31 March 2012

Squak and Cougar repeats

Today's post could also have been called, "Team (of one) Ride" or, "Squak, Squak, Cougar, Cougar, Uncle"; take your pick.

It was wet, it was cold, I was alone, there was snow on the top of Cougar and my hands - in spite of me utilizing a super secret warming technique - suffered.

30 March 2012

core (read: abs)

I got to the gym this morning and realized I had left my watch at home. Doing the plank with no watch is tough so I figured what the hell, I'll just work abs today instead of doing the same, tired core routine.

Guess what, it was hard.

29 March 2012

Cougar Mt trail run

Nice!

I got out this morning for a run on Cougar Mt with Justin Angle and in spite of the fact that it was raining like hell I HAD A GREAT TIME. So much for quitting the running game… :)

We chatted about watches, about clothing, about how fast elite racers really are, about how to take yourself out of the game and advanced lacing techniques for when you have foot issues. Good times.

28 March 2012

Cycle U CompuTrainer | bike commute | core

Who is that lonely cyclist in the dark? Oh it's Martin. All by himself. Just another day at Cycle University, because I'm too much of a wuss to ride outside when it's raining.

CycleU_2012-03-28

27 March 2012

Madrona repeats | treadmill run

Back in the day - the 'day' being sometime in 1983 - I would train one day of each weekend on the 'flats' which meant I would ride down and back on the Burke-Gilman Trail and one day on the 'hills' which meant I would ride to Seward Park and then come up the switchbacks on my way home. I know, MAJOR hills. Plus on the flat day I was 'that guy' who would TT the trail… AT least back then there was much less traffic on the trail. What the hell did I know, I had been riding for exactly one year, had just started racing and did not have a clue.

As I got more fit I would look for more hills and lengthen my rides. Eventually I was riding all the way to Marymoor Park and back on my flat day and doing Madrona more than once on my way home for a hill workout. I was NUTS.

This morning totally took me back to 1983.

26 March 2012

core

Nice! After two longish rides this weekend my legs feel good. Somewhat tired but good.

Time for a rest day. And by rest day I of course mean do something, just not anything aerobically strenuous.

I'm curious, at what point did rest start to mean 'go easy'?

25 March 2012

team ride (on a single speed)

Another excellent day had been forecast. I'm okay with that.

pulled the single speed out of the garage again! I sure like this bike.

I met Greg Kauper and RC Rogers at Caffe Umbria and since no one else showed up we took off. We had not ridden one mile when RC's chain snapped! Luckily he did not go over the bars or anything so we pulled over to asses the damage and weigh our options. Since my house was only a couple of miles away RC found a sunny spot and Greg and I rode home, got a chain tool and a spare link and headed back. The repair only took a minute and soon we were on our way. Nice.

Crossing Mercer Island we had to contend with the Mercer Island Half Marathon (it seems I am on the island every year for this event…) but we made it through in fairly short order.

Riding north through Bellevue along the water is awesome. We chatted and soaked up the views. In Kirkland I got a flat but we got that sorted in short order.

The pace was very moderate today but I was still working on the climbs which is just what I was looking for. In my experience, running leans you out and I needed to get stronger for cycling again. Climbing Juanita Drive I think I went a little fast - I was just trying to find a cadence that would not bog me down so much but it was not so social there for a few minutes. :)

24 March 2012

Snoqualmie Falls on a single speed

Yesterday felt really good so today It was time for a longer ride. Finally.

Everyone else was racing so I was solo but with my iPod I was fine. And since I was solo I opted for my Single Speed Bike. Just for fun.

Heading out my legs felt kind of slow and heavy but the longer I rode the more they warmed to the effort. Climbing up to the top of the Issaquah plateau was tough but by the time I climbed up to the falls I felt much better.

Which was a good thing because riding west/home on the old Issaquah-Fall City Road on a single speed is a grunt! I just tried to find my pace and I think I found it but there are a couple of sections that feel like you are in the gym on leg day regardless.

