Jason Bahamundi

Jason Bahamundi

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

Saturday, 28 December 2013 06:44

Japanese Cuisine Made Simple Yet Very Tasty

Japanese cuisine for me was non-existent until I tried sushi for the first time which happened about 15 years ago.  Like most people the idea of raw fish was not appealing.  I had not bothered to look into whether or not there was more to sushi and if Japanese cuisine could be enjoyed.  Like the word Kleenex meant tissue or Band-Aid meant adhesive bandage the word sushi meant Japanese cuisine.  As I grew up a bit and started to explore the world of food a bit more I realized that there was more to Japanese cuisine than sushi, even though that seemed to dominate. One day I finally dipped my toe in the sushi pool and lo and behold I loved it.  I was absolutely in love with it.  I made a point to have it at least once per week back then.  I am not sure if it was the combination of textures, the kick from the ginger and wasabi or the saltiness of the soy sauce that kept reeling me in but it did.  I was not interested in the 'California Roll' because in my mind if I was going in I was going big.  Eel, Salmon, Red Fish, White Fish it just did not matter as long as it was from the sea I wanted to eat it.  That also led me to love seaweed and all its forms.  From kombu to nori to arame and wakame.  Again, if it was in the sea I wanted to try it.  That being said I was never brave enough to try uni (sea urchin). These days because I am infatuated with throwing the culinary ideals out the window and doing what I want I decided to combine seasonal fall flavors with tofu but why stop there.  Why not toss in some heat and crunch while I was at it.  I do not have rules in my kitchen other than do not run with knives and no playing in the kitchen as there is fire and danger all around (sorry I thought I was talking to my 7 year-old stepson for a moment there.)  Back to the story of food, and Japanese cuisine specifically.  Boundaries across the food spectrum are being torn down and no longer are we seeing the simple meat and potato dishes.  There are all sorts of ways to combine flavors into a harmonious dish especially when they are either complementary flavors (Asian and Mexican with their spices) or completely opposite (Polish and South American.)  However you slice it food is coming together from all different angles. On Thursday I was inspired by a post I saw somewhere (I cannot remember where) and kept the idea in my head.  The picture I saw showed tofu with a splash of soy sauce, a dot of sriracha and nothing else on a plate.  I thought about that and decided to take that up a notch or three.  I wanted to include in-season foods like butternut squash, acorn squash or even a sweet potato.  I wanted the sriracha to last on the palette a tad longer and to do that I needed vinegar.  I wanted a fresh taste and some crunch so I took cilantro and red onion and placed them on the cutting board.  Was there something else that would allow this combination to peak and take the meal to the next level?  Maybe, but at the time I couldn't think of one as I had just finished running 6.25 miles and wanted to eat. The following recipe for this Japanese cuisine style meal was made in no time at all with few ingredients.  The meal is vegan and yet still packed with protein and complex carbs.  I think this can be used as an entrée or an appetizer.  Basically what you end up with is something that is flexible and sure to please everybody you serve it to. [recipe] You can pour the rice wine vinegar and tamari mixture to a bowl and serve on the side if you feel that you need a bit more tang.

What Types Of Japanese Cuisine Do You Enjoy The Most?

Waffles have been a staple of my diet ever since I realized how their macronutrient composition would aid in recovery from training and racing.  Never mind how great they taste.  I have been known to go on a 30 day streak but like all good things those must come to an end.  As I was going through the off-season and not really training very hard the need for them seemed to diminish.  That was until Rocky Raccoon 50 training started and the ability to recover quickly so that I could get out the door the next day became imperative.

With that I started to make more and more waffles.  Upon posting them to Instagram I got a request from Kim Kallas of the Famous Kallas Duo (with her husband Taylor) to email her some of my recipes.  I figured she wasn’t the only one thinking that (at least that is what I am telling myself as I type up this post) and so I figured it would be best to post a few of those recipes here.

Over time I have evolved in how I create the batter but rest assured each of these recipes has something special to them.  I am posting them here in rank order of how much I enjoyed them and how creative they were.  The French Onion soup is probably my favorite and one I am most proud of.  Converting soup to a waffle was on my list of things to do for a long time and when I finally got around to it…..well let’s just say this is the best way to enjoy soup on a cold winter day without burning your tongue.

Toughest week of the Ironman Chattanooga Challenge?  Is it possible to have the toughest week in Week 9?  Is it too soon?  Is it too late?  Should a week be defined as toughest week at all?  Week 9, as it turns out, was the toughest week of this challenge for both KC and I but for different reasons.  One had it tough because of a physical scenario and the other because of a mental scenario. As I said when I challenged KC to this Ironman Chattanooga blog challenge, we are going to give you the good, the bad and the ugly because training for an Ironman is hard.  There are going to be life situations, physical ailments, mental plateaus and everything in between that can derail you for a day, a week or a month but overcoming those obstacles is what makes you an Ironman.  My motto when it comes to the 140.6 mile race is that you become an Ironman during the journey and that the actual race is your victory lap.  This theory is proving to be true after the toughest week of the Ironman Chattanooga Challenge to date.

