Thursday, May 28, 2009

My friend, my enemy.

This morning I got on the scale. Getting on the scale seems to be part (step #5 - I'll let you try to guess the others) of my morning ritual and has the ability to influence my day postitively or negatively based on if the scale is my friend or my enemy. My weight fluctuates day to day, as expected, but all seems right with the world when the scale is my friend asI see the results of eating right and balancing training load. In contrast, when the scale is my enemy, the world is chaos when I'm doing all I can do with no (or even worse negative) results.

The scale today was my friend as I hit a new low. In the last 11 weeks I lost 10.6 pounds. Maybe I've broken through the plateau that I've had but most importantly I need the scale to continue to be my friend for the next few weeks leading up to EagleDay, 6/14.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Training with Plague

Last week I got sick. I may have gotten it from riding 53 miles in the cold rain on the day of the Montauk Century but I figured a better explanation was that Fran gave it to me. Fran, a professed medical professional, said he got plague from Casey and proposed that this was Casey's strategy for how to finish ahead of us all at Eagleman. He still may finish ahead of us but the soon-to-be infamous plague gambit didn't work as well as he hoped.

I was getting progressively sicker as last week went on (coughing, being tired, drizzly nose, etc) culminating with going to bed at 8PM Thursday, calling in sick on Friday and waking up 1030AM on Friday still tired. While still in bed I called the doctor. I needed drugs or would be sick for a while. Friday afternoon I got hooked up by DrK.

Saturday I woke up with less plague and figured I'd give my scheduled workout a try. SisMB knocked off most (but not all) of the cobwebs off her bike and joined me for a few laps. While I cut it a bit short since the "tireds" were coming back, I still was able to do 37+ windy miles on the bike at Hecksher followed by a slow 30 minute transition run.

I took Sunday off. Not because of plague but because of I did do a brick of getting a sunburn while watching Courtney play soccer in a tournament followed by going to see "Night in the Museum 2." I'll make that trade most days as it was a good family day in the Rock Star house but I needed a planB as the 2.5hour L2 scheduled ride didn't happen.

I decided to ride with Long Island Tri Coach (LITC) as they had a "Memorial Day" ride of 40 or 60 miles. I can't remember the last time I rode with a large group of faster riders. Most of my training is either on my own, with a small number of Eagleteamers or with a large slow group. The LITC group was different as there were more than a few quick riders and a few that were frightenly fast (aka "strong"). I sort of kept up (fat guys and Long Island's north shore of rolling hills don't mix well), did 50 miles followed by a 2 mile transition run, and felt that I did OK overall. I wanted a little longer but figured this was good enough. The powertap said I did 187w avg/223w NP for the 50 miles and was done in a few seconds over 3 hours of riding.

BikeMike called me at night, commented that the ride was "stellar" and said I must be over plague.

The morals of this story:

- I think I need to find some more rides with faster groups as there was no way that I could have pushed myself that hard for that long alone.

- I'm over plague. I'm sure Casey is dreaming up another strategy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Jeans

Today I tried on a new pair of jeans. There was a time when 44's didn't fit right as they were too snug. These new ones have a 36" waist.

And they are loose.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Not the Montauk Century

I enjoy riding in the Montauk Century. I've done it 5 times with TNT and Dawn did it last year. I got to be Mr. SAG and Mr. Cheerleader while Dawn rode it but it was an exciting day even though I changed at least 10 flats.

This year I wasn't going to do the whole ride since I was afraid if the time necessary to recover would impact Eagleman. Instead was going to ride a bit of the route along side the riders and turn around at some point. The expectation was to get at least 3 hours of riding in or go as long as 65-75 miles.

It seems as though a recurring theme of my blog posts is bad weather and this entry continues this trend. We were supposed to leave Casa Rockstar at 6am to meet the TNT faithful at 7am but we started a little late.

When we left it was very foggy and misty. Then it started to rain. Then it started to rain harder. Then it started to rain harder and get cold. Then it started to rain harder, get cold, and the wind kicked up. Get the picture? It turned into a miserable day for riding weather-wise.

The best choice I made was to put on a wind breaker before I left after some debate. EagleTim made a different choice and went with a jersey/shorts combo - the cold got to him first. Two stops for dry socks and a Trifecta breakfast (3 eggs, 3 pancakes and 3 sausage) at the diner helped ride out the storm but we were still miserablely cold. Rite Aid could have charged whatever they wanted for the hoodie that Tim had to buy for what, at the time, seemed necessary for survival. I wasn't cold until we stopped and then the shivers set in.

