Saturday, December 29, 2007

Week 52-ish

After my time off I started running again this past week. Three runs so far, and one coming tomorrow, so 4 runs in 8 days (4.1,4.1,8.5,10.8). That will put me safely over 900 miles for the year. I'm trying to keep them slow and steady right now so I might go back to the heart rate monitor to keep me from going too hard. I've also ridden my bike once (70 minutes on the trainer) and discovered that time off really highlights where your position needs attention. I've rotated my saddle a few degrees to the left and put a thin shim under my right cleat to try and ease issues related to my leg length discrepancy. I'm also in the market for a Chiro who is A.R.T. certified. Ahh, the joys of ramping up to an Ironman. Less than 4 months until the my first test of the year: Boston.

Runs: 129
Mileage: 27.5
YTD Mileage: 915.85

**Update: It's 34 degrees out fools! You might have a better shot at hanging with your sorry "resolutions" if you wore more than cotton t-shirts and shorts in this weather! **

I think I know this guy!

Basic Questions in Theology: Collected Essays

You learn something new every day! Sadly, it is also a statement on just how little I know of my own father's work (he's the translator). In fact, I can't say with 100% certainty that it is him, but I'm just playing the odds that there aren't too many theologians named George H. Kehm who can translate German to English (maybe there are?). Also, it would coincide with his sabbatical in Minnesota, where he sequestered himself in a monastery at St. John's University.

Honestly, I think I'd have to be locked in a room to read that as well! ;-)
(That's a joke Dad.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Update

Has it been only 4 months? Honestly it seems longer than that. While there are still "moments" in general I think the chaos we call our daily lives is just the new norm.

I am again reminded why I left the private sector (and associated earning potential) for the world of higher ed. I have the next 11 days off from work without using ANY vacation days! In fact the reality of higher ed is that the year functionally ends at Thanksgiving. You see everyone gets over 4 weeks of standard vacation, but can carry at most 2 weeks into the next year. Add to that the fact that you can't use those days after Christmas, because we're closed, and you get lots of people using lots of time in that small period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Finally add in the fact that in higher ed. nothing is done without complete consensus, and the result: nothing is done between Thanksgiving and the new year because there is never a time when all decision makers are in at the same time.

Today is also the last day of my hiatus from training. It went by really quickly and was pretty nice. Not much weight gain despite drinking a little more than usual (~2 per night, which is unusual for me). I'll begin drying out once we get back from my in-laws. It would be the wrong week to give up drinking!

So the planning phase for next years fairly complete. The goals are frankly monumental, or so they seem: training for Ironman (aiming for 10:20) while being a good daddy and (here's my New Year's resolution) being a better husband. Let me tell you, having kids on its own strains the spousal relationship. When you add in Ironman training, which is the equivalent of a part-time job, well... I do think I can pull it off, but it will leave little room for anything else. However, when considering the cost I decided it was worth it. My life will be comprised of family, work, and training. That's enough. (I am excited for those 5:00am trainer rides to begin again!!!)

Okay, I've gotta go get Dylan. He's "thumping" the side of the crib.

Happy Holidays,

Joel


To my family: Can someone send me Dad's snowshoes if he's not using them?

Monday, December 17, 2007

I can't put my arms down!


Sledding and toasted marshmallows over an open fire. Ahh to be a kid!

Week 50

Two uneventful runs. 5 miles and 6 miles. I'll get serious again in a week or two.

Runs: 125
Mileage: 11
YTD Mileage: 888.35

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Should he do it?

Should Joel Kehm go to his 20th class of 1988 reunion at Cornell next June? He'll be deep into Ironman training at that time and would likely benefit quite a bit from racing a 1/2 Ironman in New Hampshire that weekend. He's also not a reunion guy. He is however a very nostalgic sort. Would he be disappointed by what he found, or would he "find himself again?" Will the sound track to "the Breakfast Club" be playing in his head for the next 7 months if he decides to go?

And will he continue to post in the 3rd person?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dear Santa,

I've been especially good this year. Please bring me beer.

-Joel

The Christmas season is in full swing. The tree is up and the house getting decorated (thanks sweetie!), and I've been to a mall! And believe it or not, I bought a gift for my mother-in-law. Along the way I made a few "Odd-servations."

- The people who work in the booths scattered around the mall seldom speak English well.
- Apple is perpetuating the stereotype of the Nerd. I walked into the Apple store and it was PACKED with kids fresh out of their mother's basements, and unfortunately not fresh out of the shower. The stink of B.O. was overwhelming. Oh yes, and they were all employees. I think the ratio was 3 employees to every customer. Note to Steve Jobs: I know you like the no shoes look, but how about a Personal Hygiene Code?
- A middle aged woman passing out and hitting the deck in the middle of the mall is a non-event. Shoppers took little notice, and the paramedics also took their time.
- Truffles are damn expensive. I could buy 4 Hershey bars for one of those Dark Chocolate and Eggnog cream beauties (they were really good!).
- We are still in the thralls of the Paris Hilton sub-culture. e.g. Two teenage girls walking into Tiffany and saying, "You know you like can't go in here and not like buy something." Glad I'm not her Dad!
- And finally, spray ladies will back off...for cash.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Week 48 (or is it 49?)

I don't know, and it doesn't much matter. I did run twice in order to keep from going insane; 6.1 miles on Saturday and 8.5 miles Sunday. I'm a bit sore today. The layoff combined with the cold weather that are to blame. I wasn't fast but still have some decent rhythm (no comments Miss Leanna!).

Runs: 123
Mileage: 14.6
YTD Mileage: 877.35

Friday, December 07, 2007

Tell them you care

A swimming friend sent this along.

"If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! This is a great site. Please send a card. It is FREE and it only takes a second. "

I've sent one already. This is not about whether you support the war. It's about honoring those people who are forced to be away from their families.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Week 47:Shutting down

I'll still run some the remainder of the year, but I'm done racing and now resting. Why the change? I got a slight cold and decided I just didn't want to push it. I had a successful end of year and have earned a little R & R.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Oh brother!

You know those embarrassing statistics which show that 60% of American high schoolers think Canada is a state? Well those same kids have apparently made it to the work force. I was reading my "Newport Daily News" and came across the following line in an article on picking "green" Christmas trees:

"But if you're buying from a tree lot, you might think twice. Most of the Christmas trees are grown in states with a lot of room - Oregon, North Carolina and New England."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Week 44 &45

It looks like my week counter is off a week or so. No doubt the trips to Russia are to blame. Anyway, they still accurately reflect the weeks during which I trained. I did not train in Russia.

So, I put in 3 runs before leaving for Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh: 5 miles, 6 miles, and 7.5 miles. Didn't have much get up and go at all. Still tapped out from the race. I also managed to put in 3 runs the next week (2 in Pittsburgh and 1 in Connecticut): 5.5 miles, 5 miles, 8.5 miles. They went pretty well as my energy levels rebounded. The 5.5 miler was around my brother's plan. 5 laps with 5 hard climbs up a wall. The 5 miler was on a bike path. Gradual up going out and gradual back coming in. I ran the 4th mile in 5:27. Today's 8.5 miler was unexpected. I did not run very hard until the last mile. Nevertheless I put in possibly my best time on the course, which features a ~1.5 mile climb. My initial splits were about the same as other times I've run this loop: ~21 minutes for the first 3 miles. But it has become apparent that my developing strength is not slowing down. I ran smoothly up the climb and then just resumed my pace once the road flattened out. By the time I was near home I realized I could break one hour on the loop, which has maybe happened once. I ran "heavy tempo" (~95%) for the last mile and finished in 58:45. The final mile was probably 5:50ish.

I'm going to push to break 1000 miles for the year. I'm also racing one more time: a 10k December 9th. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Runs: 121
Mileage: 37.5
YTD Mileage: 862.75

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Week 43: I think "the Rand" would be proud.

Only two runs this week; 7.5 and 10 miles. I'm not running tomorrow. I raced a 10 miler today...and WON the Master's division (people over 40) in 1:02:52. It was cold. I ran hard the whole way. And I hurled on the finish line. God it was just like the good old days! The woman at the finish line asked "What's your number?" "One sixty FOOUURRuuh.. uh..uh..HUH.. puht-tu..."

Sweet.

(It wasn't too graphic because I hadn't eaten solid food today.)

A 10 miler is an interesting race. Being just a touch over an hour of running, you can actually run it at a pretty hard pace. More like a really long 10k than a half marathon. Funny thing, though, because it is not a very common distance, the pace I ran today ~6:17 per mile, is not a pace I really ever run. If I went out and settled into a hard training pace, I can guarantee it wouldn't be a 6:17. And you know what, I didn't really run any 6:17s today. Instead I vacillated between 6:08s and 6:25-6:30, also known as my 10k pace and my 1/2 marathon pace. The most significant mile was mile 6. At about 4.25 miles into the race I took the lead in the division, but I didn't break anybody. However, rather than run tactically and try and sit on someone and then outkick them, I opted to front run, a tactic which I seldom have the opportunity to employ. Crossing the 5 mile mark I still only had about a 10-15 second lead over three more people in my age group, so I surged. I'll admit I was paranoid the whole day about the gorilla jumping on my back because there might be some lingering fatigue from the marathon 3 weeks ago. Nonetheless I put in a 6:08 (after only running 6:33 the previous mile) and opened my lead to ~30 seconds. Then the course started winding some and I was able to stay out of sight for a bit. Mile 8 was another 6:08 and I think that pretty much sealed it. The last two miles had long straights so you could see everything going on, and frankly I was now confident the others could not put in 6:00 miles. If anyone had that in them they would have matched my surges. True by the end the next guy closed to 26 seconds back, but I was cruising the final 1/2 mile. If I needed to really kick I had it in me. I did sprint the last couple hundred yards to preserve my overall place (and thus the hurl), but I didn't kill myself to the line. I was right as rain once I got my breath back.

