Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Out with a bang!

And back with a sniff!

January is in the bank, I have to say I am very pleased with how it all went with the exception of right at the end where I have caught a stinker of a cold from my one of my mobile germ warfare factories (aka kids), I thought I had shrugged it off but it hit me like a ton of bricks today! Off work and everything!

But let’s focus on the good stuff. I have created a nice little routine over the last two weeks which is:

  • Monday – morning swim, evening bike
  • Tuesday – morning bike, evening run
  • Wednesday –  morning swim, evening bike
  • Thursday – Morning bike, evening run
  • Friday – morning swim
  • Saturday – morning swim
  • Sunday – Long ride and brick run

Yeah there are no days off but the back to back swims allow for recovery, especially as I improve in the pool, but I like having the 4 pool sessions as my swimming endurance is slowly building up and the shorter sets allow me to focus more on my form. That being said it’s not going to be sustainable to train 7 days a week when the distances get longer so some tradeoffs are going to have to be made. I managed my first brick run this weekend and while not a massive run; 5 miles off a 50 mile ride I was pleased that I could finish it in 40 minutes and that was with my first mile at 9:40 pace!

I also had my first race of the year which was very the 13.1 Los Angeles (report here) it was never going to be fast and I was pleased that I could go out and run a HM with very little training for it. Another success was that I tried my wetsuit for the first time, it was a a very quick dip in the local pool late on Sunday but I felt it was necessary to make sure that I could swim in it, finding out on race day that I couldn’t would have been really bad! It might be a tad too short; the curse of being tall and slim, typically as things get longer (taller) they get wider! The last big thing was settling on a saddle; an ISM Adamo Break Away for my TT bike, putting some mileage on it and riding on both the flats and through the hills if my road bike was anything to go by it’s going to take 1500 –2000 miles to get comfortable on it so I have a fair way to go!


Last Sunday’s ride; 25 mile flatish, 25 mile hilly

So let’s look at the numbers:

  • 530 total miles (15 less than December which was my biggest mileage month for 2011)
  • 50.01 time, so about 12 hours a week (around a 90 minutes per week gain over November)
  • 57:58 miles running in 8:07 (December 9/1:19) Longest run 13.1/1:53
  • 453 miles cycling in 27:49 (December 524/33:07) Longest ride 55/3:40 on Slice
  • 25,525 yards swam in 12:35 (December 21,278/10:39) Longest Swim (x2) 1800yds 53:00 (Jan 7) 47:00 (Jan 30)
  • Starting weight 171.2lb ending 172.4lb

I am pleased about having such big back to back months. What I am really pleased about is my swimming, just this last week it has felt like it has clicked a bit more, my form feels like it is improving. I am building a more than a nod rapport with the folks I see at the gym (5am starts will do that) and they have commented that I am looking better in the water. I am still very focused on my form as having that correct will set me up for the next stages which are endurance and speed although I am seeing an improvement in my speed already (see the times above). I am still adding yardage each week to the distance I swim unsupported i.e. no pool buoy and it is getting easier as it gets longer.

So this week is a step back week, a good job with this cold. February’s focus is adding in more core work (i.e. doing some) and then I will have three more build weeks and a taper week to race day.

One last thing is that, hopefully I have been a bit of better blogger (try saying that three times fast!) both in posting and commenting, I shuffled up my blog roll and cut some, it was crazy long and a lot of them when I dug into them had died, so I am keeping it fairly short and manageable, as always I really appreciate you for stopping by, leaving a few words and not pointing and laughing too much!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday funnies…

This used to be me…

But recently I am all about the...

I hope I never have this conversation with myself...


Have a great brick weekend!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Claret and the Blue

This is not a post about West Ham United Football Club! This is however a quick post about the, well Claret and Blue!

