You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2008.

47:45 @ 142/167 bpm for 680 calories

“Come on Monday!  Challenge that body with the tension!”

“You woke up early!  You came to cycle class!  You paid for this gym membership!  Now use it!”

“And now, the incredible Tina Turner.  She’s got huge pipes and she’s gonna chase you, so when she starts that chorus, you better sprint!”

My first ever gym spin class was taught by my sister.  A “cycle class” instructor for Lifetime Fitness, Debbie teaches at two different gyms twice a week.  Her teaching style is heavy on interval training—almost the entire session is a series of sprints or jumps or hill climbs or some evil combination of the three—and heavy on, well, motivation.  Many of the people in her class are advanced “group fitness” junkies, and now I can see why: she definitely pushes her students with way she structures the intervals and builds up the workout.  I was fairly confident in my ability to survive the class aerobically, and I did fairly well in that department, but I did not anticipate the muscular fatigue I was going to need to endure.  By the end of Tina Turner’s Proud Mary, my legs were jello. I never realized how many times Tina screams “Rollin’ down the river!”  I now fear that chorus.

Debbie said I did pretty well, minus making it a bit harder on myself by accidentally leaning too far forward when standing.  I thought it was a great workout, and Debbie’s style and music selection were incredible.  (Thanks for squeezing in the De La Soul, Debbie!)  I’d definitely recommend her to anyone looking for a good spin class in Minneapolis.


4.62 miles in 47:29 @ 10:16 pace and 154/171 bpm for 644 calories

My sister Debbie and her fiancé Tim picked up Emma, Joanne, and I at the airport Friday evening, and after a great first full day in Minneapolis on Saturday, Debbie and I decided to plan a Sunday morning run.  She’s talked often about her run along the Mississippi River through downtown Minneapolis and I really looked forward to seeing it.  We left from my hotel at 7:00am and ran down to the river and across two bridges, including a beautiful foot bridge near St. Anthony Main.  Then we ran underneath the new I-35 bridge that was built after last year’s collapse.  Construction work seemed to be mostly finished but the path was still blocked off.  That didn’t stop Debbie from banditing us onto the new walkway by finding the opening where other runners had flattened the barriers!  Overall it was a blast to run with my sister in her hometown and get a tour of her ‘hood.  (Yes, she was able to give a complete guided tour while running at my typical pace.)

18.25 miles in 1:04:23 @ 17.05 mph and 138/166 for 1,045 calories
3.58 miles in 35:16 @ 9:50 pace and 159/174 for 526 calories

I woke up early this morning to get a brick in before my flight to Minnesota, and I decided to take it easy since this workout would be my last before the race taper began.  The cycling was non-eventful, which was nice since it was my first ride since my big flat episode.  I kept on squeezing my back tire at each intersection just to make sure everything was okay.  On the run I passed a 40-something woman about a minute before a traffic light.  I stopped and waited for the signal to change but she just ran through it, which meant I passed her a second time about a quarter-mile up the road.  She was wearing headphones so I waved and shot her a goofy smile and she chuckled.  I kept running my loop route and on the way back towards my house, she must have taken a shorter version of my loop because I saw her again!  The third time I passed her she started laughing and then stumbled a bit, which made me laugh as well.  Luckily she didn’t fall and after that I didn’t see her again.

1,350 yards or 27 laps in 30:06 for 285 calories

I went for a quick swim on Thursday and ended up getting to the pool when the Plano West high school swim team was doing their last workout before their afternoon meet.  Despite having 6+ people per lane, they were nice enough to leave two public swim lanes open.  My lane only had one other swimmer and so we split the lane in half, but I felt like the gym was full of cheering fans as the team cheered each other on at the end of the swim.  Before today I always thought of swimming as a quiet sport, what with the whole head underwater thing, but who knew?

5.11 miles in 54:05 @ 10:34 pace and 157/182 bpm for 733 calories

I got to spend a couple of hours with Emma before and after work today, which not only meant I got to learn how silver pom-poms can be used to heal toy animals, but also meant that the only time I could squeeze in a run was when Joanne got home from work.  That meant a run in the dark after a dinner of three apple sausages and a peach.  I was excited about the lack of sun but worried about running only an hour after eating, especially since I haven’t exercised in the evening in months.  As you can see from the stats above, though, everything went fine, and I actually ran a bit quicker than I have in a couple of weeks.  I made it home right before Emma went to bed, which was nice, but she didn’t want a hug from “Stinkalicious” (should I love or fear that new nickname?) so I had to settle for blowing her a kiss goodnight.

