Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meet Isaiah

A little off-topic, but my favorite scripture as of late has been this one from the Old Testament: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." ~ Isaiah 40:31

Isaiah didn't specifically mention bike riding, but I think it's implied, don't you? With that as inspiration, may I introduce you to my new bike... (Okay, so it's really my old bike, just repainted. And retooled with an all-new drivetrain!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recap - April 2011

I knew April was going to be a tough month, mainly because my kids were out of school and we had a lot of fun family activities planned that were going to take time away from exercising. Still, it ended up being a pretty good month. Now that we're through the first third of the year, lets go back and review the goals I set at the beginning of the year and see how it's going, year to date:

These are the goals I set for 2011, back in January.

1. Exercise at least 300 hours. As of April 30, 2011, I have put in 105 hours 50 minutes 35 seconds. That's almost 6 hours ahead of schedule (100 hours is the 1/3 goal). That's an A.

2. Get BMI down below 25. In January I was at 27. As of today, I weighed in at 196.4, or a BMI of 25.9. More than halfway there! That's an A.

2a. Get body fat below 16%. Currently 19%. Haven't had this measured recently, so no idea here. Stay tuned.

3a. Run 800 miles in 2011. From Jan 1 - April 30, that works out to 266 2/3. I'm at 227.7 which is 85%, or a solid B. I'm hoping this picks up over the warmer months.
3b. Bike 2500 miles. For 1/3 the year, this would be 833 1/3, and I'm at 452.7. Way behind here, but again, the warmer months will help.
3c. Get in the gym 100 times, As of April 30, I've been in the gym (including group fitness classes) 52 times. This is way ahead of schedule. Some of the group fitness aren't great workouts, but I'll still consider this ahead of pace. That's an A.
3d. Swim. At least some. Well I did swim some in April on vacation in St George. Still not nearly enough. But now that I have my race calendar and there are no triathlons on it for this year, that's okay.

4. Do some races and feel good about it. Well the first race is in the books, and I feel good about it. It was a 5k PR. And I have other races planned. They are:
  • June 4 - Art City 5k. Probably won't run my race here, but will pace my daughter to a PR and hopefully an age group award (6-8 y.o. girls!)
  • June 11 - Utah Valley Half Marathon. Again, not running "my" race here, but running with the wife for her first real distance race (other than a few 5ks). However, her pace is still better than my last 13.1 PR, so I will probably PR here as well, even if it's not "my" race, so to speak.
  • August 5-6 - Bikes4Kids bike stage race. This will be my first "real" USAC bike race. I'm really looking forward to it. And it's on my birthday weekend. That's just cool.
  • Possibly a fall half marathon, just to keep my running up over the summer (and my wife's too.) We're looking at maybe the Spanish Fork Half Marathon.
Specifically, in April, I:
  • Ran 14 times for 64.9 miles, 10 h 23 min 24 seconds, an average pace of 9:37 and an average distance of 4.63 miles per run. There were some very short runs and some double-digit runs in there.
  • Biked 7 times for 163.1 miles, 10 h 10 min 57 seconds, an average speed of 16 mph and an average distance of 23.3 miles per ride.
  • In the gym or a group fitness class 9 times total. 6 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Swam 350 yards while on vacation. :) It was surely more than this, but those were the laps that I counted.
Now the weather in April was well colder and wetter than normal (and we're all a little concerned with melting snowpack and potential for flooding here along the Wasatch Front.) I know May will be nicer and warmer and hopefully I'll get outside more for more miles. So far so good. I'm not goign to worry *as much* about weight training this month in order to fully prepare for the half marathon and get the cycling base where it needs to be to hammer June and July for the race in August.

Monday, May 2, 2011

5k PR!

Saturday Robyn and I headed down to run the Salt Lake Running Company's free 5k race/fun run. I wouldn't call it a "race" because there were no bib numbers nor "winners" or age groups or anything. But it was a closed 5k course with mile markers and a finish line, so that's close enough for me.

After standing around in the store and out on the parking lot for nearly an hour watching the raffle and not winning any prizes, they played a recording of the national anthem (really? couldn't find a singer?) and we walked over to the starting line almost a block away. It was cold, probably in the upper 30ºs, but I'd dressed for it, and the sun had finally come out. The race director dude didn't have a megaphone so I didn't hear anything, but soon enough we all started running. I hit "start" on my watch when I crossed the painted line on the street. After bobbing and weaving through the crowds for the first minute or two, Robyn told me to "just go" because she was tired of trying to weave through people. I got out of the masses into some space and was able to run at a good pace. I felt good and I was pushing it pretty hard, which I paid for later.

With all the bobbing and weaving and crowds in mile 1, I hit the mile marker at 8:40. At that point I was out of the crowd, and hit mile 2 in 8:04. By this time my early blistering pace started to catch up with me and I faded to an 8:46 mile 3. The last sprint to the finish line saw me cross in a total clock time of 26:31, watch time 26:15. That's a 90 second PR over my previous 5k best at Art City in 2009. I didn't wear the Garmin, so I don't know how "official" the distance was... pretty sure it wasn't USATF certified, but I'm counting it. It felt like a 26:15 5k.

