Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Report Card

I had three goals for 2012 which were revised after injuring my knees.


Goal #1 - Go sub-6 at Door County Half Iron July 22nd.

Changed to take in enough nutrition to not visit the med tent. Success though I did throw up afterward. Grade = A.


Goal #2 - Go sub 1:45 at the RnR half marathon St. Louis October 21st.

- This one is a real stretch considering my PR is 1:55 and some change.

Changed to "don't get injured trying to be faster. Success, set a 5 minute PR without injury! Grade = A.


Goal #3 - Lose 10 pounds by May 20th (Carlyle Oly)

Total failure! I weighed the same on race day as I did January 1st. Grade = F.


That puts me at a D for the year (if I did my math right it's 67%) though I'm tempted to bump that to a C since I've traveled 10 weeks in a row and made it through Christmas and Thanksgiving only gaining two pounds and I weigh a couple pounds less than last year at this time.


I also managed a 5 minute PR at a Sprint tri, did an Olympic tri a week later and did a Sprint tri in Boston. I also set a distance PR by three miles at Patrick's 12 hour run.

Volume wise I was down from 2011 for swimming and biking and slightly up for running.


Swim = 77,000 yards in 35 hours and 16 minutes

Bike = 2,500 miles in 167 hours

Run = 707 miles in 121 hours and 40 minutes



Swim = 52,000 yards in 18 hours and 6 minutes (not as much volume, but way faster)

Bike = 1943 miles in 118 hours and 24 minutes

Run = 832 miles in 140 hours and 43 minutes

All in all it was another good year in the exercise and racing area. I'm not sure what 2013 is going to bring. I'm a planner and usually have most if not all of my races picked out. Things are busy at work and I expect heavy travel and lots of overtime, at least for the next couple of months. We'll see what happens after that.

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

And the winner is.......

Ali Mc from Running With Spatulas

Email me your address and I'll get the goggles out to you.

And yes, I wrote everyone's name on slips of paper and drew from a bowl.

Old school ;-)


Thanks for playing everyone :-)


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Product Giveaway

Before I get to the product giveaway, I'll answer some questions left in the comments on my blog. I'm never sure whether I should answer them on blog blog, email the commenter or something else.

Jill asked how I get so lucky to get free gear? Well, one of my product reviews generated a lot of traffic so I'm guessing people hope my review generates as much traffic as my Tommie Copper knee sleeve review. It receives 10x more views per day than any of my other posts. To get the knee sleeves I emailed Tommie Copper and asked for some to review. All my other reviews were at the request of the manufacturer. Last week I was contacted about putting advertising on my site and asked me what my terms were. I politely declined.

James asked how we sign up for a giveaway? Read on James, read on :-).

When Steven at Kiefer asked me if I wanted to review some swim gear I jumped at the chance hoping it would help me find my swimming mojo. I hadn't been swimming since my last triathlon which was four months earlier. Well, it took me several weeks to get the motivation to go to the pool so I can't say I found my mojo. I did figure out where I left it though. I left it in Door County!

That was the best swim I have ever had by a long shot. Four years ago, I couldn't even swim 100 yards and here I was swimming 1.2 miles in open water in a 70.3. Not sure how to get it back. Maybe I'll need to go back to Door County and retrieve it :-).

On to the giveaway. I'm giving away one pair of slightly used Kiefer Mach 5 goggles. They have only been worn once :-). To enter, you get one chance for following my blog, following me on twitter @ransick, and following me on instagram @ransick. One entry for each, please leave a comment for each. Yes, Facebook isn't an option because I'm one of at 17 people on eart that don't use it. Some dude named Shivam tried to use my email address to make an account but never was able to activate it.

I'll give them away in my next post, probably over the holidays, maybe sooner, mayber later :-).

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Product Review: Kiefer Mach 5 Goggles

Steven over at Kiefer sent me a note and asked if I would review one of their products. Kiefer makes performance swimwear, so it's obvious Steven hasn't looked up any of my swim times :-). I have a habit of leaving goggles in the shower! so I decided goggles would be the way to go.

The goggles came in a small plastic case with a couple spare nose connectors.

There were protective plastic pieces over each lense.

I tried them on before heading to the pool thinking I would need to adjust them a bit but they fit perfectly right out of the box.

Sporting some hat hair for a goofy picture.... No pool pics, sorry :-).

On to the pool. The goggles fit well again. They fit in the eye socket and the fit reminded me of Speedo Vanquishers. On the first lap I had some minor leakage on the nose side on the left and ear side on the right. A quick press on both goggles quickly corrected that. The goggles were comfortable and didn't fog at all. It wasn't long until I forgot I was even wearing goggles, which is always a good sign with gear.

Kiefer also has goggles with vision correction which would be nice for people that wear glasses. I wear my contacts in the pool, so they weren't for me. Kiefer also makes other swim gear like fins, buoys, paddles and flotation devices. If you are in the market for some swim gear, check them out.

