Friday, January 30, 2009

Another Frosty 5k Picture

Close to the end, and feeling it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Governator Quote

You have to make a decision what you want to be in life. If you want to be something special then you have to sacrifice a lot. I get the most satisfaction out of things not everybody experiences . . ." - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Sunday, January 25, 2009

BMR Calculator

Having grown sick of the undocumented, dubious math often found on internet facing BMR calculators, I decided to build my own.

This calculator will determine your basil metabolic rate using both the Harris-Benedict and MD Mifflin ST St Jeor equations, as described on wikipedia.

Anyway, here is the calculator. It's not pretty, as it is mostly for my own use. If anyone would like the code, you're welcome to it. I'll happily distribute it under GPL.

Update: I also built a calculator for Katch-McArdle, which estimates BMR based on lean body mass. Here it is.

CFS Frosty 5k 1/24/2009

If I were to sum this race up into one word, that word would be "cold." It was very very very cold. Before even factoring in the 8 mph winds, it was only about 4 degrees F.

I'm not completely sure why I'm standing so straight in that picture, but it may be that I was frozen that way. Yeah, I know there was a guy behind me in shorts, but I promise it really was cold!

It was also rather icy. About .1 miles in another runner fell, and I fell avoiding her. That certainly didn't help my time. I learned two lessons about ice in this race though. 1. Wear your Yak Traks, even if it was warm the day before. 2. Ice is hard to see when you're running, especially in a shaded area.

CJ and Michelle (who both got 3rd in their age groups!) were both there with their families and Jayme was there doing the 2 mile walk with William. That certainly made for the best post race event I've experienced.

Quantitative Analysis
Without seeing the official times, based on when I crossed the line, it appears that I missed third place by less than a minute. Bummer. On the up side, it was the best 5k I've ever ran, coming in at 31:53, which brings me to 10:16/mile. My last timed 5k was in November, and I finished that one in about 38 minutes. Substantial improvement for sure. Second place in my age group was 26 minutes however. I'm not likely to be that fast this year, but maybe next year.

Qualitative Analysis
After every event I always ask myself "Self, was that it or could you have put out a little bit more?" Well, that was it. I left everything I had on the race course. In the very small group of contestants that consists only of me, this was definitely a first place run.

Goal for Next Race
My next race is an indoor tri, so I'm not sure what to take forward from this race to that one, since the format is so completely different. I'm going to go into that race with an open mind, and just see what happens, since it's my first multisport race.

The event after that should be the Miller Park 5k on 3/7. Based on today, my goal is to finish that race in 31:02 or shorter, which would break me into the high end of 9 minute miles.

Detailed BT Race Report

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Running with Blisters

Although talking about blisters is kind of gross, I can't imagine there is a runner that doesn't have to deal with them occasionally.

I've been dealing with an especially bad one recently, which I acquired from trying a new type of insole in my running shoes. The best treatment would have been to just take an extra few days away from running, but this week I had a 5k to run (more on that once the official results are posted). To deal with the "mega blister" as best I could during my run, I adopted the following strategy:

1. Two days before the race, I started aggressively treating the area with Aquaphor (good tip, thanks CJ!). I'm not really sure what is inside this stuff that makes it so great, as the only active ingredient is a "skin protectant" but whatever pixie dust they sprinkle in works wonders. It's likely that it would have been mostly healed if I had started using this stuff a few days earlier.

2. I laid off the running for those same two days, which would have been a good idea anyway since I was racing, and swam instead.

3. Before the race I coated the area with two layers of a generic liquid bandage. Then I covered the area in body glide to hopefully keep as much friction as possible away from the area.

4. After the run I removed the liquid bandage and reapplied the Aquaphor.

Anyway, this is a strategy I'd use again if I had to. If you have to run/cycle with a blister I'd recommend giving this a try.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Three Miles Inside My Head

Now for something completely different.

