Monday, February 28, 2011

So it begins.....

First, February's totals:

Swim: 2650 m, 1 swim
Bike: 84.5 miles, 5 rides
Run: 60.45 miles, 11 runs, 2 races
Strength: 4 workouts
Yoga: 3 times

Not anything spectacular on the total front. With 2 races there was lots of tapering. and recovery time. and travel days. The Krispy Kreme challenge was an interesting dissapointment, and the PR I put up at the Myrtle Beach half marathon was amazing. So 15.9 of those running miles were in races. I fell into a pattern of some kind of long run, interval run, and tempo run, one bike ride/weight day, and maybe another bike ride. But mostly, I knew February was the last time I would be able to relax for a long time because....

IRONMAN training began today. Yes, that's why you see a single swim up there in the totals. For my swim I'm joining the RAM swim team to practice M-W-F at 5:30 am. The first workout had a good warmup, two main body sets and a cooldown for about 2650 meters total. The pool was fantastic, the other people I met seemed like a lot of fun, the coaches were great. I wasn't the slowest swimmer out there. It was the first time I had been in the water since October at least, and it felt good to get wet again. I was sharing a lane with this old black guy with a big scruffy beard like a fuzzy Fred Sanford. He noticed my big tattoo and wondered if I got that because people call me "tree". I said no without explaining the whole theory behind the tattoo. He said that now people are going to start calling me Tree, starting with him. So for the rest of the morning it was "when's your ironman Tree?" and "you coming back wednesday Tree?" so OMG I think it's going to stick. Too funny!

I'm using this plan I found online. I like it because the workouts are laid out in minutes, so I know what my times will be and I can track the mileage covered in those minutes. So tomorrow has 50 minutes on the bike and 35 minutes running in separate workouts. We'll have to see how many miles I can cover in that time.

I logged the entire training plan into a spreadsheet, then entered my race distances on there as well for the races I'm signed up for. If you want a copy of the spreadsheet I use just give me an email address; it's a format I worked out a few years ago and will readily share. Looking at the spreadsheet gives a whole new perspective to the numbers behind an ironman training plan:

  • 401 workouts total
  • covers 249 days
  • 36,687 minutes total (611.45 hours) total training time
  • starts today (2/28/11) and ends 11/3/11, 2 days before IMFL
  • The longest week is 18.5 hours
  • The shortest week is 8.25 hours (this week)
  • It starts with 29 workouts over the first 18 days. Most are 2-a-days, but there are no days off. No rest until day 19.
  • Most mondays and fridays are only swimming. The workouts are short, it's supposed to get me used to the schedule without putting real pressure on endurance this week. I have to ease into this early morning stuff, and haven't done 2-a-days in months.

So now I've got one workout down, only 400 to go. The end is in sight! The countdown is on.

This also marks the end of the Monday Morning Naked Weight (MMNW). I didn't get a real weigh in this morning, so I'm going to call the final weight at 178, exactly 30 lbs less than my starting weight (208.8 lbs), and 19.5% body fat is 9 points lower than my starting point (28.5%). I'm sure that I will check my weight and body fat % regularly during Ironman training, and I still think that they both will continue to drop. I am very proud of the way the weight loss program turned out.

My original goal was to get down near 160 lbs and into single digit body fat using the basic adapted plan from the Racing Weight book. I stuck to the plan pretty well, even over the holidays. I watched my weight and body fat drop, and more muscles started to show. The rest will be cleaned up during Ironman training. I'll leave you tonight with some before and after pictures:

This is from the Triangle Triathlon that I ran shirtless last July. My waist is wider than my chest and there was jiggly stuff everywhere. Check out the size of my neck and chin(s)!

Same race, check out the rolls of belly fat hanging over those tri shorts! UGH! This was around 205 lbs.

The after pic is me working in the garden with the kids a few weeks ago. You can see a difference in my waist size and neck, just the definition around my jawbone is very different. The sunlight kind of washed out some, but that's ok. It's still a great shot.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Sweet PR

This saturday was the Myrtle Beach marathon for 2011 and Kelley and I both ran the half. We left the kids with her dad and had a great weekend at the coast. I don't usually care for going to MB as there are much better beaches in the area. But as far as marathons and half marathons go, this event is tough to top. It just seems like there are things that go wrong at races, and nothing serious seems to go wrong at this one. It is very well organized; the volunteers and course are amazing.

