Sunday, October 31, 2010


I finally gave in and went to an Orthopedic surgeon Monday for my shoulder.  After 10 physical therapy sessions plus dozens of home and gym workouts, my shoulders still aren't right.  When I swam last, I stopped after 500 yards due to pain in my right shoulder.  I guess that is progress because I quit swimming in July due to pain in both shoulders.  So the ortho took an x-ray of my right shoulder, looked at it for 5 seconds and said my Acromion bone is longer than normal which leaves less room between my Humerus and shoulder than most people.  The Acromion is the bone on the top outside part of the shoulder.

He said it's just luck of the draw.  He also said there is an 85% chance Cortisone and physical therapy will fix it and a 15% chance I need surgery or to become a duathlete.  He then put a Cortisone shot in my shoulder.  I didn't watch, but he told his PA, "look at the sharp angle I have to use to get the needle under the bone".  The shot didn't hurt at all but my shoulder got sore as the day wore on.  In the morning, my shoulder felt loose, really loose, like all the inflammation was gone and nothing was holding things in place.  I seriously worried my shoulder was going to dislocate while drying off after my shower Tuesday morning.  As Tuesday wore on, the looseness subsided and my shoulder felt normal again.  I was going to try it out Wednesday night at the pool but ended up going out for a business dinner.  I had another business dinner Thursday and blew off a couple of runs.  Not a great training week.

85% chance of success is enough to motivate me to do more PT on my own.  I really don't want to make the surgery/duathlete decision.  Neither appeal to me, at all.  I'm an average athlete at three sports which probably puts me at below average at two.  When thinking about surgery, I can't help but think of the health care systems issues.  I really don't need to swim, so I really don't need surgery or PT.  I really want to swim, and with the help of insurance I will be able to at some point.  So do I deserve to be able to swim?  Can I argue that I "need" to be able to swim to keep me motivated to stay in shape?  Maybe I should just eat chips, drink beer and watch TV until they make a TV show about me :-)

I did start getting a bit down about this issue this week.  It's been going on for some time now and pretty soon I need to get back in the pool to get ready for spring.  I'm trying to reassure myself that this too shall pass.  After all, when I started training for my first half marathon, I develop IT Band problems on my right knee.  I wore a strap around my right leg just above the knee for several months and carried it in my pocket on long runs for many more months just in case.  I stretched my IT band every day for a long time and the issue eventually went away.  I also developed plantar fasciitis which gave me bad heel pain (this was self diagnosed pf).  I found a home treatment that involved standing on softballs.  I bought a couple at Walmart and would roll them around under my feet while on the computer and put pressure on the tight spots.  Standing on them at first was excruciating to the point of almost crying.  After a while I built up a tolerance to it and after a few months, no more heel pain. Oh, and lets not forget the first time I rode a rode bike.  I ended up seeing my doc, a urologist and having two ultrasounds of my undercarriage.  Maybe I should just eat chips and watch tv.  Getting my middle aged body in shape to do triathlons has been a real challenge.

So the plan is to stick with PT and Cortisone until there are no other options.  It's going to be a long swim in April if this doesn't work.  It is going to work.

Training this week was a little light due to a couple of business dinners and deciding to sleep in a couple days.

Swim - 1.4 hours
Bike - 2.8 hours

Next week training will be light too.  I'll be in Moldova.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This week

This week I had a head cold that moved to my chest as the week progressed.  Cheryl talked me out of swimming, which was a good call, and I hardly got any running in because I didn't want that overheated feeling when it's cold out.  I did manage to do three really good bike workouts though.  I decided to follow Jorge's winter cycling plan and this week was prep week one before the plan starts.  Two days were on the trainer and the third was outside Saturday.

Speaking of trainer.  I started a new home experiment.  How many days can I keep the trainer in the living room before Cheryl makes me take it down.  I don't think she reads my blog, so if you know her, shush :-).

Pic of my bike on the trainer in the living room with a sweaty t-shirt drying from the drops.

Anyway, last winter when I bought my bike, I never made it more than three days.  This week I hit four and she asked me to put it away because we are having people over for dinner Sunday.  That is progress since we had people over Friday night and she didn't ask me to put it away.  Friday night was a regular get together so she didn't mind.  I think over the winter I will be able to approach one month.  We'll see.

