So its been a seriously long off-season. Too long. I am so out of shape it is seriously depressing. I had my CrossFit Level 1 Certification this weekend and I had my ass handed to me in the workouts. Now that almost always happens if you are putting in your full effort but the weights I was using for the workouts were dumbed down to the point of embarrassment. Things will be a changing!

This year’s major race is going to be on Aug 12, 2012 at the Rev3 Half-Iron Distance Triathlon in Wisconsin Dells:

Total Mileage 70.3

  • 1.2 Mile Swim
  • 56 Mile Bike
  • 13.1 Mile Run

I will be doing some other B reaces too like the Lake in the Hills Tri and probably a couple others to get back into race mode.

This years new twist will be that I will be training using the CrossFit Endurance protocol that I have tried to follow I couple times this off-season. Now though I am in training mode mentally and almost physically. Just need to get some toxins out of my system from being a useless sloth for the last few months. So I will be posting updates again and hopefully more frequently than I have this off-season.

Leave A Comment, Written on February 15th, 2012 , Crossfit, Races, Training

I DID TRI! I finally raced my first TRI.  The local Lake in the Hills triathlon was held on June 12th and I think I did pretty damn good for my first attempt. The day started pretty well by getting up at 4:30am and got my first BM in  almost immediately. This has been my biggest concern with regards to racing because I do not want to be stuck on a course somewhere with that felling distracting me.  Weird but whatever. The night before was my nephews bday party so I definitely over carbed it up.  Twice the load I needed. Everything was packed up nicely and in the truck by 5:30a and we hit the road. Setup T2 upon arrival and biked over to the swim start with my wetsuit. The wetsuit I use is a full Orca suit that I got at Runner’s High and Tri in Arlington Heights. Mark the owner is fantastic and an Kona Ironman to boot. Met Dave Scott there for a seminar once. Too cool. Anyway, the suit turned out to be the biggest hindrance of the race. My wave started at 6:42a and we hit the water. I purposely started at the back of the wave to make sure that I wasn’t whacked by some stranger during the swim. I hit the water at a nice slow pace so that the adrenaline wouldn’t burn me out to fast. I just felt so damn bloated that the wetsuit restricted my movement beyond comfort. It was horrible. I finished the swim in under 20 min which for a half mile was pathetic for me. I don’t know how many times I stopped for air and floated on my back trying to relax my heart. Getting out of the water was a complete relief. I felt quite wobbly coming out and had a pretty slow T1 transition to the bike. Got on the bike and felt great after about a block. Got into a great rhythm and finished the bike in 53:38 for just over 15 miles on a Trek 7000 hybrid. T2 went much better with a time of 1:01. The run started out tight but I loosened up after about a quarter mile. I started to analyze my form and made a few adjustment I had been reading about in the Chi Running book I was reading the night before. Next thing I know the pains in my lower legs dissipated and my pace picked up over a minute a mile without any increase in heart rate. WOW! So I finished the race in 1:54:23. Pretty close to the last quarter of the racers but if you look at the fact the just over a year ago I had never swam more than 50yds without stopping, never ran more than 2 miles without stopping and never ridden a bike that distance in that short a period of time I think it is pretty damn good. Especially for a 41 year old man.

Now I am not sure when my next race is and I am starting to train now using the Crossfit Endurance site and I will post a link to my plan as soon as it is sufficiently running.

Leave A Comment, Written on June 17th, 2011 , Races

Now this is my first race report so its not going to be the best but I’ll do my best. Let me start by prefacing the few days leading up to the event. We will start with Thursday. That afternoon my son and I were in the house when my daughter comes running in crying that she broke her arm by falling about 5-6 feet out of a tree. At first I thought she was over reacting but after taking a look at how she was holding it I thought better of it. I took her to the ER and they verified that she did break it. being late in the day the orthopedic surgeon was closed for the day and I needed to get in asap in the morning because we had an 6-7 hour drive ahead of us to Traverse City, MI. we pulled some strings and got in at 10am Fri. morning. The doc told us that she would need surgery. My heart dropped. First for my daughter then for my dream of doing a marathon. As luck would have it the weekend basically shut down any chance of getting the operation done until after Memorial Day. So now we had to hit the road and make it in time to get my pre-race meal in my belly early enough before I went to sleep.

Pre-race dinner:

Grilled chicken breast, steamed broccoli, sweet potato & a small salad and 2 miller lites

We got to TC around 7:30pm and immediately unpacked and started cooking. I got everything ready for the next day and staged it all; my race clothes, breakfast, post race smoothies, vitamins and fish oil.

