Wednesday, December 29, 2010

End of an era... or just 2010.

So now that 2010 is drawing to a close and we prepare to ring in the two-zero-double-matchsticks, I figure it's time to reflect on the year gone by and set a goal or two for the 365 to come. I didn't set too many goals in 2010, other than to eat better and get more sleep. I think I did alright on the eating better. I've all but eliminated red meat and white grains from my diet, except for tortillas and occasionally white rice. So that's a step in the right direction. There's still major room for improvement, however. As for more sleep... meh, don't even mention it. Didn't happen.

Here's a summary of fitness activity for 2010, to this point (still got a couple days to go!)

  • 359.4 miles
  • 61 hours, 43 minutes, zero seconds
  • 81 runs
  • avg 4.44 miles per run
  • avg 45 minutes, 42 seconds per run
  • avg pace for the year: 10:18 per mile

  • 2384.3 miles
  • 145 hours, 2 minutes, 33 seconds
  • 121 bike rides
  • avg 19.7 miles per ride
  • avg 1 hour 20 minutes per ride
  • avg speed for the year: 16.44 miles per hour

  • 45 occurrences
  • 27 hours, 8 minutes total
  • avg 36 minutes per occurrence

I also played a little basketball and swam a little, but not enough to really be of note.

Not a bad year! Total logged healthy activity/exercise time is 241 hours, 50 minutes, 55 seconds. And like I said before, I'm not done yet. I'll add 2 or so hours to that over the next 2-3 days. That's 10 days and change of working out/exercising 24/7, or just over 6 forty-hour work weeks. Sounds like a lot. But it could be more. I didn't train for or run any marathons this year. In fact, I only got in one double-digit run the whole year, and that was New Years Day, 2010. I did, however, do one triple-digit bike ride (the Ghost Town Century in May), and 5 other rides over 50 miles in length. And I did 2 short but fast criterium races.

For 2011, I haven't set any fitness goals yet. I'd like to run at least a half marathon with my wife, and I like to run at least one full marathon as well. Also, I want to keep up with the cycling and do several RMR criteriums and a couple of road races -- specifically the Bear Lake Classic in May and the Sanpete Classic Road Race in August. And of course, the 4th of July triathlon... maybe. Those should help me get close to 1000 miles of running, maybe, and perhaps get close 2500 miles of cycling again. Time, indeed, will tell.

A non-fitness related goal I have for 2011 is to log every book I read. I read a ton of books in 2010, but I don't know how many or which ones. I plan on continuing to make frequent use of the local library, and to continue to sacrifice sleep to read. Ya just gotta, ya know?

What are your goals for 2011?

Friday, December 10, 2010

All natural, raw, vegan yumminess!

Okay, so not too long ago I tried a Låra Bar... basically it's an all natural, raw, vegan energy bar. Now I'm not a raw foodist by any means, or even vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter. But I have discovered that eating healthy is good for me, and that involves a few things. For instance, I almost never eat red meat. Ground turkey is our thing now for tacos, enchiladas, even Italian pasta bakes. Turkey burgers are WONDERFUL -- in fact, I just had one for dinner last night. SPeaking of burgers and pasta, the carbs are whole-wheat. Whole wheat pasta, whole wheat buns (the thin bun variety. So good and so much better for you!). Now I don't very often use whole wheat tortillas in our Mexican cooking, but I'm trying to do better with that. We do use more corn tortillas than flour in most things these days.

Anyway, back to the Låra Bar. It's made of dates and nuts and spices, and that's about it. Some flavors have chocolate chips, but I used them sparingly when I tried making these. I googled the recipes, but ended up just winging it on my own. I dumped a bunch of raw chopped dates bought in bulk into my food processor with a handful of peanuts, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Then I blended/chopped/processed. I added dates and nuts and a little water until I got the right consistency. My recipe could have used a pinch or two of salt. Unfortunately I didn't really measure, so I can't share an exact recipe. When it was there, I added in a handful of mini chocolate semi-sweet chips, and I have a yummy chocolate-peanut butter flavored energy bar. They're calorically dense because of the dates, but they're very yummy and a great alternative to a power bar or even a clif bar. Also, they're super high in fiber, so keep that in mind if you're heading out on a run, etc.

But man, they're GOOOOOD.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Indoor riding

Because our weather outside is indeed frightful, I have been relegated to getting miles in indoors. This picture is pretty accurate, and although I've heard that some people will ride in this, I'm not one of 'em.

Until recently, my indoor miles have all taken place at work, riding a Cycleops 300PT indoor cycle. It's a pretty nifty machine, but I can't take it home with me, and if something comes up at work where a lunch break becomes infeasible, I'm out of luck.

Recently, however, a friend has loaned me his Cycleops Fluid 2 trainer, which I have dutifully set up in the basement and recently loaded my beloved road bike. The pain cave is set up nicely in the downstairs family room with the TV and a fan in front of the bike. I've now spent an hour plus on the trainer on my bike twice, and I must say, it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe it's because I've long been used to countless hours on the treadmill this time of year. Maybe it's because I'm not pushing it as hard as I probably oughta. I don't know. All I know is I'm going to survive the winter and emerge hopefully stronger in the Spring!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

End of season Century Ride report

The fellas over at Infinite Cycles thought it would be a great idea to end the year with a big old group ride for 100 miles, or a century. I jumped in and helped plan the route, and decided it'd be fun to attempt. I also invited a friend to come along, whose longest ride to that point had been 60 miles, mostly flat.

