Tracking

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What to wear?

Triathlon clothing is difficult for me.  My legs are long, my torso is short, and I'm not real comfortable parading around in spandex that shows off every curve of my body.  Another issue is that OKC isn't really a hotbed for triathlon shops so the ability to shop around and try on different brands of gear is difficult.  My local bike shop has started to carry more tri gear, but they only carry a few brands.  I've tried to order gear online and try it on, but the process of shipping, then returning gear becomes tedious.  I seem to have found a pair of tri shorts that I like, but I'm concerned they aren't going to be a good fit for long-course triathlons.  They don't have much padding and I'm not sure my rear will appreciate 112 miles on a bike in these shorts.  I love the fit though and they work great for my shorter distance events.  They are the low-cut Desoto Forza tri shorts and I love the way they sit lower on my waist to help hide some of my curves in my midsection and allow me to move comfortably on the bike.  I've yet to find a tri top that fits the bill, so if  anyone has any suggestions let me know.  For my Oly triathlon in Austin last year I raced in the Team-in-Training top made by Sugoi.  It was sufficient, but I didn't fall in love with it.  I've tried on Desoto, 2XU, and a few Zoot tops and haven't yet found one that fits perfect.  I keep hoping that I'll stumble on to something great, but it just hasn't happened.  For the time being, I'll continue to represent Team-in-Training until I can find something better. 

I don't even want to think about trying to find a swim skin yet.  Since Louisville isn't wetsuit legal, I'll have to make that decision over the next few months.  Do you all think a swim skin would be beneficial?  I've read conflicting viewpoints.  I'm undecided whether it's worth dropping another few hundred dollars for something that's not going to add buoyancy.  I'm not going to be a fast swimmer anyway, so the benefits may not be worth the cost. 

Yesterday I started compiling a list to take with me to my local bike shop in 2 weeks when I go in to buy my triathlon bike.  I forget how any add-ons you have to buy in addition to the bike.  I'm hoping I can score a deal on a 2010 model still, but by now they may not have many to choose from in my size.  I'm pretty excited to get the new bike and get to work though.  I've never ridden with aero bars before so I'm sure there will be a little learning curve before I get fully comfortable.  I'll probably try to get in a few rides on the trainer each week to help get my body adjusted to the position and then I'll try my luck at the March in Okarche duathlon in late March.

Only 3 more weeks of "play-time" before the real training kicks in.  I'm taking off for a quick trip to the slopes this coming week so my training will take a back seat for a few days.   I'll squeeze in a few workouts tomorrow and Tuesday, then it's time to enjoy a few days off before I dial in the training.  Have a good start to the week gang. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

President's Day - Worker Bee

I think we were one of the very few trading shops actually open today since it was a bank/trading holiday.  The good thing about the market being closed is that I didn't walk into chaos.  It was odd to be able to just come in and leisurely start my day.  Definitely a stark change from the usual frenetic pace of the first few hours of my day.

The swim today was craptastic.  I think it was something in the water though.  Even the ex-college swimmer in the lane with me said he was filling pretty weak today too.  Believe me, his weak still laps me quite often.  Swimming with an ex-college swimmer in your lane is a perfect way to shoot your confidence and realize you have a long way to go still.  I considered saying no to him when he asked to share a lane with me because I knew he'd make me feel like a sloth in the water.  Haha, very selfish I know.  The pool was packed today too.  It must be time for everyone's training schedules to kick into gear because all the triathletes were in there.  I'm definitely the weakest swimmer of the group too so it's a little disheartening to have everyone in the pool with me.  The good news (I guess) is that I'll be moving my swims to the AM pretty soon.  I have to be at work at 7 so it'll be quite the adjustment, but I've heard that very few people swim in the morning.  It will be nice to have my own lane because I get distracted when the pool is busy.  I focus too much on what's going on around me.  It's nice to be able to zone in and try to make myself better.

