Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Do You Think About While Swimming?

I had someone ask me the other day, “What do you think about while swimming?”

I had to think about this and wanted to pose the question to others as well. Are you one who thinks about your stroke — one at a time, in the moment I’m taking it, until I’m finished — while doing a swim? I guess that's what I've been doing lately as 1) I'm usually swimming at the same time as my son's swim team and hear and see what is being taught to them, 2) I'm trying to get faster and more efficient.

My stroke thoughts are primary, conscious and explicit. Anything else that passes through my consciousness is momentary and mostly implicit. Even my observations of other swimmers leads back to thoughts of my stroke – either to mirror or emulate something they’re doing well, or to strive for even greater efficiency, ease, relaxation or sense of leisure when I see examples of the opposite in their strokes. The later being very common now as all the New Year's Resolution crowd is back in full swing.

But I would have to think others are, in no certain order:

Think about work or school.

Think about friends or family.

Think about nothing (zone out).

This is the essence of mindfulness in all swimming, but particularly in open water. I do not fare as well in open water as in the pool, but I am improving. Does your thought process change when in open water versus the pool?

In open water, stroke thoughts are the foundation for creating a “cocoon of calm” that helps those less comfy without having a lane marker below you– especially the new triathlete – keep anxiety or stress at manageable levels. Eventually this sense of calm control should convert into flow states and pure pleasure in environments that cause anxiety or distraction in others. Seeing a shark fin can elicit the same anxiety as a poor stroke as well.

What about you? What do you think about in the water?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tour of Lombardy Results Posted

Results for round 1of the 3.6 mile segment from the Tour of Lombardy at Gear West were posted. The "highlight" of this TT was the almost 1 mile climb halfway through the course. Since the Tacx takes your weight into account, this climb allowed the smaller riders like Christopher (130 lbs) to post a faster time than say Dan (180 lbs) while averaging almost 60 watts less.

Results Round One

You can read about this event posted on this blog last week here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Windtrainer Workout

You have basically four choices in the Tundra to keep in cycling shape during the eleven months of winter:

1) Move south until the snow melts. Not very likely unless you are retired....or Bill Gates.
2) Wake up at some ungodly hour each morning to go to some indoor spin class where you are at the mercy of a drill Sergeant who seems to think Guns 'n Roses blaring at 130 decibels at 5:30 AM is a great idea.
3) Bike outside. You are usually found frozen next to a stop sign.
4) Get a wind trainer and stare at four walls all winter long.

Of course, with those limited options I have gone with #4. This means I try to break up the boredom by listening to tunes or watching the telly. Typically, I don't even know what type of cycling work-out, or length, I will opt for until the night before. Sometimes not even until I get on the bike and see how I feel. Usually, I just make shit up. Such as this workout I did on Monday (12/28).

10:00 Easy pedaling
12:00 3x (1:00 right leg, 1:00 both legs, 1:00 left leg, 1:00 both legs)

Main Set
3 x 5:00 Pedal smoothly at 95-110 RPM (3:00 RI)
3 x 2:00 Pedal smoothly at 95 - 110 RPM (3:00 RI). This should be at a tougher cog (smaller rear) than the previous set.

5:00 Cool down

And now joining me in my workouts is the Boy®. When I did my 90-min ride this past Sunday, he joined me for 50-mins. He had fun, he stayed with it doing some interval work of his own. In no way am I pushing him. He'll ride when he wants to ride and we'll keep it fun. No sense burning him out when he's just nine! Here is our set-up as below:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Speedy Chicken Posole with Avocado and Lime

Pozole (from Spanish pozole, from Nahuatl potzolli; variant spellings: posole, pozolé, pozolli) is a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico. It is made from nixtamalized cacahuazintle corn, with meat, usually pork, chicken, turkey, pork rinds, sardine, chili pepper, and other seasonings and garnish. Vegetarian and vegan versions also exist. After colonization by the Spaniards, the ingredients of pozole changed, but the staple, corn remained. It is a typical dish in various states such as Michoacán, Guerrero, Jalisco, Morelos, México and Distrito Federal. Pozole is often served in Mexican restaurants in the American Southwest. In many places it is considered a delicacy and is not an everyday food.

Time: 45 minutes. This dish, using canned hominy, takes a fraction of the time needed for regular posole. Serve with warm corn tortillas.

Yield: Serves 4 or 5

3 large poblano chiles (1 lb. total)
6 garlic cloves
1 large onion
2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) white hominy
1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano*, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons ground red New Mexico chiles*
Garnishes: sliced avocado, lime wedges, cilantro sprigs, and sour cream

1. Preheat broiler. When hot, broil poblanos on a baking sheet until blackened, turning as needed, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, whirl garlic to mince. Cut onion in chunks and pulse with garlic until chopped; set aside. Drain hominy; set aside.

3. Cut chicken into 1- to 1 1/2-in. chunks and sprinkle with salt and 1 tsp. oregano. Heat oil in a 5- to 6-qt. pan over high heat. Brown half the chicken lightly, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion mixture and remaining 1 tsp. oregano to pan and sauté until onion is softened, 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave broth until steaming, about 3 minutes. Add ground chiles to pan and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.

5. Add broth, hominy, and chicken to pan. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer to blend flavors, 10 minutes.

6. Remove stems, skins, and seeds from poblanos and discard; chop poblanos.

7. Stir poblanos into posole and cook 1 minute. Ladle into bowls; top with garnishes.

*Find Mexican oregano at well-stocked grocery stores, along with ground red New Mexico chiles.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 436 (39% from fat)
Protein: 32g
Fat: 19g (sat 4.2)
Carbohydrate: 36g
Fiber: 7.2g
Sodium: 715mg
Cholesterol: 89mg

Sunday, December 27, 2009

iPhone App of the Month: WalkJogRun Routes

Hey, I'm just a poor man trying to get by. But there are those fortunate enough to have fancy toys like a iPhone. Me? My cell looks like this.

But, I'm hip. I'm cool. So for those iPhone-freak-a-zoids I bring you the iPhone App of the Month to the Tundra Transition Zone.

This month is the WalkJogRun Routes app ($0.99). If you are one that travels frequently or just someone that likes to explore new routes in your area, then the WalkJogRun Routesapp is just for you. It is dedicated to finding exercise routes nearest to you based on your geo-location. All routes are housed on the route mapping site, and signing up for a free membership to the site allows you to create routes as well as view public and private routes in one convenient place.