Pre-race Breakfast:

Trader Joe’s Multigrain British Muffin, TJ’s Raw Almond Butter, TJ’s Organic Blueberry Jam, a banana, 24oz Dunkin Donuts coffee, 1 multivitamin and 2 tbl of StrongerFasterHeathier Fish Oil.

In bed by 9:30pm. Woke up at 4:27am. 3 minutes before alarm went off. Strange. Stretched in bed a little. Made breakfast and finished it before 5am. Took a shower. Had 2 bowel movements. That actually took a lot of pressure off mentally. Didn’t want to have to worry about that at all. Hit the road with my sister in law Bridget with her husband and their 2 kids along with our friends Kristen and Brian. Kristen, Bridget and I were the only ones running the marathon. My wife was supposed to run the 10K but because of my daughter’s injury had to back out. So we got to the race start and limbered up while waiting for the start. Once the race began we headed out at a 10:30 pace. From there on out everything went pretty much to plan. GU’s and water almost every half hour or pretty close to it when it wasn’t. Had my caffeinated GU at the halfway point which I think really helped me stay focused during the last 2:30. One thing I did completely forget to do and was RUDELY reminded of at about mile 13 was that I forgot to tape my nipples. I never forget that but this day I did. OUCH! Not to mention the strange looking scabs. Went shirtless from there on out. Took some NUUN tablets about mile 19 or 20 just to be careful. Wasn’t sweating profusely but you never know. Hit a bit of a mental wall around 17 but made it through by redirecting my thoughts. No real intense pains during the run. Just the usual left hip, hip flexors and calf tweaks. Ran into some trouble around 20 when we came up on an older runner stumbling to the right. She could not stand upright and so we stopped and gave her a hand. I should say that Bridget and Kristen gave her a hand with some spectators. God forgive me but I was more concerned with my race than with this poor woman’s health. Dumbass move on my part I know that now. So Bridget was starting to bonk around 22-23 I think and I was still fixated on breaking 5:00 and I knew if I kept stopping that my legs would not start again. So at about 24.5 when they stopped again I kept going. My legs were pissed but I wanted to finish. So I did.

Afterwards I tried to take a dip in the Lake and really did not make it in. Way too cold. Ice baths aren’t even that cold for me but this was crazy. I even tried it later in the weekend with my full tri wetsuit and was nearly leveled by the pain in my face from the coldness of the water. Made it about 5 feet. Done.  Trying to sleep at night proved to be a chore just due to the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness(DOMS). Rolled and rubbed as much as possible. Fish oil and Glucosamine I think helped a bit. In the end it was about 2 days of true soreness but a lifetime of being able to say I did it.

 

Leave A Comment, Written on June 17th, 2011 , Races

I had a fantastic breakthrough in my swim training today. I was finally able to get past my brain and just swim. This may sound strange but I was never able to just keep swimming beyond a couple hundred yards without losing focus for some reason or another and I would just have to stop.  Today was the first day I just let go and swam. First I did 400m. I was flying. No issues at all. Just swimming. I had my pace, my breathing, my stroke, my kick and it all just clicked. Then I got distracted and stopped to talk to my tri buddy Kurt in the next lane. After chatting for a few I got back to it and got in another 800m without any issues. I was so happy to be able to just go and go. I don’t know what caused the mental block but it was so nice to get past it. It seems so trivial at this point. So if you are at a plateau in training sometimes it just takes a clear mind to make that big push through it.  If the training is there then the results will show.

 

Leave A Comment, Written on May 20th, 2011 , Swimming

Last Saturday I finally ran a complete 20 miles. I also did it in less than 4 hours which I thought was fantastic considering I was alone and didn’t have anyone to pace me. The temperature was in the 60′s and it was overcast so it was great. My nutrition was dead on I think. I had five peices of Honey Stinger Chews (Pomegranate) every thirty minutes with about a half to one cup of water and then at the ten mile mark I had a Clif Shot espresso gel with double caffeine (100mg) and I think that helped carry me through the last ten miles. I did continue with the Honey Stinger chews and water for the last ten miles also at 30 minute increments.

Before the run I had a Trader Joe’s Multi-grain English Muffin with raw almond butter and some organic blueberry jam with my usual 2-3 cups cold French pressed Dunkin’ Donuts coffee(2 tbl half and half). I finished all of this almost two hours before the run. Post run I had my post workout shake modified from the recipe in book Paleo Diet for Athletes.

