Monday, 04 June 2012 11:44

Ironman Arizona - Here We Go

[caption id="attachment_5997" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Ironman Arizona: Let's Get It On!"]ironmanarizona_imaz_triathlon_training[/caption] Ironman Arizona is in 168 days or 24 weeks.  What does that mean for me?  It means that training for this race starts today.  I am very excited to get the training going for this race because there are so many people out there that are training right now and I felt out of the loop for two weeks while I recovered. I have set up my spreadsheet to track my mileage for IMAZ and to compare it to IMTX.  I would think that the mileage would be similar but I do think that there will be more swimming mileage.  I have found an open water swim practice hosted by the Frisco Tri Club on Wednesday evenings and I will be attending this practice as often as I can.  Based on the 1:34 I put up at IMTX I could surely use the practice. There will be a few changes going on during this training cycle:
  • My aerobic bike rides will be done at 140 bpm.  My goal will be to race IMAZ at that heart rate so in order to understand how that feels I need to train there. I will still be doing a lot of my work on the trainer during the week in the garage and with extra layers.  I found that this helped me to understand how much liquid to take in.  While it should be somewhat cooler in Arizona in November if I train at a hotter 'climate' then the cooler weather will benefit me on race day.
  • I have picked up a new bike computer.  I will be training with the Garmin Edge 500 so that I can track all my trainer work properly as well as when I head out on the bike.  This will allow me to upload my bike data for Coach so that she can truly adjust any bike sessions she has scheduled.
  • As mentioned above, I will be heading to the lake more often so that I can get the open water swim practice.  The beauty of this is that the summer will be with no wetsuit but IMAZ will most certainly be a wetsuit event.
  • My aerobic runs will be done at 155 bpm.  I raced IMTX in 4:09 which equates to a 9:31/mi pace.  I had some data before my watch died and it showed a 140 bpm during that first 41 minutes.  I ran that first loop in 8:27/mi and the 2nd and 3rd loops at 10:06/mi and 10:04/mi so I don't think my heart rate ever elevated above the 140 bpm which is not bad but I also know that I can run the marathon at a sub-4:00 pace.
  • My diet is going to be dialed in from day one.  I have been on a routine lately that has helped me keep my post-IMTX weight right near race weight.  In addition to that my body fat% is at 6% and that is an improvement from early April.  That being said Summer Bailey and I are going to be comparing the cost of training for an Ironman being a vegetarian versus being a carnivore.  This should be interesting and my spending will be chronicled through 'Feeding An Ironman'
Here are my numbers from  Ironman Texas and we can certainly compare them to Ironman Arizona as the training goes on.  
Swim Bike Run
Miles 110.8 2858.6 633.6

I would be ignorant to think that I will get through this on my own so I want to thank my sponsors for helping me out, but first thank you to Karen.  Ready to rock and roll this training?

  • Herbalife 24 - nutrition to help me start, keep going and recover.
  • Boundless Nutrition - when you want great tasting cookies you come to these guys.
  • Grapevine Grains - for the best oats and flours to make healthy dishes go to them. (CTER code gets you a 10% discount)
  • TriSwim / TriSlide - TriSwim removes that chlorine smell, while TriSlide protects against chafing and sores but also removes your wetsuit fast.
  • Sonix Studio - my partnership with Chad in this web design and internet marketing company that allows me the freedom to train and race.
  • Core Power - recovery milk that goes great in an Herbalife 24 smoothie.
And certainly last but not least.....thank you Coach.  Claudia Spooner of iRuniTri Mutlisport has gotten me to the start and finish of IMTX and will now have the task of doing the same at IMAZ.  Be prepared for lots of questions and suggestions Coach.

Thank you for reading and as they say in boxing:  Let's Get It On

Published in Train
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 19:24

Ironman Texas Training - Week 11?