56.58 miles in 3:21:45 @ 16.83 mph and 133/171 for 3,282 calories

What a train wreck of a bike ride!  (Well, not literally.)  Today I had planned my longest ride yet, just under 3 hours, that would allow me to get a feel for exerting myself for the approximate length of my upcoming race and confirm how much water and food I would need.  I wanted to go somewhere new so I picked a route out to Lake Lavon and back.  Today was the Plano Balloon Festival and without planning it I rode right under the balloon path. It was a still, beautiful morning and the quiet noise of my bike and the balloons firing was nice. After a long country ride, I finally made it out to Clear Lake Park on the tip of the peninsula and took a short rest by the water.

On the ride back, I must have ran over some glass or something because by the time I got across the bridge, my rear tire was flat.  I’m fairy comfortable changing my bike tire as I’ve changed two of them in my garage, but two things went wrong.  First, my CO2 cartridge (used instead of a pump) misfired and by the time I managed to stop it, I only had enough air to fill the tire halfway.  Second, when I changed the tire, I screwed up the rear brake so that one side consistently pressed against the wheel.  I needed an allen wrench to fix it but of course I left mine back in my garage, and that meant riding with my rear-brake half-engaged for a couple miles until I could find someone to ask for help.  I finally came across a fire station with some men fixing a truck, and they offered me an allen wrench so I could tweak my brake.  I was finally ready to ride the 20-something miles home on my low tire.  I got home over 30 minutes late and absolutely exhausted.  Still, my pace was decent and three gels, 1 sports drink, and 40 ounces of water worked almost perfectly.  Next time I’ll bring two CO2 cartridges and my allen wrenches, and I’ll try two 25-mile loops instead of one 50-mile out-and-back route!

3,600 yards or 72 laps in 1:20:00 for 759 calories

My first two-mile swim!  I went to the pool early on Saturday morning to get in some laps and I decided to spend the majority of the time focusing on my form.  Following advice from Total Immersion, I picked one specific aspect of my form to work on each 200 yards.  My most common mantras were keeping my head down, slipping my arm into the water like a sleeve, and driving the high hip down (i.e. rotating my body with each stroke).  When I focus on body mechanics, swimming is a lot like meditating for me, since my mind cannot wander and is forced to think about my body and count my strokes and laps.  Towards the end of my workout I shared a lane with an older man with a French accent, and when we were both resting he asked me how many laps I was going to swim today.  I told him my goal was 70 and he laughed and said, “No no no, surely you will swim many more than this!”  He told me he had just started swimming and was hoping to do his first mile by the end of the year.  I remember having the exact same conversation my second or third time in the pool with a guy swimming 2 miles.

26.86 miles in 1:30:51 @ 17.74 mph and 146/166 bpm for 1,478 calories
4.71 miles in 50:33 @ 10:45 pace and 157/169 bpm for 685 calories

Since this was my longest brick ever and closest to triathlon distance, I decided to try to push my pace and see what I could do. The bike ride was great. I rode my fastest ever, nearing my actual bike race pace in my sprint triathlon but with stop lights! I transitioned in my sitting room and just a few minutes into the run my right shin muscle fatigued. It actually felt like it does at the end of playing a lot of bass drum kicks on a drumset: it didn’t actually cramp but it became hard to pick up the front of my foot with each step.  After trying to run through it, I decided to stop and massage the area a bit.  I must have loosened up the muscle enough because it stopped bothering me and I pushed for the rest of the run and finished it at a good pace.  At today’s paces plus my swim pace and transitions, I should be able to finish an Olympic-distance triathlon in under 3 hours 20 minutes.  So that’s officially my target time for October!