The Claret, if you saw this post you will have noticed I bought myself a new bike, a sexie fixie! The rational was to have something to ride with kids. They are almost off of training wheels (the youngest who is 4 has almost got it, but his stupid bike is also a fixie and he forgets to keep pedaling when going round corners and grinds to a halt!) I see a new bike for him coming real soon! I did not want to take $xxxx worth or carbon fiber to the park so I spent literally $250 and you know what happened on the the first ride it got scratched, kinda proved my thinking but inside of me a little piece really did die. I contacted the manufacturers to see if they sold touch up paint, they didn’t! So off to CVS I went and twenty minutes later I left with two bottles of nail varnish and taa daa one matched! If you need to know it’s #670 Violet Top Speed (who knew you could have fast nail varnish) by Revlon


The Blue, so on the back of my Tri bike is this elaborate hydration system, a frame is bolted to the seat rails, inside of it is a holder for C02 cartridges, outside of it is two water bottle cages. I had previously fitted it to the stock saddle that came with the bike and when I undid it I broke the seal on all the Loctite on the threads, this is the blue seal that stops you nuts from coming loose, something you do now want to have happen on a bike (or anywhere mind you!). I noticed that the frame had slipped down a lot after last weekend’s ride and when I checked all the nuts were loose! So thanks to Amazon Prime 48 hours later I have my tube of Henkel Loctite Blue 242 to recover the threads and make my nuts secure again…yes please feel free to comment away!

What colors work for you?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Five fast weeks!

This would have been Six weeks of Speed but one week has passed! A few people have emailed me asking about my speed work plans so without further ado here they are:


All of these work out are from the FIRST 5K training plan so I can’t claim any ownership to them other than getting them done and making them my own! They are based on a 20:00 5k which right now would be a bit of a stretch but hey if it was easy everyone would be doing it!

This obviously doesn’t include any “off the bike” runs, next time I will leave my keys under the mat!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Setting expectations!

I am usually late, actually that’s not quite true, in my professional life I am usually on time, occasionally early, in any typical week I spend 20-25 hours in meetings in various buildings as my company has expanded so I am often seen “fast walking” along corridors or playing frogger across the four lanes that runs between buildings. In my personal life I am a disaster! Why do I mention this, well because the expectation is that I will be late and so people, it would seem, bake that into their timelines.

So as mentioned yesterday my plan today was to run off the bike for 30 minutes. I was almost on time arriving back and figured that I would be able to squeeze in a quick 25 minutes or 3 miles, all I had to change shoes and ditch some of the cold weather clothing I was wearing, leg warmers etc. As I rounded the corner I could see my house and I could also see the SUV was off the drive…no one was in, I had no keys either! I dismounted and dug out my phone texted and called my wife but there was no reply. 50 minutes later she showed up.

“…well you’re always late so I figured you would be this time…

Yep expectations set and met! No biggie I sat on the front step in the sunshine and chillaxed, not quite the Brick I hoped for! That being said my ride went well it was very much a two parter, the first 20 miles spent on flat and fast loops around a local lake, the next 30 miles climbing through the Santa Monica Mountains and then an easy 5 or so rolling home.


It was by far the longest ride on the new Cannondale Slice with the newly installed Adamo Break Away saddle, it went pretty well and all things considered I was comfortable, it’s going to take a little getting used but I did make a point of wearing Tri shorts rather than cycling shorts as that’s what I will be wearing on race day, I have also fitted my hydration solution which is an XLab Turbo with double Gorilla Cages, the bottles stayed in ok for the whole ride although I did notice that they were working their way out. something to be weary of in the future! 


So this end another week of training and all things considered it went pretty well, 4 days of doubles, the only miss was today’s brick run so I was about 3 miles/25 minutes behind the curve, with 134 miles covered in 12:18


Friday, January 20, 2012

Turning the Screw

My first Triathlon of the 2012 season, hell my first Triathlon evah!! is a scant 6 weeks away. It’s a Sprint; it should take me approximately 80-85 minutes to complete the 500 meter swim (15 mins) 14 mile bike ride (43 mins)  3mile run (24 mins). Of course I hope to be done sooner. Now while for the last 8 weeks I have been really really focused on the swim and really focused on the bike (albeit my road one and not my Tri one, pending recent saddle resolution) the one thing that has taken a back seat has been the run, in fact that’s not been anywhere near the front since late November.

That’s ok in my mind as it makes little sense to practice what I am good at (good is of course relative) and ignore what I am crap at and that is why I choose to do what I did, but with the race coming up it’s time to start turning the screw on the run, after all this is not like a usual 5k, I will have been in motion for around an hour before! With three successes (5k, 10k and Half Marathon and a partial success at the Marathon distance) it’s no surprise that I am returning back to the FIRST plan for some interval and tempo run workouts.

The first week (no pun) is in the bag and on Tuesday I ran 400m Intervals, I ran it on a Treadmill so I am reliant on a Garmin Footpod which is not as good as GPS or a Track so I am a little dubious over the splits but even with a margin of error they are not too bad.