Ironman Texas training is 11 weeks down.....I think!  I can't keep track but I think that is the right number.  Last week was a huge week and break through week for me. Training last week took up a total of 17.5 hours of my life and I loved every minute of it.  I am thankful that the zombie apocalypse did not happen until Monday when I could barely move my legs because of the 92 mile ride followed by 30 minute lactate threshold run I did the day before.  That ride was the longest ride of my 'career' and I smiled the entire time.  I was on a large portion of the Ironman Texas course and it is no longer as daunting as it once seemed.  I managed to ride the course at a 19.5 mph clip and felt strong.  My hydration and nutrition were spot on with 95% (guesstimate) liquid nutrition and 5% (Thank You HoneyStinger) coming from solid foods. When I got home though is when the zombie hit.  I had to drive back from Conroe, Texas after that ride and it took me nearly 3 hours and when I landed I packed up my gear for the Monday workout so when 830p hit I was done.  Cooked.  There was no moving.  It was to the point that Karen practically dragged me into bed. Monday rolled around and getting in the water for what I figured would be a recovery swim was not true.  That was a session of yard after yard after yard of race pace swimming.  If you have heard it before I am going to say it again:  Ironman training is hard work. There are rewards though.  Like knowing you can ride 92 miles at 19.5 mph.  Like knowing that you can throw down a 30 minute run right after that and cover 3.7 miles at an 8:00/mi pace.  Like knowing that the next day when you get in the water you can still hit your race pace times.  That is what Ironman training has done for me.  My confidence is sky-high right now and I need to bring myself back to earth as there is this 'little' race called 70.3 Ironman San Juan in two weeks that I need to be focused on. The numbers to date are: Weekly:
  • Swim - 5.5 miles
  • Bike - 164.3 miles
  • Run - 30.5 miles
  • Swim - 23.2 miles
  • Bike - 476.7 miles
  • Run - 83.0 miles
Ironman Texas Training:
  • Swim - 56.7 miles
  • Bike - 1278.3 miles
  • Run - 296.7 miles
Thank you for watching.
Published in Train
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 15:11

Ironman Texas Training Video Blog

Ironman Texas training has clearly entered into the 'man this is hard' world.  The workouts have increased in duration.  The workouts have increased in intensity.  The workouts have pushed and pulled me to areas I never thought were imaginable. Let's take the last three days (not including today) as an example:
  • Saturday:  100.2 miles on the bike followed by 3.5 miles of running (5 hours 51 minutes)
  • Sunday: 17.75 miles of running (2 hours 45 minutes)
  • Monday: 3300 yards of swimming (1 hour 6 minutes)
  • Monday: 15.36 miles of running (2 hour 30 minutes)
  • Total:  1.88 miles of swimming, 100.2 miles of biking, 36.6 miles of running (12 hours 9 minutes)
So today when I originally thought my training was a 1 hour trainer ride at aerobic capacity followed by 1 hour of running at lactate threshold I held my breath.  When I woke up and checked my training to see that it was 2 hours of riding at aerobic capacity I was happy.  The thought of running for an hour after running nearly 37 miles scared the living you know what out of me.  Now that I had today to not push myself I am prepared to do this run tomorrow.  I am actually looking forward to it as my legs will have had the opportunity to recover. Also, in regards to training I am also doing the weekend workouts at times that are reflective of where I should be on the course when that sport comes up.  So on Saturday I started my ride at 8am and rode through that part of the day to see how I would react to the temperatures and to practice my nutrition and hydration plan.  I will say that it worked perfectly as I was never hungry and only peed on the bike once. My 2 hour and 30 minute run on Monday was in the height of the Texas heat.  It gave me an idea of how fatigued my legs would feel at that time of the day and to again practice my hydration and nutrition plan.  I have decided to incorporate HoneyStinger waffles every two hours along with Herbalife 24 Prolong and First Endurance Liquid Shot (Kona-Mocha is their newest flavor).  These three products have served me very well in the last three days.  Of course I will also take water off the course on the bike and the run. Lastly, my plan to walk 30-45 steps every mile of the run was practiced yesterday and it worked great.  My splits did slow down but not as considerably as I would have thought had I tried to run the entire time.  Here are the splits from the run yesterday:
  • Mile1: 9:15; 130bpm; Max: 146bpm
  • Mile2: 9:07; 139bpm; Max: 148bpm
  • Mile3: 9:30; 142bpm; Max: 149bpm
  • Mile4: 9:48; 149bpm; Max: 155bpm
  • Mile5: 9:28; 147bpm; Max: 153bpm
  • Mile6: 9:02; 148bpm; Max: 154bpm
  • Mile7: 9:12; 150bpm; Max: 155bpm
  • Mile8: 9:06; 144bpm; Max: 151bpm
  • Mile9: 9:43; 149bpm; Max: 158bpm
  • Mile10: 9:47; 143bpm; Max: 149bpm
  • Mile11: 9:41; 144bpm; Max: 151bpm
  • Mile12: 10:03; 141bpm; Max: 150bpm
  • Mile13: 11:23; 141bpm; Max: 153bpm (treated this mile as the special needs bag and did not stop my watch for the consumption of water)
  • Mile14: 10:21; 142bpm; Max: 149bpm
  • Mile15: 10:38; 141bpm; Max: 150bpm
  • .327mi: 3:38; 145bpm; Max: 151bpm
You can clearly see where I was running uphill with these splits but overall I was quite happy to be running these splits with that simple walk break in it. Now onto the data that all you TriGeeks love to look at and crunch: Overall Training for Ironman Texas:
  • Swim: 76.8 miles
  • Bike: 1847.0 miles
  • Run: 441.8 miles
Weeks 15 and 16 combined:
  • Swim: 7.3 miles (not a lot of swimming due to taking nearly a week off because of the bike crash - wound are healing very well.)
  • Bike: 317.8 miles
  • Run: 50.9 miles
Published in Train
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 12:44