App features include: finding routes in over 6.9 million cities, viewing the details of your route including total distance, creator and creation date of the route, setting your pace to see total time for each route, and choosing between miles or kilometers. It is compatible with both the iPhone and iPod Touch and is available at the iTunes store.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Add the Nun Run (Glendale, AZ) to my 2010 Calendar

Joining the Park Rapids Lakes to Pines triathlon and the Fargo Half-Marathon on my locked-and-loaded 2010 race calendar is the Nun Run in....drum-roll please....Glendale, Arizona.

We will be returning to Arizona for the third time in four years. I refer to Arizona as my future home as I fully expect to retire there. Best laid plans and all that.

This time I will be getting in a running event in which I can shed the layers, the extra pair of socks, the gloves, etc. I can run in shorts if I want to and proudly show off all that winter fat. I hope to see some of my former high school chums pick up the challenge as well and participate with me.

There is a 10km Run, 5km Run, 5km Walk & Shadow Run. I'll be doing the 10K to gauge my fitness and how much improvement I will have to make before the Fargo half. But what of the 'Shadow Run'? What's that? I'm glad you asked, as I think it is a fantastic idea. Especially for those T-shirt hunters.

Don't live in Arizona? Maybe you don't even live in the U.S. You can participate in the Nun Run, wherever you are! Just register as normal, check the shadow participant box and they will mail you a Nun Run t-shirt! Just complete a 5km or 10km in your home town on March 20 and send them your time to be posted on the results page.

Pretty darn cool.

The place we'll call home for 7 nights. Note the lap pool that will be frequented twice daily. This will be followed by a cool-down in the Lazy River whilst being tormented by the Boy®.

A short run away is this track which I intend to get in some speed workouts. Speed defined as moving quickly without being bogged down by winter layers.

The 'hard work' will not stop once the sun goes down. A rigorous multi-endurance test will await containing killer mini-golf and experiencing a mind-blowing 8 G's on the speediest go-karts on the planet to attune my relaxes and hand-eye coordination.

The locale of the 10K run. Thanks Google Earth.

Two other events are about to make the list as well. I just need to work out logistics and make sure I'll be adequately in.....well....shape. As I do every year, I try to race in a locale I have not yet participated in. I also like to try something brand spankin' new. Two such events may fit this bill.

My first duathlon of the season may be the Dewey Kvidt Memorial Duathlon in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It is a 3 mile run - 15 mile bike - 3 mile run. I've raced in Grand Forks before. Just not this event and I've been eyeballing it for a couple of years now. It has been much earlier in the year, and typically experienced bad weather. It's been moved to Saturday, June 5, 2010 this year.

The other event is the XTERRA Pipestem Creek Off Road Triathlon in Jamestown, North Dakota. Jamestown is significant as that is where I was born in 1961, grew up and finally left home in 1984. It is where my XC brethren and I won back-to-back state XC titles in '77 and '78. It is where I once ran 119 miles in one week. It is my running epicenter.

This would be my first off road triathlon. Held at the US Corps of Engineers Pipestem Dam and Lake Project, the race features a 1000 meter swim with a short exit at the halfway point, a 13 mile mountain bike on a lap and a half of the Pipestem Trail, and a 5 mile run incorporating most of the North Ridge Trail.

Bonus Round - Some Xmas Video

The Gingerbread House

Sled Dogs Head Out

Xmas Eve 2009

Snowpocalypse? Snownami? Stormageddon? XMAS Day 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Did the Tour of Lombardy 3.6 mile TT (Italy)

Yep, flew to the country shaped like a boot last night in time to compete in a 3.6 mile bike time trial. Um, April Fools?

Gear West Bike and Triathlon has been holding an open-to-all Virtual Time Trial Series taking place in store on the Tacx Fortius Virtual Reality trainer. Each Time Trial "Event" will run 1 month, at which time they will change courses. The Male and Female winners from each age-group after the month will not only receive a $10 GWB&Tri gift certificate, but have bragging rights all month.

The first stage was a 2 kilometer mountain ascent which my Retul fitter Curt Wood said, "will make you see stars."

I didn't quite get to that stage, but it was tough. A dig deep and then some tough. On the video screen in front of me I could see that elevation. And I seemed to be making little progress. The actual climb was a 2 kilometer mountain ascent. The grade readout showed in the mid-8's, my RPMs were churning (it felt like churning) in the 70's, my power output maxed in the 320 range, and still....the....climb.....dragged.

Once I crested I was able to speed back up into the low 30 MPH range as the super cool software actual does account for the descent speeds. I ended up doing the 3.6 mile course in a respectable 12 mins 50 secs which was an average speed of 17 MPH. As comparison, Curt has the current record at 9 mins and 30 secs. I was dripping wet. And happy as a clam.

In talking with Curt and Gear West owner Kevin O'Connor the Tacx system has just upgraded to version 1.2 which will now allow for Google Earth. What does this mean? Heck, you can download a course via Map My Ride, for example, and ride an upcoming event weeks ahead of time to become familiar with it without ever having to leave home. Quite an advantage in my book. And you will actually get the visual via Google Earth along with the topography readout.

One really cool feature of this trainer is the ability to take your height and weight into account, so light people can fly up the mountains just like they would in real life. Bigger people have to put out bigger watts to climb.

I really appreciate Gear West putting on this series.

This is what the ride looked like to me... scenic views from the classic Tour of Lombardy in Italy.

David on the Tacx

This is what it looks like to "outsiders"

This is a unique opportunity to not only try out the best Virtual Reality Cycling Software available, but also to get a benchmark for your winter fitness, as the Tacx system will also measure your power, heart rate and cadence.

Here's the TT courses:
November 23-December 23: Tour of Lombardy 3.6 mile TT (Italy)
December 26-January 25: Alpe D' Huez uphill TT (2.5 miles)
January 26-February 26: Tour of Flanders TT (8 miles)

In the area? Read more and sign up here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Swim Workout to Try

During the cold, dark winters of the Tundra it is important to change up your workout routine to keep things lively, fresh, and exciting. That's when I like to try new workouts.

The following swim workout is based on the fastest average pace you can hold for 10 x 100-yards freestyle (FAP). Not to be confused with Frequent Rapid Activity Period (FRAP) which is something I witness when the Boy® has been in the sugar bowl or the youngest dog has some extra energy to burn and can actually circle the inside of the house perpendicular to the floor....sometimes chased by the Boy®.

For instance, if your FAP is 1:30 and an interval calls for 5 x 100 free at FAP + :15, your pace for the set is 1:45. If you're fortunate enough to swim in a long course pool all winter just add 15 seconds to every interval.

