Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Change of Plans

The plan has been to do my first triathlon in August. However, I recently came across the Pasadena Triathlon, which is a reverse mini-sprint: 5k run (around the Rose Bowl) / 15k Bike (around the Rose Bowl) / 150m pool swim (in a 50m pool). It is scheduled for next March and I think it looks like a fun "C" race. Looks like that will be my first. The swim is in the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, which looks like a great facility. However, it is a bit too far to go for a lunch swim and day passes are $10! That's way too much for a 45-60 minute workout. If I could fit it into my schedule, though, monthly plans are much more reasonable. How I long for a cool pool to workout in.

Had a wonderful day in the pool, today. I was planning on doing a 250 for my long swim but I felt good enough to keep going to 300. I think the key is to not control breathing so much early on. I was starting off with my normal 50 breathing (breathing every other stroke). Today I tried starting off with more breathing (breathe, breathe, hold) and that seemed to do the trick. I did try a 200 later but I was overheating so it was just a 150. Gotta do that long swim first thing. At the end of my swim I finish with a fast (not a sprint, but fast) 50, then a cool down 50. I broke 40 for the first time on that 50. Granted, that's a good time for an 11-year-old but I'm working on it. ;-)

The calves seemed to settle down today. Still doing just a 20-mile ride this weekend.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm Too Sexy For My Suit

Sooner than I would have liked but that's the way it goes sometimes: I bought a new swimsuit. The trunks were getting annoying so I needed an upgrade. What to do? Putting me in a small Speedo worked in high school but I don't want to do the kind of environmental damage that my middle-aged body in a small Speedo would do (Keep America Beautiful, folks ;-). After some searching on the net and chatting with my still-in-high school-shape best friend (he really has no concept of what kind of shape a 29-year layoff puts you in :-), I settled on what they're calling jammers. Black, of course.

The suit made its debut at the pool today. I'm at least 20 pounds heavier than I'd like to be with it on but, like I told the lifeguard, "As long as I don't see myself in the mirror, I'm okay." Funny thing is that it actually did knock 4-5 seconds off my 50 free time. Fluid dynamics, what a concept.

Had a 1400-yard workout today. Skipped last Thursday because of pool maintenance so I expected my arms to be fresh. They didn't feel so fresh, though. Managed to do a 200 before air sucking combined with that awful water-too-warm feeling stopped me. I wasn't feeling so productive today but I got in 200 more yards than usual.

Still freaking out over my calves. I can't tell if I can feel them due to normal wear and tear or if they're ready to seize up on me. I'm thinking one day with a 20-mile ride this weekend and that's it. Then one day with a 10-mile ride the following weekend and that's it. That should leave me nice and rested for the 26-mile ride in Pasadena the following weekend. Maybe on one of the days off I can slip off to a real pool for a cool workout.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Ups and the Downs

The plan is to do an 18-mile ride this weekend, a 20 next weekend, do a restful 10 (maybe just one, maybe both days) the following weekend, and then the 26-mile ride in Pasadena the following weekend. The rest days are to settle my calves down a bit. I can tell that I'm right on the edge of their recovery capability but I want to get that 20 in before Pasadena so I figure do the 20, then rest.

Yesterday's 18 was fun-ish. It was a tough ride at times. To make the route I do my 10-mile loop and then go for another loop but I turn around after 4 miles. It's humbling to go back the way you came and find out that the flat you were flying on one way was actually a gradual decline, meaning it's now a gradual incline and you're not flying anymore--far from it, in fact. It's times like that that I get discouraged but I keep reminding myself that ten months (almost nine, really) is long time to train. When I compare where I am now with where I was a year ago, or even back in August, I get less discouraged.

Had a bit of a mishap coming back on a bridge. It's under construction but a plywood sidewalk has been built so pedestrians/joggers/cyclists will not get run over while the bridge is temporarily narrowed. I ride on the bridge itself going one way but the other way is busier so I have been taking the sidewalk. This time I came in a bit to fast and ran into the concrete barrier. Ended up with a bit of a smashed pedal but no injuries. Good thing I just have rat traps on. The plan is to go clipless after Pasadena.