Finally, I'll leave you with a quote I pulled from another blog I read : The Simple Dollar.  It's not an endurance sports blog.  It's actually a personal finance blog that I started reading many years ago which helps me stay focused on my long-term financial goals.  In a recent post, the writer shared ten pieces of inspiration and here was one of the quotes:

“The truth is that most people have a better chance to be uncommon (successful) by effort than by natural gifts. Anyone could give that effort in his or her chosen endeavor, but the typical person doesn’t, choosing to do only enough to get by.” – Tony Dungy

It seemed pretty fitting for the year ahead.  I'm not naturally gifted, but my work ethic and effort are rarely lacking.  I think most endurance athletes share this trait.  Keep your chin up and let's get to work.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Solid week of training

I think the weather probably had something to do with it, but I had a fantastic week of training.  This was the first time in a long time where I had at least some sort of training on every day of the week.  I normally have a day or two where work or life gets in the way, but everything fell into place this week.  I even managed to sneak in a quick 3 mile run between work and my bowling league on Thursday night.  I may have been a tad smelly for the coworkers, but I was in a much better mood at bowling than I have been the past few weeks.  I've reached that point in the bowling league where I'm ready for it be over.  I'm ready to claim that night of the week back and get back on my schedule.  Plus, I'm not a bowler.  My average is like 135, nothing to write home about and nothing I ever care to perfect.  I'd prefer to spend my time in spandex and running shoes working on ways to hide my curves.  Any good tips out there? 

In another shocking development, I'm actually starting to think of myself as a triathlete.....GASP!  I've actually only completed one to date, but all this talk of the Ironman and my obsessive compulsive side combing through every forum, website, and YouTube video I can find about training and racing is really making me fall for the sport.  There's something quirky about triathletes that makes me smile.  I guess if the shoe fits, wear it.  I do have to say that I absolutely love running though.  I joined the OKC Running Club today for their week 7 training run for the OKC Memorial Marathon.  It was my first time to join them this year because of conflicts with my Team-in-Training duties most weekends.  I actually had this weekend off and they ran on Sunday so it worked out perfect.  We left from the Bass Pro Shop in Bricktown and followed the lower half of the OKC Memorial course until I broke off from the main pack to get in my lesser mileage.  They were running 16 miles, and as much as my marathon-craving body wanted to keep running, I made myself take the detour back to start and finished just under 7 miles.  I haven't really set any goals for the OKC Memorial Half Marathon, but if today's run is any indication of things to come, I might just have a PR up my sleeve.  It's still about 10 weeks away and the weather around here in May can be very unpredictable (search May 3, 1999 on YouTube and you'll get the picture) so a lot can happen that's out of my control.  I'll have to admit that today felt comfortable and strong.  I'm hoping it only gets better from here.

One last thing before I go pack up the swimming bag for tomorrow.  Today I received a Facebook invite from a friend of my coach.  I originally talked to this guy a few months ago when I was contemplating which Ironman to register for in 2011.  He had raced IM Louisville in 2010 and lives in Lawrence, Kansas, where I'm also racing IM Kansas 70.3 in June.  He's been a good contact for training and racing opportunities in Kansas and I know he'll be a great person to talk to as Louisville draws closer.  The invite pertained to a IM Kansas 70.3 Training Camp that is taking place on Memorial Day weekend in Lawrence, from Thursday-Sunday.  This will be 2 weeks prior to the actual event and they will be conducting workshops, training on the actual race course, and going over details of the transition areas and other details of the race.  Best of all, it's free!  It is being put on by the Kansas Triathlon Club and is open to anyone and everyone.  I think it's a perfect excuse for me to get to Lawrence and train on my long weekend.  Hopefully I can scoot away from work for a few days.  The end of the month sucks for me taking off, but if all else fails I can just drive up for the Sat/Sun workouts.  Now if I could somehow manage to get my bike and gear to Louisville for a training weekend as well.  I have a schedule of a couple of weekends in July and August where groups are getting together.  It's just not a cheap or quick trip for me.  Lawrence is only a 5 hour drive.  Louisville is 12+ hours.  Not exactly a long weekend kind of drive.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Hour Dilemma

Since I've taken up endurance sports, I've found myself constantly thrown into situations where people question my friendship, make fun of me for being lame, and say that I never want to hang out anymore.  A lot of times I just blow it off and go about my business, but sometimes it gets under my skin.  I know it's not something I should worry about, but I'm human.  Today was one of those occasions where I was called lame and had several people tell me that I never hang out anymore.  It kinda upset me and I caught myself before I lashed out.