(Disclaimer: I was given Kiefer goggles for free, courtesy of Kiefer. I did not pay for the goggles, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)


Monday, November 19, 2012

Running Mental Scale

On a few of my long runs, I've been thinking about my running limiters. When I first started running, it would clearly flip between cardio and leg strength as I built up my mileage. Somewhere during the course of training for two half Ironmans, my limiter clearly became leg strength since all the swimming, biking, and running I was doing built my cardio to the point that my legs always limited me. During all this training I also came to realize mental toughness is just as much of a limiter as cardio and leg strength. Lately my mental running state has been at an all time high and thinking about how all over the place it's been, I decided to create a running mental scale. I can usually tell where my mental state is at based on how often I look at my watch and what I think when I see how long I've been running.

State 0. This is the run funk state that keeps you from even getting out the door. Not a good place to be at all.

1. This the the worst state that involves actual running where you look at your watch within two minutes of starting and already start negotiating with yourself on how short you can cut the run and still get some exercise.

2. Slightly better than state 1, but you know it's going to take some effort not to quit early. In this state, I usually figure out how long I'm going to run, figure out about how many songs that is on my iPod and start counting down how many more songs I have to go.

3. Feeling good about running. Glancing at the watch every 10-15 minutes thinking about how much longer you will be running.

4. Feeling really good about running. You don't look at the watch until well into the run but still have the end in site.

5. The ultimate running state. You don't look at your watch for at least an hour into your run and when you do, you think "how long do I get to run before I have to be somewhere". It's a great feeling.


Last weekend I joined Patrick for part of his 12 hour run. Patrick ended up running 46 miles and his friend Cheri did 50 miles! I knew I couldn't run for twelve hours so I slept in and showed up about 9:30 and joined them. I felt great and immediately settled in to run state 5. My cardio was perfect as well. We did two mile loops in the woods and stopped by our cars for water and fuel every loop. We didn't stop long because it was chilly in the wind. After about three hours of running my left hamstring was getting tight and very tender to the touch so I knew my day wasn't going to last as long as I wanted. I ended up running 18 miles (my longest run by three miles) in four hours. It's too bad because I had all day open and wanted to keep going.

What are your limiters? Do you have a mental running scale?

Random pics from this weekend.

You can't tell the depth from the picture above but when I stopped to take this picture, the far hillside seemed to shrink as I stared at it, Matrix like. It was a really weird depth perception moment that I'm guessing my eyes/brain were reconciling as I was looking at it.
Looking back at the trail you can see in the previous pic.

Random pic.

If I don't post again before Thanksgiving, have a great one! It's my favorite holiday.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

RnR St. Louis Half Marathon 2012

Today I ran the Rock n Roll St. Louis half marathon. I signed up for this way back on 11/11/11 when the entry fee was relatively cheap. My running volume has been pretty good the last couple of months, at the expense of swimming and cycling, so I figured I could PR given good weather. The only problem was mental. I've had some changes at work that have increased my stress level and responsibility as well as decreased my free time substantially. Not good for racing. On top of that, I really don't like the stress of racing nor racing alone. I also didn't do myself any favors having a cookout last night and having a few cocktails. Oh well, I put on my big boy panties, sucked it up, and toed the line anyway :-).

Last night I feel asleep on the couch watching baseball, woke up at 3 am and ate breakfast, then went back to bed until 5 am to start my day. At that point I still wasn't sure if I was going to have fun by high fiving people, taking my time, and walking when I felt like it or go for a PR and suck it up even when things hurt. I got to the race site about 6:15, looked for some friends and didn't find them. I headed to corral 2 out of something like 16, took a Gu, drank some water and just hung out and stretched my IT bands. The weather was a brisk 55 degrees and since I chill easily, I brought a couple of those chemical hand warmers. They were wonderful! Note to self: bring spares. A woman standing next to me was shivering uncontrollably so I gave her one of my two hand warmers. She looked at me like I was a creep, but took it and used it :-).

The race started and I just started running with 16 plus thousand of my closest friends. I don't have a Garmin and had no idea what my pace was and just tried to stay comfortable. Mile one was ~8:20 and I was feeling decent so tried to keep about the same pace. Mile 2 and 3 were about the same, fast for me! but still feeling good. I did the first 5k in 25:40 and was feeling good. Next 5k was in 25:25 and I was stilling feeling good, but starting to get a bit fatigued. I knew I could PR at this point, knew it was going to hurt and decided to try to hang on. My pace started slowing a little on the stretch heading to the 10 mile marker, but I was holding it together. I was working hard enough that I decided to skip taking a GU at the one hour mark, wasn't sure it would stay down. I did take a salt packet instead. I know, nothing new on race day, but it sounded good at the time. I did take a couple sips of water at each aid station too. The last 5k was rough. My glutes were aching, I was breathing hard, my legs just ached, but I sucked it up and kept going. Trying to do math in my head, I knew I had my goal in hand (<1:55) and maybe my A goal (<1:50). Two miles to go and I was struggling. One mile to go and my left calf , hamstring, and glute were starting to cramp. I'm sure my form went to hell at that point, it was pure mental effort to PR for sure. Somehow I kept going, trying to smile for all the people cheering random strangers like me on. Crossed the line with a five+ minute PR (1:49:49) and staggered a little. Got some water, Gatorade and a space blanket and started making my way the 10 blocks or so to my car.

