Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tweaks and Peaks!

I am coming to the end of this four week cycle. I am enjoying breaking my training plan into four week sections, that way I don’t freak myself out…of course it should come as no surprise as I am copying it from a published plan. However not knowing what is coming round the corner is kinda fun even when you assume Sunday is a cross training day and you diligently oull out your bike and ride for 20 miles and then find out it was a scheduled rest day; whoops!

Starting next week I am introducing some hill work, the weekend’s trail run showed my that I need to focus on that, there’s a nice little hill about half a mile from my house that I can learn to hate with a passion that cannot be measured run up and my local trail has a good climb to it also; I plan to get to these midweek.

I am also planning on shifting my training week to Monday thru Sunday, currently I am Saturday through Friday.  Having my long run at the start of the week was always a psychological upper, come the end of the weekend it was done, having it at the end of the week makes it seem so far away but a couple of the training logs aren’t that flexible and it throws off my numbers…yes I am that anal retentive.

I signed up for the Long Beach Marathon which is in October; I need the long runs and this is a simply a supported long run, I have not run it before so it should be fun and new, there are a few folks I know running it so it also a chance to catch up with them.

So that’s it for August…bring on September.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Trail Rules…

image Yes it does, 15 miles of it this morning treated me to views like this…

image Here’s some video from a different viewpoint…it was such a clear day that I could see for I am guessing 15 miles…amazing!

Ended up bushwhacking a bit but it’s all good really, this was from a little known and little used trail…lot’s of “wait-a-while'” burrs I was wrestling with it when I rounded a corner and startled an 8 point stag who bounded away; amazing!imageGot a rude awakening to hill work…I am no prophet but I am seeing a lot of hills in my future; they kicked my butt today!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Channel Runner

imageNope nothing to do with the English Channel and all to do with the internet web thingy! My iPod is full of things; music, books and podcasts.

I’ve been listening to podcasts for the last three of four years, hell I even have on of my own, although it’s on a but of hiatus right now. There’s never enough time to listen to all them and sometimes I don’t want to have to choose.

Enter Channel Runner. I heard about this on the Runners Round Table, it’s called Channel Runner and to put it in it’s simplest terms its a live stream of running/triathlon/endurance podcasts as they are published 24/7. Think of it as a bit like Pandora for athletes. You can get it on your pc, your iPhone, your Android phone, your Blackberry or your pc. Just tune in hit play and your good to go. You can follow them on Twitter too! @channelrunner

Give it a go! Click here to launch it in iTunes or here to launch it in Windows Media Player.

Tell ‘em I sent you!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Twinge be gone; killing and rotating shoes…

My knee/quad tendon is better…yay! Hopefully this will not be listed as my famous last words!  Two strips of KTTape over the space of 10 days, some icing, some babying and we’re back on track. One thing that I did do was retire my shoes; 325 miles on my Brooks Adrenaline 10s, a little earlier than I hoped; about 50 miles shy of what I was expecting.

One thing I wondered was what the impact of wearing my runners to the gym, not a drama on an elliptical machine but when using a leg press there’s a lot of squishing going on! Add to that calf raises and few other things and there has to be some impact, excuse the pun. So I have dug out a pair of old shoes for the gym specifically!

The other thing was shoe rotation typically I rotate my shoes but I got out of the habit, switching orthotics and all that it’s a bit of a faff, so I am going to make the effort. In case you’re wondering on the wisdom of shoe rotation here are some soundbites and links to articles:

Buying two pairs of identical shoes and rotating them each day you run will give your shoes the amount of time you need to decompress and help prolong the useful life of your running shoes. There is an old saying, buy two, get the life of three”…full article

“Whenever possible, you should avoid running in the same pair of shoes more than once a day, and would preferably not wear the same shoes two days in a row. When you run in a pair of shoes, even on a warm or cool day with no precipitation and a dry surface, your shoes still get a little wet. Your feet sweat, and the fabric can absorb some of the humidity from the air. By not wearing your shoes two days in a row, you will allow your shoes to completely dry out”…full article

“It takes up to 48 hours after just a few miles of running for the midsoles of running shoes to fully recover their shock absorption properties. Allowing them time to recover at least that long reduces one's risk of injury and extends the life span of the shoes”…full article

So the next pair enter the fray with 123 miles on them I will be rolling a second pair into rotation, of course, inevitably, Brooks is about to retire the 10s so it might be time to stock up!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vacation is over…now for a rest week!