So at 7:30 on October 30th, a group of about 16 cyclists set out on a gray morning just as the sun was rising. The group steadily declined until there were only 5 of us continuing on for the whole century route. Everyone else had decided to make it a 20 or 30 or 40 mile day. Going up Wasatch Blvd near the Sandy/Draper line caused quite the separation, as three of the stronger riders took off, leaving me and my buddy behind. They did wait at the Big Cottonwood Canyon park and ride lot, as we had determined, and we stuck mostly together up the east bench on Wasatch. My friend, however, was really struggling. Every time we encountered the slightest incline, he'd pop off the back of our little paceline. Eventually, about mile 70, among the buildings of the University of Utah campus, we told them to continue on and not wait up for us. We're big boys and we have phones and spare tubes and all that, so don't worry about slowing down for us.

Once we got out of downtown we enjoyed the very flat section of the ride through Rose Park and around the bike path that goes around the airport. At the gas station in the international center, we noticed how slow our average pace had dropped to and how frequent the rest stops were becoming, and we decided to call my wife and have her meet us at the WalMart another 5 miles up the road. The timing turned out to be just right, because the long-anticipated storms began arriving during that last 5 miles. All in all, we made it 84 miles in 5 hours, 20 minutes of riding time (and almost 7 hours of actual time).

I was feeling alright and I'm sure I could have finished the route, but with the frequent stops we were making for my friend's sake and how long those stops were becoming, we would have been gone all day. The route was brilliant, if I do say so myself, and I really want to give it a go again, perhaps solo. Sadly, it looks like the weather has become mostly un-ride-able for the foreseeable future, so it may have to wait until Spring.... depending on what kind of winter riding digs I may get for Christmas....?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Running Races vs. Cycling Races

As I become more and more immersed in the local cycling scene, I'm realizing there's a huge difference between the way cycling race directors run their shows compared to how running races do it.

Here's an example, the Boston Marathon sold out this year in 8 hours. 8 hours! And the race isn't until April. And you have to qualify to get in, meaning only roughly 10% of the .1% of the population that runs (and finishes!) a marathon are even eligible to register! (I pulled the 10% number out of the air. I have no idea how many people actually qualify for Boston, but it's not a lot.)

Another example: The Ogden Marathon, a small-town-Utah marathon that I ran back in 2008, is sold out for 2011. The race is May 21, 2011. That's just under 7 months away. 7 months!

Another good example is the St. George Marathon. You enter a lottery in April that is decided the first week of May for a marathon that's run in October, 5 months later.

Bike racing? The first race I'm planning on for next year is the Bear Lake Classic road race, which should take place on May 14. I say "should take place" because so far, their website only acknowledges the 2010 race, which took place in mid-May. I have no idea when it will update the information for 2011, or when registration even opens. I will need to keep my eye on it as the date approaches.

And did I mention that the governing body for bike racing, USA Cycling, requires you to have a license to register that is good for a calendar year at a time and costs $65. If you don't have this, you have to buy a "one-day" license at your race for $10, and your results aren't tracked over the course of the year as they would be if you were a "licensed" racer. Contrast this to the governing body of running races, USATF (USA Track and Field), which sets down some rules but lets just about anyone anywhere run in anything they want to.

I don't get it. I just don't get it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This looks insane

.... but I kind of want to do it someday. A new item for the bucket list, maybe?

Friday, September 24, 2010

I love racing

This week I completed my second go at the D Flite at Rocky Mountain Raceway's criterium. I went into it with the goal of staying with the lead group and not getting stuck out in the wind. I'm happy to say I accomplished both. I was able to stay with the leaders every time there was a selection, which really wasn't much. I think I finished around 11th or 12th out of 20 or so, so we never did drop that many. I made a really sweet move on the back side of the last lap, going from the back of the pack with maybe one person behind me up to 3rd wheel coming around the last turn. The pace picked up and I stayed with the wheel in front of me... only to discover that he wasn't moving fast enough as the bunch swarmed around us. I don't know if there was a gap between where I finished and where the winner was, but I don't think there was.

These last two races have been so fun for me. I just love riding with a group, but even moreso in a race. I love the dance as everyone jockeys for position, the way the group ebbs and flows as it goes around corners and the order gets reshuffled. I love the subtle moves and differences in pace that it takes to move up from the back of the pack to near the front, and yet staying out of the wind the whole time. I love the challenge of not getting dropped as I take the slightly wrong line out of a turn, the 5 second sprint to get back on the wheel in front of me. I love the education I get as I realize what a sprint is like and know that I'm not ready for one. Yet I love that I'm able to hang with the guys that have been racing all season when I've just started.

Sigh. I love racing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My weekday rides usually consist of a lunchtime jaunt up City Creek Canyon. The canyon is open to cyclists on odd-numbered days between Memorial Day and October 1st. The rest of the year you can ride it everyday if you so choose. It's a gorgeous place to ride, and just enough of a climb to keep your legs remembering what it feels like to work a little.