This workout is called No Minds (Triathlete magazine, Jan. 2010 issue,page 102). "No Minds" are horrible, painful and completely joyless. Nonetheless, this set is a great way to gauge your swim fitness and to boost your lactate threshold. The set is quite simple to do, but if it is done right, your arms should feel like watery Jell-O afterward.

After an easy warm-up of 1000-yards, do 5 x 50-yards freestyle at race pace to pick your heart rate up. The main set is 5 x 100-yards freestyle on a 4-minute interval. Sure, it sounds easy, but the goal of the set is to sprint all five repeats. Your leg and arm muscles should focus on completing each repeat as fast as possible. Do not hold back so that you have something left for the next repeat. If done correctly, each successive 100 should be slower (and harder) than the previous one.

Record your time for each 100 and then compute the average pace afterward. I recommend performing this set once every three weeks, and, of course, your goal should be to improve on your average pace each time around.

I've done this now a couple times. The first on 12/16 was my intro and I went at it a little laid back. Plus, instead of going on the 4's for the main set I went on the 3's as the Boy® would have finished swim team ahead of me and I would have found him in the hot tub chatting with the girls. My 5 x 100 main set on 12/16 went as follows:

Repeat 1 - 1:36
Repeat 2 - 1:41
Repeat 3 - 1:36
Repeat 4 - 1:37
Repeat 5 - 1:34
Set Avg - 1:36.8

So, I did not do it right. My times did not get progressively slower. I attempted it again on 12/22 and my 5 x 100 main set went as follows:

Repeat 1 - 1:23
Repeat 2 - 1:26
Repeat 3 - 1:29
Repeat 4 - 1:30
Repeat 5 - 1:31
Set Avg - 1:27.8

Think I nailed that one. Times went progressively slower. I felt like barfing. Surprisingly, my HR recovered very well between repeats. I was able to get the ol' ticker to drop below 110 before the next repeat was up.

In a weird way, I have to admit I like the workout. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last in a Series: Running Rules to Live By - Before You Remove Your New Running Shoes from the Box, You Must Smell Them.

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoyed the series.

Rule Fifteen: Before You Remove Your New Running Shoes from the Box, You Must Smell Them

Open the box. Peel pack the tissue paper. Behold those pristine shoes. Then lift the box to your face and breathe deeply. Mmmmmmm. Smells like potential. And possibly toxins. But mostly potential.

Happy Triathlete Spring Day!

I call December 22 Triathlon Spring Day. Why? Because days start getting longer after the winter Solstice (Dec 22). Yes, it is only a gradual change at first with the days adding 1-2 minutes a day until June 21, which is the longest day of the year. But, let's face it. Winter Solstice is a huge hurdle to get through and means that training outdoors late into the evening isn't all that far away.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fourteenth in a Series: Running Rules to Live By - The Ten Types of Runners

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Fourteen: The Ten Types of Runners

Okay, maybe not so much a rule as a definition. Did I miss any? Where did you fall?

The Speed Freak

Distinguishing Characteristics - Buzzed hair. Supershort shorts. Racing flats. Twitch in one eye.

Dangerous? - Only if you get in his way.

The Weekend Warrior

Distinguishing Characteristics - Warrior tube socks. Midsection paunch. Grin. Headphones.

Dangerous? - Only if you make fun of his socks.

The Penguin

Distinguishing Characteristics - Plodding determination. Fanny pack.

Dangerous? - Only if you make fun of John Bingham.

The Charity Runner

Distinguishing Characteristics - Selflessness. Tears. Matching outfits.

Dangerous? - No. Unless you are anti-awareness.

The Ultra Guy

Distinguishing Characteristics - Lean and tan to the nth degree. Quiet. Hard as nails.

Dangerous? - Only at an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet.

The Kicker

Distinguishing Characteristics - None whatsoever, until he or she unleashes a stiff, tight-lipped, arm-pumping sprint in the final 100 meters of the race.

Dangerous? - Lord help you if you get in the way of those pumping arms.

The Old-Timer

Distinguishing Characteristics - Faded cotton T-shirt from the 1981 Peachtree 10-K. Scar on neck from melanoma. Twinkle in eye. Conspicuous lack of gadgets. Advanced age.

Dangerous? - Heck, no. These guys are great.

The Triathlete

Distinguishing Characteristics - Ironman tattoo. Skin-tight unitard, possibly emblazoned with sponsors' names. Comparatively large upper body. Vague smell of chlorine.

Dangerous? - Only if you call him a unitard.

The Wacky Guy

Distinguishing Characteristics - 'Antennas' headband, oversize novelty sunglasses, cowboy hat, kilt, superhero costume, etc. A grim determination to 'have fun with it."

Dangerous? - Probably not, although this guy might someday snap.

Joe Average

Distinguishing Characteristics - None.

Dangerous? - Almost certainly.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thirteenth in a Series: Running Rules to Live By - Never Miss a Chance To Thank a Volunteer

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Thirteen: Never Miss a Chance To Thank a Volunteer

Even if you are running the race of your life, you can still manage a bit of eye contact and a nod as you grab a cup of water from an outstretched hand. Even if it feels like your quads are literally on fire, you can manage to sputter a short "thanks" to the course marshal standing in the intersection. It will make the volunteer feel good. And you, too.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Twelfth in a Series: Running Rules to Live By - When Elastic is Gone, Man, It Is Gone

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Twelve: When Elastic is Gone, Man, It Is Gone

Men, this one is for you. You paid good money for those shorts. You love those shorts. You've raced in those shorts. But sooner or later you will pull them on and feel roomy gaping where once there was a snug liner. This means that the elastic down there has gone slack. You will be tempted to wear them anyway. Don't.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Eleventh in a Series: Running Rules to Live By - A PR is a PR Forever, But....

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Eleven: A PR is a PR Forever, But....

I confess to be truly guilty of this one. You may advertise a personal record (PR) time, or otherwise claim it as your own with no further explanation for two years after setting it. After two years, however, it becomes uncool to tell people, "My 5K PR is 16:30" without providing a disclaimer - e.g., "My 5K PR is 16:30, but I did that in 1989."

As we become older and the joints and tendons start to snap, crackle, and pop perhaps it is a time to speak of an Age Group personal record (AGPR) when you establish a PR time in your five-year age grouping?

Not that I won't still be setting a Lifetime personal record (LTPR). After all, I did have a 23.8 MPH cycling average in my last triathlon of the 2009 season. Guess I can brag about that until, um, 2011. But by then I will also be in a new age group (50-54) and ready to establish some new AGPR's!

