Thursday, January 28, 2010

Indoor winter training at its finest

The ten pound bag of almonds arrived last Friday to start my weekend off right.
It continued with the sprint masters practice that night and then a long day of training on Saturday. Saturday morning Jocelyn and I drove up north a little to Mark’s house to meet up with what is becoming a pretty regular group of Pittsburgh area Ironman nut jobs. Mark had us all setup in his very spacious basement for a three hour trainer ride to kick things off for the day. We managed to go through one Spinervals video, a Universal Sports broadcast of the 2009 Ironman Louisville race that two of the morning's riders raced, and then finished up with a little bit more of Coach Troy with an "On the Road" of Lake Placid. After the trainer ride we transitioned to a quick (and I mean quick) ~4 mi run from Mark’s house out to a turnaround in Troy Polamalu’s neighborhood. After the run Mark and his wife Jenene had a wonderful brunch prepared for us and we got in some much need calories and continued the stimulating conversation of the morning and good times. After leaving Mark’s place, Jocey, the Holderbaums and myself made the drive up a little further north to the closest YMCA available, Cranberry (vs Baierl), that would admit scurrilous Sewickley Y travelers, and got in the third and final workout of the day. This was finished up with some obligatory underwater camera fun, waterslide action, and of course my beloved tradition of post-swim steambathing.
Saturday night Jocelyn and I just relaxed at home and watched a movie while letting our legs begin to recover. Sunday morning dawned with more rainy conditions, and while Jocelyn went out to North Park to meet up with a friend for her 12 mi run, I slept in a little bit longer and then ventured over to the Montour Trail for my own slopfest twelve on a nasty, muddy, icy/crusty rail trail. I made fellow Pharaoh Hounds runner sightings out in the miserable conditions, seeing Eric and Jo toughing it out as well. Sunday closed out with some NFL viewing, a trainer ride, and a nice family dinner where we got the latest on my brother and fiance’s wedding deliberations. Finishing the training week out on Saturday, I jumped up over 13 hours for the week so things are continuing to build on the ever present numbers chase and fitness enhancement.

This week started very well on the training front, with a tough masters distance workout on Monday, doing such fun sets as 200s on the 2:30 and 100s leaving on 1:15, and then a solid aerobic bike effort on Tuesday night followed by getting back out on the road to run yesterday morning and this one. Here's a shot from my run this morning - I had a so so swim last night, as I was kinda playing it cool as I had been feeling a little “off” since Tuesday night. Had nothing to do with the bike effort, but probably an encroaching bug of some kind that Jocelyn likely transported home from her elementary school. So far so good though, and I hope to fight that off as well as the niggling right foot discomfort I had been feeling off and on since last week. This probably resulted in running too hard, on the too far left portion of some of the highly cambered local roads. I shouldn’t complain too much though, as I’ve been relatively problem free (knock on wood) since I went minimal on the running shoes. Caveman style is good for more than just eating! Good information on minimalistic running can be found here.

So tonight I will do another moderately long trainer ride and plan to run tomorrow AM and then swim in the evening. And then Saturday morning it is back with the Ironman crew for another marathon training session. This time I heard there is even a waiting list for the session! Happy training and eating everyone! Caveman up!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Paleo living

The New York Times online edition recently ran an interesting article on the "urban caveman." It just so happened that I was already boning up on the subject when I caught scent of this piece. I had been reading The Paleo Diet for Athletes for a couple days and had begun implementing some of the diet recommendations. The plate shown above is my daily mid morning snack now. Throw a hardboiled egg in there too. I thought I'd give Paleo a try now that its resolution time and also because my current training volume is relatively low. If it doesn't get the job done once I'm hammering myself week in and week out, I can always drift back towards the typical triathlete's style of nutrition, that of the all out Carb-Fest. At a minimum I suppose I have committed to sticking with the almonds at least because I just ordered ten pounds of them yesterday online! So far though its going very smoothly and I am noticing that I am getting a little leaner around the midsection, and my energy levels are good as well. A plus about the body comp since the epic bike rides have yet to start, although those will surely take care of any extra energy I might hope to have. :)

With all of that said however, training has been going well and I am slowly building things up. The first two weeks of the year I have been up around 11-12 hours and the frequency and quality of sessions are good. Last weekend alone I hit 6.5 hours of training which was a great feeling, although it makes me laugh to read that now because in a couple months that won't even be a complete Saturday. Our friends Chad and Jen came out our way last Saturday and joined us for some s/b/r. That definitely helped to get a longer bike in and was good to catch up and talk shop. Since Chad's 30th birthday was also the next day, later that night we joined up with them again and a group of triathlete friends for dinner at the Yokoso Japanese Steakhouse at the Waterfront. Below, from l to r: Jen, Chad, Lisa, Ryan, Cari, and Nick. This was our first time meeting Ryan, Cari, and Nick, and it was definitely a pleasure. Good peoples. Not pictured: Kim, Garvin, Jocelyn, and yours truly. Dinner was followed up by a Shuffleboard tournament at Dave and Busters. We endurance athletes know how to party!
Well, I think its time to turn in and get some of that all important rest, but this weekend will bring more group training sessions and good blog material. I hope everyone out there is off to as good a start as I am this year and is getting the work done, for that first race of the season can't be that far away! For tonight I will leave you with an amusing video, SlowTwitch: The Movie, created (I think) by Chuckie V.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

