Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve!

Today is the first day that I've really felt the Christmas spirit! It's rainy here on Long Island, and cold as hell, but I'm still into that White Christmas feel! I wish I could just sit and relax all day, but I have some clients to see this morning and then some shopping to finish up on-that's right, I left it 'till the end! Kristen was killing me about this last night (she's super organized and very on the ball with things like this and I am anything but that). I know she's right, but I just can never seem to get everything I need done in a timely fashion! She's rubbed off quite a bit on me, and I'm better than I used to be, but it's still like pulling teeth for me to get everything done on time. I need 28 hour days! Then I can get work, training, and everything else done on time.

Trianing wise I'm only doing a nice easy hour run on the trials today. It should be fun as I'm going to again wear the Vibrams (the insulated Flow for today's mud and ice). I really can't get enough of these things. I've gone full bore into them, pretty much ignoring the warnings to slowly adapt to them. I've been wearing them pretty consistantly to work and around town (wore them to the mall yesterday and got some interesting looks!), and my feet really don't have any pain or discomfort. That says a lot because yesterday's mall outing was all on concrete and hard floors. Most times, I would find myself running across the parking lot because it was so cold outside! I probably got in at least an extra mile or two doing that alone!

So that's about all for today. Just little odds and ends to pick up on. I'm excited for tomorrow (especially to sleep in!), but at the same time bummed I'm not going to be able to swim. Apparently the people at the gym don't think people like to work out on holidays...what about our Jewish and non Christian friends? :) Anyway, have a Merry Christmas Eve!

Push 'till ya puke...Always (just not on Christmas because the gym is closed:) )

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rest day

Ah, I love this day. Super busy with work and holiday stuff, but it's very nice not to have to train for a day.
Recently my swim training has taken priority. I'm in the beginnings of a swim focus-which I desperately need-and it can't be going better. It's not the work that I mind, I love the work, it's the damned boredom I can't deal with. I absolutely love the solitude of training, but I just can't deal with only hearing the water pass through my ears and staring at a black line for all that long. During long sets, I've tried to do math in my head. However, I quickly loose my head because, oh yeah, I suck at math!!! So then I think about my form, realize that it can do better, but that only lasts for so long. So then I get to thinking about the day and what I have to do, get stressed, and stop thinking about it. I'm at a loss. What do you do to get rid of the boredom? I may try to get a swimp3 player, but I really don't want to spend the money, especially around this time of year. I really don't have the luxury of swimming in a master's program (the only one's I know of around here start at 6 am and I begin work at 4:30am. So what do I do about this boredom? If anyone reading this has any suggestions, please feel free to comment.

So that's about it for now. I'm just trying to get my training in between work and holiday stuff. Oh, and I've discovered that mountain biking in the snow with me new 29'er is this sh*t! I crashed a few times, but there's nothing like getting out in the rain and snow in the 20 degree weather we've had around here this week! Much more fun than riding indoors on rollers. While most people around here hate the bad weather, I looooove it! I really believe it makes me tougher than my competitors. I'm the guy out there in the rain, sleet and snow, running and biking with people yelling at me that I'm nuts. Gotta love it!!!! Between that and running ten miles "barefoot" in the snow on Friday in my Vibrams, I believe I'm becoming somewhat of a badass! Hahahaha, gotta love it!

Push 'till ya puke...Always!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shoes Suck!!!!! And I'm not kidding!

Ok, so for some time now, I've been experimenting with more and more minimal footwear while running. I, like many runners out there, began my running journey with the pricey, pretty, and un-freakin-fuctional, cushy trainers you see in every running shop from here to Zimbabwe-ok, maybe not there, but you get my point. Anyway, this led me to knee pain, hip flexor problems, plantar facitis(sp?), and a host of other stupid injuries. I always thought it was something I was doing wrong in training. 'Maybe I'm not giving myself enough time to adapt?' 'Maybe I'm running too much on pavement?' 'Maybe I'm too heavy and I need to loose weight?' All these thoughts and more plagued my mind as I kept getting injured.

Then it was on to form. I always thought I had a good, natural running form, but left with nowhere else to go, I researched chi and pose running, buying books and videos regarding the techniques. I did drills, videotape, and so forth, not finding all that much wrong with what I was doing naturally.