My most important goal was to break 2 hours. The last half marathon was the duel in the dunes where the Snail smoked my 2:08 time with his own 1:54. I was informed he's dropped his half marathon PR to 1:52 now, so I knew my target. My actual expectation (based on recent training runs) was to finish somewhere between 1:45 and 1:55. Just set a reasonable pace and hold it, consistency is the key.

I put up a 1:47:59 for a PR by 20 minutes!

The race started at 6:30 in the morning. This seems kind of nuts to me. It's February, not a hot time of year. Last year, this race got snowed out. So they don't start early to avoid the heat. But this year, they were predicting high's in the 70's and it was supposed to be really sunny. Turns out they were right.

Well, not everything went right. I was all set to carry the small camera in a pocket so I could take pictures along the course. We got someone else at the start to take this shot, then the battery died. Then the camera was flopping my pocket around too much to leave in there, so I ended up carrying a dead camera in my hand for the entire race.

The full marathon had pace group flags, so I found a spot around the 1:50 pace area and started looking for my friend Jon. Kelley actually found him first and sent him my way. It was really good to just get to hang out with Jon at the start, he's been known in our circle of friends for years as the running badass. He had also earned that reputation.

I hit the lap button on the garmin at the mile markers that I could see, they were pretty consistent. Lap 1: 0.98 miles, 7:56, 8:04 per mile pace

Well this sounds familiar. I started the Tybee half marathon with the same time, under 8 minutes. Then tried to slow down and still burned out at mile 10. Is history going to repeat itself?

NO WAY! This time I'm 30 lbs lighter and have been training at a much faster pace. I started in a good spot with Jon. I did catch myself sometimes going too fast, and dropping back closer to an 8 minute pace. This was a huge race, it took me 2 minutes to get to the starting timers. After that I started passing people, maybe a hundred people or more. We were running on a wide 4 lane road with a median, and some of the other people just hopped up onto the sidewalk to pass a bunch of slower people. I was on the sidewalk and still passing people on the sidewalk. But it was un-crowded enough for me to still settle into my pace, pick off the groups of runners that I wanted to pass and get around them. This first mile was effortless and breezy.

Lap 2: 1.01 miles, 8:15, 8:12 per mile pace

It started before the sun came up, and by the end of the first mile we weren't running in the dark anymore. This turned out to be a beautiful day with a fantastic sunrise. I'm still feeling good, and the crowd is starting to thin out a bit. The runners that can't hold this pace are starting to slow down.

Lap 3: 1.01 miles, 8:20, 8:15 per mile pace

My target was to stay between 8:00 and 8:45 per mile, each mile. I was trying to be a little conservative here. It just didn't seem like I would be able to hold that pace for the whole race. Still feeling great, I just didn't trust it at this point.

Also, in this mile I got passed by a guy running with no shirt on, in a red kilt, and he was juggling. A kilted joggler? and my camera batter is dead? really??? Dang it.

Lap 4: 1 mile, 8:16
Lap 5: 1 mile, 8:07
Lap 6: 1.02 miles, 8:15, 8:06 per mile pace

Still feeling great. Cruising out near the airport at this point. They had water stations every 2 miles, so by this point I was 6 miles in, took in 2 cups of water at each of the first two aide stations. That's why laps 4 and 6 were a tad slower, I slowed down to drink. There was actually a marching band playing out near the airport which was really cool.

Jon and I had been playing leapfrog. I would stay in front of him for a good clip, then I'd slow down at the aide stations and he would pass me again. Then I'd catch up and pass him, and so forth. He was listening to tunes. I was talking too much to other people on the course. But when we saw the band out playing we were hanging together. Since we were both music majors in college this was really cool. Also on this last mile, the course started to turn around. So we could see the winners running back towards us and knew how far back we were.

Lap 7: 2.03 miles, 16:43, 8:15 per mile pace

After the airport, there was a little retail area that I never knew existed out there. This brought the halfway point in the course, and there was a timing chip reader giving us a split time.

We turned around out there, and headed back down past the airport where the throngs of runners were heading to the halfway point. Finally Kelley came running past, and she spotted me before I found her. But I was watching for her and missed hitting the lap button for the 7 mile marker. So I had another aide station, the halfway point, and we're 8 miles in now.

