Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Spooky Workout

Last night I attended a Tri-Shark indoor trainer ride. It was hosted in a local bike store and it was a ton of fun. One of the sharks had worked out a "spooky" Halloween playlist with songs like "The Time Warp" and "Sweet Dreams" by Marilyn Manson (which maybe is spooky to some people, but is just "Tuesday on the way to work" for me most days...maybe I'm spooky?). Another shark made Halloween cupcakes for after the ride. It was a great time of course, but there is a bit more to the story.

So there we were, indoors, peddling and sweating. I was heads down 4 minutes into an interval in my 50x13 when I had a bit of a flash back.

In 2007 I was a light 330 pounds, down from 380 and I started looking for my first outdoor bike. I went around to a few local bike stores in town shopping. One of them was particularly helpful and they started talking to me about how they could build out the back wheel to handle my weight and avoid pinch flats. While I didn't buy a bike from them in the long run, I appreciated their understanding and willingness to help me get on two wheels.

That store in my memory also happened to be my current location. I couldn't help but smile as I remembered that first trip to this store. I was very proud to be here, peddling with these people in this place. Yeah, I'm skinnier and that’s cool, but there is so much more for me to be thankful for in how far I've come. I've learned to overcome setbacks and disappointment, to suffer through pain and persevere, and to live in the moment (ok, I have a lot to learn with that last one still). There are so many other things I've learned about healthy minds and healthy bodies along the way that living this lifestyle has taught me.

It seems appropriate that I was haunted by a memory like this on Halloween, and perhaps almost cliché that I would want to thank my ghosts for chasing me along my path forward.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Swim, Bike, Run, Eat -- Tofu Salad

I was in the mood for a salad tonight, and decided to throw this together.

Cooking for one isn't much fun, so I'm always on the look out for fast easy ideas.  This certainly fit the bill.


  •  2 tbsp reduced sodium soy
  •  2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey

  • 2.5 Cups Baby Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup Grapes
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Reduced Fat Feta Cheese
  • 1 Package Extra Firm Silken Tofu
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cube your tofu and put it on a 'pamed' baking sheet
  3. Mix the sauce and pour half of it on top of the tofu
  4. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes
  5. While the tofu is baking, mix the salad.  Cover with tofu and the remaining dressing. 

Calories: 416
Fat: 16g
Cholest: 10mg
Sodium: 1900mg (but you aren't really going to eat all that sodium in the marinade)
Carbs: 34g
Sugar: 19g
Fiber: 1g
Protein: 37g

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Race Report: Rogersville Wildcat Duathlon - 1:20:26.7

The  2009 Rogersville Wildcat Duathlon in Rogersville, Mo was my very first multisport event in the Ozarks.  It was a very small race with only 43 participants and 10 year age groups.  It was a fairly cold morning, with the temps just breaking 40 and 7mph gusts of wind.  This was certainly a "C" race for me, and I was planning on taking it pretty easy since I had an 11 mile long run to do the following day.  I did well, those things considered, and overall it was a great way to stretch the race season just a bit. 

Also, I have to brag just a little bit...  There was a 5k going on at the same time and Lana placed 3rd in her AG as well.  Thats right, 3rd in a 10 year age group.  Thats impressive!  I'd say all that long slow low intensity running is really paying off on the 5k times for both of us.

Overall Place:  21
AG Place: 5

Age Group 30-39M

Run 1
This was a bit of a wildcard for me because I haven't done a duathlon before.  I was running somewhere between "go for it" and "take it easy, this is a C race and you have 11 miles to go tomorrow" so overall I was happy.  There were a few rolling ozark hills on the course (read mountains) but I felt really strong.  I found myself pushing a 7:/34 at mile 1 and actually pulled way back. 

Overall Rank: 24
Time:  16:51.9
Distance: 2 Mi
Pace:  8:26/Mi


I really took my time in transition.  I was trying to be fast and efficient but I was wearing my pearl izumi shoe covers because I wasn't willing to freeze my feet off for a few seconds of speed and they took a while to get right.

Time:  2:38.5

All summer I've been grumpy about my bike speed in Missouri.  This was a bit of vindication however.  My 20Km PR pace this year was just under 21 Mph, so 17.7 Mph is pretty much the worst 20Km bike split I've ever seen.  That being said, my overall rank jumped from 24 to 13 on the bike, and there wasn't a biker I saw that I didn't pass.  What I'm getting at is that biking in the Ozarks is very challenging to say the least, and that I did about as well compared to other riders in the Ozarks as I do on land not best suited for mountain goats.