So finally it was on to the footwear itself. After reading some good blogs from Chuckie
V. and Matt Fitzgerald, I decided to go the racing flat route...what else did I have to loose right? So I broke out the flats and started to train normally again. Things went great. Not every issue was gone, but it was definately better. In addition to the flats, I began to run more on trails as well. About 90 percent of the time, things were fine. No issues. But, like always, there was that nagging little injury or two that kept creeping up.

So that brings me up to today. As I've now started in on my base training for next season (having a coach is a wonderful thing!), I wanted to take it one step further. So I bought, what I thought was the most minimal shoe I could find-the Nike Free 3.0. Ok, so I used them and things were good. Once again, not great, but good. Then, I stumbled onto All I can say is wow. This has forever changed my running life! As I read more and more of the site, I saw the Vibram Five Fingers shoes. Now, to say they are shoes is probably saying too much. I'd say at best they're more like gloves for your feet, providing just enough protection to run and walk off-road and on road. So I bought a pair.

The Vibram's came the other night and I have literally worn nothing else since I got the box in the mail. They are truly an amazing product, and definately the closest thing to a barefoot feeling you can have. Imagine this: They make the Nike Free 3.0 feel like a hiking boot.

Ok, Ok, so where am I going with this....Today I took them out for their first run. What an eye-opener! I never, ever, ever dreamed of running barefoot ( and for that matter thought people that did so were nuts) but I loved it! I believe that the gradual changeover from trainers to racing flats gave me a good base to work from, making the transition to 'barefooting' that much easier. I had an hour run scheduled, and figured I'd where the Vibram's for half of that, then switch over to my Free's. At about 40 minutes, almost as planned, I ran back to the trail head, took the Free's out of my car, slipped them on and cruised off. NO FREKIN' WAY! I thought. I made it about a half mile in the Free's before I turned around, slipped back into the Vibram's and finished the last few miles of the run.

Today was just an amazing expierience. I'm so excited about this new discovery! Truly FREE running, and I feel great! My heart rate was lower during the run, and I even managed to run a bit farther today in the same time as I did on my last run with the Nike Free's on. I have no pain, feel fresher, and am more psyched about running than I've been in a long time. I'm definately all about the barfoot running now!

But where does this leave me? I'll continue to run in the Vibrams for my trail runs, and maybe for a little bit on the pavement if the urge strikes me. All told though, I'm going to go easy with this new discovery. Today was about 8 miles on trials, not a marathon on pavement. The process will be slow and careful because the last thing I want to do is get injured. But I do have to say that a new chapter has been opened in my running life, and I'm very excited to see where it leads!

Push 'till ya puke...Always!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another day, another dollar...out the window!

Another sweet day today. I worked hard in the morning and had a good workout in the pool in the afternoon. The thing I love about swimming is the non-impact aspect of it. I can work harder and harder, but without the beating I take from the run. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE running, but swimming has a calming effect on me. I think cycling does as well, but the weather has been so crappy here I haven't had a chance to get out on the road in the last couple weeks. My coach has me doing shorter rides anyway (2-3 hours at the longest, real low intensity) two days a week, so that's not much cycling.

So, anyway, about getting outside to ride...I picked up the above pictured bike today. I realized that I'm not an indoor trainer/rollers guy. I can do it in a pinch, but the truth is I need to be outside. One of the forgotten aspects of triathlon is the fact that you get to spend so much time in the beautiful outdoors! I never realized it, but I absolutely love nature and the elements. When it rains, snows, etc., I can't help but want to get out for a run. Now, with my new bike, I can really get out in the weather. I'm looking forward to some cold and muddy rides.

So after my sweet swim today (all 30 mins of it), I hoped on the treadmill for a mile run. Basically I wanted to just move my legs a bit (in my new Nike Free 3.0's-more on that in a minute). Mission accomplished. Post run I hopped in the sauna for five minutes before I started to hear voices and see pretty colors...Time to get out! So I took an ice cold shower and peaced out.

Ok, so the Nike Free's...

