Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Rider and the Sleeper
Chirping birds wake me at 5:15 a.m. Get up, get a drink of water and take a leak. Contemplate the fact that my friend Dan set out, 15 minutes ago, on another epic ride. Go back to bed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Triathlon Update
It's been a good couple of weeks. The Achilles tendon problem appears to be totally a thing of the past. Running just once in the month after the Napa Valley Marathon was a key factor, but regular swimming and cycling (on the trainer, not out in the rain) also helped a lot, I think. In any case, I'm ecstatic to be able to run again. I'm keeping the distances short for now, between five and seven miles at a time, but have been able to run as often as three days in a row without encountering pain or lingering soreness.

As I mentioned, the cycling has been mostly on the trainer. The trainer was a big part of my routine in my first couple of years of triathlon, especially during the winter and spring. I don't know why I moved away from it. I guess I didn't understand how much it did for me. But these past few weeks have shown me how wrong that thinking was. A solid hour on the trainer, nonstop, pushing the heart rate up to a level and holding it there, then backing off, then pushing it up again … that can be a great workout. Now I feel ready to do some long Saturday morning rides.

On the swim front, I've taken to swimming three or four consecutive days instead of spreading the week out. The benefit (I theorize) is that I can better build upon the progress I make in each workout. Also doing a lot more drills, including plenty of 50s and 100s. Remarkably, I am getting faster. Need to make sure to work in a straight long swim each week, and to lengthen that swim each week. Anyway, weekly yardage is between 6,000 and 8,000, still pretty wimpy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mirepoix Mixing

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Open Road Ahead
Triathlon Elite
It's time to sign up for Half Vineman. Oops, I mean Vineman Ironman 70.3. For my six hours of exertion (or less, fingers crossed), I will pay $225. I think it was $150 in 2002, when this madness began.

So think about: Do two half-iron races each year, plus a couple of Olympic-distance events (about $100 apiece), a marathon ($65) and couple of 10Ks (say, $30 each) -- all of which you need in order to break up the schedule and keep yourself motivated -- and you're closing in on a grand for entry fees alone. And heaven forbid you get ambitious and want to do a full iron-distance race: Full Vineman is $295 if you sign up six months ahead of time (sure you get a break, but these fees tend to be practically nonrefundable, so early signup can be risky); it's $405 six days before the race.

Question: Which of the two major parties will take on the issue of skyrocketing athletic-event entry fees? C'mon. Those of us competing are on the front lines in the battle against obesity, that national scourge. Support the troops!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

In the H2O
My sorry ability after more than four years of swimming is pretty remarkable but, it occurred to me today (while swimming), perhaps not as remarkable as I like to think. It takes me nearly 40 minutes to crank out an open-water 2K and there is no denying that falls into the category headed Sucks. What popped into my head today, however, as I swam 2500 yards in the rain, was that four years and three month ago, when this madness began, I could hardly make it back and forth once in a 25-yard pool. Was it really so? It really was. My early swims were 300 or 400 yards, with rests after each lap. I was in no swimming shape at all and had no clue what I was doing. Now, at least, I have fitness, and while I struggle with my technique mightily, I do understand the basics. I know how to breathe, and about avoiding drag, and not to drop my elbow. I know enough to be frustrated by my inability to do it all well! Progress, of a sort.