Thursday, February 28, 2013

Eat & Run

I just finished off reading Scott Jurek's book Eat & Run about being vegan and running ultramarathons.  It was, in a word, incredible.

Scott really puts himself out there in this book.  It's an autobiography in the truest sense of the word.  He covers a lot of family dynamics, dealing with disease and the loss of his mother, and the brutal Minnesota winters.  There's also a lot of upside and positive aspects about becoming vegan and how he made the connection between food, fuel, speed, and winning ultramarathons.

Scott Jurek was a runner and cross country skier in high school, then as an adult turned into an ultramarathon champion winning Western States 7 times after going totally vegan.  In the book he puts recipes and meal plans out there, including how he fuels up for long runs.  The stories he tells are incredible, inspiring, and truthful.  There are lots of high points and low points that he had to go through to become a true champion, and he gives up all the glorious details. 

Since I've been vegan this year I'm seeing considerably faster recovery times and he talks about that a lot in the book.  I was surprised how much I was able to relate to his story.  He gives a lot of detail about the conversion process into being vegan and how it affected his training. 

He also talks a lot about his involvement in Born to Run, which was quite enlightening.

I can't say how much I really enjoyed this book. Two thumbs up!  Get a copy if you haven't already read it!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Finally getting long

This was a good week.  All bike & run, still no swimming thanks to the new tat.  But that ends Saturday!!  Finally getting back in the pool with the RAM team again.  So that cut out my double days Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.  I still got on the bike for 100 miles, and ran 19 miles, an admirable volume for any week.  This is week 3 of training, and the first base week.  The big weeks in the build phase are going to be over 200 miles of riding, so this is a real foundation for volume.  My speeds were also really consistent, and I felt great the entire time.  2:31 running and 4:49 cycling for a total of 7 hours and 20 minutes of training.  Without swimming, that's pretty strong.

This past saturday was really nasty.  Cold, rainy, the kind of day when you just want to make another pot of coffee, get back into bed and watch movies with the kids all day.  So that's a good chunk of what happened.  Sunday I slept too late to get my workout done before church, so I took advantage of the sunshine and 63* temps of the afternoon.  The plan called for 10 miles, so I got out onto the streets of Raleigh and did my capital loop. First time I've had a double digit milage run since the ultra in December and it felt ah-may-zing!  The sunshine, and the sweat, and the cool breeze still blowing, it was just amazing the whole time.  I kept my heart rate in zone 2 and kept knocking down nice easy miles.  Sometimes it's really nice to run without the watch.  And I still finished under 1:20 for a sub-8 pace.

What else happened last week?  Not much.  It was calm.  normal.  cold.  still february.  I'm starting to get that itch for spring.  We've got a few new developers on my team at work.  Good guys, should make things really fun. 

I got Bigun pretty good today.  She was doing some homework while I was sending an email, and started pestering me about who I was writing to.  I finally told her it was my friend Nunya.

Nunya who, Daddy?

Nunya Bidness!  Do your homework. 

Needless to say, half an hour of giggling ensued with very little further homework.  Totally worth it to get the laugh though. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A day of eating

A good local training buddy asked me to post about a typical day's eats, and today was a typical day so I figured it's as good as any to sample.  He's been vegetarian for a few years now and wants to spot the differences in going vegan.  Today was a great vegan day and a fine day for ironman training, so it's a good slice of life.

5:50 AM: Up and at 'em.  Ate a banana before hitting the gym.  45 minutes on the stationary bike hill program, covered 15 miles in 44:54.  that's a touch slower than normal.

7 AM: I eat the same breakfast every day. 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water, microwave for 2 mins, top with a banana, rasins, and a spoonfull of chia seeds and flax seed.

8 AM: At work.  Today I was polishing a data transfer script like it was my knob.  It took all day, with other meetings and "work stuff" going on. I also make (and drink) an entire 12 cup pot of coffee every day.  I take it black, no cream or sugar.  Now that I have some teammates who drink coffee, they get a few cups in the morning and a few in the afternoon.  But I bet I still consume an entire pot by myself.  I used to drink 1 pot in the morning and 1 in the afternoon as well, but now I end up sharing.