Lap 8: 0.99 miles, 7:59, 8:02 per mile pace

After clearing the airport, the course came down to Ocean Blvd and we were running straight into the sun (and a nasty headwind!). Most people blew through this mile just to get out of the wind. Of course Ocean Blvd is right next to the ocean, but there is a row of buildings between road and water. And this being Myrtle Beach, they are high rises. So once they started providing a bit of shade and wind break everything calmed down.

Lap 9: 1.04 miles, 8:43, 8:22 per mile pace

Miles 9 and 10 were pretty uneventful. I found a few guys that were talking about the Krispy Kreme challenge, so we conversed. They had not done it, but lived in a nearby town and heard about it. One of them ended up hanging with me through the finish line. I was joking around asking people if they had three more of those 8 minute miles left in the tank, and could I borrow them.

Lap 10: 1.92 miles, 15:53, 8:17 per mile pace

Around mile 11 is where the full and half marathon routes split, and I was paying attention to the directional signs and missed the mile marker. This is where the rubber meets the road as they say. Believe it or not, I was still feeling good through the mile 12 marker. Jon and I were still playing leap frog. I hit the last aide station feeling ok, heart not really racing but I could tell that I was giving it the business.

Lap 11: 1.16 miles, 9:26, 8:09 per mile pace

I looked down at the Garmin at one point, and saw I was hitting a 7:38 pace. I was feeling very labored at this point. That was a good explanation of where that labored feeling was coming from. I figured I would keep Jon in sight and try to chick him near the end. Later he told me that he was saving a big push starting around 11.5 miles. This is why I couldn't pass him, and why I was running so fast in the last mile. The mental game had to take over here. I knew there was no way I was going to be right around 8 minute miles for the entire race only to lose it at the end. One of the Greensboro guys was still talking me through this part. Turns out it was his first half marathon.

Once we rounded the corner into the finishing chute I got passed by 4 other people kicking it at the end. It was a really long finishing chute. Really long. But I knew I had it then. I knew I had a sub-1:50 time on the boards. Jon wasn't even in sight anymore. But the finish line was!

Overall: 13.15 miles, 1:47:59, 8:13 per mile pace, 7.3 mph average speed

What's amazing about this is the consistency of my speed. Every single mile was right around 8 minutes. I thought they were going to be around 8:30 to 8:45. Looking at the Garmin splits, the slowest split was a 7.2 speed and the fastest split was a 7.5 mph. These numbers are very relative to all of the treadmill training I've been doing.

aside: In fact, the treadmills at my gym limit you to 99 minutes, unlike the 60 minute limit on most gym treadmills. That means if I can hold an 8.0 speed for 13.1 miles, I can complete a half marathon on the treadmill in 1:39. So super secretly I've been monitoring my endurance at that speed and watching it grow. The method seems to be working.

I screamed after crossing the finish line. I know the Greensboro guy thought I was crazy, and I was making Jon laugh. But I just couldn't believe it. A 1:47? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? 1:47? This is bananas. Then it started really sinking in. I knew Jon's wife was trying to break 2 hours. Kim has run the MB half every year that they have done the MB half. She finished in 2:00:37. I had to get back to the hotel 2 blocks away, grab the big camera, and get back in time to get a great finish line pic of Kelley. So I grabbed some food/water quickly (there was no line yet. 3115 half marathon racers and there was no line at the food tent. That's how fast I was!) and hoofed it back to the hotel. Grabbed the big camera, threw down the race belt and changed my shoes quickly, then headed back to the finish line.

I missed Kelley's finish by 2 minutes. We still grabbed these post-finish shots:

Overall, I finished 491 out of 3115 people running the half, 50 out of 199 in my age group. 1:47:59 official time, my half split was 53:09. That's top 25% in everything, so I am quite happy with that. Jon finished in 1:47:25, 422nd overall and 41st / 141 in his age group. He's a few years younger than I am. I'm still surprised at his finish time, we were right together through 12.8 miles. Kelley finished in 2:24:31, number 1991 overall and 221 out of 338 women in her age group (that shall not be revealed).