Thursday I ran a 5m Tempo run and my Garmin had a heart attack (another reason I am doubting my Interval times, it also mucked the first mile from last weekend’s 13.1 race) AND I forget my HR strap, which I hate! #virgo


But according to the Treadmill, it was 8:20, 8:00 and then 3 x 7:40 so again I am not setting the world alight but it is nice to know that I can pull a reasonable run out of the bag. The other thing I need to dial in (by that I mean do!) is run off the bike i.e. a Brick, which is totally new to me. I did a short run after a ride a couple of weeks ago but it was so long after (20 minutes) that it probably had no benefit, so this weekend I’ll be running 30 minutes after a 4-5 hour ride, assuming I last that long on a new saddle…that might be a bit bold!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do not panic….well maybe a little!

Saturday night…


No Gmail, Blogger including this blog, Reader, Picassa…all gone! OMFG!

And 36 hours later…..



What would you do if it all went?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

13.1 Los Angeles

photo (87)This would be the third time of running the 13.1 race. I am officially on a streak! It was never going to be fast and I was a bit worried about if I could pull it off at all seeing as I have not run more than 20 miles in total since November!

The game plan was to go out steady and stay there, enjoy it hopefully bump into some friends and just have a good time. I turned up at the start and managed after a little stress to park in the VIP parking, basically $20 allowed to park right by the race start which is a huge perk although it can get a bit fraught if you get there late.

The race is getter bigger each year and this year 2800 people ran the Half Marathon, that’s a lot of people squashed up against the Ocean but they seem to fit in ok, the race organizers kept everyone entertained. Due to perfect timing I had little wait time and after a decision on shorts over tights I was rubbing shoulders on the start line ready to go. I had no real idea what my time or pace would or should be so I had decided to be conservative and stick to a 8:30 pace, I have not run any real miles since my last 50k and nothing fast since the Santa Clarita Marathon so this was essentially a Z2 run; a solid base builder.

This year presented a new course which instead of being an out and back along Venice Blvd took the runners south around Marina del Rey and along the beach path to Dockweiler Beach which you passed and then returned along a short road section to the finish, as it was a point to point there were buses laid on the take you back to the start. The route itself is pancake flat and on the whole very pretty, running along a beach path is really hard not to like! The only downside was a short section where you run past the water treatment plant…consider that an incentive to hustle some!

I worked pretty well at keeping my pace steady and chatted with a few runners on the way, I had no iPod and it was actually really nice to not have to have the crutch of music, it’s also good mental practice as there are no iPods allowed in triathlons. All in all I am happy with my splits, nothing to set the world alight but a good solid set.


Something funky happened with the first one…oh well!

At the finish, there was large area set aside with the usual array of vendors, they also have 4-5 Food Trucks on hand. I didn’t hang about as the while the weather was perfect for running, cloudy and gray, it was not good for hanging out in and so I jumped on a bus and headed back to the start to pick up my car.

All in a grand day out and although my miles and time are down for the week I am really really happy that I still have the legs to go out and essential drop a Half Marathon with little or no training.

Finally as mentioned this is the third time I have raced this race and I was comp’d the entry, for which I am really grateful. Honestly each year it’s really only gotten better. I loved the preferred parking right by the start (best $20 you can spend), this year had more running along the beach front which was great, again there were hoards of volunteers and plenty of water and mountains of Cliff gels, the start was well organized, there pace lines and a great vibe. Although I didn’t linger I am sure the finish was fun with some great LA food trucks and the usual entertainment and oddities that you expect from the Venice area. As this was a point to point they also offered a drop bag service which I did not use but seemed really organized. I also got a really nice Craft tech shirt and the bling was nice and hefty!


2010, 2011 and 2012…streaking!

I know that the 13.1 series has added some more cities this year so if you get a chance to run one of these go for it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Couldn’t resist…

With Walter almost ready for his departure, he is currently being broken down and boxed, I couldn’t resist the call of <insert name>.

It’s a practical purchase really, as I need something to ride to the park or beachpath on with the kids and worrying about carbon fiber was not the way to go!

image Plus it was on special offer through Bonktown.com, even more reduced than the 47% off the price listed on realcyclist.com, comes “with” pedals and it’s purple!