My most recent home experiment was in the spring.  I called it my Balega sock experiment.  A tri mentor introduced me to Balega socks so I tried a pair.  They felt great and I decided that would be my running and biking sock.  This was in the spring when my volume of both running and biking was decent.  The experiment was to determine how many pair of running/cycling socks I needed so I always had a clean pair given that I didn't do the laundry.  So I bought six pair of socks then bought another three pack whenever I didn't have a clean pair ready. I only have 12 pair!  Not bad considering I was doing many two a days at the time and generally 5-8 run and bike workouts per week.  If you are looking for a good running/biking sock, try a pair.

Monday I see an orthopedic doc for my shoulders.  11 physical therapy sessions helped (left shoulder way better), but I still have problems.  I'm swimming 1.2 miles April 17th 2011 in New Orleans, hopefully pain free and with both arms.

Nutrition wise I tried a banana flavored Hammer gel Saturday on my long ride.  It was good, but I can't see eating a bunch of them.  I also ate a Cliff bar (walnut and raisin I think).  It sat better than last week.

So with my first HIM less than 6 months away, it is time to log every week.
Swim: 0 hours
Bike: 3.77 hours
Run: 1.87 hours

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Before I get started, I want send a shout out to my friend Dave.  He was diagnosed with cancer a couple weeks ago and is about to start treatment.  He is blogging his journey here .  Hang in there Dave.

Fueling for a half distance triathlon is no easy task.  I'm going to burn somewhere around 4500 calories propelling my body for 70.3 miles.  According to data on this website I'll burn about 600 on the swim, about 2500 on the bike, and about 1400 on the run.  I've seen the 4500 number thrown around on some websites as well.  The human body can store about 1500-2000 calories, so I'll be about 2500 short by the end of the race if I didn't take in any nourishment.  Actually, I would bonk hard if I took in nothing and more than likely would not finish.  Figuring out what works for an individual is a bit of trial and error so I thought I would take the opportunity during my long ride yesterday to try some products.

I started with the cliff bar (240 calories).  Good flavor and easy to eat but a bit chewy and heavy.  I may practice with them some more.  Then I went for the Sport Beans (100 calories).  This was my second trial with them.  They are like eating super sweet jelly beans.  I love candy so the taste was great.  They are hard to get out of the package at speed, so I think they are out.  Lastly I ate the Gu Chomps (180 calories).  They are like eating Dots candy (which I love) but they don't stick to your teeth as badly.  They are easy to get out of the package and not to heavy.  I think they will be making the trip to New Orleans, but Chomps alone won't be enough.  On my next long ride I plan to try some Perpetuem. 

On my long ride yesterday I took about 20 pictures and tweeted them as I rode.  I didn't crash or drop my phone :-).  It was a fun way to keep me from biking too fast.

Back to calories for a minute. I heard about horseshoe open faced sandwiches when I moved to Southern Illinois but had never had one. A while back Josh and I watched a man vs. food episode where he went to Springfield IL and ate a horseshoe sandwich. Josh and I thought that looked good and decided we needed to have that for dinner. A horseshoe is a piece of toast (or two) with a hamburger (or two) on top of it covered in french fries then covered with cheese sauce. I didn't add up the calories, but I bet it is north of 2000.

I was only able to finish 3/4's of it.  Here is Sara's step by step.

texas toast

add the burger

add the fries

and the cheese


They were delicious.  The only thing missing was bacon and chili :-)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Training plan

Well I pulled the trigger and signed up for New Orleans 70.3 (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run) on April 17th, 2011. Now it's time to choose or create a training plan. It's also time to create my training schedule. Training plans are pretty similar in some ways since the goal is to swim, bike, and run, duh! A bigger decision is how many days of each workout to do and how many two a days to do. Some plans are balanced 2x per week, others balanced 3x per week, then others add an extra day of running or cycling.

I saw some decent improvements when I upped my running to 5x per week, so ideally I would like to keep that frequency going. Most plans don't have that high of run frequency nor the kind of volume half marathon plans have. I'm guessing it it because running is harder on your body and takes more recovery than biking or swimming. It's likely I will skip at least one of these runs per week. We'll see how it goes.

Many people say it's all about the bike because it dictates how fresh you will be for the run. The bike leg of a triathlon takes about half of the total race time, so it does make sense to make the training time about half. That makes for some long rides on the trainer this winter and poses a real dilemma as to when to fit them in. The long 3+ hours rides can be done on the weekend but there are plenty of 2+ hour rides to get done during the week. So if I want to run outside at night, I would have to be on the trainer at 4 in the morning. That seems insane to me. I can't even imagine training for a full distance tri. My plan is to ride 3x per week, with an occasional 4th easy one.

