Sunday, February 27, 2011

When a Kid Listens

If you are a parent, you will understand what this entry is all about. Listening. Why, God oh why, is it so hard to get a child to listen? Actually hear what is being told to them? This same child, who can run back and forth on a playground for hours at the age of four, can't then respond to a simple verbal command. It is as if their brains can only have one stimulus at any given time. And even then, if said stimulus is asking to pick up their clothes, the brain seems to simply reject the message as inappropriate.

The Boy® is now 10. In fact, he turns 11 in April. We still have verbal exchanges like this.

Dad - Did you wash your hands?
Boy - Yes.
Dad - Did you really?
Boy - Actually, no.
Dad - Can you go wash your hands now?
Boy - Yes.

Three minutes later when the Boy® fails to appear at the dinner table, Dad finds him in his room playing with his Nerf guns.

Dad - Um, did you wash your hands? Dinner is ready.
Boy - I was going to.
Dad - Well, do it. Now.

Two minutes later the Boy® arrives at the dinner table.

Dad - Did you wash your hands? (You parents know what is coming, don't you?)
Boy - Yes.
Dad - Good. Did you use soap?
Boy - Yes.
Dad - Let me smell your hands.
Boy - OK, I didn't use soap.

Brain damage. Not the Boy®. I don't think he is brain damaged. But I know after ten years of rearing him, I am. Maybe Bill Cosby said it best.

Bill Cosby: A person with no children says, "Well I just love children," and you say "Why?" and they say, "Because a child is so truthful, that's what I love about 'em - they tell the truth." That's a lie, I've got five of 'em. The only time they tell the truth is if they're having pain.

This past weekend was the Minnesota C-Finals Swim meet for 12 & Under. The Boy had qualified in four events: 100 IM, 50 Fly, 200 Free, and 100 Free. The first three events were Saturday. Even though he has achieved C qualifying standards in those, they are his weakest events (let's not even talk about breast stroke, OK?).

He had a full set of braces installed on Monday. For two days he basically moaned and wailed about how much his mouth hurt. And I could totally empathize. He also ate very little all week as he couldn't master chewing with 150-yards of wire in his mouth.

Friday night he probably got a little stomach bug. His mom (aka the Well Kept Wife) told him told suck it up. He was swimming and that was that. Saturday did not go well. He was slower than his PR in all the events. Significantly slower.

Sunday, I pulled him in for a 1:1 discussion after breakfast. Actually, he came to me. He wanted to know how we would handle the 100-free. Him coming to me....good sign. Meant he was ready to listen.

As his event was not until a little after noon, I had allowed him to sleep in. We then hit our local club and I had him do a easy 500-yard warm-up. I noticed (again!) that his flip turns were really too early. He was missing ample opportunity to get a big push off from the wall. So, after his 500 warm up we chatted about taking 1-2 extra strokes so he could have a tighter turn.

I had him do a couple of starts off the blocks, going hard for 25 then easy return. We worked a bit more on the turns. He was getting it. Receptive, and getting it.

On the way to the meet, we then talked about strategy outside the start and turns. We decided to try and hit about 19-20 secs for the first 25, then hit 20-21 for the next 25. And here's where I changed things up a bit. For the third 25, I asked the Boy to treat it as if that was the last length. To kick like crazy. I used the words Controlled Chaos to emphasize that while I wanted him to let it all hang out on that length, I did not want him to lose his form. Then, simply hold on for the last 25.

I warned him that the body will say, "No more! I'm done." And at that point, the mind's response to the body must be, "No, we are not done yet."

In the end, he finished on the podium with a 3rd place finish. His splits (approx) were 18.4, 20.6, 22.5, & 22.5 for a 01:24.77. B standard is 1:25.49. He had been knocking on that door, banging loudly in fact, for three meets now.

For a second or two, I wasn't sure he was going to get it. But he did. Bettering his previous PR by almost a full three seconds. Take a look for yourself (lane 4, orange googles/black swim cap). He didn't just knock on the door. He busted it in.

