Monday, January 31, 2011

Cyclist Across the Big Dam Bridge

I always enjoy looking in the paper and reading some of the Letters to Editor. You never know what you will find when reading through these. Most of them are someones opinion/gripe about politics and/or government. Today (1-31-11), I found this one from William G. Carlyle of North Little Rock.

The bridge in LR is for everyone to use. Everyone needs to be considerate when using the bridge and cyclist should slow down when passing people on the bridge. However, the writer needs to use more reason and show more respect when writing. Naming calling does nothing. The writer proposes that cyclist be moved somewhere, of course, he does not provide a answer to his problem. As for us cyclist, we should be considerate of people that are using the bridge just slowing down for a little while will not ruin your workout.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Some Endurance Challenges

Everyone has various goals, challenges, places they want to visit, and activities they want to do in life. I decided in this post that I would talk about a few distance challenges that I may one day would like conquer. Most of them are standard challenges out there that many people have completed and a couple are longer challenges that would take a lot more time. I will update this post from time to time to add some challenges and maybe even update completed ones. So with this introduction here are the challenges.

The century bike ride is one of the distance events I would like to complete. I'm thinking the only reason that I haven't completed is I just haven't done it. I've completed 75 miles a few times, but have never ridden a 100. Here's to riding 100 in 2011. Not on this list though will be the double century in a day, I have something else for a longer ride.

140.6 the Ironman distance race, swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles. All in under 17 hours. The challenge of combining 3 long distance into one long day of racing. One day is the culmination of months of training. If you do training for this race, you should be able to conquer the distance. The hardest part of this race is the training to get you there. You need to be sure that you have the time and the motivation to train for this race. I'm thinking this will be a 2012 accomplishment.

The ride across Arkansas is a unique challenge that I would like to do. There is a River to River Memorial Ride that takes place in Arkansas but it is over the period of 5 days. The ride I would plan would be close to 290 miles and would be completed over a period of 2 days and most likely unsupported. I would ride from Ft. Smith to Conway on the first day. This ride would be around 140 miles. I live in Conway, so it would make a great rest stop. The second day ride would be from Conway to West Memphis. The distance would be around 150 miles on the second day. I figure I could leave on Thursday morning and be partying on Beale's Street Friday night! Here's to the challenge!

Now to a couple of sounds fun, but will be challenging also.

Hood to Coast Relay or any other long distance relay that gets together you and 8-11 more friends. 197 miles of running split between everyone, share two vans, get little to no sleep, no shower, and just run and have a great time. Sounds like an adventure and challenge to me.

How can you go wrong with RAGBRAI. You and 8,000 other riders riding across the state of Iowa. Get a group together and pedal away. It sounds like a great time.

I have others but I just though I would start off with a few.

So what are some challenges that you are looking at?

The One Hour Swim

This week I started back with the masters swim program here in Conway. I know swimming is one area that I need vast improvement on. I went on Tuesday and found out that on Thursday we would be doing a 1hr non-stop swim to see how far we could go. I'm thinking to myself then, "I don't know, I haven't swam much since SEPTEMBER!" Of course, the next day, I like challenges, so one hour straight swim it will be on Thursday. The day arrives and it's time to swim. I hoping to get 3000 yds. The swim starts and off I go. During the swim, I really just wanted to focus on keeping my technique strong thru the hour and see what happens. You ask, what do think about for an hour? Well, I thought about this post and a couple of other posts for the future. I thought about my technique and somtimes just nothing at all. Is that called the zone, I don't know, but I was zoned out at times.

Anyways, 1 hr later I swam 2850 yds. Not bad, considering I haven't completed much swimming in the past 4 months. We were using timing mats, so I didn't know where I was at. I think I may have tried to push it knowing I was so close to 3000, but oh well. Here's to progress throughout the year.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's in Taco Bell Taco

A lawsuit is claiming that Taco Bell's beef products do not meet the standard of "real" beef. A law firm had the "meat mixture" tested and it contained less than 35% beef. They are claiming that Taco Bell is using false advertising.

Where's The Beef Link

Ok, this disgust me. I eat fast food every now and then and try to avoid it whenever possible, but I don't think I'll be having Taco Bell again. I'm disgusted to think that it is only 35% beef? I don't care if it was 75%. Real beef should be 100%.

So what's for lunch today?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Headphone Ban in Arkansas?

UPDATE: 1/25 - The bill's sponsor has dropped this bill. Apparently he received a lot of emails against this legislation. Yesterday this story was run on all the local networks and even this morning saw this law mentioned on Fox and Friends (National). It's amazing how news gets around today.

On Friday, I saw a post on a message board about a bill that had been brought up in the Arkansas State Legislature. The bill is SB80. The bill would ban the use of headphones while engaging in a sport activity whether you are on the road and/or sidewalk. The bill can be found at this link.

Now do I think this bill will pass? I wouldn't think so, but it is always good to bring things to people's attention. Especially a bill like this. I can just imagine someone that is starting to get in shape decides to go for a walk and then gets a ticket because he/she was wearing headphones while walking on the sidewalk. To think, Arkansas is one of the most obese states in the nation and now you want to take away headphones while engaging in a sport activity.