Sunday's ride was funner. Just the 10-mile loop. I thought it went really well and I was able to stay out of the saddle longer than usual on the hills. I decided that on the big (for me) downhill I'm just going to bite the bullet and stay in the right car lane until it gets flat. The problem is that on the downhill there is a cross-street and a few houses. If a car doesn't see me and pulls out while I'm on the far right, I'm dead. By being in the car lane I'll have more time to react. The road isn't heavily traveled so I'm hoping any cars behind me won't mind. So far, so good.

I'll be back in the water on Tuesday. I'm hoping to have something newsworthy to report.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Sunday in November

I have signed up for the Pasadena Marathon Bike Tour in November and then to be a volunteer after that is done. Should be a fun way to spend a Sunday. I've never been to a marathon before, much less volunteered for one. I think it might be interesting to volunteer for the California 70.3 in Oceanside in April. I definitely want to work a triathlon before I compete in one so I can have a better idea of what goes on. I'm especially interested in the swim and the transitions. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Great Weekend on the Bike

Saturday's ride was great. I decided to go 16 miles instead of 20 because I want to increase gradually and not get ahead of myself before I'm ready (always thinking about the calves). It went well. I did it in 1:10. I remember when I started riding last year and it took me over an hour to do 10 miles. After last week's attempt at doing the hills out of the saddle, I tried it again this week but at a higher gear. It was still very tiring but at least the gear was right. Felt a bit uncomfortable on the seat all that time but that's just something to get used to and, thanks to the shorts, there was no soreness for Sunday's ride.

Later on Saturday I went and bought a bike rack for my car. I'm not planning on doing many (any, actually) training rides out of the area but it will allow me to use my car to take my bike to the shop or marathon fun rides instead of the van.

Sunday's ride was just the 10-mile loop but I did it in just 40 minutes (see above). Did the hill thing but this time I would pedal standing for five revolutions, then sit for about eight, then back up for five, etc. Still tiring but at least I could make it up the steepest hill without stopping (I had to stop and take a break yesterday). Progress, progress.

I would like to mention that I am keeping a close eye on my calves. Basically, whenever I can feel them, I get paranoidly worried. They seem to be recovering fine but I am feeling fatigue in them during the week. Part of this was the added strain of having them in boots so I have cut back on that. So far so good, though.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Too Sexy For My Shorts

(Computer problems delayed this)

After Saturday's ride, I decided to bite the bullet: I needed bike shorts.

I headed over to Bicycle John's and started shopping. One of the guys there gave me a few pointers and then left me to do some trying on. The Pearl Izumi pair that I tried on first ended up being the ones I went with. As for the others, I guess it's a bad sign when the XL pair won't even go past my thighs. In any event, I found my comfy pair and took them out on Sunday morning's ride. What a difference! For the ignorant out there (like I was until a few months ago), cycling shorts aren't just tight, they have padding for sitting on the saddle. While it wasn't like sitting on a couch, the new shorts definitely made the ride more comfy, and I needed it.

Sunday was the start of what they called the Marek Fire and 8 miles into what was to be my first 12 mile ride I encountered a police roadblock. The fire command post and staging area was down the road and they didn't need cars mingling with all the fire equipment. I asked one of the officers if bikes were okay and he basically said give it a try but come back if they send me back. I went a little ways down the road but it soon became obvious that there was a lot of equpment there and they didn't need me in the middle of it so I turned around and my 12 mile ride turned into an almost 16 mile ride. I am happy to report that all went well. Maybe I'll try a 20 mile ride this weekend.

I haven't been able to ride too many weeends on both days yet but it seems to me that the Sunday ride is easier than the Saturday ride. Maybe I'm imagining things but that's the impression I have. Weird, eh? I will be paying close attention to this.

In Tuesday's swim workout I did my first 200. Still struggling with a warm pool but at least I did it. Did some 50s on the 1:45 instead of the 2:00, too. My triceps felt really tired during the workout. I remember my high school swim coach having us emphasize triceps in our weight workouts but I haven't really thought about why. They're use in extending the arms, which means on the reach forward as well as pushing the water down. I guess I never thought that was much work. Looks like I was wrong.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pasadena in November?

