Holy Half marathon, I had lots to blog about.  I was focused on one sport - running; I was continually improving and wanting to share my improvements, and all the pictures were fresh.  Now, I feel like I'm a whole lot busier in triathlon training, which is expected, but the blogs don't easily flow.  It's almost as if I don't have blog material unless I've done an extraordinary workout or have an amazing picture to show.  All you guys out there in blogger world seem to ALWAYS come up with something interesting and exciting to share, and I love reading your posts, but it's hard to keep up with ya'll!  So, here's what I've got for today.

This morning at the pool, I discovered a fatal flaw in my swim...my kick!  Jennifer and I went to crank out 35 laps, but we started with some just kicking.  It was hilarious!  We got out kickboards, got adjusted to the water, pushed off the wall, and everything was going really well until about the middle of the pool.  All of a sudden, I slowed to stillness while Jenn kept going.  I was kicking like crazy!  I was kicking like I have read and practiced and worked on, "from the hips," but I was almost completely frozen out in the middle of the pool.  I could barely move.  We did 5 laps like this, which felt like an eternity, and then we switched to just pulling for 5 laps.  Once we were done with those, Jenn had a great idea and told me to get us some of the flippers for the lap swimmers.  We slapped those babies on, and low and behold, I was just as fast or faster than her with just kicking.  It was really weird to have a rough time without flippers, but be evenly matched and doing the same thing as before WITH flippers.  I don't really understand it.  I know that women use more legs muscles in the swim and guys use more upper body, but it was like my kicking was doing NOTHING!  I've read lots of internet articles, watched countless youtube videos and even downloaded "Mr. Smooth," but what am I missing?  I feel like I'm doing what this guy says to do, but what's going on with my kick?

How to Kick in Freestyle Swimming —powered by eHow.com

On the the running and biking, I'm sticking pretty well to my plan.  On Sunday, Jennifer and I ran our "long" runs which aren't that long yet.  I did 7, and she did 5.5.  When we left the house, it was simply overcast even though is looked threatening.  It stayed dry on me until about mile 4 when it started to deluge!  It was quite the soggy run, but I actually enjoyed it.  I find that I'm so much more rested in the morning and much faster.  I ended up doing the 7 miles at an average of 8:25min/mile.  I was really happy about that and encouraged about running.  As far as biking, I am really enjoying it too.  I busted out a short 20 miler the other day at 18.4 mph.  That's not too bad on a hilly course.  Josh and I are going big this Sunday with a 75+ mile ride.  We're thinking about a really beautiful course up the coast of Lake Michigan.  We'll see how it goes.

It's Jenn's birthday this Saturday, so we're gonna have a lot of fun.  My thoughts go out to Caratunk Girl  who lost a very good friend.  Good luck to you all as you train!  Keep up the good work!!!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sunburn and Sore Legs

Sunday, May 08, 2011  at 6:41 PM
Today might just have been the most beautiful day in Michigan's history!  It was a high of 70 with a slight breeze.  It was a day for being outside and spending time enjoying the outdoors.  And that's exactly what I did.

This morning, I woke up to a text message from my good friend, Josh Woods, that said, "Hey man, what time you want to ride?"  I sent him one back and soon had put on the spandex,  packed a few things for the ride and was out on the road to meet up with him.  My training plan called for a 40 mile long ride this week, but we just wanted to do a long ride.  Since we were going for a pretty good distance, we weren't too concerned with our average speed.  We just wanted to finish strong and build up our endurance.  I started with arm warmers but soon took them off because it started to warm up rather quickly.  It was AWESOME!  We had so much fun exploring new territory and cranking by the miles.  After a quick stop at a gas station to refill our water bottles, we headed for home.  We ended up riding 54 miles which is my longest ride ever!  Although we weren't trying to do anything crazy, we ended up averaging 17.2 mph which I think is respectable.

The classic self-portrait...

It looks like I got a bit of sun!  Next time some sunscreen?
When I got home, Jennifer was walking up the driveway with her bike and gear ready to go on her ride. So, I figured that I would keep her company.  We ended up doing 19, and by the end of the ride, I was pretty tired!  That means I road 73 miles today!  What a way to use this beautiful weather.  I would call today an awesome training day.

Man, I married such a hot wife!  And she bikes too!!!
This past week has been great too, and I won't bore you with too many details, but it included several trips to the pool, some decent mileage on the bike, and a run or too as well.  I hope you all had a blessed weekend full of great weather and good training.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Still Stickin' To It...

Monday, May 02, 2011  at 9:55 PM
I just spent the last hour catching up on reading about everyone else's training and how you guys are ROCKING it, but I'm a little embarrassed to see that I haven't posted in almost 2 weeks!  That's terrible.  Well, the good news is that I haven't been slacking too badly since last time.  Finals week was super stressful, and this weekend, Jennifer and I were gone to see her bother, Trevor, graduate in Chattanooga, TN.  So, I feel like a have an excuse...

 It was so nice to be back in the South!  I graduate in May, 2012, and then we'll be back where we belong.  Everything is beautiful down there, and the weather is perfect.
This crew is some of Jenn's family.  From left to right:  Jennifer, James (her step-brother), Alan (her dad), Trevor (her brother), and Michael (her step-brother)
We really had a lot of fun, and it was great to see our families.  I went to an Atlanta Hawks game with my family and got to watch them beat the Orlando Magic!

Mindy, my sister.  (sorry for the blurry pic)

As you know, Jenn and I have really started to enjoy the swimming part of our training.  That pool at Andrews is just such a blessing because it's close and it's FREE!  We went to the pool tonight after a 4.5 mile run, but they were closed.  They are transitionign between Spring and Summer semesters, so the schedule is a little jacked up.  We're going to go tomorrow morning at 6:30am to make up for tonight..  Every time we've gone, it's been a lot of fun.  The distance is slowly increasing.

On the biking front, I've been cranking out some solid rides.  Jenn and I have gone a couple times, and it is sure nice to ride with her.  She's pretty awesome!

Two weeks ago, I did two 20-mile rides and one 30-miler.  Then last week, I did a 35-miler and a 23-miler before we left for the South.  After the 35 miles, I did a quick brick run and ran a 5k.  I did 7:51's, and the legs felt really great.  They took about a half mile to get going, but it ended up being a great workout.

I'm now in my summer semester, so I've got less class, but more work.  I should really be able to focus on training more.  Hold me accountable to it, and don't let me slack off!

Thanks for reading, and I'll try to be better about posting...