This post is a summation of the randomness that goes on inside my head during a typical week day run. You may or may not be interested, read at your own risk.

Warm up Laps. Ugh, it's already 5:45 and I'm just stepping onto the track. I better put my headphones on as I do my warm up walk.

Should I tuck the cord in my shirt or not? I never know what to do with that thing.

Wow, this place is still a zoo! So many people still. January 21st. I hope they break their resolutions soon so I can run in peace. (I never said I was nice...)

Ok, time to run, lets go...

Lap 3. I could do this forever! I'm doing great tonight.

Oh cool, good song, turn it up.

Lap 6. Hey dude...I'm not giving you the thumbs up, I'm counting laps on my fingers because I forgot my watch.

Lap 7. Another good song...trying to focus on it and forget about the pain...

Lap 9. One mile down, two to go. My quadriceps are still burning from last night's bike tempo workout.

Lap 12. Coach tells unruly kids on the basketball court to run some laps. Heh, my sport is used as punishment in your sport!

Lap 14. Lunch was great today, and I feel like I'm running stronger because of it. I wonder if I should still be eating more. Eating just the right amount is really complicated. I've got to find that sweet spot where metabolism is maxed and calories are the lowest possible for maximum metabolism, and it would be great if that was the ideal for athletic performance too, but I'd take a hit there for faster weight loss. Lets see, suppose metabolism is a function of x, that approaches weight gain asymptotically and...wait, forget it. Existing math doesn't predict weight loss well, and metabolism is just too dynamic, it's all just an estimate anyway. I wonder if that's because living organisms are open systems. That's got to be it. No equilibrium. Can't measure the organism and ignore the surrounding universe. Pondering Maxwell's Demon...

Lap 15. Wow, there sure are alot of t-shirts here talking up the word team. Seems odd since we're all running. I really don't like the idea of team sports. I remember that one guy's forum signature...there is no I in team, but there is in triathlon. Works for me.

Lap 18. Two miles down. Breathing hard, feeling nauseated, better back down a bit.

Lap 20. Ouch, that blister on my foot is biting back. The body glide must be gone.

Lap 22. Thinking about definitions. Really slow runner: Anyone slower than me. Inhuman gazelle-like super runner: Anyone faster than me.

Lap 24. There's that dude running in jeans and dress shoes again. This place sure has some oddballs, but more power to him for being here and doing it. While I'm being the fashion police, what is it with power walkers and hoodies? Is it fashion or do they think that sweating more means more weight loss. Sigh, probably the latter. And wow...look at that lady...her tights are pulled all the way up to her...oh dear god buy a sports bra or you'll put your eye out! Ok, you're being a jerk, knock it off.

Lap 26. Ok, one more. Glycerine by Bush...good song but not a good running song and definately not a good sprint to the finish song. Fast forward on the shuffle is the one opposite the head phone jack. Thats better, a RATM finish.

Lap 27. Ok, this is it. If I bust my ass I can pull it off in under 31 minutes. It hurts alot, but it's almost over...pick your knees up and go Mike...

Cooldown. Not bad, just a bit under 31... Ok, time for dinner and some weight training.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Very Good Day

Some days everything just lines up and things just work. Friday was one of those days.

My plans were to do an easy brick. I would run 2 miles, as fast as I wanted, and then I'd swim 2x100m freestyle/breast stroke, 2x50 drills, 500m endurance, and then 200m cool down/practicing flip turns.

I warmed up a little, stretched a little, and started my run...and while I was out there everything just felt right. Nothing hurt, nothing cramped, and "as fast as I wanted" became very fast for me. Nine laps in (1 mile on my track) my laps were coming in a good deal under 1:10, and I was feeling great, so I ran the second nine at the same pace. My stomach was hurting a bit by the end, but beyond that it was all systems go the entire time. The result was 2 miles in 19:51. That's 9:55/mile. Amazingly fast for me! Now, I just have to be able to run 3 miles at that speed. For the first time since I've been running, I felt like a runner, and it felt pretty good!

