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5.73 miles in 58:55 @ 10:16 pace and 159/176 bpm for 824 calories

After a few weeks of recovering from a winter of inactivity and a couple of nasty blisters, I’m finally getting back to normal. My pace is back in the mid-10s at healthy average heart rate and my body isn’t tired at the end of my long swim, bike, or run. I have to admit that I enjoyed taking a break from training, but now that I’m back into it I’m loving it even more than I did last year.

I’m still taking it relatively easy, increasing my long bike and run by 10% each week, which should have me ready in plenty of time for my first Olympic triathlon in May.

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24.43 miles in 1:30:48 @ 16.1 mph and 143/163 bpm for 1,524 calories

Ever since I started biking in May of last year, I’ve ridden dozens of different routes. But the route I like best is the one I rode today. It’s close to my house, almost exacty the same distance as an Olympic-distance triathlon bike leg, and has a great mix of hills and flats. It also happens to pass the homes of my friends Mike and Stephen, although I’ve never stopped by and said hi.

You can click on the “24.43 miles” link in this post to explore the route in detail. For those of you familiar with West Plano, the ride includes the hills on Windhaven Road (called “The Widowmaker” by local cyclists), a long trip along the wonderfully trafficlight-less Plano Parkway, another long trip up the relatively flat Ohio Road, and along the back of Frito-Lay headquarters (my former employer many years ag0) towards home.

Here is a screen shot of the route’s elevation profile. You can see the hills at the beginning, the flat section in the middle, and the hill at the end.  That last hill looks small, but if you look closely at its grade at the very beginning of the climb, it’s actually quite steep. And after 90 minutes of hammering, it’s quite painful as well. A great way to end a long morning ride.

Bike route elevation profile

Bike route elevation profile

If you’re interested in giving this route a try, let me know! My long ride is on Sunday mornings and I could always use the company.

2,250 yards or 45 laps in 49:48 for 488 calories

Today’s Valentine’s Day swim was really nice as I felt “back in the groove” for the first time in the pool this year. For me, the most challenging part of a long swim is keeping my mind focused on the movements of my body and not wandering too much. See, distance swimming is about efficiency in the water, and since swimming requires a lot of moving parts all in rhythm, someone who’s a newbie at the sport like me has to do a lot of manual coordination. I have swum enough to have some muscle memory in swimming, so if my mind wanders I fall back into old habits. My old habits include an inefficient stroke and too many strokes per length of the pool.

So what does all of this have to do with drumming? Well, when you start out playing drums, you spend an inordinate amount of time just getting your four limbs to move in different patterns. It’s actually a lot like rubbing your tummy and patting your head, except you’re also wiggling the toes on one foot and juggling a hackey sack with the other. This is almost exactly what it feels like to me to be a beginning distance swimmer.

But yesterday was one of those few days when all of those different movements came together. One hand slices into the water, one leg kicks, which rotates my hip downwards as my hand “catches” the water and scoops it towards my body, causing me to glide forward and my other hand to come briefly out of the water and slice back in. When it comes together just right, it’s a zen-like experience—just like playing a difficult (i.e. syncopated for the musicians out there) beat on a drum set.

Swim: 1,100 yards or 22 laps in 24:42 for 242 calories
Bike (stationary): 16.81 miles in 45:00 minutes for 441 calories
Run (treadmill): 2.2 miles in 22:00 minutes for 308 calories

I missed a workout earlier in the week so I decided to squeeze in a swim with my bike and run.  Because I didn’t have much time I figured I’d  do them all at the gym—plus, I’m thinking about doing one of the Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlons and I thought I’d see what it was like to do all three sports indoors.  If you’re interested in trying out the sport of triathlon, this is really the easiest way to do it.  Interested in joining me for one of these?  Leave a comment and let me know.

24.36 miles in 1:34:47 @ 15.42 mph and 144/166 bpm for 1,326 calories

It’s been three months since my last serious ride.  All week I’ve been looking forward to getting back on the bike and since Sunday morning before church is my typical long ride, I figured I’d shoot for a 90-minute, 25-mile ride and see how long I lasted.  I fell a tad bit short; just like running, my bike pace is a little slower than last Fall, but hopefully that’ll improve by my first big race in mid-May.

It was a beautiful morning, 55 degrees and light winds, and I really loved being back out there.  The wind picked up as the ride progressed and I think I climbed one too many hills, but other than that it was a great morning.   And to top it off, the sermon at church was about Ephesians—one of my favorite books of the Bible.

Run: 2.3 miles in 21:59 @ 9:34 pace at 173/185 bpm for 338 calories
Swim: 1,700 yards or 34 laps in 45:34 for 441 calories

I planned on biking and running on Friday, but two things got in my way: two new client pursuits and 20+MPH winds. Normally I only swim on Saturday—and today was my first day back in the pool since last year—but I decided to at least squeeze in yesterday’s missed run as well.  So I headed up to the pool in the morning for a swim and then ran right before dinner.

It was great to be back in the pool. I spent the first 15 minutes doing drills and by the time I started swimming laps I felt my form return. But I was still really tired by the end of the remaining 30 minutes, and even a bit sore by lunchtime. It’s amazing what a couple months off will take out of you.

My run went well. My short runs are 50% of my long ones, and since my “long” run was only 50 minutes this first week back in training, this was a really short one. (Of course it was meant to be tacked on to the back-end of a bike ride.) So I decided to break my aerobic heart rate rule and run this one at a faster pace. It’s nice to know that with all this extra winter weight I can still keep up a 9:30-ish pace.  Maybe I’ll set a new 5K personal record this year.

3.33 miles in 37:39 @ 11:18 pace and 165/179 bpm for 527 calories
4.71 miles in 51:55 @ 11:01 pace and 161/175 bpm for 726 calories

After a week and a half of limping and complaining, my blisters—the ones I wrote about in my last post about the Houston Half-Marathon—finally disappeared. So on Monday I laced back up my shoes, taped my feet, and headed out.

It’s not like my shoes are brand new. I started running in the Brooks Beast almost immediately after I got into triathlon, and for 5-6 months my shoes were great. Then one day in the late Fall of last year I had minor back and knee pain when running and I quickly realized I was past the recommended mileage in my shoes. I went to my local running store and bought a new pair of the same shoes. But I had two things working against me: 1) the new Beast was out and Brooks slightly changed the design, and 2) I bought it at the end of the season when I wasn’t running as much.

So even though my shoes weren’t new, I hadn’t run in them enough to know that the slight change in design seemed to really affect me. I ran a slightly slower pace than planned in the Jogger Egg Nogg’r, got terrible blisters in the Houston Half-Marathon, and then on Monday when I ran I felt cramping in my shin muscles and a sore right ankle.  I didn’t want to blame it on my shoes, but just for fun I decided to try running the same route today in my cheap New Balance trainers. I felt so much better!  No blisters, no cramping or soreness, and I ran faster and longer.

So I’m not sure what to do now. I know the New Balance shoes won’t stop me from overpronating or help my flat feet, but the new model of Brooks shoes clearly isn’t working. I think it’s time for a trip up to Luke’s Locker to ask their advice. And in the meantime, I’ll run in the NBs.

Milestones

  • 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

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