Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fast, Far, Fun

[Photos: A flower on the porch 'unwinding' in the morning anticipating the sun that will soon cover it, A mosquito getting some plant nectar - which is fine by me]

It's rare that a run for me is all 3 F's: Fast, Far and Fun. My fast runs are not far or fun, and others would say that none of my runs would qualify for 'Fast' or 'Far' - but then I learned long ago that I'm ultimately competing against myself. And with that freedom - running can be more fun. Especially when the weather is so nice as it was today. A good run can positively impact my mood in big ways.

Sunday Morning: I was able to go on a run with my wife - and that was fun to do together.
That was about 1.5 miles and was a good warm up time. I then did my 3 mile route with the hopes of seeing under a 7:20 avg, but ended up with 7:27; AHR 162, MHR 181. It was nice to see the HR's coming up - which I understand to be my body adapting back to running and being able to work harder.

Monday: too full and I figured the rest would be good.

Tuesday: I wanted to go for a little longer run at a comfortable pace and just relax and enjoy the run - so that's what I did. I was aiming for 9 min avg or less. I ended up with 6 miles at 8:38 avg; AHR 143, MHR 171. But the key for me was that it was enjoyable. Running in the past has been enjoyable and it was nice that today was again. There's hope for the future...

As for the marathon goal in December ... I'm thinking that I'm not getting in enough time running to seriously consider such an event. Right now I'm focusing on two of the three F's : having Fun again when I run, and also having some faster (short) runs. Far will have to come later.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Soccer and a bike ride...

...Well, actually the soccer was played by two of my kids .. and the bike ride was on the trainer ... but I would have loved to "play" and "ride", maybe some other time.

Today was the Waco ride: the one I was wanting to ride and see if I could ride a 5 hr or less century. But this year, it was not a possibility: the home schedule was too full. Two of my kids had their first soccer games due to previous rain-outs. I was glad to be there and support them and capture some photos too. Tomorrow my daughter will play and then next Sat is my oldest sons first swim meet. That will be my first one of those! :-)

I did get to ride on the trainer though. I watched a two hour movie and rode my bike - finishing around 10 pm. It was 36 miles - but my trainer is showing signs of needing some attention again. So I'll be sending an email early next week as training rides over 1 hour are showing some flaws in my trainer. They have been very good about supporting their product in the past and I am expecting the same.

After the ride is was a Vita-mix dinner...  :-)

It's late, but if I'm able to get up a little early I'd like to try to do my 3 mile route and see if I can beat my last avg pace (7:20ish).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Running is becoming more enjoyable again

Wed: rest day. I was going to ride the trainer in the pre-7AM block, but choose to sleep instead. (Too many late nights = high need for rest) I had ridden Monday and Tuesday mornings, and this is the start of my off season (whatever that means), so it was a pretty easy sell.

Today (Th): I haven't run for a week or more now, so I planned on running during lunch (and sleeping in the AM). It was cool and only a slight breeze from the North. I ran my normal route of just under 5 miles (4.7 according to my Garmin 305).

Numbers: the run was 4.7 miles, 36:40 time, AHR 152, MHR 178, APace 7:49/mi. My goal was to average 8 minute miles - so I was pleased with today's run. I did get a blister on the heal of my right foot, so I'll have to wear some band aids or something to protect it for the next few weeks while it heals.

I checked out a book from the library recently and it is helping to motivate me in my running. It's called "Breakthrough Running". Much of it's content is familiar to me, but forgotten. The reading is fueling my training: reading of the value of rest, active recovery (something I did on the bike), longer runs and different types of speed work. It was very nice to have a good time running today.

I also found a pair of running tights tonight at Ross as I was looking for a running headband for my wife who has cold ears during her morning outings. (All my headbands are too large ... imaging that?!) I stumbled across the tights for $7 - even I couldn't baulk at that price: so I bought two for me and one for my oldest son. It was something that I recently was wanting so I think it's neat that God provided it at a great value. Now I just have to get to a point where I can wear them in public ... with out having my face covered.

It's almost 11 again and I am wanting to get up before 6 to ride in the AM tomorrow. So that's all for now. Nutrition is better now that the ice cream and cookie dough are all gone. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TX Thunder Storms are AMAZING!!