Sounds counter intuitive right…as mentioned in my Daily Mile log yesterday;

image If you want to find/follow me just search for Quadrathon, Thursday was my OWS it was so short it does not register! Friday was another six and I finished out the week inches short of 40 miles. Saturday started another week and my long run was only long in duration; 12 miles in nearly two hours! WTF!!Legs were shot, if fact my body is pretty beaten up. An uncomfortable bed, two kids who were up at the crack of dawn and seemed to run on Lithium long life batteries and bad food choices just sapped the strength out of me.

So this week is a down week in mileage, although it started yesterday and that’s the only down bit, the rest of the week is business as usual. I redeemed myself in the pool today with another mile+ in an hour, that black line makes it so much easier than the ocean! The rest of the week will be early runs and lunchtime at the gym, that’s the plan at least; a cursory glance at my work Blackberry shows an inbox of 500+ unread for the week! That’s actually worse than my blog reader which is at 300+, I’ll be spending some quality time with you all tonight before an early-ish night!

Here are a bunch of random photos from the trip; Mission Bay and SeaWorld mostly.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Thursday, cross training. As mentioned earlier this week I am not going to the gym and so today I had two choices, rent a pedal rickshaw and drive the family nuts doing loops around the complex or use the big blue ocean; I choose the latter.

I have always had a healthy respect for triathletes, doing one thing well is hard enough, doing three, well enough said!

So the picture above is the area of ocean by our room it's a lagoon of sorts but there is a tide, mostly gentle, great for kids, it drops off pretty quick though and has thick seaweed which contains swimmer eating fish, sharks, crocodiles and maybe a long lost Jurassic monster!

There and back was my limit! With no black line to follow my sighting was poor so it was more like; over here a bit, over there a bit and back, best estimates 250-300 meters maybe a bit more. Oh and salty too...I forgot about that bit!

Chalk up another lunatic moment...now where's the rickshaw rental shack!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Necessity is the mother of invention...

There's a gym where we're staying but there's a charge to use it, man that gets my goat, 'cos the resort is soooo cheap to start with right, not!

So I am leaning on an old favorite the push-run! Although I am mixing it up into a push-squat-run, 1mile, 15 pushups and 20 squats, that soon adds up over 6 miles, an is a nice solid workout. Today was hot and I was in it good and proper starting at around 10:00am, my pace was a little slow with an average of 8:01, that puts me into Zone 2 by a smidge; literally one beat per minute. I guess all that stopping and starting took its toll. I got some funny looks and Stephanie asked me on Daily Mile did I get embarrassed doing exercises outdoors, to be honest I have never really thought about it, but I suppose some people look at it as "hmm that's neat" and other's may think "nutcase" either way I'll take it as a compliment!

Later in the day I was running up the beach, the sand was hot and I passed a tall gangly teenager, maybe 16 or 17 years old running back to his room only to hear his Mum shout to him "hurry up, that guy's faster than you and way older"! I said to her that I took it in the spirit in which was meant! It just made me laugh a little on the inside!

Tomorrow is supposed to cool down to early 80s and I am not complaining the heat is nice but no matter what I always end up burning my head and feet, the former from lack of coverage the latter from lack of exposure!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mission Bay mission accomplished...

I took a nice easy 4 mile, Zone 1 (8:10) recovery run around the bay this morning, followed by a four hour workout at Sea World, seriously, give me a hot and hilly 50k any day than a million people wanting to see Shamu!

Posted from Blogium for iPhone

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sixteeen and Scooby Doo!

Backed right off the pace just to get it done without any further twingery;

image Spent the afternoon chasing the meddling kids around Universal Studios;

image So starts vacation proper, well after a quick trip to the gym…

Friday, August 13, 2010


Twinge + Injured = Twingered!

My knee…actually my left Quadriceps tendon is sore. It’s been kinda sore all week, I had a pretty fast 6 miler; 46:42 on Tuesday, it was only +30 seconds off my 10k PR pace. I laid off the weights Tuesday lunchtime and had and easier run on Wednesday; 6.2 miles; 51:52  and Thursday was on the bike for an hour. Today I woke up late and had to double up at the gym at lunchtime; treadmill 6 miles; 48:01 minutes and then core and weights…slightly extended lunchtime, but hey I worked for the man for 13 hours yesterday. 

I have had it taped with KTTape since Tuesday and have iced it when I can, no NSAIDS; I would sooner know about the pain than mask it.  I am early enough in my plan that a day or two off won’t be a drama…and that’s what I am going to keep telling myself!

Tomorrow I have a 16 miler, then we; the fam are off to my company’s annual picnic so no relaxing there. Sunday we head to San Diego on vacation so expect blogging to be a bit spotty and from my iPhone.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review; FuelBelt H20 hydration belt

P1030213 A long time ago…well not that long ago, a little over 3 years ago, I ran my first marathon and I ran it wearing a FuelBelt. It stood me an good stead through that one and then another one a few years later.