Ironman Texas Training - Weeks 13 and 14

Ironman Texas training has entered some zone but I'm not sure what zone.  These past two weeks have been filled with races and hardly any taper or has been bananas, and I have eaten my fair share of bananas.  I may have to track my banana consumption alone to see how much it really is because I know it is at least one per day. So where do we start with Ironman Texas training?  Oh, how about words from my Coach after 70.3 San Juan.  This is not verbatim but I think you will get the point:
  • I have aggressive goals for you for Ironman Texas.  You will be ready for that day without a doubt.
After a big swallow of air when the phone hung up I said to myself:   What would be aggressive goals?  The next thought was that is awesome.  Let her think about those goals and take it away from me.  When I setup my own goals I am fairly aggressive but having somebody else set them up and I will chase them down with reckless abandon.  I am excited to see what she has up her sleeve.
I am also very excited about my newest sponsor.  Last week I came to an agreement with Grapevine Grains.  They are a local company here in Grapevine, Texas and  provide the freshest granola, muesli, trail mix, and fresh stone ground cookie, muffins, pancake and corn bread mixes.  All of their products are made with fresh organic stone flours and rolled oats.  As a person who does a lot of baking in the house as well as eating oatmeal, granola and muesli this sponsorship couldn't have been a better match.  Be on the lookout for a more formal announcement along with a coupon code so that you can get the freshest quality ingredients delivered to you doorstep.
Now onto the numbers:
Week 13
  • Swim: 3.84 miles
  • Bike: 93.8 miles
  • Run: 26.6 miles
Week 14
  • Swim: 5.57 miles
  • Bike: 78.5 miles
  • Run: 30.8 miles
  • Swim: 69.5 miles
  • Bike: 1,529.2 miles
  • Run: 390.9 miles
Thank You For Watching!
Published in Train
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 11:44

Ironman Texas Training - Week #3 VLOG

So it is Tuesday which means it is Day #2 of Week #4 of training.  Right now all my faculties are in place and I have yet to hit Zombie land like this fellow triathlete and blogger [Click Here].  Secretly and not so secretly I hope to never have that Zombie look but I also am realistic to know that the day is going to come when nothing goes right and the body wants to crap out on me and I will need to have some superior mental strength to get through it all. One thing I know for sure is that on my aero runs I am going to be treating them like the half-marathon in the race and run the first couple of miles at a slightly slower pace than my goal pace, then hit my goal pace for the middle miles and then pick up the pace.  I want to do this for a few reasons.
  1. I want to practice not going out to hard and blowing up on the run.  I know what my goal is and at 70.3 Cali and 70.3 Austin I have yet to hit that goal and I am going to do my best to get there at 70.3 Puerto Rico and pacing is going to be the key.
  2. I want to teach my body to pull on its reserves and run harder when it's tired.  I need to be able to embrace the suck as those miles pile up and still be able to hold/maintain a pace.
  3. I know how I want to treat the marathon of Ironman Texas and practicing the pacing and nutrition will allow me to not be surprised come marathon time in mid-May in The Woodlands where temps can be high and the humidity even higher.  I have been running with 3-4 shirts on plus a sweatshirt to mimic the sweat rate loss that I am likely to face and thus practicing pacing and nutrition simultaneously.
Thank you for watching.  Recommendations for the next head-gear are welcomed and I'm starting to feel like Lee Corso a little bit.
Published in CTER TV
Monday, 26 December 2011 12:22

