Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sweaty fat guy

Ok, not so fat, but I do seem to be putting some pounds on.  Somewhere.  I don't look any bigger, yet I've been training some.  I hit the scale at 189 this morning, which is the highest I've been in months.  I'm a little concerned, but more concerned about my weak legs at this point.  I have a feeling if I get the legs in shape, that some of that weight should come off too. 

The KC cyclocross calendar looks very light for the first few weeks compared to last year.  I think it was mid-Sept when the Swope race was, and that isn't on the calendar.  The first big local race that I see is our Manion's race, and I'm sitting that one out to raise money for World Bicycle Relief.

Speaking of World Bicycle Relief, if you haven't checked it out or donated, please look at the link on the right side of my page.  If you think that enabling people to have a better living in Africa sounds appealing, then please donate.  It would mean a lot to me and even more to the benefactors of your donation.  It's really life changing, and the charity is ran very efficiently, which is also important to me.

Now back to my sweaty lameness.  The pic to the right is my shirt after riding to work this morning.  Kinda gross.  It looks like I'm lactating.  Maybe.  If my nipples were 5 inches closer to each other.  Whatever.  Moving on.

Obviously I've been procrastinating over blogging.  I was going good there for awhile, and then material started piling up, and I got overwhelmed and crawled under my desk and wept quietly.  So let's see if I can regurgitate this with both brevity and humour.

Last Tuesday is where we left off, I believe.  This was after my mildly-disastrous weekend ride.  So I rode to work, then rode to a group ride, did the group ride, and then rode home.  I will say it surprised me how dark Mission Road gets at night.  My headlamp died just as I turned on to my street.  Quiet fortuitous.  That blew my legs out, and they were tired little doggies after that. 

On Thursday I did my last street run before the North Face Endurance Challenge 5k I did with my sister and B-I-L.  I actually ran two miles non-stop, at a decent for a non-runner pace.  I felt good coming into the race.

Sunday was the race, and I did pretty well.  I took 65th out of 388, with a time of 28:58.  I had a goal to beat 30 minutes, which had no factual basis.  That was nice.  I was surprised how well I paced myself, and that I ran the whole time.  The winner had a freakish time of 17:23.  I figure it wouldn't be too tough to shave a minute/mile off, which would have put me at 25th.  Of course, by that time, I'd be running a 10k.  The race was one of the best events I've ever attended, and the definite highlight was the Mich Ultra refresher towel.  At first we thought they were margarita bags, since you pulled them out of a icy cooler, but upon opening them, it was a nice, ice-cold wet towel that you could wipe all the sweat grime off your face and body.  That was awesome.  Little things like that go a long way.  The race tee was pretty kick ass too.

My sister and BIL did a great job, and ran hard.  I am very proud of them.  It's no easy feat to run 3 miles.  If it was, everyone would do it.  I think Meg is enjoying the running, as she was prodding me to do the Waddell and Reed with her.  If my bike legs weren't so bad, I'd consider.  But I have a finite amount of time to train, and it'd be best served focusing on my goal of doing well in CX this year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Riding again...

Sunday was to be a great ride, and it was for the most part. I got up early, loaded up the water bottles, pumped up my front tire (it has a latex tube), and hit the road by 6:30. I started going north up Mission, just to get to mile 5, then turn around and head south. I figured if I added 10 miles to my "usual" ride to the Louisberg Observatory, I'd get a nice 50-miler in. I wasn't in any hurry, and the weather was awesome. About 65 degrees and very few cars.

I was actually smiling mid-ride it was so nice. And then my good luck caught up with me and my left cleat came off of my shoe. I couldn't pry it off with my multi-tool (at least not safely), and so the calvary was called to come get me. Almost 22 miles in. I wasn't furious, just frustrated. Cleat bolts are just something you should check once-a-month, and I failed to do that. I think one of the screw receptacles in my shoe is partially stripped anyway, and my shoes are ready for retirement. So there's something going on my Christmas list, these:

So the ride wasn't a complete wash, but it left me wanting more.  We had a 4pm kickball game, and it was crazy hot out there.  I then decided since I was already sweaty to head out for another trail run, and that was a fine decision.  I got 2.2 miles in, and ran a great majority of the time.  I'm starting to get a little bored with Stanley Nature park, and if I really stretch the park boundaries, I can get 1.1 miles in per lap.  It's close and convenient, but I think that I'll be running at Minor Park before too long.  That is, if I keep running during CX season.  I might a little just to keep things interesting.