I took a few cool down laps after that great run, smiling the whole way, and then switched from running shorts to jammers and hit the pool. After my warm up laps and drills I started my endurance set. Again, things just felt right, almost zen like. I touched the wall after my 500, checked my watch, and almost fell over. I did my 500 in 10 minutes. That's 2 minutes faster than my best time so far!

On the way home I was tempted to buy a lottery ticket. Days like that are rare for sure.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gear Review: Profile Design Carbon Stryke Aerobars

It's been said that the fourth discipline of triathlon is shopping. Choosing a set of aerobars has been one of the hardest decisions I've had to make on the bike side of things so far. After much agonizing, I decided on the Profile Design Carbon Stryke.

Before I go into it, let me pause for some self promotion... Hey! Look at all this free advertising Profile Design! I sure do wish I had a Tri-Stryke saddle to review as well! :) I get lots of hits. *crosses fingers*, anyway...

Choosing aerobars is kind of like choosing a saddle. The choice is based on comfort, trial and error, and your own individual anatomy. So why did I pick the Profile Design Carbon Stryke?

Well, the process looked like this:

Step 1: What did I want? For now, I wanted a good but reasonably priced set of clip on aerobars that would make my road bike tri friendly, until I end up with a tri specific bike in the future. I didn't want to replace the entire cockpit, because I wanted to retain my road bike's roadiness.

Step 2: Which vendor am I going to choose? There were several good options here, including Profile Design, Vision / FSA, and Syntance. I already use alot of FSA stuff, including my OCR2's crank, seat post, and handlebars, but I couldn't find a convenient retailer for Vision / FSA aerobars. Syntance looks to be very popular, but I thought their product looked less adjustable, since it had to be ordered to rider size. Profile Design is everywhere, and they were available from my LBS should I need replacement parts.

Step 3: What model did I want? Here is where things really got ambiguous. My options were the T2+/T2+ Cobra, the Jammer GT/CGT, the split second, or the carbon stryke. After asking around, and trying a few pairs, I ruled out the T2+ series. Those things were way to aggressive for my clydesdale body, and I wouldn't have been comfortable in that much of a tuck. The Jammer GT/CGT was great, but it was almost the opposite. Not tucked enough. Those bars would be optimal for a century rider or someone that needed a draft legal bar however.

Step 4: Carbon or Not? This left the Split Second and the Carbon Stryke. The difference in weight in nominal in my opinion. 722g vs. 520g. That makes the Carbon Stryke about 7 oz heavier. The Split second retails for around $120 and the Carbon Stryke is around $250. There is no way that 7 oz is worth $130. So why did I go with the Carbon Stryke? After searching the internet I was able to find the Carbon Stryke on sale for the same price as the Split Second, which made the choice alot easier!

On a side note, the Split Second comes with Profile Design's flip up ZB brackets, which let you use your top bar. The Carbon Stryke's brackets are fixed. Having access to more of the top bar would have been really nice, but I read multiple reviews that said the flip up brackets had some durability problems. Consider that if you're making this same choice.

Installation: Pretty easy really. They just bolt on. You will need a torque wrench to get everything properly tightened however. I had to undo some of my bar tape as well. Also, because my handlebar tapers from 31.8mm to something much smaller really quickly, I had to flip the brackets from how they were sent. After I figured that out, it was a piece of cake to get them on.

Quality: The product's quality seems superb. The instructions could use some work, but the hardware was all perfect.

So, how does it work? They feel really great, and I'm definitely faster than I was without them. Aerobars are certainly the second best thing you can do for yourself, if you want to go faster. The first? Peddle faster of course!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Then and now...

The picture on the left is from 2004, and was sent to me in email recently by one of my best bud's Wo with the comment "check this out...are you proud??" Proud, yes, but humbled as well, as it was my own dumb fault for letting myself get to that point.