How about you? Any LTPR's that will never, E-V-E-R be threatened again? But you still like to drop into conversation as you slightly puff out the ol' chest?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tenth in a Series: Running Rules to Live By - Runners Do Not Shave Their Legs

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Nine: Runners Do Not Shave Their Legs

Now before we get into these supposed unspoken rule, I openly state I disagree. I shave my legs weekly. I love it. It feels great in the water, on the bike...and on the run. Period. And it really helps to have smooth skin when getting a massage as well.

But apparently, there is a segment of non-triathlete runners who are opposed. They feel there should only be certain exceptions to who can shave their legs, limiting to most North American women; runners about to undergo some sort of leg surgery; runners who are competitive swimmers, cyclists, or triathletes; and runners who don't care what anyone thinks because they just like the way the smooth legs feel, especially against cotton sheets, and anyway, what's the big hairy deal?

And I know I have the sexiest legs of any man in the 45-49 age group. Drop dead sexy. Cue 'I'm Too Sexy' by Right Said Fred.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ninth in a Series: Running Rules to Live By - Pass Gas, Not Judgement

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Nine: Pass Gas, Not Judgement

Runners ingest a fair amount of healthy foods, which produce gas in the GI tract, where it cannot stay forever. Especially when that GI tract is bounced and jostled. Passing gas while running is excusable and inevitable, but...

- You may not mock another runner for having passed gas, unless he has previously mocked you for the same or unless he mocks himself
- If a runner has taken pains to mask flatulence, pretend nothing happened
- It's fun to pretend that the gas you expelled is propelling you forward, like a little booster rocket. That isn't really a guideline, though, is it?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eighth in a Series: Running Rules to Live By - "Lookin'g Good!" ...and Other Runner's Lies

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Eight: "Lookin' Good!" ...and Other Runner's Lies

Lying is not something I would normally endorse. But is is perfectly acceptable to tell a runner that he is looking good at mile 19 of a marathon when, in fact, he looks like an insomniac who is trying to sneeze, and is confused because someone has switched his running shoes with replicas made of concrete.

The go-to lie is "Lookin' good!" Or you could say, "If I weren't so awed by the apparent ease with which you are navigating this course, I might be angry with you for nearly knocking me unconscious with your very awesomeness!" The key is to say something. Even a zombie appreciates encouragement.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Seventh in a Series: Running Rules to Live By - Learn & Love the Farmer's Blow

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Seven: Learn & Love the Farmer's Blow

Mastering the farmer's blow (or snot rocket) is a must for any runner (or cyclist!). Here's how to do it right: Breathe in through your mouth, like you are gasping. Lay a forefinger against one nostril and compress firmly. Purse your lips. Cock your head slightly in the direction of the open nostril and exhale forcefully through your nose. Repeat with opposite nostril, if needed.

Note - It's best to quickluy glance behind you to make sure you aren't about to spray a fellow runner. Otherwise you may be running blind due to the atomic wedgie that will ensue.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sixth of a Series: Running Rules to Live By - For Pete's Sake, Stand Still at Red Lights

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Six: For Pete's Sake, Stand Still at Red Lights

Sharks dies when they stop moving. Runners do not. Keep this in mind next time you encounter a Don't Walk sign at a busy intersection. There's no need to jog in place or dance from foot to foot like you have to pee. Just chill. Wait a few moments. Note: If a nonrunner waiting with you at the crosswalk is dancing from foot to foot, he or she may indeed have to pee. Give this person wide berth.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fifth of a Series: Running Rules to Live By - Let Angry Motorists Go

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Five: Let Angry Motorists Go

I understand the impulse when a driver has just pulled out in front of you or turned directly in your path or otherwise behaved like a jerk. I know how much you'd love to slap the trunk of that driver's car, or shout at the person behind the wheel, helpfully suggesting that he or she 'learn to drive.' Or extend a certain digit in a certain direction. Do yourself - and all runners - a favor and fight that impulse. Smile. Your lashing out isn't likely to change the driver's behavior, and may, in fact, worsen it. For all you know, the still-seething guy may drive extra close to the next runner he sees, just to make a point. Let him or her go.

Special shout-out to the Blue Jay runners from the late 70's. Recall the winter we had that war with the Evil UPS driver over and over and over again?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fourth of a Series: Running Rules to Live By - Run Like a Dog

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Four: Run Like a Dog

My dogs, both whippets, don't care where we are or what time of day it is, or even what the weather is like. They don't know what their resting heart rate is and rarely bother to wear a watch. They just love to run. And every time they do, their faces and body telegraph one simple message: This. Is. AWESOME. I'm runningrunningrunningrunning!

The "Run Like a Dog" workout (including warmups and cooldown) - Walk 8 seconds. Trot 4 seconds. Stop. Sniff. Sprint 7 seconds. Squirrel! Freeze. Walk 5 seconds in any direction but forward. Stare 9 seconds. Lunge at rabbit (mine actually kill them and drop them at the feet of the Well Kept Wife). Double back, walk 3 seconds. Urinate. Repeat six times. Collapse on rug.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Third of a Series: Running Rules to Live By - Black Toenails Are Badges of Honor

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Three: Black Toenails Are Badges of Honor

Yep, that is the nail on my right big toe. Ugly and probably due to a time when I froze my nail on a cold February day many moons ago and now fungus has set in.

Run long enough and you'll wind up ruining a nail or two. Whether it's because your shoes are too big or too small or because you've run a race with punishing downhills or the toes gods happen to be in a foul mood, somebody you will peel off your socks and see black where once there was pink. Congratulations! These bruised nails are tiny trophies conferred upon you for toughing it out. just don't flash them in the public.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Second of a Series: Running Rules to Live By - Expand Your Sense of Fun

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule Two: Expand Your Sense of Fun

As a runner, your definition of fun - which might once have included water parks, screwball comedies on DVD, and scrapbooking - must be, well, let's just say broadened and might include:

- Waking up at 5:30 AM to run 10-miles
- Running in blistering heat. Sweet, sweet heat.
- Running in the rain. I once remember running in a T-storm so severe (kind of snuck up on me) that the Well Kept Wife got into the car and came looking for me. I was having the time of my life after a lightening strike had to have hit no more than 100-yards away!
- Running in 400-meter circles
- Feeling as if your lungs are about to explode
- Paying good money for the privilege of turning your toenails black
- Any combination of the above.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First of a Series: Running Rules to Live By - Have Fun

Based loosely on a book by Mark Remy called The Runner's Rule Book as well as a Runner's World article from the January 2010 issue over the next week or so I will be posting a few running rules to live by.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Rule One: Have Fun

No other fact is so fundamental to running: Done properly, running is fun. Even when you do it improperly, running is still inherently, liberating fun. If you doubt this, just spend a few minutes watching a child or dog in any wide open space. Their glee is instinctual and undeniable. I believe it was Aristotle who said, "Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run."