KC's Toughest Week - ICC Week #9

[caption id="attachment_9312" align="alignright" width="300"]toughest week - ironman chattanooga - triathlon - training A bit different than what Mom told you but it works too.[/caption] This was an interesting week and start to the new year. I did my last “long” run, last Sunday, a 16 miler, in prep for the Disney marathon, then woke up Monday morning to do an easy 4 mile recovery run. On my way to the front door to take off on my run, I felt a weird pain in the ball of my left foot, behind the 2 toes next to the big toe. It felt like an electrical shock or as if I had stepped on a big piece of glass, except there was no broken glass anywhere, there was no blood, no cut, nothing. I only had socks on at the time because I had left my Hoka running shoes outside from the day before (they were wet and dirty from running in the rain), so I have no idea what happened. I didn’t think much about it, went out and ran 4 miles with no problem or pain. Since that run, I have attempted to run several times and it’s uncomfortable. Walking around I’m aware of it, so unless I experience some kind of miracle between today and Friday, I will run the Disney marathon, if not, I’m out. Since I am a WebMD doctor, I have diagnosed myself with Metatarsalgia. At first, I was upset about it early in the week, then I started thinking more clearly about it. First off, I’m already qualified for Boston 2015, so that already makes me feel better about the situation. The only reason I was planning to run a marathon again was to better my qualifying time. Secondly, I truly love to run. There is something about it that centers me and gives me a feeling of peacefulness that I don’t get from biking or swimming. So yeah, I miss that a lot! Anyway, I woke up this morning and I was mad. Mad at the universe (I have to be mad at something or someone, right?), so I decided that I’ll show you, you Universe! If I can’t run, then I’ll just bike my ass off, ha! And so, I did just that. I did 100 miles, a century, and it made me feel so much better. Hey, I did my first century of 2014, sweet! So that was my week and I think it ended on a positive note. Like in any life event, be it personal issues, work issues, health issues, etc …take one day at a time and know that there are no problems, only solutions …you just have to find them. [caption id="attachment_9313" align="aligncenter" width="300"]toughest week - ironman chattanooga - triathlon - training KC's Week 9 - Toughest Week Of Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Training[/caption] Upward and onward!

Jason's Toughest Week of ICC - Week #9

[caption id="attachment_9315" align="alignright" width="300"]toughest week - ironman chattanooga - triathlon - training Jason's Week 9 - The Toughest Week Of ICC Training.[/caption] When I went to bed on Sunday, December 29th I knew that the upcoming week was going to be different.  The training plan called for a whopping 29 miles FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK.  I had just run 23 miles on Saturday and now was facing the idea of running ONLY 29 over the course of 5 days.  This week was a scheduled pull back week for me before I enter into the overload weeks.  I wasn't really sure how I was going to handle it but I put a brave face on when the alarm went off on Monday morning and did what I have not always done.  I got on my bike with the mindset that I was going to be going to the pool 4x this week.  I made up my mind and so it was. As each day went by I found myself not making excuses to skip the pool, but instead I was looking for ways to get to the pool.  I was looking for ways to get out of work early and jump into the drink and take full advantage of this week from a pull back from running perspective and to do all I could to help my legs recover from the previous 5 weeks.  Getting them prepared for the 67, 69 ad 71 mile weeks coming up. This week was a true focus on recovery and that helped me get past the idea that I just wouldn't be running.  I took advantage of what the schedule gave me and put in place a recovery schedule of:
  1. Herbalife24 Endurance Strength ordered and stocked up on.
  2. Scheduled visits with Dr Tim of St. Onge Chiropractic and Sports Therapy 2x per week during overload weeks up to and including taper and race week.
  3. Swimming 4x per week in the evening during the next three overload weeks.  My swims will be between 1200 and 2000y with very little exertion.  That being said I hit 1:35/100y this past week……yee-haa!
I am also going to put some additional misery to the overload weeks.  On Sunday I ran at Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve and it was extremely hard.  My gluteus, hamstrings, quads, calf muscles and hip flexors felt the entire 10.76 mile run.  This course is tough, much tougher than the course at Rocky Raccoon.  Adding this on Sunday for 12 miles will make the race seems much easier.  It is about mental training as much as it is physical training. In the end my mind was able to get through the recovery week but not without adding a few extra miles to the plan.  I went for 33 miles instead of 29.  I feel mentally stronger for it already.
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 10:18