Just came across the Pasadena Marathon, which is being held next month. They have a bike tour, too. Hmm. I could do the bike tour first and then volunteer after I'm finished. Hmm. That might be a good way to spend a Sunday and I'd still get in my Sunday ride.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Swimming and Other Stuff

Swimming today. Did two 150s. Couldn't do another so I did a 100. Padded them with 50s but I was doing them at a good pace, though. Very tired at the end and finished after 1100 yards. I'm getting kinda tired of the pool being at 86 degrees. It's getting too hot towards the end. I'm sure winter isn't going to help, either. Stupid water aerobics wimps and their need for warm water.

I'm seriously considering doing the bike tour held before the L.A. Marathon. It will be on President's Day this year so I will be ready for 26 miles by then. They also have a 5k afterwards, which would be a nice brick but I will have just started running in February so I don't think I'll be up for it. Should be fun riding through Los Angeles with the streets closed off.

Stopped by Bicycle John's in Burbank on the way back to work from swimming. Not this is a bike shop. They even have a little triathlon section upstairs in a corner. When it comes time to start upgrading myself (bike shorts, pedals, etc.), this may be the place to go.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Goals, Goals, and More Goals

The nice thing about having a year training plan is that your progress can be slow and you will still make your goals, as long as your goals are do-able. I didn't want to just have end-goals, though. I wanted a plan for each month so I would now how I was doing. Here are my mini-goals for each month, leading up to my big goals in time for my races:
Sat Bike1010202020203030303030
Sun Bike1010101020202020303030
Bike/Run Brick 10/3.510/3.520/3.520/3.5

Each month's increase is not going to happen overnight. For instance, on the first of October I did not jump up to a 200-yard swim. I did a 150 and the following week I'll do a 200. Same for the bike. I am not going to have my last ride of November be 10 miles and my first ride of December be 20 miles. I will have worked my way up to 20 by December.

I think this is a pretty conservative schedule and I may have to adjust things along the way. For instance, if I am progressing really well I might want to turn my Sunday rides into specialized workouts (e.g. hills, one-leg pedalling, etc.). This is a good start, though, and it looks very do-able while still giving me flexibility.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Did my first sets of 150s in the pool today. After a warmup I did my first. I was way too tired to do them back-to-back so I did three 50s, then a 150, then three 50s, then the last 150, then the rest were 50s until it added up to 1200 yards. Because of the 150s the 1200 yards took five or six minutes less than usual. Woo hoo! I've noticed that in the last two workouts my 50s have been slowish so I tried to pick up the pace on some of them. I'm hoping that will help.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Frustrating Bike Day

Rain was in the forecast and I was going to be doing something with my daughter this morning so I woke up at six to get ready for my bike ride. The rain hadn't begun yet so I started my ride around seven. After almost three miles my front tire started acting up and me still being nervous about how light the bike is (relatively speaking) got me worried. I looked down, though, and saw that the front tire had gone flat. *Sigh*. On my third ride. Well, I was expecting to have to buy new tire stuff this weekend so no postponing that.

On the way back from our concert, we headed to Cycle World. After waiting way too long for help (I am beginning to loathe bike shops), we bailed and went home. Then I headed over to Montrose Bike Shop, where help was much faster in coming. I told the guy I had a 22 - 622 tire and he pretty much didn't believe me. Good thing I had the tire in the trunk. I showed it to him and he still kept saying that wasn't a real size, which is odd considering proof to the contrary was right in front of him. After a while and some measuring I left with sturdier tires and some tubes (they didn't have a frame/mini-pump with the features I wanted). Got back home and went to work. Jeez are these tires hard to get on the rims. Despite all the warnings I've read, I had no choice but to use the levers to get the tires back on the rims. The result: two out of three tubes with pinch flats, of course. Sigh. I'm going to something tomorrow that will keep me from visiting the bike shop but, in the meantime, I have ordered The Bike Tool which, allegedly, will help me with getting my tire on the rim. I hope it arrives next weekend because this weekend's bike workout is a complete bust.