Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lifetime Hockey Camp: Reflections

A few days removed from hockey camp, and I'va had the opportunity to reflect on that experience, hockey, and working out in general. I learned a few things about myself. One, I'm in much worse shape than I thought; the camp was brutal, just wore me out. Two, while I really enjoy hockey, it seems too much work to play it. Not the physical exertion, but rather all the gear and having to find the ice to play on. I'll see this winter, but I think hockey will be more of a occasional pastime for me and not a regular exercise. I really enjoy the camraderie and encouragement that a team sport gives, but I think I enjoy individual sports more. No one else to let down. I think I need to find a sport that allows for some group time, but ultimately rests only on my shoulders. Right now I'm very interested in triathlon and I think it might be a good fit: individual results, but there is definitely an opportunity to do group rides, masters swimming, and running groups for the team benefits. I wish it were a little simpler in terms of execution; i.e., I can always go out for a quick run or bike, but to swim you have to find the water. The constant change of trying three sports is also very exciting and hopefully will keep me fresh.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hockey: Lifetime Hockey Camp, Minneapolis, MN

I wasn't really looking forward to it anymore, it being summer and all, but tomorrow I am off to Minneapolis to participate in the Lifetime Hockey Camp. Now that it's here, I'm kind of getting excited again. With the triathlon just several weeks away, I was a little annoyed at the interruption in my training, but it is actually going to be 3 and a half days of excellent cross-training, and my fitness should really improve! I'm hoping to have an opportunity to post from the camp, but if it doesn't happen here, I'll definitely get some tweets in through my Twitter account.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gear Review: CatEye Strada Cadence Cyclocomputer

Today's workout on the triathlon training plan was cycling, so it gave me an opportunity to assess my new bike computer, the CatEye Strada Cadence. I rode over to the Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville, because it looks really nice passing by in a car. I wasn't disappointed, really beautiful, though it's a bummer that the Greene Valley Hill (elevation 980', a former landfill) is open only from 11:00 am on weekends. Not sure why they couldn't allow bikes up during the off hours.

Since I usually work out early in the morning, an initial complaint is that the computer does not have a back light, so it was VERY difficult to see the readout; once I get used to the order of modes, this should become less of a problem. The final numbers were: 58:56 total time, 15.9 miles total, average speed 16.2 mph, top speed 30.6 mph. As a rough check, gmap-pedometer gave a similar distance. Not really interested in the speeds, so I won't have that checked. I'm just glad I could cover the race distance (13.3 miles) without too much trouble. A little worried about the run after, though.

So, except for the backlight issue, I feel like this is a good computer for a beginning rider. It's simple to set up, simple to use, and has the cadence function (the reason I purchased it). Recommended.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Triathlon Training Plan: Bike: New Computer

Hoping to ride smarter, I purchased a CatEye Strada Cadence Bike Computer. While it has 8 functions the main reason I chose it was for the cadence guide. I kind of randomly ride around during my training, with no idea if I'm going well or not. From what I've read, around 90 rph is a good cadence, as it matches a decent cadence for the run. The idea is that it's not a shock for the legs coming off the bike. I'll buy it until I try it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nike+ Challenge

13 days to run 11 miles, definitely feel like I can do that, especially since I've resolved to once again get back on my triathlon training plan.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Triathlon Training: Progress Report

4 weeks until the triathlon. Overall, I don't feel prepared yet, but I do have a little bit of time yet. I feel confident that I will be able to complete the bike and run portions, hopefully without too much difficulty, but the swim worries me a bit. After this weekend's race, I definitely am worried about carrying so much weight, as well. I maintained roughly a 10:00/mile pace, but that is SO slow compared to the 8:25/mile pace I averaged over the 1995 Chicago Marathon, and that included some walking! Being out of shape is one thing, but I really strongly believe that the main thing is that I'm dragging around 60-70 extra pounds - that's a not so small child! So, apart from focusing a bit more on the swim training, I am also going to see how much weight I can drop between now and the triathlon, in a healthy manner. Having so much extra, I don't think it's unreasonable to hope to lose 12-16 pounds (3-4 pounds per week). My aim initially is not to cut anything out, but instead have less of everything, especiall ythe empty calorie stuff (i.e., wine, chocolate, etc).

New Lance Armstrong bike by Damien HIrst

From Twitter, Lance Armstrong has posted a link to pictures of the bike that Damien Hirst decorated (?) for him (painted?designed?). While not a fan of Hirst, I have to admit it's a unique bike, eye-catching, and it's for a good cause.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Race: Chicago Trail Series: Renegade Trail Run 10K 07/11/2009 (Registered)

A little confused about my finishing time: Nike+ says 59:45, I thought the finish line clock said 59:59, official results have me in 59:09.09. Hmmmm. Updated post here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Triathlon Training: Cycling

Last night, I finally set up my bike on the trainer I found at the thrift store (see earlier post). Terrible photo above showing the set-up (disregard the unfinished drywall in background). I did a half hour ride, watching the James Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace." While difficult but enjoyable, the biggest problem was how NOISY the trainer was! All in all, it's nice to have an option to going outside -- it will really be useful this winter.