I was at the race by myself and get really cold right after races, so I made a b line to my car. Would have been fun to stay and hang out if I had some warm clothes handy, oh well. On the way home I picked up one of my favorite breakfasts, McDonald's sausage burritos, hash browns and coffee :-). Once home, the cold set in and I was shaking, so a long hot shower was in order followed by the burritos, then a nice nap.

After a second nap and some grocery shopping, my race number took it's proper position on the garage wall then I had another cookout.

Grill 2 was lobster and scallops.

Grill 1 was salmon, prime rib and potatoes.


Have a great week!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


This time of year I always get a craving for squash. Here is a quick and easy method for making squash on the grill, but it can easily be done in the oven as well.

First, pick up the squash of your choice. Acorn squash and Butternut squash are two of my favorites.

Acorn squash

Butternut squash

Second, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

Third, put some butter and brown sugar on each half and wrap in foil.

Fourth, grill on low/medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour.
Lastly, enjoy!

Oh, we had BBQ chicken to go with the squash in case you were wondering :-).

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Training

September was a running month, and I'm good with that. I'm still enjoying the simplicity of running and getting out 4-5 times per week. I don't have many 100 mile months so I was excited to see a total of 116. A quick check showed I've only been over 100 miles in a month once before and it was two years ago!

I follow people that run 2-3x that every month, but 100+ is good for me. If I could just add a few hundred bike miles and 20k yards of swimming, I would be all set :-).

As I mentioned in my last post, I bought a running belt that can hold my phone so now I can take pictures. I made it out for an 8.6 mile run Saturday. The leaves on a few trees are changing, but not many yet. Here are a couple pics.



So I'm starting to make plans for Patrick's 12 hour run next month so I decided to hit the trail this Sunday to see what I'll be up against. The trail is fairly technical with lots of roots. I tripped several times and fell hard twice. I need to learn to pick my feet up or I have no business being out there :-). Luckily I didn't fall on a root or break anything, but I am a little sore today. Whenever I fall, I try to remember to take a picture once I'm done cussing and checking for injuries. Here are a couple I took yesterday. Sorry if you follow me on instagram and have already seen these. Oh, I also bought a headlamp since the beginning of the run will be in the dark. Can't wait to try it out!

The first fall wasn't too bad, but it happened fast. One second I was running and the next I was looking straight up at the canopy.

The second happened just as fast and I went down hard! Jammed my shuffle into the ground and jammed a bunch of dirt into the on/off switch turning off my tunes. After turning it off and on a couple times, it started working again, phew!

When I came out of the woods, a couple mountain bikers were staring at me with my right side, shirt, shorts, knee, calf, etc covered with dirt. I responded with, "just completed some full contact running :-)".

On to October!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Longest Run Yet

My next race is the St. Louis Rock and Roll half marathon and my running is coming along rather well (for me). After two good 13.2 mile runs the previous two Saturdays, I decided to add a couple miles to my long run just for fun :-). I usually don't bring my phone running because I don't have a sports bra to tuck it in it is too bulky to carry in my pocket, but with my history of injuries and getting into mileage that has me a long way from home, I decided to figure out a way to carry it. After talking to other runners, I concluded the Amphipod belt would be perfect. Anxious to try it out, I headed out for my longest run yet. As a bonus, now I can take pictures too!

About 2 miles in, just West of my house


Beautiful day. 65 degrees, sunny and breezy. First fall run with a long sleeve shirt.

This loop takes me past a sod farm

I always think what a great thing it must be to grow and sell grass, but one look at my yard and it's clear I wouldn't make it as a sod farmer :-).

one of many fields I run/ride by

Stopped here for a GU

more fields

some of the field corn fields have been harvested

ok, you get the idea :-)

GU stop two

I ended up running 15.1 miles, almost two miles longer than my longest run ever. Cardio was no issue at all, leg strength was average, my left knee acted up a few times but got better when I stopped to take pictures. My running belt worked perfectly. I didn't even notice my phone being strapped around my waist. I only missed putting my phone back in the pocket correctly while running once which subsequently resulted in my phone hitting the asphalt and me kicking it :-(. The Otter Box case lived up to its name though and my phone lived to tell about it :-).

I was out of my normal tri-berry GU so I brought some untried flavors I picked up as race samples, yikes! First GU was peanut butter flavor and I liked it. Second was pineapple, and it didn't work out so well. I gulped half of it down and barely kept it down so I chucked the second half of it. I still need to work on taking in nutrition for 2+ hour events. When I finished I had a bout of dizziness and being nauseous. Luckily I held it together because I forgot to wear my road ID and I was over a half mile away from home.

I walked down another trail for my cool down to take this pic.

Our trails are old train tracks and this steam engine era water tower sits on one of them. Should make for a cool black and white pic in the winter when the leaves are all gone.


Overall a nice run. I have some chaffing and soreness, but nothing major. I am curious though, how do you fuel for 2+ hour workouts? What do you do to prevent chaffing on long runs?