Sunday, March 29, 2009

Almost there....

Another week down and sick. I would like to say that I spent this past week while I was sick planning and fine tuning for the race. The truth is, I was so incredibly sick that I was in survival mode. I had a fever for 7 days, with the high just below 103. I was without a doubt, the sickest I have ever been in my life. It’s good to be able to say now, “I’m on the mend”.

I was actually hoping to get a run in today and despite every ounce of me wanting to lace up, I forced myself to give it one more day. There are a few common rules for when you’re sick:

1. Don’t ever, never, ever swim with a head cold. The pressure in your head, combined with getting water in your ears, can do some serious ear damage.
2. When a cold has reached your lungs, regardless of how well you may feel, running is NOT an option.
3. Don’t eat any sugar when you’re sick, including juice.

Since I still had a slight cough today, that meant no running. Instead, Yogi (my 11 yr old Rottweiler) and I went for an easy 1 hour hike.

Even though this forced break happened early enough to not have a negative effect on race day, I have decided make some changes to help prevent anymore unwanted breaks.
I usually don’t put the following into effect until about 2 months before a big race but due to the circumstances, I have accelerated things a bit. I have given up sugar, sucrose and I am also laying low on eating out, at least at home, I know everything has been washed and is relatively germ free.

Well, sorry for another uneventful blog. I can’t wait until I can write about a 20 hour training week. I plan to run tomorrow, and with each day add a little bit more, and hopefully next weekend will consist of a 4 hour ride and a 2 hour run!

I hope that I have been able to put at ease anyone else who’s been sick or injured and has been forced to take a break. This time is just a drop in the bucket although it can seem like forever.

Having had this break will now force me to be even more focused and disciplined over the next few months.

Take Care, see you in a week.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's About the Journey

Sometimes you can do everything right, then wham! This week I have spent Thursday-Sunday battling the flu.

When training for a triathlon, especially a long one, everything is down to a science, down to the day. Each workout has its meaning, each week and day has its special purpose in the big picture. Knowing this, it’s very hard mentally when a wrench is thrown into the game plan. This weekend I was supposed to ride almost 5 hours and run 2 ½. Since last week was a recovery week, I was really chomping at the bits, I couldn’t wait to get on my bike and hammer away.

If it were 5 years ago, I would be sitting here stressing out about everything I have lost and how behind I am. Back then though, I used to only think about the race, not the journey.

To me, the Ultraman isn’t just a race. Ultraman is about everything it takes to get there it’s about the physical and mental journey. To think only of the race, I would loose most of what I gain from completing an event like the Ultraman. We learn so much about ourselves when we are put in different situations/challenges. How we handle these situations/how we overcome them will not only help us on race day but they will help us throughout our lives as well.

Getting sick this week was an important lesson. It taught me that, “anything can happen”, no matter how much we stick to a plan, do everything right, there are some things we just don’t have control of. Accept it and move on, take the good from it, because with everything bad, there comes some good. I have caught up on some sleep, spent time with the pups and I have even spent some time reflecting back on the past 2 ½ months and all that I have accomplished. Man, I have done a lot! If it weren’t for this forced break, it may not be until I have crossed the finish line that I stopped to give myself a well deserved pat on the back.

Training for a race while working and/or managing kids is no easy feat. Don’t forget to stop every once in a while and recognize the work you are putting in. It’s like fuel for your psyche, and it will do wonders for your racing. If you encounter a set back, take it in stride, pull out the good and move on, its all a part of the journey.

Thanks for reading. Next weeks blog will be a well defined outline of my workouts, should be good because with all this rest, I’ll be on fire!

Until then, stay healthy!


Sunday, March 15, 2009


“Adventures” is the best way to sum up this past week. I ran in 3 different countries, the US, England and Germany. However, even with all the traveling, my most favorite run was right here at home in my usual weekend spot on my usual trails. The beauty of these trails amazes me with every run and this one in particular was in a heavy snow fall. We have had some good rains this winter so the sights were amazing, the bright green fern were almost electric, and against the snow, they lit up the woods. The more I travel, the more I love the great NW, I have just not seen a more beautiful place.

My run in Germany was in a town called Muenster. There is a lot of history there, and I could feel it as I ran through one of the neighborhoods. This town was pretty heavily bombed in WWII, and while much of it has been rebuilt, I could feel the “old” Muenster as I ran along the canal. There were woods to my left, water to my right and train tracks beyond that. I could not help but to think about the war and what might have happened years ago on the very grounds that I was running.