My boss and his wife often ride the canyon at lunchtime as well, so I like to give them a head start and I see if I can catch them before the usual turnaround point at the water treatment facility. Most times I'm able to if I give my boss about a 10 minute head start. Today they got a little bit more of a head start because I had left my sunglasses on my desk, and had to head back up to my office in all my spandex glory to retrieve them. Long story short, I caught them both just before the turnaround point, and managed to PR the climb from my office by 5 seconds.

I'm sure I'll write more about City Creek in the future... It's a favorite ride of mine and about the only one I'll do at lunchtime.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rocky Mtn Raceway Crit - race report

Well a Tuesday night finally opened up and I was able to go race the Rocky Mountain Raceway Criterium series. Unfortunately, this late in the season they're not assigning any numbers, so I didn't get to get an official result, and it seemed that there was some confusion as to the finishing order, but I'm pretty sure I know where I finished. More on that in a second.

I loaded up the bikes (Yes, bikes -- all 3 kids had to bring their bikes too) on the rack and got to the raceway as the A's and B's were still cruising at breakneck speed. I signed in with a buddy of mine that I talked into doing the race just this morning. I was able to take a couple of warm up sprints up and down the straightaway (which is about 1/2 mile long). It wasn't the warm up that I wanted, but it would have to do, as soon they were calling the C and D flites to the line.

I lined up on the outside in the second row. I didn't get a good count, but I'm estimating there were 18 or so in our flite. As soon as the start was given, the guy I was behind went to the front and I found myself in second position going a lot slower than I anticipated the first lap would be. I had conveniently forgotten my speedometer, so I have no idea how fast we were actually going, but it wasn't very fast at all and I had to resist the temptation to go to the front and pick things up. We were riding 2 across for the entire first lap at a leisurely pace. As we hit the first corner in the second lap, one guy decided to give it a go on the inside and the group accelerated, not giving him any room. I went from 2nd to 4th wheel as we merged to single file.

The wind was out of the south, but I didn't really notice it as I was staying in the pack pretty well most of the time. I stayed near the front in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th position for a couple of laps as the pace increased each time as someone else from the back half would give it a go on the first corner. That was right where I wanted to be. At one point I took the first corner too tightly and found myself on the front of the pack, pulling for about half a lap (about 75 seconds). That was completely and totally unintentional, but alas, there I was. I figured I'd make this an easy lap for the group and kind of soft pedaled, but the group was happy to just sit on, so I led. Just before the final turn I peeled off and jumped on the back of the lead group, now in 8th or so. As we roared down the straightaway, the pace really started to pick up, and when we hit turn 1 again, the group split for good, losing about half the riders off the back, including my one and only "teammate" buddy. I stayed with the lead group for another lap or two, when I got caught taking the first corner too wide putting myself into the headwind, and the 8 riders I was with took off, never to be caught again.

So there I was, out in the wind, all alone, where I would remain for the rest of the race. 2 laps later I heard the "Two laps to go" announcement made just for me, as there was no one in front or behind me. I watched the lead group enter turn 1 about 15 seconds ahead and counted 9 riders, so I knew I was in 10th. With a lap and a half to go, I passed two ladies, one that had fallen from the lead group, and one that I had passed before but she had caught on to the back of C flite and made up some ground (big no no). When C flite went by me, I asked to make sure I wasn't getting lapped and saw her on the back, at that point she knew she was caught and dropped off and let them go. I stayed ahead of those two gals and finished in what I am pretty sure was 9th place, all alone, lapping two guys who had blown off the back of the back group just before the line.

All in all, it was extremely fun, very challenging, and somewhat painful. I can't wait to do it again!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Catching up, and what's new

So much to say...

If you've been following my twitter feeds or looking at my workout log, you'll know that I'm not running AT ALL (just about) these days. I've kind of become hooked on cycling. Case in point: So far this year I've biked almost 1600 miles and run a total of 207. In July alone, I biked 331.4 and ran 27.9 miles. And I'm getting faster as well. Now, I want to try my hand at cat 5 racing, just for kicks, to see what I can do.

In July, my family and I took a day to go to Bear Lake, where my in-laws were camping. I took my bike and rode the 50+ miles around the lake. I knew there was a half ironman that had this for its bike leg, but I soon learned that there's also a road race that goes along this same route. Well, I looked up the results of this year's race, and as it turns out, had my ride occurred during this race, I wouldn't have finished last. Mind you, I was going it solo, where in a race I would have had a group to draft off and pace from, etc., so I would have been significantly faster over the 50 mile loop. I think I could reasonably have finished in the first or second group of cat 5 racers.

As you may know, when I rode my century ride back in May, I was a little nonplussed at the thought that there was no clock or reason to do your best. It was just a ride with supported rest stops. I suppose there's a place for that in the realm of cycling, but having come from running marathons, I'm used to having that objective standard with which to measure myself against. I know I'm not going to win any marathons, but if there wasn't a clock and at least a semblance of competition, they'd be just another long run, and really, what's the fun in that? (Okay, long runs can be fun, but that's not the point here. You don't pay $60 or $70 or $100 to go for a long run...)

So anyway, I've been looking for bike races that would fit my schedule. I fully intend to do the Bear Lake Classic next year, but that's so far away. I really needed a fall race to focus on.

