Monday, January 31, 2011

Small World

CB showed me a picture similiar to the one on the left this morning. This is Tracy Morgan and his date to the SAG Awards last night (I captured this photo from a video on Hulu). On the right is a pciture of me and the same young women, from almost ten years ago, taken at a fraternity/sorority event. She is one of the niciest people  I have ever met in my life and think it is cool someone I once considered a friend is on the red carpet!!

Week 4 of HIM training

S: 7000.00 M, 2h 44m 40s
B: 58.75 Mi, 3h 36m 12s
R: 20.06 Mi, 3h 40m

Overall: WOW! This is time consuming and tiring, but I feel great. I had two different life guards tell me they didn't recognize me because of weight loss. However, I am still at 190. No weight loss since December, I thought that I would see a faster loss now than when I started training last year. hmm..... I hope the weight starts to drop soon. I was 186 after my long run but 190 the rest of the week. I want to start counting calories again, partly to make sure I am not OVER-carbing, but more so because I want to make sure I am getting enough calories. Never thought I would have to make that distinction in my life.
Swim: 7000 meters! That may be more than I swam all of last year. Thursday was my long swim and was 2750 total. Monday was speed work and the first time I have ever wanted to puke while swimming. Not do to the speed, but I didn't eat first and my tank was empty. In the past my long run was the only workout I made an effort to fuel before, TO ME it is a cool place to be where I have to start thinking about things like that. I have come a long way from last year. My shortest workout this week was longer than my long workout last year (3x300m).
Bike: Took my long ride at a business park that people rave about as a great training site. I see how it could be great for interval work. I did like that I saw about 50 other cyclists and probably over 50 runners and walkers, however 2 hours going around a 2 mile loop to tedious. About an hour  into it I rolled up on a group ride that was going much slower than me, I pulled up and talked to the clean up rider and asked if i could Cling on for a few. I rode with them for about 15 minutes and as their group started to spread out I pulled off and left them. It was nice to have the company.
My mileage was a little short for the week. My two non-long rides didn't yield the miles they should have. I did a power test for one,riding harder for short intervals then resting always leaves me short, and on the other I planned to ride a local loop for an hour then turned it into a time trial after 2 miles. The good news is I made a new PR by 16 seconds. However, I thought when I finally time trialed on it I would do better with the lighter bike and improved fitness. OH WELL A PR IS A PR!!
Run: Although it was not my first time running a 15 miler, it was the first one I ever had pain for. I am going to take the advice of Chris K and try the Jeff Galloway run-walk method on the next long run and see how I feel. My shoes also crossed over 400 miles on that run. That is when I typically replace them.
At the end of my first month, although some of my workouts take longer than the plan says they should, I am HAPPY with the fact that I can completed them. In the next month I hope to pick up a new saddle, aero bars, trainer, and start working with a coach.
Numbers for the month FYI-
S: 25175.00 M - 10h 33m 55s

B: 257.61 Mi - 16h 18m 12s

R: 71.08 Mi - 12h 41m 55s

Str: 1h 23m

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is triathlete synonymous with masochist?

I guess this could be said about all endurance athletes.

After work Thursday, I came home and commenced my long run. As I have been working toward a March Marathon this was my 15 miler. This is the third time I have run this distance, but it is the farthest distance I have run.

This was not a good run, it may because it was after work not first thing on a weekend, it maybe because I mixed my gel wrong, because I need new shoes, or I may have been having an off day…it happens.

I felt decent until I was around my 11th mile. It went downhill from their. By the time I was done my teeth hurt (weird), my low back hurt, my stomach was ready for a break, every muscle in my legs hurt, and my arches were killing me. Halfway through my fourteenth mile I took a walking break. It wasn’t so much that I was tired and needed to walk, it was more that my legs made a decision on their own to stop. I have never taken a walking break on a long run before.

Once I got home I had a few minutes with the toilet, took a cold shower in lieu of an ice bath (no ice), slipped on my compression sleeves, stretched my arms, legs, hips, and back and then drank a recovery drink.

With the exception of a resting heart rate of 100 I felt good and it only been 30 minutes. Not only did I feel good, I felt refreshed. I felt like I could have slipped my shoes back on and logged some more miles. I am sure I could not have, but I felt like I could have.

At this point I had a few minutes of deep thought regarding how interesting it is that we can endure so many varied levels of pain, and still enjoy training. Not to mention how we force pain upon ourselves in order for better performance on race day and the satisfaction that comes with that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Product Review: Cheerios MultiGrain Cereal

Within the mass of emails I get everyday that I end up deleting (not your comments I mean the junk from stores, etc.) I had an email from looking for consumers to review MultiGrain Cheerios, since I love cereal I jumped at the chance.

Tuesday evening I had a package on my front stoop and was very surprised when I opened it and found a box of cereal. It makes me just that much happier that the cereal was sent to me as that requires me to do less work.

Since I was just home from work and starving, plus getting ready to change for an hour on the bike and a thirty minute run, I tore the box open and had a snack. Let me also reiterated that when I say I like cereal, I really really like cereal. I love to sit on the floor, eat cereal and watch cartoons, or eat dry cereal out of the box laying on the couch.

As I poured my bowl I ate a few handfuls dry. I noticed that it was sweet so I checked the box and noticed the titles does say lightly sweetened. As a dry snack, this is delicious.

Once milk was added the cereal was still good but it no longer tasted sweet to me, it tasted like Cheerios. This didn't stop me from eating another bowl.

The next morning I added honey and banana and it was again delicious.