return to the blogosphere, 01.12.10

Back by popular demand, Knuckle Up Triathlon returns to the blogosphere for the "tens" (2010)! I suppose a lot has happened since my last blog post, which was an inexcusable 6+ weeks(!) ago, but really not too much has happened in the way of significant training or anything on the racing front. I'll mention some of the things that stand out to me, but really just start fresh with the New Year.

Definitely the most tri-applicable news is that I am now on a new tri bike for 2010, a 2009 Felt B2 Pro. After five great years of training and racing on the trusty Cervelo steed, I have retired this bike to the pastures and I am stoked to be on the full carbon rig for the new season. The Felt is super comfortable (I think I have a nearly identical fit to my P3 dialed in now on the B2), and I can't wait to see what it can do on the open roads. It just looks incredibly aero and sharp with the Zipp wheels and DA drivetrain. Hopefully some of this snow will melt soon and we'll get one of the unseasonably warm winter days that I've been telling everyone we're bound to get and I am so desperately hoping for.The biggest non-tri news without a doubt is that my younger brother Chris got engaged to his longtime girlfriend Alyson. CONGRATS guys! They are planning a summer wedding of this year and I can't wait for that and for them, they are a great couple and this is going to be huge! Christmas and New Year's came and went, and I enjoyed the time off from work and as always had some nice time with my family and my newly minted inlaws. Wonderful gifts, wishes, and holiday love and cheer was spread far and wide. New Year's Day Jocelyn and I went to the Y for one of our traditional New Years Day workouts, and once we were done swimming, took some fun underwater pictures and also a few practical ones and video for some stroke analysis.
Friends Jim, Leslie, and Bill. Jim is our masters swim team's self-appointed "spiritual leader", Leslie a northern VA swimmer visiting her USMS buddies, and Bill is our masters coach and resident super-swimmer at the SEWY Y. Note the swedes on Bill as proof of his speed.
Unfortunately I have yet to find my groove with the indoor cycling this winter and have been struggling to get in real long sessions on the weekend. So in place of some of the volume that my sanity is not currently allowing for, I have been supplementing with a little more intensity than usual and am getting in some focused, steady to mod-hard sessions. Not having the group CompuTrainer sessions like we have the last two winters has definitely made a difference, but some talks are in the works to put together some basement sufferfests with friends! In the meantime though, Jocelyn and I are trying to make the most of this old school, snowy Pittsburgh winter with a little cross country skiing. Last Saturday the wife and I went up to Sewickley Heights Park and did some xc on trails we had previously only run or biked on.
Saturday night we had dinner at our friends' Joe and Fay, where they made some awesome homemade Chinese, with some mongolian beef and coconut curry vegetables and rice. There was also a case of Hofbrau House Dunkel on hand, as well as some sake and the night was definitely full of great tastes and indulgence. Below is the tasty wedding cake made for us by Fay's mother, which all of us made quick work of after the Chinese feast!
Pictured from l to r: Judy, Jocelyn, Steve, Fay, and Joyce. (not pictured: me, Joe, and Russell)
Sunday morning was a little rough seeing as I am now a lightweight, but Joe and I met for an 11 mile progression run in the 8 degree temps. It was a struggle to get going, but after 5 miles or so I found my legs and we started clipping along around 7min pace and below. JV and I post-run trying to warmup and let hats and beards thaw.
Sunday afternoon Jocelyn and I saw Avatar which we thoroughly enjoyed - I must admit, I'm a sucker for visually astounding, reality bending, consciousness questioning sci-fi flicks. I had the same sort of feeling after seeing the original Matrix for the first time. Sunday evening we had dinner at my rents' house, and afterwards my mom pulled out my old swimming warmup jacket that she found while cleaning some unseen corner of the house. This was a huge blast from my AG swimming past with the Sea Dragons, and probably from about when I was eight or nine years old, judging by the progressive swim lesson patches and the size of the thing. It would be so cool to sport this relic from my first days as an endurance athlete to a current masters swim meet, but I doubt I could get this tiny hoody around my shoulders or zipped at all!
So until the weather warms considerably, I'm going to have to stay motivated by watching the upcoming winter games, and following along with the ongoing Epic Camp in NZL for the next 5 days. I better start getting into that champion mindset myself though, because the first race of the year is only about three months away! Happy training-