Heather Jackson Reminds Me Hard Works Pays Off

[caption id="attachment_9261" align="alignright" width="200"]heather jackson - triathlon - wattie ink Source: Wattie Ink On Instagram[/caption] Heather Jackson ranks right at the top of my favorite triathletes, male or female, to watch and root for.  I put her up there with Mirinda Carfrae and Caroline Steffen.  I think that my rooting interest is in the fact that all of these ladies are tremendous runners off the bike and that is the facet of triathlon that I am most inspired by.  Running a marathon is hard.  Running a marathon after a 112 mile bike is hard.  Running a marathon at the pace that they are running off the bike is incredible to watch.  These ladies, and triathletes in general, did not get there by hoping and wishing.  They got there through hard work. Yesterday I was reminded of the hard work it takes to be successful at this sport.  As I was scrolling through Instagram I came across a picture of Heather Jackson riding the trainer and looking completely spent.  Sweat everywhere and mouth agape as if to say: this is so f*cking hard but I will survive and I will get stronger.  That left a lasting impression on me and reinforced in me that in order to achieve the goals I am laying out for myself. I do not have my goals laid out specifically for this year as of yet but I am thinking of the following for the big races in 2014:
  • 10:00 at Rocky Raccoon 50 in February.
  • 5:00-5:15 at 70.3 Galveston in April.
  • 5:40-5:45 at 70.3 Buffalo Springs in June.
  • 11:00-11:30 at Ironman Chattanooga in September.
Knowing that these are all much faster than my previous times I have to be understanding of the hard work that is going to go into these training cycles.  I need to focus my mind on the knowledge that there will be rest/recovery days and that I need to take advantage of those days but simultaneously knowing that on training days there is a purpose.  Do not waste energy and time on the 'junk' miles and put the hard work in that is required to achieve these goals.  I use the word goals because dreams are goals without a plan.  I will have a plan and I will execute that plan to the best of my ability. Heather Jackson putting in the hard work in the middle of December for races that she will compete at in the Spring resonated wildly with me. Here is an athlete that has accomplished a lot in her career and could sit back and say: I did that and won that.  Instead she is pushing her body and her mind knowing that her competition is out there potentially doing the same.  This past week I finished my fourth week of ultra trail run training and legs felt beat up while I was under the weather.  It would be very easy for me to say to myself that I hurt and its Christmas and what would another slice of pizza or piece of chocolate do?  That is just not going to happen though.  I have to remain committed to my goals and take every possible step to accomplish them regardless of how hard it is.  I may not be racing to win, but I am racing to be better than myself. This week will be harder than the previous 4 weeks as the mileage climbs past the 60s for the week but there is a recovery week starting on Sunday after that long run.  There will be 3 weeks after that recovery week where the mileage will go be in mid-60s up to the 70s.  Those weeks will be hard and I will be able to look back at this week and say that was easy.  It is all in perspective. This week I also made the decision that I will start to see my chiropractor twice per week over those 3 overload weeks.  I want to take care of my body to get through them injury free and that starts by doing the hard things like taking 30 minutes out of your day to get your body back into alignment rather than heading straight home and flopping on the couch.  There is a lot of hard work left to do before I get to the start line of Rocky Raccoon 50 and thanks to Heather Jackson and her picture a fire has been lit under my butt to make sure that the extra cookie is not consumed and that the 'Five More Minutes' on the alarm clock are not asked for.

Thank You Heather Jackson For Posting That Picture. Motivating.

What Has Inspired You Lately?

Triathlon training is what we are supposed to be doing but when you look at logs for both KC and I you see something completely different from swim, bike, run on an equal basis.  What you see is RUN, BIke, swim…….yup the two of us seem to be allergic to the pool and that is ok for right now.  As we get closer to entering into our triathlon training specificity there will be a swing in disciplines.  The amount of running will drop dramatically and the amount of biking and swimming will occupy that void. This is the beauty of the triathlon training for Ironman Chattanooga that we are both doing right now.  The focus is not on triathlon specifically and that is a great thing.  Having trained for 18 months straight to complete 3 Ironman races in 12 months I could myself to be completely burnt-out on triathlon training and the sport itself when Ironman Texas finished.  My goal was to press the reset button during the off-season and I did just that.  Along the way I had two months of huge bike blocks and am currently through 1/3 of a huge running block for Rocky Raccoon 50.  These sport specific training will help me when the time comes for triathlon training.  My base on the bike and the run will be elevated to areas that I could only have imagined a year or so ago. [caption id="attachment_9255" align="alignright" width="300"]triathlon training - ironman - ultra running November was a recovery month. December will be near October.[/caption] To the right is a calendar view of my training days from September through December.  You will see that September and October had lots of training days as I was riding 750 and 800 miles per month respectively.  November was a recovery month so to speak.  Toward the end of the month I started to ramp up the running so when December hit and the weekly training volume would start at 50 miles per week running I had put myself in position to avoid injury by having a few miles on my legs.  With 9 days to go in the month you will see the number of training sessions surpass September and challenge November for sure.

KC's Triathlon Training For Ironman Chattanooga - Week 7

What the what? Somebody stop pressing the FF» button already! Time is out of control flying by and it’s blowing my mind. It will be 2014 before I know it. Disney marathon is looming around the corner, yikes! My bib# is 888 Isn’t that a great bib#? I thought so. Anyway, am I ready for marathon number 40 something (Yes, I’ve lost count)? I am and I’m not. I am ready to run 26.2 miles but not sure how “fast” I will run. If the marathon would have been today, 4 hours would most likely have been the outcome. About 3 weeks ago, maybe closer to a 3:30finish. Normally, this “slow down” would bother me but not this year. Nope! Since I already qualified for Boston at Disney this past January, and I’m not doing Boston in 2014, I’m still good to go for Boston 2015 with that same qualifying time. So no pressure on me. I may get out there on January 12 and tear that mouse house up or it may tear me up, we’ll see. Bottom line is, I’ll go out there, cue up an awesome playlist and have a nice, long run. Once Disney is over, then it’s time to start hitting the pool and putting together a smart training plan for the Florida Challenge 70.3 on March 22nd (http://floridachallenge.com/). A very hilly 70.3!! Then it’s full speed ahead training for Ironman Tennessee. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the next 2 weeks of down time (down time to me means, no workouts that are over 3 hours). I’d like to wish everyone happy holidays however you celebrate it, enjoy!