I'm droning on about this because I hadn't won a straight running race since high school. I've had 2nds and 3rds, but no 1sts in 22 years. Feels pretty good...good enough that I'm not running tomorrow.

Runs: 115
Mileage: 17.5
YTD Mileage: 825.25

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Week 42 and random notes

This last week was identical to the previous week; 3 runs totaling 23.55 miles. I still have the marathon in my legs and body, so anything more than a light jog feels like work. While it has it's critics, I'm starting to be a believer in the "Central Governor Theory" of fatigue. In simple terms it states that the reduced performance you see in your muscles which we see as fatigue begins in the central nervous system and is part of the bodies survival instinct. In essence your brain reduces the intensity of the muscle fibers firing to prevent long term damage to the muscles. This occurs before the muscles themselves break down. Likewise the lingering fatigue is your CNS saying, "sorry buddy, you're not ready to go yet." That's the stage I'm at right now. If I push really hard, I can go fast. In general my limbs feel okay (except today), but that big gear just isn't there yet. Nonetheless I am coming around. The 5k tempo section was 19:56 this week, and I did manage to go under 1:10 (1:09:11) for the 10.8 mile run. However, I don't think I'm ready to race 10 miles this next Saturday. Instead I'll try and be ready for the 5 miler in Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving.

In other news, it's been difficult finding time to do these updates. Two kids do keep you busy. Time is flying though (along with what is left of my sanity!). December 1 I get back on the bike to begin the long build up to Ironman. I'm no longer focused on a Kona slot. Frankly there is a great deal of luck involved with that. Instead I'm focusing on those things that I can control. If I can break 3:30 for the marathon and hold the other splits steady (or maybe even improve on the bike?) it will have been a very successful day. I'm up in the air on whether or not to run Boston precisely because it takes so long to really snap back from the effort.

Dylan and Alexandra are fast becoming the classic siblings: fights, squabbles, taking toys, etc... Dylan does almost as much instigating as Alexandra. Mommy and Daddy are going crazy! However, beneath all that they do seem to really like each other.















Oh, and I'm on T.V.! There's about a 3-5 second clip during a Nova episode on PBS (Marathon Challenge) where they show my finish at Boston in 2006. The narrator is talking about how the human being is designed for endurance. We can be out run by squirrels, but can pursue animals all day long until finally overtaking them once they are 1/2 dead from exhaustion. It's actually a really good episode for a number of reasons, clip of me aside.

I've also noticed that I've put down some decent mileage totals. I stood at 523 miles at the beginning for September. Last year was at 597. Now I'm over 800. Last year I only made it to 700 by the beginning of November. Yes last year was really low (I was riding and really burnt out on training prior to Clearwater). This year was pretty good though. ~30 mile per week average.

And how could I forget, we survived our first Nor' Easter of the year. The remnants of hurricane Noel came through yesterday. Big wind. Really big wind. Thankfully we didn't get too much rain. As it was the water was getting pushed through the sliding glass doors. The only damage on our property seems to be the canvas top to the playset. Somehow the turtle sandbox made it through unscathed! However, there are trees and branches down all over town. The sounds of chainsaws and chippers fill the air today.

Okay, gotta go. Alexandra is being "challenging" again...

3 runs week 42 (5/7.75/10.8) - 23.55

Runs: 113
Mileage: 23.55
YTD Mileage: 807.75

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Weeks 40 & 41

3 runs week 40 (4.5/4.5/26.2) - 35.2
3 runs week 41 (5/7.75/10.8) - 23.55

This week was a recovery/test my recovery week. By that I mean on Friday I did a 5k tempo section during my 7.75 mile run. It was to set a benchmark time to gauge my recovery. The plan was not to kill myself, but to try and go fairly swiftly. The course is rolling on cinder trail with multiple street crossings. I finished in 20:12. I'll do this once a week to see how my pace comes back.

I plan to race a 10 miler in 2 weeks and then a 5 miler on Thanksgiving. No goals set yet.

Runs: 110
Mileage: 58.75
YTD Mileage: 784.20

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I came home on it! (updated)

I managed goal 3, break 3hrs. In retrospect that's all I should have tried to do. 7 weeks ago I had no running form. It's a tall order to get into your best marathon shape in just 6 weeks of real prep.

First it was really humid today, not my best conditions. Then I went out hard, too hard. I stayed fast for a while, hitting the 1/2 around 1:28. I know I had a few good long runs, and not surprisingly I was good today...right to 18 miles which is the length of my long runs. Unfortunately the marathon has another 8.2 miles on it. Though starting to struggle I held it together for another couple of miles. However the biggest hill on the course (which doesn't really seem that big during mile 9 of a training run, but seemed huge at mile 21) took me apart. I never really go it going after again. I only dipped below 7 minutes per mile once after mile 21, and that was a 6:58. Despite losing all supporting muscle control (head falling back being the most notable problem), I managed to string together 7:00-7:05 miles to limit the damage. A 7:30 25th mile seemed to go forever (it had a sharp hill by St. George's school), and then it was downhill to the finish. 8:30 after the painful climb, head rolling to the back and side, I was finally done. 2:59:47, good for 3rd in men aged 40-49, actually 4th if you include the guy in the open division who finished 3rd overall. He was 47 or 48. The race director, however, put him the open division results, which I'm sure he wanted because there was money at stake.

Results Page

Come home with your shield or upon it.

Breakers Marathon, Newport RI. It's raining cats and dogs now, but the radar looks promising for the 8:00am start. Frankly I don't mind if the rain continues. I've got a lot of experience racing in rain.

I'll admit to being nervous. I'm trying to go fast today...and that makes me nervous. The strategy is to pace for a PR, meaning going out in 1:28 or 1:29...and that makes me nervous. Going out in 1:28 still does not guarantee my top goal so I will have to crush the last 7.5k or so (after the one long climb of the day). If I'm off form today, it will be a long painful slog. If I'm on form today, it just won't be a slog, but it's going to hurt.

Fortunately I know every inch of this course and I will be seeing Leanna and Alexandra once or twice. Given that this is a small local race without a ton of on course support (aid stations are 3 miles apart), I'm carrying my own go-fast juice from Infinit. Leanna will given me a reload at mile 15. I just have to keep from being stupid and I'll be fine. My 18 milers have been encouraging, and I think my legs are pretty good right now. Not too tired, but not stale. I'm curious to see if my pre-race workout routine proves successful.

So here are the 3 goals:
1) Challenge 2:55
2) Break 2:58:11
3) Break 3 hours

As you can see the plan is to be aggressive. There's no "just finishing" here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

This is where I live

The following photo of 2nd and 3rd beach (1.5 miles from my house), was taken by local photographer Onne van der Wal. It pretty much sums up why I live here. Onne swims with the same open water swimming group that I do. These are the waters where we swim.

Double Barrel Meltdown

It was just a matter of time. Last night we were out at dinner following a trip to see friends at a local pumpkin exhibit/nature walk. Everyone was tired, the restaurant was crowded and noisy (unusually crowded in downtown Newport for October), and the food was taking just a wee bit too long to arrive. "Momma...I NEED MOMMA!!" First from Dylan and then Alexandra, and neither accepting anyone but Leanna. All eyes turned to our table. Most looks were of the "We've been there" variety. So when the food arrived (2 minutes later), it was pack it all in doggie boxes and take it home.

Oh well. I keep thinking I should have been more embarassed/upset than I was, but I was actually okay. That's what kids do.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Week 39: One week to go

I've been resting this week, and ironically have had a higher mileage week. I'm finding it really is about the amount of intensity and not so much the mileage. Runs of 12, 5, 4.5 and 18 but only one mile fast (a 5:39).

One week to the marathon. I'm following the same final build-up as I did for Boston 2006. The only concern is will my new shipment from Infinit Nutrition get here in time. I'm almost out and I doubt there will be really great on course support in a race this small.

**Update**
The final 18 miler was quite satisfactory. I set out to run 2:03-2:04, and despite taking a slightly longer route back home (by about .1 miles) so I could survey more of the race course, I cruised in with a nice finishing kick in 2:03:51. I'm also clear on how I'm going to run the race tactically. The first 1/2 of the course is really fast so I may well be letting quite a few people go. When the second 1/2 gets more challenging, I will bring them all back.

Runs: 104
Mileage: 39.5
YTD Mileage: 725.45

Monday, October 08, 2007

Week 38

3 runs. 20.25 miles. A bit of hard running. First run was hard tempo running with a anonymous person who apparently wanted to run hard as well. Next day was repeats of 4 minutes on, 2 minutes off. Third day was 4.5 miles with mile 2.5 - 3.5 at hard tempo (5:52 mile). I was pretty gassed from the two previous days, so I was happy with anything under 6 minutes.

3.5 days off followed. I did run today (week 39). A little flat. Most of the miles were 8 minute miles, though I went mid 6's when I tried to run fast. Well see how the week progresses.