Steve’s Recovery Drink

  • 18 oz orange Juice
  • 6 oz Pom juice
  • 5 tbl Glucose (Corn Sugar from CL Health Foods)
  • 3 1/2 scoops Protein powder (any powder with 20g-25g protein per scoop)
  • 1 tbl Ground Flax seed
  • 1 tbl Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Mixed Frozen Berries (Costco)

Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Our blender isn’t able to hold it all at once so I usually break it down into 1/2 servings and mix it that way. I have two Shaker cups that can hold it all and I throw those in a cooler with some ice packs in a cooler.

The ice packs are useful for post run pains also. I usually put them on my thighs while I am driving home. Once I got home I took an ice bath for recovery of my legs. Just fill up the bathtub with the coldest water you can, hop in, and then dump a couple bags of ice in the water once you have acclimated to it. Fifteen minutes is the maximum amount of time that you can gain any therapeutic value from it so I hop out well before then. This really lowers your core temp also so you feel a bit of a chill afterwards. These are also great during hot summer days when you just want to stop sweating for a while.

I used both my Garmin 305xt and MapMyRun on my HTC Android phone to track the run. I trusted the Garmin for the mileage and heart-rate, and the phone for the time reminders for nutrition. MapMyRun was very off on the mileage tracking. Anywhere from 5-8 miles off. I listened to the Dick Dale station on Pandora for music. Kind of calm but some good beats to follow too. I ran the whole time at Moraine Hills State Park in McHenry, IL. They have three big loops where you can run each one twice and not go the same direction while getting in the distance you need. They are partially paved with crushed limestone where they aren’t. Beautiful scenery also and very little foot and bike traffic. Not to mention zero cars! No pollution! Now starts the taper and low mileage runs. I will try to post again pre-race to keep everyone up to date.

 

Leave A Comment, Written on May 11th, 2011 , Nutrition, Recovery, Running, Training

So what the heck is that you ask? I have attached a link to the manual that I use to explain it to my clients. Simply it is massaging your limb and torso in specific areas to remove sore spots and to activate muscles for more efficient workouts. Take a long look at the manual for better descriptions and instructions. I usually recommend that my clients at least massage the areas that are being worked on that day. For instance if today was a upper body day I would put the emphasis on the arms, shoulders, upper and lower back and the glutes. On lower body days or even before a run I would focus on the legs, glutes and lower back. Post work out myofascial release is excellent for helping the muscles get into repair and recovery mode. Again the manual goes into very concise details; the science behind it, rational, indications/contraindications, modalities and techniques. The author of the manual is Mike Robertson MS, CSCS of Indianapolis Training and Sports. A highly respected athletic training center in Indianapolis, IN. Check it out and give it a try. I have yet to meet a person who does not LOVE to do this once they have tried it and have seen the benefits of doing it. TRUST ME!

Robertson Training Systems E-Boook on Self Myofascial Release

Leave A Comment, Written on April 19th, 2011 , Recovery

Yesterday was a makeup day for the 13 mile run I missed on Saturday due to the inclement weather. As I was getting ready I noticed that my Garmin GPS watch was dead. NICE! So I grabbed my wife’s HR monitor and quickly re-installed iMapMyRun onto my Android phone. I was pleasantly surprised by the new features on the software, especially when I was done and it showed me my splits. I was amazed by my mile averages and even a sub nine minute mile(8:45) on the tenth mile. WOW! Finished the whole thing in a PR of 2:19:55. I am a happy camper. The only issue post-run is a slight pain in my left hip that I am guessing is a sciatic nerve pinch(found out later it was a psoas muscle inactivation) . Time to stretch and relax. I am going to go for a little swim today. Try to at least get in 1k.

Here is a flyover of the run:
(you have to have the Google Earth Plugin installed to view it)
<a href=”http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/31955602″ _mce_href=”http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/31955602″>iMapMyRun: Apr 17, 2011 11:41 AM</a> and more runs in McHenry, IL on MapMyRUN. <a href=”http://www.mapmyrun.com” _mce_href=”http://www.mapmyrun.com”>Find run</a>

