Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December already?

It is December and as I promised in my last post I have packed on a few more pounds.(238 when I got back to Colorado)  I went to the Badger/Northwestern game with my dad and brother and sister in law and celebrated the victory with a huge bowl of mac'n'cheese from the Great Dane. Being that I am in training I did forgo the bacon. The next day we celebrated my daughter's birthday with the families and then headed back to Colorado.

I was able to get a couple of runs in while back in Wisconsin but more importantly I was able to buy Wisconsin sweat pants and sweatshirt to run in while in Colorado..its all about image.  Since getting back to Colorado we participated in the annual Christmas walk in town..with a few of my friends dressing up..

We also finished our volleyball season by winning the City league and Tournament.  My Coach will be glad that the season is over since my knees tend to take a beating hampering my running.  Not to mention the extra calories I eat after the games.

But like I said - the training has now begun in earnest. The goal for December is to do as many of my workouts as possible. The Coach is still keeping the workouts at manageable levels so that I don't run into anymore sciatica issues.  I am training six days a week with a long run of 40 minutes and two shorter runs.  The bikes top out at an hour and thirty for a long ride.  I am not looking forward to the cold weather and the trainer. I hate the is boring and worse yet causes my boys an enormous amount of grief.  I recently changed the seat and it helped a little. I am going to have to keep playing around with the angle of the seat until it is bearable.  I did win one small victory - my wife has allowed me to use the trainer and treadmill in the is much more comfortable then where I had it and the T.V. is easier to see.  If you are bored out of your mind you can see my workouts here training log  The link is also on the side of the blog.

The swimming is coming along slowly and I will need to start working on drills.  The running is slow but so far no back issues. The biking I enjoy so that is not a problem..except for the above mentioned trainer issues.  I am going to sign up for a race in December or January so that I can gauge my fitness and give myself a goal.  I also need to find a hotel in Madison for September..apparently they are booked well in advance. Weight today was 236.2.  Ugh.  running and biking on the agenda for tomorrow.  Take care everyone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Time

Yes it is Thanksgiving time which means I will be packing on a few more pounds.  It is inevitable.  My goal is just to keep the damage to a minimum.  And I must report that my tracking of calories has been horrible.  I plan on curing this becoming very strict with my intake once I am back home in Colorado. Yes I am lucky enough to be back in the midwest.  On Sunday of this week we visited my brother in Minneapolis and went to the Packers/Vikings game with him and his wife..who unfortunately is a Vikings fan.  Sorry about the outcome Adrianne.  After enduring a road trip from Minneapolis where it was 20 degrees and freezing rain we arrived in Racine where it was 63 and tornados.  Unbelievable..but we are now back to the normal weather of 30 degrees grey skies and occasional precipitation.

Thanksgiving is also a time to give thanks which I really should be doing everyday.  I am thankful for my wonderful family.  Not only my wife and daughter but my parents who have taught me that no matter how bad things get you need to move forward with life and to try and do so with a smile and sense of humor and to never give up.  I am also thankful for my siblings, my extended family and my inlaws who are my second family and my friends who are there when I need them.  I am also thankful to be from Wisconsin where I grew up with midwest values that people notice around the country.

As for my training it is going slow. Since my sciatica episode my coach has been having me work out with short and easy runs and bikes and a litte core work. When I mean short I mean short. 20 minute runs and bike rides ranging from 30 minutes to an hour.  I still feel a little pain from time to time in my left ankle and hip, but nothing close to the pain I felt a few weeks ago. I am hoping to ramp the workouts up once I get back to Colorado.  Actually the short workouts are good right now since it is always hard to find time to exercise when I am on vacation.

I want to give a shout out to my friends Leah and Kate who competed in Ironman Arizona on Sunday.  Leah did not quite finish the race but made it through half of the run.  Kate finished in 16:44.  Way to go Kate.  Hopefully I can learn something from their experiences.  My friend Doreen also signed up for Ironman Florida next hopefully she will not mind training with me (i.e. not dropping me on runs and bike rides) as we prepare.  Obviously Ironman Wisconsin is much harder then Flordia or Arizona..but they are all the same

Well my last weigh in was 232..yes I am going the wrong way.  Now back to shopping and looking for great Black Friday deals on tri gear... Xterra Wetsuits are more then 50% off with free shipping and I think I see one in my future.  I am also getting ready to head to Madison on Saturday to hopefully watch the Badgers wrap up the Big Ten title.  Come December 1 there is going to be a lot more training related content on this blog..since I notice by the clock on the wall that we are now down to 290 days till race time.