Enjoy it. After all, there aren't many animal impulses that we can act on in public without getting arrested.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Books, Music, & Events

Since we only have approximately 17 minutes of daylight in the Frozen Tundra currently, one would think I have time for more blog entries. Not so. I seem to have even less time now than I did during the heady training days when the sun seemed never to set.

Training has been going....alright. I'd like to be getting in more hours but the Real Job has been wall-to-wall busy. It is the holiday season and there are presents to buy, the infamous Maas Xmas CD to create, and white bark pretzels to sample. I've been trying to get in 90-mins a day but far to often what I actually get in is more like zero.

Knots in my calves have returned. This is after not having any calf issues during the '09 season after dealing with such issues during all of '08. So its back to the drawing board to make sure I am getting the required deep tissue massage as well as calve strenghtening exercises to deal with them.

The right Achilles issue is still there, but I have been able to crank out long runs and my mileage has been surprisingly good.

My possible '10 events calendar (found on the right side navigation area) has been updated to include a possible Xterra triathlon event. If you find yourself in Jamestown, North Dakota on Jun 26, 2010 you might consider the XTERRA Pipestem Creek Off Road Triathlon. This event consists of a Swim of 1000 meters, Mountain Bike of 13 mi, and a Trail Run of 5 mi. Jamestown is my city of birth and where we won back-to-back cross country state titles in '77 and '78. It is to me what Hayward Field was to Steve Prefontaine. To this day I still prefer running a trail over a pounding 10-miler on asphalt.

While you are looking at the right side navigation area you may notice a new app on Pandora which allows you to see what music I am listening to. Pandora is an automated music recommendation and Internet radio service created by the Music Genome Project. Users enter a song or artist that they enjoy, and the service responds by playing selections that are musically similar. Users provide feedback on approval or disapproval of individual songs, which Pandora takes into account for future selections. While listening, users are offered the ability to buy the songs or albums at various online retailers. Very neat.

I just finished up a great book, 'Once a Runner: A Novel' by John L Parker. Quenton Cassidy is the hero, a cult object among serious distance runners. This was a read that had me flashing back to interval workouts of my youth. That raised my adrenaline levels during its accurate portrayal of races. That may even have brought a tear or two to my eye. I won't give all away but for me the book's true climax comes during one of Quenton's workouts in preparation for the BIG race, an interval session requiring 60 quarter-miles (for those of you who've done quarters workouts, no, that's not a typo). It was something I could relate to....and loved. If you have not yet had the enjoyment of this book, please make time for it. And there is a sequel, 'Again to Carthage'.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What Triathletes Are Thankful For

I borrowed a recent posting from EverymanTri in order to try out a new web based tool at Xtranormal. Here are the results!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eric Ware Becomes the Fastest Minnesotan

Next tri-season I'm planning to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I'll be all out of bubblegum (Google 'They Live').

How do I intend to kick ass? By biking at over 70 MPH, of course.

On September 17, Eric Ware became the fastest Minnesotan, pedaling his Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) over 71 MPH! His feat, accomplished at Nevada's Battle Mountain Human Powered Vehicle Race, also makes him the 8th fastest human. The winner of the men's event clocked a world record speed of 82.4375 MPH. The winner of the women's event covered the course at 75.458 MPH.

The Battle Mountain race is timed over a 200m distance. Racers are allowed to build up speed over 5 miles before entering the speed "trap". The Human Powered Vehicles they race are recumbent bikes fully enclosed in an aerodynamic shell.

A documentary film crew covered the event for their short film "Human Power". Check out some early footage on YouTube.

Eric races at the NSC Velodrome for the MN Cycling Team in the Cat 4/5 field.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Here is a quick recipe for some dark, cold night this winter when you want to hunker down with a meal that may remind you of Tuscany...or some other warm climate.

A frittata is a type of Italian omelet, either simple or enriched with additional ingredients, such as meats, cheeses, vegetables and even pasta. It may be compared to a crust-less quiche or, in America, "scrambled eggs." A frittata is prepared in a frying pan like a traditional French omelet however, whereas an omelet is cooked on a stove top and served folded, a frittata is not folded and is typically finished in an oven or under a broiler.

This recipe is for a Swiss chard & sausage frittata.

Serves 8
Time 30 minutes

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 Italian turkey sausages (8 oz. total), remove the casings
1/2 cup each sliced red bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, and chopped onion
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
8 large eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1. Preheat boiler with a rack set 4 in. from heat. heat oil in a large, ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Cook sausage, stirring often, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion and cook until vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in Swiss chard, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a large bowl until starting to foam. Stir in cheese and salt. Pour mixture into pan with vegetables; cook on stove until bottom sets, about 3minutes. Broil until firm and browned, 3 minutes.

Per serving 195 cal., 64% (124 cal) from fat; 14 G protein; 14 G fat (3.5 G sat.); 4.4 G carbs (1.2 G fiber); 468 MG sodium; 236 MG chol.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2010 Event Updates/Charity News

I have officially locked myself into the following events:

May 15 (signed up) - Lakes to Pines Triathlon - 500 yd swim - 14.7 mi bike - 5K run

This will be our third year at this event, which will be doing it's 3rd annual. It's been a well-run event and we have enjoyed going to it. It will be the first triathlon of the 2010 season for me unless I sneak down to a warmer clime early in the season. This has been the Boy's® annual triathlon outing, although there may be more in store for him this coming season.

May 22 (signed up) - Fargo Half Marathon

This will be my first half in quite some time. I want to gauge my ability to train and run this distance to gauge my possible attempt at a 1/2 Iron Man (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike, 13.1 mi bike) in the future. Should be a flat course.

Other possible events can be seen on the right side navigation area of this blog.

Charity News

I'm not one to plug for donations, but I wanted to pass this one along. The Well Kept Wife™ and I had the opportunity to visit Russia in 1995 and came away forever changed. A local high school quarterback for our school districts team is now raising money for an orphanage. Donations can be sent as below. Please consider a donation if your current funds allow you to do so.

Wayzata quarterback Sasha Doran, who was adopted from a Russian orphanage seven years ago, is headlining efforts to raise funds for the orphanage in which he and his two older sisters once lived. Sasha and his parents, John and Mary Ellen Doran of Plymouth, will travel to the Pechory Orphanage in late December.