Last night a storm came through that was truly amazing to watch .. which I was fortunate to be able to do. The lightning acted like hands and fingers as it would 'walk' across the sky in multiple fingers at one time. Even my youngest enjoyed watching it .. almost as long as I did.

I took almost 400 photos last night trying to catch some of the amazing things that I was witnessing with my eyes. Out of those I have about 6 photos with lightning captured. My son and I talked about how we could improve out odds of capturing lightning and how that too would be fun.

I have an inexpensive camera as cameras go - a Cannon powershot model, but it takes good pictures; in part due to the 6x optical zoom. I put it on the shutter speed mode and set it to take 10 pictures back to back. The shutter was open for 1 second last night and that seemed to be good - so I stuck with it. I put the manual focus on and set it to infinity and then put the camera on the tripod, pointed it in a hopeful direction and then press the button. When it's done I press the button again. Keep repeating the last step until done.

Here's a sample of the photos. If you missed the impressive show - I hope this wets your whistle to check out the next storm that rolls through.  :-)

(My oldest son went out on the porch and caught some lightning with his phone - with out taking 400 shots.)

Sat: Tube fishing the Brazos

Saturday I got to go fishing with my friend Stephen - tube fishing! Something I've never done before. It was fun, relaxing, got some exercise and cought fish: how great is that?!

Photos - A snake sunning itself after the clouds gave way to sun shine.
- a large spider.
- Stephen looking very at home fishing from his tube.
- me in my borrowed tube.
- some of the keepable fish of the day.

Off season...

I guess this must be my off or transition time ... four more days of no formal exercise. My left knee was aching or hurting a little (probably from the addition of running) so that and a busy schedule made it seem right to take it easy.

Training: nada. I need to figure out how it's all going to work together - routines of earlier in the year and even just last week aren't a shoe in for this week. Everything is having to be evaluated on almost a daily basis right now. It seems like the only safe time from day to day is the time before 7 am.

Nutrition: pretty good, with a little trouble in the ice cream and cookie dough areas ... As the stresses of life increase, I usually benefit from some intense exercise, but when the exercise isn't possible .. I tend to have struggles in the store with buying foods that have little or no nutritional value. (Examples would be Ice Cream, Cookie Dough, Licorice ...) So, I eat healthy meals and then an unhealthy desert or snack. I know better!

Monday: I started back to riding in the AM. It was 70 minutes on the trainer.
Tuesday: 50 minutes on the trainer.

I am still trying to figure out where to add some running and weight training. I don't really want to run in the dark in the morning and I don't want to give up the cardio for the weights. So, for now I continue to try to figure out some type of routine or schedule in my life that is currently inert in terms of a schedule.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tue, Wed: the start of a new routine

[Photos: My middle daughter is a budding photographer - so today I have pictures taken by her of my Granddaughter enjoying the rain.]

My riding season has officially come to an end. My riding now is for fitness rather than a future riding goal. 

This was my first full year of road cycling: and it was pretty eventful due to the May 6 Day ride and all the preparation for it. By mid-May I had logged over 3,100 miles on the bike. To date I'm at just under 4,900 miles for the year. I'm hopeful and curious to see what next year holds. I'd like to be more fit and be a stronger rider.  

Tuesday: 45 minutes on the trainer before the rest of my family wakes up (excluding my oldest son). The last 4 minutes are doing the 20 on 10 off for 8 repeats - a nice way to end any workout. Then at lunch I went for a run. It was the first time in many weeks that the run was enjoyable. The pace was close to what I was aiming for (8 min miles, but averaged 8:18). So not to fast, but not as slow as I've done recently either. It was nice to enjoy the 4.7 miles this time.

Wed: 30 minutes on the trainer - the last 4 minutes doing 8 intervals. My left knee is bothering me just a little, so I fought the urge to go for a run during lunch and sided with reason: start back up slowly - not running day after day.

So, tomorrow I hope to run again during lunch. For now it looks like I'll get 30-45 minutes in the morning on the trainer and then work in and build up running during the afternoon. Maybe there's hope of a half marathon this fall ... we'll see.

I don't have any real goals for next year - but I do have some ideas ... the TX time trials or some other type of 24 hour time trial, or maybe 48 hr time trial, RAAW, ...?!! All that to say I hope to use the trainer during the off season. I also hope to run. And I'd like to get on the weights again for a bit. So, no goals but lots of thoughts and ideas.