I hope everyone is doing well.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Diet is a four letter word

As many of you know from my constant whining the last week I have sciatica in my left leg.  The pain has gotten better over the last nine days but is still fairly constant.  I plan on running tonight for the first time in about two weeks.  Since I have been sidelined I have decided to take a look at my diet and ways to improve it.  The four basic food groups I have been eating are of course the cheese, meat, fried and pasta groups.  Surprisingly I have been able to get some vegetables in to the diet - fried green beans, fried corn, fried zucchini...etc.  However, even with this balanced diet I have not noticed a lot of weight loss..and possibly even the gain of a stone or two. 

I recently read Racing Weight which describes what the optimum weight for an endurance athlete is and discusses ways of bettering your diet and hopefully obtaining the correct weight.  Apparently I will need to lose about 50lbs and my right arm to be at my racing weight by next September.   Although the book was very informative it did not provide me with any gems that would help me with weight loss that I did not already know.  It did provide a way of rating your diet on a points system with the optimum number of points being 29 for a day.  I kept a four day log of my food and averaged  9 points.  Thus there is room for improvement.  I also had to throw the log out after day four due to the pages being stuck together with velveeta cheese. 

Since it is imperative that I lose weight even before the heavy training starts..just to save my knees if nothing else. I reread all of my nutrition books and cobbled together a plan that will work.  1.  I  need to limit my calories to 1800 a day when not working out and 2000 per day when I am working out.  This should yield  a 2lb loss per week. (I have estimated that my BMR is 2147 calories per day and that my job keeps me lightly active thus I would multiply that number by 1.3 to give me approx. 2791 calories burned per day.  1800 calories would provide about 1000 calorie deficit per day or 7000 for the week.  Since the body must expend 3500 more calories then it takes in to lose 1 lb, burning 7000 extra calories during the week would equal the 2lb loss.  You can go here to estimate your BMR and daily caloric expenditure.)           2.  I have to cut out fried food and soda. I am addicted to both.  3. I have to pack my lunch everyday.  The amount of calories I ingest when I eat lunch out is enormous compared with eating what I brought. The plan is to eat a lean protein at lunch everyday along with fruit and possibly a few vegetables (tuna salad sandwich, apple, small salad) I am not going to worry about percentage of carbs, protein or fat at this point but will revisit this in a few weeks.  4. I just need to watch my portion sizes.  5. I have to log my calories everyday.  6. I have to drink plenty of water - I have a problem with dehydration in the first place so I am going to try and drink 100 oz of water a day.

Now - it is all well and good that I have a plan..but I have little to no discipline.  Thus my wife has come up with an incentive plan for me to stay the course.  As a woman she knows my needs and wants and thus has tied my very base desires to my weight loss.  Thus, she will allow me to put money aside for a new tri bike only after I reach certain weight loss goals. And if I don't reach my goals then no new bike.  The woman is heartless.  I will post my weight every week on this blog to keep me accountable.  Feel free to give me suggestions for foods to try, recipes, offer encouragement or beat me down if my weight goes up.  My official weight on Monday November 8, 2010 was 229.2 lbs.  (only 49.8lbs to go )

Monday, November 1, 2010

End of first week and already behind.

Well the first week of training did not go as planned.  I had promised my coach I would give up volleyball for the year so of course on my first day of training I played volleyball.  The good news is that I actually felt very good with no twinges of knee or back pain.  I did get in my running and biking.  Only 30 minute runs and an hour of biking max.  I also did about 600 yards of swimming just to get back in the pool - piece of cake.  However I also had someone videotape me in the water and was astonished that I could actually stay afloat with how slow I move and the hideous form I have.  Here is the video.  Please note that it is adult content since I slaughtered any semblance of proper technique and I am shirtless.  My coach did give me a couple of different links to videos for technique.  If anyone is interested just leave a comment or email me and I can give you the links.  My coach did review the video and stated that one of the positives is that my hips are near the surface of the water.  I think this has less to do with me actually knowing how to swim and more with the fat in my butt being buoyant.