The box also came with a code to use The Biggest Loser at Home interface for seven days. Unfortunately my code didn't work, but according to it would have provided me these tools:

  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator to gauge how much weight you may need to lose or gain to be considered healthy and not at risk for serious health problems
  • An exclusive 7 Day Plan that pairs daily meal plans with cardio and strength-training routines
  • 15 tasty recipes that will give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day
  • Daily workouts that couple cardio with mobility and resistance exercises to hit major muscle groups
Coming from my former fat boy, low carb diet I was alarmed that one bowl of this cereal has 20 net carbs, then I thought about how I am no longer restricting my carbs to that degree because i need them for training. With that in mind I think this could be a healthy breakfast or recovery snack.

Note: This product was given to me free of charge to review by; however, all opinion are my own and I did in fact eat the entire box in one day.

If you had any resolutions this year what have you done to keep them thus far? Leave a comment and one may be chosen at random for a MultiGrain Cheerios Prize Pack.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Week 3 of HIM Training

I can't  believe it has only been three weeks. I completed week 5 of my training plan this week, which is the first week of the build phase.

The numbers for the week were:

S: 5475.00 M, 2h 23m 30s
B: 64.45 Mi, 4h 17m
R: 15.96 Mi, 2h 50m

Swim- I am short about 800m (or it might be 400m) I was running short of time on my long swim day so I dropped the warm up and cool down and went right into the main set- 1x2000. This is my longest non-stop swim ever. Didn't even get tiring until the last 300m or so, I think it became more mentally draining than physical. To me that is great. I would rather feel that way now and work through it then feel that way 4 weeks out and wonder if I can make it. It will also be cool when I get to me first sprint and the 400m swim will be like a warm up set compared to my normal schedule.

Run- Running was interesting this week. Of the three runs, two were 30 minute recovery runs (one for the long swim and the other after the long run). I like when the plan calls for short runs because then i can take Holly to run with me, she needs it! The long run is still only an hour per plan, but I bumped it to 13 miles as part of my marathon training. unfortunately, my route planning was off and I only got in 11. I am not worried.

Bike- As I posted early this week I got my first chance to HTFU on Monday. My hard workout for the week was hill work, but due to rain I took it inside to the Y's trainer. It was not the one with the wattage meter. The workout called for 4 minute intervals at 50-60 rpms, I maxed out the resistance on the bike and was still slightly over spinning. On my short ride, I did 2:30 intervals to keep it interesting. Max wattage was 311 on the last set, AVG was 120. I felt good about the increased average until I found a ride from 3 weeks ago where my average for a ride the same distance was 130 (it was 115 in December). However, I was doing constant workload at the first one and intervals with rest on the one this week. Anyone know what the cheapest power meter available is? How about the cheapest magnetic trainer (don't like wind trainers,  the noise makes my dogs bark)?

Did my long ride today and had cold feet but the rest of me was fine. I am still learning what to wear for winter riding.

Strength- no workouts all together this week. I had the hardest time getting out of bed. Some days it was the cold, some days I had not gotten any sleep, and some days I opted out because I was just plain sore and decided I needed rest.

Long run thoughts- I didn't have any weird thoughts to note this week. However, I did note that down town still has lights up on the trees and it looks very pretty. I also noted that I hate getting passed by drivers who are smoking (tobacco or marijuana).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Recovery Day; Blog Award

This weeks workout plan calls for today, Saturday, to be my recovery day. This is one of the hardest things for me to do. Sit still. I have such a high desire to achieve greatness that it is hard to not train, to take a day off. Last week, according to my training calender I also took a recovery day. I don't remember a workout, but I don't remember the day off either. I had planned to do some hiking today but I decided not to spend the gas on the trip to the trails I wanted to visit. A flatout rest day is probably best.

Today I slept in as long as CB would let me, made a sensible breakfast, and had the idea to see what was playing at the $2.00 theater. Nothing good was playing and CB said I should check the regular theater. There was a movie I wanted to see playing in 30 minutes and CB decided we should get up and go. This was very out of character for her, she never does anything spur of the moment.

I grew up hanging out at the movie theater and I don't require a movie schedule to decide to go. It has not been uncommon for me to just show up see what the next movie playing is and buy a ticket. It could be a cartoon, a western, or an action movie- makes no difference. Now that the movie is over, we will head to her parent's for veggie burgers and no one will realize that in my head I am just counting down until my long ride tomorrow. The plan is for a two hour ride, this will be my longest non-stop ride ever. I have ridden a half century but I got off the bike at the aid station. If I could pull 28-30 miles at a slow pace I think I will be on track to a good time at my HIM.


This week like many of the bloggers I follow I was given a stylish blogger award. I got mine from Moving Mertle at Diets and Sweat. I feel that blog awards of this nature (as opposed to blog awards from say are similar to the chain mail or herpes of the blogoshpere. In case you don't know- glitter is the herpes of craft supplies. Anyway, I do not mind sharing and I kind of like passing them on because I enjoy reading about history of other bloggers. You know- the really interesting stuff that makes us who were are, the stuff that has nothign to do with our training.

Post and link back to the person who awarded you this award
Share 7 things about yourself
Award 5 bloggers who have "Stylish" blogs
Since I have already linked back to Moving Mertle I will share seven things about myself and then tap 5 more people who can share if they wish.
1. I have been obsessed about cycling power for the last three months. Several times a week I scour the internet to find articles explaining power testing and power training. I have found a ton of stuff to pay for and little for free. I may have found one good blog, after I examine it a little more I will share if it is good. For the last year I have hear people talking about power training. two or three guys in my group ride (can't wait for it to start again) ride with them. None of this got me interested. The stationary bike at the Y has a power meter and I have been monitoring my average wattage. Now that I have some figures I want to find out how to do a proper power test and figure out what typical power output is for an age grouper. Yesterday I averaged 120 watts over a 30 minute interval workout. My best (and last interval) was 2:30 minutes holding 311 watts. I also want to know how wattage on this trainer would translate to a proper cycling power meter. I would like to assume I could do better because with cycling shoes and proper pedals as opposed to the flats on this bike.
2. I recently applied for and was given the position  of Greater Charlotte Triathlon Examiner. You may be asking yourself how is a novice in his second season going to write about triathlon. I pitched the position based on writing as a beginner. As I discover new shops, clubs, training sites, I will write about them. Hopefully, this will generate a little income for an extra hour or so of work.
3. My biggest fear in life is failure. I am not a fan of public speaking and don't want to walk around carrying spiders, but failure is the thing that leaves me sleepless most of the time. Most of my obsessing about work, triathlon, and many other things leads back to fear of failure.