Ironman Texas Training - Week #1 VLOG

The first week of Ironman Texas training is in the books and it was a successful week overall.  Watch the video to see and hear what happened in the first week, what Week #2 is shaping up to look like and a few shout outs to some helpful folks.
  Week #1 Stats: Swim:  5500 yards (3.125 mi); 1.9 hours Bike: 106.8 miles; 5.5 hours Run: 26.57 miles; 3.7 hours Strength/Core:  1x   Thank you for reading and watching.
Published in Train
Thursday, 22 December 2011 14:55

The Sufferfest - Cycling Video Review

It was just a couple of days ago that I wrote about the Pain Community that Mr Atkinson refers to in terms of triathletes.  He believes that we will push ourselves past a point of suffering because we want to feel alive in today's world.  We will endure suffering that the average person will not work their way through and it was just yesterday when I became the Mayor of this Pain Community if for only 2 hours.  It was during the second hour of my trainer ride while watching The Sufferfest - A Very Dark Place that I could feel a small tear start to trickle down my cheek as my legs and lungs burned like never before. It wasn't too long ago that Shannon of IronTexas Mommy, Mandy of Caratunk Girl and Rebecca of She Becca Try to Tri were talking about this video series and how much they loved it.  At the time I was in the midst of marathon training and not overly concerned with cycling since at the time riding was on the trainer and for recovery from a long run.  Once the marathon ended I knew that I need to pick up the slack on the bike and that I would be doing quite a bit of riding on the trainer in The Humidor.  I also knew that I need to really push myself on the bike if I want to go faster than what I did for 70.3 Austin and I reflected on my winter training for 70.3 California.  Last winter I rode the trainer but in retrospect I was really just spinning on the trainer.  It wasn't until a conversation with BDD, Jeff, Patrick and Jon that I learned the concept of embrace the pain.  That later became embrace the suck after reading Macca's Book: I'm Here To Win.  After that conversation my riding became more intense. Learning from last year I planned on going into this winter training session with the notion that I was going to try to improve as much as I could on the bike and that is where The Sufferfest began to surface.  I asked which was the best video to get and was told that I should get Downward Spiral, and then I had an interval session and figured that A Very Dark Place would work for that session.  Shannon wrote a review of Fight Club and so I decided to get that one as well.  To date I have used Downward Spiral and A Very Dark Place but not Fight Club.  I will review the two videos that I have used and you can go [HERE] to read Shannon's review of Fight Club.

Downward Spiral

Workout details from the website: The Downward Spiral workout was designed to work you at your maximum level, in sustainable, decreasing time periods. And to make you beg for mercy. But that’s a side effect of The Sufferfest, you know. Here’s what you’ll get over the 60 minutes. My thoughts of the video:  Yeah this is hard.  You start out with a nice 10 minute warm-up that scares me.  It is a first person view of a mountain bike course and the rider is going over rocks, trees, jumps, etc and I feel much safer on my tri bike than doing this warm-up but the music is great and gets you going.  From there you enter into pack riding and again it is in first person and also includes some attacks which really gets the legs ready for the Downward Spiral. The Downward Spiral is a set of intervals starting at 2 minutes and working your way down by 15 second increments and the hard work (9.5 or 10 out of 10 on the RPE scale) is followed by the same time frame of recovery.  For me the recovery is great at the start but then you always see a rider (#35 in 2XU gear) passing you and my recovery goes from 3/10 to more of a 5/10 as I can't stand when he passes me, and you don't have to tell me I know it's not real but it still irks me and it must irk the guy who had the camera on his helmet because he looks right at the guy after he gets passed. So that you know when it is time to pick up the pace or slow down into recovery the video plays a horse's neigh.  The first couple of times you are ok with it and by the time the 1st set is nearing its end you never want to see another horse ever again.  Did you pick up that I said 1st set?  That's right because after you do it once you get 5 minutes recovery and you get to do it again except its harder.  