Monday, September 14, 2009

4 days, blink, blink...gone

Life is crazy full. Not only has the blogging taken a hit, but so has the training. And I think the Tuesday night rides are over, as is the Waco ride .. there just isn't the time. We are entering ... the soccer zone. Three kids, multiple cities, double and triple bookings, oh and swim meets too... It's good that I got my big event in early this year.

My oldest son is up and to school early with workouts, so I'm going to be back on the trainer in the early mornings so I can have some exercise time. The rest of the days just fill up - so the exercise seems to have to happen first thing or will likely be dropped by the end of the day: not for lack of desire, but necessity.

I had no additional exercise last week. Today was the first time I rode. I got 60 minutes in the morning early and then 45 at lunch - all on the trainer. I also tried these 20 seconds hard 10 seconds rest for 8 reps... nice!! [Tabata training - 4 minutes of intense interval training.] If you like keeping your HR up that is! It was after my 45 minutes. It's only 4 minutes ... how hard could it be? I'll let you answer that one your self.

My wife came out and captured some droplets on my back: she says she doesn't know anyone who can sweat as much as me. Hmmm ... I took it as a compliment: no wonder I save such fair healthy skin...  :-)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 3 - last day

Today is the 3rd and final day of my juice fast. I am planning on eating some oatmeal tomorrow morning; hopefully after a moderate bike ride.

Last Night: because of my heart and lung problems in the past, I typically check my Oxygen saturation and heart rate at night after I lie down for the day. I know what my normal values are and have seen my HR decrease with increased training or while fasting. The numbers last night were a reminder of how my heart was more relaxed due to the juice fasting.

Breakfast: after the psylium husks and ACV I made a non-green juice. It was 2 green apples, 2 red apples, 1 small pear, 1 carrot and some sweet potato. I split the juice into two and vacuum sealed one jar and put it in the fridge and the other I added ice and water and sealed it for taking with me to work.

Exercise: I was able to get out this afternoon for a run; maybe it was a jog.. either way it was at an easy pace, one that didn't require my complete thoughts so I was able to think about other issues. I thought the sun, sweating and exercise would be good for me. The route was my normal 4.8 miles, but the avg pace was 9:42. My AHR was 142 and MHR was 171, the run took just under 46 minutes, with the last 15 minutes I was noticing that my heart rate was more elevated than normal.

Lunch: was after my run and it was another vitamix drink: 1 banana, some blue berries, some spinach, soy milk, whey protein powder, olive oil and ice. This made about 30 oz and it was quite tasty.

Dinner: was my second jar of juice from this morning. I didn't dilute it but had it 'straight'.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Juicing Wed - no exercise

I had planned on an easy 5 mile run today, but time for it just never happened. My wife had some kind of vertigo - where she would get dizzy when she stood up or bent over, so today was mostly at home or taking her to a couple commitments she already had.

In the morning I ended up helping a lady with her car not starting and then came home and made a phone call - which ate up my time in the AM for a run. I was thinking I'd do it now - later, but I'm just too tired. I fell a sleep in the car at my youngest daughters soccer practice this evening - and woke my self up with some kind of snorting noise ... yikes! So this will be short and then it's straight to bed for me.

Breakfast: I fixed oatmeal for my wife and mine was a little late in the morning as it was a different routine with my wife not feeling well. I juiced two small pears, 2 red apples, 1 green apple, sweet potato, beat and some spinach added at the last minute for the 'green' value. It made enough juice that I split it into two containers. One I vacuum sealed and put in the refrigerator and the other I added ice and filtered water to and started sipping on for my late breakfast. I also had some psylium husks (to keep things moving) and some ACV.

Lunch: I fixed for my wife (warmed up some left overs) and I was still full from the late breakfast juice so it was just water for me.

Dinner: I fixed (salad) for my family and I had the other container of juice from the morning. I also had another serving of psylium husks. Later I had a cup of soy milk and carob powder just to mix it up a little. I also took some supplements (sometimes I stop while juicing and fasting and other times I continue).

Observations: I wasn't very hungry today, but as the day progressed I became very tired. That is in part due to staying up late last night as I wasn't sleepy at all. Then I was up several times last night - not sure why. So it wasn't a very restful nights sleep.

