"SUN" Day Workouts!!!

There is just something about working out when the weather is nice. All too often in the PNW you have to just brave the conditions and get outside in the rain, snow, sleet or hail. You just have to toughen up and get your workouts in.

A few weeks ago Jessi and I ran in some of the worst conditions ever and I have to say that even though it sucked, it is days like that which make days like Thursday so great. With the chance of having a run in the sun, Jessi and I decided to forego our morning run and wait until the evening and warmer conditions.
We headed out around 6 and were able to ditch the UnderArmour, stocking caps and warm gloves to just go out and run in long sleeve shirts and visors. No headlamps or reflective gear was needed. The run was tough as we ran back behind St. Georges and up the formidable sandy hill. Jessi says she feels sorry because I have to run “SO” slow when I run with her but in all reality she is one fast chica and I get a great workout each and every time. I give her major props for never backing out and always willing to push herself to the extreme.
Fast forward to Friday’s workout and our second straight nice day. Yes the sun actually made an appearance for two days in a row. After spending last Friday in the pool and missing the chance to use great weather to get outside, I decided I would get my long weekend ride in on Friday and enjoy the warm conditions.

All week I had been asking Tiffany if she was going to skip the swim and join the Thompson’s and I for the ride. I think the majority of people could have been intimidated in joining us, not necessarily because of my sweet riding skills but because Jessi and Roger are great athletes and can just flat out ride.

Tiffany pulled out her A+ card and rocked this ride. She pushed herself and even though she was completely exhausted at the end, rode the entire ride hard. I know she was scared but she was never gave up and it was awesome to see someone get out of their comfort zone and get better.

Roger and I finished up the 2.5 hour ride with a tough 40 minute brick. I just hope this weather makes a permanent home here in Spokane because honestly I have had enough wet and cold workouts for one spring.

To Jessi and Tiffany, you two continue to prove what make A+ so great. You both continue to impress me week after week with your efforts to get better. Thanks for all the support and encouragement. I can’t wait to see how this year unfolds, the results will prove that such hard work does pay off.


The Bod Pod

In 2004, I stepped on the scale at the Rec Center down in Pullman. The number that was displayed on the digital readout was 212 lbs. It was at that point that I decided it was time to start working out, with the goal of actually losing weight. I didn’t feel like I was overweight but the scale did not lie and at only 6’1”, it was time to get healthy. I began eating healthier (a little, since I was still in college) and made it a point to get to the gym multiple times each week.

The progress was very slow but by the time I graduated about 10 months later, I had lost about 20 lbs. In the spring of 2006, I was hovering around 190 and caught this contagious disease called triathlon. Over the next 3 years I have become more fit and healthy than I have ever been before in my life.

Fast forward to last week and I had the opportunity to test my body fat in this crazy contraption called the Bod Pod. I know there are hundreds of things that can go through your head with a name like that but in reality this machine is pretty freaking cool.

“The BOD POD Gold Standard Body Composition Tracking System is an Air Displacement Plethysmograph which uses whole-body densitometry to determine body composition (fat and fat-free mass) in adults and children. It is a complete turnkey system based on the same gold standard operating principle as hydrostatic (or "underwater") weighing, except that the BOD POD uses patented Air Displacement Plethysmography, instead of water, for highly accurate, fast, and safe results. The BOD POD also offers information on Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) as an optional component of every body composition test. This data is provided without requiring the subject to perform any additional testing maneuvers, and a complete assessment requires only about 5 minutes.” http://www.bodpod.com/

The BOD POD and my awesome swim cap thingy.

Since I design landscapes, some of those words are extremely big but the idea is that you get into a gas chamber (not the kind that can kill you) and it determines your body fat and important caloric intake information. With my training get crazier than ever, I really wanted to see my results right now and hopefully get tested again just before Ironman.

So after jumping into the weird space capsule called the, BOD POD and after just a few minutes and some equal weird sounds, I was done. I soon had my results and can now use the information as a base for my food intake and see how my body fat changes in the up coming months.

Here is me holding absolutely still, just in case it affects the measurements.

It turns out my body fat is 9.1%. This was a bit lower than I expected, but with really no base for my guess. On the test date I was 174.5 lbs and it will be interesting to see how much these numbers change between now and June. I am guessing I may lose anywhere between 3-5 pounds but have no prediction on what my body fat will be. I am guessing it will probably be a bit less, but we will see.

The test also provided me with some great information about my caloric intake. The data from the test showed that I burn 1,887 calories a day if I were to lie in bed all day and do absolutely nothing. I have to eat that many to just stay alive. I need to eat 2,415 just to stay exactly where I am with normal daily activities. Since I am training 12-15 hours a week, I am considered very active and need to consume over 4,000 calories just to stay right where I am at. The good thing is that I LOVE to eat but that is freaking crazy.