Runs: 100
Mileage: 20.25
YTD Mileage: 685.95

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Week 37 and Family Update

It's pre-dawn and I'm getting ready for my 18 miler around the ocean drive. Last week, despite feeling the effort of my biggest week of training, I turned in a good time. This week I feel much more rested because I've run two fewer days. However I'll still be posting a total of 38 miles, so not too shabby. Once again I'm interested to see how today's run goes.

It's getting darker as I sit here, actually. We're 2 days past the full moon and the moon was up higher 25 minutes ago when I got up. I expect a 6:15am start again. It's clear and 50 degrees, so it's great conditions for distance running.

Mentally it was a tough week that I think ended well. The tough part had to do with angst over Alexandra and pre-school. The ending well has to do with Leanna and I agreeing on a plan of action that just feels right. We're going to wait until next year to send her to regular pre-school, and then to a different one. She only just turned 3 1/2 and between the uniforms and heavily structured curriculum it seemed liked she wasn't being allowed to be a child. I know we're doing the right thing. It's one of those decisions that you agonize over for a long time, but when you finally make it it is like the weight of the world is lifted.

You see I'm definitely no expert in parenting and early childhood development, but all this training and racing has really clarified some things for me. For example I know that you have to LOVE something first! You don't want it to start as work and then hope it gets better. The love is what gets you through the times when it is work. When Zatopek spoke of "will power [being] no longer a problem" the fact is that he loved running. If you don't love it and it is all work, you may succeed for a while but burn out and loathing usually follow. When you do love it, you are enticed to continue to explore and test boundaries. The love is the catalyst for discovery. I have experienced such amazing feelings and thoughts throughout my athletic endeavors that I know I am a better person for it. In fact part of the reason for this blog is to attempt to share that with people. Maybe someday it will change the life of one person.

**Update**
Everything was in place for a great run today. The weather was perfect. I was fairly well rested. Family stress was lower. It was just a matter of me putting it all together. I started off strongly and did not have any issues with blood sugar early on. I hit the first checkpoint a bit ahead of last week and was concerned about going to quickly too early. But then I said "What the f---, and made my move." You just don't get these perfect days too often. I kept the pressure on and hit the 1/2 was in 1:01:06. I could feel the strain, but if I blew up, at least I'd know what pace was too much for me to handle. I focused on keeping my tempo high (190 steps per minute) and used my arm swing to help with the leg turnover. I put what felt like just a little forward pressure on with my feet. I made it back from the turn in 1:00:13. My final time was 2:01:20, a new PR by a lot. I've just upped my expectations for the marathon.

Runs: 97
Mileage: 38
YTD Mileage: 665.70

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Week 36

I'll be writing most of this post later today or tonight. Right now it's 6:00am and I'm waiting for the sun. I should leave in ~10 minutes. 18 miles today, for a total of 44.3 miles this week. Biggest week in a long time.

**Update**
2:04:29. Faster than I expected. I didn't go out much more quickly than last week, and I had to stop for a pee break (47 sec, making my net run time 2:03:42). My second 1/2 of 1:01:14 is likely my best ever. However it was work today. The higher mileage week is taking it's toll. I'm taking tomorrow often (maybe), and will only run 5 days this next week.

Runs: 93
Mileage: 44.3
YTD Mileage: 627.70

The Mad Fisherman



Wasn't this a scene from "Jaws"?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Family update

Boys are just wired differently. There isn't a toy around he doesn't want to throw. Pop-up books are made for destroying. Toilets....Oh baby....that's a good time! Alexandra never did these things!

Dylan is settling in nicely. He's suffering through a cold right now, which means Mommy is suffering through his cold right now. When he doesn't feel well he wants very little to do with Daddy. Alexandra is adjusting as well. She still yells when he gets attention or plays with her toys, but the tone is different. It's more of a sibling "get away from my sh-t" yell. Not the panicked meltdown which resulted in hyperventilating.

Also, in the last 4 weeks we've all been sick, Leanna has gone to the ER (It was a big scene because I was at work so an ambulance had to take her.), and Alexandra was taken to the doctor twice because of an asthma attack. Everyone is fine now, though the people at CVS know me by name. I've purchased so many corticosteroids steroids lately I'm sure to be the subject of a federal investigation.

In the midst of all this I've been training for a marathon. Actually this week went amazingly well. I tried something I have not done in decades; running 6 days in one week. No I won't do this every week, but because I'm in a crash course of training to be race ready in 5 weeks, I'm doing a little more volume than usual. Today was my "rest" day (I had the kids for much of the day. Tomorrow I'm running the 18 mile loop again. I'm really eager to see how I run.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Week 35

3 runs. Had wanted to do 4 but a family emergency popped up. Priorities you know... Total was ~30 even. Today was the 18 miler, and I had low expectations. I started at 6:05am after a night awake worrying about Alexandra coughing. I think she has bronchitis again. That's the 3rd or 4th time this year.

Anyway it was a beautiful day for a run. Crisp fall air. I ran 2:07:59. While the first 1/2 of the run was slow, the second 1/2 of the run was as fast as last April. We'll see how I recover. I did feel out of shape, but I finished well so that was a plus. My new sports drink, a custom blended mix from a company named Infinit Nutrition, worked pretty well. I might change the blend slightly when I reorder, but it's pretty close to right.

Runs: 87
Mileage: 30
YTD Mileage: 583.40

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Week 34

4 runs. Easy ones because of the bronchitis, which is 90% gone. ~30 miles. I'm on my way. My 11.5 mile loop was the slowest I've ever done it. This might end up being a good thing. I'm trying to stick a little closer to the Daniels formula for training. My slow days have been too fast in the past.

Runs: 84
Mileage: 30
YTD Mileage: 553.40

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The heart of the matter

I think we're finally getting to the bottom of things with Alexandra. She has a big fear that we're going to leave her again. Last night she started asking me, "No Mama go away? No Dada go away? No baby Dylan go away?" Our time in Moscow, especially the last time when she was essentially hauled away screaming in my in-law's car, was traumatic for her. Knowing that this is the major issue is somewhat comforting, though, because I know we're not going away again and over time she'll believe that too.

So I've gotten back to marathon training. Bronchitis has ended my triathlon season. It'll be another week at least until I can breath normally. However I can run a a slow pace (8:00-8:30 per mile) without causing too much distress. So I've targeted a fall marathon, the Breaker's Marathon in Newport. It is contested on roads with which I am extremely familiar, so I'm looking to try for a marathon PR (2:58:11 set at Boston, 2006). Of course it all hinges on how quickly my breathing returns to normal, so we'll see.

I'll post the official training update tomorrow, but it looks like I'll hit 30 miles for this week, and will be shooting for 40 next week. That's far above what I've been doing for the past couple of months, so you should see the YTD mileage totals picking up again.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Preschool Day 2

We've already gotten a "talking to" from the teacher. Alexandra has a bad habit of screaming (really loudly) indoors. It was not appreciated. In general she had a rough day today. Another prematurely ended tubbie. I hope this phase passes sometime before college graduation.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

No 1/2 Ironman for me; Alexandra goes to school

Turns out the 1/2 Iron is this weekend. I hate that bike course anyway (**update: Someone died out on it yesterday when hit by an SUV**). Even if it were next week I'm still coughing up my lungs from the bronchitis. Mornings are the worst. It takes about 1/2 hr to clear everything from my head and chest. After that I'm pretty much set for the day.

Alexandra started preschool yesterday. By all accounts she really liked it. It helped a lot that her best friend Mia was going as well. I guess she got a little upset mid-morning, but then rallied and was better. She was very well behaved during tubby last night. Apparently Mommy had a little "talk" with her about the previous night's fiasco. This morning she was asking to go to preschool. Maybe we will sign her up for a 3rd day.

I've been really struggling with all the changes going on. The sickness might just be a manifestation of all that; induced by stress. I can't believe Alexandra is going to school already. She's put on a growth spurt and is noticeably taller than in July. Time is flying by.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Week 33

Ahh "Daddy Time" also known as 5:00AM! Actually it's now almost 6:00 so I might not get to finish the whole post, depending on when Dylan wakes up.

I wanted to kick start my training this week to ramp up for a 1/2 Ironman in the middle of September. The week started well: 1 hr. bike and 4.3 mile run Sunday (day after landing), 8.5 mile run and 1/2 hour bike Monday, 5 mile run Tuesday. During the Tuesday run I began to feel it: The cold that would end my week and possibly my hopes for the 1/2 Ironman. It's Saturday and I haven't been able to train since. Tomorrow is a possibility because the nose and lungs are clearing, but I'll see how it goes today. If I feel better throughout the day then I'll start tomorrow. If not, I think that's all she wrote. Either way, with two weeks to go the training would take a different approach to what I had intended. I'd start small and slowly build towards race day. No tapering, instead the race would be the first big workout. It means the race plan would be ultra conservative because I'd be on unknown ground. That's how I raced Timberman last year, and that worked out okay.

I want to do this race for selfish ego reasons. I'm in second by a single point in the a year long series for my age group. I had been in first much of the year, but if you've followed this blog at all you'll know why I haven't been racing that much. The guy in first has easily raced twice as many times as I have. This race is the final race of the series. This is my best distance. It's in my home state. I know I can do it. Even sitting here I know I'll be able to do it...if I can just start training again this weekend.