I'm not sure if I'll eat tomorrow or not. I know I'm getting tired of the same basic juices, so I'll likely try something different in the morning. Not sure what, but we'll see... This is kind of light on the details, so if you have any comments or questions ask. Good night.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday Group RIde

Briefly: if I had taken my camera ... Oooo the shots I'd be putting here! The clouds and sun and rain in the distance .. it was spectacular! In a different way it was just as fulfilling as the ride itself.

I got to the starting point just as they were pulling out. It seems as no matter how much time I give for getting there I always end up getting there very close. Today I had to clean and check for a consistent pedaling noise - I was hoping it was the pedals as it was last time, but not the case. So the bike work took a little longer than expected. I also had my grand daughter wanting me to hold her - which I did several times, but not as much as I will tomorrow with more time available. :-)

I was able to interact a little with some of the guys that I'm starting to get to know: Arthur, Rick, Brent and I met a couple others too. It was a good ride. I was in the second group tonight.

Over the bridge I took a different approach: slowly building with still having something left at the end. I started on the bridge in the low 20's behind another rider. I waited just a little bit then pulled out and took the lead. It was then a consistent building of pace (especially when I could hear the rider behind me change gears). The last 10 seconds of the time on the bridge was at 33 mph and I saw a MHR of 181. The avg speed over the bridge was 29.9 and AHR of 163. 

It was a nice ride. Not as hard as past rides, could be due to the clouds, the other 17 riders, not sure. But it was still a good ride. Tomorrow should be a recovery run of 5 miles (possible marathon training / preparation).

Juicing Tuesday

I've been long overdue - so today was a juicing day, with the exception of a Vita-mix post ride dinner. It was my practice last year to juice regularly, but this year I've seemed to always have some reason or excuse not to. Or more honestly: has food become to dear to me? It's just for nourishment, right? It's not my friend ..? Hmmmm...?

Breakfast Juice: sweet potato, 1 green apple, 2 small pears, small portion of yellow squash, carrots and 2 portions of spinach. With all the spinach - this was a drink that was nutritionally sound, but not super good tasting. Green drinks tend to be, well, they taste healthy. I made the drink and then added some filtered water and ice and vacuum sealed it and took it to work with me. 
Before I left the house I had a little apple cider vinegar (ACV) with olive oil and filtered water. Then I washed that down with a serving of psylium husks in water and olive oil. The ACV is to help with pH and the psylium husks are to help clean my colon.

Lunch Juice: carrots, 1 red apple, 1 green apple, 1 small pear, 1/2 of a beat and sweet potato (no green for lunch). 
The beats and carrots were the dominate flavors of this drink. The beat is good for the liver - which is going to be working harder as the body has a rest from digestion and can work on house cleaning.

Dinner - Vita-mix: this one I opted for a smoothie instead of juice as I had just finished the Tuesday night group ride and wanted some protein and banana to help with recovery. So into the Vita-mix went: 1 banana, 1 scoop of whey protein, some blue berries, some carob powder, some olive oil, some soy milk, some water and some ice. It was nice and made about 30 oz. On the ride I had 1 GU and 2 Clif shot bloks.

Observations: It's always interesting to me how on the first day of any type of a fast (when you're not eating) how many opportunities you have to eat. My wife and I went to Cost-co during lunch to have a little time together and get some items to juice. While there it was amazing how many samples were out and my wife actually brought me one. (I've had to remind her twice today that I wasn't eating.) My daughter made cookies and offered me some as soon as I got home. She later brought me some food home from the PTA meeting. So much of our eating is habit, pleasure and a dozen other reasons other than for nutrition. Day one is always a good reminder of where food really is in my life. The reminder for me is that it's everywhere and I need to be more mindful of it and not just eat because it's there, or tastes good, or it will help me feel better, or ______________?

After I finish this I will likely have another serving of psylium husks and also take my supplements. Even with the hard ride this evening I still feel good. Not exhausted or worn out, but looking forward to going to bed.

We'll see what tomorrow holds.

Intervals: 10-30's

Monday evening (~6:30) I was able to head to the dam for some intervals. Earlier in the day it was a trip to the lake for swimming and shore fishing, a trip to Chick-fil-a in a sports jersey for our free Chicken sandwiches and various tasks around the house: it was already a full day..