Approximately 250 children live in the Pechory Orphanage, ranging in age from 3 to 18. The Doran family is collecting funds which will be used for items such as socks, toiletries and undergarments. A fundraising event will be held next month and an account has been set up to accept donations.

The fundraiser will include music, food, drinks and a silent auction. It will be held at the Hamel VFW, 1920 Hamel Road in Hamel, on Dec. 12 from 7 to 11:30 p.m.


Help Sasha Give Back

c/o Voyager Bank

10653 Wayzata Boulevard

Minnetonka, MN 55305

Monday, November 16, 2009

Looking at 2010

I've started to look at the possible race venue for 2010. These days, some of the top races reach their participation limit very quickly. Sort of like trying to get into a U2 concert.

On the right-hand navigation area I have started a space specific for possible 2010 events. My goals are simple: Experience a few new venues, try a event or two outside of the tri-state area, and run a half-marathon to gauge my potential for a future half IM.

Just this week I heard from John Larson, race director for Team Ortho. A while back I had suggested an idea for John for a 'series' type medal. Like wedges of a pie, you collect a piece of the overall medal by competing in each of the series events. Guaranteed repeat participants. Now, I'm not sure that I was the seed that planted the concept that John came up with...but take a gander.

Each medal is pie-shaped with stained glass in the middle. Once you get all four they interlock into a beautiful circle, displaying your accomplishments more uniquely than ever before.

All finishers for eligible races* will get a medal, but registrants for the Monster Marathon Series will also get a free Lucite base to help you display all four of your medals in 2010. The base will be available at the Minneapolis Marathon. All distances 10K and longer are eligible for medals. The two 5Ks that are eligible for medals are the Polar Dash and the 5K race at the Minneapolis Duathlon. You can find all the information, plus close-ups of each wedge here.

But if you want to be part of this, time is short. Final day for registration for all four races and to be included in the Monster Series is Monday, December 28th, 2009.

I might be working these four events into my schedule for 2010. It does seem early, but I can attest to the Team Ortho events being well-run and having great race day 'freebies'. Give it a thought, but don't wait too long!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 Hammer Nutrition Client Appreciation Sale

The 2009 Hammer Nutrition Client Appreciation Sale has started! From now until December 17th, enjoy discounted prices on Hammer products when you order direct. Some examples

Perpetuem 32 Servings was $44.95 is now $35.95
Hammer Whey 24 Servings was $32.95 is now $26.35
Race Caps Supreme 90 Capsules was $47.95 is now $38.35
Men's Tri Skinsuit was $74.95 is now $58.50

And much, much more. Hurry up and order early as the products go fast. Now is the time to stock up and save.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Gotta Get Me a Helmet Cam

From EverymanTri News:
Ironman Florida has long been known for athletes blatantly drafting (read cheating) on the bike. The course is pancake flat which makes for perfect drafting conditions for those unwilling to abide by the rules.

At this weekend's race an intrepid triathlete mounted a camera on his helmet during the bike portion, and documented some of the more blatant drafting.

Add a bit of appropriate music, and what you end up with is an interesting video that makes a strong case for changing the current rules to a stronger form of drafting enforcement as clearly the current system does not catch all the cheaters.

What say all you tri-geeks? Was this 'blatant cheating'? I'm not convinced that this could be categorized that way. I saw a very crowded portion of the bike race where people were jockeying for position. I saw people working their way out of being in a draft position. And I did see some obvious drafting. But when the road is crowded and the other lane is full of on-coming cars....and you have no where to can sometimes end up behind another bike. As long as you work your way out of it, I see no issue.

My question is, while the helmet cam video was way cool, how wise (read safe) was it for this person to also be taking snapshots with his digital camera. To me that's equivalent to the idiots driving while texting.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Buh-Bye Daylight

On November 1, we gained an hour as most of us turned our clocks back an hour to mark the end of Daylight Savings Time. Except thos happy people in Arizona and other regions of the country that refuse to go along with this nonsense. But for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression linked to inadequate exposure to sunlight during the winter months, that extra hour of darkness coupled with decreasing daylight is not so welcome in my case.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, as many as 18 million Americans suffer from SAD, with millions more exhibiting symptoms. Sufferers may experience depression, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia or weight gain. These symptoms are often intensified by colder weather and the stress of the holiday season. People in northern latitudes, where winter days are shorter, are more susceptible to SAD, as are people on the western edges of time zones, where it is dark later into the morning than it is on the eastern edge of the same time zone.

How do I combat SAD? Here are tried and proven steps I have taken the last few years to help me get through the eleven and a half months of winter that we experience here in The Tundra:

- Maintain a regular sleep schedule
- Get outside early & often throughout the day, especially when the sun is brightest. This can be tough when it is cold outside, but I find that if I get out for an early run or walk my day noticeable brightens.
- Vitamin-D supplements. Read more at my earlier blog entry speaking to supplements
- Use a full-spectrum light box. Exposure to bright natural light is best, but sitting for 30 to 90 minutes a day in front of full-spectrum lights can be effective.

For a full sprectrum light box, I use a NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp. Its 10,000-lux light therapy and negative ion therapy bathes you in Sky Effect light while simultaneously releasing healthy negative ions into the atmosphere. And we know all about those negative ions from my blog entries on the Trion:Z bracelets.

I set this light in front of my wind-trainer. For up to an hour (you can set the light for by 15 minute increments up to one hour), I am taking in light. And it does help. It looks like this in front of my bike.

So if you suffer from SAD, try these methods. Most importantly, will yourself to keep moving. You'll feel refreshed and happier. It's not going to change the fact that you still live in a miserable, frozen wasteland. But at least you'll be able to take on the day with ebullient vitality and energy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Magnetic Field Update

Back in July, I did a report on the Trion:Z Ionic/Magnetic bracelet. Trion:Z bracelets are not metallic but are made from a special material that is infused with negative ion-producing minerals called "STAYERS" actually woven directly into the fabric. They are double-looped to enhance their healing properties. As it clearly states on the package, the "unique, patented Alternating North South Polarity Orientation (ASPO) increases Magnetic Field Flow to maximize the power of the magnets".

During the first few weeks, I could feel some extra energy. At the time I thought it could certainly be the product. Or it could be my mind wanting it to be the product. I first purchased a silicone model especially for triathletes who swim, bike, run and generally sweat twenty-three hours a day. I then followed that up with a two loops model, alternating current, more power. I even bought one for the Well Kept Wife™.

As August started I began to reel off some great times, doing very well in a number of events. Was it the bracelet? Was it my new training regimen of working hard for two weeks followed by an easy third week? Was I just peaking at the end of the season? Or was it a combination of all three?