One other cool thing to note about the race. This year, for the first time in the 14 year history of the event, the winner was female. A woman put up a 2:40 full marathon, breaking the course record and winning the whole thing. The male winner was 3 minutes behind her. I think this is pretty remarkable. She qualified for the olympic trials with the victory.

So how did I reward myself for this feat of endurance? Well the only appropriate way I could think of was Kenneth Cole. I did recently profess my enduring romance with Kenneth. Since I was thin, and fast, and near an outlet store.... well it just seemed appropriate. Four shirts and a pair of shoes might have been pushing the limits a bit, but can you really have too much Kenneth Cole? I think not. So here's to a great race, fun weekend with my sweet wife, and fabulous fashion rewards. I lived every mile of this race with speed and passion.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Maybe some wine coolers will loosen you up

Just a quickie today. The MMNW:

Last week: 180.8 lbs, 19.6% body fat
This week: 180.4 lbs, 19.4% body fat

Tiny little loss but it's still a loss and I'll take it. I hate february and I'll be glad when this insane month is over. I actually blew it over the weekend, friday was a great loss day....

My team won the Fantasy Fat Bowl at work! I'm so proud of the guys. I actually weighed in friday morning at 176. Everybody else on the team put up great numbers too. Between the 5 of us we lost almost 70 lbs in 5 weeks. Good stuff.

This weekend is the half marathon in Myrtle Beach. I can't wait to hang out with Jon and Kim Jessup, and we should get tons of good pics. It's supposed to be over 70 degrees and sunny the whole weekend too. That should help. The race starts at 6:30 am saturday morning. Ouch! Jon is trying to hit 1:50 for the half. My official goal is to break 2 hours, but my plan is to keep between 8 and 8:45 per mile pacing, so I should be able to finish between 1:45 and 1:55. Then saturday night we're going out drinking with friends. There's a Dave Matthews cover band we might take in as well.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Love Riding those Fat Bastards

Yesterday's MMNW:

Last week: 181.4 lbs, 19.8% body fat, 35.9 lbs of body fat
This week: 180.8 lbs, 19.6%, 35.4 lbs of body fat

So it was a total of 0.6 lbs (small) but it was all body fat. I like that. Especially after the race this weekend.

I'm glad I did this race, but I'm not going to do it again. It was 35 degrees and raining hard at the start. We got there 30 minutes before the gun went off so we were soaked. The race was supposed to be run 2 miles to the krispy kreme, eat a dozen doughnuts, and run 2 miles back, in under an hour.

The gun went off, and there was a timing split at the start line so the crowds at the start were ok. Once I cleared, the 2.4 miles (yes they lied about the distance) to the KK went by fast. Not as fast as I wanted, the roads were very crowded. I passed at least 300 people getting there. I got started behind some slow people.

The hardest part was actually eating the dozen doughnuts. I smushed down 3 at a time, and started chewing. Take big bites, swallow fast. Got the first three down.

The doughnut area was starting to get a few more people in it now. Hog down 3 more of those things, and now it's really getting crowded. Halfway done. Now there's a bunch of people in there, it's getting crowded. I've stopped breathing hard after the run, stopped sweating. I know I was crushing a 7:xx pace for the 2.4 miles to get in there.

Now I was just standing in the rain in the middle of a road in downtown Raleigh freezing my balls off trying to stuff down the last 3 doughnuts. The race had 7500 people in it, so they cooked 7500 dozen nuts. That meant mine were cold and stale to begin with. I got in early enough to grab from the first table. So this was pretty miserable.

I had to show the empty box to the guy guarding the Challenger chute, got cleared and got a timing split. 33 minutes. That means it took just as long to eat the doughnuts as it did to run the 2.4 miles to get there! The non-challengers could just grab the box and run, but most people would stop to eat one doughnut at least. That means that the 300 people I passed out of the starting gate? Guess how many of them didn't eat the dozen?

I'm guessing all of them. I didn't want to push the pace too fast going back to the finish line. After taking in 2400 calories and 120 g of fat in 15ish minutes, I didn't feel like puking on the way back. I still passed those dang 300 people again. Running slow and carrying a box of nuts? Get out of my way!