Runs: 80
Mileage: 17.8
YTD Mileage: 523.40

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Family

Well, it's been a good albeit difficult week. Dylan is adjusting well. Alexandra...not so much. Of course her adjustment has been hampered by not seeing us for 10 days and then not getting exclusive Mommy time when she did. And then there's the stress of seeing her toys being played with by someone else (we're still working on the sharing thing). She's also been tired, and I think a little sick. I think this because I think I got the cold she had(has). We shared a waterbottle (Daddy Sippy) on Monday. **Rule 1 of Training: Never share the water bottle! **
I violated rule #1 and am now paying the price.

Leanna has clearly had it the worst. I wish there was more I could do, but at times it doesn't seem possible. Dylan wants Mommy. Alexandra wants Mommy. Daddy is not Mommy. Actually Dylan, who didn't immediately attach to me, is becoming far more comfortable with me, and as a result I am bonding with him. How can you not love a little boy who turns his head in the stroller to check out a passing hot blond (This is not a fabrication. There were witnesses.), or likes chill'n in the sofa watching football. He is all boy. Oh yes, he sleeps and eats really well too.

I have gotten some training in, but I'll write about that in a different post.

Friday, August 24, 2007

We are DONE!

See you tomorrow Alexandra!

Love,

Your Brother Dylan

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ready to head home

I'm ready. Actually I've been ready for a while. On Monday was the "great tease." We were given the false hope that we might be able to have our US Embassy appointment on Wednesday, meaning a Friday departure would be possible. Needless to say we were excited. Well that rumor was crushed the following day. No Saturday is travel day. That means two more days here and then the long trip across the globe.

Today is the Embassy visit to pickup Dylan's entry visa to the US and his "sealed packet". We are to carry this packet, unopened, to the US where an immigration officer will open it and make Dylan a citizen.

Tomorrow is a "Dad's only" trip to another "Registry." God only knows what I'm registering for this time.

We did see one more site yesterday, Christ the Savior Cathedral. It has quite an amazing history, including completely razed and the foundation used as a swimming pool. Our interpreter described swimming there as a little girl.

Here's a picture from the visit.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Touring Moscow


Dylan got to check out some of the sights in Moscow today. He brought us along. Here are some pictures.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Today's the day!

Okay for most of you tomorrow is the day, but nonetheless we are getting Dylan! The day will consist of picking up and refiling papers in offices all over Moscow. Once that is done it is off to the baby home for the last time. We'll have a little "party" with the care givers (think office party at work, where people just come down and eat the free food), and then it is back to the apartment. We'll be here for one more week getting his papers (passport, visa, etc...) ready and we're home.

Alexandra had a really hard time with us leaving this time. It was really tough. My father-in-law had to pull over twice because she was escaping from her cars seat straps (she's freakishly flexible). We've since talked with her on the phone and she's doing a bit better. The trip can't end soon enough for me. I'm really ready to move on with life.

I'm done with Lufthansa for quite a while too. We've flown to Russia 5 times now, and while it is probably me, the food gets worse every time. Are you having the "Cheeken or the Pahstah?" "PahncAke or owemlet?" (say it with a german accent)

My employer turned out to be pretty cool with the time off (I work at Brown University in Providence). I won't have to take any unpaid days. Instead I can use sick as well as vacation days to cover the time. Not too bad. Now if only I can work on helping them eliminate some of the bureaucracy...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Week 31

Two runs and three rides were what I was able to muster. A total of 4 hours on the bike and 15.8 miles running. These are far from impressive numbers for triathletes, especially Ironman triathletes, who regularly put in 10-20 hours a week training. However, the longest ride and longest run where put in back to back resulting in a fairly promising result. I had nothing in the tank when I woke up. Saying I was flat was an understatement. Even so I managed my 215 watt average ride and then ran my 10.8 miles in a time that was easily as fast as week 29. The most encouraging part of the workout was my run where I found myself, despite not being very energetic, running very loose and easy. When that sort of rhythm comes I can usually run a long way at a decent pace. I covered the distance in 1:13:43, which while not close to my fastest time on the loop, is one of the faster times I've run after riding the equivalent of 25-30 miles.

We leave again Wednesday for Moscow. I'll likely get in one or two more rides and one run before then. I actually feel pretty good today, so maybe I'll try for a short run or ride today. Tomorrow morning and lunch a definite, and Wednesday morning is uncertain. I do these morning rides at 5:30am, and can only handle so many in a row. However, being exhausted before getting on the plane might not be a bad thing. It'll give me a fighting chance to fall asleep. Once in Moscow there will be no working out. I expect I'll post again before we leave, but if not, the next time I write I'll be a father of 2.

Runs: 77
Mileage: 15.8
YTD Mileage: 505.60

Thursday, August 09, 2007

2nd trip to Moscow and Week 30

Okay, I did the runs in the states before leaving. I'm not bold enough to go running alone on the streets of Moscow. I'm trying to get in quite a bit of riding and running before we leave again on Weds. This will be the third and final trip and will be about 10 days in length. The feeling is similar to dismounting your bike in Ironman. There's still a lot of work to do, but for the first time you actually allow yourself to think about the finish.

Dylan was really outgoing and active this last trip. A lot has changed in the last two months. He's bigger. Hell, I think his feet are almost the same size as Alexandra's! We will be getting him the day before his first birthday, August 18th, so we will be living with him in Moscow for a week before we come home. This might work out well. He'll get time to just adjust to us before we come back to the states and turn his world upside down. Might be wishful thinking, but hey that's what I've got right now.

The worst part is leaving Alexandra. I don't think I can truly express how difficult it is being away, especially being away with Leanna. At least when I travel alone I know Alexandra has Mommy. It is not getting easier to be away. It is getting harder. Events like last night don't help. Alexandra has these toys, "Little People." There is a Momma and a Dadda. She's had them for a long time and played with them in their house pretending they were us and the baby was her. This time she had the Momma and the Dadda in a toy airplane and was talking about Momma and Dadda be back. She's never put them in the airplane. She's never put them in the Taxi cab. She is showing that she knows what is going on and it is difficult for her, but she does get it. Last night she woke up in the middle of the night crying that she couldn't find the Momma and the Dadda. They were all gone. I found them in the sheets of her bed and told her, see Momma and Dadda are right here. She curled up with them and and went to sleep. It made me happy and sad at the same time, but it will all turn out for the best. Only 10 more days in Moscow and then the rest of our lives at home.

Runs: 75
Mileage: 15
YTD Mileage: 489.80

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cold Brewed Ice Coffee

My friend Pat and I experimented (independently) with making "cold brewed" coffee this weekend. Yes, you really can do it. It just takes a while. It was also as advertised: not bitter and stands up well to ice. Because it was never hot, it does not suffer the same sort of breakdown that hot brewed coffee does, so you can keep it longer. That's a good thing because it takes many hours to brew.

My recipe? That's a secret. You can try a glass at the stand setup on the end of my driveway for $1.50. Okay there's no stand on the end of my driveway...yet.

Week 29

Ahhh, a moment alone! Alexandra is in her room, and while she's not sleeping, she's not screaming either. The theme this week was beginning to "stretch out" the distances again. I'm finding I miss doing the long stuff, and with my commitment to Ironman Lake Placid next year, I have decided to try and remember how it feels.

I ran three times this week: 8 miles, 7.5 miles, and 10.8 miles. All 3 are well above my average run this year. It's hot and humid so they weren't fast, but that is the beautiful thing about returning to the long stuff right now. Hot days are easier to manage because you get to slow it down a but. For me it's not about how fast I can go, as much as it is how little do I slow down. Today typified this. The total workout today was 2 hours and 45 minutes; one of my longer if not the longest workout of the year. But instead of the one hour 275 watt avg. effort I have been putting in on the bike the last month, it was 90 minutes with a 200 watt avg. Considerably easier. From there I transitioned to a 10.8 mile run, instead of the typical 4.3. If you recall last week I just did those two "brick" workouts. After the one on Sunday (~19 mile bike/4.3 mile run) I was really gassed. It only took a total time of 1 hour 16 minutes, also known as 90 minutes shorter than what I had planned for today. You know, though, knocking off those watts really made all the difference. My run was strong, like it was last year. It really does seem to be that I have a certain amount of stored power and I can let it all out at once, like in a sprint distance race, or dose it out over hours. I really was surprised (and pleased) at how easily the distance came back. Maybe I will race that 1/2 Ironman in September.

Runs: 73
Mileage: 26.3
YTD Mileage: 474.80

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Being Daddy

Alexandra's at a tough age (I know they all are tough...). She's very needy for Mommy. Daddy usually won't cut it. Unfortunately for her, Daddy is sometimes all she's going to get because we have to get her used to the fact that she has a little brother coming. Well, not unfortunately for me, however. With this increased Daddy time she is learning to work with me and I with her. She'll go on the potty for me (1 & 2), she'll let me do most anything with her now, including calm her down when she has a meltdown over Mommy going to the store, like last night. Early on in our adjustment process she would get so upset when I tried to console her that she'd take a swing at Daddy. Now we have made progress. Last night I had her come with me to her chalk board and I drew a picture of the store, Leanna (aka Mommy), Leanna's car, and our house with Alexandra taking a tubby. I showed how Mommy was driving to the store, buying some things for Grandma and Grandpa's visit, and coming back home to "Alexandra's house." It worked. I don't know how, but it worked. All I can guess is that she finally understood Mommy is going to come right back. So, do you think this will work with our trip to Moscow?