Jason's Triathlon Training For Ironman Chattanooga - Week 7

If you recall from the Week 5 post that I had planned out a week that included more swimming and more biking and more strength training.  As life would have it the triathlon training I had anticipated took a back seat to run specific training, but not on purpose.  On Monday I got up and jumped into the water and swam.  I got home after work and jumped on the trainer and rode.  Things were looking up for a more balanced type of triathlon training than the first 3 weeks of Rocky Raccoon training had provided.  Starting on Tuesday the week blew up. Tuesday morning was to be a swim in the morning and run on the treadmill in the evening.  When you combine the lack of turning on the alarm with looking for those extra 5 minutes of sleep you end up with running only.  I was a bit miffed at myself but I also knew that if I slept that far past the 'normal' alarm time that I must be needing recovery.  Asking yourself how I could get an extra 5 minutes without the alarm going off?  As it turns out my body woke up at 3:59am and my alarm is typically set for 4:03 on swim days.  That notion that I could sleep another 4 minutes before the alarm goes off turned into an extra 45 minutes and thus no morning swim. On Wednesday I got up and put in the 8 miles the training plan called for.  Sometime  during the day on Wednesday I made up my mind that I was going to go swimming in the evening and I did.  It was perfect because there are classes and loads of people.  Knowing that I did not want to look like a floundering fish in the water I focused truly on form and had a terrific swim session.  Thursday was a simple 6 mile recovery run with a visit to the chiropractor.  Going back to him on a regular basis has been terrific for me getting out the door day in and day out.  I am thinking that I will add in a second day per week to my current Thursday visit because I do not stretch, use the stick or foam roll.  Visiting the chiropractor helps me tremendously and keeps my hip flexors happy. Friday morning when I woke up I thought…..uh-oh!  I felt a scratchy throat but I was awake and so I ran.  The schedule called for 7 miles and I ran 7.5 but the key to the knowledge that I was not feeling well was the fact that my HR was in mid-Zone 2 despite running much slower than I had been.  During the day on Friday the little buggers got a hold of me but I fought back.  Loads of Vitamin C, electrolytes and liquids.  I skipped the Friday evening swim knowing that the mucus would be too much in the water.  I went to bed Friday night thinking that the 21 mile run on Saturday was out. When I woke up LATE on Saturday which equaled more than 10 hours of sleep I felt much better.  I kept pouring liquids and Vitamin C and around 11:30-12:00p I felt a break in the illness as I started sweating everywhere.  By 12:30p I knew I could get the run in.  I chose to do the 21 miles on the treadmill because I would be close to home in case I had to puke, visit the bathroom or just stop.  I ran very conservatively and finished the 21.1 miles in 3:24 while keeping my heart  rate down at the top end of Z1.  It was great to get through the run and build some mental strength that I could get the mileage in.  That paid off when I ran 12 miles this morning in recovery Z1 and the 12 miles felt good.

A few observations from this week:

  1. Emergen-C is very helpful. I give this product a ton of credit for getting me better.  That being said I am pouring Emergen-C into my HydraPak for the Rocky Raccoon 50 as it is nothing more than Nuun.  It is all electrolytes with a high concentration of Vitamin C and it is MUCH MUCH cheaper than Nuun.  I think there are 40 packs for $10.
  2. I am a Hoka fan.  I have run in the Mafate and now the Stinson.  I think these shoes have helped greatly with the amount of mileage I am putting on my legs.  I will have a full blown review of both of the models next week.
  3. With the proper mindset and planning anything is accomplishable.  I had created a schedule for myself that got blown up but since I had planned open times I could still get in a good swim, spend loads of time with my family and take care of household responsibilities.

How Are You Wrapping Up The End Of 2014?

Monday, 20 January 2014 12:44

Ironman Chattanooga Training Week 11

Ironman Chattanooga is creeping closer and closer all the while I have my sights set on the Rocky Raccoon 50 and Lake Martin 100.  The and I suspect it will continue into Ironman specific training.  The more work I do on the trails the more I am coming to the conclusion that overloading one's body helps their mind as well as their ability to be stronger and faster. When I did the two large cycling blocks in September and October (nearly 1600 miles in two months) I noticed that my running seemed to be easier than it had been before the large cycling block.  With the large volume of run training I am doing now I am noticing that my running ability as well as my swimming ability have taken a step forward. I started thinking about this last night and how this can be incorporated into a Ironman specific training cycle.  Typically, I would have 3-4 swim sessions, 3-4 bike sessions and 3-4 run sessions per week.  What if we changed that up to be very specific.  Week 1 - Swim heavy with nearly 20,000-30,000 yards.  Week 2 - 70-80 miles of running.  Week 3 - 250-300 miles of cycling.  Obviously in those weeks you would still have some of the other sports but not enough to make the focus go away.  Then in Week 4 that would be a recovery week with limited volume for all three disciplines and then started again.  In a 16 week schedule you would have 4 very sport specific weeks in which you just worked your ass off on that sport.  You basically buried yourself in that sport for the week.  You may cry for mercy but then the next week would be a different sport.  Thoughts? Anyway, this is Week 11 of the Ironman Chattanooga Challenge and while KC contemplates another 100 mile ride for next weekend, I contemplate whether or not I want to do an ultra run two weeks post Rocky Raccoon as a training run.

KC's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 11 Recap

[caption id="attachment_9360" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - triathlon - running - triathlon KC's Keeping It Simple And Effective[/caption] Keeping this week’s re-cap short and sweet. As you can see from my training week above, I started easing back into the running. I still have some tingling and numbness in the toes but it’s much less and not as painful. I got my 3 days of Xfit in, love that and did my 3rd century bike ride of 2014 …that’s 3 for 3 if anyone is counting. Let’s see if I can pull that off again next weekend. Anyway, not a whole lot going on training wise at the moment, except just keeping a solid base. There is a half marathon I may do on February 23rd but haven’t completely decided if I really want to do it or not. Other than that, I have a 70.3 coming up March 22nd and I will be super ready for that. It’s a hilly one, which I love the challenge of a nice, hilly bike and run course, so bring it on. Upward and Onward!