Is using headphones dangerous? It can be if you are listening to really loud music. You may not hear a car coming up from behind you, but would you hear it anyways if you didn't have headphones on while running on the sidewalk? Now if you are running in the road, you should be running against traffic anyways that way you can see traffic coming at you. If you are running with traffic and with headphones, you are not being very safe.

Since we all know headphones are so dangerous, here are a couple of things that Arkansas still allows. You can still use you cell phone while driving. While you can't text, you can still have it up to your ear and chat away. Also, in Arkansas, if you are driving a motorcycle, you don't have to wear a helmet. So, I guess lets take away headphones.

Rant over. Let me know your opinion.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Looking Back Five Years Ago the Journey Continues

Sometime around Jan. 2006, I was at the doctors office with the flu when he came in and mentioned that I had high blood pressure. He said that you should come back in over the next couple of weeks and get it checked quickly and see if this is something that will need medication or not. At that time, I decided that I would get back into shape. I was probably a little overweight for my height and frame also at 166. Even a girl that I was seeing at the time mentioned that I was getting a little fat. Below is the journey of 5 years. A quick summary is 5 years later I'm still continuing on my journey, lost 30 lbs, achieved my 2nd degree black belt, completed 3 marathons, 3 half ironmans, numerous triathlons, and other running races.

The opportunity at that time to get back in shape came with martial arts. I knew someone that had started a class at Conway Regional once a week and at that time I decided to attempt to get back into marital arts. I had taken taekwondo until I was 18 and then quit when I went to college. Now at the age of 25, I was getting back into the action.

Throughout 2006, I really was just involved in martial arts with some other workouts here and there, but my interest in running grew when I saw my dad complete the 2006 NYC marathon. After watching him complete the marathon, I would register for the 2007 NYC marathon. As luck would have it, I got the lottery entry.

In 2007, I began my training for the marathon and on NYC completed the NYC in 4:45 minutes. My interest in fitness began to grow even more in 2007 with my first attempts at a training log. You read in various articles that is good to keep a long and in 2007 the log began. The log is mainly filled with just miles run and hours trained. There is still no biking in the picture yet! The 2007 log shows 168 hrs of training and 327 miles of running from June to December.

2008 brought along my second marathon in NYC which was completed in 4:25 minutes and the purchase of my first bike. I purchased a Specialized Allez Elite. I purchased the bike in March but with work travel and just not riding I only rode 225 miles that year. The funny thing about this year was that I actually ran my first 5k in August. I also began to swim in 2008. The idea of completing a triathlon began. 2008 brought 244 hrs of training, 608 miles of running, 225 miles biking, and even 11 miles of swimming. During 2008, I also tested for my Black Belt in taekwondo in February and then tested for my 1st degree in October. After 2.5 years of taking taekwondo, I had finally achieved my black belt. Of course, I still have much more to learn and will continue to advance.

It's 2009 and it's time to Tri! In 2009, I began to pursue triathlons. I had a new position at work which didn't require travel and so my adventure in triathlons began! My first triathlon was in Texarkana at the Four States triathlon. It was adventure on the swim with a slight panic at the start but I pushed through and finished. I knew at that point I wanted to do more. In 2009, I completed 5 triathlons (3 sprint and 2 international distance). In December, I committed to the 70.3 in New Orleans also. Also, in 2009, after 4 years of teaching in taekwondo, I finally completed the required 120 hrs to be certified instructor. I also achieved my 2nd degree black belt in August. In 2009, I trained 356 hrs, ran 447, biked 1641, and swam 73.

2010 is the year of the 70.3 distance. I completed my first half ironman in New Orleans. I think I found the distance that I love. It's a challenge and you can push yourself to the edge. I also completed one in Lubbock and here in Conway. I also set a PR in the marathon in Memphis in December. I ran a 3:55! This was my first marathon in 2 years. I love the challenge of the marathon and the effort it takes to push through your own limits to complete.

I think every year I grow a little more and continue to learn and will continue the journey. There is no end to this journey. It will continue on for a long time to come.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rollers vs Trainer and Indoor Training

The ultimate debate between winter riding indoors. Do you go with rollers or a trainer? Most people I believe go with the trainer. With a trainer, you put your bike on it and pedal away. You do not have to worry about falling off. Rollers allow you to work on your balance and you pedaling technique. You have to keep a smooth motion to keep the bike steady.

I talked with a the local shop here in Conway and convinced me to go with rollers. I purchased a set of Kriteler rollers after demoing a set for a couple of weeks. I really enjoyed my workouts on the rollers during the winter time last year. I even had a couple of 2 and 3 hr sessions of the rollers while I was training for my first half Ironman in New Orleans. The big issue with rollers is that they are very difficult to stand up and do one leg drills which brings me to my 2011 training.