Dawn saved the day by picking us up. We got in 53 miles in about three hours of riding and were happy it was over. We took pity on those doing the full 100 mile enchilada especially those we saw dressed in cotton shirts and cargo shorts.

I'm sure there will be clear skies for next year's Montauk Century. Then again, maybe not.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

One Oh Something or Eleven Flats

After running about 2 miles to get in some extra mileage and before the drenching cold rain started, EagleFran asked me what I hoping hoping to do in the 10k as we were waiting in the start corral for the NYRR Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park on 5/16/2009 . My response was "one oh something or eleven flats".

My logic was that last year in this race I did a 1:14:10 (11:57 per mile). This was my stand alone 10k PR but really because I hadn't run a stand alone 10k since then. I was faster than this time in the StA brick's 10K and in the first 10K of the LI Half Mary. I wanted to beat my pace I did for my 5m PR thinking another good mindset would be to always beat the pace of a slightly shorter race.

Actual results were 1:08:16. Pace was 11:00 per mile. One oh something. Eleven flats.

Happy Rock Star.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Irony - The biggest loser

Last night was the final episode of NBC's "The Biggest Loser." On this show contestants lose a tremendous amount of weight in a very short period of time. This year the Long Island TNT Cycle Team did their own variation on this where all the participants anted up $10 with the winner getting the pot to apply to their fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The winner on the television show this season lost 140 pounds. The at-home winner lost 177 pounds. On the TNT version there was a tie. Karen and the Rockstar led the pack losing a whopping 7.2, yes seven point two, pounds.

Seems like a rounding error compared to the show but losing a little is better than gaining weight. Since I'm sure that Karen worked harder than me, I recommended to the Schmoopmeister to give her the spoils of this contest to donate.

The good part of this show is that I'm lighter than some of "after" weights of the TV show contestants. I'm still on the road to right sizing and that road is a "long and winding road." Sounds like a good title to a song - wait to hear the piano close at the end.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Weight Loss Plateau

My weight loss has slowed down drastically. It hasn't stopped completely but it looks like I've hit a dreaded plateau. I was used to losing 1-3 pounds per week but the past few weeks I've gone up and down but the weight has centered around the same set of numbers.

Rockstar Research has found that plateaus are common in a weight loss journey (Google has 352,000 hits on these magic words). Being a common experience doesn't make it less frustrating but I believe the cure is to refocus on the objective at hand.

EagleDay is a little over a month away, roughly 4 weeks. I'm not going to make the weight target I had originally hoped. I have a choice: give up losing weight or try to lose a few more pounds in the month still to go. I can't go crazy as I can't be weakened before race day but losing an additional 6-8 pounds sounds about right. This will put me under the 1/8 of a ton milestone.

How to do this is another problem. I need a "Plan B" as "Plan A" stopped working. There will be some more longer workouts on the calendar but the caloric input needs adjusting too. I've charted my daily weight and found that my lowest average weight is on Saturday morning and the highest average weight is on Monday morning. That means to me that the biggest focus needs to be on Saturdays and Sundays.

Stay tuned.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Two thousand words.

They say a picture says a thousand words. Here are two from the 2009 Long Island Half Marathon. None of those words should be "muffin top" but the evidence shows that some may be.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Placid 2011 and choices.

On our ride Saturday EagleFran told me that he, along with EagleTim, had figured out that I will be doing IMLP with them in 2011. Of course I haven't gotten confirmation from Tim that he is actually in or if Fran told HIM that I determined that Tim would be doing this with me. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.

In any event, doing an Ironman is always one of those far off Rock Star dreams and if most things in my life go well, I expect this to be something that I would consider in earnest late spring 2010 for 2011. This would have to be a decision where I get only one of the votes as the time I would need to dedicate would be an uplift to what I'm investing now for at least some period of time. The other slant on this is the timing of Placid being in July so the heaviest workout load would be in May and June. These months are typically busy with "social" events in the Rock Star household.

Perhaps a late season option (IMFL or IMAZ) would be something worthy of consideration instead. Most importantly, though, would for me to get into a position where these questions and choices can be made. We're not there yet. And it will be OK if we decide that this isn't for me but I'd like to get physically and mentally into that position to be able make that choice.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Half Full, Half Empty, Half Marathon

I don't like it when I'm confused about my performance post race and it seems that this is happening more and more frequently recently. The Long Island Half Marathon on May 3 unfortunately is no exception to this phenomena. Looking back on this day seems to have gotten me in a classic half full/half empty mindset.