I was looking for four hours on the bike and so added Mercer Island on the way home. I had pushed the arm warmers down riding west through Issaquah (finally!) and once I got to the island I said screw it and took off my knee warmers and gloves. It ended up being just warm enough and felt SO good.

Oh yeah, I blew by four cars descending Black Nugget Road. FUN.

As I was finishing my lap of Mercer Island Jeff Dunn caught me and kept me company across the bridge and up Madrona. It was good to catch up. On this last hill my legs were finally complaining, I was pretty tired.

There were a lot of cyclists out - very good to see. There were also a lot of motorcycles out. Also kind of good to see.

23 March 2012

cardio | bike commute

My legs felt MUCH better this morning. Nice. And the sun is shining, time for the long commute home. :)
In the gym I hit the elliptical trainer again (just because it seems like a safe, zero-impact way to bring the legs back I guess…) and right away my leg speed was climbing. I finished going faster than I have ever gone on this device. Wee.

Riding to work I finally felt good getting out of the saddle as opposed to a bag of wet cement like I did Monday. Nice.

Did I mention the sun was shining all damn day? It sure as hell was. Oh yeah, I did not sleep so hot but so what, the sun is out. On the way home I ran a bunch of errands and it was such a pleasure to get them done on the bike.

22 March 2012

cardio | core

Another active recovery day. If you need it you need it and pushing through rarely makes sense.

The elliptical trainer at my gym has handles that you can grab to measure your heart rate and interestingly mine was 5-10 beats lower today than Tuesday. Normally I would say that a lower heart rate means you are not as recovered but in this case I'm fairly sure it means the opposite as the work felt easier today than Tuesday and my cadence was slightly higher.

But I'm no doctor/trainer/sports physiologist and so this is just guessing on my part.

Core felt good. As good as it can anyway. My leg lifts while doing the side plank are coming along and hopefully soon I can try for 30 seconds. I recall vividly the first time I tried this maneuver and how freaking hard it was… I think I was able to hold my leg up for about three seconds. Literally.

21 March 2012

Cycle U CompuTrainer

Oops… I tried to come back too soon.

Today was my first hard (and by 'hard' I mean I thought I was going to go hard) workout since the Chuckanut 50k.

Amazing that one hard run could blitz my body for so long. Then again, I guess it's normal that you need to adapt to this sort of thing (this sort of thing being running long distances) and that is something I have not yet done.

CycleU_2012-03-21

20 March 2012

cardio | core

Whew, my body seems to be on the mend.

Cardio felt way better today than it did yesterday. I think I might be ready for a cycling 'workout' tomorrow.

19 March 2012

cardio | bike commute

Just another regular day. Except my feet and ankles are swollen from Saturday. Sheesh… Of course standing around all day yesterday didn't help either but hey, it was a good time.

I was incredibly stiff this morning and my right Achilles tendon seems to be irritated. Consequently it took me about 10 minutes to get rolling on the elliptical but I think it was the right choice of activity today. Running was out of the question and getting all geared up for a bike ride seemed too daunting. Plus this was zero impact which is just what I was looking for.

My commute to work and to downtown felt really, really slow. After my massage I felt 100% better and the ride up the hill was actually enjoyable. Thank you Mobility+ Healthcare.

And then reality sets in…

Holy crap.

If you are one of the two people that read this blog you will know that I went for a little run in the forest Saturday also known as the Chuckanut 50k.

ASIDE - why isn't it know as the "Chuckanut 50 km?" Whatever.

I was totally prepared to feel like this:

tired

But instead I feel like this:

I feel like the snowman.

17 March 2012

Chuckanut 50k

It was up at the crack of [insert your favorite expletive here] to meet Justin A, Bill H, Brad R and Bryan E at the park & ride for the massive carpool hookup. Which was a good thing, nothing like driving yourself to one of these long events and then having to drive yourself home (dirty, wasted, sleepy, etc.) after.

My loving wife made me some hard boiled eggs to eat on the drive, she rules.

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CIMG8452

Fair warning - these reports of events that are momentous to me tend to ramble on a bit… I guess I want to get all my emotions down on 'paper' because I will otherwise forget the details. So grab some coffee or a glass of wine and relax.