11:30 AM: I brought my lunch today and ate at my desk while reading blogs.  I ended up with a bigger lunch than normal, I just went a little crazy this morning with the leftovers.  I made a burrito with some leftover black beans & rice, then added some leftover tofu crumble taco stuff that also had black beans in it.  Also threw some guacamole (homemade) and salsa (storebought) on there, with Texas Pete.  That's a massive burrito.

I also brought a pita and hummus (homemade), which is a current addiction.  It made a great side.  And I grabbed 2 desserts we had in the fridge, a raw vegan brownie and a raw vegan cinnamon roll.  The cool thing about raw vegan desserts is that they taste like dessert and are completely yummy, but still consist of healthy ingredients so they are totally guilt free.
The cinnamon rolls in question.  One with glaze and one without, just for effect. 

Typically I'll bring leftovers or a green smoothie into the office for lunch.  That means the dinners are really great.  Other lunch options include the cafeteria at the office (open for breakfast and lunch) or just whole fruit.  Throw 3 bananas and 3 apples in a bag and get out the door.  It's a very filling lunch.

5:15 PM: Back home after work and time to play with the kids for a bit. They eat dinner at 5:30, Kelley and I usually join them between 5:30 and 6.  Tonight's dinner was particularly spectacular.  It was some mashed sweet potatoes, sautee'd red cabbage, dressing, and another pita and hummus.  That's going to be some great leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

6:45 PM: choir practice at the church.  I sang my heart out, it was a really good time.

8:45 PM: Back home and the kids were still up.  I got to read a bedtime story.  Since I'm out of the pool until March 1 letting the tattoo heal up, I get to settle into the DVR.  Typically then I'd hit the treadmill for 5 miles in zone 2.  I think since I can't swim tomorrow night I'll just do the run then.  So wednesday is typically a bike morning and run evening workout day.  That has to be followed by a big snack.

10 PM: Snack time.  This used to be cereal in milk.  Sometimes, it still is.  Tonight it was just another cinnamon roll.  They are too good!  Other typical evening snacks include another pita with hummus, or an entire large bag of microwave popcorn.  Kelley really likes the popcorn too.

11 PM: Bedtime.  It should be earlier than that.  Typically my evening workout starts at either 6:45 (swim practice) or 8 pm when the kids go to bed.  Coming down from the workout high, and eating enough after the workout then catching some TV and/or QT with my lady will keep the evening crash until at least 11, typically. 
I thought this was hilarious.  Apparently, when I slept the night I got the new tat, I was still enough for the ink to transfer a pattern onto the sheets.  And yes those are fleece sheets with penguins on them.  They are comfortable enough for me to actually use fleece sheets with penguins on them.

So that's what a vegan athlete in the early stages of an Ironman training plan typically eats on a typical day.  Highlighted by a big-ass burrito. 

In other news, Bigun lost another tooth tonight! It's only her 3rd tooth to come out, and she pulled it herself.  We didn't get a toothless pic yet.  But the tooth fairy has to come tonight!  And tomorrow morning holds another bike ride.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Snowy Week 2

It could be called the week that wasn't, but warmup week 2, Ironman training week 2 is over and done with.  Life happened this week too.

Good thing I still got in that rest day on Friday.  Tuesday was supposed to be my last swim before the new tattoo on wednesday but we ended up having an Indian Princess meeting that was so much fun I didn't make it to the pool.  Wednesday I couldn't double down thanks to the tattoo.  And I was still pretty torn up on thursday morning so I missed that ride.  The weekend was still quite productive.  I did plenty of time on the bike trainer on Satuday and Sunday morning had a nice brick before church.  10 mile ride/8 mile run, and that's the longest run I've had in a long time. 

The Cast Iron Club is up to 2.8 Iron swims, 2.92 iron bikes, and 2.37 marathons.  Saturday officially started Base week 1, so now every week it gets a little bit longer and there are some rest weeks too of course.  Base building lasts for 22 weeks, so this is going to be a wild ride.

Saturday we got a ton of snow in Raleigh!  Fine, if you live north off the mason-dixon line you wouldn't think it's a lot of snow but it's the most we've gotten in years.  Years people!  The kids were actually able to make snowmen, even if they were mostly decorated with the leaves I haven't raked yet.

The backyard

and the front yard

snowman parts.  I'm already cold.

Starting to make a snowman

starting to build out the rest of the family

Bigun finished one!