I tried a different break down of 'On' and 'Off' this time: 10 seconds On with 30 seconds Off. They ended up being pretty intense efforts where most of them were out of the saddle sprints for the whole 10 seconds. My HR wouldn't peak until I was 5 or more seconds into the recovery time, so it make HR training at this intensity and brevity not possible. (Now if I had a power meter - that would give me real time measurable effort. They're pricey - but I haven't given up on getting one someday.) Before the end of 10 seconds my thighs were feeling weak and burning and it was difficult to stay up on them and pedal those last seconds. It is very nice that the Garmin beeps out the last 5 seconds of the On time and also gives 5 beeps for the last 5 seconds of Off time too. Due to the intensity level, I only did those one way across the dam - 14 of them back to back.

The return trip was 30-70's: 30 seconds On and 70 seconds Off. These were lower efforts, but I'm sure they still had some value. There were 7 of them performed.

The MHR during the intervals was 158; but 170 was seen on the warm up getting there.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday Night Tennis

I have enjoyed some of the fine tennis on this weekend. I watched some on Sat and some on Sun and it's certainly made me want to get out and hit the ball. The two that caught my interest and were very inspirational were Melanie Oudin and Clijsters: Oudin being the young new player and Clijsters being the returning Mom. Great matches and very fun to watch - to the point of me getting out and playing after not playing for over a year.

Everyone was busy Saturday, but Sunday evening we were able to get a group together and go hit the ball. It was fun. There were 4 adults and 4 youth. I haven't played since probably last summer, so there was a fair bit of 'rust' in my game, but it was fun none the less to get out and hit the ball. We started a little before 8 PM and went until almost 10. The wind was not a factor but it was still warm and important to drink to replenish the lost fluids.

Sun: short hard run..

Maybe not a hard run for many, but for me -- it was. This was my second Sunday of running in the morning first thing. I have a 3 mile route and I've been trying to get my HR up and keep it up for the whole run. It's taking about 22 1/2 minutes for the run and about 13 minutes for me to settle in and feel like I'm warmed up.

For having HR's in the 160's, 70's and 80's it is still surprising to me how hard the 150's feel when I'm running. This used to be fun and relaxing for me, but right now it's more like work. Just the opposite of a year ago when the bike was work. It'd be neat to reach a point where they are both fun at that same time. Something to shoot for.

Details: 3.04 miles, 22:28, 7:24 avg pace, AHR 153, MHR 172, Max pace 5:34 (sprint at the end).

This is one of my hardest workouts mentally for me all week. It's a difficult 20 minutes... If a fall marathon is going to happen, I am expecting these Sunday runs to get easier or faster; but for now there are challenging.

Sat: Late afternoon start

Saturday started early with a trip to the soccer fields for a weekend tournament for my middle girl. The first game started at 7:30 AM.

[On the way we saw these neat sunrise shots in our review mirrors.]

The soccer tournament (three games - 2 Sat, 1 -Sun) showed some very good improvement in the girls playing together and much better over all. The last game was a 0-1 loss but it was very close and they played great.

After I left the soccer fields it was off to Home Depot and the Kids projects that they do on the 1st Sat of the month with my wife and two youngest and one of their friends. It was a bean bag toss game and one of them was broken before we even left the building area. No real surprise there ... a little tape and we were set.
As for the ride on Sat: I left the house just after 3 PM - it was supposed to be 70+ miles, but I ran out of water and limped home with under 50 miles... :-( I tried some larger ice cubes in my Camelbak, thinking that I'd not have to drink warm water the last hour or so, but instead the larger 'blocks of ice' all joined together and created a small ice berg in my bag that didn't melt, but instead took on little ice cubes and actually grew in size. The net result was that I ran out of water at about 40 miles. It was hotter so I was sweating more, but there was a big chunk in the bag when I came home to get more. But, once I got home - I didn't go back out.

Details - 45 miles, 17.4 avg, 3000 calories, 132 AHR, 152 MHR. It wasn't a hard or fast ride, but was supposed to be my longer ride.