How many more reasons do I need!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Review; ISM Adamo Time Trial and Breakaway

Alternative title; “The Great Tissue Issue!” The odds of the stock saddle on my Cannondale Slice being the right saddle for me were slim to none and they came in on the none side. For reference it was a Fizik Arione, interestingly my Cervelo came with a Fizik Pave and that got 86d in favor of a Selle Italia SL Flow which after a year and a couple of thousand miles is working out very nicely. But back to the matter in hand…so to speak! But first for reference here is a photo of all three:


L:R Breakaway, Time Trial, Fizik Arione

I had actually tried an ISM Adamo Road before settling on the Selle on the Cervelo but it wasn’t quite right but after some research I decided that the Time Trial and Breakaway models might work out on my Cannondale Slice and after some looking around and a couple of chats with Dean from  P3 (PedPowerPerform) I had the two saddles winging their way to me for a two week trial. I started out with the Time Trial, this decision was based on:

  1. It was at face value the more aggressive of the two
  2. Has the handy “hook” underneath to allow it to hang from the bar in Transition
  3. And it was to be fitted to a Time Trial Bike so I thought the name would fit
image IMG_4256

I had not realized quite how fiddly a Tri seat mounting was but after several attempts and the surgical attachment of a third arm and hand I managed to get it correct, in part this was achieved by measuring as best I could my position on the bike with the old saddle as I was fitted at the bike shop when I picked it up and in part after watching the video on the ISM several times. Above all the real key is to get the rails parallel to the floor not the seat.

So with the saddle fitted I set about trying it out. Due to time limitations and the fact that I didn’t want to get stuck out on a ride and not being able to sit down I stuck mostly to my trainer. After tuning in the saddle for 30 minutes I predominantly rode the Sufferfest rides as these are sufficient to take you mind of most things and if my ass or man junk or parts in between was going to make ist presence known it would have to get through the red haze of the angry carbon chicks of Hell Hath no Fury or the relentless chase of the pack from The Hunted. The final ride was on the open road and comprised of a twenty miler and took approx 80 minutes. I kept some notes on each ride posting then to Daily Mile and after 7 days and I had 69 miles to reflect on.

Up next was the Breakaway, at face value this had more deck to sit on and was more sculptured with a scalloped seat, that is the back arched up and the front dropped down…I think a photo would help!

image image

So here is one; note the rails are parallel to the ground. In the right hand picture the saddle is straight but front wheel is turned. So in a similar way I set about crushing it on the several Sufferfest rides (and that is what I am telling myself!) although I did manage to finally get a decent ride using TrainerRoad…more on that later!

HHNF 1_5_12

Unfortunately I ran out of time to do a road test but I still managed to accumulate 70 miles in a short week and by then my mind was made up and I packed them up and sent them back to Dean. So here is the final thoughts and conclusion:

Time Trial; this is a short hard saddle, there is not a lot of deck to sit on, width wise it was fine for me but I did not have a width issue with any of them. The shortness means you really have to “perch” on the front and there is no real fidget room. Additionally it is pretty darn hard, this could have been because this was a new saddle and it may give in time but right now it was hard. As mentioned the TT has a hanging hook which the breakaway does not. The prongs are more open at the front than the Breakaway which adds to requirement to sit on your sit bones. The back of the saddle is cut sharper and there is less opportunity to slide back and dig in.

Breakaway; as you can see in the photo above this is a bigger (longer) saddle, it’s not just the “prongs” that are longer the actual deck feels longer too. The scalloping of it combined with it’s extra length allows you to move back a little and this is useful when you want to dig in on climbs or just add more power. Additionally it is softer and while I didn’t want a saddle too soft I wanted one with some cushioning. The prongs here are closer together, this adds in my mind to the less aggressive position overall

So in conclusion after this trial I have ordered a Breakaway. I should get it later this week and I will have about 10 months to ramp up to be able to sit in it for 6 hours which I hope is long enough…I have no idea yet how many miles that would be but if I keep up my current mileage that should be north of 4500 which I assume is enough.

Special thanks Dean who spent time on the phone with me going through experiences of the two and making a special arrangement to secure a Time Trial saddle for me. If you are interested he offers a weeks worth of trial use for $25 including shipping both ways and that is knocked of the price (which he can get a little discount) on of a new saddle.

Ultimately of course a saddle, like any touchpoints (pedals, tape being the other two) on a bike are a very personal thing so you should try out a few before making a choice.