When I first started working at my job, I was pretty fresh out of college, still in the party mode, and didn't really have physical fitness as a top priority.  I went to happy hours regularly and went out to the bars on the weekend.  However over the last three years, I've really developed into an endurance athlete and someone who is passionate about my lifestyle.  I don't go to happy hours as much and I usually hate going out on the weekends because I've grown to love the early morning training runs and rides.  I enjoy the people I've met through training and I feel like they are all positive influences in my life.  It's definitely affected how I spend my time, but I feel like it has changed my life for the better.  I'm healthier than I've ever been in my life and I'm extremely happy.  I can't recall a time in my life where I've ever been more confident, happy, and fulfilled.  I've found that niche to satisfy my competitive hunger, feed my desire to excel, and tap into my work ethic that's driven me to succeed in many areas of my life.  I really feel like endurance sports is my outlet to help me to continue to grow and fulfill my desire to improve my life.

I'm not quite sure how to handle the happy hour dilemma though.  I've talked to some friends at work and tried to explain to them that I need allies at the office.  I need them to help calm the storm when people try to guilt me into skipping my training and hanging out at happy hours or go to the bars.  It's worked at times, but the message doesn't seem to stick.  I guess I should just grin and bear it, but the culture of our industry is very social and it centers around a party-type atmosphere.  I do wonder at times if it could eventually negatively impact my career, but I know my employer is a big proponent of physical fitness at a corporate level so that's reassuring.  As far as my specific segment of this industry, it's more about the relationships you form along the way.  It concerns me at times that I'm constantly missing functions and passing up on chances to build relationships.  I think I've found a pretty good balance of attending and skipping, but only time will tell.  I just hope I can continue to gain allies along the way who understand my passion and can appreciate the burning desire I have to succeed at my goals.  I do know I already have some great allies in the industry and they are often very interested in my training.  I even have several who read this blog and are training for big events themselves.  I want to thank them for being an ally and helping me along the way.  You are all helping me achieve my goal of being an Ironman.  Now I just hope my immediate coworkers will jump on board. 

In other news, the brick workout today was fantastic and Bart Yasso is now following me on Twitter.  Success! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Am I Sick?

Something has to be wrong with me.  Maybe it's a mild case of the flu, a stomach virus, or just allergies making me loopy, but something is definitely wrong.  It's the only explanation for the odd feeling I had yesterday afternoon.  I actually WANTED to swim and then I actually enjoyed it!  What?!  I must be sick.  For those of you who are new to the blog, I loathe swimming.  I do it because it's a silly little requirement to complete a triathlon.  Otherwise, I don't think I would ever step in a pool for lap swimming.  I never did before I decided to take up this crazy little sport last January and the lack of time spent in the pool post-triathlon should be a pretty good indicator how it ranks on my list of things to do when I'm bored.  It ranks right up there with watching Blake Griffin highlights on Sportscenter :  i.e. I'm not a fan.  Sorry Dad.  I'm not really sure what came over me, but I'm going to ride this little wave of fondness towards swimming as long as I can.  I did joke with one of my Team-in-Training friends the other day that I have a feeling I'm really going to grow to like swimming when I get deep into Ironman training.  It's going to feel like a break....1.5 hours in the pool versus 6 hours on the bike.  Swimming might climb up the ladder of things to do in my spare time.  Eh, who am I kidding?  It's not going to happen.