Since then the FuelBelt has evolved and diversified, and with that in mind I was keen to try the new H2o style and so without shame I contacted them and asked if they would send me one…and they did! WOOT!

So here’s the review…this thing rocks! Why? Well first some info from their website:

The H2O Collection is one of our biggest announcements for 2010! We took our popular Helium 2-Bottle Belt and turned it into a lightweight, multi-functional one size fits all design. With 7 new colorways to choose from, we have many options for runners of all abilities. Mix and match different colored accessory bottles to get a custom look, add extra 8oz or 10oz bottles for more volume, or add race number attachments or LED lights for higher visibility. Our customers have been asking for a scalable yet stylish hydration belt and H2O hits on all cylinders. Who says you can’t have it all?

Total Volume: 16oz
Colors: Silver/Black, Hibiscus Pink/Cocoa, Royal Blue/Silver, Yellow/Black, Tangerine/Cocoa, Surf Blue/ Silver and Kiwi Green/Black.
Size: One size fits all. Belt adjusts for waist sizes 24" to 44"

So onto the review. As you can see from the photos below this belt comes with two eight ounces bottles that slot into elasticized holders; the bottles are easy to reseat in the holders while running and the elastic is enough to hold them snuggly but not so tight you have to fight to get them out. Twin bottles also allows you to mix up your drinks. Their size and distribution means that they are not slapping you in the kidneys every step you take. There is a small removable pouch, I have managed to jam three gels and a small baggie with a couple of Nuun tablets in it and that’s about it.

The belt is made up of two sections, the sculpted area at the bag which is designed to fit the contours of your back, which it does very well, the padding is slight but effective, wicking and not overly warm. At the sides the the belt switches to an elasticized section which is easily adjusted on either side and secures at the front which a massive piece of velcro. There is some reflective trim to tidy off the package.

As mentioned the belt is accessorizable; (yeah it’s not a word…whatev’!) you can add bigger pouches, a race number attachment (requested by Ironman World Champ Craig Alexander!) mix up the color of your bottles, use bigger 10oz bottles and even another bottle holder…it’s like the Swiss Army knife of hydration belts.

The only downside is the overall capacity, upgraded this belt can carry up to 28oz. which when your runs are long and unsupported 28oz runs out pretty quickly but there is always room for a $5 bill.

All in all this belt is, form fitting, functional and with multiple color options and accessories fun. Available through multiple outlets online, the best price I saw was $27.95, the typical price is around $40.00.

You can read my other Hydration product reviews here:

This Belt was provided free of charge by the good folks at FuelBelt. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at quadrathon@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review; Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel

Rockin' Refuel Protein MilkI am sure you have all heard of the benefits of chocolate milk for recovery…in case you have been living under a rock here are a few articles to go and read:

Mind Body and Spirit Fitness - Got Milk? Try Chocolate After Your Workout

CBS News Chocolate Milk: The New Sports Drink?

Medscape Extract Chocolate Milk May Improve Recovery After Exercise

The list goes on seriously just Google Chocolate milk recovery or Chocolate Milk sports nutrition and you’ll see. I have used it intermittently although my preferences is for Soy milk, but hey that’s just me, so when the good folks from Shamrock Farms contacted me asking if I would be interested in trying their new product Rockin’ Refuel I of course said yes (at this stage I would like to point out that sometimes I do say no…but not this time). A few days later a chilled box arrived and inside where one of each flavor, Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla I threw them in the fridge and waited for some long runs. I usually don’t use any fuel be it during or after until my runs get into the 75 minutes plus range.

First here’s some info from their website:

  • 20 grams of protein, more than the leading sports and recovery drinks
  • 100% real milk
  • Nine essential nutrients
  • Naturally occurring electrolytes
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Formulated without high-fructose corn syrup
  • Low glycemic index

So cometh the long run cometh the recovery, I tried the Vanilla one weekend and the chocolate the next; I nearly missed out on the strawberry as my kids nabbed it first and I had to wrest it from them! So from a taste perspective they are, in my opinion, very palatable. I did solicit feedback from the fridge bandits who described it a “yummy”. All three flavors are drinkable although I was rather partial to the vanilla flavor, but I’ll take vanilla over chocolate any day…hey that’s how I roll!

As for effectiveness, well they’re filling and after my longs runs I had no DOMS, so I would say they worked for me.

So let’s talk about the contents, well there are some variables that are driven by the flavors as you can see they are pretty calorific for 12oz of milk which is usually; Whole: 150, 2%: 120, 1%: 100 and Skimmed: 80, not a bad thing when you’re looking for calorie replacement.





