Monday, December 24, 2012

The Preseason Cometh

Another winter comes
His icy fingers creep
Into these bones of mine
These memories never sleep

Ghost Story - Sting

After a a lost race season in 2012 due to a tibial stress fracture, I seem to be firmly on the mend. However, no one should expect me to be immediately back on the podium. No one should expect me to be toeing the start line. No one should be expecting much of anything other than seeing my friendly face at upcoming events.

I went into 2012 really gunning to achieve some fairly lofty goals. Sub 18-minute 5K, sub 1:22 half-marathon, sub 37:30 10K, USAT honorable mention in triathlon. All whisked away like a dream.

Instead, I will be using the first three months of 2013 just to continue a very slow ramp up to being strong in 2014. In other words, 2013 will be used to get back into race shape. Carefully. Let me underline that word: carefully.

During these first three months, there won't be any running weeks of 70 miles. No bike weeks of 160 miles. No swim weeks of 12000 yards. Nope. Be more like I'm doing now. Running about 15 miles a week, biking 70 miles, and swimming 6000 yards. Cautious. Careful. Baby steps.

Here are the races I plan to run during the first three months of 2013:

Race Date City
Resolution Solution 5K 1-Jan White Bear
Yukon Days 1 Mile 19-Jan White Bear
Hamel 5K 2-Feb Hamel
Becker Community Center Chase a Leprechaun 5K Fun Run/Walk 9-Mar Becker
St. Patrick's Day 5K 16-Mar Fargo

I have a goal of just getting under 20-minutes in the 5K before April. With my low mileage, I think that will be a stretch. On the other hand, I am running those few miles each week very hard. Typically on the treadmill with built in intervals. For example, for one 5K treadmill workout I started out at 7:40 pace and increased my speed incrementally after each 1K. With 1K to go, I pushed it along at 6:20 pace. I've been reading more and more about top runners and triathletes running less miles, but making those miles high quality with built in rest days. So far, I like it. We'll see how this approach translates to race results.

The low training hours has also helped another aspect. After being out of racing for almost a full year, I have to say I simply have zero fire in the belly. I could care less about results. I simply want to be back competing. I suppose I should say 'participating'. I have zero desire to get up early just to get in a workout. Don't care. Not one iota. Perhaps after a slow ramp-up in 2013 I get back to serious competition in 2014. Maybe. Maybe not. Really, I just want to get through 2013 injury free and happy to see all your smiling faces again.

So, have a great holiday period as we end 2012. My "Annus Horribilis" And be smart about your training. Can't wait to see you all again. Hello 2013.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Product Review: Withings WiFi Scale

The Withings WiFi Scale is a scale that measures your body weight and body fat %, and then wirelessly transmits it via standard WiFi to a website that allows you to track and record your weight.  But more importantly than than their website, it transmits data to a massive ecosystem of health, training and sports websites and software.  Including popular applications like Training Peaks, Sport Tracks, Facebook and Twitter.

On the upper right navigation area of this blog, you will now see a widget specific to my weight, BMI, lean mass and fat percentage. Not that I want everyone to know how fat I currently am, but I am using it as incentive to drop the weight before the heart of the 2013 racing season begins. My goal is to get under 139 lbs. 

I would post a very in-depth review of the scale, but DC Rainmaker has already done just that. So, for that detailed review, go hereI bought the scale after reading his super review on it. I then purchased it at Clever Training using 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCRSAVE10 at checkout

I had the scale operating within 15-minutes and posting to the web site. This included unpacking it. So, trust is super easy. After set-up, you can add up to eight separate users. Each member of the family can have their own account, but all are accessible from the main web site. What is nifty, is that the scale will recognize the user just by stepping on it (for the first time, it will initiate recognition determined by the weight you entered when setting up the individual account).

Set-up, as I said is easy. Just have to connect it to your computer via USB cord JUST for the initial set-up, then it is WiFi enabled. 

Set-up is an easy step-by-step process

Just have to connect it via USB for the initial set-up only
To learn even more, view the video below:

So far, I am enjoying the scale quite a lot. I like the simple, intuitive set-up. I like the easy social interfacing across multiple fronts. The only social site I have come across that does not currently link to it is Beginner Triathlete and they indicated to me the sale interface would not be added unless more people requested it. Of course, that is the triathlon training site I have selected. Maybe I switch to Training Peaks instead!?!?

Have fun with it. I know I will.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Podium Boy Has Great Swim Meet

Podium Boy had one of those swim meets where he caught up to the growth spurts and muscle development that every 12 year old goes through, and just put the new engine all together. It was a meet where at the end his Fat Old Dad threw both arms in the air and let out a blood curdling war whoop that had all the adults in attendance looking. It was two days of beauty. 

The haul for seven events included seven best times, three new B-Times, and a cornucopia of ribbons

  1. 100 Free: 1:12.11 (dropped 1.05 secs) ; 9th overall
  2. 50 Back: 37.70 (dropped 3.37 secs); 2nd in C group
  3. 50 Fly: 35.87 (dropped 1.89 secs); won heat and 8th overall
  4. 200 Free: 2:39.73 (dropped 14.50 secs); 2nd in C group
  5. 50 Free: 31.44 (dropped 1.37 secs); 10th overall
  6. 100 Fly: 1:21.18 (dropped 2.23 secs); 3rd overall
  7. 500 Free: 6:58.34 (dropped 42.93 secs); won heat, lapping some kids, and took home the C Overall win

The Post Meet Haul
The two events that stood out for me were the 50-Back and 500 Free. Dropping over three seconds in any 50-event is statistically significant. So, something 'clicked' there.

The 500 was dramatic as our goal going in was 7:17. With about 150-yards left, I thought he had a chance to go under 7 but needed to pick it up slightly. The coach read my mind and had the person counting laps for Podium Boy shake the lap counter to indicate he needed to pick it up. And he did. His fastest lap was the opening with a 36.34. His second fastest lap was the closing, in 39 seconds. Freaking awesome. I wish I would have recorded it, but I was too busy recording his splits against the goals set. But it will live on in memory.

And let's face it, how many of you adult TriGeek age groupers out there would kill for a sub-7 minute 500? Count me among you.

He now has two swim meets in January, one in February and then C-Finals at the end of February followed by A/B finals the next week. The question now: Will he actually having anything to race for in C-finals, or will he have B Times in all his events? 

Currently he has B -times in:

  1. 50 Free
  2. 100 Free
  3. 200 Free
  4. 500 Free
  5. 50 Back
  6. 50 Fly
  7. 100 Fly
He has C-times in:
  1. 100 Back
  2. 200 Fly
I think he could yet get his B-times on those two events. And we will be adding the 200 Back and 100 IM to the upcoming meets to see if he can get his C times there. We've avoid the IM's in the past because this child cannot breaststroke to save his life. But, that has been improving.

I can't wait for the next growth spurt.