Leave A Comment, Written on April 18th, 2011 , Running

Yesterday I completed my first 14 mile training run for the Bayshore Marathon on Memorial Day weekend. One word can describe it. OUCH! The 11.5 mile trail run was much kinder to my body than this run was. Sure the trail run showed me the instability in my ankles by tweaking my medial ligaments in my right foot but the slower pace and longer breaks allowed for a lot less Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). My big sister(in-law) Bridget paced me the entire way which was truly a Godsend because I would have quit at multiple points after hitting nine. The DOMS is mostly in my hamstrings and adductors. Now I know what I need to strengthen in my workouts. I also know what I need to massage for the next few days.  Lots of time to be spent with my roller and The Stick. On the good side is the fact that I completed the run with little to no problems with my right ankle and I finished my half marathon split with a respectable 2:20:20. Not friggin’ bad for the first time I ever ran that far and also considering that one year ago I could not complete 1 mile without a break. Its nice to be at a point a where I can look back and see truly large improvements in my physical capabilities. Its incredible how simple it is to decide to just work through the pain and boredom once you can convince your mind that it is for the greater good. Then once you have busted through that wall it is much easier to do again because you have done it once already.

It is kind of sad when I think back to how painless it was to let myself go into that would of sloth and laziness. All of the fast food restaurants and large agri-businesses make it so easy to sidestep good nutritious eating and it is so convenient to stop exercising it is ridiculous. We just don’t look at the pain that we pay at the end of the day with living our lives like that. The two things in my life that I have treated with disdain are my body and my money. There would always be time to save for my retirement later on because I was going to be making millions by the time I was thirty. Then thirty five. Then forty. Well, here we are at forty one and I don’t see the millions anywhere. And look at where I let my body go to. “My genes are fantastic so I know I can turn my body around in no time and be like the ‘after’ pictures in all those magazines.” Yeah right shithead. I have been busting my ass for months to get back into even slightly decent shape and I am still a mess. But I am on my way in the right direction. Eating better(lost 15lbs this year so far. Thanks Paleo!). Exercising better. Educating my family and my clients better.

Leave A Comment, Written on March 13th, 2011 , Running

Yesterday I ventured over to Crossfit AMRAP for my first foray in the Crossfit realm. What an experience! Kicked my butt without a doubt. Over the top? No.  I think I handled myself with dignity throughout the Workout Of the Day(WOD). It was a 10-9-8-…1 descending ladder doing 10 meter sprints, Hang/Pulls and box jumps. I am glad that the instructor Brittany scaled down the weight and box height because I would have really struggled otherwise. Then I would have been disappointed and probably would have puked. As it was I finished respectably and with a smile. I start Foundations on Monday so we will see how that progresses.

Down ten pounds in last month on Paleo. 98% of it was bodyfat according to the scale so that is a great thing. Hopefully this Crossfit thing will put some of the muscle back where it belongs!

 

Also just got my first pair of Vibrum FiveFingers Bikila LS barefoot transition footwear. Going to try to make the move to barefoot running since it is so early in my running training. It also changed the way I worked out at AMRAP yesterday too. I was more cognizant of my footwork during the sprints and also during the lifts. Hell even during the box jumps I was more aware of my landing techniques due to them. I felt more stable and I could tell more muscles were activating due the the response caused by the new stimuli.

Leave A Comment, Written on March 5th, 2011 , Crossfit, Nutrition, Paleo, Strength

I went to meet some of my Men’s Group friends and their running partners for a run over at Stern’s Woods in Crystal Lake yesterday and tried something new that I thought I would really dislike. Trail Running. Mostly single track through the forest with a ton of elevation changes and lots and lots of snow and ice. I don’t have the ice cleats that most of the trail runners have and I wasn’t wearing thermal socks at all. Just my Asics and Balega running socks(Thank you Runner’s High ‘n Tri for turning me onto these “clouds” on my feat). My feat were not cold at all after almost 12 miles. They were definitely wet from sweating and a little snow but not cold. The first flashback I had when we went off road was going skiing up in Boyne, MI and downhill skiing through single track trails and the thrill I got from that. It was the same experience but significantly slower. The snow was falling so dramatically and there was zero wind. The only sounds were occasional chatting between my friends and I and the soft clomping of our feet on the snow. I have been bitching about the weather and snow for weeks but I let it pass for this time spent on the trails. It was NICE. My ankle is tweaked a little from the inconsistent ground levels and my glutes are sore from the hills and from the 12 miles in general. It took almost 3 hours to complete all the miles but it gave my body the workout it needed and my mind and soul the lift it needed too. Looks like I have a new way to beat the boredom of road running when I need it. Maybe once I am stronger on my bike I can hit the MTB trails too.

Leave A Comment, Written on February 27th, 2011 , Motivation, Recreation, Running, Training

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The quest to become an IRONMAN