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Week 11 Recap

[caption id="attachment_9359" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training peaks - running - triathlon Lots Of Running Miles . 71.79 for the week[/caption] This week was all about the trail run.  This was the second week of overload for RR50 and it did not disappoint.  The week consisted of two 10 milers mid-week, a 24 miler on Saturday and a 13 miler on Sunday.  I banged out the two 10 milers but the first one I hated.  I posted on Facebook that the 10-12 miler is quite possibly the worst distance to run because it is too long to be considered short and too short to be considered long.  On anything less than a 10 miler I know I will be out there for anywhere between 45 minutes and 1h15.  I can handle that.  On a run longer than 12 miles I know that I am looking at close to 2 hours based on my current Z1 pace.  I can live with that, but the 10 miler is just awful. Anyway, when I got to Big Cedar Wilderness on Saturday morning it was dark out and I borrowed Karen's headlamp.  Figuring with the 6am start time for RR and the fact that the Lake Martin 100 miler will take me from sun-up to sun-down I better get used to running with a headlamp.  Karen's headlamp is badass and I believe that I lit up the night with it.  I only needed it for a few minutes but running with a headlamp is not terrible.  The 24 miles I was supposed to run turned into 21.8 miles because it is nearly impossible to map out an exact amount of miles when it comes to trails especially when you go must make up routes.  I was happy with the 21.8 as I finished them in less than 4 hours at a decent pace. Sunday was my third round with Cedar Ridge Preserve which is a tough trail course here in Dallas.  The last two weeks it has beaten me up to the point that when I get home to climb the stairs it is a chore.  Yesterday, that did not happen.  I took it to Mr CRP and when I was done I posted this to Facebook:

Float like a butterfly Sting like a bee Scheduled for 2 laps finished with 3 Guess who won this round That would be me See you next week Mr CRP

It was a blast.  I covered the 16.5 miles in just over three hours and felt great.  My legs were strong the entire time and I held a consistent pace over the miles.  Since each loop is 5.5 miles I could see what pace I was running for each section and compare them to themselves.  Steady was the name of the game and now my mindset for RR50 and a goal time is starting to come together.

[caption id="attachment_9358" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - cedar ridge preserve trail - running - triathlon Cedar Ridge Preserve Trail[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9357" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - big cedar wildness trail - running - triathlon Big Cedar Wilderness Trail[/caption]

What Are You Training For And How Is It Going?

Hoka One One came into my life about 2-3 years ago when Jeff showed them to us via social media.  My face looked like the Nile River with a cascade of tears from laughing so hard.  I immediately started calling him Neil Armstrong because they looked like moon boots.  Not long after that Kevin began sporting them.  The raves and reviews permeated every conversation.  I would hear things like:
  • I recover so much faster.
  • I do not feel the pounding on my legs like I do with my other shoes.
The incessant chanting of positive thoughts was thrust into every conversation we had about these ridiculous looking shoes.  Before I knew it Karen purchased a pair after talking to Jeff (I tell you he could convince eskimos that ice was the ideal solution to any problem they had and they would pay for it.  See Rocky Raccoon 50.)  Then the claims from Karen were too hard to ignore but I fought it.  I loved my Brooks Launch, and still do.  EMZ began wearing them and she too lauded over how great her legs felt after running with them.  KC, of the Ironman Chattanooga Challenge, became the next convert and all the sudden I was faced with a tribe of people I respected telling me that the Hoka One One was the shoe to end all shoes.  Not exactly that way but their claims of fast recovery and ability to go longer without issues started to pique my interest. When Rocky Raccoon 50 training started I did not own a pair but after the first week of 50+ miles after not having run 50+ miles in two months combined led me to the decision to get a pair.  I knew that in order to survive the training that RR50 was throwing at me I would need the ability to take as much off of my legs as I possibly could.  I had pairs of compression socks already but that wasn't enough.  I was eating properly after every long run but that wasn't enough.  Convinced that this was the right move I ordered the Mafate.  Soon thereafter I ordered the Stinson.  Let it be known that today I am a Hoka One One convert and here is why.

[caption id="attachment_9278" align="alignright" width="300"]hoka one one - mafate - ultra trail running - review The Hoka One One Mafate 3[/caption]

Hoka One One Mafate

I purchased the Hoka One One Mafate for the specific reason of using them for Rocky Raccoon 50 on February 8.  The Mafate has lugs on them that make them ideal for running trails but I figured I could also use them on the road.  The description on the Hoka One One site says:

The ideal shoe for ULTRA marathon runners looking for a lightweight, stable and performance cushion running shoe that can hammer the down hills and make it easier charging the up hills.

I figured I would have zero issues running the roads and since the training for RR50 involves charging uphills and sprinting downhills I couldn't have found a better shoe than this one correct?  Wrong.  This shoe is tremendous and I absolutely love it but not for the road.  The lugs do as they are intended and grab the road, which is ideal on a trail but not great on concrete.  I felt as if I were pulling my legs up just to get the lugs to release.  Now, this may have all been in my head but it was enough to throw me off as I was running in them.