16 March 2012

treadmill run | core

Goal: keep the legs loose
Mission accomplished: easy treadmill run

Today I felt MUCH better than yesterday, I think I got a good night's sleep, I did not stress eat all yesterday and I did not drink a bottle of wine or anything last night. Bonus.

My run felt EASY, just the way it's supposed to. I even carried a water bottle on the treadmill and drank often.

At lunch I did my core workout and now I'm done. Wish me luck if you want, I would appreciate it. And thanks to Mick W who already did, I appreciate it very much. Tomorrow will be another adventure.

And yes, I am probably making a mountain out of a molehill but hey, it's my first ultra. Plus hype/hyperbole is my nature. :)

15 March 2012

cardio (and nerves!)

As I spend my days freaking out about my run on Saturday I realize that the stress level of an upcoming athletic event is pretty much (read: exactly) proportional to what you make it.

Honestly, I'm not so sure why I am dealing with this one so poorly. I have run a trail marathon (which is only five miles shorter), participated in La Ruta de Los Conquistadores and TransPortugal and not been this wound up. The human brain is too complicated…

14 March 2012

Cycle U CompuTrainer | core

One more hard day? Okay, but let's make it a short one. Hello 10 km TT. Done.

CycleU_2012-03-14

13 March 2012

treadmill run

Nothing spectacular today, just a little acceleration to keep the leg speed up.

It felt pretty good which I think means that I did the right thing by not going really hard on my Sunday ride.

I also got in some more stretching at lunch and a nice, long sauna with no weirdo's - what a relief.

12 March 2012

core

Rest day! Starting the taper now!

ASIDE - I'm not sure I have actually ever tapered properly for any event before… unless you count three easy days in a row as a taper. I am learning that rest and tapering are valuable skills. Note to self, figure it out.

Q: What is one of the most important things for recovery?
A: Sleep.

Did I get much last night? Nope. On the upside, after tossing and turning for a while I picked up a book, read some and was able to fall back asleep. That's worth something in my book.

11 March 2012

ride around Lake WA

The rest of my team was either racing or going on a hard/hilly training ride today so I struck out solo. Yesterday was a fairly (read: very!) fast run for me and I did not want to obliterate myself this weekend in hopes of getting in another shorter fast run later in the week, in order to do that I needed to stay pretty fresh.

On the technology front I just spoiled myself with the purchase of an iPod Shuffle.

shuffle_stack

MP3 players really are the bomb. I mean, who doesn't have one? I thought so.

I seem to be hard on mine or I just have bad luck. My original iPod Nano died ages ago, my replacement only puts out sound via the left channel and my newest one suddenly only plays songs a super low volume. Yes, I have tried selecting my entire music collection and restoring the volume level but no dice. So I splurged, spent the $50 and got one of these. Talk about portable… I love it.

Armed with music on the bike again (finally!) I headed out.

10 March 2012

File this under, "These kids are ready for the circus."

Today Shelley and I wen to the Seattle Bicycle Expo. It was really fun! In addition to all the truly exceptional people watching (are there more nerds personalities in cycling than any other physical activity?) we saw loads of the requisite vintage bikes, some incredibly custom frames, some old friends from when I first started racing and back when I was employed in the bicycle industry and the most amazing show put on by the Laurelhurst Elementary School Unicycling Team.

These kids are nuts.

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Here are all the pictures and video. You have GOT to check them all out.

Cougar Mt trail run

[This part of the post was written before I left my house.]

I got a little more sleep last night but not much. My body seems destined to get what it wants.

Last 'big' run today before Chuckanut, just trying to stay in the rhythm and not go too hard or anything. Still, 14 miles (which is what is on the agenda) has been kinda hard for me of late so it will be a solid day.

I really wanted to try my old trail shoes today so I did. The Hoka Combo XTs sure have the cushion but not the traction or the road feel. Part of what I like about trail running is feeling the surface and I found myself wanting that today.

