Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Shades

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades,
I gotta wear shades

Song: "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades"
Recorded by: "Timbuk 3"

This past weekend after I had picked up my race packet at Gear West Triathlon for the Lake Waconia tri, I popped next door at the Gear West run store. I needed to pick up a new soccer ball for the Boy®. I stopped by the shade case and started to browse. I don't know what it is about shades, it's like you never have enough pairs.

Gear West had always carried Rudy Project so I was surprised to see they had discontinued carrying that line and were now carrying Giro. None other than owner Jan Guenther herself talked me through the new collection. She decided to switch to Giro after trying a pair and was impressed with their durability and the lenses.

I settled on a pair of white shades from their Filter™ line. These are at the top of the Giro’s range, the new Filter™ sunglass is a ‘half-entrapped’ sport style featuring Giro’s revolutionary, patented Pop Top™ lens interchange technology. With Pop Top, you can change lenses in seconds without the usual stress, uncertainty and potential for damaging the lenses that is common to other interchangeable glasses. And they are easy to switch out.

The key to the Pop Top system is a clever locking cam mechanism that is seamlessly integrated into the frame, which releases the lens for easy removal and then secures the new lens in the frame when you’re done. The Filter features removable 8-base polycarbonate ZEISS™ lenses with True Sight™ technology for 100% filtering of harmful UV rays and incredibly clear, accurate vision. As Jan said, the lenses are 'so easy on the eyes'. They are great lenses.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Am Wussy

I recorded my first ever triathlon DNF at the Lake Waconia tri on Sunday. It was a beautiful blue sky and the temps were perfect both on land and at sea. Only there was a wind of 20 MPH gusting to 33 MPH and that's where it all fell apart for me. In fact my first warning of trouble is when the race director announced he was shortening the swim for the age-groupers from a half-mile to a quarter-mile swim due to the conditions on the water.

Lake Waconia is a good sized lake. And we started on the south shore. The wind was out of the WNW at creating frothy white-caps. I breath only from my left side as I swim. I have tried and tried to learn to breath from each side. But I can't dance, I can't juggle, and I can't breath bilaterally.

So a little over halfway to the first buoy I turned to take in air and instead took in half the lake. I've taken in water on the swim before so I didn't immediately panic. I just paused and tried to cough it out and be able to take in air. This is how it looked going towards the first buoy.

Only I kept getting blasted by the waves. A lifeguard happened to be at the right spot at the right time so I hung onto her foam rescue pad for a few ticks. I thanked her and took off again. Six or seven strokes later I got blasted again. At this point, looking back, I should have just rolled to my back or tried a sidestroke. But I called for the lifeguard, boarded a boat and my day was over.

I guess I was not surprised when I got on the boat to find others there. From my vantage point on the boat I was maybe 25-yards from the buoy. Now second guessing myself perhaps if I would have made the turn I think I would have been in better shape. Did I give up too easily? Hard to say. When I turned in my chip, I was told these were the worst swim conditions in the history of the event. I don't consider myself a weak swimmer, but once panic and doubt set in its not like you can just stand and take a break. The sharks were circling.

Count this up as a lesson learned. And I have a whole new appreciation for the elite athlete. Those boys and girls did not have their course shortened. They swam the whole thing, as bad as it was.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lake Waconia Tri Preview

Sunday I will attempt to complete the Lake Waconia triathlon. It is the 20th anniversary of this event, and the first time I am doing it. This tri consists of: Swim 1/2 Mile, Bike 20 Miles, Run 4 Miles. And I say 'attempt' as my Achilles is still not 100% but gol' darn it, I paid good money to enter so I might as well attempt it.

I'm actually looking forward to the swim. When I picked up the race packet on Friday I was told the water temp was 78-degrees so it should be akin to swimming in my bathtub.

The only concern is my endurance. My work schedule...not my work-out schedule...but the job that pays the bills has been brutal the last three weeks. I've been getting only four to five hours a week of training. And when you consider I'm not running, well you get the picture.

My goals are:

15-minutes (1:42 per 100 yds pace)

55-minutes (21.8 MPH average)

35-minutes (8:45 per mile)

We'll see what happens. Sounds like great weather with a chance for a stiff breeze (15-20 mph).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Everything is Bigger In Texas

From my ol' Texas training buddy, Tim Carroll, who sent me this photo recently (that's not Tim in the picture). Anyone training in Texas take care now!

9 feet, 1 inch - 97 lbs.

A reminder that these creatures are actually out there. This snake was recently found at the J & S Quik Mart located just south of RR 3014 turnoff on Highway 281 south of Tow, Texas. That's about 30 miles from Austin.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Annnnnd, We're Back

Gosh, it has been a while since last posting. Work has been an absolute bear. I've been on business travel, and summer camps are in full swing.