My original plan was to hit the 2 miles around 7 minutes each, down the nuts in 5 minutes or less, and hit 8 minute miles on the way back, you know taking it easier. Should put me finishing within around 35 minutes. Breaking 35 minutes would have put me in 12th place overall. Instead, I finished in 680th place in 52:27 out of 2262 finishers in the Challenger division. Puts me just inside the top 30% of all the finishers. The challenge was to eat the whole dozen and finish inside of an hour, so I did complete the challenge. Also (not that the non-eaters should count in the challenger standings) I finished 930th out of 3385 male finishers, which is still inside of 30%. I can dig it. But the weather was horrible, the course was long (by .8 miles? really?), crowded and slow, the eating was tough. Overall, I'm glad I did it once but it was pretty miserable.

Really, that afternoon I got to find out what it feels like to eat a dozen doughnuts for breakfast, and that was pretty miserable too.

New Pet:

Then, we picked up this guy from the pound....

He is a male orange middle-hair cat. About 12 pounds, he's a hefty sucker. The kids named him Blossom. Yes it's a girls name for a boy cat. I'm just glad I'm not the only guy in the house anymore.

Generally, I choose the path of least responsibility. So adding a pet is a new set of responsibilities. That's a bad thing. But this cat is really chilled. He keeps to himself unless you want him sitting in your lap and isn't very needy. I can get along with that.

Why the titles?

I had enough people asking about the post title from the last post Transvestites Have the Best Cupcakes, so I wanted to explain my theory. I'm trying to comment on more blogs now, and more of them are showing up like this:

So I thought if I used funny titles that had absolutely nothing to do with the post itself, they would show up as my last post when I was commenting. That makes me laugh. So it's completely obscure, and completely selfish. I just think it's funny to be random like that.

Finally, a meme:

Amanda tagged me with a Stylish Blogger award. Visit her if you don't regularly read, she's quite awesome. The task is to link back to the person who tagged you, share 7 things about yourself, tag 7 more bloggers, and tell them about it. It's stylish, so here goes nothing.

1. I claim to be quite stylish. I know most of the pics on here I'm either shirtless (now hawt!) or in workout clothes (also hawt!). But, in terms of the regular street clothes that don't show up very often here, I know and love my designers. The all time fav has to be Kenneth Cole. His shirts are usually very slim cut, so I'm looking forward to being able to wear more of them this summer. I totally queen out over a KC store.

2. I rock the workplace. My supervisor's boss pulled me into a side room the other day and told me I was absolutely the fucking rock star on our team (his words!). I was very excited about this. My job is just as a software developer; I sit in a cube and write code every day.

3. I hate long sleeve t-shirts. Really, what's the point? The office is very casual, so most days I wear t-shirts and race shirts with jeans into the office. In the summertime it's shorts and flip-flops. Yes, that directly violates thing #1, but being comfortable is worth it. You get used to it, and you would make the same choice if you could. But you can't put anything like a sweater or overshirt on top of a long sleeve t-shirt, so they suck.

4. I curse like a sailor. My college summers were spent working in landscaping, with real salt-of-the-earth people. I loved it. But I also picked up those habits, and have to be very careful about my public presentation. Sometimes people laugh the first time they hear me curse because it's such a surprise. I say fuck that.

5. When I was very young, my dad's parents took me and (I think) my brother Michael to the circus. I remember he (the Original John Flynn) bought some cotton candy and convinced me that his tounge was at least a foot long so he could lick the very bottom of the tube the cotton candy came in. I totally believed him, and thought my tounge would be really long when I grew up too. Before I turned six years old, he died of a heart attack. It's the only memory I have of him, really. Well, there was one other time when we cut the grass at his office. so two memories. But he's been on my mind a lot lately.

6. My mom's dad bought a farm after he retired. He grew several vegetable and flower gardens, had three fishing ponds, and hunted some on his 22 acres. He also grew muscadines. That farm plus my landscaping jobs in college is why I love to keep a good garden and vineyard going today. My mother still has a good garden too (bigger than mine!), and we love to garden together.

7. I'm 35 years old and still have both of my grandmothers. I know this is rare, they are 86 and 90 years old now, and they both know their great-grandkids. I know that I am blessed to still have them as a part of my life, and they won't be here forever.

Ok, that might not be the most stylish list, but it's heartfelt. Consider yourself tagged if you haven't been tagged already. I got to call it a night. have a great week!