Here are a bunch of other photos

Friday, January 6, 2012

A month on the bike!

Compare these two Sufferfest (Hell Hath No Fury) rides a little over a month apart. Check out the heart rate profile:


1:16:10 21.02 miles Ave HR 123 Max HR 152


Slight false start removed for this calculation. 1:16:40 22.0 miles Ave HR 112 Max 138

I’d would say that is progress, 30 seconds more, 1 mile more, 9bpm average drop and 14bpm max!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Walter’s new adventure…

Really this was a slam dunk and this was exactly what I was hoping for, in case you missed the comment I have posted it below:

“I would love to adopt Walter as a gift for my husband, Blair. In 13 days he will turn 41. Four years ago, on the Monday after Thanksgiving, he saved his own life. He had gastric bypass surgery. Before surgery, his weight topped out at 420 pounds. The doctor told him that he would hit his goal weight in about 18 months. He did it in 6. He did this by completely changing his entire life. He did not just rely on that surgery to do the job for him. As soon as he could, he got up on a treadmill and started walking, a little at first, and a little more each day. He completely changed his diet. He realized his body was a machine and he needed to maintain it properly in order for it to work its best. Then, he started running. Within 3 months, he signed up for his first 8K. Watching him cross that finish line, tears streaming down BOTH our faces, is a memory I will cherish forever.

After that 8K, the running bug had him. 10Ks followed, half-marathons followed, marathons followed. And yes, he has done some triathlons. But that's where Walter comes in. The bike my husband has is, let's be honest here, pathetic. Our 5-year old daughter on a tricycle might be able to pass him in a race. But my husband pushes it as hard as he can, and does what he can to make up the time in the other sections. But I know what he really wants is a bike that will really help him not just finish a triathlon, but really compete in a triathlon. Each race he strives for a PR. And I know what he really wants is to compete in an Iron Man someday. But there is no way he can do that with the bike he has. And money is tight. My husband is an inspiration. As I wait for him at finish lines, I always turn to people and tell them his story because I am so proud of him. Our daughter loves to tell people that she is waiting for her daddy to finish his race. He is an amazing man, and I want him to have an amazing bike. It sounds like Walter is that bike. I truly hope you will choose us as the new adoptive family for Walter. I promise that he would have the best home. Thank you so much.”

Cullenivore drop me a line to quadrathon at gmail dot com  with you contact info and I will start to make the arrangement to get Walter ready for his next adventure!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

December reviewed…

It seems a bit odd reviewing the month a day after I reviewed my year but there are distinct differences; strategic vs. tactical you might say. I had some clear goals for the month, the focus was on the pool and bike. I had targeted 20,000 yards in the pool and 125 miles a week on the bike with and end goal of 500 miles.

  • 545 total miles (331 more than November) biggest mileage month for 2011
  • 44:56 time, so about 11 hours a week (around a 4 hour per week gain over November)
  • 9 miles running in 1:19 (September 86/15:26)
  • 524 miles cycling in 33:07 ( September 123/7:52)
  • 21,278 yards swam in 10:39 (8350 in November, 11,200 in October and 5150 in September)
  • Starting weight 171.2lb ending 171.8b (from 187 at end of April)

I’ll not dwell on the running, it was on the back burner for a reason.

The cycling went well the longest ride of 75 miles was yesterday and was followed by another 25 miles today with no issues. A lot of the miles were spent on the trainer with long rides on the weekend. I am trialing the second Adamo saddle (BreakAway on the right below) this week on my Cannondale Slice having spent time on the Tine Trial model, on the left.

photo (80)

My swimming is coming along, slowly, per yesterday’s post I am working on bi-lateral breathing, while this is a bit of a step back I think it will serve me best in the long term. I took two swimming lessons during the month and got some good tips and now it is all about practice, practice and practice! I have found that the little and often methodology 4-5 times a week with 1000-1200 yards covered allows me to focus on my form which if I get that right I can build out my endurance. Right now I can manage a mere 300 yards or so without any floaty bits, for the Desert Tri I need to get to 500 yards which in reality means 750 yards to give me some measure of comfort! So to achieve this I am simply going to add 50 yards a week through January and February so the math should looks like:

9 weeks x 50 yards = 450 yards + existing 300 yards = 750 yards

In January I’ll be digging out my running shoes too, I have a half marathon in two weeks so I need to remember this left foot right foot thing!

62 days to go!