Training Updates:

Biking: Last week was my first 4 ride week since I began training. Monday and Wednesday consisted of 1:30 and Friday was 1:15. My SI Joint has been acting up but I think it is getting a little better each day.

On Saturday, I decided skip the outdoor ride and jump on the trainer in the early morning and try to get done before noon. This ride was for sure my longest ride EVER with 3:30 in the saddle. It would have been way better to get outside but the weather was unpredictable and with such a long ride, I just choose to stay inside. I would like to thank the Byrd’s for opening up their basement and for them and Tim to join me making the 3:30 ride feel like only 3:25:)

Tim and I followed the ride with a nice 5k brick and my legs felt great. I was interested to see how they would react to such a long ride but they felt fresh and we averaged 8:20’s, not bad if you ask me.

Running: As you read in the previous post Tuesday and Thursday consisted for some freezing runs with the Thompson’s and even though the weather was miserable the company was great. Thanks guys.

On Sunday, I braved the rainy conditions (no way I was running on the treadmill for 1:30) and headed out for my long run of the week. I ran a pretty hilly course and ended up running 11.6 miles in 1:26:47 (7:29/mile). I was able to negative spilt the out and back while averaging 7:38/mile on the way out and 7:20/mile on the way back.

I feel my training is coming along pretty good and can’t wait to see how the race season goes. We are just under a month away from the Snake River Tri and it will be fun to compare the data from last year.


Shame on Me!!!

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. For those of you who do not live in Spokane or do and have not left the house in the last few weeks, it has been down right cold. Single digits cold and Mother Nature has been trying to keep me indoors.

On Tuesday, Roger and I bared the sub 10 degree weather and went out for a nice hour long run. It started out feeling like you where in an ice box. The cold air cut right to the bone and it took quite some time to actually feel like I wasn't going to die. The run went great all except for my hands and the ice blocks they became.

Fast forward to Thursday morning and I was able to talk Jessi into joining me for yet another early morning run in this wonderful weather. This time you would think I had learned my lesson and actually dressed for conditions. Here is a quick snippet from our pre-run conversation:

Steve: Morning, it is freaking cold out there.
Jessi: Do you need another jacket?
Steve: I think I will be OK, it is a bit warmer than Tuesday.
Jessi: What about some gloves?
Steve: Na I am good, my hands didn't get cold til the very end.
Jessi: Alright tough guy, how about hand warmers then.
Steve: OK, fine:)

After a couple of attempts to get a picture to prove we actually were out running in this crazy weather, we were off. From the beginning I knew this was going to be a tough run. Tuesday, it was just cold but this morning there was moisture in the air which means it feels even colder.

About 10 minutes into the run, my hand were frozen. Jessi was nice enough to loan me her gloves for about 15 minutes while my hands began to warm up. I can't say thank you enough for her letting me wear those gloves. I don't know very many people who would give up their own warm gloves in freezing weather, but Jessi did in true A+ style.

BRRRRR. I had ice on my ears!!!

The run itself was pretty uneventful but the pictures are absolutely priceless. Since it was again below 10 degrees and all the moisture in the air, our breathe began to freeze to our faces. Not just the eyelashes like normal but to our ears and cheeks too. I have to give Jessi props for being extremely hardcore and running with me.

Ice was actually forming on her cheeks. HARDCORE!!!

I would like to say that is looks worse than it was but I would be lying:) Just another run for the memory books. This was one of the craziest and yet fun runs we have had.


Snake River Half-Marathon- My First Half

This last weekend I ran my first open half-marathon. I have actually ran two and jog/walked two in the Half-Ironman races over the last couple of years, but this is not a triathlon. There is no walking at the aid stations because you have already been working out for 3+ hours. It is an all out run for 13.1 miles and I have to say not my idea for fun on a Saturday morning.

The original plan was to load up the bikes (we were planning on riding afterwards) and leave Spokane shortly 7:00am. After arriving at Tim’s a bit early to change yet another flat tire (I think I need to take a class) we loaded up in Kirk’s Ridgeline and headed off to meet Mia for the trip down to Wawawai Landing, just west of Pullman along the Snake River.

Arriving about an hour early, I signed up for the race and ran back to the car to try and stay warm. It was not the ideal run conditions with the temperatures hovering around 35 degrees. After doing a quick fashion show in the back of the car, trying to figure out how many layers to wear, I was finally ready to go.

With about 10 minutes until the race began, I headed out for a quick warm-up to make sure my legs were still there after the 2 hours in the car. I began running down-river and noticed it was rather warm and the weather seemed great for my first half-marathon. And then I turned around… It was then I became all too familiar with the strong headwind that greeted my face on the way back towards the starting line. It was at this point, I was glad I put on the extra layers, because it was cold.