So as you can see there are a few other things thrown in in addition to your standard “milk”.

  • Fructose; is a simple sugar
  • Sucrose; is table sugar
  • Whey Protein Isolate; derived from milk products and somewhere between 29-89% protein Carragenan; is a thickener used in anything from ice cream to shoe polish to personal lube!
  • Palmitate is used as an antioxidant and a source of vitamin A added to low fat milk and other dairy products to replace the vitamin content lost through the removal of milk fat
  • Guar Gum; used in dairy products as a thickener
  • Dipotassium phosphate; used in non dairy creamer as a coagulant
  • Red #40; food dye, banned or being phased out in the EU, approved by the FDC in the US. On June 30, 2010, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) called for the FDA to ban Red 40. Executive Director Michael Jacobson said, "These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behavior problems in children and, possibly, cancer in anybody."

Well what can I say, it was going pretty will until we got the the food dye! As a parent and as someone who has seen the devastating effects of cancer anything that is a possible carcinogenic is simply a no no, period!

As you can see from my cursory research there’s a lot of stuff in these drinks. I am clearly no chemist and here’s the rub, do you need to be one to drink these drinks well maybe or maybe not! That being said do you need to be a chemist to drink a glass of Endurox or Recoverite, in truth I don’t know but there is never any harm in reading the labels.

So what to say in summary well in my opinion check out the chocolate and vanilla flavors and leave the strawberry on the shelves at the store. Ultimately we do place some inherent trust in the manufacturers and the government bodies that monitor their products and when they add something that’s iffy, well that trust is broken.

Available through multiple outlets, the drink retails for $1.39, there is a store locator on their website where you will also find a few promotions for a free t-shirt and a coupon.

This drink was provided free of charge by the good folks at Shamrock Farm. See previous gear reviews in the sidebar on the right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at quadrathon@gmail.com.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Well as mentioned two posts ago I was not sure where my new HR Zones would leave me on a long run and so early Saturday morning I found out. The plan was 15 miles and at a little after 5:00am I was on the road…seriously 5:00am on a Saturday morning! Well needs must when you wife has a yoga class at 8:00am right! Conditions were perfect, once the sun came out I could see that there was no sun, low cloud and cool temperatures, I made my way around my neighborhood, hitting the trails was not going to work and that could have taken me up to three hours plus the drive there and back.

I have to say there is some advantage to running in the wee hours in the dark, I really must look like a complete freak! Compression shorts, long compression socks and full sleeve tattoo arm warmers I was getting zero eye contact from the few other runners I saw but I am over 40 and I am all about function over fashion.

So two hours and change I was back home with 15.56 on the clock and an average pace of 8:36 somewhat off of the 7:45 I had mentioned before! I was 47% in the new Zone 2 which is good but 35% in Zone 1…a stark reminder to me to make your hard runs hard and your easy runs easy…the good news is I get to try it again on Saturday! Here are the numbers…not quite a negative split, I missed it by 48 seconds if you extrapolate it to 16 miles.

image Anyway this week I have a bunch of reviews to write up before I go on vacation next week so if you interested in new trail shoes (Salomon XT Wings 2) a hydration belt (Fuelbelt H20) a recovery drink (Shamrock Farms or Mix 1) stayed tuned.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Down then up….

This week was a down week, I dropped the second cross training from yesterday, three hours last Sunday was enough, and skipped the gym during the week. After rebaselining Monday I worked out my new zones and hit early mornings Wednesday and Friday with them, I took an extra rest day on Thursday. As suspected the new pace is around the 7:45 mark, I am not focusing on that though I am just trying to stay in the zone. So far so good…



image Friday

A little too fast on Friday, I was actually only 3 minutes over my 10k PR! Well three minutes is a lot over a 10k but I was pleased. It will be interesting to see how this plays out on long runs and to be honest this goes out the window on the trail. So the next four weeks I am on the up. With the new zones I am not out to hit them every run, Monday’s will be a recovery run so I’ll be loitering in Zone 1 and I'll be trialling on the long run. The mileage is also increasing, steadily climbing and but the end of the month I will be at 40 mpw…yay! Back in the gym during the week and continuing the cross training will keep me on the straight and narrow.

image So onwards and upwards we go! Come the beginning of September I’ll have 9 weeks to race day! And now with a 15 miler to be completed before 8:00am I am off to hit the hay.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Re-zoning Part Deux!