4. I love the UK. I love London. I studied in London twice. Once in undergrad, and once in grad school. I love the history of the city and the buildings. I love the culture. I love that I never felt crowded like the videos of the streets of NYC. We spent the lost week of my grad program there in Paris. Paris was cool but i felt very isolated due to the language barrier.
5. I love games. I collect Monopoly. I have an all black board, a board based on London (standard board int he UK, I think), a board base on Berlin, and I have tried to win one written in arabic on eBay. My second favorite game is called crack the case. As far as video games go I didn't grow up with any so I never got one until college. CB bought me a PS2 just to help me make friends when I was a junior, I have probably only logged 100 hours on it in 7 years.
6. My Freshmen year of college I pledge into (no wait that's illegal)- I joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. A Phi A in the nations oldest historically african-american, inter-collegiate fraternity. Founded December 4th, 1906 on the campus of Cornell University in Ithica NY (14853). The Nu Zeta Chapter was founded in 1977 and I was the first caucasion brother to join. Before me the closest was a Dominican and a Puerto Rican brother in the 1980's. When I wanted to join some of the brothers contested strongly. I pledged anyways, some of those same brothers tried to make me quit, eventually an older brother told to lay off me and treat me like any other aspirant after he observed my mental toughness for weeks. Despite the initial opposition, I eventually became the chapter president. Only having sister i wanted to build male bonds in college, so I knew I wanted to be greek. I did not fit in with the indigenous mountain boy student population (have you seen deliverance?) so I felt more at home with other men who had more urban upbringings like myself. I learned a few lessons that i hope my brothers learned as well, like being a minority doesn't make you diverse, multi-cultural or not-racist and that just being a minority doesn't make your upbringing more dysfunctional (or harder) that some one who is not a minority. Two of my brothers had that latter belief, just because they were minorities life was harder. Both of them were raised in nuclear families with chief of police fathers; while I was raised on welfare in a single parent home and am the spawn of an addict and a coke dealer. Stereotypes are a bitch!!!
7. Lastly, I hate people. That is why CB thinks that me blogging and tell her about my "friends" posts is interesting. I do consider many of you friends, many of you I would love to sit down to a meal with in real life. Away from blogging and outside of work (I tend to be outspoken at work) I am the most bashful person you would ever meet. My school teachers thought I was depressed because I was so withdrawn. Actually, I lack the social skills needed to build spontaneous relationships and small talk annoys me. In school I avoided the cafeteria and mall food courts make me anxious due to the number of people. I have never hit on an unknown female or gotten a phone number, All of my relationships come from activity based organizations or things of that nature. Some home blogging lets me connect with people without that spontaneous interaction.
I now tap
Patrick M. the doer of things- so stylish he has his own social network
BDD because his blog layout is BAD ASS
Mandy @ Caratunk Girl because I think she is stylish for a town with 60 people
Joel at Trimadness despite the fact he went to Appalachian State; and,
Mrs. Tucker because she is standing over my shoulder and nagging me that she wants to do it.
She is rushing me off to dinner so I will come back and link back to everyone's pages later as well as do the notifications. If you find this on your own before that time wow you are a great follower and have too much free time. OR both.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Frugal Friday- Identifying Income

If you recall last week, in order to structure my triathlon spending I prioritized my needs and made two budgets: a practical budget and a minimalist budget. The minimalist budget is more or less affordable with the allowance out of MY paycheck the CB graciously lets me keep.

On the other hand, my practical budget is more than my allowance. This means that either I need to supplement my income or I will not get everything on my list. Luckily, I prioritized my list and don't NEED everything on it. For instance, the rental wheels would be nice for my HIM, but I could do it just fine on my stock wheels.

With my needs and wants identified and my allowance identified I know I need to come up with some extra income. Below are a few ways to acquire extra income-

1. Gifts- Many people may consider asking for retail items for Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine's, and birthdays but if you are someone who has the possibility of getting tri gifts from a loved one there is more you can ask for than just retail items. Although it was a fail, this year I asked for pre-payed races and my USAT membership as gifts. My local sprint races typically do not cost more that $60 and I would rather have one of those as a gift that a brand name dress shirt that is around the same price.

Two non-multisport examples- My good friend Aaron is an avid boater and is working toward his USCG Captains Licence. Spending as much time on the water as he does safety is very important and for that he has a membership to an organization similar to AAA but for boats. They will tow him in, bring him fuel, etc. He typically asks for his membership dues as a Christmas present.

Another example is a friend of my wife's who got married a few years back. Instead of asking for housewares for wedding gifts they itemized their honeymoon. Friends and family could pay for nights at the hotel, meals, airfare and much more. They ending up spending very little on their own honeymoon. To me it seems that many out of town races require similar logistics. Since most people volunteered at and registered for Ironman races a year in advance, come gift giving holidays you should have a good handle on your housing, travel, and nutrition needs. You could always itemize needs and ask for them as gifts. One website for doing this is .

2. Donations- With this I do not mean getting people to donate equipment to you. All but one of my local sprints has a charity benefactor. They range from animal shelters, diabetes research, soup kitchens and even some national cancer organizations. Some people may be able to acquire donation toward their race fees since they are for charity.