I'm not a very fast swimmer and with my shoulders still not 100%, that's not going to change much for this race. In the pool I can swim 2000 yards in just over 40 minutes which is about 2 minutes per hundred. slow, but I'll take it. I checked my swim time in the 5 triathlons I did this year and was disappointed that my swim time was more like 2:30 for all five of them.  They were in open water. Oh well. I am looking for a swim coach and not having much luck. I contacted my local Y and they don't know any. I think it is a form issue and the aquatics director offered to watch me swim and give pointers. I guess that is better than nothing. I haven't been swimming since I hurt my shoulders swimming in July. I've been doing physical therapy ,but I can tell they still aren't 100%. My plan is to swim 2x per week with an optional third.

So here is what I'm thinking.
Monday - off
Tuesday - AM medium run
Tuesday - PM bike
Wednesday - AM short run
Wednesday - PM swim
Thursday - AM medium run
Thursday - PM bike
Friday - AM short run (optional)
Friday - PM swim
Saturday - long ride
Sunday - long run

Of course life will get in the way, but you have to live or this becomes too much of a chore.  I have sound practice for church tomorrow night so biking is unlikely.  I also have plenty of other activities that will cut in to training.  I'm not going to worry about it too much, I'll just try to minimize missing the long work outs.

Here are a couple of the plans I'm looking at.
Assuming I do a 20 week plan, I have about 4 weeks to choose/modify/create my plan and build up to the starting volume.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lewis and Clark Half Marathon

Today was my third half marathon. This was the 9th and final time for this run. Next year it will be a "Rock and Roll" half/full marathon. I read "more expensive" run.

I ended up driving my friend Tom (who needs a blog) and his friend Kate . This was her first half marathon and she did it in under two hours. Way to go Kate! Small world, Kate is the sister-in-law of a woman I work with that is also getting in to running.

Tom is on the left. He took off at the start and I never saw him again. He beat me by six minutes! Way to go Tom!

I trained pretty well for this run and was hoping to beat my last HM race (1:58:21). It seems like I should be able to run faster than that, but that's a different story. This course is pretty flat and the weather was cool. Actually a little on the cold side for me. It was lower forties with a pretty stiff 10+ mph breeze. I almost wore running pants but posted a question on BT and was set straight. Dress 20 degrees warmer than the outside temp. So, I wore shorts, a long sleeve compression shirt, a short sleeve tech shirt, a throw away sweatshirt and throw away gloves along with my Pearl Izumi ear guards thingies. It was great hanging out with people I knew before the race. Tom and Kate met up with some friends they met through the daily mile website for tracking your training. I log on BT but I've heard good things about daily mile. I may check it out.

Back to the race. I had no idea how I was going to pace myself for this race. I just started running and logging my miles using my stop watch (I don't have a Garmin). I heard a couple people with Garmin's calling out paces and I was going a little fast, but that was expected at a race. After three or four miles I found a small group running consistent 8:45 miles. Perfect to hit my goal time of 1:55. So the run was uneventful for the most part. I didn't run with music and I ran alone. The crowd support and volunteers were great. Lots of signs, plenty of water stops, nice course. I high fived some little kids along the way. I felt like a rock star :-).

I ditched the ear warmers about mile two, gloves at mile two and a half, and the sweatshirt at mile three. Running into the wind was a bit cold, but I guess better cold than hot. About mile five I had some left foot pain, but it went away. Every twinge you feel running is a bit concerning since you never know if it will get worse or subside. About mile seven I felt my glutes getting tired, I really need to strengthen them. I was still holding 8:45 - 8:50 miles and feeling pretty good. At mile ten I tell myself, just a five k from here. Everything is holding together, heart rate is going up a bit, but that is to be expected. This is the first race I watched it and it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be :-). With two miles to go I started feeling serious fatigue in my glutes, but with two miles to go, I just tried to keep my pace up. A mile to go and my pace group started pulling away. I couldn't keep up. They were holding a casual conversation the whole way, so they ran it much easier than I did (and beat me handily). One mile to go, everything held together. Tired legs, but my strongest finish yet!

So here are my splits and heart rate
8:07 - 164
8:59 - 173
8:52 - 173
8:48 - 173
8:43 - 173
8:46 - 174
8:51 - 174
8:48 - 175
8:48 - 176
8:55 - 177
8:53 - 178
8:48 - 182
8:57 - 182

Total time: 1:55:11