So yesterday I headed to the gym to redo my Heart Rate Zones. Same drill as before, warm up and them a 20 minutes timetrial at best effort. My HR spiked a little and then settled after half a mile and the first mile clicked by in 8:07. I started the next phase; I went out a little too fast and the backed off a little too much and finally got in the groove.

image And so compared to 8 weeks ago here is some of the data

  Mile 1 Wk1 Mile 1 Wk8 Mile 2 Wk1 Mile 2 Wk8 Mile 3 Wk1 Mile 3 Wk8
Time 6:50:86 6:48:37 6:50:30 6:52:01 6:19:68 6.27:00
Avg Pace 6:51 6:48 6:50 6:52 6:59 6:34
Ave Speed 8.8mph 8.8mph 8.8mph 8.7mph 8.6mph 9.1mph
Max Speed 9.1mph 9.3mph 9.1mph 9.7mph 8.8mph 9.7mph
Ave HR 159 163 165 168 170 175
Max HR 164 172 169 173 173 181
Avg Cadence 89 88 88 87 87 89


I have bolded Week 8 just to make it easier to read. For Mile 3 Wk 1 I covered 0.91 of a mile and for Week 8 I covered 0.98. So here’s the takeaways, feel free to correct me.

* Overall I am faster, I covered more distance in the same time, only 0.07 more, but more nevertheless

* I have a higher top end of speed maxing out at 9.7 compared to 9.3

* I have a higher HR capacity or LT threshold topping out at 181 compared to 175

So what next, well according to Friel I can rezone to the following:

  Old New
Zone 1 0 – 138 0 –143
Zone 2 139 – 148 144 – 154
Zone 3 149 – 156 155 – 161
Zone 4 157 –163 162 – 168
Zone 5 164+ 169+

So for the next month these will be my new Zones and I’ll be spending my time in Zone 2, well as much of it as I can…then the fun really starts; hillwork!

Monday, August 2, 2010

There’s no smoke without fire…

Sunday’s ride was detoured. I was pedaling along minding my own business, multi-tasking riding to a kid’s birthday party that my wife was driving to and I saw this…


As I got a bit closer it turned into this…


Closer still…


Hmm, it seems to be in front of me now…


Ah yes…here it is!


Zoom lens…then on my right I saw this…

If you listen closely you can hear the Police saying “Go Home”…so I about faced.

I headed to the party by way of a different route, I arrived no worse for wear with a solid 43+ miles and nearly 3 hours on the clock…never a dull moment. Eight acres (8 soccer fields), 200 firefighters and 4 hours later it was out. Here’s the rest of the photos from the day including some up close ones of a group of riders that I drafted off of clicking off 3 minute miles…sweet!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rest ‘n’ Test!

June and July are done, that pretty much leaves one more week and I have completed the first nine weeks of this cycle. Here are the stats:

image June


I am within 4% (actually over) of the schedule, a couple of extra rest days in July and actually some over mileage has kept me within that percentage so it’s not really a true representation of reality, when the plan says run 11 and you run 14 cos’ you’re feeling good, it’s a bit of a false economy. So I need to rein myself in a bit to make sure I don’t over do it too soon.

There are four things that I am really pleased with;

The Variety; as you can see I am really mixing things up with swimming, elliptical, cycling and weights. I have managed to set up a nice routine of running in the morning and going to the gym four days during the week at lunchtime, it makes actually make ‘eating’ lunch a bit tricky but I fit it all in somehow.

The Heart Rate Training; my average running heart rate for June was 143 for July it was 135, that’s an 8bpm drop, but that needs to be reconciled to the increase in speed, June 6.17mph a 9:43 pace and July 7.30mph an 8:13 pace, so in lay terms ( my preference) I am faster for less effort! I am, to be honest shocked at this, I was expecting an improvement but not one so large…but hey I’ll take it!

Weight Training; I was never a gym rat, lifting weights is dull, I found this book on Amazon, it’s really simple, as are the workouts, and they are effective, I have actually been using it for three weeks and can feel myself stronger, having better posture and I can even see some muscle growth! I’ll never bench press my weight but hopefully no one will be kicking sand in my face at the beach!

Weight Loss; I seem to have reached that point of slightly less that natural equilibrium where I am in a deficit and the weight is not s0 much falling off but redistributing, going up a notch on my belt without a large drop in lbs on the scale means I am putting on muscle mass and becoming leaner. Also I am no spring chicken so adding some of that lost muscle due to age is no bad thing.

This week I am having a bit of a rest week and I am, as the title alludes to retesting and reseting my HR zones. I am not sure whether to carry on as I am for another month, basically repeating July through August or whether to introduce some hill work…I am rerunning the original test tomorrow so I will make a decision after that but so far so good.