3. Secondary employment- This area may be beneficial for others. This could be as simple as freelance writing or getting paid to blog. Or in my case I have applied for 52 (no really 52) service related positions such as grocery store bagger, gas station clerk, fry cook etc. Unfortunately, I keep getting turned down for being "over qualified". I still have the ability to do private martial arts lessons and have been arranging a side business for the last year teaching and leading outdoor trips. I am also always on the lookout for community college teaching positions for criminal justice or political science.There maybe more opportunities out there than I know about, if you know of any please share. The downside here is the more time consuming the secondary employment, the more time it will take away from training and recovery.

4. Selling assets- You can always have more available income for triathlon by selling your house or car. Just Kidding. I have/had many hobbies as an adult. In December I used eBay and Craigslist to sell a few things I haven't used in a while. For instance I sold some old camping equipment that I have upgraded, a few pieces of sound equipment and microphones, and old MTB shoes, helmet, and pedals. This got me about $125 that I was able to put towards my tri purchases. I also listed by Bass guitar but no one wanted to pay over $50 for it, which is ridiculous for a $250 guitar with a $50 foot pedal and more.

5. Fundraising- Maybe you can not make tiem for a second job, have no upcoming gift giving occasions, and have nothing to sell. There is always fundraising. Maybe you sold grapefruit or candy bars for a field trip when you were young, or maybe your kids have sold some for school to raise money for Ipads (times have changed). Website like this one- have a slew of ideas for fundraising. Personally, in December I made and sold dog treats. It cost me $5 and one hour, while it grossed $36. The down side is I am not the best pusher of wares. I am a doer, not a seller. If I could harness this outlet I could stand to make more.

6. Odds and ends- A few others include becoming a professional athlete, becoming a movie star, marrying into money, or knocking off a spouse for an inheritance.

On a side note, in December when I decided to do this I had about 5 posts already on my mind. If there is a topic you would like to see please let me know and I will add it to my list if it isn't already there.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Today was a great day.

My job and day to day schedule does not lend itself to me having many days I am simply in love with. The three most likely combinations to cause me to be euphoric are the occasional fast food and movies in bed with CB day, an outdoor sports day (kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, or backpacking), or a training day.

A few months ago I was looking at ITU races and started wondering about how Olympic triathletes train. I found an article (have not been able to find it again) interviewing a handful of Olympic triathletes and asking about their daily schedule. Most all of them said that most days are two workouts, either two easy or one hard and one easy, separated by a half a day or so. Most of them also said that one of their mid-day habits was a nap, whether on the couch with the dogs, in the bed, in a lawn chair in the sun etc. Since reading this article I have structured close to a dozen of my vacation or personal leave days in this fashion (only days when I am off and CB is working); this is what I referred to above as a training day. I have found that it leaves me in a great place mentally.

I slept in this morning until 9:30 and any day not having to wake up and jump up in a hurry is a good way to start the day. I woke up slowly watching both the end of the local news and the beginning of the national news. Both broadcasts had a stories about the MLK memorial in DC set to open in August. This was a good start to the day for me. Not only are civil rights, human rights, and equality important to me (in ways I can not even put to words) but this project is too. Although I clearly was not around for the civil rights movement or to ever to be in the same place as MLK, I am proud that he was my fraternity brother. His works are one of the motivation factors for me choosing my fraternity (as well as Thurgood Marshal's works). With this relationship with MLK, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  (my fraternity) spearheaded the fundraising and project management for the memorial. I have personally worked toward the fundraising for this memorial as well as donated toward it (actually my donation was mandatory, but the fundraising wasn't). It was cool to see it on the news after I started working on the project 9 years ago.

After my warm fuzzy moment was over, I headed to a pool for a swim. Today was my long day-2,475 meters. This was my longest swim ever.  It was tough but I got it done.

After getting finishing I headed to the house where I pet the pooches, vacuumed and laid down for a nap.

After the hour nap I regrouped and set out for a 90 minute ride. This workout was not scheduled, I did it as a make up for a missed ride from before I got the bike and also for the fun of it. I decided I would just ride laps around the neighborhood for the 90 minutes. After 30 minutes I was cold and felt like another nap so pulled over at the house when it I passed it. I gave serious thought to quiting, but thought this would be a great time to HTFU. I ran inside and grabbed a water bottle and instead of setting back out on the neighborhood I rode the local tri course in my small ring. It felt so slow, but I wanted it to be easy. I was also freezing. I picked up toe covers this weekend and although they worked out for yesterday's workout fine, they left my toes cold again.

Once home I showered, extra long to warm back up, then lounged and read while watching my favourite show on dvd (entourage) until dinner. A dinner of wheat spaghetti to aid with recovery.

A perfect day. Hopefully this will let me cruise into work tomorrow still riding my high.

I hope everyone else has had just a great day and can have a week as good as my day was.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week 2 of HIM Training

I completed my second week of training and here are the numbers:

S: 6300.00 M, 2h 24m 45s
B: 66.50 Mi, 4h 15m
R: 12.15 Mi, 2h 10m
Str: 30m

Scheduling was bit hairy with the weather. The Y opened late early and closed late Monday, didn't open Tuesday, and on Friday I got to there to find that they allowed the high school teams come in for some unscheduled swim practice since they were out of school due to the weather.

The above numbers are actually a little too large on the swim. This is because when the Y decided to close early, they made the decision while I was in the pool and came to get me and asked me to leave. I repeated and completed the workout two days later when they reopened.

Next week I am going to jump to week 16 in order to hit my race timed correctly. Swim meterage will increase about 400m in the first workout. Although, I felt overwhelmed at first by the long swims, I am comfortable now. Oddly, when I do long sets (500m) my pace is pretty much the same as my 50m and 100m sprints. I feel speed will come as I continue, if I get some form coaching that will help too I bet.

Cycling will be the area I need to work the hardest on. I was looking at the stats from my October triathlon and although I was near 200 overall, I was only 12:00 behind the 30th ranked athlete. In comparison I was only 30 seconds slower on the swim, 1:30 slower on the run, but 10 minutes slower on the bike. This 10 minutes would have also gave me a top 3 spot in my AG. I need to make the change from riding like I am on just out for fun and riding with speed.