Enter the Rocky Mountain Raceway Criterium Series. For $10, anyone who wants to give bike racing a try can go down and race around a 1.3 mile circuit for half an hour + 3 laps. Last Tuesday (August 3) I went and watched the tail end of the Cat 1/2 race and the Cat 3 race (known in the crit series as "A Flite" and "B Flite"). After that there was the Cat 4/5 ("C Flite") race and the beginners ("D Flite") race. Watching the D Flite gave me a lot of confidence, thinking that I could keep up with those guys. It's hard to tell from a spectator's point of view, but it didn't seem as if anyone from D Flite really attacked at all until the final sprint. I don't know if there were any unsuccessful breakaway attempts prior to that, as I could only see about 1/3 of the course, but it looked like everyone was content to stick together and sprint it out.

In any case, I'm going to give the RMR Crit "D Flite" race a try, probably next Tuesday, the 17th (providing I'm in town), and I will gleefully report on it when I'm done. And then there's a race in September that I'd also like to do... more on that later (probably).

Friday, July 9, 2010

A potential goal race AND a final call

So I have had all but 0 interest in the jersey/fund raising idea. To proceed with this, I need at least 25 confirmed jersey buyers or it's just not worth it. I know this isn't THAT popular of a blog, but please, if you know anyone who is or has been affected by cancer, please get one of these jerseys. You'll get a great jersey at a great price, and you'll be helping a great cause.

Okay, done begging. For money. Sort of.

The second thing that I'm going to beg for (haha!) is teammates. I'm looking for 4 people to run the Dirty Dash with me on September 25th. It's only a 10k run, and it's not your usual 10k run. Check it out. It's $35. I have one "verbal" commitment, but I'll need 3 more before I can register the team. Let me know via a comment on this post if you're interested. Could be (should be!) tons of fun!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pepperwood Triathlon race report

Amid conflicting emotions I got up at 5:30 this morning and got ready for the Pepperwood Independence Day Triathlon. I wasn't really excited to go, as unlike last year I wouldn't know anyone there -- no cheering section, no friendly competition, nuthin. Oh well.

A little different from last year is that instead of seeding yourself according to projected swim times, they just divided the group into two heats: women & children in the first, men in the second. Okay then. About 6:45 the timekeeper shouted "go" and into the pool I went. I felt a little stronger on the swim this year than last year, and finished the swim in 14:21... 500 yards. Not a great pace, of course, but I finished it. I really really want to and need to work on becoming a stronger swimmer, especially if I have any sort of pipe dream to do a 70.3 or even (gasp!) a 140.6.

Out of the pool and into T1 - Loved having actual tri shoes for the bike this year, they're awesome. Struggled with my jersey a little again, but was in and out in 2:45. I'll take it.

On the bike I was having a hard time finding a rhythm as I headed out of transition and up the first hills. Once I got to turn around and head back down the hill after almost a mile, I started to cruise. I just couldn't believe how much the swim had taken out of me. Again, got to spend more time in the water!! Bike split: 19:53, avg speed 18.08 mph. 6 miles.

T2 was cake, off with the bike shoes & helmet, on with the socks and running shoes. Still no speed laces, but that wasn't a big deal. 1:15.

The run was okay. I hadn't done a single brick workout in I don't know how long, so the first couple hundred yards I had to keep reminding myself that I was likely going much faster than it felt like I was going. I settled into a groove pretty quickly, and ended up running the 3 miles in 29:31. My only goal was to beat my overall time from last year. Struggling with my jersey in T1 didn't help much, but I still managed a 1:07:51... 1:47 faster than last year. The finish line was a little further into the transition area parking lot, so I was probably about 2 minutes faster overall with that figured in. I wasn't feeling the mojo to begin with, so I'm happy with this new course PR, and likely I'll be back next year... hopefully with some friends or family in tow!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sweetening the Pot

For all who donate to my Livestrong challenge, either directly or indirectly, your name will be entered into a hat to win one of 5 copies of the new book The Ultimate Runner. This book is over 50 stories, photos and expert tips from extraordinary runners like you.

So go ahead and donate today! I'll keep the contest open until I have enough interest to actually order jerseys (I need about 25 willing purchasers!). This is for a great cause, so please, donate (or comment about purchasing a jersey!) today!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jersey update

Okay, the jerseys are going to cost you $57, plus shipping. They are going to be made by Blackbottoms, which means they're going to be amazing quality. Blackbottoms makes the various leaders jerseys for the Tour of Utah, they also make Burke Swindlehurst's TeamGive kits, as well as many other professional-level kits. Trust me, you're going to want one of these jerseys. And it's for a great cause.

Again, leave a comment on this blog with how many and what size. Thanks again for supporting such a great cause, and getting a great jersey in exchange!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Get Your Jerseys HERE!