So fast forward over Monday, since I had to mow the grass.  I'm glad I did, because it's coming back alive and was a lot thicker and taller than I realized.  It's unfortunate that mowing is so bad for the environment.  Mowing an average sized lawn emits the same amount of pollutants as driving your car 100 miles.  But a well-maintained lawn certainly looks nice too.  It's ironic how many self-destructive behaviors we engage in.

Anyway, to offset at least part of my mowing (and to get some more miles in), I rode to work today.  Totally sweaty when I got to work, but it was a great ride.  Plus I'm getting into a group ride tonight with some friends, so it should be great, albeit hot.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Most of you won't get this...

or at least you'll think it's only kind of funny.  IT guys in their 30's will find this immensely funny, since we've whittled many hours away playing Doom, one of the best and earliest first-person-shooter games.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Courtesy of Surly Bikes...a cycling truth

"Really fast people are frustrating, but they make you faster. When you get faster, you might frustrate someone else."

Read more truth at: Surly Bikes Blog
The list of people that frustrate me is longer than the list of people I frustrate.  But that's alright.  It's about the smile at the end of the ride.

Sinus infections

Apparently I shouldn't have been throwing Kieran into the lake a few weekends ago.  A week or so later, the yellow goop started coming out of his ear from an infection, which turned into a cold.

He is a loving child, I will say that.  To a fault.  He wet-face-kissed both Penny and I, and Penny went down hard with a sinus infection and I got it as well.  Mine wasn't nearly as bad as hers, but I still felt crappy yesterday and am coughing stuff up today.  It's not great for training, and I missed an awesome day of riding yesterday.  I'll have to reschedule that for Tuesday.

I have like 9 days until my 5k, but I'm feeling ok about it.  Another 3-4 runs and I'll feel much better.  And with a few more rides in there too, I might actually feel good.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My newest hobby

Given my past participation in the Warrior Bake/Dash, and the fact that I have a 5k with my sister in a couple of weekends, I've been running.  But running on the pavement is boring.  Really, it is.  So I decided to get these:

Those are the Brooks Cascadia 6 trail shoes.  Ah yes, trail running.  It's just like mountain biking, without the bike.  They are light, super comfy, and I'm having a great time.  I even woke up "early" to go running at 6:00am today.  That must be worth something, right?  My running is still pretty dismal, but I'm optimistically thinking I can run the whole 5k by the time we get there.

My avg. pace during the run was 10:26/mi, but that was with some walking/shoe tieing too.  I'd guess I can hold a 9:30-9:45/mi pace at this point.  I just need to work on holding it for longer at this point.  Interestingly, my best pace was 7:01/mi, but that was probably obtained shortly after running into a spider web and screaming like a little girl.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Slow and fat

I can't believe how much fitness I've lost in a month, on top of the 5-6 pounds I've put on.  I commuted yesterday, and felt slow, plus I didn't have any legs for the climbs.  That in itself is disastrous, since I'm a poor climber to begin with. 

I'm trying to keep my head on straight though, and work hard, and work consistently.  I should be in ok form by the time the first CX races start, and hope to be in great shape heading into Jingle Cross in Iowa and then into December/January.

I think I've decided to race Masters this year, and maybe a few cat 3 races as well.  I imagine the competition will be similar, maybe an edge to the Masters as being faster.  I can only hope that I can get better sleep this CX season as Kieran was a beast to deal with last year.  He was up nearly every other night, and it was killing us.  Now he's just late to bed, early to rise, but we don't hear much from him between 10p and 6a.  He's not as good of a sleeper as AB is, and I think that's in part to him being so curious about stuff.  He'll get there sooner or later I would imagine.  Hopefully sooner.  Like once the sun starts going down before bedtime.