Running this week still feels light after the volume I have been putting in for the last week, I am sure that will change soon.

As always I thought of a few things I found odd during my long run including how come only certain parts of my body are cold during my run, how come the parts changes throughout my run, I think I am bending at the waist when I run since I sometimes have pain where my back meets my hips, I still need to write part 2 of things I've learned post,  I have been almost hit more since I've had a road ID than before, I thought about my friend and old classmate/carpool buddy Dustin Wilson, the fact that Dustin is my first friend with a kid on the way, and the fact that I hope Dustin's child doesn't grow up to look like a hippy (like Dustin).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Frugal Friday- Setting a budget

Last year I found triathlon, I also found that it is not cheap. As a meager public servant I do not have much extra income to spend on my new found love of my life hobby. With this in mind, I am trying to do the most this year with the least amount of my paycheck possible. So this post will begin my documenting this endeavor. Before I go into searching for deals and acquiring my triathlon needs, I figure I should lay some ground work.

My first step for saving money in all arenas of my life is setting a budget. Since my minimum net income rarely waivers, I always know how much money I will have for gas and how much for allowance. It is more or less always the same amount. Notice I said allowance, that is because 85% of my income goes to CB who then pays bills (and buys purses!?!). My gas and allowance aren't are only budget we have, since CB and I get paid the same day (the last day of the month (except December)) we sit down the night before and compile our menu for the entire month. We then add what we need for lunches and toiletries and know exactly what we need at the store. Nothing more, nothing less.

My triathlon budget will comes out of my allowance. When setting my budget I took all of those things that I would love to have like the Quintana Roo CD0.1 (literally have dreams about this bike-in yellow), carbon cycling shoes, cool aero helmet I saw on a interbike video, 2XU project X wetsuit, zoot racing shoes, a 5 WTC race season with presidential suite accommodations and push it all to the side. In a perfect world, I would be genetically incline to sports, run a 2:10 marathon, have gills unnoticeable to the naked eye and be fully sponsored, but that is only in my dreams so I must budget.

Although I set my own budget without doing any research, before writing this post I did a little research regarding budget setting tips. Common tips include identify your income, identify what costs are fixed versus variable, calculate your expenses, calculate how much income is expendable, prioritize and eliminate as needed, build in an emergency fund, and track and review your budget periodically. For more information on setting budget there many sites you can visit such as

When I created my first budget I did not really take into account my income, I just made a list of things that were essentials for my season as well as a few helpful items. I did not include any items I thought were pure luxury. I then prioritized them and set a price. Some prices are the price I found the item at various stores, some are the max I will pay, and some are discount prices I have worked out. Here is the budget that I have at this time (same one I posted for a separate post).

As I wrote before I did this with no regard to my budget, but tired to keep it more realistic than my dream sheet.

I also created a more realistic budget, shown below.

I feel this budget is more essential than the first. I cut out all of the extra goodies like a tri suit, etc. I raced just fine last year with bike jerseys and baggy swim trunks. I also cut the coach, trainer, etc, because I can get free training plans online. I cut my races to four because that is all that is required for the series I wound to race in (for series points that is). I kept the USAT membership because it would save in extra race fees. For anything more than two races I would pay more in extra fees for not having it. Running shoes are non-optional. Lastly, the bike flask is on the list because I used a regular flask last year, and had a hard time not losing it when removing it from my pocket.

I am sure that my real budget will come in somewhere between the two. I am sure there are non-essential items that I will get and some that maybe on my 2012 budget again. Also, I have already had to create separate lists for training clothes I am going to have to buy (like winter running and cycling stuff) and for bike maintenance.

In the end, I think the most important thing is to decide what is most important to you and not over extend one's self unless you are the verge of going pro.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My first week+ of HIM training

Some weather left me at home at computerless for a few days but I have returned. During this time I have completed my first full week of Half Iron level training toward my May 7th goal.

Last week after writing my goals and choosing my races I realized I needed to find a training plan. On my to do list is to find a coach and to find an AFFORDABLE coach for such training plan. I am still on the fence regarding e-coaching. Tailored training plans are great and all but I want someone who can evaluate my form, etc. and help me remedy my problems. I have two pros near by that coach at what I think is an astronomical rate. I have found another local coach who's plans are MORE affordable, still a little pricey, but with a plan comes 1 one-on-one form evaluation and I can add on more one on one session for what I think is a reasonable rate, less than a trip for two to the movies. Even if I find another coach, I can buy one on one sessions with him but for twice the rate.

I think a coach is more important to me that the training plan for three main reasons- I think correcting my form will help me become faster, I think I have an immeasurable amount of potential left and to get there means breaking through my psychological plateau  I believe that will take a third person view to do, and, lastly, if someone else is writing and rearranging my training schedule I have more time for the rest of my life.

I e-mailed this coach to get his opinion about his best training option considering the variety of my schedule and the getting the mos bang for the lowest buck. One of his suggestions was that athletes competitors guys who he coaches do their own base building and use his coaching for the harder phases of periodization. Since I am still on the fence and the earliest I could begin paying for coaching is the 1st of Feb due to the funny way the state of North Carolina does pay days during the holiday season, I decided to start following the Beginner Half Ironman training plan for the purpose of base building for the time being.

It is a 20 week plan and the first four weeks are exact same, as a preparation phase before the build. I calculated that I had 19 weeks until the race so I started the plan at week 19. I also took week 20 and compared it to the prior week of actual workouts and it turned out that I had everything accounted for except 3 swim workouts and 1 long bike ride. I planned to work those in, especially since they are lower impact.

I started the plan on a Wednesday so I did the same thing and compared the plan for the week back to Monday's actual workouts and was short one bike workout that I made up later in the week.