In London I ran through a really big park that reminded me of Central Park in NYC. The most interesting part of that run was looking at all of the people running with backpacks. I asked my friend if they were ultra runners, but I was a little off. These people actually run to work, lots of them. I saw as many people running to work in London that I see biking to work in Seattle, I thought that was pretty cool.

My biking was limited to 1 stationary bike session on a really old bike in the bottom of a London hotel, 1 session on my rollers, and a road ride on Bainbridge Island, which is always my most favorite road ride.

I had only one chance to swim this week but that was ok. By the time I got my swim in at the end of the week I felt strong in the water, I think my shoulders enjoyed the break.

I did a lot of core work this week, mainly because I couldn’t sleep and it was something to do at 3:00am.

Coach D considered this past week a “recovery week”. Tomorrow morning its game on! I’m looking forward to getting back into full training, the breaks are good but I do get pretty ansy.

Well, that’s all for now, I hope you have a great week. BTW, it’s the last week of winter so now is the time to register for some races or rides!

Thanks for your support!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Special Blog for a Special Moment

I don't usually blog about things other than training but something happened today and I just have to share it.

Today is my birthday and as luck would have it, I am spending it alone in London. I am one of those people that LOVES holidays that involve presents, especially when all of the presents are for me. A part of the kid in me that will always be the kid in me.

I woke up this morning feeling a little bit bummed that I would not have anyone to spend my birthday with, I guess I was feeling a bit alone, and then something happened.....

While in a meeting this morning, my coworker from the UK was talking to someone else and commented twice that we would be taking the train to "Paddington" station, while he meant to say something else. When he said it the second time, he said, "I don't know why I keep saying Paddington", I just looked at him and smiled.

When I was 7 years old, just 4 days before my 8th birthday, my mother died after a long battle with cancer. During her last days in the hospital, she made me a Paddington Bear which she was going to give me for my birthday. Her good friend gave it to me the night she died.

Martin said Paddington 3 times today, on my birthday! Some may say, "coincidence", but I know better.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Guten Tag!

I’m typing this blog from the Frankfurt airport. Due to travel, this past week has made for some interesting workouts. This morning for example, I got up (well, I never really slept) at 5:00am and headed for a 45 minute treadmill run before heading back to the airport en route to Muenster. When I stepped on the treadmill, I noticed everything was in German. Do you know your weight in kilograms? Me neither. After a few minutes, I figured out how to type in, 45 minutes. The run was a bit surreal, with the exception of sleeping off an on –on the planes, I haven’t really slept for a day. I feel pretty good though regardless.

Usually on the weekends I can play the weather. This means that if it is snowing or sleeting on Saturday, I will ride on Sunday or vice versa. Since I was to be out of town on Sunday and without my bike for 4 days, I was forced to ride on Saturday. Saturday’s weather was the great North West in its best. Freezing rain, snow, wind, the works. Rob and I started the day off on our mountain bikes, planning to ride for 4 hours but an hour into the ride Rob’s bike broke. We headed back to the car, loaded the bikes and went the pool where I got my 3,000 yards in. Then we quickly went home and I hopped on the rollers for 3 hours. I should explain, there are “trainers” and there are “rollers”. With a trainer, you attach your bike via the back wheel and ride. Rollers are a set of 3 rollers that you put your bike on, and so you are not attached. I like the rollers better because they force you to keep your cadence up, or you will ride off of them and into whatever is around you. Yes, I have done that, more than once. It takes a lot of determination to ride the rollers for that long, I had the TV on and I just kept thinking about Ultraman, and how all of this training will be worth it when I am out there on race day (s).

Weeks recap:
I had Wednesday completely off, but I thought on Monday that I may do an easy bike to make up for this weeks travels. Its funny though, as soon as Wednesday morning rolled around, there was no way I could have rode. Coach D is so good at this training stuff. He gauges my workouts perfectly, he got everything out of me until I really needed a day off . After resting on Wednesday, I was supercharged.

Swim: I swam 3 times all workouts 3,000 yards. I made some serious gains in the water this week, as I was able to speed up my 50 and 100 repeats. I am now doing my 50’s on the 45 and my 100’s on the 1:30. I can’t go forever at this pace, but it’s good to know that I’m getting faster. I am now at the pace I was in 2003, which feels good.