In other news, the weather here in Oklahoma is simply perfect right now.  I'll take a big ol' super size order of this weather every day of the year.   There is something really nice about waking up to a cool house, not frigid; being able to start my car without it sounding like the engine is going to fall out; and wearing a light jacket and feeling a little warm.  Another fantastic feature of the last few days is the lack of wind.  In Oklahoma you treat those days like gold.  You try to cram in every bike workout of the week into one afternoon because they don't come around very often.  I took advantage of the light winds and low-70s temps and hit the streets for a little run after work today.  Daylight savings time is just around the corner and then I'll finally be able to take the bike to work and head out for a ride before the sun sets.  I'm really looking forward to spring.  I like winter and all of her glory.  It's a great excuse to take a break and relax.  I have things to do now though.  It's time to shake off this cold, put up the sweatshirts, and get to work. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spring Fever?

I've noticed the last few weeks that I am really lacking about things to write about and my motivation to post has waned.  I'm attributing it to the crazy work weeks and the repeat snowmaggedon disasters the past 2 weeks.  I can't say that I've been overly enthused to hop on my computer and slam out a blog post after spending countless hours banging my head against my keyboard at work.  However, I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  The weather is moderating in a big hurry and I'm getting back to my old self.  I'm still kinda antsy about the upcoming training/racing season, but I'm trying to just be patient and let it come to me.  I still have several weeks before I get into the meat of my training schedule.  The good thing is I have a ski trip the first week of March to distract me and keep my mind in more of a recreational, base-building mode.  It will be my last week of normalcy before all my time and focus will be devoted to triathlon training. 

Today was supposed to be my "long run" of my half marathon training schedule, but yesterday I got a little coach-happy at Team-in-Training practice and logged 8.42 miles running with the Team.  I have made it a habit to wear my Garmin on my coaching days now so I can keep track of my mileage and factor it into my weekly totals.  I'm really trying to stay focused and healthy this year so I feel like this needs to be considered in my overall base mileage.  It's usually run at a variety of paces, some walking, and I stop to help at water stops as well.   It's not necessarily "good mileage" as far as training goes, but it's still running, and I can't discount the mileage in the grand scheme of things.  Due to the mileage yesterday, I'm going to take my bike outside for the first time in a very long time.  I'm about to change out my trainer tire and get ready to hit the road with the Team-in-Training cycling crew.  They are starting their journey to the Lake Tahoe Century Ride in June so I'll probably tag along on quite a few of their rides over the next few months.  Safety in numbers!

Next week looks great weather-wise in OKC.  I'll definitely be doing all of my runs outside, but I'm still probably going to get stuck on the trainer during the week for the bike workouts.  I still don't have quite enough daylight after work to get in a good workout.   I guess I'll get really good at changing out my tires the next few weeks.  It's about time to put the bike rack back on the car - spring is almost here!  With the arrival of spring, I'm also going to be purchasing my triathlon bike soon.  I've pushed it back a few months because of other unexpected expenses, but I think I'll be ready to purchase it after my return from the ski trip.  It will be just in time to be able to take advantage of daylight savings time and warmer weather.  Spring fever is definitely setting in!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