So for my first week here are the numbers:

Swim: 3100 Meters, 1h 9m
Bike: 67.91 Miles, 4h 10m
Run: 11.91 Mi, 2h 11m 55s
Strength: 1h

Thoughts: 2 of my swim workouts were 2000m and the third was shorter as it was speed work. Both of  the long workouts had to be shorted due to time. My Y is the only indoor pool in the county and as it is high school swim season the schedule is abbreviated. The first long workout was my third time in the pool since October 11th (last tri). It was 4x400, I found my rhythm quickly but thought it was very tedious. In fact i had second thoughts about whether or not I am ready for this distance. The speed work was on point for distance and I wasn't even tired until my last interval (10x100 for time). This workout made me feel much better about the challenge of HIM training.

Like swimming, cycling was less than stellar. One of my workouts was indoors due to lack of a bike. Got my bike out of the shop and did pull the other two outside, but not without issue. I first headed out Saturday for my long ride not considering the wind storm we were having. The wind was a steady 15 mph with 40 mph gusts. After warming up i followed a route that had me riding into a headwind. I got tired of it so I decided to make a turn so that I would have a crosswind. This was worse. Honest to God, at one point a was picked up/slid from the far right side of the lane to the double yellow in the center. I then decided to go home.

The next day I decided to attempt my long ride again. knowing it was going to be colder I tried to dress warm. It was going to be 27 degrees with little wind as opposed to the previous day's 35 with wind. From head to toe I wore helmet, balaclava, under armor cold gear turtle neck, jersey, Under Armor cold gear tights, wool socks, chemical foot warmer, cycling socks, shoes, full finger cycling gloves, fleece gloves. I still froze. I finished my entire ride, 90 minutes, and it took the numbness in my fingers and toes ten minutes to subside once I was at home in the "heat".

Running felt weird this week. Honestly my volume was much lower than the last few months. My long run was only 60 minutes. I kept it short because I also needed to do a long ride the same day, however my plan for the next few weeks will be to keep all of the runs per the plan except the long run which I will keep increasing by the rule of 10 up to 20 miles to prepare for a March marathon.

Overall, this has been challenging. The distance is large, but I do not think it is unrealistic. My biggest hindrance has been the winter. Riding in the cold, swim team scheduling, and my biggest nemesis- getting out of bed. I have little trouble getting up at 5 or earlier when it is warm outside, but cold makes me want to stay in bed. This will not be possible if I want to stick to this plan. The volume of the workouts will be great enough that i will not be able to fit in bricks after work some days, I will have to do an AM and PM workout as the plan is designed.

My last and final obstacle is my math. I originally started at week 19 but I did my math wrong. I only had 18 weeks till my race. My plan at this point is to remove next week, which is a repeat of the last two weeks and go directly into base building. I will keep the week posted and if any days lends itself to an extra workout and I am feeling froggy I will pick one form the list. They are all very low rpe.

Funny how 18 weeks seems so close and so far away at the same time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Race Schedule Setting

With the goals done, it is time to set my race schedule in order put my plan to action and meet those goals. Basically, I have three different considerations as I set my schedule. First, my goal of competing in the TrySports series will require me to pick quick races I want. Second, wanting to COMPLETE a 70.3 will means having to pick that race. Lastly, wanting to complete a marathon will mean having to find one as well.

After two races last year, what is debatably my largest goal is to complete a series and see how I compare across multiple races. I chose the TrySports Series because it is marketed as a development series for new triathletes. I figured this is a good place for me. According to the site they try to make the races more fun and every race included a clinic by a coach, elite, or pro about some area of triathlon. To me that is a bonus! If I do well in this series after a year or two I will move to the InsideOut Sports Series which is much more cut-throat competitive. It is supposedly the nation's oldest and largest race series and is right here in NC. The organizers for both series are the same and I have done several of their other events and think they do a great job.
In order to help choose my races, I made the above chart. As you can see I listed the swim, run, and bike distance, as well as what type of swim, how far from home, and how the organizers describe the course. The bold races are also the races I wanted to do last year (minus one).  The series rule is that I must compete in at least 4 races to be eligible for series points, and if I complete more than four they take my 4 best standings. Olympic distance races are weighted higher than the sprints (as they should be). Now when it comes time to choose I have a balancing act. I need to try to get the most for my money (hence outlining how far away they are), I have the urge to be competitive and try to place in my AG for the series, and I want to push myself in terms of difficulty. 

My goal is to pick four races and have one (later in the season) as a back up in case I jack up a race. For monetary reason I wanted to do #3 as my first race since it is close and then I can get my first race out of the way. However, #1 was my intended race for last year and CB sayed she wants me to go to it this year. This one is at the beach- Wilmington, NC. It may cost more but since it is a sprint (therefore a short day) we could have a get away. I like that race because it is officially the opening of the series and I hear it is pancake flat. For now #1 is my plan and #3 is my back up. My May race MUST be #5, as it is in the town I live in. The venue is my Y and my house is on the run course. With 3 houses separating me and it, this should be logistical perfection!

For June and July I can't decide. I could do the two races in Charlotte, NC (9,10). They would be easy and maybe good for gaining points, plus they are very close. However, I feel like I should push myself to something harder. Stuck on this one. I want to complete an Olympic and with them both being rated the same. i am going to go with the closer one in August (#13). Lastly, I think #15 is my just in case I need the points back up, and #18 looks like it might also be fun if I get tiem for soem bonus racing.