Bike: I rode 3 times this week. One ride was an easy road ride and the others were on the rollers. I am beginning to plan for a double century in May that will be part of my training. LMK if you would like to join in on the fun!

Run: I ran 3 times this week, twice on the treadmill and once on the road. I didn’t get my weekly trail run in which was a bummer but I’ll get it back next weekend. I’m beginning to enjoy the treadmill runs because I can really push myself. I am so used to, “working the clock” from swimming that it’s an easy transition for me to do that running. Once a week I have been doing an hour treadmill run and I try to see how much distance I can cover in an hour, while following the heart rate zones prescribed by Coach D. I hit 7 miles this week. The more fit I get, the more distance I should be able to cover without blowing up my heart rate.

Strength Training: I had 2 sessions in the gym and I am also doing core an additional 2 x’s per week.

Well, that’s all for now. The next few days will be all about running and Bratwurst. I will be home on Thursday evening, just in time for next weekends training. I hope you have all had a great week. Thanks for your support!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

2 months Down! 5 1/2 to go!

***I noticed that Google has installed some stuff on this blog, feel free to ignore it, I’m not sure what it is and didn’t ask them to put it there.

“You must do the things you think you cannot do”
- Eleanor Roosevelt

I thought of that quote a couple times this week. In the past 7 days I was in 3 states, logged over 18 hours of training, and even had a 4 hour stint in the dentist chair. While on my way to swim at 4:45am one morning I thought to myself, “If I’m worried about not waking up when the ferry docks, how am I going to make my flip turns?”. It all worked out though, it’s like my body new when it was ok to, “check out” and when it was time to train.

Thankfully I have only one more trip that I know of, then its straight, uninterrupted training through the middle of May.

This past week I did a Lactate Threshold Test for running and also pushed distance on the bike and added some more time in the weight room. Surprisingly though, I feel great. I anticipated a tough week with the travel and really planned for it. I ate well, slept well and didn’t sweat the small stuff. You know, to a certain degree your body cant tell the difference between physical and mental stress? If you have constant stress in your life, like a demanding job, then your body’s stress system is almost always on. Now you add training for an endurance event on top of that, and well, if you’re not careful, you will feel constantly wiped out, because even when you're resting physically, your body is reacting to the mental stress. I have found that the best way to handle this is to make a commitment to leave the job where it belongs, in the office. Easy to say, harder to do. In the end though, is harping about your day to your loved ones going to make the day you had any better? No, just gotta let it go. Occasionally though, I will admit that Rob has to give me, “the look” that reminds me to actually let it go. I have noticed a big difference in my energy level since I have been able to, “step away from the black berry” and my day and clear my mind.

This week’s recap:
Swimming: I loved my swim workouts this week. They were all higher yardage with speed, my favorite kind. I’m anxious though for late spring to arrive so I can throw on the wetsuit and hop in Lake Washington.

Biking: I rode 3 times this week. Once on the rollers, once mountain biking and a 4:30 road bike. All were fun and the longer rides are getting more comfortable. For our long ride this week we rode about 67 miles in which we climbed around 5,000ft. These long and hilly rides should really help prepare me for the mountain passes I will be riding for Ultraman.

Running: I really mixed it up this week with one run near work, one on the treadmill and one long (2:15) trail run. As usual, the trail run was my favorite, we have gotten a lot of rain so its super green with lots of mud puddles.

Weight training: I’m in a different phase of weight training, pushing harder weights and using more free weights.

5 ½ Months out….
Now I will begin to plan the logistics for race day. For example, the water bottles. I will have the following drinks in the support vehicle: Perpetuem, Nuun, Water, Coke, and Gatorade. I plan to color code the water bottles as follows:
Perpetuem: Purple
Nuun: Blue
Water: White
Coke: Clear
Gatorade: Green
So I will spend this week hunting down various colored water bottles. Next week I will begin building a first aid box.

I am officially entering my 3rd month of Ultraman training. Crazy to think I only have about 5 ½ months left, seems like only yesterday that I sealed the envelope and sent off my application. I imagine that I may get a little nervous as the time gets nearer, but that’s what you guys are for! I have installed a counter on this blog, and every time I notice that someone has opened the page, it gives me a push. You guys are the best and you’re support means everything to me, Thanks so much.

Next weeks blog may be a little late because between daylight savings, and flying to Germany and the UK, I imagine I’ll be a bit off on my timing.

Have a great week!