As for Alexandra preparing to be a big sister, while I really doubt she understands the full impact of Dylan on her life, she does know Dylan is coming and she is going to be a big sister. She knows the room off of our bedroom will be Dylan's room. I really don't think she knows that she's going to be getting even more Daddy time in the short run. Maybe another picture?!

Oh yeah, and she keeps asking about or referencing Otis. I'm pretty sure she knows he's not coming back, but that doesn't keep him out of our conversations.

Eating Ice Cream with Grandpa and Daddy. She's such a little person now!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Week 28

Quick backfill here. Two runs last week, which were part of brick (bike/run) workouts. 4.3 miles each. Went pretty well.

Runs: 70
Mileage: 8.6
YTD Mileage: 448.50

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Well I did it.

July 20, 2008 I'll be lining up for my third go at Ironman Lake Placid, the last being in 2005. I followed the progress of some friends competing there this past Sunday, and that pretty much sealed it. I have some clear cut goals for the race already, the most important one being to really enjoy the day out there. Despite what I've said in the past, qualifying for Hawaii will not be a stated goal this time around. Should it happen, great! Instead I have specific goals for the various legs of the race. If I do hit those then I've done my best an whatever happens, happens.

While I've enjoyed the short races this year, and will continue to do some, I like the fact that in the long races like Ironman, there are seldom absolutes, as in "I'm on a good day" or "I'm on a bad day". You typically get the full range of experiences in the course of the race and how you handle them dictates how your day will go. It's a great analogy for life. Sprint races are all about absolutes. Either it's good or bad. That seldom happens in real life. And if you've been following this blog, you'd know by now I see my racing and race prep as one giant analogy for life. In many ways the experience is more real than the 9 to 5 work week.

So I'm thinking a NetFlix membership might be in order, because to get the kind of hours in on the trainer that I want to put in, I'm going to go through a lot of movies. By the time I'm up to peak intensity, I'll be able to watch most of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy in a single workout.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Swimming in the Big Blue

I'm no stranger to ocean swimming, but I'm a total novice when it comes to swimming in big swells and waves. In an effort to improve my open water swimming, I've hooked up with a group of local guys through the US Master's Swimming website who are open water nuts. We went out yesterday into swells I would have hesitated to go boogie boarding in. But because they were experienced and I was there to learn, I went for it. The total swim was only about .75 miles because they were warming up for a swim across Narragansett Bay this morning, but .75 miles in 6 foot seas is a real experience. Funny thing, though, after a while I did get somewhat comfortable out there, and got a great body surfing ride on the way in. There was one guy who came with us, who was also a first timer out in big ocean. He's in the Navy. I thought for sure he was going to drown. The leader of our group, Mike, showed this guy some tough love out there. That sailor had to work a lot to survive that swim.

I think I'll set my sites on the FIRMMAN 1/2 Ironman at Narragansett Town beach in mid-September. It is the only long race around which features an ocean swim. If I keep going with these guys, I might just do okay there, even on the swim leg.

Now what...

Our new neighbor, the single guy who took over the dump of a house across the street, is paving the front yard. Oh yeah, the house is still a dump.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Home Alone

Leanna and Alexandra are away until tomorrow evening. Single guy time, right?! No, I've said it before, I hate being away from them. They're having a good time and relaxing, though, so I don't mind. The other thing I really notice is that Otis and Bentley are not around anymore. Last night was the first in I don't know how long (excluding hotels) that I've been completely alone. It was really odd. We're getting another dog once everyone has adjusted to the new routine with Dylan.

Oh yeah, Hoppy, can I hire you to put some dead bolts on the house?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Week 27 & race report

Only two runs this week; 5 & 6.5. The heat is taking it's toll. After my break out day last Sunday I was a little concerned about not being quite as good yesterday. I was okay, but not out standing. The humidity really did me in during the last two miles of the run. As a result my run ended up being about 45 seconds to a minute slower than last year. My bike was almost identical, and my swim was quite different. They changed the swim course this year. I guess because everyone complained (not me) about it being a little short, they made it a 2 loop course which was definitely a bit long. I might not be the fast swimmer, but I don't take 31 minutes to swim a mile. Still, I needed to be in better (any?) swim shape to perform better. I was a respectable swim away from finishing in the top 10 again (I did so in 2004). Still, it was a very good field, a tough day, and 15th overall is not that bad. Had I raced age group again, I would have been 2nd...again.

On a funny note, when I got home Alexandra saw my body markings from the race and so wanted her own. I used a water color marker and did her up! She also like drinking from my water bottles. I can't wait to get her to some races!

Runs: 68
Mileage: 11.5
YTD Mileage: 459.90

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Racing again...

I am excited, at least I think so. No, I am. I've been nursing a little knee discomfort this week, and that has me somewhat distracted. Pain would be overstating. There's definitely a little inflammation in the region of the patellar tendon because I have a slight sensation of numbness just below and to the inside of my kneecap. Most likely it's a minor case of bursitis. I really do need to get some new racing shoes. I wore my now, well loved pair for my training session last Sunday, and because I knew I was on a very good day, and knew they've been rare lately, I kept going even when the discomfort started. Even now it doesn't hurt, and it doesn't bother me on the bike. I'm simply aware of it.

Hey I've got a break coming up and then time to get serious about a goal, so I'm not overly concerned about long term issues. It does mean I doubt I will be training for a 50 mile run anytime soon, but who knows. Hey, I haven't ruled out trying to qualify for Kona next year either.

Oh yeah, the race. I'm competing in the elite wave for the first time in a few years, so my goals are:
1) Don't embarrass myself
2) Match or beat last year's time. (2:05:42)
3) Match or beat 2004's time. (2:03:37)

I'm not sweating the places. If I can hit my split times, the placing will take care of itself.

Training my a - -

We got the call for trip 2. August 3 we leave from Logan. Good hard, functional seating with our friends at Lufthansa (the agency seems to like them, I think they might have a contract). I'm going to start swilling beer after my race tomorrow in an effort to build up my butt. If the seats don't have cushioning, I better bring my own. The cat ass just won't cut it.* Now I just need to get my hands on some Ambien and and a jar of Tums for that good German airplane food! Hey at least the bier isn't too bad.

* For those of you who don't understand the reference to cat ass, it comes from my college days in lightweight rowing. Given that we all had a specific weight to maintain, and it was always very low, few if any of us had any padding left, if you know what I mean. Anyway, the comparison is to our favorite feline friends, who also seldom (if ever) have butt cheeks. So no butt cheeks = cat ass.*

Sunday, July 08, 2007

It's a red letter day!

Or maybe a brown letter day? Alexandra pooped on the toilet! The Elmo seat was installed. For you non-parents this is a really big deal not just because it is one of the major hurdles in potty training, but because it is for all intents and purposes a pre-requisite for school.

As a reward Alexandra got her long sought after Cinderella costume (as well as various other Disney toys from Wal-Mart).

She did flush it down before I could grab the camera to take a picture. I'll have to be quicker next time. I have promised her that come hell or high water I'm getting the ultimate embarrassment photo to pull out sometime later in life (in front of high school friends, graduation party slide show, wedding, etc...)!

What a day...

Week 26: What was that all about?!

It was a good week for biking and running, not from a mileage standpoint, but from a repetition standpoint. It was also a good week for hit'n the beer. Hey, it's Independence Day! Last night was no exception: Shepard's Pie and a couple of pints. On tap for today was a maximal effort training ride/run. It was the same course as the "Mock Races" of last year (an one earlier this year), with one exception: I took the steep climb out of the course because my upcoming race has no climbing. Well, I know this loop well so when I looked at my watch I knew this was not the ride I was expecting to have. I typically make the turn-around (1/2 way) in 25:30. Today I came screaming in at 23:45. I turned it around and came back (with a head wind this time) in 24:00 minutes. Throw on a ~26 minute run and I finished in 1:14:37. Dropping the climb makes the course about 3-4 minutes shorter, so even with that time tacked on I finished in under 1:20. That's 3-4 minutes better than I've ever done. I'm sitting here thinking that it was so much faster than the norm, I'd be hard pressed to duplicate the result on race day. Nonetheless, the clock doesn't lie, and on an out and back course the wind is always a factor somewhere, so bottom line: I was really fast today.

It feels good. Next week, assuming we're in the US, I'll be lining up in an Elite wave for the first time in 2 years. My swim will not be good. I know that. However, I think I can probably make up some time over the rest of the course. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Runs: 66
Mileage: 17.0
YTD Mileage: 448.40

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I need a goal

I have a couple unfulfilled goals, but I don't think the time is right for these yet. One of them is qualification for the Hawaiian Ironman. I feel pretty confident that barring bad luck, I am capable of doing this next time out. I need to be 40 minutes faster than my last effort. I figure I have at least 1/2 of that in my running. In fact, my obsessive logging of running and honing technique came about as a result of what I felt was a really weak run at my last Ironman in Lake Placid (2005).
But training for Ironman takes a ton of time, because you need to be good in three disciplines. So I've got this nutty idea. It's one of those "what are you f---'n nuts?" kind of things. Have a look at the Vermont 50. I'd compare it to a long day hiking rather than a running race. Most likely it would take almost as long as an Ironman. I have a feeling my toes would hate me...forever. That said it does fit the bill. You realize of course at some level I do these things precisely because so many other people can't. I've determined at some basic level these challenges meet a need, an affirmation that I am unique and special. Yes I know, intuitively I already know that, but tell that to the little voice...the one that tells me I'm full of crap.