But that's not even why I was so happy and proud. I was happy and proud because he did everything I asked him to do. And isn't that all a parent or coach wants?

Next up - AB Finals on March 5 & 6, where he will the 50 & 100 free and 50 back.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two More Speed Workouts Added

I located two running events in March that I'll be using strictly for speed workouts. I won't be leaving it all on the course at either of these events but rather give a 85% or so effort. When one trains solo, it can be hard to find the motivation to dig deep for a speed type workout. Always easier to pace yourself when running with others.

Mar 12 (signed up) - Chase a Leprechaun 5K; Becker, MN

Becker is a small hamlet west of the Twin Cities more famous for its huge furniture store. Close enough that I can sleep in a bit as it is a 10:30 AM start.

Mar 19 (signed up) - Get Lucky 7K, MPLS - 7K (4.52mi)

I like the distance. Especially with my first international event, a 10K in London, two weeks later. A 5K-7K tuneup should be just about perfect. And a cool finishers medal.

I encourage all of you to find local events as well to jump into and use for speed workouts prior to the big tri season starting in earnest. You don't want to hit your first true event of the season cold. And you are helping the local community and these race organizers by supporting their events.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Smoothies and Blenders

I have been getting back into smoothies, especially for lunch. Now, I'm not saying making your own smoothie from scratch is a huge time commitment, but in this mad-mad-mad world of rush-rush-rush every minute counts.

In the past I have made a variety of smoothies from the book, Blend It, which has a ton of recipes. My favorite is The Elvis, found on page 26. 1/2 cup of milk, 1 sliced frozen banana, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Simple enough.

But new to the market is Yoplait® Frozen Smoothie prepared mixes. Yoplait® makes smoothies fast and fabulous straight from your freezer. They're rich in nutrition with real fruit, live and active cultures, calcium. You can enjoy 1 full serving of fruit with four great tasting varieties. Just add milk and blend!

My favorite so far has been the Blueberry Pomegranate mix. They are really, really good. Each bag has two servings. Just cut it open, pour half the bag into the blender, add milk and within a minute you have a great smoothie ready.

This week, our old blender seemed to be leaking a bit. And I could see smoke arising from inside the jar as I blended my smoothies. So, off I went to get a new blender. I ended up getting the Breville BBL600XL Ikon 750-Watt 51-Ounce Blender. 750 watts. It has 6 blades, not the standard 4. It even has two preset programs for ice crushing and smoothies.

I put the blender through its paces with the smoothie setting. It is really neat as it does blend and pulse at preset speeds. You can just walk away for a minute. The blender is very quiet. Extremely quiet. Only issue is there was leakage from the bottom of the glass canister even before I put it on the blender. I'm going to have to double check that seal. If it continues to leak, back she goes. A leaky blender is not good for the inner workings!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Race Result: Hamel 5K

"To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."
Sir Isaac Newton

Unless you are running a race in Minnesota in winter. Then, this is not true. One wonders if one is actually running on a bed of banana peels.

Actually, the Hamel Freeze Your Buns 5K Run held on February 6, 2011 had fairly decent conditions. Starting gun temp was 26 above (F), felt like 21 with wind from N at 8mph. The roads were wet from a combination of light snow that had fallen Saturday night and good ol' Minnesota salt that is used to keep the roads as ice free as possible.

However, in some spots we were running on that ultra slippery combination of light ice and slush. And traction was virtually non-existent. But it wasn't as bad as I had feared.

Probably the worst thing that happened was my beloved Nike Lunaracers have run their last race. This is like letting go of a cherished and valued friend. Weighing in at 5.5oz, these were by far the best damn racing flat I have ever had the honor of competing in.

Ultra thin sides finally blew out
The problem is, the new version of these shoes have had unfavorable reviews. The box is narrow, and the shoe just doesn't feel right. I tried on a pair about a month ago, and told the salesman to put them back in the box.

