March 29, 2009

Random items

I haven't been keeping up with this blog lately. It has various reasons that can be summarized as family, work and training keeping me crazy busy. I decided to post a summary of random items and thoughts related to training and other mostly sport activities I did or plan to do in the near future.

Let's start with training

Training has been going real well. Craig and Erica keep me on my toes and I must say that the training makes me feel like I'm building a solid engine to carry me through this season. I may have mentioned it here before, this year I focus on longer races and will be doing quite a few 70.3 races. Actually 70.3 is my focus for this year and I plan to do a long course aqua-velo race in late September as preparation for full Ironman in 2010.

Weather has been turning nicer in PA and running outside is going well. Today was my first day on the bike outside and it was a blast. I did little under 3 hours ride in the neighborhood and enjoyed every bit of it - even the climb to South Mountain. It was a fartlek ride so I did some fast climbs, easy riding, fast descends, long steady segments - had it all on this ride. Tomorrow is long run and I wonder how well my legs will carry me in steady state run with 20 minutes tempo and pick-ups to 5k race pace thrown at the end. Should be fun. Next week is my very first duathlon on Sunday. Still need to sit down and think through the race plan. I seem to do better when I have solid plan preferably with backup going into the new race format.

Quakertown 10 miler

Few weeks ago Dasa and I ran races in Quakertown. Dasa did the 4 mile run and I did the 10 miler. If you are not familiar with the area where I live let me describe it to you - fairly hilly. Locals call it PA rolling terrain. People from flat lands would probably call it bloody hilly. In any case the 10 miler was on fairly hilly terrain and it is one of the races that tests your pacing strategy. Dasa did very well in her 4 miler even though she was not happy with the hills and had to walk parts of the course. I did quite OK in the 10 miler and recorded a new PR - well I kind of expected it as last time I ran 10 mile race was 10 mi South Mountain race and that is just one hill - all the way up and back down. This Quakertown 10 miler is little easier and sports more varied terrain (not climbing up for 3.5 miles and then running back for 3.5 miles as on South Mountain). In case you want to check the terrain and my race log you can look at the Training Peaks for details.

New products from Polar

I have not been checking the Polar product pages over the past few weeks, but I remembered seeing a new add in Triathlon magazine - something about 3D training. The watch in the add looked new so the other day I browsed through the Polar running and multisport computers and noticed few new things. The S625X seems to be phased out from the product line (at least it no longer appear on the pages. The S725X is still being offered and effectively can be used instead of S625X if you add the foot pod.

But more interesting is the new watch for recreational athletes - RS300X. It looks like a replacement of the RS200 watch, but it adds the ability to work with G1 GPS sensor for speed and distance. It seems to be geared to runners, but I assume that it can be used for cycling, walking and other activities if you use the G1 GPS sensor to record speed/distance. Looks like a nice basic no frills watch for people that want to keep their training simple and still get the benefit of speed/distance and heart rate. Polar sells the watch in few packages - base watch without any speed/distance sensor, second is bundled with S1 foot pod and third option comes with the G1 sensor. Each package contains the HR Wearlink+ belt with T31 HR transmitter. The watch comes in black or orange color (just like the RS200 used to be offered in black and red). The pricing in the US is very reasonable 170 USD for the base watch and 250 USD for one of the packages with either S1 or G1. You can actually get them for about 20 bucks under MSRP from most dealers. I hope I can get my hands on one to provide more details.

Another big news that I have not touched on is the availability of the CS600X which is an upgrade of the CS600 bike computer that enables GPS location recording (just like the RS800cx does). I have not seen the unit yet, but expect that it provides the same capabilities as CS600. From the manuals it looks like it has larger memory and few minor differences. But the core functionality is very close to CS600. Just like CS600 Polar offers the CS600X in two boxes - one without power and one with power. If you already own CS600 with power you can simply swap the CS600 head unit for CS600X (and sell the used CS600 on eBay). All sensors should work fine with the CS600X as they also use the W.I.N.D. technology. I do not believe there is an upgrade program offered by Polar in any country.

Suunto X10 and Geocaching

I have got the Suunto X10 ABC watch few weeks ago and really love it. I do not use it for running or biking (well I may take it on some bike rides or runs when I plan to get lost and use the track back home function). But I started to get my feet wet with geocaching. I'm just getting started and attempted to find only two caches. One successfully one was hidden very well so maybe next time. It is an interesting way to explore the neighborhood - I never knew there are about 20 caches in 20 miles radius around my house. What I like even better is that Ian likes it too and seems to be interested in finding the caches. We have yet to find one where we can take something (and put something of similar value back). It seems like a good fun and great way to get out of the house for a walk in the park. If you never heard about geocaching you can find more info on the site

Scuba diving thoughts

Few years ago when we went to Dominican Republic for vacation I got certified in open water diving by PADI. I have dived on subsequent trips to Caribbean and enjoyed it a lot. But in the past few years I have not done any diving. Last year when Erica and Craig organized open water swim in Dutch Springs I envied the groups of divers getting ready to go under. I'm thinking about taking refresher course this year and doing some diving on weekends when weather gets warmer. I'm sure I can enjoy the diving even in the colder water of PA. Obviously trip to Caribbean would be nice, but I do not believe it will happen any time soon... Any triathletes out there that also do diving? Any tips for getting started again?