I am staring week two of training and may have to cut back already. I went to the doctor today and I have sciatica. Pain runs from my butt all the way down my leg to the sole of my foot.  It hurts sitting, walking, standing, lying down..etc.  I was given some steroids and told to take some advil and see how it goes in 3 or 4 days.  If the pain is not gone by then they will want me to go in for xrays and an mri. They offered to give me vicodin for the pain but I declined.  I told the doctor that I probably tweaked something on Saturday building a retaining wall in the front of the house,  However it did not hurt Saturday and I went for an hour bike ride without any pain.  The pain did not show up until Sunday.  So now that I think about it is probably punishment from the heavens.  As anyone knows who has gone out on Halloween weekend the costumes are all now..slutty nurse, slutty cop, slutty box of kleenex (yes I saw this one). Unfortunately I went out on Saturday night and was most intrigued by the slutty nun. I am guessing maybe going to confession could help with the sciatica.  It could also be karma for me being a pain in the ass to everyone else.

Well I am off to watch the rest of the Monday night game. Hopefully I will be close to 100% tomorrow or at least able to sit up for 15 minutes without pain. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Here's the plan

Was sick all day Friday through today with some crappy cold.  Feeling better..just in time to get my summary of the master plan from my coach today.  In  nutshell here it is:

I've created an annual overview for your training with 2 target races

HIM Racine on 7/17/11 and IM MOOOoooo on 9/11/11  

With that in mind, there are four general macrocycles to the year.  Working backwards from your A race, they are:

Specific IM prep, 12 weeks from June 28th - Sept 11th (race day)
General Aerobic Power Development, 12 weeks from March 29th - June 27th
General Base/Skills/Technique & Weight Loss, 12 weeks from Jan 4th - March 28th
Strength, Flexibility &Nutrition, Now until - Jan 3rd (about 10 weeks)

This is a wonderful length of time to prep you for the ironman next September, and I am happy to discuss each of the phases in more detail. 

From now until the new year, we will try to restore a tri focused training routine, with generous rest and "off" weeks scheduled, work in some functional strength and core exercises, and have you focus on nutrition...not necessarily weight loss at first, but working on food & nutrition as fuel for your body and improving overall management of stress (maintain healthful diet & good sleep habits).   

The 3 month period from Jan - March will be prime time (after the holidays) to set specific weight loss targets and get closer to goal weight.  We will try to have a 6 month period of weight loss ending 3 months prior to your IM, so that the last development phase you are working on race & workout nutrition and not worried about weight loss.   

The 3 month period form March until the end of June I refer to as general power development. This will be the time period with the most intense workouts, using a variety of sweet spot, threshold & vo2 max training intervals in a progressive fashion to build overall aerobic power (essentially, raising your functional threshold in all sports).  For an IM event, the higher your threshold/weight ratio, the faster your performance will be. 

The final 3 months is a focus on fatigue resistance while maintaining the gains we've made during the general power phase.  Rides & runs will gradually get longer and closer to race pace intensity.  

My approach ti IM and HIM training is a focus on the whole athlete, and quality training sessions, not just logging miles. Recent exercise physiology studies have demonstrated that aerobic power (FTP) is improved with higher intensity and lower volume training methods.  the experience of coaches like Matt Dixon, Phil Skiba & the Endurance Nation guys supports that higher intensity, lower volume training, even for IM distance athletes works well, with less time invested.
Well it looks like my coach has it all mapped out for me and is fairly optimistic. I just need to ask her about a few of the concepts that she mentioned that I am not really familiar"nutrition" and "healthful diet" and "training."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Coyotes are scary..and so are bunnies.

Tonight was my first run after taking a hiatus from all physical activity since August 28. (Except for the 100 miles walked up and down State Street last weekend looking for a bar after the Badger game).  The run was an unmitigated disaster.  It really is amazing how much fitness a person can lose sitting on their butt for six weeks.  My heart rate was elevated and I was running 1 to 2 minutes per mile slower then usual..(yes I was actually moving backwards).  However I did learn a few things today. (Some of which my 2 year old daughter already knows).

1.  I am not in running shape.  2.  It gets really dark after 6:45 p.m. 3. black and dark blue are not colors to wear when running at night. 4. Running at night on an isolated path can be very scary. 5. I could probably run faster carrying 40lbs less weight.

