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.