On a side note, I went back and started reviewing posts from 2005, my first full year as a daddy and the last time I did an Ironman. Found this : Lake Placid Finish. Watch the clip, especially seconds 6-22. I also found a comment from another person who is unknown to me. I'm pretty sure I never left a response. Well there is still time to correct that.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

This woman sure knows how to please a man...

Oh baby

Week 25

Almost forgot to post my numbers. Mileage not so high, but I got the reps up a little. Acclimating for hot weather racing in July.

Runs: 63
Mileage: 15.1
YTD Mileage: 431.40

Monday, June 25, 2007

Week 24: 3 races, 3 podiums...

...and yet the top step eludes me. Only 40 seconds behind the winner of my age group, but still behind. However I felt like crap all week leading up to it, and even felt weak the day of the race. It was my first triathlon of the year, and I have only been in the water a few times since May. I also had no open water swims yet this year, and I elected to wear my new sleeveless wetsuit which I had not even tried on yet. It might seem like a pretty big risk, but I was not really tense about this race. I went in with lowered expectations and elected to try harder if things were going well 1/2 way through the race. The race itself was 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike (one big climb), and a 3 (more like 2.8) mile run. My final time was 1:04:05. (10:45/35:31/17:45). The bike and run times also include the time spent in transition before the leg was started. That is significant because I ran a 16:45 for the 2.8 miles. Even better, the course was an out and back and I ran 8:39 out, and 8:06 back. The run back marked the first time all year I've finally gotten it going during the run, and now I think I know why. As I've focused more on distance running and longer events (and with me getting older), it takes 2 miles before I begin to find my stride running. In the previous events the second run was only 2 miles long, so I never found my stride. This bodes well for my next race which is an Olympic Distance race which features a 6.2 (arguably more like 6.5) mile run. If I can get the kind of mojo going that I had during the last mile on Sunday, I will run down a few people. Of course I might also be back in Moscow with someone trying to run me down!

All things considered I managed a decent swim for me (10:45 for 1/2 mile and 1.5 minutes back of the leader). That's about 400 yards on land, a gap I might have mostly made up during the transition.

In the final tally I was 14th overall, 2nd in my age group (M40-44 for those keeping track). And hey, I was still able to bring a medal home for Alexandra and more nutritional product for myself. Hey that might not seem that great, but a tub of the good sports drink runs $20, so I'll gladly accept it as a prize. And to see Alexandra jump up and down for another gold medal (okay silver, but she doesn't know the difference yet!) is worth every bit of pain.

Only two runs this week (I said I felt like crap). 3.5 miles on Friday and 2.8 miles Sunday. Also one swim and one bike during the week. Obviously one additional swim and bike as well on Sunday.

Runs: 60
Mileage: 6.3
YTD Mileage: 416.30

Monday, June 18, 2007

Week 23

Two runs: 7.5 miles at lunch and the 13 feels like 14 miler in Connecticut Sunday. Let's call it a 21 mile week. The lunch run was notable because I was just trying to tire myself out after having to put Otis down. I partially succeeded, but not entirely. The run yesterday was a test of my form. I had my best time on the loop going at up to the 10 mile point, and then I sort of slowed down. I was insufficiently rested and it was hot. Probably my hottest long run of the year, and I wasn't able to keep a strong pace the last 3 miles. It was okay, but in April I really kicked well during that final stretch. None of that happening Sunday. The final time was a 1:34:30 which is about a minute slower than April. At 10 miles I was a minute and a half up, so I lost 2 1/2 minutes in 3 miles.

Runs: 58
Mileage: 20.5
YTD Mileage: 410.00

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

2/26/1994 - 6/11/2007

He really was the best Big Pal ever.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Week 22

Okay, the workout week is not over yet, but I'm not running again. We returned from Moscow Friday, and Saturday it was back to work. I had been couped up in our little Russian apartment or in a car for a whole week and was just dying to be out on the street running. I elected to repeat the 12 mile run I had done just before we left.
The weather was in the mid 50's and very humid. I tried to run somewhat conservatively for the most part, but opened it up during the last couple of miles. The first miles were a little strained as my lungs tried to open up after a week of second hand smoking. Also the knees were a little slow loosening up after the flights. Nonetheless it felt really good to be out. If I was more rested and had more energy I would have just kept going.
My final time of 1:14:31, which was about 2 minutes faster than the last time, is possibly my fastest effort on that loop. I have to be happy with that.


Runs: 56
Mileage: 12
YTD Mileage: 389.50

Saturday, June 09, 2007

And now a word about air travel...

Lufthansa is a German airline (duh...). No really, I mean it: a VERY German airline. The Germans have mastered gassy food. Lufthansa serves that food in large smelly portions with great frequency. It's so boring on a flight from Moscow to Boston or Boston to Moscow that you make the mistake of eating all this food just to have something to do. And if you choose to skip a meal? The flight attendant, doing her best rendition of my late (German) grandmother, gives you a disapproving look and insists that you take at least the cold food plate.

And another thing: also in true German fashion they don't splurge on padding for the seats. My butt is killing me today.

Week 21

This is actually for the week of May 27 to June 2. Two runs: 12 miles and 7.5 miles. It was tough going because I think the Duathlon tapped the energy levels a little more than I expected. The trip to Moscow also comes as a well timed break. Historically I injure myself the first week of June, probaly because I'm off my spring fitness peak, but am still trying to push it to prepare for June races. On my return from Russia it will be time to build up again for a mid-July peak at Middleboro. That means starting with a little base work.

Runs: 55
Mileage: 12/7.5
YTD Mileage: 377.50

1 down, 2 to go

Adoption from Russia is three trips now. We've just completed the first leg. It's 4:30am back here in the states and I'm wide awake. It's noon back in Moscow. Lunch time for Dylan.
The trip back was uneventful yesterday, though the flight over the Atlantic was a little bumpy. Nothing extreme like the turbulence we hit over the Irish sea on the way over, but unsettling enough and for a much longer period of time. Among the changes I need to make for the next trip: sleeping pills. 11 hours flying without sleeping made me a little nuts.

So for those who are curious about adoption, here's the drill in Moscow: Get ready to wait. It's all about long periods of sitting motionless; Airplanes, cars, queues, waiting rooms. The actual "work" took maybe 2 hours, probably less. For the most part they just wanted our signatures. The exception was the doctor's visit. Actually 8 doctors, among their specialties: a psychologist, a narcologist, an oncologist, a neurologist, and 4 others. I'm sure they had some specialties assigned as well, because there were individual lines for them to sign (and stamp, after all this is Russia where the rubber stamper is king!) on our health certification form. The worst part was the interview by the narcologist. The psychologist was much easier. Though she looked like the scariest of the doctors, the prototypical cold war era Russian woman, she was really nice. Mostly she asked me about my job and my schooling and my marriage. You could tell she was trying to get a reading on how satisfied I was with my life. The funniest question, which we were all asked, was did I marry for love or money. You know it's tough not to crack a joke, but they don't like jokes too much (though I think this woman actually had a sense of humor). It's another cultural detail" if you smile or joke they think you are not taking it seriously. That's been the toughest part for me every time I've been interviewed, because I am quite aware that in this setting I can be the embodiment of nervous laughter.
The oncologist had a few comments for me. First he commented that my spine was not straight. Okay he said that to everyone. I wanted to comment, "it's from sitting for hours in this Moscow traffic!" Actually I think my spine is fine. This was just one of those "things" they tell everyone. Also he commented on a mole on my back which has grown in recent years. "Not a problem yet, but have your doctor keep an eye on it." Frankly I do agree with him on that one. Finally he inspected my chest where I carry the one feature that got all the doctors' attention: a 15 inch scare along my sternum. He pressed to check the structure and indicated that the surgeon who conducted the surgery did an excellent job. Well I should hope so, the technique used is named after the man who operated.
The rest of the doctors conducted their interview as a panel and just asked a bunch of stock questions, checked my blood pressure, listened to my heart and breathing, etc... No big deal. The whole thing took 3 hours (including wait time). I did manage to spill a cup of tea in my lap just before we went in for our first set of interviews, however. Again I wanted to crack a joke about "my drinking problem", but I doubted they would have seen the movie "Airplane."

The drive to the airport yesterday took 2 hours. It's only about 25km away, so suffice it to say I could literally run there faster (I can run 25km in about 1:40). If there is one traffic feature that is incompatible with this volume of traffic, it's a rotary. Yes we hit a rotary. I won't go into too many details about the driving anarchy that ensued, because I couldn't do it justice and frankly you wouldn't believe me. Cars, trucks, everything ... 4 lanes wide on a one lane road... on the dirt...going up the off ramp of the highway jumping curbs...off-roading... total chaos. Is it any surprise that the Moscow Times published the stat that there have been 10K traffic fatalities so far this year in the Moscow region alone?

I'll write more later as I remember it, but now I'm going to do something I wouldn't have dared during the last week; go for a run on the street. I do have a life to rejoin for a month or two here.

Oh yes, one final note about the influx of US culture. Imagine my surprise flipping on the TV and seeing an ad for "South Park." With Putin and Bush disagreeing on the Missile Shield at the G8 summit, which was big news there, I half expected to hear Putin exclaim "Respect Ma Authoritah!" Oh yes, international newspapers also make a point of running the goofiest pictures of Bush that they can find.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Life in the slow lane...