Overall Rank:  13
Time:  41:25.4
Distance: 12 Mi
Speed:  17.7 MPH


Not sure what happened here, but the timers didn't get my T2 time for some reason. 
Run 2

Run 2 was kind of bad.  I had some really serious cramps in my right calf.  I had to walk for a few minutes in the beginning.  Eventually I ran with the cramp and that was a bigger mistake.  This week I'm spending most of the time on the sidelines with a calf injury...  Even with the walk though, I don't think I was at 10:53/mi.  I have a feeling my T2 time got factored into this. 

Overall Rank:  34
Time:  21:45.8
Distance: 2 Mi
Pace:  10:53/Mi

Overall Race Time:  1:20:26.7

Afterwards I went in and tried to get warmed up and ate some post race goodies.  It was a great race that I would do again, but I REALLY hope I'm not in the Ozarks at this time next year to do it...

Running towards the finish

Running out of T2

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gear Review: Zensah Compression Sleeves

So...compression sleeves.  Everyone's doing it, so you should to, right?  Well maybe.  There isn't any real hard scientific evidence that I have found supporting the use of compression sleeves for either racing or recovery.  Joe Friel's blog is following this at a much more scientific level than I'd be capable of, so I'll leave that to him.  What cannot be questioned however, is the amazing popularity compression gear is enjoying right now.  Kona was no stranger to compression clothing this year, and even more  notably we all saw Lance in compression gear between stages of the tour recently.

So, compression gear is here to stay.  Does it work?  It seems impossible to say for sure at this point.  In my own very personal experience, I do enjoy compression gear after especially long or difficult training sessions.  I've trained with compression gear as well, but I really didn't notice a difference, aside from my ability to draw funny looks from the general population.

Ok, so lets say you want to try it.  What should you buy?  When it comes to leg compression, I think the Zensah Compression Sleeves are the best thing out there.  They're durable, built well, and not as badly over priced as some of the more well known (I'm looking at you 2XU) vendors out there.  Why sleeves over socks?  Well, if  you're doing a tri and you do decide to race in these things, sleeves are really the only way to go.  Additionally, wearing whatever socks you want (or no socks at all) is a really nice thing for post race recovery.

Looks: 4/5
Well, they look as funny as any compression sleeves.  Combine these with my Croc Prepairs and you'd really be styling...

Price: 3/5
More reasonable than most, but still kind of pricey for what they are.  I've heard of people having great results with medical grade compression socks purchased from CVS or Walgreens.  I haven't tried that, but it would be a cheaper option if it worked.

Performance: 5/5
For me at least, these things seem to help out with the inevitable DOMS that a long run/ride will leave you with.  They hold up well, and they seem to be constructed with better than average material and craftsmanship. 

Overall:  4/5
If you're looking for compression sleeves, these would probably be the ones to use.  Of course if anyone else would like me to review their brand, I'd be happy to.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gear Review: Crocs Prepair

I'll be the first to admit, I never, ever, planned on wearing a pair of Crocs.  Ever.  But...  Yeah, they're that good.  The Crocs Prepair clog is to feet what the compression sock is to calves.  After a long run, there is really nothing like it.  Alternating between three sports means recovery time is very very important and anything that can speed that along is a godsend.  These things certainly seem to help me.   

So, ok, they're a recovery shoe.  Neat.  But wait, there's more.  The anti microbial/anti fungal/anti odor foot bed also makes these things pretty much the perfect pre/post swim shoe as well. Also those little strappy things on the back keep them on unlike most other pool sandals.

So, if you're serious about recovering faster, and you want something diverse enough to wear after a race, before a race, to and from the pool, and after your runs give the Croc Prepair a try.  Yes, they're funny looking, but you're already wearing compression socks/sleeves so get over it. 

Looks: 2/5 
Yeah, they're Crocs...but they are slightly less ugly than the standard fair.

Price: 3/5
At around $40, they aren't cheap.  They do hold up well though, and they are much less expensive than other recovery footwear options. (Yeah, I'm talking about you Zoot.)

Performance: 5/5
They do what they intend to, and a little bit more.  Thats goodness.

Overall:  4/5
If you can handle the looks, you'll be a better athlete because of it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Off Season

It's officially the off season. As such, it seems like now might be a good time to make an off season plan. Right now, this is just a list of general goals that I am hoping will become more clear as time goes on.

Things to accomplish this off season:

  • Take two weeks completely off to heal
  • Finish reading "Going Long" and reread "The Triathlete's Bible"
  • Develop a training plan and race plan for 2010
  • Get a bike fitting done
  • Get a fitness assessment done
  • Get some swimming instruction/join a masters swim league