Ok, the series is more or less picked out so i need to decide on my 70.3. I really wanted to do a "big show" type event a.k.a WTC, so as you may have read before my first thoughts were New Orleans, Augusta, or Florida. Florida was ruled out for heat, especially for my first 70.3, and me and CB decided on New Orleans since we both want to travel there. I still want to go but I decided that it was a little too soon. Since I only have two sprints under my belt I may want more experience, plus the travel costs. Then I thought about REV3, all the reviews tell me they are very family oriented,and two races-Knoxville and SC, are close. Knoxville has the same too early problem in my opinion and while SC is very close and on similar terrain to what I train on; I don't think that terrain would make for a good first race. Two weeks ago I remembered the InsideOut Sports series runs a 70.3 in White Lake, NC two weekends in a row. They are in May and the first one is the weekend before my home town race. Although only a few weeks later than the April races, I think this will be less pressure and therefore a little easier for me, plus it is closer and I can get a NC state employee rate on the hotel.

Lastly, in terms of a marathon There are a long list of ones that sound like fun to run, like Chicago, Phillie, and my most wanted the USMC marathon. not knowing what next fall has in store for me I think I am guiing for the Ellerbe marathon in March. It is a BQ put on by the Track Club I joined a few months ago. I thought it was free for members, but I was wrong. Considering the long runs I will be putting in training for the 70.3, I think being able to COMPLETE this should be feasible. If I do not make my goals time i still have the City of Oaks Marathon in October (or if the stars align the MCM). I hope in 2012 I can run both the Disney World and Disney Land race and get the special medal :)

Here it is-

Ellerbe Marathon 3/12/11
Wilmington Ahtletic Club Triathlon 4/3/11
White Lake Half 05/07/11
Statesville Rotary Triathlon 05/14/11
Enka Triathlon at Biltmore Lake 6/11/11
Ballantyne Triathlon 07/16/11 
Lake Logan International Triathlon 8/6/11

I still may need a 5k, 10k, and half mary to meet my goals for the year. I also have the list below of other stuff I think would be cool, just for fun. AND DOING STUFF TO HAVE FUN IS ONE OF MY GOALS.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Goal Setting

I have been thinking off and on about my 2011 goals for the last few months of 2010. With the calender year coming to an end I knew it was time to set the next ones, however I was having the hardest time being able to sort through all of them. My last post was a serious help to me. It seems that after completing a debrief of last years goals, I was able to put those babies to bed.

Almost as soon as I was done I was able to think clearly about my goals. I immediately opened up word and starting banging away at the keyboard with my goals, it only took 30 minutes to create the list, tweak it, re-tweak it, do the oh yeah that too, and then edit it. 

Personally, when I set goals I use a system that I was taught in incident command training. If I understand correctly, this system is actually stolen from project management. In incident command you use it to set the goals needed to both end a critical situation, such as response to a bombing, as well as to set the goals needed to be completed to during smaller operational periods. The purpose of the system is to have "SMART" goals. The term smart is used as a mnemonic regarding the checks to see if you have set a good goal. There are multiple combinations of terms you can you, but I used the combination that I have used most in emergency services. In SMART goal setting here are the characteristics: S- Specific, M- Measurable, A- Attainable, R- Results-focused/Results-oriented, T- Time-bound.

Below I have listed my goals and if continue reading beyond them I have a summary and  critique of my goal setting.

2011 Goals

Get Weight to 186 lbs (ideally by 2/1/11)
Get weight down to 180 (ideally by first race)
Find optimal racing weight
Complete the 100 push up challenge by June
Complete the 200 sit up challenge by October
Begin martial arts training again if financially feasible
Try an IDPA shooting tournament if possible

Performance Goals
Swim 100m in 1:30
Bike a 10 mile time-trial in 30 minutes
5k under 24 minutes
10k under 50 minutes
13.1 in under 1:50
Finish a marathon in less than 4 hours
Finish 1 sprint triathlon in under 1:10
Top three AG spot in the TrySports series

Event Goals
Complete a supported Century Ride
Complete a marathon
Complete an Olympic-distance triathlon
Complete a 70.3 mile triathlon
Complete at least 2 other events purely for fun i.e. endurance MTB race, Tri Relay, ultra-marathon.

First of all, I may have gone a little overboard going from 8 goals last year to 20 for 2011. You can also clearly see that I broke my goals down into three categories, although some of the goals can possibly be completed simultaneously. For instance during an event I may be able to swim 1:30 100's, complete a 10 mile bike leg in 30 minutes, and then run the 5k in under 24 minutes. This would be a really good day.

Starting with the S in SMART, I think that my last two personal goals, marital arts and shooting, could be more specific. Unfortunately, I can't make them more specific because those two are highly dependent on factors beyond my control making them kind of wavery. Many of the goals could be more specific, such as under my events I could state which 70.3 to complete or with performance goals I could put in what event I want to obtain them. However, Since I don't know where the year is going to take me at this point, I am happy with the specificity of my current goals.

Next, I check my goals to see if they are measurable. With the exception of one I would say they are all measurable. In fact, most are measurable by pass fail standards. the easiest of the pass fail standards is the "just complete". My one goal that is deficient in this area is the martial arts goal. I put begin, that is measurable, but poorly defined. Maybe something like attend 2 martial arts classes a month would be better.

Attainability is the killer with most of my goals. Not to say that they are not attainable, but I think it is the largest obstacle. First, any of my event goals, as well as martial arts, IDPA, and my series podium spot goal all hinge on important factor- money. The majority of my allowance goes to triathlon, so I would have to figure out the funding for martial arts as well as shooting. Money is somewhat under my control, however should I be hit by a truck on the way home and no longer have an income, all of the goals come crashing down. Secondly, there is a problem with the attainability of the performance goals. It is not that I THINK that they are attainable. They are challenging, for instance cutting my 100 meter swim time in half, in this case it is I do not have the knowledge base to know how to attain them. This is the problem with all of my performance goals. I need to figure out how to get there. This will mean consulting outside resources.