Okay, here's the low-down on the jerseys. I'm still working out pricing, but I know it will NOT be more than $60, shipping INCLUDED. Not a bad price for a nice jersey! If you want to order one, please leave me a comment on this post with how many and what sizes (race or club cut is available, just state your preference). I do have minimums to meet, so if there's not enough interest, I won't take your money and we'll all just go our merry ways. But please, tell your friends, your cycling friends, your friends who have battled cancer or know someone who has. Let's raise some money and help LAF and FatCyclist to beat this disease.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jersey design

Here's the preliminary design. There's room on the sleeves and the sides for sponsorship opportunities (leave a comment with your email address if you're interested). Price is not yet firmly nailed down, but hopefully will be $50-60, which is a great price for any jersey, and this one's for a great cause. Stay tuned for more info!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Raising Funds

Okay folks, this is where I beg shamelessly for donations.

I've decided to jump in and set up a fund raising site with the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I want to start small and raise $500 to help folks with cancer battle the disease. I've set up a fundraiser website here, where you can go donate.

Also, in the next day or two, I'm going to be selling some sweet cycling jerseys and donating the proceeds to LAF as well. I'll include ordering details with the design when I post it, so check back soon and often. I promise they'll be uber-cool. I think they'll go for $50 each, which is a great deal for a cycling jersey at anytime, fund raising philanthropy aside!

Thanks all!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fatty's a lucky guy

Some of you may know that I love to read FatCyclist's blog. He's a guy who's crazy about cycling, from right here in Utah, and he writes a great and funny blog. Last December, he wrote a funny post about how he'd be a great pro cyclist and how Johann Bruyneel should let him try out for Team RadioShack. Well, Johann read that and a lot of cool stuff happened, including Fatty being able to go to the Tour of California this past week and ride in the team car during the time trial stage. How awesome is that!?

He also got the opportunity to meet a bunch of the riders on the team and get his picture taken with them. That all sounds cool and everything, but I don't think I want to do that. After all, at 6'1" and over 200 lbs (and shrinking, slowly), I'm huge compared to those 125-lb-dripping-wet pro cyclists. I think I'd just look fat. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ghost Town Century report

Saturday I woke up to a very wet morning at 5:30, and proceeded to get dressed in my cycling garb anyway. My ride was due to arrive at 6, and I wanted to have something to eat before he got there. One PB and Honey sandwich later, along with a little Powerade, and I was good to go. The drive from West Jordan to Tooele was wet, snowy/sleety, and really intimidating. I did NOT want to ride 100 miles in that kind of weather, especially since I had (have) a pretty nice head cold. Fortunately, when we got off the freeway in Tooele, the precip had lightened up a bit, and by the time it came time to start, it had stopped.

We get to the staging area and check in, and I opt for the water bottle instead of the cycling socks... and it's a good thing I did. When I got back to the car to pin on my bib and change shoes, etc., I realized that the two water bottles I had filled at home with powerade were... still at home on the kitchen table. Oops. So I filled the one water bottle with water, and hoped the aid stations would be frequent enough to supply refills. Fortunately, they were, thanks to the cool weather I didn't drink as much as I otherwise would have.

Anyway, We were off, passing more than being passed in the first 10 miles until we arrived at the first rest stop... which wasn't even set up yet. It was early enough that I was still feeling fresh and still had plenty of water, so we soldiered on. The second rest stop was at the thriving metropolis of Ophir, Utah. It's a little tiny mining town at the top of a steep, beautiful little canyon. I didn't enjoy the 4 mile climb that averaged 7% and topped out at 15% grades, but I sure enjoyed the stop. I ate a granola bar and a baby potato with salt, and filled the water bottle with Powerade. Then I got all zipped up for the descent back down the canyon, which was fast and fun, but COLD. Temps at this point weren't yet to 40º. Aid station number 3 was in Fairfield, another 23 or so miles away. That was the "lunch" stop, where they had Subway sandwiches and chips and other goodies. I opted for a PB & J on a tortilla... surprisingly yummy. The route from here headed back westward into Tooele County (Fairfield is just over the Utah County line... think west of Eagle Mountain). This is where the wind picked up and it got downright miserable. We even got hailed on for a few minutes -- just little tiny stuff, but still... it kinda stings. We also hit some rolling hills, which slowed our pace down to about a 15 mph average. Here we hooked up with a couple of other riders, one of which turned out to be a Cat 2 racer who offered to pull us the rest of the way in if we'd help keep his wife out of the wind. It was her first century ride too, her previous long ride having only been 40 or so miles. Yikes. So we gladly accepted the offer, and I was happy to settle into a draft for the next 15 miles or so to the 4th rest stop, which was basically a truck pulled over on the side of the road with snacks in the back.

A short stop and we were off, finally out of the direct headwind into more of a side/tailwind for a couple of miles as we headed north from Faust towards Rush Valley. Fortunately, except for the couple of minutes of hail, we had stayed precipitation-free. There were still 4 of us working together, which helped to minimize the effects of the wind. Garrett, our Cat 2 racer, would slow on the inclines to let his wife catch up, which I was grateful for. It meant it took us longer to finish than I had initially wanted to, but at the same time it kept me feeling like I had plenty of energy in the tank. We picked up a 5th rider into our group before the Rush Valley rest stop at mile 74. For the next section I took a couple of turns at the front riding next to Garrett and chatting with him about races, etc. At about mile 88 the hours and hours of rolling hills and climbing paid off, and we hit the descent. This is where our little peloton, now numbering 6, split up. I went with the faster group, and we quickly formed a nice little rotation of 3 of us all taking very short pulls, cruising down the hill working together at 30 mph. Our paceline lasted until we hit Grantsville at mile 95. Once into town our speed dropped of necessity and we just cruised and chatted... wondering what happened to the rest of our group. The three of us pedaled on in to the finish, with my total riding time being 6 hours, 28 minutes. Slower than I wanted, but then the course was hillier than I expected and it was a windy day, which didn't help. 105 miles total, over 4800 feet of climbing, with an average speed of 16.24 mph.