I put on a total of 33 miles in the Mafate but after the first run I felt sharp pains in my right foot after about 6 miles.  I would keep going and within 0.5-1 mile the pain would go away.  I couldn't figure out exactly what it is about them but when I went back to the Brooks Launch that pain in my foot did not exist.  It had to be the shoes and more specifically using a trail shoe on the road.  In addition to the lugs I had to get used to the heel-toe drop.  The Brooks Launch which I have been using for the past 3 years is a 9.5mm drop while the Hoka One One Mafate 3 is a 4mm drop.  While the shoe looks like a boot and has tons of cushioning it is actually a very minimal shoe in terms of the heel-toe drop and this was something I had to adjust to.

While the foot pain was evident after about 5 miles and last for up to a mile what I did notice was that my legs were not fried.  I have done 4 runs in the Mafate 3 up to this point with the maximum being 12 miles and all the others being recovery runs after longer days or long weekends and my legs did not feel like I assumed I would from the pounding that they were taking.  I was becoming more and more convinced of the magical powers of the Hoka One One.  Despite the frustration of the foot issue I was sold on the shoe as a great long run shoe as well as recovery shoe and purchased the Stinson which is more of a road shoe.

Hoka One One Stinson Tarmac

I was like Ralphie from A Christmas Story when the Hoka One One Stinson showed up at my doorstep. I could not wait to rip open the box and get them on my feet as fast as I possibly could.  I poured over my training plan to try to figure out the best day to wear them and when I figured it out I laid them out like a bride lays out her wedding dress the night before the big day.  They may even have sparkled.  I was excited and when I put them on for the first time I was greeted with the feeling of pillows on my feet.  Could this really be?  Could these shoes that looked like cinder blocks actually weight next to nothing?  They sure felt like it but let's go take them for a test ride. [caption id="attachment_9280" align="alignright" width="300"]hoka one one - stinson -running - review Hoka One One: Time To Fly
Source: Hoka One One[/caption] The Hoka One One slogan is Time To Fly and with the first few steps that is exactly how I felt.  It was December 19th and I had run 174.45 miles since November 25 and was averaging nearly 54 miles over those 3 weeks.  My legs were beginning to get tired and I was starting to get cranky.  On this run I managed to bang out 6 miles at an extremely low HR of 140 bpm with not even the thought of my legs feeling tired.  The shoes were doing what they were intended to do and that was to provide cushioning to my legs and feet.  I felt like I was running on air and felt very fast in comparison to the miles on Monday thru Wednesday of that week.  The best part was that I did not experience any form of stabbing sensation in my feet.  I was getting more and more convinced that these were going to be my long road and recovery run shoes.  I would wear the Hoka One One Mafate 3 on the trails and the Brooks Launch on the treadmill. The Stinson has heel-toe drop of 6mm which is slightly bigger than the Mafate 3 but much less than the Brooks Launch.  Rotating all three shoes through my training would allow me to strengthen my feet and calves from different perspectives and I believe that this is also contributing to my fast recovery.  At this point I have run 23 miles in the Stinson with the longest being 12 miles and each run has felt good to great along with no issues the next day in terms of my legs feeling warn out.

Hoka One One Conclusion

The Hoka One One shoe is for real.  While they may look like clown shoes they do what they are intended to do and that is to provide cushioning.  Heading toward a weekend where I will run 23 miles on the trails in the Mafate 3 and 12 miles on the road in the Stinson I am excited because I know that while my legs will be tired they will not be thrashed as if I were to only wear one type of shoe that has less cushioning. The combination of the different heel-toe drop and the 23mm of cushioning make the Hoka One One a shoe that is ideal for long runs and recovery runs.  Of course, like any other shoe you need to test them to make sure they not only fit you properly but provide the support that you need.  The Mafate is neutral shoe that weight 14.7 oz while the Stinson is also a neutral shoe that weighs 11.9 oz.  The Brooks Launch weigh 9.3 oz but they feel heavier and that is most likely due to the pounding your feet and legs feel on each foot fall thanks to the 'lack' of cushioning in comparison to the Hoka One One line of shoes. In the end I think I have the right combination of shoes for my running.  The difference in weight coupled with the difference in heel-toe drop added to the difference in cushioning between each shoe is allowing me to maximize my recovery while building strength for the ultra run training I am doing.  As a matter of fact I think that the Stinson could be in my changing bag when I race Ironman Chattanooga in September of 2014 because of the comfort of the shoe coupled with the cushioning it will afford my legs after 112 miles of biking.
[caption id="attachment_9230" align="alignright" width="300"]swimming - endurance nation - triathlon Source: Shelton Monroe Swim Team Rapids[/caption] Endurance Nation posted an article on their site on November 19th titled: Why Swimming Year-Round Can Be Hazardous To Your A Race.  It is an enlightening article and one that all triathletes regardless of their level should read.  For those of us that are not swimmers we dread going to the pool, and especially this time of the year in the United States when the weather is not conducive to the idea of getting into a pool.  I know for me that swimming was a lost cause the moment that Ironman Texas was over.  I had zero desire to hit the water three to four days per week.  As a matter of fact it got to the point where I was barely swimming at all.  I would force myself to the pool and get in 1500 yards before calling it a day.  I had no motivation, not that there was much for running and biking either. Five months post Ironman Texas and now I can see myself getting into the pool on a more regular basis and that is what got me to thinking about this article.  Most athletes consider the winter months to be their off-season and are just not motivated to get going.  You have the holidays and all the cake and cookies, huge meals and alcohol thwarting the best laid plans.  The temperatures below your age and your bed sounds so much better.  For me, the training season began three weeks ago which would be right around Thanksgiving.  That means that I am training on a regular schedule throughout the holidays making that the focus and not the huge slice of pecan pie. Yesterday I posted about a new swim training cycle that I am starting.  I am going to the pool Monday and Tuesday morning as well as Friday evening.  My plan is to swim for 30-45 minutes and get out.  Monday will be purely recovery will very little intensity.  Tuesday's intensity will pick up and then on Friday it will be back to recovery as I prepare for the huge weekend of run volume.  Why 30-45 minutes?  It goes back to the Endurance Nation article.  In the article you read about the amount of time it takes to swim, not the actual swimming, but the time to drive, change, swim, change and drive.  Those minutes add up and I do not want to feel beholden to 2 hours of training for a simple swim. Right now my mind can process 30-45 minutes of swimming because on the easy days of running I am going 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  My easy bike spins are an hour and my strength/core sessions are 30 minutes at most.  This is breaking it down into manageable pieces for me.  Even with that setup though I can see the time-wasting away as I leave the house at 4:45am to get to the Y by 4:55am.  The Y opens at 5:00am on the dot and I am in the water no later than 5:05am.  After 40 minutes of swimming, changing and driving back home it is 6:15am.  That is 1 hour and 30 minutes for a 40 minute swim.  Luckily for me, these are not Ironman focused swim sessions and purely recovery so they are needed but the amount of time wasted can add up. When Ironman Chattanooga specific training does start-up I will have to juggle my schedule to fit in the 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minute swim sessions.  I think those longer sessions will be few and far between as I have to be home in time to get Chico off to school.  This means that in the 1 hour I have the intensity will be through the roof and I will have to be prepared for that.  How do I prepare for that?  By doing what I am doing now and going to the pool 3 times per week.  When IMTN training starts I do not want to be behind the swim eight ball.  These three days per week for the foreseeable future will help me acclimate to the water again and allow me to not fight the water but instead be friends with it. So while I agree with the Endurance Nation article in that swimming year round can be hazardous to your A race I also believe that in certain circumstances it is necessary.  I took time off from swimming but now I am back at it and the Ironman specific training has not started.  I am getting a head start on that training cycle while also allowing my body to recover from the pounding of hours and hours and miles and miles of running.