A Very Dark Place

Workout details from the website: A Very Dark Place was created to work you very, very hard. You need to be both physically and mentally ready (or insane) for this one. It was designed to help you improve your top speed over short distances – covering, or making attacks, getting over those steep short hills and powering down the other side or taking a big pull at the front of the breakaway. Of course, we’re here not just to make you suffer, but to entertain you – so we designed each 4:00 interval with a unique, eh, personality: from steady intensity to aggressive climbing to relentless attacks on the cobbles or on the bergs. You will not get bored – guaranteed. A Very Dark Place, which is about 54:00 covers: My thoughts of the video:  I used AVDP after riding to Downward Spiral for an hour so my legs were already filled with lactic acid when I hit the play button.  It was not long before I was shutting my eyes to try to deflect the suffering somewhere else.  I embraced the suck as much as possible and there were a couple of times where I could feel myself whimper and then let out a huge sigh when the gunshot went off.  Yes the gunshot.  In this video that is your queue to pick it up or slow down.  So as I sit here living in Texas I am officially sick of horses and guns......probably need to move now! The video has 5 4:00 all out sessions followed by 3 minute recovery periods and has some great music to keep you involved.  The best part, and what makes this video different from Downward Spiral, is that each of the 5 sessions is completely different from the other.  There are attacks and there are climbing out of the saddle sections as well. In this video as with Downward Spiral the Sufferfesters tease you with comments like your Grandma called or the leader of the pack is talking about you.  Statements like can you keep up and the competitor in me gets annoyed and pedals even harder.  It got so loud in The Humidor (my garage) that I had to ask Karen last night if she could hear the trainer from the bedroom.  Luckily she did not hear it which means that my neighbors don't hear it either. I have a two-hour ride coming up and I can't wait to start with AVDP and finish with Fight Club.  These videos are going to help me reach my goal of getting better on the bike through the winter and set me up for a terrific day at 70.3 San Juan as well as Ironman Texas. Recommendation:  I would highly recommend these videos to those that have to spend anytime on the trainer either due to weather or time.  I used to dislike the trainer as much as the treadmill but these videos do make the time fly by regardless of how much you are suffering.  The music and the scenery are excellent and the price cannot be beat.  You can download the videos for $11.99 for single use or $24.99 for group or class use.  The price cannot be beat. As their slogan says:  I will beat my ass today to kick your's tomorrow

Have You Used Sufferfest?  If so, which video do you like best?