I got home late from work and thought it would be a good idea to run on the clear creek trail.  Nice path and fairly level for my neck of the woods.  However I was not thinking about how dark it gets.  I was only supposed to run for 30 minutes today..for me that is about 3 miles.  I ran 1.5 miles and turned around to go back they way I came. By then it was very dark with no ambient light and no one else on the trail.  As I ran through the parts of the trail with trees and vegetation on both sides I realized I was being followed.  I have often run into coyotes on this path and realized that there was probably a pack that figured I was the dying straggler of whatever herd I belonged to...which probably isn't too far from the truth...waiting for me to keel over.  I figured as long as I kept moving I would be fine..I then heard more and more rustling and began to freak out a little.  I finally turned to see the glare from three sets of eyes not more then six or seven feet from me.  At this point my heart skipped a beat and I realized that the eyes were too close to the ground to be coyotes..I was being followed by a pack of rabbits..I can only imagine that they were probably rabid.  As anyone who has seen the documentary Monty Python and the Holy Grail knows, rabbits can be very dangerous on their own..needless to say a pack of them could be downright deadly.  The resulting adrenaline rush was enough to propel my fat rear the rest of the way to the vehicle wear I hastily got into my truck to put a steel door between myself and the ferocious furballs.  I guess the one positive is that I had a negative split for the run.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Let's get it started

As I mentioned in my last post this is my first officially coached week of training.  I have Coach Suzanne of Steel City Endurance in charge of putting together my plan for the year. Since the Ironman is such a huge undertaking I decided that I needed some guidance.  I looked at getting local coaches in Denver that had been recommended but the price tag of $200 to 275 per month was just too hefty.  Even some of the group coaching in the area seemed very pricey.  I also looked into Endurance Nation which offers online coaching and they have great knowledge of the specific Ironman courses. Further the team members are very supportive of one another and show up at the individual races to support each other.  The price was more in line at $129.00 per month..however the training plans are not edited to the individual.  So I contacted my friend Suzanne who I met a few years ago on the Beginner Triathlete website. By the way, Beginner Triathlete is a great resource for all your triathlon questions.  I highly recommend checking the website out and becoming a member. Further it has an awesome free training log.  Anyway, Suzanne is an emergency room physician and has moved her way into coaching swimming, triathlons and cycling.  She told me she had a couple of Ironman triathletes that she is training and would accept me as a challenge. (More then she can imagine). 
This first week she has me doing very easy workouts just to gauge how actually unfit I am.  Just a few easy runs bikes and swims.  I'll let you know how each of them goes and give you a more detailed description of my Annual Training Plan once we have the details hammered out.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Last weekend of debauchery

My official training for the Ironman Wisconsin begins on October 18th. That is when my coach will have my first week of structured workouts for me.  I figured I would lose some weight before the 18th and actually lost a few pounds. I was at 228 on Thursday..however the wheels fell off the bus over the weekend.  On Friday I got a call from my brother Ben. He had an extra ticket to see my beloved Badgers play Ohio State on Saturday.  The stars lined up and Ben and my wife were able to find a fairly cheap airline ticket into Madison on Saturday.  However, Friday night was my anniversary so my wife and I went out for dinner.  I had a great appetizer of cheese garlic bread followed by a spinach salad (the only vegetables I would see for the next three days) and then a blue cheese encrusted sirloin which was wonderful.  I figured I would watch what I ate while in Madison.  On Saturday Ben and his friend Steve picked me up from the airport and our first stop was The Great Dane to meet Steve's dad and brother.  Talk about a menu to die for..macaroni and cheese..brats...cheese curds and of course the Great Dane Brat and Bacon Pretzel Burger.

Lunch was followed by a walk to the stadium where we met my brother's friend Matt and his parents for some tailgating. Matt's parents always have a great spread of food and drink set up including chili, cheese, Capital Beer, and other assorted yummy food.  The game was great. What made it better was my parents made it up to the game which is about an hour and a half drive for them.  My mother is in a wheel chair so they have seats in the handicap section which allowed me and my brother to spend the last half of the fourth quarter hanging out with them and celebrating the defeat of the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes.  After the post game celebration was completed my parents headed back out of town and I joined my brother and his friends in walking to State Street looking for a bar to have a few drinks.  Unfortunately every bar had a line of 30 to 40 people or more and thus we kept walking. We finally found seating at Coopers which is right across the street from the Capitol Building. Again we treated ourselves to an Oktoberfest as well as mini burger and a wonderful concoction of Canadian origin..french fried potatoes covered in cheese and gravy. Somehow it was 1:30 and my brother's friend Steve was still hungry which necessitated a trip to Greenbush Bakery for donuts.  We returned to the hotel and ate the donuts before getting a few hours of sleep.  The next morning my brother, Steve and I went to State Street to buy souvenirs.  On the way there we went past Monona Terrace where the Ironman transition area is going to be.  I looked at the lake and snapped a picture so that I can have a visual image when I am swim training.  Of course we needed to stop for lunch and got a few slices of pizza at Ian's Pizza, including their famous mac'n'cheese pizza. 