Now training picks up for the half marathon on June 11, then the Bikes4kids stage race on August 5-6. Good times!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

10 miles and a giveaway (but not mine)

Saturday my lovely wife and I ran a great 10 mile run. What made it great, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

First of all, we were tempted to bag it. The weather was horrible (rain/snow showers, a good breeze, temps in the 30ºs). But we didn't. We got my stepfather to give us a ride up Provo Canyon so we could run down the famous Provo River trail back to our car. We managed a 10:03 pace, my fastest ever pace for a double-digit (mileage) run. Oh, and did I mention this was a distance PR for her? Yeah, we rocked it. Crappy weather and all.

And... I entered Jen's giveaway over on her blog "Why I Run". Here's hopin for a win!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Yesterday's headwind

Yesterday afternoon I went out for an hour-or-so ride. My plan was about 18 miles, and I should finish in an hour or so. It started off alright, despite a bit of a head wind. I headed mostly east and south for the first 20 minutes, into a south wind. "No problem," I thought. "Pay for it now and enjoy the tailwind on the way home."

Yeah... what's that old joke? "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans," or something like that?

After heading south into the wind, I turned westward to climb up to the exposed bench on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley -- the better to enjoy the tailwind to blow me home. Yeah... So just as I turned northward, our anticipated cold front arrived. The temperature dropped, the wind shifted from south to north, and I had a headwind for the last 8 miles. There's a hill on this route I can usually fly down at around 30-35 mph. Yesterday, I was pedaling my little heart out to hit 18 mph at the bottom of the hill.

So... I will now be a stronger, faster rider for having faced this challenge and persevered (meaning I didn't die), right? Even so, I would have loved to have had someone to draft behind.

Friday, April 1, 2011

March 2011 Recap

March was a good month. I think I did much better than previous. Of course, the weather is starting to turn the corner, and that helps. Also, I'm training with my wife for a half marathon in June, so the running has picked up some as well.

1) 31 hours, 24 minutes, 59 seconds. WAAAAY ahead of 25 hour/month goal. I'll take it. A++

2) Down to 200.2 lbs, BMI of 26.4, moving in the right direction, and picking up steam. This success is largely due to the awesome calorie counter website I discovered at www.myfitnesspal.com. If you want to do a great food journal, I can't recommend this site highly enough. Check it out. Giving this one an A for the month as well.

3a) ran 68.8 miles. This is ahead of the 66 2/3 miles per month I need to get my 800 miles for the year, but I need to play some catch-up from the Winter months. For the month, though, I'm giving it an A.

3b) biked 92 miles. Not bad, considering none of it was on the "more-mile-than-you-really-earned" indoor cycle, and only 14 was on the trainer. The rest was all outside, and this is picking up. Still way below the monthly pace, however. C+

3c) Did weights 6 times, but group fitness 11 times. That's 18 total. 3 of those group fitness classes were yoga, which is fun and challenging in its own way, but it's not a real calorie burner or muscle-builder, so count 15. That's an A-. Still need to lift more on my own.

3d) Didn't swim at all. None. Fail.

Overall, I'd say that's a very solid month, and I'm giving it an A-. Spring is here, so this month will be a great test of what I'm really made of, however in April we have about a million family obligations including a mini-vacation, so I'm not expecting TOO much. We'll see. I'm just glad the weather is nice today!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

February recap

Darn short months. February wasn't as good as January was, but it's still cold and wet outside... as it warms up, I'm sure things will improve.

1) 21 hours, 10 minutes, 23 seconds. Behind scheduled pace of 25 hours / month. However, February is 2 days short... figure an hour a day... B+

2) Down about 5 lbs for the year. Slow but steady progress. C+.

3a) ran 48.5 miles. Again, this will be higher in the warmer months when I can get outside and make daily runs more like 6 miles on average than the 3-4 I manage on the treadmill most times. Again, I'm giving it a solid B.

3b) biked 48.4 miles. Pitiful, even for February. D-, and barely that.

3c) Did weights 3 times, but group fitness 9 times. That's 12 total. I'll give it a B. I need to get in the gym on my own more.

3d) Didn't swim at all. None. Fail.

Time to pick up the pace for March. February was just bad.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I gave up milkshakes for this?!

Okay, to be honest, I will still have the occasional milkshake. But it's more like one a month tops, rather than one or two a week. What am I having instead?

Zach's Peanut Butter Smoothie:

1 banana
1 cup ice cubes
1/2 cup chocolate milk
1 handful baby spinach (about 1/2 cup)
1 big spoonful of peanut butter (probably about 2 TBS)
A squirt of honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend and enjoy. Yum.

428 calories
20 grams fat
52 grams carbohydrate
35 grams sugar
6 grams fiber
13 grams protein

Compared to my usual chocolate PB milkshake:

969 calories
62 grams fat
83 grams carbohydrate
6 grams fiber
29 grams protein

I think I'm coming out ahead!