Is Endurance Nation Correct Regarding Swimming In Your Opinion?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 12:28

Treadmill Running - I am getting used to this

[caption id="attachment_9214" align="alignright" width="300"]treadmill - running - habit - rocky raccoon The NordiTrack that we use in the garage.
Source: NordiTrack[/caption] Treadmill running was something I would do only if forced to.  I would look at the treadmill on my way around the gym and would think to myself......no way, no how.  I was 'forced' onto that machine a few times during Ironman training and it was ok.  Not my favorite but it was a time saver when I had a run workout right after swimming.  Then one day I jumped on it, and I cannot remember why, to do mile  repeats.  I fell in love with the idea of mile repeats on the treadmill because I could control the speed.  By control I mean go faster than I would have outside in the elements.  I felt this benefited me tremendously to get the legs to turnover at a pace they would not have should I have been outside. The off-season hit and summer was there so I did not have to do any treadmill running.  This was grand until Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile Trail Run training started.  Two weeks into that training and the ice storm of 2013 hit Dallas.  This forced me indoors and I am fortunate enough to have a wife who is also an endurance athlete and loves running.  She had purchased a treadmill and I thought nothing of it at that time, but what a life saver this turned out to be.  This, by the way, is not your typical treadmill.  Karen did her research and she ended up with the NordiTrack 9000 (not the actual number but it sounded good.)  This thing is incredible. This treadmill has the ability to connect with Google Maps and allow you to run anywhere in the world.  To date I have run in Venice, London, Joshua Tree National Park and started the Big Sur marathon amongst other courses.  The treadmill goes through an incline or decline based on where you are on the course and it also provides pictures of where you are at.  The data it gives back to you is outstanding.  I have enjoyed my time on the treadmill so much lately that I am coming up with reasons to not run outside.  Last week I ran 17 miles through the streets of London on the treadmill. To make it an even better experience last week after 12 miles on the treadmill I mounted a 19" television along with Apple TV so that we can stream Netflix or ESPN to the TV and allow us to run until we cannot run anymore out there.  In the past few days I have learned a few reasons as to why I am enjoying my time on the treadmill compared to the days of dreading it.