First up, the Boy®. He got out of school on June 8. He done passed the third grade, just like Jethro Bodine of the Beverly Hillbillies. And just like Jethro, this boy can 'cipher' as he ranked in the 99th percentile in the district in his math assessment and came in at the 95th percentile in his reading assessment.

His soccer team has been on a roll and is still undefeated. The Boy® has done very well playing in goal and scored two goooooAAAAAALLLLLLLLs! in his last game.

The Boy® is now swimming on the Lifetime Fitness swim team. I guess that is my big news. 9-years old and already swimming 90-min workouts and keeping up with 14-year old girls. Think about that....90-minute workouts at the age of nine....and he thinks it is 'fun'. He'll be beating me by next summer!

As for me, the Achilles is healing slowly. Very slowly..if at all. I'm not even sure I can race next weekend (Lake Waconia) or the weekend after that (Minneman). I had signed up for both events ages ago prior to the Achilles mess.

My choices are to simply skip one or both. Or show up and compete in the swim and bike then drop out. Or suck it up, hold my head high and plan on walking the run.

I tried to run the other day and I gave up after 2-mins as the tendon is still not in a good spot. So, sort of depressed over that. To be honest, I think the ol' season is over. I've been biking and swimming to stay in shape if/when the Achilles lets me run again.

The Boy® and I made our obligatory weekend excursion to my parents lakeside retreat last weekend. Weather was pretty good and Gramps and grandson had a good time fishing off the dock as well as from the boat.

I witnessed a loon challenge a heron one morning, which was pretty neat. I was watching a loon when I spied a heron walking along the rushes.

The heron must have been close to the loon's nest as the loon let out a warning cry and then abruptly starting flapping its wings across the water towards the heron who quickly vacated.

I figured the loon couldn't take to the air because it had a bad Achilles.

At any rate, hope all your training is going well. I always call summer solstice the first day of fall as the days start to get shorter now. So much for summer!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dakota Rail Trail

Monday (June 1) was another Drag Me to Hell day at work. What does one do in that case? Three hours of workouts, of course.

I first did 2000 yards in the pool. 1000-yd warm-up followed by 4x200's with 30-second rest intervals followed by 2x100's at 20-second rest intervals. I kept the RI high as I was coming off a 3000-yard workout from Saturday. But I felt strong in the water. For whatever reason, I had been struggling since setting my 500-yard PR (7:57) on May 16 in the first triathlon of the season.

But, more importantly was getting to the bike. Just that morning I had read about a new paved trail located nearby.

The local Three Rivers Park District has opened its scenic Dakota Rail Trail between Wayzata and St. Bonifacius -- 13 miles of paved bike and walking paths that weave along the inlets of Lake Minnetonka, providing spectacular views along the way. The trail is built on the former Dakota Rail roadbed.

My only concern was how far from the Luce Line trail would I have to go in order to locate the Dakota Rail Trail. I shouldn't have worried.

I left the house in Plymouth and made my way to the Luce Line trail. This path is paved all the way to Vicksburg lane where the path becomes a limestone trail. The limestone trail is why I don't ride the Cervélo when I take this route. I don't want to get home and have to hose all that gunk out. So, I stick with the city bike and I do just fine. I usually take this trail to Ferndale, then turn north and hook up with Highway 6 and bike all over the Baker Park District.

This time, I turned south on Ferndale and went a short distance (1/2 mi?) where I picked up the new trail at the intersection of Ferndale and Grove Lane near Shaver Park.

Here's the route I took:

Total Trip Summary: City Bike (Cannondale Bad Boy Ultra)
Distance: 40.31 mi
Elevation Gain: 1,948 ft
Avg Speed: 18 MPH (per my bike as I stopped to take some photos and didn't stop the Garmin)

Techy Note - Send route to your Garmin or interact with the map here. Play the route via Garmin Connect here.

As you can see below, once on the Dakota Rail Trail the course is flat as a Kansas wheat farm.

The course is beautiful, especially the first half when you traverse the bays of Lake Minnetonka. It was a busy trail, but not so much that I was constantly barking, "On your left!"

When I reached the trails end in St. Bonifacius, I stopped to snap their welcoming sign.

There are a few areas where you have to cross roads that are laden with traffic. One such area is in Westonka. But otherwise, the path is very family friendly. It should be one heck of a ride later this fall as well.

So now I have a choice for 40-mile rides. I can hit the hills out at Baker or stay flat via the Dakota Rail Trail. And it's good to have that option.

Hope to see you out there!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Piano Recital

We interrupt this triathlon blog to bring your The Boy's® piano recital. We're not just a bunch of dumb jocks in this family!