It is now Monday night and I just stepped on the scale.  235.6..I didn't even think it was possible to put 7lbs on in three days..but apparently it is. It was a great weekend seeing family and friends, being back in Madison enjoying familiar sites and sounds, eating my comfort foods and experiencing the great environment that is the University of Wisconsin and the people of Wisconsin.  My brother also indicated to me that he plans on doing quite a few triathlons next year so it will be fun trying to plan some races with him.  I am waiting to see my training schedule.  Should be fun.

And I can't go without mentioning the Teach Me How To Bucky phenomenon.  All around campus people were wearing Teach Me How to Bucky shirts and we were constantly being asked by people if we knew how to Bucky. Apparently no one had any idea..Finally while walking towards State Street after the game Steve saw some coeds coming towards us with the shirts on and yelled..what the f*** is the Teach Me How to Bucky?  To which the cutest girl're too old for me to teach you how to Bucky.  Harsh.  Of course that exchange was almost as good as the Badgers beating Ohio State..not quite..but almost.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Birthday Party

     My wife through a surprise birthday party for me today. So I told my friends that I would be competing in the 2011 IM  Wisconsin.  I was actually surprised by the positive reaction I received. Although the few friends at the party that are endurance athletes did look at me with the," you have to be kidding me" look in their eyes.  Obviously they know how hard an IM is and the training involved.  They were also probably eyeing the two bratwurst on my plate as and the stack of cheese I was devouring just to make sure my heart isn't working too well.  As I stated in my profile, I am overweight. Luckily for me I carry it very well and just look like a big guy. Not one that is actually obese by the height/weight and BMI standards.  I am roughly 6'1" and about 235 lbs.  In all honesty I will need to be in the 180 range to be able to complete the IM.  I have not seen 210 in probably 7 years, 200 lbs in 12 years and 180 lbs in 18 years. So I have quite the task in front of me.
     A group of us are doing a weight loss "challenge" starting tomorrow. So I will weigh in with my official poundage.  I am actually very knowledgeable when it comes to eating right and losing weight.  However I do not  put what I know in to practice. I eat like a teenager..both in quantity and quality.  That all ends tomorrow.  My weight is one of my biggest limiters in all three disciplines, but especially the run.  I need to focus on getting 15 lbs off fairly quickly so that my knees do not have to put up with the pounding I am putting them through.
     I will post my starting weight here tomorrow and hopefully have a plan of attack put down in writing to follow. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The First Step.

The first step was probably the easiest.  Just sign up for Ironman Wisconsin. I had heard that it was incredibly hard to get in so I thought..what the heck..once the online registration opens I will hop on the computer and if I get registered it was meant to be..if not there is always next year or Ironman Louisville.  Needless to say registration opened at exactly 11:00 a.m. on the Monday after the 2010 race and I got right to the registration page, finished registering, went to the pay page booted off the system.  I continued to get booted off for the next 35 minutes until I got the sorry, registration is closed message.  I guess it was not meant to be.  But wait!  Apparently the folks at could not handle the huge demand on their servers and had to shut the site down.  The registration was reopened on Wednesday..and after only two attempts I got to the billing page, submitted my credit card info and ..nothing.  Did I get in?  There was no way to know. I called my credit card company to see if my charge went through and the computers were down..OK..who is screwing with me?  Finally an hour later I received an email. I was registered for Ironman Wisconsin.  At first I was very excited..and then I thought..what the heck did I just do?  Should I not tell anybody in case I fail miserably in my training or tell everyone so that I had the pressure from family and friends to see this thing through.  I do not want to "survive" the race.  I want to race it and feel comfortable doing it. Now its time for the reality check to see if the mere "surviving" the event should be my goal.