Why I Am Liking The Treadmill

  • Data. As I mentioned earlier there is data everywhere.  From the incline / decline percentage to speed to calories burned.  There is also elevation gain data being thrown at you.  All of this data is in a controlled environment and in front of my face so I do not have to look down at my watch every 10 seconds hoping that time has passed.
  • Easier On The Legs. The Rocky Raccoon training started out with 50 miles in week 1.  It was at 52 miles in week 2 and I believe this week (week #3) is going to be near 60.  That is a lot of time on my legs and having the comfort of the treadmill under me makes the recovery process a bit easier.
  • Mental Strength. I have done super long trainer rides (6 hours is my PR) but that is completely different from the mental strength of the treadmill.  I have figured out multiple ways to make treadmill runs go by fast and have applied those ideas to the road.  For example, the 17 mile run I did on Saturday is made up of 68 1/4 mile segments.  If running at a 9:00/mi pace I am pacing a 1/4 marker every 2 minutes and 15 seconds.  Knowing that I only have to run 2:15 to put a check mark in the box helped tremendously as I did not look at the entire run of 17 miles but instead 0.25 miles at a time.  Anybody can run 0.25 miles right.
  • Multi-Tasking. As I said earlier I have mounted a TV above the treadmill in the garage.  This gives me the opportunity to catch up on movies that I have not seen in the theater because I was too busy swimming, biking and running.  In addition to movies I am also finding that I can crank out 1 to 2 chapters of a book at a time without losing my balance or feeling disoriented.  Since training for long hours is draining I can easily be asleep by 8pm instead of watching a movie with Karen or reading a book that I bought months and months ago.
In the middle of typing this blog post I looked at what I have planned for training during the week, which is where the treadmill is going to come in handy.  Since I need to leave the house around 7:15am to get Chico to school I need to be out on the road by 5am running and home by 6:15-6:30 at the latest.  That would put me at 10 miles maximum and that is if I maintain a 9:00/mi pace.  Running at Z1/Z2 is no guarantee of running that pace so the treadmill will come in handy in the middle of the week and I am glad that Karen had the foresight to research and buy one. I do not know if I will ever be able to keep up with Emily but the more I run on the treadmill and the longer the miles go the higher the confidence level goes that a super long treadmill run is feasible.  This weekend's 19 miles will be a true test.

Are You A Treadmill Runner?

Thursday, 19 December 2013 06:33

Doping: I Have Been A Hypocrite But No Longer

[caption id="attachment_9243" align="alignright" width="226"]doping - triathlon - olympics - lifetime ban Source: TeamUSA.org[/caption] Doping is something that I cannot accept in any way shape or form. If you use HGh, testosterone, EPO, and everything in between then you should be banned from sport. There is no question about. If the rules state that you are not allowed to take Vitamin D supplements and you do then you are cheating.  That is a clear hard-line.  I cannot see anyway around that.  Yet, today I find myself to be a hypocrite because I recently posted on LinkedIn and the CTER Facebook Page about an unsanctioned race that would include Lance Armstrong, Macca, Chris Lieto and others and defending the fact that Lance Armstrong would be included as not a big deal because it was an unsanctioned event. After reading an Op/Ed piece written by Ulrich Fluhme on the Lava Magazine website I have found myself contemplating this idea as well as having changed my mind about that particular race.  In the piece Mr Fluhme makes the claim that the gains made by doping do not go away after the doping has stopped if the person is still training.  That idea never occurred to me and so today I stand before you calling myself a hypocrite about the doping and allowing Lance to race in an unsanctioned event.  According to Mr Fluhme's piece: A lifetime ban for proven guilty dopers is appropriate, because permanent adaptations made from doping will always provide an advantage over others who didn’t dope. Doping is irreversible.  I have not done any research into this but it stands to reason that it would be accurate.  If you dope and improve your performance through that drug and training then you have elevated your base level.  The only way I can see that be reversible is if the athlete did not do any form of training and allowed their body to become Oscar The Grouch and eat anything and everything with no care in the world.  At that point I could see the body becoming a wasteland.  Outside of that the gains that the doper made are going to be with them for a lifetime.  I equate this to the off-season for myself.  For example, I did not run a lot in September/October/November but have been running 50+ miles for the past three weeks.  In those three weeks my pace per mile has improved while my heart rate zone has remain unchanged.  This means that my body is more efficient.  If the doper gets their body to a certain point and maintains it then the next time they enter into a training cycle they are starting from a point that is above where they would naturally be.  This is clearly an unearned advantage and one I cannot stand by and defend. Short of a lifetime ban I cannot think of another way to punish those that break the rules.  Mr Fluhme speaks about 4 year bans on Olympic athletes so that they cannot compete in the next set of games and that makes some sense but in the triathlon world where there is no 4 year staged event like the Olympic Games allowing a person to return to action two years after they were found to be doping seems like very little punishment. Let's use an elite age grouper that is 24 years old.  They dope right out of the gate to earn a pro card and do not get caught until they are 28.  They have been doping for 4 years and are now a pro.  If the ban is two years and they return at the age of 30 do they not have a clear advantage over the field?  Their baseline is well above those that were clean and they still have 5-7 years to earn wages that were gained through deception and cheating.  To me this does not make sense to allow that happen.  Ban them altogether with no recourse. Now, the Op/Ed piece goes into second chances.  That is what this country was built on and I am a big believer in that so in this case I agree with the author in that we should not turn our backs on the doper but in fact encourage them to do something else.  Maybe start a bike shop or tri shop.  Find another passion and pursue that with abandon but to allow them to race again in 2 or 4 years I do not agree with.  Maybe an organization like the WTC can hire that person to go around and conduct clinics on the effects of doping and why it is not worth it in the grand scheme of things. I know there will be those that say things along the lines of:
  • What if the test proves to be incorrect?
  • What if the athlete was taking something that was approved by their Doctor?
These things may happen.  I think that these will have to be reviewed on a case by case basis but when all the evidence  is on the  table and appeals are done then and only then should a lifetime ban be automatic.  I believe in due process so let it play out but when that final answer is given there can be no other course of action. I am sure that there are going to be people who disagree with me and that is more than acceptable.  If you disagree, please feel free to voice your opinion on this matter but do so in a way that allows for conversation.  Do not get so passionate that you call me an idiot or a moron.  I am not the end all be all, but I do have an opinion on the matter and will be happy to have a civilized discussion.

What Do You Think Of A Lifetime Ban For Doping?

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