EDIT: I realized after writing this that I forgot about the Trysports series goal. This is also iffy as it will depend much on race conditions, how well I train, and on my competition. It is a series for beginner, but if advanced racer race down a category as training races or something I could potentially get creamed. This goal was based off the times reported last year for some of the races. For instance, the one here in my town I know for a fact I would have top three times because I know the times on the course I put while training. The bike and run leg are the bike and run leg I use for my brick workouts.

Result oriented is the easiest of all the steps for me. The performance goals are the result. The event goals are mostly major milestones and completing them are alone a result. The worst again in this area is the martial arts goal and "begin" is not clearly defined.

Lastly, is time oriented. This is another easy one for me. All of my performance goals have their own time for the time oriented characteristic. The weight loss goals have deadlines and for the events by the end of 2011 is the goal.

The goals are laid out and hopefully this will begin the shaping of an AWESOME year.

Note: a goal I did not list cause I am unsure of how to quantify it, will be volunteer at X number of races. I think this essential for our sport. the team sponsored by a local LBS have the requirement of racing X number and volunteering at X number.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 Goal Results

There have been many topics over the last two weeks that I have wanted to write about, but with limited time and sharing the computer, I went without a post at all for more than a week. Now I am back at work and can take a few moments to write, but many of the things I wanted to write about have long ago left my mind.

One that is still fresh is a check in on my 2010 goals. I had thought about writing this for New Years Eve as it was the last day of the year, but it didn't happen. However, even four days into the year I still think it is a post worthy of a few minutes of my time.

At the beginning of 2010 before blogging, before triathlon, before losing  a pound, I sat at home one night and put pen to paper and listed my fitness related goals for the year. There were seven in total and halfway through the year I came up with an eighth.

As the year closed I still had two I had not attained. One of the two was to bench press, squat, and deadlift over 200 pounds. The importance of this goal is two fold. First, When in high school there was a board for the strongest athletes in the school. This leader board was tiered with different names for the levels- something similar to warrior, animal, beast, etc (I do not remember the exact names). Each level had assigned weights and lifts, as well as a t-shirt as a reward. For the first level you had to do three of the selected lifts with over 200 pounds. Most people did BP, squat, and DL. The other reason why this goal is important is since I have always had a lack of strength, especially upper body, now that I am under 200 lbs, completing the BP would be the first time in my life I might be able to lift more than my body weight.

I have been following the Mark Allen strength training plan for a few months and the 23rd was one of my regular strength training days. I had planned to do a max out day on new years eve but this day I felt super motivated and decided to go for it while I was here. Instead of attempting my three exercises on their own I decided to work them into the normal workout. I warmed up by going slightly lighter than usual on my first three exercises.

My fourth exercise was bench press so I did a few light weight reps as a warm up and then I went for it. I was already having some shoulder pain form my last time in the gym so I changed up the way I was going to do it. Instead of starting from the up position I moved to a bench that would allow me to start from the down position. If you are not familiar, this is a technique that power lifters will use to increase their max. Since the hardest part of the lift is the up phase, power lifters will spend time working on just the explosive section by starting in the down position. Doing it with this method I was able to complete three continuous reps with 200 lbs. Unlike a power lifter, I did both portions slow and controlled as normal. Afterward I attempted another set with a lighter weight and could not even lift the bar without pain.

As squats were my next exercise for the workout, I again went to max out. I was able to complete three reps at 200lbs. My form was not the best, but it was close to the full range of motions. After this i moved on to the deadlift. This is not a part of my regular workout. I loaded the bar up again and did one rep with 200 lbs. After the last two lifts I was hurting so i didn't bother trying to see how many I could do. it was ONE and DONE. After I was done I slowly completed the rest of my workout with lighter weights and went home for a well deserved nap.

The last goal for the year I had yet to accomplish was also my #1 goal for the year. This was getting my weight under 186 pounds. In the end I did not make this goal. My average weight for December was 192. I had two days at 189 and one day at 188. These days were as close as I came.

Am I content not meeting my goal? NO, of course not. Am I disappointed? No, not really. I still lost at least 63 lbs in the year. I think the best thing for me to do is to examine why I did not meet this goal. I believe the goal was obtainable, but I did not do my best. I came into the year strong, then in the spring I went to a lull and then hit it hard again after I started blogging (thank you for keeping me accountable). If I had worked as hard as i did the rest of the year during those three or four months i would have made it and more. Also, at Thanksgiving I put 9 pounds back on. I was able to get them off and at Christmas put 7 back on only to work to take them back off.

In closing, I need to take my lessons learned and apply them to this year's goals. Now that I have closed out the 2010 goals next on my to do list is setting my 2011 goals and my 2011 race schedule.

BTW- if you are curious about what the rest of goals were you can see them here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Lot On My Mind

After a week and a half filled with family stuff and shopping, I am back to work. I remember writing about it how busy the Christmas season is, however I now miss it. As I am back at work with a overwhelming to-do list and can't concentrate. The busyness of the holiday still lent itself tot he occasional nap, while i do not have that luxury here at work.

Normally, I have issues on Mondays, but after a vacation they are always amplified. Today, in my routine fashion my ADHD is on overdrive. I can't seem to get my thought straight enough for a post so here is a list of a few things on my mind, some of them I have planned a dedicated post to-

  • I assembled my "new" bike last night
  • I need to go to the bike shop for a fitting.
  • Aerobars- Jammer GT v. T2, which is best for the road bike?
  • Speedplay v. Look pedals
  • Race supplements confuse me
  • I think about weird things on my long runs
  • I want a coach, but am still trying to figure what I am looking for
  • I think I may dedicate my Friday's posts on how I am doing triathlon frugally
  • I signed up for a BT mentor group and it is "interesting" so far
  • I need to update my 2010 goals
  • I need to formulate my 2011 goals
  • I need to set my race schedule
Although it is 3:30 here, I am going to now take my lunch and lift weights. Hopefully the exercise will increase my thinking abilities, or atleast get me closer to the end of the day.