Published in Train
Thursday, 08 December 2011 14:52

Practicing Form In The Offseason

The offseason has now officially begun for me and that means that the focus is on form.  Form in all three disciplines will help me become more efficient and eventually faster.  I have been practicing my form in the pool for about two weeks now, ever since I was directed to Mr Smooth.  I have watched that little 3D image multiple times over and especially the night before I head to the pool in the morning.  By focusing on form I have been able to shave seconds off of my 100y times in those two weeks.  It is amazing to me how I can swim faster splits and be less fatigued. This week I also was forced to focus on form with my running.  Ever since the weekend after 70.3 Austin I have been dealing with a pain on the top of my foot right where the foot and the leg meet (that 90* angle when you are standing up.)  It has been a throbbing pain when I run but I knew that I wanted to run the Las Vegas marathon so I ignored the pain.  Two days after the marathon I tried to get a 30 minute easy run in and almost quit after a minute.  I decided to walk because I knew I needed the lactic acid out of my quads.  After walking for two minutes I started to run again but focusing on a mid-foot strike and all the sudden there was no pain.  I was conscious to make sure I wasn't compensating on my right leg and wasn't.  Yesterday I ran outside for almost 23 minutes and covered 2.76 miles at a pace of 8:18/mi with no pain.  Today I ran 3.80 miles in 35 minutes for a pace of 9:13/mi and neither time did I have pain.  I can say that I could feel it in my calf but that is to be expected with a change in landing. Yesterday I got an email from regarding the aero position and I immediately thought of two things.  The first was how I could benefit from practicing better form on the bike and how that could help save my legs for the run since both of my runs in 70.3 California and 70.3 Austin were not the best.  I also recall pictures of Craig Alexander from Kona whose rear saddle water bottle was parallel to the ground.  Most of us ride with our water bottles vertical but this was the first I had seen a water bottle be horizontal (Kona World Championships are this weekend so tune it to see the angle of Craig Alexander's water bottle.) Here are the points that Frank Bures wrote for Bicycling magazine that was re-published on 1. Cover all exposed brake and derailleur cables. "This can be difficult, but I use a lot of electrical tape and flexible cables," says Frey. "You can tell that you have done a good job if you cannot see any cables when looking straight on at the bike from the front, seeing what the wind sees." [caption id="attachment_4821" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Notice the water bottle in the vertical position"]craig_alexander_kona_aerodynamic[/caption] 2. If you buy a time-trial helmet, make sure it's tail is flat against your back when you're in the aero position. "Airflow separation between your helmet and back will negate much of the benefit of having the teardrop helmet in the first place." 3. Smooth out. "Always use a skinsuit with no wrinkles or excess fabric as well as spandex shoe covers. Do not wear gloves!" Quiet your ride: How to silence a noisy bike 4. Flatten out "Make sure your forearms are parallel to the ground and that your thumbs point forward with flat aerobar extensions, giving you leverage to pull up on the extensions when going up steep power climbs while also making a more aerodynamic shape. Always think of what you look like to the wind." 5. Shield yourself "Pedal with your knees and legs inward, so that your forearms block the wind for your legs. You want to be as low and narrow on the bike as possible while still being able to breathe and produce power. Roll your shoulders inward and keep your head as low as possible." [caption id="attachment_4822" align="alignright" width="276" caption="Notice the water bottle and the flat aero helmet on his back"]craig_alexander_kona_triathlon_2011[/caption] 6. Front first "Most important in terms of aerodynamics is the front of your bike—it is the first thing to see 'clean' wind, and this means your front wheel, fork, aerobars and helmet are the most important pieces of equipment. I think the Zipp 1080 front wheel and Zipp Tangente tubular tire make up the fastest wheelset on the planet. An Oval Concepts A900 Jetstream fork with HED aerobar give you the most important thing: adjustability so it fits you perfectly. The new Giro TT helmet is great for a person with a good TT position and flat back, and the Louis Garneau Rocket is the best for a curved back."  

What will you be focusing on in the off-season?

Published in Train
Saturday, 12 November 2011 14:55

Cold Cycling

[caption id="attachment_4690" align="alignright" width="234" caption="This will not be tomorrow as I will not have buddies with me"]cold_cylcling_winter_gear[/caption] Tomorrow I am planning on heading to Texas Motor Speedway to get in a one hour recovery ride.  This one hour will yield approximately 4 laps around the 5 mile loop.  The reason I am going there is that there is no traffic, but the downside is that there is a 2 mile stretch on the backside of the track that is always straight into a headwind and this time of the year that wind freezes you to the bone. I am kind of nervous about going out there for fear of this cold (us Texans don't do well below 45*) because it was earlier this year that I rode with Shannon of IronTexas Mommy and felt like a popsicle while we were riding.  When we got there I had a fleece lined dri-fit shirt on, gloves, pants and was ready to ride for a few hours.  Shannon asked me if I would be cold and I told her no that I could handle it.  One loop (approximately 15 minutes) and I had to stop and layer up.  We looked like two homeless people riding TT bikes.  There were all kinds of clothes in all kinds of different colors.  Maybe a better description would be cycling rainbows. It was so cold that when we rounded one corner Shannon read a word that was not what she said out loud.  What she said out loud was 'SOUP' and I wish I could remember the word but it was nowhere near SOUP, although hot soup in my Speedfil would have been perfect right then.  One positive that I remember from that day was drinking hot coffee when I got home.  The best coffee ever. As we near the colder and colder temps and we take our rides inside on trainers I cannot only ride on the trainer.  I need to get outside and ride as there are things that you cannot replicate while riding the trainer.  This means that I need to check my inventory of cold weather training gear and make sure that I am prepared before I head outside.  Luckily enough for me there is a Strategy Guide and Gear List on for me to follow. Here are the tips from the article, but click the link above to read the entire article:

Knowing Is Half the Battle

Often, however, problems occur when the temperature is in the 40- or 50-degree range and people are unprepared for sudden weather changes; like an approaching storm that makes conditions wet and/or windy. For example, a 40-degree Fahrenheit ambient temperature changes to 34 degrees on your skin with the addition of a 10-mph headwind. Add a cycling speed of 20mph into that headwind and the wind chill takes the temperature to a burr-cold 28 degrees Fahrenheit. You can increase the fun factor on these long rides by protecting yourself from the outside elements, like wind and rain, and keeping sweat off of your skin. Starting from toe to head, here's a shopping list of gear to get you started:
  • Make sure your socks give your toes enough room to move. Cramped toes are cold toes. Be sure your socks are made out of moisture-wicking material.
  • Wear booties to keep the wind off of your toes. For cool temperatures, try the wind-stopper booties. For colder temperatures, neoprene materials are great.
  • [caption id="attachment_4689" align="alignright" width="120" caption="Fortunately We Don't Get Much Snow Here In Texas"]winter_cycling_tips_gear[/caption] For your legs, wear tights or leg warmers, with or without wind protection on the front.
  • Wrap your torso with a base layer that wicks moisture away from your body, a second layer to insulate, and a third layer that provides wind protection, yet allows moisture to escape.
  • Gloves or lobster-claw mittens with wind-stopper material on the outside and moisture-wicking material next to your hands.
  • Use an oil-based moisturizer for your face. Water-based lotions wet the skin, increasing the likelihood of frostnip or frostbite. Or consider a balaclava to cover your face. For athletes with asthma, a balaclava can slow moisture loss and help pre-heat cold air before you suck it into your lungs.
  • For head protection, a helmet cover and ear warmers is my favorite combo. If it gets too hot, I can easily peel off the helmet cover or pull down the ear warmers. Others prefer a skull cap that fits under a cycling helmet.
  • Fill your insulated bottles or hydration bladder with hot energy drink. A good apple flavor mimics hot apple cider.
  • In your pocket, carry small chemical packs such as Sports Heat. These are little packages that produce heat once the outer wrapping is opened. Carry a package of these to warm fingers and hands that have changed a flat tire.
  • If you ride in remote locations, carry a cell phone in case you need to call for help. While you are waiting for your ride, keep warm by putting the chemical packs in your shoes or gloves.
  • Find buddies who are willing to ride in the cooler conditions. Looking forward to riding with a group is much easier than facing chilly temperatures on your own.
I have long cycling tights, moisture-wicking gloves, socks, booties (Thank You Shannon), and oil based moisturizer.  What I don't have tomorrow is buddies who are willing to ride with me.  I asked two friends to join me and both gave me a resounding:  sure I'll let you know.  Hey guys just tell me no from the get-go as I know you are not coming with me.  So tomorrow I will brave the cold/wind and get my recovery ride in and begin to face the cold weather rides head on.

Do You Have All YOur Cold Weather Gear Up To Date?

What Is The Coldest Temperature You Have Ever Ridden In?

==================== I am hosting a giveaway on my Facebook page.  Provide the best name for my shoes for the Las Vegas Marathon and you will receive a CTER Shirt and a 6 pack of HoneyMilk
Published in Train
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 11:14