First the half full side:

  • I set a PR for the half marathon by almost 23 minutes (22:47).
  • I set a PR for the first 10k even though I was holding back a bit. This PR should be short lived as I have high hopes for the NYRR Healthy Kidney 10K on 5/16/09.
  • I was able to run the whole thing (save for while drinking at the water stops but I don't count that).
  • Since I finished the race successfully, I don't have as much concern heading into the run leg of EagleDay. If I couldn't finish this race, I probably would have been a mental mess. Some might say what's the difference.
  • My fastest miles were at the end. I negative split the race. If I knew how I did this, that would be something much better.
  • I beat SisMB and DocWannaBe's previous half marathon times.
  • I didn't find a new and inventive way to injure myself. Training is resuming immediately.

How can you consider this anything but a home run? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, ROCKSTAR Now, the half empty side:

  • Even though my weight is getting lower, it isn't moving as much and fast as it should. I feel that this is the biggest (pun intended) thing holding me back.
  • I look very fat in the pictures that I've seen. No one seems to appear fatter.
  • Many of the people that finished before me seem slow. That means I'm still slow. I was hoping (perhaps dreaming) of a slightly faster time.
  • I wasn't able to hold a pace that most folks consider slow. Fortunately, my body recovered a bit during the race and I was able to pick it up (to get to "slow").
  • I felt thirsty during the race. This means I didn't drink enough.
  • My HR was too high (peaking at 174, averaging 156).
  • This time would translate into 1 5:18:51 using the McMillan Calculator. I want to go sub 5:00:00 at NYC this November. That is a harder course so there is much more work to do.
  • I got a little crazy as the times were originally reported as gun times, not net times - it isn't as if I qualified for anything of note.

So, why am I not ecstatic? Otherwise worded, what would have made me giddy? Yes, I hit my goals stated beforehand but perhaps it was that I had a shot at sub-2:30:00. Maybe that was unreasonable or a tease but I wonder how much of this outlook could have changed if I had those 72 seconds? 2:29:59 seems soooo much faster than 2:31:11. Maybe that would have done it. Maybe not.

While I'm still deciding if the Long Island Half Marathon glass is half empty or half full, the glass for the half iron will be completely full but we'll be emptying them all during the celebration afterwards.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Variation on a Pace Bracelet

I posted this email earlier today to the Long Island TNT Run team yahoo group as there was an email thread on pace bracelets for the Long Island Half Marathon. For those who are not familiar with pace bracelets, they are basically a cheat sheet that lists the splits necessary to finish a race within a given time. I've decided for a variation on that type of device to organize my thoughts for the half on Sunday.

At the Start: Keep remembering you get to do this, you don't have to this. Nerves are expected as is success. Something will go wrong but more will go right.

Mile 1: Don't get caught up in the excitement and be a rabbit. Focus on going easy as there is a lot of road ahead today.

Mile 2: Thank a volunteer while remembering to drink. Be careful at the water stops as the ground can be slippery.

Mile 3: While it would be easier to turn into the park (and towards the finish line) here, there is more pavement to be pounded. See all the TNT people around and feel the energy. Put some of this energy in your pocket in case you need it later.

Mile 4: This one only applies to morons like me: Realize you probably should have shown up for more of the group runs but it is too late for that now. (In my case, one would have been nice). Remember Teddy Roosevelt's quote "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." This was in a earlier blog post.

Mile 5: Don't think of what you did wrong, think of what you are doing right. Be as tall and as loose as you can be.

Mile 6: Just about a 10k. Keep turning the feet over along Jericho Turnpike.

Mile 7: The dog days of the half, just past halfway. Luckily, there will be people cheering near Home Depot/McDonalds. Remember at least one stupid thing and one unexpected impressive thing about today. This is what you'll remember forever about this day.

Mile 8: It is all downhill from here (the highest elevation on the course is around here). The scenery changes as you run along the parkway. Enjoy the quiet and hope an annoying song doesn't get stuck in your head. "I Want to be a Rock Star" is much better than "Funkytown."

Mile 9: Don't follow the full marathoners as they prepare break off. That would make for a really long day but maybe someday...Oops that day will be November 1 in NYC for me.

Mile 10: Warmup over - time to race a 5k. The cheering crowds return.

Mile 11: Expect a coach to be around here but you won't know exactly where so look strong so they realize the hard work you did paid off. Be proud.

Mile 12: Remember why you are doing this whatever your reasons are. Listen for the race announcers near the finish line. That means you are getting close.

Mile 13: Start thinking how the finish line pictures will look.

At the finish: Cheer in a teammate and cheer in a complete stranger.

Post-finish: Celebrate. This is a big deal.

Post-Post finish: When's the next one?