So apart from seeing how weak I was yesterday, I've been running a bit to prepare for the North Face Endurance Challenge 5k with my sister.  I'm proud that's she's training through it, and she'll probably make me look silly as I'll have to walk the first mile or so.  My legs seem to take longer to warm up as I get older.  I guess that's a common occurrence.

I'm looking forward to long-sleeved skin suits with cooler temps and leaves crunching under our wheels.  The sounds of free-wheeling, then feet stomping and jumping past barriers.  The taste of blood in your mouth as you cross the finish line because you gave it everything.  The feel of excitement in the pre-race air, because everyone who is there loves to race cross.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Odd weekend

The weekend felt long physically, but short mentally.  Sounds weird, I suppose.

Friday night we cleaned the house, and I hit the trainer for an hour or so while Penny went to bed early.

Saturday we woke up early, headed down to Stockton Lake for a family reunion, and had a great time.  The weather was really nice, and the water felt great.  AB had a great time tubing and swimming, K had a great time running off from everyone and trying to jump out of speeding boats, Penny had a good time seeing her family, and I had a great time until I got my first migraine ever.

The tubing I did earlier in the day really jammed my neck/spinal cord up, and I instantly started getting a headache.  By the time we got back for dinner, I didn't feel like eating, and I took 3 Motrin.  Stuff started getting bad; I was getting nauseaous, felt overheated, and my vision was starting to blur.  I went to the car and got in the A/C, and that felt a little better.  I was trying to drink water but my stomach wasn't up for that either.  I ended up stumbling off to the woods to yak all over the place, and that didn't help.  I thought I was having a stroke or something, I wasn't sure what was going on.  About 9pm everyone cleaned up, and we headed back to hotel over some swervy roads so that was a real hoot.  I was having to take deep breaths so I didn't ruin my sweet Audi leather with puke from the abyss.  I made it, barely, went to the hotel, took a nice shower and then hit the hay.  I was almost back to normal in the morning.

It was a rough wake up as Penny's mom came tearing down to our room at 6:45 telling us AB was gone.  Penny flies out of bed, and I under-react as usual.  I'm of course a little scared, but more of me wanted to beat his ass for leaving the hotel room.  He's too small to tell him what really happens to kids when they disappear, but maybe he'd stay closer at that point.  Fortunately he turned up quickly, and he didn't seem to think that anything that bad had happened.  Penny and her mom were understandably upset, and I just kind of glared at him hoping he would understand the brevity of his actions.  Hopefully it sunk in.

Not to dwell on it, we got packed up and had a great breakfast at "The White Grill" in Nevada.  Kind of a cool, old-style greasy joint.  They had good breakfast stuff, kinda wish I could have had a hamburger.  Maybe a different time.  Apparently Harry Truman ate here.  

We made great time home, then, met the Smith side of the family for a birthday lunch at Blue Moose.  Turkey Burgers and sweet potato fries were good as always.  We then headed over to Incredibowl for some bowling, and then the boys crashed out on the way home.  Penny and I got them to bed, then we laid out on the couch and snoozed.  We woke up for our Sunday afternoon kickball game, and the kids slept another hour or so, so the babysitter had an easy gig.  Penny and I went out for dinner/drinks with the team after getting whipped for the third straight week, and then we went home, and everyone was lights out a 9pm.

I didn't get to run nor ride.  It's been weeks since I've ridden outside.  I better change that in short order otherwise I'm going to DFL my first month's worth of CX races.  And that just won't do.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

I love golf carts.

A brief respite in the heat (with a guest appearance from coffee-induced rambling)

It's nice not to burst into flames as soon as you walk outside.  I'm sure it'll be hot again soon, as we have probably 4-6 weeks of potential 90*+ weather left.  And then we'll dive into winter.  Even with it being so hot, I'm not quite ready for snow.  It seems the snow lingered around so long last year, coupled with the fact we aren't going skiing for the first time in 8 years, doesn't have me anxious for the season of wind-chill.