Book Review: The Coolest Race on Earth

Just finished reading The coolest race on earth : mud, madmen, glaciers, and grannies at the Antarctica marathon by John Hanc (Chicago : Chicago Review Press, 2009). While starting a bit slowly, it became an interesting read overall. History is mixed with racer interviews and personal anecdotes. The main problem I had with this book is that it only scratches the surface in all three of those areas. It would have been nice if it had delved deeper into the history especially. Recommended.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cycling: Ignatas Konovolovas

Doing some research, discovered a young Lithuanian rider on the Cervélo Test Team. Not sure if he's riding the Tour De France, but excited that a Lithuanian is involved in the highest levels of cycling. He seems to be pretty good, to boot. This from the team's website:

Name: Ignatas Konovalovas

Nationality: LTU (Lithuania)
Age: 23
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 168 lbs
Pro Since: 2008
Previous Teams: Credit Agricole
Career Highlights: Tour of Luxembourg 2008, stage victory, Best Young Rider, Points jersey, National TT Champion 2008 1st, Ronde de l'Isard U23 2006 2nd, European Championships Road 29th, Olympic Road Race, Beijing
Do you have any pets or hobbies? Reading, PSP, Parties in October and November
What is your favourite charity? In Lithuania, we have a charity program for orphans. I need to read more about this - I've seen some TV programs. It's hard to truly understand when you've always had your parents by your side.
What would be your cycling tip to the average rider? One day of success or one victory pays you back for all of the pain and all of the work you've done over the years.
Why do you want to ride on the Cervélo TestTeam? Because I have always dreamed of riding a Cervélo bike and now it has come true.
What is your personal cycling goal for 2009? To find myself as a rider, and to find my racing style.
When you knew you wanted to be a pro? When I was 14 and started riding a bike.
What is your favourite training ride? A five or six hour ride, on a sunny and hot summer day, in a beautiful place, with good music, dreaming about the Tour de France.
What is your all time favourite cycling moment? Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
What is your favourite ride of all time? When I won at stage at the Tour of Luxembourg. I had never felt so strong and confident before.
What do you want to do after your career in cycling? I want to help young people from my country develop in cycling and become professional cyclists and perhaps create a new pro team in Lithuania.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tour De France

It's interesting that the return of one man, Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong), can get me and many others, interested in the Tour again. I've got to say, he really uses the media well. He's an athlete that many try to tear down, but, aside from the occasional misstep, he always comes off looking really well in his interviews. I'm definitely a fan!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Triathlon Training: Run

Too much food and wine on the 4th, so did 4.25 miles of penance this morning. Visiting the in-laws out in horse country, so beautiful place to run, with all the split rail fencing, barns, and horses. Beautiful mist this morning, really enjoyed the experience overall.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Triathlon Training: Swim + Bike

My sons have had nightmares the past several nights, so sleep has been spotty, meaning I wake up feeling exhausted and with no desire to go exercise. Yesterday, I left work early and met the family at the pool, where I got in a quick swim: 500 yards: 250-100-100-25-25. It's always nice to get in a surprise workout.

This morning, even though I didn't want to, I rode 7 miles on the bike, first hard bike workout I've had, guess I've been slacking.

I tried out my Profile Design tri-suit this morning (purchased on EBay); comfortable, but I'm not so sure I'm in the kind of shape yet to wear it out in public. It would be nice to just have the one suit for the race, though. I wish I cared less about what people think...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Training: Brick tomorrow?

Hoping to maybe run and ride tomorrow, can't remember the last time I was on the bike. I'm sort of focusing on my run mentally, as I have a race on July 11th (10K trail run), so it's hard to stay mindful that the triathlon is only about a month away. Friday is an off day from work, really hoping to get in a mini triathlon, would be a good gauge of where I stand (I was going to say a good gauge of fitness, but I'm not there yet) :).

Injury: Torn meniscus

My wife has been diagnosed with a torn meniscus and has scheduled surgery for the end of the month. Apparently, it's pretty routine as far as surgery goes, but I'm still worried. They said she'd be moving around by the end of the day and pretty much normal after 3-4 days, but that seems wildly optimistic to me. Crossing my fingers.

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports -

REI: Gear for the Great Outdoors

UnderArmour - I WILL

Outdoor DIVAS - Adventure Gear for Active Women