Next Saturday will be even more challenging as there should be games for 3 of my kiddo's... and so is the busyness of Saturdays with soccer season getting into full swing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ladder Training: increase until failure, then decrease to starting point

Doing exercise until failure is always a mental battle for me. I've experienced it doing weights, push ups, pull ups, sit ups, ... etc, where you reach a point where you are unable to continue: all forward progress stops. I've also done it on the bike now. 
Today it was a ladder up a local small hill (Prayer Mountain): starting in my lowest gear and then going up one gear until I couldn't make it. (Last time I tried it I had a mechanical problem in 4th and stopped at that point.) Today I reached failure on the 6th climb: I was not able to continue forward movement. At that point I then turned around and went back down, this began the descent down the ladder. I went down 1 gear and did the climb; repeating until I was in my lowest gear again. So I ended up doing it 10 times successfully with one failure in the middle. [Gears: 1-2-3-4-5-6Failure-5-4-3-2-1] 
It was a good workout. I could defiantly feel my thighs burning on the climbs once I started hitting the harder gears. There was also a little relief once I finally hit the gear I couldn't make it in: it marked the end of the accent up the ladder and now I could start the descent. Mentally I had decided to do this before I ever left the house - I have to. If I wait until I'm on the bike it is to likely that I'll not feel like doing it, or the wind, or ... many different excuses seem to come to mind once on the bike. So for me, I plan my work outs in advance.
My fastest time was in my 3rd gear on the descent of the ladder: 59 seconds. My heart rate on that climb started at 108 and went to 172 - a gain of more than a beat per second; Cool..! Gears 4 and 5 required me to be out of the saddle most of the time applying as much power as I could muster (while my bike was creaking and groaning under the stress). The last time in my lowest gear took the same amount of time as my first trip in the same gear: ~90 seconds. I stayed in the saddle in the lowest gear and found at times I was lifting the front wheel off the ground as I was pulling on the handle bars while climbing. It'd be fun to do with someone, not as a competition but for the fun of encouraging each other to do our bests. Any takers??  :-) 

The intent was not a long work out, but an effective one. The total miles was ~10.5, but the ride took 52 minutes after 9 minutes of warm up (not enough) and 12 minutes of cool down.

For Lunch: I was really wanting some chicken and veggies (I even prepared the chicken before I left for my ride: (trimmed up two chicken breasts, cubed, added a little Lawry's season, garlic powder, fresh black pepper, cumin, and curry and sealed it in a bowl to marinate) - but I just didn't have time to fix it after the work out. So instead it was a liquid lunch: to the Vita-Mix I added: soy milk, filtered water, millet, flax seeds, blue berries, spinach, whey protein powdercarob powder, nestle quick chocolate powder, almonds, ice and olive oil; then in no time I had this purplish - green liquid to drink for lunch. It wasn't my favorite drink as it was to thin - but it had what I felt like I needed. 

[PHOTOS: HR chart of the ladder, Shot at the top after my last one, my trusty steed resting by the sign.]

Excellent CatEye service Again

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my CatEye fell off my bike and broke one of the brackets on the back of the head unit: this wasn't due to any problem of the unit, but rather it got loose and I finger tightened it and forgot about it .. until I heard it fall off my bike on a ride.

Once again their service is worthy of noting. 
 - my email received a response the same day
 - 3 days after they received my returned unit I received a replacement unit under Warranty

In a world that has mostly forgotten what customer service is like it's great to support and use products that are backed like CatEye has backed my CC-CD300DW

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Recovery and Intervals

Wed: after a good ride Tuesday night, I planned on a recovery run. My normal running route is ~4.7 miles. I ran it during lunch and seemed to have heavy legs. The avg pace was 9:20 / mi - no bragging rights there: just a hard recovery run at a slowish pace. Such is my running most days...

Thursday: out to the dam for some intervals on the bike - 14 intervals of 30 seconds on and 70 seconds recovering. I was seeing about 25-35 beats increase in the HR during the On and around 30-35 beats lost during recovery. Most intervals HR ran from the 130's to the 160's. The max HR was 167. The max speeds were 28 mph and was on the 9th and 11th interval. These intervals were rolling starts where I'd get out of the saddle and get up to speed and then sit down and usually shift one more up trying to keep maximum effort and then the last 5 seconds are beeping (thanks Garmin) so I would try to stand again and make the final effort to the finish. These were good efforts and my legs are telling me that I worked hard today.

Tomorrow (FR): will either be a rest day or a recovery run again. I haven't decided yet .. will see how I feel tomorrow.