If there is a lasting memory I will take away from Moscow, it's not an image of the Kremlin, it's the traffic. We sat in the car for about 6 hours today. It's just a giant gasoline and diesel powered queue. It's the story of the trip. Hurry up to get somewhere and then wait.

Today was the last of the official duties for this first trip (of 3) for the adoption. We filed our papers with the court. Today was only the second day the new court house was open, so it was not terribly efficient. Well, you've got to start somewhere. Most of the clocks had not yet been set, and there were workmen still moving things in and putting things together. That said it looks like it will be a nice facility once it is fully operational. The actual filing took about 35 seconds. We really just signed a book indicating that we had taken care of all of the prerequisites. However, after the signing was done (following a 35-45 minute wait), we had to wait for our interpreter because she was the only one present who was authorized to escort the two families who were having their adoption hearings to court. Below is a picture and my new friend Bill (he and his wife are also on their first trip) playing a little "travel Scrabble" to kill time.


We finally got to the baby home to see Dylan at 4:00pm. This after leaving the apartment at 9:15am. As indicated above, the lions share of the time was spent sitting in traffic.



Tomorrow is the flight home. Next update will be made in the States.

-Joel

PS: Hello to the "lurkers" out there. You know who you are Emily! I'll leave a comment on your blog when I get back.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What, no Starbucks?

Coffee was a big deal in St. Petersburg. I think it maybe had to do with the heavy italian influence. Moscow does not have the coffee addiction yet that St. Petersburg had. Case in point: they still use the word "coffee" when referring to instant! There are quite a few "cafes", which do seem to serve espresso based drinks, but the chain coffee shops have not made it and you cannot find Starbucks or Peets coffee (now available at Shaw's!) or Seattle's Best.

There is one exception: McDonalds. Yes you read that right: McDonalds. First they are everywhere. I mean everywhere. Second, many have something that does not exist in the states: McCafe. When you look inside a McCafe, it looks exactly like the coffee shop you find in Barnes and Noble. It is very similar to, but not exactly, a Starbucks. They even hand out punch cards for frequent buyers. I'm going to try it today.

I have found one good latte, at a chain italian restaurant. It is unique in that they put a layer of dense milk foam on the bottom, then the espresso layers into the middle, and finally the less dense foam on top. It creates a pretty cool presentation as the espresso cascades to the bottom (think of a Guiness beer).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Greetings from Moscow

This won't be a terribly long post, but I wanted to say hello to everyone back home and pass on a few details from the last three days. Jet lag is still an issue. We're 8 hours ahead over here and my body refuses to adjust to the new time. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that we're far enough north that at this time of year it is only dark for about 4 1/2 - 5 hours. It's still full light now and it is 10:00pm Moscow time.

We've seen Dilshor (soon to be Dylan Joseph) twice now. The first day was a brief, supervised visit. Today we spent a bit of quality time alone with him. He really started to open up today as we played with him indoors. There have been so many official things to take care of, and traffic is so awful here, that those two visits are the extent of our interaction. That said I have a good feeling about him. He's very alert and inquisitive. He crawls well and shows a desire to be up on his feet. If you hold him in the standing position, he really tries to not go back down to his knees. We'll see him again tomorrow morning and I'm sure even more new traits will come out.

Here are some observations:
- Despite the best efforts of politicians, our two cultures are growing more and more alike. In it's way it inspires hope in me. The western influence in Moscow is huge. The change has even caught up with the older folks, but clearly the youth are driving it. As we waited for examination by one of the 8 (not a typo) doctors we had to see today (more on that later), I observed an older woman, really the stereotype of a strong, stout Russian woman in plain sensible clothing, pull a kerchief from her large purse and unroll it only to reveal...a cell phone! The internet is everywhere as well. Currently one company, Goldspot, seems to dominate the Wi-fi market, but I would not be surprised to see competition come. There are hot spots covering most of the city. There are billboards for western goods everywhere. There are car dealerships everywhere (not only Lada, but Audi, Mistubishi, Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes, etc...) I even saw a Chevy dealer. At one point, the view of the Kremlin was blocked by a monstrous wall on which was painted an ad for Cartier. Did I mention the traffic?

- The worst part of being away, by far, is not seeing Alexandra. Missing her, combined with the sleepless nights, makes the nighttime seem interminable. I truly feel like we've been here more than 3 days. It's not as bad while we're doing things, but when there is idle time, it's really hard.

-Oh yes. Moscow is really expensive, especially the hotels, so after the first night at the Marriott Renaissance, we moved into an apartment. I'm glad we did so for more than just reasons of money. We've had to go out on the streets on our own and do things. It's still an intimidating city, but less so to me now. Other than the obvious architectural and civil engineering differences, it does remind me of NYC. The billboards and neon add to that.

-Note to Austin: It's a Windows world over here. Better tell Steve jobs to get an Apple store in Moscow quick. I've only seen one person walking with an iPod.

"Driving on New Arbot Street"

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Week 20: Another race week

Only two runs this week. It was a race week, and given our recently scheduled trip to Russia, will be the last race week until maybe the end of June. The first run was a 6 miler at lunch to shake out the cobwebs from the legs. 5 x 30 seconds on 30 seconds off at the 1/2 way point. The second run was on race day. It was actually 2 2.1 miles runs because the race was a duathlon. Managed around 5:50 per mile on the first run, and maybe 6:20 per mile on the second. Though the field was one of the weaker fields I've been in recently, nonetheless it was a good result for me. It was hot. Yes my second run was a bit slower than I'd like, but that was largely due to the heat, the fact that I tried to have a very fast bike leg, and the fact that I didn't try to run a PR. I was feeling pretty tapped on the 2nd run so I ran just fast enough to keep my competition behind me.

Overall I finished 5th, and was 2nd in my age group. My bike split was 7th overall, much better than I have been doing in the last two years. The announced field size was 220 people.

Runs: 53
Mileage: 6.0/4.2
YTD Mileage: 358.00

Friday, May 25, 2007

My Little Butterfly

Week 19 (Disney Week)

8.2 miles running. No biking. Three trips to the pool for a total swim time of 90 minutes. I did ttest myself running. Two 1.67 mile time trials around the resort's access road (2 days apart). Trial 1: 10:09. Trial 2: 9:48. Okay they were not exactly apples to apples, but I was definitely more acclimated to the heat by the second run. Amazing how fast you lose it when you're not used to the temperatures.

And did I mention the two people who started "dry humping" in the lap pool? "They mean lap swimming, not lap dancing!" Is it even possible to dry hump in a pool? Oh yeah, and they spoke French.

Runs: 51
Mileage: 5.0/3.2
YTD Mileage: 347.80

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Oxymoron

"Relaxing Disney Vacation"

(more to follow)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Get over here, punk!"

In general I try to not be judgmental (stop laughing Leanna). Really. Especially when it comes to parenting. I've been on "the other side" enough now to know the snapshot of parent child interaction one sees out in public just does not tell the whole story, so you just cannot pass judgment...usually.

I was running on the east side of Providence at lunch. On the way back to my office I came upon two women, one older one younger. I'm guessing they were mother and daughter because of the physical resemblance. They also had with them a young boy, maybe Alexandra's age, walking along on his own a few paces behind them. He saw a stone wall which he decided to climb. The daughter, who I am also assuming was the "mother" of the boy, looked backwards and yelled,"Get over here, punk!" She kept on walking ahead while the boy tried to climb the wall. Well it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess the rest. Boy falls off wall. Boy hits sidewalk. Boy screams (it was the real cry, not the fake one). Mother looks back and rushes to help him. Mother yells, "Serves you right!"

Maybe it was just tough love, right?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Week 18

Three runs in this training week, but in reality 4 runs in 6 days. By day six I was moving well but had a nerve pinch from some minor inflammation in my left knee which I think contributed to rolling my right ankle...again. Hurt like hell...again. It's fine now (that happened last Friday). Rode my bike pretty hard on Sunday and have been a little gassed all week. Finally recovering some. I've also found a serviceable pool about 15 minutes from work, so I'm back training in the water. It feels good.

Runs: 49
Mileage: 6.5/5/7.5
YTD Mileage: 339.60

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Alexandra...and Otis


Otis...outside...Otis...go poopie...


I might be getting older, but how 'bout a little respect.

Week 17

First 18 miler this year. I had targeted a 2:10 because the longest I had run this year was the hilly 13 miler in CT. I was pleasantly surprised by making the turn at Bretton Point (close to 1/2 way) at 1:01:50. The final time was 2:05:47. I also timed myself over the first and last 4 1/2 mile sections of the course (the same section only in reverse), and I was only 30 seconds slower. It was a good indication that my strength was still good. The main difference over last year's long runs was the fact that I ran more from my quads than my hamstrings. This means my stride was maybe a little long and I was bouncing a little. All-in-all it was not bad and the time was great for a first effort, but I do have some sore toes (jamming my foot into the front of the shoe because of my stride). Also the fact that I'm running so much from my quads right now is consistent with a subpar second run last week. The bike leg takes a bit out of your quads, so if you are relying too much on them for power, you're not going to get all the speed you would before the bike.

Because my run is pretty good right now, I feel comfortable focusing on riding and swimming for a bit here to try and get them up to speed before the 1/2 Ironman on June 3.