OKC Memorial and a near-miss for Ironman Louisville accommodations

Ever since I registered for IM Louisville I've been searching for a property where my family and I could all stay under one roof and be together for the entire trip.  We made arrangements like this for Chicago and it was a great experience and the accommodations were so much better than a hotel.  I had e-mailed about a property a few weeks ago that was listed on www.vacationhomerentals.com.  It was located in downtown Louisville, about 4 blocks from the epicenter of Ironman Louisville events.  The "vacation rental by owner" market isn't exactly thriving in Louisville, so I was bummed when I didn't hear back from the owner of the property and really gave up hope of finding accommodations other than a couple of hotel rooms which I have already booked.  However, this week I received an e-mail from the owner and we started a dialogue about renting the townhome for my stay in Louisville.  The price was just a little more expensive than the 2 hotel rooms I had booked, but we would have access to 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a living area, a full kitchen, a laundry room, and we would have our own private balcony and parking garage.  Due to work, I was a little delayed in responding, but since we had another snow day away from work, I made a phone call to the owner of the property and discussed the rental in detail.  During the conversation, the owner mentioned she had one lady say she wanted the property, but hadn't yet called back and given her all the information to complete the reservation.  I hung up the phone and called my parents to get their thoughts on the more expensive accommodations and we all agreed that either one would be ok, but being together would be a big plus.  I called the owner back about 2 hours later and reserved the property for Aug 25th-30th.  Less than 2 hours later, the owner called me and said the other lady had called back to confirm the reservation and was hysterical and crying about her renting out the property to someone else.  She said she had elderly people in her family who were making the trip and needed somewhere they could stay comfortably and be able to still see the race.  Another plus of this property is that it's on the run course of the Ironman event.  A big plus for elderly people not to have to stay out in the heat and humidity to watch the race.  She said she told the other lady she would call me to see if I would consider canceling and allow them to book in my place.  I really contemplated saying no, but the nice side of me said we would cancel and make other arrangements.  The owner kept thanking me over and over again and I made a joke that maybe karma would be on my side since I was giving up the property.  I hope that the other family enjoys the property and we can still find accommodations that suit our needs.  I asked the owner to put me on the wait list for her property and to keep me in mind if she heard of anything else in Louisville during those dates.  I'm wondering if sometimes I'm too nice.  I definitely get that trait from my parents.  I may need that little dose of karma about 13 or 14 hours into the event though.  Maybe I'll get to cash it in at that point.  If anyone knows of a place in Louisville we could stay, let me know!

In other news, I am officially registered for the OKC Memorial Half Marathon.  My company sent out the registration link on Tuesday.  I've been running semi-consistently for about a month and a half now so hopefully all goes well with training.  I'll probably wait a day or two for the snow to melt off again before I hit the streets.  In the meantime I'll stick to the trainer and treadmill.  I did manage to get in one last run outdoors last night before the storm hit.  It was cold, but so much better than running on the 'mill.  It looks we're going to get a nice stretch of 60s next week.  Perfection!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Redbud 2011 - Registration Complete

I officially entered two more races today courtesy of  my employer.  I am now officially registered for the Redbud 50-mile bike tour and the Redbud 10K run on April 9th and 10th, respectively.  Within the next week or two, I expect we'll get another e-mail for our registration in the OKC Memorial Marathon races.  The schedule is definitely coming together as we make our way into mid-February.  It's nice to have most of the entry fees out of the way and now I can just focus on training and staying healthy.

Yesterday I had the chance to get outside and run 5 miles at Lake Hefner.  Most of the snow had melted off the running path, but there were still a few spots where I had to slow down and wade through snow or run off the trail on the soggy grass.  It was cloudy and cold which in my opinion is great running weather.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting out and putting my feet to the pavement.  It looks like I'll be stuck on the treadmill and bike trainer for the rest of the week.  According to the local news folks, we have another 6 to 12 inches of snow moving in Tuesday night/Wednesday.  It won't be quite a blizzard because the winds are only going to be blowing 20-30 mph, but it's still a huge snow storm for Oklahoma.  The grocery stores were pure madness again this weekend and today.  It's like people think they are going to be stuck inside for a month.  No, it's only 2 days folks.  You don't need to buy the whole store.  I'm hoping work isn't quite as hectic as it was last week during the blizzard.  I'm not sure I can handle another repeat performance.

Off to do some foam rolling, stretching, and then off to bed.  Tomorrow I'll be getting in 3 miles at some point - hopefully I can squeeze in a run outside before the roads get too messy. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Getting Back to Semi-Normal

Work has finally started to settle down a bit after 4 days of madness.  Temps are warming up a bit so the snow is melting off.  As of last night, the roads were still pretty mean.  However, today we are seeing sunshine and low 40s so everything is thawing out and the roads are clearing up.  The Mazda 3 doesn't really like the icy mess we had left over from the blizzard so it's very thankful for the warmer weather.  Yesterday we actually picked up another 3 inches of snow, but it was that awesome, peaceful snow that you just want to sit and watch.  No wind, just quiet bliss.  I had a chance to just sit in my car and soak it in after work.  It helped relieve some stress and was a great way to start my weekend.