I have decided this year to go ahead and add a Kurt Kinetic trainer to my indoor workouts this year. I felt that I was missing the hard resistance efforts and the ability to work on "climbing" while training. I'm really looking to improve my times this year and felt adding the trainer to my workouts would help. I will still use the rollers at least once a week for easier rides and even some harder rides, but the trainer will help give a little more variety in my workouts.

As the winter ends and we move into Spring and summer, I will get the opportunity to head outdoors for riding, but sometimes my schedule doesn't allow for it, so adding the trainer will still allow for good workouts indoors when the sunsets later in the year.

Indoor training can be boring, so how do I handle the boredom. Well I have set a cave in my garage to allow for the training. I have a TV and DVD player to watch while training. What do I watch? I have a Netflix subscription to watch movies and shows that I can catch up on. I have also downloaded a couple of "The Sufferfest" video workouts. Here shortly, I will have a book of Indoor Cycling workouts that will add some variety to my routine when just watching TV.

With that I leave you with tricks that I can't do on rollers!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Getting the Swim Workouts In

The hardest workouts that I find adding to my training schedule have to be the swim workouts. It is the only workout where scheduling actually comes up. My gym (Conway Regional) has classes usually scheduled for the times that I would love to swim 4:30 to 6:30 on Monday - Thursday. While, I can go after this time, I just love to get my workouts finished ASAP after work. I usually reserve my mornings for either running or biking on the trainer. Of course, there is always the free swim on the weekends, so I do have that time. I guess on my this rant because the pool was closed this weekend and was looking to go swimming.

I will get back into Masters Swimming soon, but again that is schedule times. Maybe I just don't like schedules.

Do you have any workouts that you find hard to get in?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back to Training

Well it feels good to get back to my normal training again. I had a great 2010 season, but towards the end work kept me on the road most of October, November, and December. At this time, I didn't bike any or swim any. I can tell that I did lose some of the that fitness at that time, but it will be good to get it back. I do know where I want to be fitness wise, so I'll enjoy working to get there. Just this week, I did a 20 min TT on my trainer, so in 6 weeks I can see where I progressed to. I also performed a 500 yd swim to gauge my fitness there as well.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Arkansas for Triathlon Training

I know this an older article mentioning how Little Rock just missed one of the best places to train, but I still have to say that I really enjoy Arkansas for training and living. I do know that it doesn't have the diversity of a large city such as DFW, NYC, or any other big city, but it's much easier to get away from the city in no time at all. Another advantage is the low cost of living in Arkansas compared to some larger cities. The summers are hot, but I don't really mind the heat. We generally have a mild winter. The average high in Jan. and Feb typically hover in the low to mid 40's on average, but have many days above 50.

I live in Conway, AR and I can leave my house and be out on open roads in about 5 minutes. Once I cross the Arkansas river bridge and go about 10 miles there really isn't much traffic at all west of Conway. You can go North of Conway for more hills. Arkansas even offers the advantage of completely flat if that is what you are looking for. I can drive down to LR and then ride out SE of Little Rock on roads that are pancake flat.

In Conway, the running is your suburb running. Running through neighborhoods, sidewalks, and streets. There is a running/walking trail that goes through part of town, but it's somewhere I go just to run. In LR, the best option that you have is the River Trail that circles from LR around to I-430 bridge and then back to NLR. It is a great trail to run. There will soon be a bridge that connects it to 2 rivers park which will give you more running and biking options. As far as trail running, you can always head out to Pinnacle (outside of LR) that offers some nice running.

As far as open water swimming, the best place I have found so far is Lake Beaverfork in Conway. It is a great option in Conway. In mornings, it is not very crowded and you can get a nice swim in. There are plenty of great lakes in Arkansas to choose from, but I don't know how well they do for open water swimming.

Now for the final part, racing, Arkansas offers great choices for triathlons. DLT events ( runs many races around Arkansas with road and off road triathlons offered. There is also a couple races put on in NW Arkansas (2.5 hrs) put on by other directors, Texarkana(3hrs), and Forest City (2 hrs). Of course, if you are interested in Ironman series races, there are (5) 70.3 races within a 8 hr drive on less. There is also one Ironman within an 8 hr drive in Houston and an Iron distance race (Redman) in Oklahoma City. There are always races in other cities that are an easy 3 to 5 hrs away from LR.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Garmin Tracking Device

It appears that Garmin will be coming out with a tracking device that will allow you track you in real time. The article describes the battery as lasting 4 weeks. Now you can have a little piece of mind that you friends/family can track you on your long bike rides or even at races. You will have to pay an annual service fee of $49.99 for the ability to track online or on a smartphone app.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

Well now it's time to start off 2011. I'm back in Arkansas after a great trip down to Jacksonville to watch Mississippi State destroy Michigan in the Gator Bowl. It's a great to start of the new year. I was able to spend time with friends that I have not seen in a while. It's amazing how college football can bring people together.

I'm hoping for a great new year. I believe I have my first part of 2011 scheduled out with the races that I want to run. I'm looking to make Buffalo Springs 70.3 my "A" race for the first half of 2011. I also need to start working on other goals and ideas for 2011.

Happy New Year