So, I have ordered....drum roll, please.......the Mizuno Wave Universe 3. All 3.8 ounces of them. Can't wait until they come. When I race in London on April 2, I hope to have these new flats broken in and ready to rock.

But back to the Hamel 5K.

Goal: Just have a good speed workout and come in under my race PR of 20:14
Actual: 19:14 (6:12 per mile pace) official.
Overall: Second (est, 150+ total)
AG Overall: First

I ended up leading the race thru about 2.3 miles. I had some people hang with me for the first mile and they faded. At that point I was all by my lonesome and wondering where everyone was. I felt sort of caged up and wanting to let loose. However, this was just a small race. Something I entered just to do a speed workout and not go all bonkers. So I just kept with the pace and tried to stay loose.

When we made the turn to head north, straight into the wind, I looked back and there was no one there. However, I spied a person in a red jacket that had not been with the lead group before. So I knew that person was coming.

I was wearing only very thin bottoms and just two layers on top (Under Armour heat wear and over that Under Armor Cold wear). Going into the wind I was starting to tighten up. Shortly after mile 2 I could hear footsteps. Question was: One person, or two? I didn't know until he came up beside me. It was just us two as we made the final turn for home with about 0.4 miles to go.

Now, at this point I could have gone with him. But there was no point. This race gives no awards. It does not go to any USAT ranking. I was content to bring it home nice and relaxed. I think I ended up like 16-seconds back of the overall winner. He ran a great race. My congrats to him.

Overall, I was very pleased. This might sound cocky, but the race felt so easy. So comfortable. I'm starting to think 2011 could be a very good season for me as I continue racing in my new age group of 50-54. My training times are so ahead of where I was at this point last year. I just need to stay on the gas and my race results should be even faster than 2010. I'm sort of excited.

I have yet to begin to incorporate any speed workouts so to be running nearly under 19-minutes in early February is very good news for this old man. Extra layers of cloths, two pairs of socks (thin), and muscle tightening cold temps and wind.....yeah, I'll take it.

Next Event:

April - Miles for Missing People 10k; London, England 10K run (me) and 2 mile fun run (Well Kept Wife and the Boy®)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Totals: Month Ending January 2011

It was a nice start to the year. I was able to meet most of my goals, really missing only on 1) wanted to have in 40+ hours training and, 2) over 20,000 yds in the pool. Factor in crappy weather, focus on the Real Job©, and travel to a race destination and I lost a bit of time. But I'm focused.
Two great things about the month were the duathlon in Texas that gave me a good result (Hello USAT, um post the par score already!!). And that I really started to get into, and maintain, a good deal of time doing strength training and yoga using the Wii Fitness Plus gaming system. From planks to lunges to stretching, my back has not felt this good in a long time. Will it mean anything come race season? We'll see.

January 2011 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 36:16:58
Swim Yards - 17000
Bike Miles - 317.83
Run Miles - 100.42 (7:53 per mile avg)

Compare to last year -

January 2010 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 28:01:11
Swim Yards - 20100
Bike Miles - 202.43
Run Miles - 64.23 (8:35 per mile pace)

Compare to last month -

December 2010 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 21:47:40
Swim Miles - 8.05
Bike Miles - 181.75
Run Miles - 54.82 (7:53 per mile avg)

Next Event -

Feb 6 - Hamel 5K; Hamel, MN

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2011 Events Update

This early in the season, a race calendar is a very fluid thing. Early season injury, weather playing havoc with your training, or Uncle Sam decides to take away half of your savings circa April 15. The reasons are many.

Gone from my race schedule:

Feb 20 - Texas Motor Speedway Duathlon; Ft. Worth, TX (USAT) - 2mi run, 15mi bike, 2mi run

I really wanted to do this, but my calf muscles are still sore from the Jan 23 race in Houston. And my Texas connection, Tim "Buckwheat" Carroll is not able to attend. And the race bike is in Tim's garage currently. Since I did this course in November, there is no need to rush back

Sep 4 - Hy-Vee Triathlon/5150 U.S. Championship; Des Moines, IA (USAT) - 1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run

I might still bring this one back. But it is $150 big ones. It is on a holiday weekend. And I cannot get any confirmation that my DeSoto Water Rover wetsuit will allowed.