Grandma is out of the hospital and making some adjustments to needing to use a wheel chair. How does the saying go? "Each day has enough trouble of it's own..."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


On weeks where I miss my Monday ride, I tend to get a little anxious by the time the Tuesday evening group ride comes around. Not so much nervous about the ride - but maybe more not getting the exercise and having the benefit of it in my body, thoughts, attitude, ... etc.

I was a little late starting - getting out the door last night. So I wasn't able to have a leisurely warm up riding to the starting point, but instead had to push a little bit to make sure I didn't get left. The warm up and cool down portions are just a tad under 8 miles. Last night it took 23 and a half minutes to get there (20 mph avg).

[Photo: HR graph for the Group ride portion.]

The ride: there was some talking about the HHH that happened this past Sat as some of the riders raced it. There was the normal light socializing on the way out before getting to the start of the hills on Lake Ridge Pkwy. Today found me up front at that point - so I rode the lead for that portion and the start of TX Plume. (There are many that go up the hills faster than me, so it's just a matter of time until riders start coming past.) That road has some ups and levels and then downs too. So, for me, I tend to practice 'active' recovery and I'll often catch and pass those better hill climbers on the flats or downs to be caught again going up the ups. Today I threw my chain as I was passing, so I had to pull to the side to put it on and then start up again - dead last.

I was thinking, "OK - another lesson on pride or humility. I guess I'm ready." Then at the top of the road, there was a group waiting. I was thinking, "Wow, that's nice, they waited for me." But, no, actually someone (Arthur) slipped in some gravel and went down. Not to bad, but there was some road rash on the arm and the rest only a nights sleep would revel. A few minutes more and we all took off together. This would be my riding group for the rest of the evening. We did TX plume again and then on to Valley View (VV) twice. By the second time on VV we were catching other riders, so our group was adjusting a little and Arthur headed home early - good choice.

The last 5 miles: this includes the part of Lake Ridge Pkwy that goes around the lake and the final (sprint) bridge - finish, was fast. Once we turned a couple of the guys took off in a hurry. The guy behind me said he didn't see that coming to which I said not to worry - we'd catch'em soon. So I led the pursuit pack as we rode in the upper-mid twenties (25-27) until we had reeled them back in (about a mile or little less). It was then a quick rotating pace line to the bridge with a few riders trying to drop the group again. We also caught another solo rider along the way before the bridge finish and had dropped a couple as well. 

The bridge finish: I have no patience: if I'm feeling good - then I want to ride fast. When we hit the bridge, I was third in line. We were going in the low 20's and I tried, I really tried to sit tight and wait (I know I can't give maximum effort for the entire length of the bridge (yet :-), so I was trying to wait before taking off. But, no one else was making a move, so I did. My avg speed for that section was 30.7 and a max of 31.5: AHR 179 and MHR 188. Just like last week, right at the end where I was spent and starting to drop off the pace, two riders slipped past me. They were likely enjoying my playing windshield and once I started to falter - jumped out for the pass. It's amazing how hard it is for me to wait - even knowing I can't make it the whole way. This time I didn't go for max speed but was thinking maybe I can sustain a slightly lower intensity the whole distance, but Not tonight. I guess next week I'll have to try a different strategy .. maybe even wait .. nah.

All in all - it sure is a lot of fun. Yes it's hard work. Yes the heart is pumping hard. Yes I'm impatient. Yes I keep getting passed at the end. Yes. Yes. Yes. I look forward to more beatings next week!  :-)

Numbers: 32 miles group ride portion, 1:40 time, 19.2 avg, 42.5 max, AHR 154, MHR 188. ~8 miles for the warm up and cool down.
Energy wise I tried an Accel Gel instead of my GU and I think I like it better. It has a different consistency that I like less, but I think the protein helped on my ride. Normally I'd have to eat part of a clif bar for the protein, so it was nice to get it all in one pack. I also drank water and had 3 clif shot chews. And, I was not totally zonkered when I got home.


Then at 9:44 after cleaning up, eating, praying with the younger kids and making a small care package for my Mom, I was in the car and heading off to check on my Grandma who fell today and was in the hospital to be observed. Mom was there and had been with her all afternoon and was staying the night too. Grandma's doing OK. But is having some problems walking, so that will be checked out over the next couple days. 11:34 I was pulling in the drive way again - tired and ready to go to sleep. 

And there ends another full day... I'm still thankful to be alive.
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