It was fun, but I don't know if I'll do another century ride. I just don't see the value in the registration. There's no clock, there's no "race", it's just a ride, and I can do that anytime. Sure the rest stops are nice, but $10 and a few well-planned convenience stores would have been just as nice. No, I think the next ride I pay money to ride in will have a clock and a race associated with it. I'll let you know what that'll be...

Monday, April 19, 2010

SLC Marathon Bike Race --- er, I mean, Tour

So I volunteered this year to ride the Bike Race.... er, I mean "tour" that precedes the SLC Marathon. I was a "bike marshal" which basically means ride for free, and make sure everyone obeys the rules and offer assistance where needed. Fortunately, everyone was on their best behavior and nobody crashed or anything, and I got to have a really really really good time.

I had assumed that the bike marshals all rode toward the back of the pack to pick up stragglers, etc., but when I got there, I was told that we were to just ride along with basically anywhere we wanted to. So I headed to the starting line and tried to get as close to the front as I could, which was still a couple hundred people back, I'm sure. Anyway, they blow the horn and we're off! Well, not really. There was a lot of near-misses as people tired to clip into their pedals and get going without running anyone over, etc. But by the time we actually crossed the starting mats, things had worked themselves out and we were able to ride.

The pack took a while to gain speed, and I was passing people right and left as fast as I could. It's not a race, it's a tour, but all that means is 1) there's no "clock" and 2) you don't have to pay for a racing license. Oh, and 3) anyone and everyone can ride it. It's "family friendly." Anyway, for the first half of the course, there wasn't anything organized developing, everyone was basically riding at their pace. I did a lot more passing than being passed, occasionally jumping on to someone's wheel as they passed me, then using that pull to pass them. It wasn't until about the halfway point on 6200 South until I was cruising along and looked behind me to notice there were a half dozen people on my wheel. "Okay," I thought. "I'll pull for a while." I tried to put in little surges, but they stayed with me. "Looks like we might have a paceline developing here. Cool." Just after we turned onto Van Winkle, our little paceline, which I was still leading, got passed rather quickly in succession by two pacelines of guys in matching club jerseys (for the most part). I thought "Now that's what I'm talking about!!" and jumped on, along with 3 or 4 from my paceline. Which was fine, because I wasn't pulling anymore. Our group grew as we caught up to other packs of riders in front of us, and soon it seemed like there wasn't anyone in front of us, though I'd find out later there was. There were probably 25 or 30 of us in this little peloton as we turned off of Van Winkle onto 45th, then again onto 5th East. Those quick turns shed a few off the back, but the group was still cruising along at about 26 mph up 5th. About 33rd or 27th South someone decided to attack, and our group split in two. Fortunately, I was able to go with the "breakaway" and keep up with the first group. I hung with them until we turned onto State St. and began heading up the dreaded "hill". At that time, our smaller group splintered again and I fell back with a couple others. As we meandered around to the Gateway and crossed the finish line, I was surprised to a) have been handed a medal, and b) to see there were fewer than 100 of the over 1000 riders that started that had already finished. It took me 1:04:xx, which put me at an average speed of 22.5 mph for the 25 mile course. And it was a BLAST.

This experience showed me that maybe I would after all be able to hang with a peloton in a real bike race... at least with the cat 5 crowd. So now I'm looking for a couple of bike races to enter, probably starting with the Rocky Mountain Raceway criterium series... Bike racing -- er, I mean "touring" -- turned out to be sooo much funner than I thought it would!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Feeling better, ramping up

3 1/2 weeks until my century ride... Did I mention I'm riding the Ghost Town Century ride instead of the East Canyon Road Race? I figure I'll get a couple of good months of real training in before attempting a real "race"... so for now it's just the century ride, on May 1. Then there's a road race in the fall I'd like to train for.

10 days ago I went for a ride with a group from the old neighborhood from Sandy up to the top of Little Mountain pass. The mountain didn't seem so little to me then, though. I even surrendered to the granny gear (triple chainring) right toward the end. It didn't help that I didn't know where the end was. It was a good ride, almost 50 miles, and it gave me some confidence for the century ride. Running has slipped to almost nothing at this point (March - 19.3 miles run, 214 miles biked), but that's okay. The running will make a comeback slowly but surely this summer as lunchtime rides are relegated to odd-numbered days only.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh, dear health

It is so easy to take a normal, functioning body for granted. After all, that's the state we're in most of the time, right? So it's natural to not think anything of it, until something is out of kilter, then you long for the time when you don't have to think about your body and can just let it be.