8/2/2009: Waseca Triathlon
4th overall (134). 1st in 45-49 (6)

8/15/2009: Young Life Triathlon
5th overall (215 total). 3rd in 40-49 AG (27 total)

8/30/2009: Minneapolis Duathlon
35th overall (813 total); 1st in 45-49 AG (44 total)

9/12/2009: West River Triathlon
3rd overall (44 total); 1st 40-49 (5 total); fastest overall bike split

9/26/2009: Plymouth Firefighters 5K
3rd overall (297 total)

While I can endorse the product, I cannot say with certainty that my recent successes can be attributed to the bracelet. I can say this, I wear it 24/7. And I will continue to do so.

You can pick one (or several) of these nifty Trion:Z ionic bracelets for a song (I paid $26.95 including shipping) compared to other magnetic lifestyle technology.

If you have used a Trion:Z and have an opinion, please leave a comment. I'd like to hear what others think.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rest, and Come Back Stronger

After my last race, I spoke to being tired and wanting to take a break and rest up. Some people assumed this meant laying on the couch watching DVD's through the long winter months. No, it simply meant I would be taking a break from races and training competitively. I will continue to work-out, but it will more much more relaxed. There will be no "OMG!" moments when I miss a work-out and fear that will equate to dropping twenty minutes on the bike.

The best rest. And they do it well. Of course, they have the best coaches charting this all out for them. Take Mr. Armstrong. His coach Chris Carmichael, founder of Carmichael Training Systems in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has helped Lance spring back to world-class form in short order...with nary a breakdown.

For an elite athlete like Armstrong, Carmichael not only inserts rest days into a training schedule, he also prescribes rest weeks, even months. After every three days of hard training, he instructs all his elite athletes to take a 24- to 48-hour break. After every three weeks, he recommends one week at half the normal training volume and intensity.

This was something that I learned from Mario Minelli this past season. I had trained my ass off last winter trying to get back to the level I had been at before my 'retirement' from the multi-sport event arena in the early 90's. I had scheduled a bunch of early warm-up races in the form of 5K's in which I was going to us them as speed workouts. Two blown Achilles and one blown hammy later and I was scratching my head wondering what the hell I was doing wrong.

It was all a case of over-training. When I started to incorporate an easy week every third week into my training regimen, the results became obvious. Look at my results from the later part of the year:

8/2/2009: Waseca Triathlon
4th overall (134). 1st in 45-49 (6)

8/15/2009: Young Life Triathlon
5th overall (215 total). 3rd in 40-49 AG (27 total)

8/30/2009: Minneapolis Duathlon
35th overall (813 total); 1st in 45-49 AG (44 total)

9/12/2009: West River Triathlon
3rd overall (44 total); 1st 40-49 (5 total); fastest overall bike split

9/26/2009: Plymouth Firefighters 5K
3rd overall (297 total)

It is this type of regeneration period allows your body to recharge not only your energy stores, but also your mental focus. You start fresh, with a more positive and confident outlook on what you want to accomplish. And one can't argue with those results.

So, I have learned to look for obvious signs of over training now. Especially as I get older (I'm 48), it helps to be able to recognize your body’s warning signals. Here are some of the most common indicators that suggest you need to take a step back, along with strategies for when and how to step it up again.

Symptom No. 1: You’re feeling tired, strung out and crabby.
What your body is trying to tell you: It may be maxed out. Generally, exercise should make you feel better, not worse. But when you’re clocking 80-hour weeks or planning your son's summer soccer schedule, intense exercise can become one more stressor in your already-stressed-out life. It can also further destabilize your body’s levels of amino acids and neurotransmitters. A lot of busy people find time to exercise by cutting back on sleep, but it’s during sleep that your body repairs and restores itself.

What to do: Focus on quality rather than quantity. Instead of training six days a week, switch to an every-other-day schedule. Or just shorten your work-outs. Sometimes I'm a mile into a planned six mile run and I know I just don't have 'it' that day. So the six mile run becomes a three mile run. Rest and recuperation will reduce cortisol levels. It’s better to have three good workouts during the week than to have five or six so-so workouts.

Symptom No. 2: You’re sick — again.
What your body is trying to tell you: If you’re getting sick a lot, it’s a sign that your immune system is struggling and that it may need more attention than your workouts for a while. Regular (moderate) exercise usually boosts immunity, but intense sessions, particularly those that last two hours or more, can lower it — especially if you don’t rest adequately between sessions or you aren’t getting adequate nutrients.

What to do: Take stock of your illness. It’s OK to continue to exercise through a cold, as long as you lower the intensity and duration. Go at a slower pace and hold yourself to just 30 or 40 minutes, max. Don’t overload congested or infection-weakened lungs, though. As a rule, if your symptoms are below the neck — or you have a fever, are vomiting or have diarrhea — stay in bed. Exercising with a fever will raise your body temperature even more, putting undue stress on your immune system and allowing the infection to flourish.

I recently posted a story from the New York Times on the effects of H1N1. The effects of flu or other illness may linger long after your fever subsides. During your first week back, train at no more than three-quarters of your normal intensity and duration. After a week, if you feel energetic during and after your workouts, resume your normal training load. During longer sessions, consume some carbohydrate in the form of a sports drink, energy bar or energy gel. Research suggests that regularly ingesting carbohydrate during endurance training can bolster immunity by stabilizing blood-sugar levels.

Symptom No. 3: You’ve hit a stubborn plateau.
What your body is trying to tell you: After six to nine months on any exercise program, everyone hits a plateau. In many cases, this indicates the body needs a new challenge. But in some cases, it’s a sign that you’re pushing too far, too fast, and not giving your body’s repair systems a chance to keep up. Remember also that your maximum muscle size and metabolism are both partly genetically determined. Trying to overcome genetics by cranking up the intensity and duration of your workouts can backfire by suppressing immunity, which in turn suppresses your metabolism. High cortisol levels also increase appetite, which may interfere with weight loss.

What to do: Evaluate your periodization schedule to see if you might be overtraining. Look at how much support you’re offering your body in return for the demands you’re placing on it. Consider adding more rest days or recovery workouts to your schedule. Also consider switching to a different fitness pursuit. If you were running, try stair climbing. If you were cycling, try the elliptical trainer. In the weight room, switch up your regular routine. Mixing it up can often provide enough of a change to stimulate weight loss and increase strength. It’s like slapping your metabolism in the face and waking it up. It keeps your body adapting.