Evil Genius has balls allright

EG finished her two

And these are bigun's snowmen
We used carrots for noses and dates for the eyes.  Absolutely adorable!  They had so much fun.  We got to skype with Mom some too, and Greenville got tons of snow as well.  Such a fun saturday!  I got some time on the bike trainer and plenty of time in the snow with the kiddos.

Sunday was great too.  Had the great brick, a decent church service, and got to take Evil Genius to the $2 theater to see Rise of the Guardians.  It was actually a great movie!  I really enjoyed it, and she absolutely loved it.  Great weekend after kind of a rough week.  Onward and upward!  Base building week 1 is here and now.  Plunge into the depths.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Last night I got some fresh ink that's going to throw a monkey wrench into the ironman training plan.  Well, actually I had it built into the plan, it took forever to get an appointment with this artist.  But a new tat means no swimming for 2 weeks.  Actually I cancelled my gym membership with the pool a while back, it finally expires tomorrow.  I'm going back to the RAM swim team in march, so I get a few weeks to let this heal and I'll rejoin the team.  On to the pics!

The Angel

Detail of the face & hair. 

One of the wings kicks out onto my back

I love how the layout wraps around to the back of my tricept

I absolutely love it.  Mark VanNess is the artist, he is really incredible.  He drew the initial design freehand, then transferred to a line drawing and started putting in ink.  Then came the shading.  I had to sit for about 3 hours total.  I still can't believe the level of detail he was able to achieve.  It's still healing of course, these pictures are only about 24 hours old. 

We were also supposed to do a cross on my back but ran out of time, so that will come after B2B.  He books up 6 months in advance now.  The angel and the cross are main Christian symbols to me, and I was really looking forward to getting the cross done.  But I can be patient on that one.

Monday, February 11, 2013

That week got busy!

I missed my normal thursday post, sorry about that.  REALLY didn't mean to leave that giant picture of my fat belly in a blue speedo up at the top of the blog all week.  That needs to go away.  Ironman training week 1 - warmup week 1 is in the books and now I'm squarely into warmup week 2.  Since the race is on a saturday I'm starting my training weeks new each saturday.  Unfortunately the tracking software I'm using for the Cast Iron club starts the weeks on Monday, so I've got this:

That's a perfect warmup week.  Saturday and Sunday had bricks.  Bike rides before work tues, wed, & thurs.  Everything else filled in nicely.  I didn't miss any workouts. They were not long, but I hit the entire schedule.  That's the point of a warmup week.  I've got 37 weeks left for the workouts to get long.  and they will.  But these 3 mile runs and 10 mile bike rides serve a purpose, and that is to get my body used to this schedule. 

There was some serious adjusting done this week.  The 6 am workouts, being tired and hungry all the time, and just constantly being sore all will take some getting used to.  I think the vegan plan is going to work nicely.  I did feel like I was able to recover faster and I certainly feel leaner than before.  This week goes in the win column for sure, but I really enjoyed the rest day on friday.  Glad I've got another warmup week before I start really building the base and these things start to get longer.

Speaking of the Cast Iron Club, my run miles seem to be lagging.  The goal is 30 ironman distances on the year, and so far I'm at 2.8 iron distances for swimming, 2.34 for biking, and only 1.78 for running.  That's a good start.  As the training plan progresses I'll be covering over an entire iron distance every week so I'm not sweating it too much.  Good to see progress though!

 I also find it ironic that this Ironman training plan started on groundhog's day.  Just like the movie, it is the same week over and over and over again.  Repetition makes an ironman strong.  but I still think irony is just a reaction to wrinkly.

The girls got a wonderful surprise in the mail from Grandma!  She made them nightgowns, and matching nightgowns for the American Girl dolls.  The only time Bigun has taken her gown off since it came in the mail friday afternoon was to shower.  Love is an understatement here. 

Saturday's brick was a 1 mile swim and 30 mile bike, but I actually had to do the bike first. There was a water aerobics class going on in the pool the first time I came in there.  Glad those ladies were getting some work done, but get outta my lane!  My time on the stationary bike had some special reading material.  Esquire, Swimmer, Runner's World, and Bicycling magazines.  When I realized the grouping, I realized how much I love narcicism.  Triathlon is a means to a tight little end.  and with reading material on swim bike run and style... well that grouping really stuck out.