1,750 yards or 35 laps in 40:30 for 380 calories

After finishing work, walking the dog, and fixing a couple of broken sprinkler heads, I decided to head to the pool for a quick swim before dinner.  I thought swimming at dinnertime would mean a less crowded pool, but it was packed!  There were two classes going on which meant only two swim lanes.  Initially I was swimming with just one other quick and polite swimmer, but then a dude with camo shorts joined us.  He swam the mutant love child of a breaststroke and a backstroke (i.e. breaststroke facing backwards with his head above water!) and did so very slowly, which meant that we both had to swim around him.  Things got really crazy when a husband and wife joined our lane too, followed by another breaststroker.  With six people in the lane and two of them slow, I had to accelerate and deccelerate quite a bit. I hate to admit it but it actually made for a decent workout.

8.79 miles in 1:35:56 @ 10:55 pace and 151/170 bpm for 1,300 calories

Phil and I have been planning on running together and we finally made it happen today.  We picked Russell Creek Park because it is right between our two houses and it turned out to be quite nice, with about 3 miles of paths and a beautiful pond.  We ran together for almost 6 miles and then I added on a bit more to meet my goal for today.

6.85 miles in 1:14:25 @ 10:52 pace and 149/166 bpm for 1,009 calories

This is my last full week of training before my triathlon taper begins and so it’s important that I get in all my workouts.  I really needed to run today to get in three runs this week, but since I had a 6:00am flight to Chicago for a day trip that wouldn’t get me home until after 9:00pm, I decided to wake up at 4:00am and run.  It was beautiful outside, under 60 degrees and a near-full moon.  Without sun or heat I felt like I could run forever, but I cut it short so I had to time shower and get to DFW Airport.  (I boarded the plane 15 minutes before it left!)

44.14 miles in 2:37:32 @ 16.8 mph and 139/164 bpm for 2,562 calories

Hurricane Ike abused my bike race.  More specifically, it was cancelled due to expected bad weather today.   But when I woke up it was beautiful outside!  So I hopped on my bike and set out east for an idyllic ride… until I hit my first stretch of northbound road.  That’s when I ran into the remnants of Ike: a 15-20 mph headwind.  Now I see how Tina felt!  A full hour of my ride was spent pedaling directly into that wall of wind and I was lucky to maintain 14 mph.  Of course, headwinds eventually become tailwinds on out-and-back routes, and sure enough my ride back south was incredibly fast.  I hit speeds of 25-30 mph on the flats and made it home just in time to get to church.

2,950 yards or 59 laps in 1:14:00 for 702 calories

I arrived at the pool 15 minutes after it opened this morning and I guess because of Ike everyone had come to swim for exercise.  By the end of my 200-yard warmup there were 3 people in my lane and we were circle-swimming.  Because I swam quicker (i.e. more efficiently!) I got some drafting and sighting (i.e. occasionally peeking my head above water) practice as I stayed right behind each swimmer’s feet before lapping them.  Overall it was a good workout and lapping the other swimmers kept me moving.  This ended up being my longest swim again!

4.5 miles in 48:15 @ 10:43 pace and 155/177 bpm for 654 calories

I had a blood test for cholesterol this morning and I’m hoping that my months of exercise give me better results than my last test, which I had back in March.  Anyway, I couldn’t exercise before the test so I had to run later in the day and it was HOT.  That plus a few vials of blood gone from my system and being hopeful about my bike race on Sunday made me decide to cut my run short.  It was still a decent run but painful and I wish I had run longer.

24.73 miles in 1:27:24 @ 16.98 mph and 138/160 bpm for 1,422 calories

I woke up at 5:00am to get in some cycling before rush hour because I had a bunch of meetings scheduled during the day.  This was my first ride in the dark, and besides a couple of miles on roads with no streetlights, I felt very safe and the few cars I saw avoided me just fine. I have a bright, flashing (i.e. obnoxious!) red strobe on the back of my bike so that probably helped.  This was my last ride before my race on Sunday.  Hopefully the race will still happen with Hurricane Ike coming to Dallas!


  • Highest weight: 228 pounds
  • Lowest weight: 187 pounds
  • Current weight: 216 pounds
  • Started training: March 17, 2008
  • First Sprint: June 26, 2008
  • First Olympic: May 17, 2009
  • First Half: TBD 2011
  • Longest swim: 2.05 miles
  • Longest bike: 63.57 miles
  • Longest run: 13.33 miles