Here's another of my favorite smoothie recipes:

Zach's Citrus Smoothie:

1 banana
1 cup ice
1/4 cup diced pineapple
1/2 cup orange juice
1 handful baby spinach
1/2 tsp vanilla
squirt of honey

211 calories
1 gram fat
51 grams carbohydrate
4 grams fiber
3 grams protein
158% of your daily vitamin C

Good stuff. Have a favorite smoothie recipe? Include it in the comments!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Shameless contest entry

I really want one of these cool body composition scales, and it just so happens that a certain triathlete is giving one away on his blog. Check it out.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

January's progress

So my annual goals, broken down by month, average out to:

1. Exercise at least 300 hours. That's 25 hours per month

(Goal 2 is long term. I will say that I lost about 2 lbs in January, or so it appears.)

3a. Run 800 miles in 2011. That's 66 miles a month.
3b. Bike 2500 miles. That's 208 miles a month.
3c. Get in the gym 100 times, or 2x / week avg. That's 8.3 (call it 9) times a month.
3d. Swim. At least some. Yeah.


So how'd it go? Well...

1) 26 hours, 15 minutes, 52 seconds. Ahead of scheduled pace. A+

3a) ran 45.5 miles. This is going to be higher in the warmer months when I can get outside and make daily runs more like 6 miles on average than the 3-4 I manage on the treadmill most times. So whereas that's only 68% of the pro-rata goal, I'm giving it a solid B.

3b) biked 149.2 miles. That's again going to be lower in the winter months than the summer months anyway, so even though here it's only 71.7% of the average goal total, I'm going to give it a solid B+.

3c) Did weights 7 times. 7 of 8.3 per month is 84%, or a B. However, my employer has also started a "wellness program" that includes weekly group fitness classes. These generally aren't killer workouts and end up being more aerobic than strength, but I'm counting them towards this goal... and that means I'm going to have to modify this goal, since I get to go to 3-4 of these per week. So for now, I'm sticking with a B.

3d) Didn't swim at all. None. Fail.

So overall, I'm going to give the month a solid B to B+ average grade. On to February!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who Am I?

I've come to the realization that I need to decide what my goals are, long term. I work with a guy who runs the Wasatch 100 every year. He's the ultimate endurance junkie in our office. He's not über fast or anything, but he can go all day, that's for sure. He and I often workout at lunch together. The other day I was doing a weights workout, and he, knowing that I like to run marathons and have been eying some cycling road races and even contemplating long course triathlon, said something that caught me a little by surprise. I don't remember it word for word, but it was something to the effect of "Be careful with all that weight lifting. You don't want to pack on a ton of muscle that you'll have to haul around during a marathon (or an ironman)."
Now the truth of the matter is I already have plenty of extra weight to haul around. I need to lose a good 20 lbs or more to be at a good "racing weight." But I need to think at what my long term end-all be-all goal is. Do I want to be an efficient marathoner and triathlete and cyclist? Is that my ultimate goal, to see how fast I can get, see if I can qualify for Boston or finish an Ironman standing up? Is my goal to become a Cat 3 or maybe even 2 cyclist, and win some races and compete in the Masters division(s)? Or is it something else?

I think I started running mainly to lose weight and get in shape. I was tired of being left behind on group hikes and mountain bike rides. I know I began mountain biking for the sheer fun of it, and its fitness benefits were just gravy. But running, and consequently distance running, and marathoning, and then triathloning and biking all evolved from the desire to not look like I was pregnant. Not too long ago the "When are you due?" jokes began at a family party, and they were directed at one of my wife's cousins. At that point, I realized that it's been a long time since someone's made that joke about me, and that made me happy. I want to look good with my shirt off at the swimming pool. So, do I worry about how packing on extra muscle is going to effect my endurance sport performance?

Like I said, at this point, I've got enough weight to lose that putting on muscle will only help in that effort, so for now, I'll keep exercising and building muscle and hopefully shedding fat. Yeah yeah, I know there's the whole diet/nutrition component. And I'm working on that, slowly. Baby steps.

I think my goals can be summed up, at least in part, by this quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 fitness goals

Okay, after much thought and deliberation, I give you my goals for 2011:

1. Exercise at least 300 hours. This would be 55h 54m 05s more than last year, and 31 h 11 s over my all time high in 2009. How to get there: 6 hours per week average, or 5 hrs / week in Jan - Mar and again Oct - Dec, and 7 hrs / wk in Apr - Sept. Or so. That will fluctuate, of course.

2. Get BMI down below 25. Currently at 27. This one should come easily-ish. How to do it: Eat better. Less snacks. More good stuff. Smoothies instead of shakes. Method: food journal 80% of the time.

2a. Get body fat below 16%. Currently 19%. This and BMI will happen simultaneously, since I'm not getting any shorter.

3a. Run 800 miles in 2011. 2010: 359 miles. 2009: 1000+ miles
3b. Bike 2500 miles. 2010: 2408 miles. 2009: 1000 miles.
3c. Get in the gym 100 times, or 2x / week avg. 2009: 46 times.
3d. Swim. At least some.

4. Do some races and feel good about it, but more on that later.