Symptom No. 4: Your workouts aren’t making you happy.
What your body is trying to tell you: A negative mindset is often the first sign of overtraining syndrome. With a symptom list that includes grumpiness, muscle pain, fatigue, insomnia and low immunity, overtraining syndrome results from going too hard and too often without adequate rest.

Keep overdoing it, and you can expect to see stress-hormone levels rise, testosterone (the hormone in charge of muscle building and repair) levels fall and immunity plummet. You may feel tired as soon as you roll out of bed in the morning, or get more short-tempered as the day wears on.

What to do: If you have the bummed-out mindset — but without any physical symptoms — exercise at one-half your normal intensity and duration for one week. If your physical health is already suffering, you may need to stop exercising altogether for one or more weeks. If your physical symptoms have lasted for only three or four weeks, then a week off should do the trick. If you’ve been dragging around for months, take three weeks off, going for easy walks and doing yoga, or light stretching when you feel like it.

Also, consume more brightly colored fruits and vegetables (at least eight to 10 servings a day), fatty cold-water fish like salmon (at least twice a week), and healthy protein, such as beans, chicken or turkey breast (at least twice a day). These foods will help bring down cortisol levels, reduce muscle inflammation and help bolster immunity. I'll have to post my recipe for Cedar Plank Salmon one of these days.

Exercise every other day at half your normal training volume. Do this for two to three weeks, and then begin adding intensity and duration to your workouts. Keep rest days a regular part of your schedule. For every three days of hard training, take off one or two days.

Again, I won't be shutting down. I just won't be studying my times. I won't be worrying about missing a day, or two, or three as the holidays roll around. I will continue to exercise at a lower intensity and duration until after the holidays. When I start to earnestly look at my possible race calendar for 2010. And by then, the competitive juices will be starting to stir again.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fav Costumes from the Monster Dash

Note - My Race Recap can be found here.

Any race run as part of a Halloween celebration can bring out the imagination in people. To wit, I bring you my Top Ten favorite costumes spied at the Monster Dash race event held this past Saturday (10/31/09). In no certain order:

Neat idea, little tough to pass,though!

Warmest runner on a very cold and blustery day!

Are you kidding me? Had to be freezing. These two ran either the half or the underwear!

Run, Forrest, run!

Do you know the way to Sesame Street?

I wonder how his head smelled when the race was done?

Is it much further Papa Smurf?

Greatest. Super hero. Ever.

I interrupt this blog entry for a blast from the past photo of The Boy®

The Family Incredible.

I shall name him, Mini Me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monster Dash 5K9 Recap: 10/31/2009

On Halloween day, I ran the Monster Dash 5K9 event with my whippet Pont. You can read about my only other 5K9 race in my blog here. This race was part of the Team Ortho series of events, my fifth in that series for 2009.

This year, the t-shirts were ultra-cool. They ran small so I'm glad they allowed people to purchase additional on race-day. I passed my 'medium' to the Well Kept Wife™ and we picked up shirts for the Boy and for the future well as a large for me.

This race day saw four events: a Half Marathon, a 10-miler, a 5K, and the doggie 5K9. And thus comes my only bitch: If you are going to have chip-time for the longer events...have chip time for ALL events.

The 5K & 5K9 did not have any recorded times for finishers. No one was grabbing the tag off the race number at the end. So, it was basically a non-race/non-event. Should have been advertised as a fun run....because that truly was what it ended up being.

In addition, the 5K9 event was clearly published and announced numerous times during the morning as starting 5-minutes after the 5K start. So, why were there people with dogs starting with the 5K runners? Those of us with dogs, who actually listened, were left at the line wondering, "should we go..should we wait...where's the starter, etc." It was very confusing.

So, in the end...Pont and I just started running. And it was wall-to-wall people as we caught the 5K runners who had started earlier. So Pont and I were jumping from side to side, running on grass, find room to run.

OK, enough venting. Pont and I did have a super time. He did waaaayyyyyy better than I had hoped. We ended up running 21:14 (6:54/mi pace) which was very good for him. At one point we were cruising along at 5:43 pace per the trusty Garmin. Pont stayed right in there for the first two miles....barking at some dogs to get out of his way!!.....and only started to drag in the last mile. The video tells some of the story.

Once again, I was able to connect with my NDSU freshmen roomie Bill Poganski both prior to and after the event. Bill was running the non-doggie 5K. I've seen more of Bill this year than any other since I graduated...oh...a short 25-years ago. It's just great to reconnect with old chums again.

Note - click on the thumbnails for larger photo view

Bill (sporting this year's shirt) & Brian before the race.

Brian & Pont await the start of the 5K9.

Glynis, The Boy®, Pont & Brian post race.

Does this officially bring a close to my 2009 racing season? I think so. I'm tired. The Achilles is still an issue. And we're heading into the Insane Season of holidays. It might be time for a short break then begin planning for 2010.

Time to go give Pont and nice treat..and then the electric blanket to warm up in with sister Glynis.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pre-Race Report: Team Ortho Monster 5K9 Race

On Halloween Day, at 10:35 AM the gun will sound and I'll be racing in my 15th event of the season. Most likely my last for 2009 unless I get the urge for something else.

You may ask, 'why is it a 5K9'? That's because this is a special 5K for runners to have a family member along. Namely, your dog. It should be a blast for me and my whippet, Pont. The Well Kept Wife™, the Boy®, and retired racing whippet Glynis will be watching.

I did this once before. On May 8th, 1993 I competed in a 5K9 with our Dalmatian, Olivia. Olivia passed a few years ago and we miss her dearly. She was also a fantastic running partner. Dalmatian's are breed to trot all day next to horses. That was their original role as a coach or carriage dog, so called because they were formerly used to run in attendance of a coach. To this day, Dalmatians retain a strong affinity for horses, often naturally falling in behind a horse and cart in perfect position.

And Olivia's endurance surpassed my own. She could keep pace with me during any running workout. As she did on this day. In fact, it was nothing more than a lazy jog for her.

I didn't keep the time, but we were good enough for 3rd place overall. A nice finish.

If I had Olivia tomorrow, I'd dare say we could be favored. Instead, I have this:

Not to say Pont is not athletic. He can hunt down a gazelle in seconds long as he catches the prey inside 300-yards. After that, a whippet is done. All fast twitch fibers. No reserve fuel. So it will be interesting to see exactly how we do. I'm guessing we may even need to walk a bit. I'm secretly hoping we can come in under 24-minutes. Keep in mind I ran a 19:31 5K just a bit over a month ago.

The weather looks to be at least sunny, with the temps in the upper 30's. It will be gusty, though. Thankfully, no bike.