I've been looking, no, searching for a minimalistic shoe to wear for everyday training. I've encountered some problems wearing the basic "training" shoe, and have done some research on shoes. To make a lot of research short, training flats and minimalistic shoes are the way to go-period. Packed dirt and grass seem to be the best surfaces (along with synthetic tracks). 'Nuff said. So after buying some pretty tiny little flats-and enjoying them-I came across the Nike Free 3.0 on Matt Fitzgerald's blog. From what I can gather he trains in them everyday. I like that, and I respect his opinion so I ordered a pair. Couldn't be more happy. They are so minimal they make your feet (pardon the pun) free of the obstruction they often face with overdeveloped shoes. However, at the same time, they provide enough cushion to protect your feet from the ground. I'm looking to mostly use them on the trails and golf courses I run, but I'm sure a couple road runs will be okay as well.

So that's about it for today. I'm just about to retire for the night with Lucki Dog-haha, I said RETIRE. I'm going to try to blog on a more daily basis as it really is a great form of therapy for me. Even though I'm sure all this blabber doesn't make much sense and isn't too cohesive, it helps me get the crap out of my head. So if you're reading, thank you for the interest and I hope this is a decent look into my life.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you

Today was a rough one, training-wise I mean. Simple day on the schedule, 45 minute swim with drills. Easy right? NOPE! Someone forgot to tell the rest of my body to show up at the pool. After a series of the some of the best swims I've had in my life, I all but forgot how to swim today! Now there are two things that could've gone wrong today: 1) I could just be getting so much better at swimming that today's mediocre workout seemed, by comparison much worse than it actually was, or 2) I was dead tired from not sleeping AGAIN the night before, and my workout suffered because of it. To be honest, the answer is a combination of both numbers 1 and 2.

Recently I've been more motivated than ever to train. This is in large part due to the fact that I now, for the first time, have a structured workout plan put forward by my coach, John. This has helped me tremendously. I don't have to think about what I'll be doing on any particular day-I just get out and go. This has proved invaluable as I often have a tendancy to overdo one sport and burn out on it. Remember, triathlon is ONE sport involving three sports. It's sort of like Subject A, with subtitles a, b, and c. Nevertheless, the schedule I'm on makes it such that I'm pumped each and every day to train!

Okay, so back to the 1 and 2 thing. So I've become a better swimmer and my off days (that used to be my best days) now suck and I'm pissed. Secondly, sleep is not a friend of mine right now. Even as I write this, in the bathroom no less (I'll leave the particulars to your imagination) I should be getting in bed and nodding off to dreamland. For some reason though, I have suffered from some minor insomnia lately. I don't know, maybe it's the coming holidays, maybe it's work, but whatever it is, it seriously needs to stop before I go nuts. Maybe I'll cut down on the coffee. Note I said CUT DOWN and not cut OUT. Coffee is much too important to me right now to just go and abandon her. We have a very SERIOUS and COMMITTED relationship. :)

So anyway, that was today. I got my ass kicked (or better yet-kicked my own ass) in the pool. Let's hope that my next swim on Thursday is better. Tomorrow is an easy hour-long run and on my worst days I can put one foot in front of the other so this should be no problem. Plus I'll have Lucki dog out there for some added support. Anyway, rock on, kick ass, get out and go, and all that jazz. I'm gonna take some Melatonin and hopefully drift off.

Push 'till ya puke...Always.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tired again...

Tired again. Holidays really zap the life out of me. I'm not sure why, but for some reason, it's not necessarily the food that kills me, it's all the damned alcohol. I know I shouldn't say it, but I really love to drink. I'm no alcoholic-at least I hope not:)- but I think it's the social aspect of drinking I like. It's jut so much freakin' fun! No wonder I like to dance when I drink!

So being tired, not to mention hung over, I wasn't able to train Sunday. Only missed an easy 2-3 hour ride, but nonetheless missed it. Pissed me off to no end. I hate missing workouts period, but missing them because I couldn't control myself the night before is unacceptable. This is definately the last time that will happen.

So I took my rest day today to do the ride I missed yesterday. Easy and fun, minus the crazy wind that almost blew me off the road. It's funny how slow you travel when you have to cap your heartrate to a certain low number. Rides that would normally take me an hour to complete now take and hour and fifteen to twenty minutes to complete-totally throws off my natural bike computor range. Anyway...

That's about it for today. Good day at work, good day training. And now I get to go see the best girl in the world when she's done with class! Not a bad life! If I can just stick to my 'Simplicity Plan' I should be all good!

Push 'till ya puke...Always.