That Course Was Long

[caption id="attachment_4643" align="alignright" width="231" caption="Source: Wikipedia"]jones_oerth_coutner_course_certification[/caption] On Sunday I ran the Dallas Running Club Half-Marathon and my watch when I was finished read 13.13 miles.  Extremely accurate I would say, wouldn't you?  When I was done I stayed by the finish line to wait for Karen to finish.  As I was waiting I heard runner after runner say that the course was long. I heard: That course was long.  I have 13.24 what do you have? I heard: Man I would have been faster if the course was not so long.  A 13.28 mile half-marathon? I heard:  Who measures these courses?  Seriously every one I have run was long and this was 13.22 miles....... Let's first start out by saying courses are certified by a governing body and thus are not long or short by the discrepancy that your watch is showing.  Why would a race director sell a 13.1 run and then make it 13.28?  What do they gain from that? So let's discuss running the tangents.  When you run the tangents you run the straightest line there is so you remove discrepancies from a course.  How about the fact that you are running side to side to avoid the people in front of you?  That adds the distance to your run. How about the fact that GPS units use a triangulation to 'guess' where you are at.  They don't pinpoint your exact spot and follow you.  It guesstimates where you are at over the course of that run or ride and gives you a distance that you travelled. Karen and I were discussing this yesterday because her watch showed she ran 13.24 miles and I told her that I ran the same exact course and the course measured out to 13.13 so how could she have run a 13.24 half-marathon?  It created a bit of a discussion in our house to say the least.  I gave her all the reasons above but remembered reading about how courses are measured and wanted to show that courses are neither long or short and are accurate to within 1/100th of a mile.  Very accurate wouldn't you say? You can read the entire article here, but here are the highlights from my perspective: ==================== The preferred method of measuring a course is with the "Jones-Oerth" counter attached to the front wheel of a bicycle. The counter is then calibrated over a surveyed or steel-taped 1000' calibration course. My bike and counter registers over 18,000 "counts" per mile (a counter registers different totals depending on tire size). That is just over 3 inches per "count", producing pretty good accuracy. When calculating the measurement factor for the bike counter, a "Short Course Prevention Factor" 1/10 of 1% is included in the calibration constant. This Factor gives a course that is very slightly long, adding a perceived 5 meters over a 5K. Yet, much of that can be "eaten up" by the rider swerving to avoid a pothole or a vehicle, or in doing a first time measurement. When a course is measured for certification, it is done along the "Shortest Possible Route" (SPR) that a runner can take. That is, the route is measured along the line of sight a runner has, cutting all tagents and crossing corner to corner. If a course is to be restricted in any way in meauring (such as staying to the right of the road or going wide around a turn, there will need to be monitors, fences, or cones to do so. Anyone reading this article has probably seen that you can't rely on runners to stay in the breakdown lane, or to run where they should if it is not monitored. ==================== [caption id="attachment_4645" align="alignright" width="237" caption="Source: USATF"]jones_oerth_counter[/caption]

In a nutshell, the procedure is as follows:

  1. Set up a calibration course on a flat, straight road. Once laid out and marked, this standard calibration course can be used at any time in the future. It is best set out on a lightly traveled road.
  2. Attach the counter and calibrate the bike. Every bike wheel will calibrates differently. Even changes in temperature during the day can change the constant several counts per mile.
  3. Ride the course at least twice. Use the longer of the two rides as the final ride. The rides must be within .00008 of the distance of each other, or a third ride is needed. While it may sound like a difficult precision to attain, experienced measurer s routinely have their two rides match to within 10 counts or less (about 30") even over courses 10K and longer.
  4. Recalibrate the bicycle following the measurements to be sure the constant has not changed. A change in temperature or air pressure can change the constant. Adjust the course if needed.
  5. Complete the application and draw a detailed map to accompany the paperwork. The map should allow a total stranger (or a new race director) to set up the start, finish, and race course.
  6. Send this paperwork to the certifier postmarked no later than race day, and preferably earlier. Courses cannot be retroactively certified after the date of the race.
With this tool measuring a course can we all put to bed the idea that a course was long or short?  Can we just say that we did not run the most efficient race we could have?  At 70.3 Austin I swam the 1.2 mile course in 40:08 which was 29 seconds faster than my time at 70.3 Oceanside but about 5-6 minutes slower than I had anticipated.  Guess how many miles I swam that day?  You are correct if you guessed 1.4 miles.  Now this is the perfect example of not swimming a straight line.  I had to pass people and I sometimes swam around them.  Other times (most of the time) I was not sighting well and thus was all over the swim course.  I did not get out of the water and say that the RDs created a long swim but instead took my medicine for not swimming a straight line.

Did You Know About The Jones-Oerth Counter?

Published in Race
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