My training has been completely bonkered between the hot weather, A/C being out/back on/out/back on again, Warrior Dash, and another 5k in a few weeks.  Maybe I should start running at some point?  I need to get shoes...maybe over lunch.  I'm looking at getting some New Balance trail running shoes.  There's something far sexier about running through the woods instead of pounding the pavement.  Maybe it's the risk of getting attacked by a mountain lion.

My sister told me that one of the guys from her work ended up dying from the Warrior Dash.  I should say he succumbed to the effects of heat stroke after being in the Warrior Dash.   People are quick to offer all kinds of opinions on why we should or shouldn't do races like that on such a hot day or whatever circumstances you wish to call into debate.  He (Jeremy) was young, athletic, and the circumstances were tough.  I don't know if he trained for this or not.  I don't know how much water he had been drinking the days before, nor if he'd gotten beered up before the race.  It was hot, and there could have been more water.  I raced on Saturday, the cooler of the two days, and there were just two water stations doling out warm water.  I hear that there were more accommodations made on Sunday.  The only blame I could assign to the organizers were that it took so long to get medical assistance to various parts of the course.  It's a short, yet treacherous race.   

I'm sure that the death of this young man can equally be shared between himself, the organizers, maybe even his friends.  But I don't think there was negligence, just a bad combination of events.  It's too bad, but if you get 16,000 people running a race, the odds of one of them experiencing congestive heart failure or arrhythmia is pretty fair.  I'd rather break my body on my own accord then let it wilt from inactivity.

It's funny how probably one of the more deterministic traits of your friends is their activity levels.  It probably has something to do with finding a group that supports your lifestyle, something I've had a tough time doing with cycling.  I have a great team, no doubt, but it's quite a trip to go drive 30-40 minutes to go do a group ride.  I wish there were more group rides out south.  Maybe I should just start one.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I can barely walk today.

This is what happens when you significantly undertrain for something called "The Warrior Dash".  The race was only a 5k, but with the heat, hills, uneven terrain, and obstacles, it wasn't really conforming to my recent couch loving lifestyle.

Stitz and Jarrett came in from StL, and Mulbery and I repped KC.  Off we went at 2pm, in the blazing sun on Saturday.  It was HOT.  Especially to be running in a field, with lots of humidity.  I remembered from running triathlons that it's better to douse your head and keep your core temperature down than it is to drink lots of water and get an upset stomach.

The race started underneath a banner with a giant flamethrower, just in case we weren't hot enough.  And it started uphill.  We hit our first obstacle about 1/2 mile into the race, and it was a bunch of barriers that you had to alternate going over them and under them.  I'm happy I'm not 5' tall, that's all I'm saying.  Short people were at a disadvantage for this race.  Anyway, the next mile or so had some creek crossings, which everyone took advantage of to get soaked/cool.  That worked great, until you had to scramble for 200-300 through rocky, greasy mud.  How there weren't people with twisted/broken ankles all over the place is no small miracle.

There were lots of hills, and a few more obstacles to negotiate before the finish.  There was a tire agility drill that was about 25 yards long, and a few rope obstacles that you had to manage either climbing over or climb across on your hands and feet, and a few 2x6 crossings where you got about 7-8 feet up in the air.  There was also a giant pile of hay you had to climb up and over, and 20-25' rope wall you had to up and over, and then jumped over fire, and dive through a mud pit with barbed wire over your head.  You can see some of that in the video below.

The toughest part was standing in line for the hose truck, as one poor guy tried to get people moderately cleaned off while the mob was angry at everyone for taking so long to get out of the way.  We probably stood there for 40 minutes.  Hopefully they brought up another hose truck for Sunday, as it was much hotter.  When we pulled up in the buses there were two hose trucks, but I don't know what happened to the 2nd one when we needed it.

It was fun, indeed.  But I am sore and will be for awhile.  I need to spin out on the bike tonight, and I'm hoping that I can make it to the car after work.  I'm going to stiffen up sitting here in my chair of despair.

Enjoy the vid, and the crazy-ass hot weather if you are in the Midwest.  I am envious of my friends in Canada who read this blog.  Summer is vastly over-rated.