Not only is work getting back to normal, but I've also gotten back to training.  I've logged a couple of rides on the trainer and got in a relaxing 4 mile run on the treadmill last night.  It's nice to not have a complete bust of a week in the books.  I only missed 2 days completely so I think I did pretty good considering the bleak outlook earlier in the week.  Tomorrow I'm going to try and get in another run, hopefully outside, but it will depend on how tonight goes weather-wise.  I think we're supposed to pick up another 1-3" of snow.  If it's just snow and the roads aren't icy I'll definitely layer up and hit the streets.  The crazy thing is that we're supposed to get another decent storm on Tues/Wed.  It looks like I'll be spending a lot of time inside training next week as well.

Finally, my training schedule is pretty much set.  I'll start officially training for the half marathon next week and will still incorporate biking and swimming to keep my base-building routine in full swing.  I won't officially start the road to IM Kansas 70.3 and IM Louisville until mid-March, but mentally I'm already there.  I consider this to be the preseason with a couple of races on the schedule for March.  I'm really getting antsy, but also trying to remind myself that I have a very long road ahead of me.  While I'm not putting in a lot of long workouts (pretty much nothing over an hour), I feel like my fitness has come back pretty quickly.  I feel like I'm setting myself up for a good year ahead.  I'm learning lessons and becoming more in tune with my body each year.  I'm starting to realize my limits, picking out my strengths, and making recovery a more focused effort.  I hope it helps keep the injury bug away this year.  I also read last night that Ironman Louisville has less than 200 spots until general entry is closed.  I'm kinda shocked it hasn't sold out yet, but after reading all the comments on Ironman's Facebook site, I can understand.  I guess people don't like heat, hills, and non-wetsuit legal races.  Who knew?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

They were right....

Well, the weather guys got it right.  We just had our second blizzard in  the last 13 months here in OKC.  Overnight Monday and into Tuesday morning, we got 12.1 inches of snow dumped on us.  Throw in a 45-50 mph winds, temperatures in the low teens and single digits, and you have yourself a full-blown blizzard.  Last year at Christmas, the weather guys said that was a once-in-a-lifetime storm.  We had only had one other blizzard in recorded history back in the early 1900s.  Now we've had 2 in a little over a year.  It definitely makes winter more interesting to say the least.  I actually really like the snow.  It's the wind and insanely cold temperatures that aren't so fun.  We're supposed to bottom out about -3 tonight.  It's not often you see negative temps around here.

Well, due to the weather and a very rough 2 days of work, I've been doing nothing physically active until today.  The last 2 days could quite possibly go down as the worst 2 days of work I've had in my 5 years at my current company.  The weather wreaks havoc on our natural gas production in the field.  Wells freeze off, crews can't get to the wells, and it just really makes for a mess.  Our offices were closed the last 2 days, but my group handles the day-to-day task of making sure our gas has a home to flow to so we've been busy.  When we don't have the production we thought we would have, it causes more problems.  Basically I've been attached  to my computer for 12 hours straight the last 2 days.  Not quite the snow day we all had in mind.  I did finally get a chance to take out some frustration on a driveway full of snow and then hopped on my trainer for an hour this evening.  I really needed a workout.  I was becoming an angry, sloth-like demon the last two days.  The negativity was oozing from my veins.  It's amazing what a workout will do for the psyche.  Thank you CycleOps!

Tomorrow I'm back to the office, thankfully.  It will be nice to have 2 monitors, a mouse, and a 10-key.  I forget how much easier it is to work with all of those things until I get home and have to work from my laptop.  After that it's back to bowling league tomorrow night, then I'll try to get back on track with my training.  I'll officially start training for the OKC Memorial Half Marathon next week.  Let the running commence!  That makes me smile :-)  Run happy friends.