The race plan was to negative split. Pretty much run faster coming back then going out. Whether this was 30 seconds or 10 minutes I did not know but I wanted to make sure that my effort coming back was definitely increased. Since with race was dead flat, I had a feeling the pace would be a bit quicker then most of my runs.

With the headwind in your face on the way out, I choose to run with a few packs and make sure I kept a little in the tank for the run back to the finish line. The first half of the race was tough. You had the cold winds and since I hadn’t actually run over 9 miles or 1:15 yet this year, I didn’t exactly know how to pace myself. I found my self running from pack to pack as the runners began to settle into their races.

For as much experience I have running half-marathons I think the race went very well. I ran 7:05/mile pace on the way out with a time of 46:27. This was a bit faster than the 7:30’s pace I had planned for but I felt like I was holding back, and since there was a headwind, and knew I would be able to increase my effort on the way home. My only concern was how long I was going to be able to keep that up. Anything after mile 9 was new territory, so I hit the turn-around and just went for it.

I picked up my pace to 6:30’s and was consistent from mile 7-12 with each mile between 6:32 and 6:40. After passing mile marker 10, all I thought about was that this was a 5k and you have ran these many times. It was only 20 minutes and you can push yourself until the end. My last mile was around 6:23 and even though I felt tired, I was able to push through. I ended up with my negative split, running 42:44 on the way back with a race average of 6:48/mile for the race. I have my time as just a bit faster than the clock, since it took about 6 seconds for me to get to the start line.

In hindsight I may have been able to push just a little bit harder on the way out but since my volume and time has not pushed me much over 9 miles, I really had no idea what to expect. I think this was a great test to see where I am. I might even be happier that it is over.

I would like to thank Kirk for driving down and congrats to all the Tri-Fusionites who raced: Tim, Matt, Kirk, Josh (second overall), Eric, Mia and Terri. Great job to all!


Break Through!!! (Sorry about no pics)

Swim Update

Training has been crazy. Many hours in the pool, on the bike and out running on the roads. Lately the pool has been my nemesis. I had really hit a wall in my training and had been stuck in without any improvement for at least a month.

I can't lie, it was getting very frustrating. Everyone was seemed to be getting faster and I was completely stagnate. I felt like a fish out of water, but in the water. Early this week, I may have had my worst swim in months. I was completely exhausted before the swim, felt like complete crap during the swim but fought the best I could and then was completely spent. I left the gym that day needing something to change. I had worked pretty damn hard to get where I am and was mental at the end of the rope.

Then came Friday's swim. Even though a few of the faster swimmers were feeling a bit under the weather, I was able to keep up. My times were much faster and I felt strong. I wasn't sure if it was just "my day" or if I had actually finally reached the end of this plateau and was one my way back up.

The true test was going to be this Sunday. Once again I was feeling strong and was able to keep up a solid effort for the longer sets. I really do hope that I have started the next stage in my swim fitness.

Bike Update

Saturday marked my longest ride-to-date, I think. I am pretty sure i haven't ridden over the 56 miles of the 4 half-ironmans that I have done. This Saturday I rode for just over 3 hours and topped the 60 mile mark. I know for some that is nothing big, but for me I think it is pretty huge. I am pretty sure this record will not last much longer than 2 or 3 weeks because I will probably have a 3:30 hour ride soon enough.

It has been freaking awesome to get off the trainer and get outside. Finally to have some actually wind in your face, and not from the oscillating fan. I think I am at a good point in my training right now, but I know there is SO much more that I have to do.

Run Update

My feet have been feeling much better and I have thrown a cushion shoe into the mix which I really think is helping soften the pounding I have been taking. I just recently put the second shoe into the rotation and have really been pleased with the way things have been going. I didn't my first outdoor ride/brick run on Saturday and except for the completely frozen feet it went really well.

I really wanted to try and run this morning because of a long day I had to put in working at the Home Show but after a late night and no one to run with I decided to postpone it until this evening. I decided to just go out and run. I didn't want to run crazy hard but I just wanted to run. If I didn't need to get in a certain about a time I would have probably left the watch at home with the heart rate monitor.

I started out feeling pretty good and ran a nice 2.1 mile loop from my house. I decided to run the loop a total of for times and each loop got about a minute faster. I could tell I as moving faster but until the last loop my effort felt consistent. I ended up running 8:13's on the first loop, 7:44's on the second, 7:18's on the third and 7:01's on the forth. I was a bit short on my time but I really think this was a successful run both physically and more important mentally.

I am running my first half-marathon (outside a triathlon) this weekend and I am excited to see how it goes. I really haven't set any goals but I am looking to put a solid effort together and follow it up by a nice 2 hour bike ride. Ohh the joys of training for Ironman.