Oct 8 (?) - Fargo Mini-Marathon (10K); Fargo, ND

Another one that may circle back. But no official date has been set yet.
Oct 23 - 5150 Galveston; Galveston, TX (USAT) - 1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run

Like Hy-Vee, it is $150 big ones. And like Hy-Vee I cannot get any confirmation that my DeSoto Water Rover wetsuit will allowed.

Nov 13 - Rock 'n Roll San Antonio Half-Marathon; San Antonio, TX

Could come back as I most likely will jump in a late season half marathon.

One Click Away from making official:

Apr 2 - Miles for Missing People 10k; London, England 10K run and 2 mile fun run

OK, not sure if this will happen or not. But we have been toying with what I think would be our 10th trip to London over spring break. If it happens, then we'll make this race happen.

Apr 30 - Iron Mountain Du; Arkadelphia, Arkansas (USAT) 2.5mi run, 13.5mi bike, 2.5mi run

May 1 - Iron Mountain Tri; Arkadelphia, Arkansas (USAT) - 400 yard swim, 13.5mi bike, 2.5mi run

These two events, the du is held Saturday afternoon and then we return Sunday morning for the tri, are all but certain. I loved my time at this venue last year winning the overall Master's title. I look forward to the challenge of winning the overall Grand Masters title this time around. I plan to sign up in early April once I know I am for sure to be injury free.

May 14 - Lakes to Pines Triathlon; Park Rapids, MN 500 yard swim, 14.7mi bike, 5K run

The Well Kept Wife© was hoping to make this her first triathlon, but she needs to attend a niece's graduation instead. I have done this event every year since its inception and I am sure I will return this year. I'll hold off until April to register. Only question is whether the Boy® races in the kids event or stays back for family obligation. Note - this is the only non USAT triathlon on my calendar for a is a great event.

July 16(?) - Jamestown (North Dakota) YMCA Duathlon

I was born in Jamestown and spent the first 23-years of my life there. I would love to go back to race there. If this race gets USAT sanction approval (a little bare foot birdie told me they are considering), I am so there.

Sep 11 - Cy-Man Triathlon; Polk City, IA (USAT) - 500 yard swim, 14.3mi bike, 5K run

I did this last year and enjoyed it. Nice course. I'd like to try it again and hopefully the wind will be a lot less.

Sep 24 - Sanford Roger Maris 10K/2mile Fun Run; Fargo, ND

Gotta hit Fargo at least once this summer to see family. And we can run as a family with the 10K and 2 mile offerings.

Oct 2, 2011 -  Du the Bear Duathlon in Bear Creek Park near Katy, TX - 2 mile run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run. On the same course as the Frost Yer Fanny event that I did on January 23.

Would be a nice way to end the multi-sport season. Would be a super fast course as this venue is pancake flat.

Locked and loaded:

Feb 6 (signed up) - Hamel 5K; Hamel, MN

May 28 (signed up) - Apple Duathlon; Sartell, MN (USAT) - 5k run, 33k bike, 5k run

Jun 5 (signed up) - Pigman Sprint Triathlon; Cedar Rapids, IA (USAT) - Swim .5K, Bike 25K, Run 5K

Jul 2 (signed up) - Minneman Triathlon; Oak Grove, MN (USAT) - 0.3 Mile Swim, 13mi bike, 3 mi run

Aug 13 (signed up) - Turtleman Duathlon; Shoreview,MN (USAT) - 3K run, 36K bike, 8K run

Aug 27 (signed up) - Maple Grove Sprint Triathlon; Maple Grove, MN (USAT) - 0.3mi swim, 14mi bike, 3mi run