Runs: 46
Mileage: 6.5/18
YTD Mileage: 320.60

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Week 16: 1 race, 1 podium

Okay , it was my slowest time in 3 races on this course, on arguably the best day ever from a weather standpoint. Surprisingly most of the time I lost was running. Yes, I do not have the 5k type speed I once had, even with the extra speed sessions. Thank goodness I did those! Compared to 2004, I dropped 40 seconds on the first 3 mile run and another 40 seconds or so on the second run of 2 miles. The big surprise was only dropping 30 seconds on the bike. This was only my third day on the road THIS YEAR! The 2nd day on the road was yesterday. That new trainer that I was uncertain about getting, it is paying off.

**Note about today: I went into the race with the goal of trying to hit the following splits (18 minute, 30 minute, 12 minutes). I also wanted to get a podium place so I could bring home a medal to Alexandra. Ahh, my little muffin. Earlier in the week my friend Tim sent me an e-mail encouraging me to relax about my race results. He said, they may well look like the results of a father, not the results I used to see. But first and foremost you are a Dad. Well boy, never were more true words uttered. Last night, the night before my first race of the year, Alexandra woke up at 2:20AM and came into our room looking for Daddy. She wanted me to sit with her while she went back to sleep. I am a Dad first, so I did not hesitate to go. I never really got back to a sound sleep. So do I think it affected my performance? Absolutely. It probably accounted for much of the time lost (vs. 2004) on the run. I've logged time an again the high correlation between how rested I am, and how fast I run. The various "break through" times recorded in this blog, all came after being thoroughly rested. I am not upset about it, because let's face it, 12th overall and 3rd in my age group is nothing to piss and moan about. On a perfect day, maybe I'm 9th overall and 2nd. However, I'll take the 3rd and a happy little girl please.

I did do some training this last week (week 16 if you are keeping track). 30 minutes on the trainer, 6.5 miles running, and another 30 minutes on the road riding yesterday. Today was 3 miles running, 11 miles biking (in 30 minutes), and another 2 miles running.

Runs: 44
Mileage: 6.5/5.0
YTD Mileage: 297.10

Monday, April 16, 2007

To those fools...

...who think hanging out through a hurricane would be fun, you're wrong. We're in the middle of "just" a Nor' Easter right now, and it's more than enough. Wind gusts up to 55mph and lots of rain. Trust me, it is just not that fun. If a hurricane ever comes our way, I'm getting my family and my skinny butt out of dodge.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Week 15

The weather is starting to cause some issues. Only two runs this week, and no road rides, though I did manage a about 4 hours on the trainer. I ran Wednesday on the track at Hope High School: 3x800m (2:44, 2:44, 2:43). I went out again Friday for 6.25 miles easy.

My weight is hanging around 167.5 - 168 lbs (76kg). It's only an issue in how it plays into the metric watts/kg. While my power is improving, I'm not going to be climbing anything too big with a ratio of 3.56:1. Pros routinely run 5:1, and even fit age groupers are 4:1 or better, so I've still got some work. I think I'll set a goal for summer sometime (July?) of trying to hit 4:1.

Sunday is a sort of "referendum" on whether or not it is feasible to race at a fairly high level without spending too much time on the road riding. I have quite a few hours in my legs, but only one of those on the road. If I can ride the course (weather permitting) under 30 minutes, it is a very good thing for Daddy/triathletes everywhere.

Runs: 42
Mileage: 6.25/6.25
YTD Mileage: 285.60

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Week 14

3 rides and 4 runs: All of the rides occurred on the same day as the runs with the final, today, being the "mock-race" that I used to test myself starting June of last year (19.75 mile ride w/4.1 mile run. This was also the first day this year that I've actually ridden outdoors, so my expectations were fairly low. I would learn how well my trainer workouts on the new trainer translate to road riding.

My total time for the mock-race was 1:25:57, or 2:16 slower than last June. All of that deficit was from the bike. My run speed coming off the bike now, is as good as it was in June of last year, and that's quite a positive.

All things considered I'll take that bike time. I was riding my heavy training wheels, it was 30 degrees at start time, and it was windy as hell. My legs felt quite resilient, if not overly powerful. The biggest thing I need to add to my bike training is some slow cadence/big gear work; precisely the type of work which prepares you for riding in the wind. I'd like to get three more road rides in before my first race, but it might only be two. Despite that, I think I'll be okay. If it's less windy next Sunday, I'm going to try the mock-race again to see how big a factor that proved to be.

As for the rest of the week, the runs were good, though I tweaked my ankle on Thursday. The Tuesday ride was tough. My ability to handle the "double sessions" is improving noticeably. The weight is beginning to tick back down as well.

Runs: 40
Mileage: 6/6.25/5/4.1
YTD Mileage: 273.10

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mama said there would be days like these...

...she just never said when. Well 'when' is now. And 'now' is our transitioning Alexandra to her 'Big Girl' bed. A hearty welcome back to the days of sleep deprivation. I guess you could call it pre-season training for Dylan's arrival. You think they'd mind if I put a cot in my office at work?

Monday, April 02, 2007

What Brown doesn't ask on it's application

I was at the Post Office on the Brown campus today. There was a student in line in front of me struggling to ... assemble a cardboard box. No, I'm not kidding. Yes, I stared. It was unbelievable that someone, presumably smart, could make it this far in life without the ability to assemble a "ReadyPost" box. "Hey numb nuts, not that a normal person would even need them, but the instructions are printed on the side!" Something about "step one fold down the short sides, step 2 fold down the long sides, step 3 apply tape liberally to the seams" was too complicated. He folded the sides in the wrong order, he was tearing off these little 2 or 3 inches pieces of tape. Amazing.

The guy at the post office did not offer any advice. I think the entertainment value was just too great.

Week 13

Biggest week so far this year. 3 hard mornings on the trainer and 4 runs totally 30 miles. I had dead legs more than once during the week, but they recovered with just a single day off, so I'm pleased with my recovery. Now my weight on the otherhand, it's not what I'd usually like to see this close to racing. 169 pounds, up 4 pounds from Feb. I'm not concerned about the weight per se, just that it means I need to produce greater power to achieve my desired speed. Who knows, maybe I'm gaining weight because I'm gaining muscle. I have been doing a lot more power work on the bike, so perhaps my thighs are getting bigger. I'm not motivated enough to measure them, seems a little over the top!

Speaking of speed, one of the highlights of the week was my track work following my third morning rode of the week. 3 x 400m, with 400m easy between sets. 1:16, 1:13, and 1:10...the first 1:10 I've turned in many years. The other highlight was a good, not great 13+ mile run in Connecticut . What made it notable was not the fact that I ran a 1:33, bettering the January time by 4 minutes, but rather the fact that I ran a 6 minute or faster last mile. That's where this track work seems to be paying off; I have a strong finishing kick now. Let's just hope I get a little faster on the rest of the race to get into the position where a kick matters.

Runs: 36
Mileage: 5/6/6/13
YTD Mileage: 251.75

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Week 12

Three runs this again this week. That indeed was the plan. However, the plan also called for the third run to be a 10K race tomorrow morning. However, the threat of overnight snow combined with the fact that it is sunny calm and 50 right now, prompted me to change the plan. I chose to run today, despite having run yesterday, and instead of a 10K race it was my 10.8 mile run. I've wanted to begin lengthening my runs again, and today was the perfect day to do so. I'll admit being a little apprehensive about how it would go. The last time I did this run was week 7 and it was a 1:10. I ran with my HRM then. Today I ran by perceived effort and once again ran for a decent time. It wasn't a max effort, but I was trying for a fast run. To my surprise I ran a very strong 2nd half of the run today. I think my 1/2 way split was almost identical to week 7, but I finished in 1:08:42. I did feel like I had some real kick going. After weeks of not seeing any real gains (and indeed not even running long), it's nice to see things start to fall into place. I'll be nice and relaxed as I take my new bike trainer for it's maiden voyage tomorrow.


Oh yes, my new trainer...I almost forgot to tell you. For my birthday I got a new bike trainer, a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine fluid trainer. It's warrantied forever and is generally acknowledged as the trainer with the ride most like being on the road. The resistance unit is precisely calibrated for the same power curve you'd experience riding a 1% grade, so I can train by power simply by knowing how fast I am going. As cycling coaches say, a watt is a watt is a watt, so if you can ride 300 watts for 30 minutes on the trainer, you'll be able to do that outside also, no matter what the terrain.

**Update: Okay, I took the Road Machine for it's maiden voyage (30 minutes w/4 intervals 2min on 1min off @ ~275 watts on). It is a sweet device...sweet and cruel. It suckers you in by being really easy at slow speeds, and then kicks your ass as soon as you try and go hard! Granted I'm a little tired right now, but it looks like currently my avg. sustained power for 30 minutes would be in the realm of 230-240 watts (as measured by the power vs. speed chart supplied with my trainer). As I start to focus on this training a little more we'll see how I improve. I race for real (a duathlon) in four weeks time. I'd like to be able to sustain 280 watts by then (could be wishful thinking) with an ability to hold 400 watts for 45 seconds to a minute (would mimic the one steep climb on the race course). Alexandra has been kind enough to nap today, so I'm thinking of loading up a water bottle and "spinning" for another 30 minutes. This trainer is much easier and more comfortable than my old one for riding easy. **

Runs: 32
Mileage: 6/5/10.8
YTD Mileage: 221.75