09 March 2012

Cycle U CompuTrainer

Holy cow… I got very little sleep last night. Not really sure what happened. But thanks to Ryan D I still got in a workout.

CycleU_2012-03-09

08 March 2012

bike commute | urban run

Wow, all this stretching stuff isn't bullshit after all. :|

Yesterday my legs felt like utter garbage while riding home. Truth be told, this has been the case more often than not lately. I know my IT bands are chronically wicked tight and that the more I run the more I need to stretch but do I do it? Not so much.

This morning I went to the gym and stretched. For a full 30 minutes. And I used the foam roller on my IT bands for 10 minutes after. You know what? I could feel a noticeable improvement on my ride to work.
Man, how does one find the time to do everything you need to? Sometimes when I realize I have to do core work at least three times/week just so my back does not explode on rides and I have to stretch several times/week to aid with recovery and use the foam roller so my IT bands don't shrivel up or turn brittle; is exercising even worth it?  Why not just let myself go, buy a more comfortable couch, make a return to the Costco chips isle and start taking statins? Oh yeah, that's why.
Doctors "might try recommending diet and exercise…"
Brilliant.

07 March 2012

Cycle U CompuTrainer | bike commute | core

What a brilliant day! So Martin rides indoors. Nice.

CycleU_2012-03-07

"I was looking for blowing."

I love Google Voice - for so many reasons.

One cool feature is you can have it transcribe all voicemail and send you an email of the transcript. It's usually never perfect but most of the time it's close enough that I can figure it out without needing to call and actually check my voicemail. This is nice in situations like a noisy environment when you would not be able to hear your messages or when you are in a really quiet environment and are not supposed to make any noise.

Yesterday I got the following transcript sent to me:

"It was looking for Mark and I was looking for blowing, 20635564265. This is or will returning his call."

Looking for blowing…?! That's priceless.

It's been a while since I have used any of the restrooms at Volunteer Park and even so, I don't recall writing my phone number on the wall. And if I had, I would have used a much more exciting name than 'Mark'.

Predictably the real message was not nearly as scintillating as the transcript. I guess you can only trust technology so much. Still, this had Shelley and I in stitches for hours.

06 March 2012

cardio | treadmill run

I needed some kind of activity to ease me back into the intensity so I opted for an active recovery sort of thing in the AM and then something slightly harder in the afternoon.

05 March 2012

core

Rest day! Oh how I have come to appreciate thee.

I made it to the gym for my core routine in the AM and then to the IMA at lunch to stretch. Good stuff.

In other news my weight was 178 lb. today! I'm sure that won't repeat itself soon, especially after my desert tonight, but it's a positive thing.

I also still can't sleep enough and woke up last night in a huge sweat, WTF…?! This is going to kill me.

04 March 2012

Mason Lake Road Race #1

If at first you don't succeed - and all your teammates are showing up to the race - try, try again.

Yesterday bit the big salami as they say. Common sense dictates I should perhaps go for an active recovery ride or at most an endurance ride. Or I could say forget that, I'm going racing.

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03 March 2012

Tiger Mt trail run

Today is my last big run prior to my last big trail race. Funny thing, I woke up more than a little nervous about today, I don't even want to think about two weeks from now.

My run was a bit of a disaster. I was tired, running with faster guys and in hindsight probably had a poor attitude so was not able to push myself any. [I obviously did not have the 'Power of Belief' this day.] And I hit the deck three times. Here is what you look like after a slog through the snow on Tiger.

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02 March 2012

Cycle U CompuTrainer | core

Still really hungry when I wake up. And as Ryan D pointed out this morning, these higher resistance workouts burn fewer calories than the longer, lower resistance workouts.

Still… Boom! This was my first time doing this much intensity on the trainer this winter and it was H A R D. Had it not been for Ryan I would not have stuck it out; no way.

CycleU_2012-03-02

01 March 2012

treadmill runs

I woke up hungry! So I had a snack before going to the gym in the morning; something I hardly ever do.

Then at lunch I was starving again so I ate way too much. It's one of those days…