This past week has been an adventure for me. Sunday I woke up with back pain, which is not entirely unusual but usually doesn't last long. Monday it began to evolve into back spasms, but I went riding at lunch anyway, after all, I've got a race to train for. Tuesday I rode as well, again with the back aches. Wednesday it had finally gotten bad enough that I decided to take the day off. Yesterday it was bad enough that I had it massaged by a good friend who happens to be a massage therapist (it's who ya know, I tell ya), and then went to play basketball last night. It felt fine all evening. This morning it was mostly better, but I took a pain pill just to make it completely go away, which seems to have worked. However, this morning I also had a nice half-hour or so long bout with light-headedness and vertigo with the accompanying cold sweat. I'm mostly recovered from that now, but I don't think I'll be running today as I had planned after all.

I just want to feel normal. Maybe tomorrow. Then I can go for another bike ride. Maybe. Crossing my fingers (and bending my knees...)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Homemade Granola Bars

These are so yummy. I wanted to go all "mommy blog" and take pictures as I made these last night, but I was just too darn tired. So all you get is the recipe.

The "glue":

2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup extra crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

Bring to a simmer, stirring almost-constantly. Then pour the glue over:

2 cups whole oats
1 cup rice krispies (or similar)
1/4 cup flax seed meal
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup crushed almonds

Stir well, make sure all of the dry ingredients are well mixed and well coated. Line a 9 x 13" pan with waxed paper, and press the gooey mixture into the pan. Make sure to compact it good, I use a second sheet of waxed paper over the top. Sprinkle a few carob or mini chocolate chips on top as well and press them into the granola bars for a little extra treat. Let the bars cool completely (I usually refrigerate them overnight, but it really doesn't take that long, a couple hours will do), then cut into bars. You can individually wrap them or just store them in the fridge. I imagine they'd keep for at least a couple of weeks, but they never last that long at our house! Makes 18-20 bars.

These are calorically dense, so keep that in mind. They make a great pre-workout fuel or mid morning snack, just only have one (that's the hard part for me!) They're about 180 calories each, but very healthy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Races You've All Been Waiting For

Somewhere in the back of my mind I figured this year would be the year of the triathlon, as I finally felt like I knew how to do a marathon. Sure, a PR of 4:34:40 isn't anything to write home about (however, knocking over an HOUR off of my first marathon is!), but I figured out how to train to accomplish my goal, and I think I could conceivably cut more time off a marathon if I so chose. However, when I was contemplating what to do for this year, another year of marathon training just didn't sound appealing. It sounded to me like a "been there, done that, time for something else" proposition. So I contemplated triathlons. And I'm still contemplating them.

However, in the meantime, I've tentatively decided to ride the East Canyon Road Race on April 24th. Yes, I said ride. It's a real life, honest-to-goodness bike race, with pros and everything (and non-pros too, no worries there! Not going pro!) It's 60 miles with a couple of decent climbs, out-and-back style course.

Additionally, I plan on doing the Art City 5k again (probably with the family again), and hopefully I'll be able to PR there again for the 3rd straight year. Also, I plan on doing the Pepperwood Triathlon on the 3rd of July, so while I may hold off on the pool membership for right now, there will be some swimming happening. I may even try to figure out flip turns. We'll see.

Then there's the fall race. I'd like to do the St. George Marathon again, and will probably enter the lottery again. There may be lodging issues this year, however, so that's not entirely certain. If I end up not running it, I may run the inaugural Layton Marathon instead, which is the following weekend. This is a little up in the air, but there's lots of time to decide. Yeah, I say that now...

So that's the plan for 2010. Hopefully 2011 will see me doing a couple more triathlons and maybe even a 70.3... but there's really LOTS of time to decide on that. Yeah. Lots.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Zone 2 runs

So the Coach had me do a zone 2 run for 50 minutes today. I did this on the treadmill for time constraints, convenience of HR monitoring, and the fact that it was cold outside and I just discovered my running pants have holes in *ahem* unmentionable places. Not that you'd notice on the average run, but still.

So, Zone 2 goes up to 153 bpm. Normally, in 50 minutes on a treadmill I can run 5 - 5.2 miles with no problem at all. Today, my heart rate kept creeping up into zone 3 - high 150s, even 160 at one point. I felt fine, but in an effort to try to keep it to the proscribed workout, I'd slow down and take it easy, even walking twice to get the heart rate down. I ended up with 4.8 miles, or an average pace of 10:28 per mile. Ick.

I've enjoyed getting faster over the last couple of years (knocking over an hour off my marathon time from marathon 1 to marathon 4)... and trying to keep it in zone 2 was just hard. Saturday I'm supposed to run in zone 2 for an hour, with 3 minute "surges" into zone 3 every 20 minutes. I'm just hoping I can keep the "surges" to 3 minutes long!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

To the Max

Yesterday my prescribed workout was a max HR test... it was a one-mile warm up followed by one mile "As fast as I can possibly go for one mile, and then really pour it on for the last 300 meters." I did this on the treadmill, which give me distances in miles and fractions thereof, so I interpreted the last 300 meters as the last about .17 miles. Yeah it's a bit off if you do the math, but it's close enough.

Anyway, I figured as I headed into this workout that I'd do the test as prescribed and then get in another 2 or 3 miles just to make it worth my time. The thing was, I was supposed to leave it "all on the track (or treadmill in this case)." And I did. I got done, took about a 2 minute break, then started back up. Yeah, I could barely make it through another half mile. I ended up with a log entry of 2.5 miles and 23:56 (the warm up and cool down were really slow!)

