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