Sunday I had a 12 mile easy ride on the stationary and a 6 mile run before church.  Did some core work too.  The cool thing was that I got it all done before church, then made it home for some breakfast, shower, dress and made it there on time.  I was sitting in the choir loft and I could actually feel the muscles in my legs repairing, or at least it felt like something was going on in there - and it didn't feel like the normal post-workout soreness either.  it was actually really cool.  All afternoon I had an unusual spring in my step, but I still didn't actually do very much.  it was still cool.

Most people don't understand that physical training is also life training.  The stronger you are, the better quality of life you will have.  It breeds confidence that spreads into every other aspect.  Enjoy it, and go do something strong today!

Today's MMNW is 179.8 lbs and 20.2% bodyfat.  And today is when Pitchers & Catchers report for baseball's spring training!  We've almost made it through the dark ages.  Hang in there!

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Roaring Start

So what happened in January?

Swim: 4400 meters, 3 swims
Bike: 158 miles, 10 rides
Run: 29.6 miles, 8 runs
Strength: 16 workouts
Yoga: 16 sessions

Cast Iron Club (30 ironman distances)
Swim: 72 miles (2.5 down, 69.5 to go)
Bike: 3360 miles (158 down, 3302 to go)
Run: 786 miles (29.6 down, 756.4 to go)

This is all surprising since all I was trying to do was get ready for the ironman training plan.  158 miles on the bike is a pretty decent month.  It felt really good to get back in the pool again for the first time since September.  My form is coming back.  Running felt good after taking several weeks off after the ultra.  My endurance and form and overall comfort level in all three sports is starting to show up again, and that feels great!  Also I didn't expect to see exactly the same numbers of strength training workouts and yoga workouts.  that's kind of freaky.  I'm in a 30 day ab challenge group on the bookface that has me doing lots of core work right now - 15 minutes a day for 30 straight days to be exact.

Ironman training begins!
The first weekend of Ironman training is in the books.  First I did some core work and yoga saturday morning, then got into badass mode.  That means finally getting rid of all that crazy hair.  The end result was this:

Those are *seriously* before pictures.  Good thing I'm not easily embarrased.  I also picked up a couple of new swimsuits for the season, and this blue tiger striped numbers happens to be the most outlandish. 

After all that shaving and picture taking (it took about an hour) I got out to the pool for the first workout of ironman training.  Ended up being a 1200 meter swim and a 20 mile bike ride.  Felt pretty good, it's been a while since I've done a brick that long.  And I finally felt really fast in the pool again.  To feel that water blowing by me, my stroke count was finally back down to 14 or 15 strokes per length instead of the 18 to 20 strokes that I've been seeing.  Taking fewer arm strokes to reach the other side of the pool means I'm getting more distance per stroke = faster swimming.  The bike ride was uneventful.  I hopped on the stationary for about an hour.  1 brick down, 75 bricks to go before B2B.  And I probably shouldn't mention strokes while you know I was wearing that suit.  You wouldn't believe some of the looks I got walking into the pool in that bad boy.

Sunday I got up in time to get in a nice brick before church.  I ended up hitting the gym for a 12 mile ride on the stationary there followed by a 5 mile run.  I could have used another half hour or so to stretch the distances a bit, but it still felt great.  I haven't been running much over 3 miles since the ultramarathon so it gives me a sense of confidence to have 5 feel that easy.  Two bricks down, 74 to go!

(I'm doing two bricks every weekend, swim/bike on saturday and bike/run on sunday for each of the 38 weekends in this training plan)

I made it home just in time to get ready for church, get the kids ready and get out the door.  I literally came running into the choir room throwing the robe on as the rest of the choir was lining up getting ready to walk in.  It ended up being a great service too.  We had communion, and they actually mentioned that there was gluten free wafers available.  It takes a pretty open minded church to do that.

So week 1 is a warmup week with short small workouts just to get my body used to the rigor of two-a-days.  Being in ironman training again feels familiar.  I'm already anticipating much napping.  I can't believe January flew by like that, it's already February, and this is a journey that won't end until the end of October.  It's going to be a wild ride!

MMNW: 181.2 lbs, 20.4% bodyfat