Anyway, the reason I'm writing about this isn't just to put some words down on the HR test. I was thinking about my best 5k, last year at the Art City 5k in Springville. It's the only 5k I run in a given year, so I like to go "all out" and see how much I can PR by. The thing is, I've never gone "all out" like I did yesterday in a 5k. I figure it's supposed to hurt like it hurt yesterday... I really need to try that out and find my true "5k race pace" I think. I wonder how fast I can really go. I've never felt like that at the end of a 5k. After all, it's only a 3 mile run, right. He he... yeah. Like yesterday was "only 2 miles"... right.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Saturday I went for a swim at the local pool. It cost me $4 and another $5 for a lock (that I get to keep) for the locker. I was going to have my cell phone and wallet in there, and the pool isn't in the best neighborhood, so I figured it'd be best to lock them up. I really am going to get a membership. Really. Maybe even tonight, if I'm not doing anything else.

Anyway, this was the first time I went to a pool just to swim laps. I think I've figured out just enough about swimming form (in the freestyle stroke) to know what I should be doing. Breathing to the left is still awkward for me, but I'm going to work on that. I got to try out the jammers my sister got me for Christmas, and I must say, they are much better to swim in than board shorts!

I can't believe what a newbie I am. I can run marathons, ride a bike all day (almost), yet swimming a straight 50 meters is hard for me. It only takes half a minute of catching my breath before I'm ready to do it again, but it's hard. I watch others effortlessly glide through lap after lap and I want to be that person. I'm sure it will just take time to build by endurance in the pool, just as it took time to build my endurance running. Back in 2008, when I got my bike, I couldn't believe how hard it was to ride long, considering riding is supposed to be easier than running (for the most part), yet I had a hard time anytime the road turned up. A summer of riding hills made me much stronger (though I still have a ways to go yet), and now it's not nearly as hard. I know the progress will come in the pool as well, as long as I stick to it and try to be somewhat consistent.

Saturday? I did 1000 meters in 43:01. (that includes all the rest time between laps) for an average of 4:19/100. Yeah, I got some work to do.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ask The Experts

Okay, anyone out there who claims to be a fitness expert or coach or mentor or just really good at figuring things out, help me out here.

Right now it's hard for me to determine exactly what to do on a day-to-day basis, because I don't have any goal races specifically scheduled for 2010. Tentatively, I'm planning on the Salt Lake Century ride on May 15 and the St. George Marathon on October 2. Neither of these are concrete at this point. I'd also like to do at least one triathlon this year, probably either the Daybreak Triathlon May 29th or the Stansbury Park Tri on July 24th. In any case, I really want to get better at swimming, just for overall fitness. I'd also like to drop about 20 lbs (currently 6'1" 210 and no, it's not all muscle.)

Got all that?

Now, as far as time/equipment goes... we have a gym at my work that has dumbbells and a few machines, as well as an indoor cycle (Cycleops 300PT) that even has a power meter. I have access to a treadmill both at work and at home in our HOA clubhouse. I generally do something at lunchtime at work, either a ride on the indoor bike (or on my road bike, weather permitting - that is, north of 40º), a treadmill run (or an outside run, weather permitting), or an upper-body (or full body) dumbbell workout. I plan on getting a membership at a local pool/rec center very soon for early morning lap swimming. When the weather improves and I'm not risking life and limb by slipping on ice, I'm not opposed to early morning running as well. That said, I would probably (on my own, but this isn't set in stone) limit 2-a-days to 2-3 times a week. Also, I don't work out on Sunday at all. That's non-negotiable.

So, as of late and because I haven't really narrowed down a goal, I've just been mainly exercising at lunch M-F, usually doing 1-2 bike rides (indoor this time of year), 1-2 runs of 4-6 miles each, and 1-2 dumbbell workouts. I also like to do combination cardio/dumbbell workouts where I'll run hard for 5 minutes, then do a couple of sets of an exercise or two, then run really hard for 5 minutes again, etc.

By the way, I'm a 35 year old guy, for those that don't know.

Assuming I'm going to ride the century in May (goal of under 6 hours), the Tri in July, and the marathon in October, what do you think I should be doing on a weekly basis? I'm just looking for general guidelines here, not necessarily a specific plan. Let me know what you think. The more opinions/input the better.

Monday, January 4, 2010


It's time to set goals for 2010. I'm not sure (100%) what they're going to be, yet, but I think I'm getting a better idea.

One goal I know I have is to be healthier, in general. You know I've been a bit of a fitness fanatic for the past couple of years, but I haven't really focused on health. This year, I'm going to pay better attention to what I put in my body, food-wise, and try to focus on more fresh, less processed food. Also, I'm going to focus on getting more/better sleep. That is, get the kids in bed, and get ready and in bed as soon as possible afterwards. This will enable more/better opportunities for AM exercise such as swimming, running, 2-a-days, etc.

Other than that, I don't have any number-based goals yet. I'd like to see if I can swim 100k this year, in addition to keeping the bike/run numbers comparable to last year. I also don't have a firm race-schedule. Tentatively, I'm planning on the Salt Lake City Century ride in May and the St. George Marathon in October, but those are tentative at best right now.