December 18, 2010

My own brick - real one

Today I received small, but quite heavy package. I was wondering what I ordered for Christmas only to find a brick from Savageman Triathlon I did few months ago. It is a nice addition to my collection of trophies and definitely one that is the heaviest.
If you have not heard about Savageman - look it up on the web or look at my posts about the race on this site. Since I'm posting from my phone I can not easily link them. It is a great race and I'm pretty sure I'll be doing it again in 2011.

Location:Susan Rd,Coopersburg,United States

December 12, 2010

Firstbeat Athlete discount from Suunto and Great pricing on Timex Global Trainer on Amazon

FistrbeatAthlete discounted

I just received Suunto newsletter where they advertise offer of discounted FirstBeat Athlete. Based on discussion on Suunto Forums there is no validation whether you own the Suunto T6c watch so even people with RS800cx / RS800 / CS600 / CS600x should be able to take advantage of this offer (well anyone really). Here are the details. The pricing is pretty good - 20 bucks discount (both EUR and USD pricing) over regular pricing. The catch is that you need to access the web store through Suunto's site where it says - 'Suunto t6 users can now buy FBA ATHLETE at a special discount price of €49.90 (normally €69.90) or $49.90 (normally $69.90).'

Pull off your training shoes, switch on your PC
Firstbeat ATHLETE software puts a host of detailed training analysis tools at your fingertips on your own PC.

It complements by offering advanced training planning and analysis tools for offline use. The software, available in seven languages, includes a full physiological analysis and a Training Coach feature for optimizing your future sessions.

And if you're a Suunto t6 user, you can now buy ATHLETE at a special discount price. Learn more about Firstbeat ATHLETE

Timex Global Trainer sub-200 bucks on Amazon

If you are in market for GPS watch you may find the pricing on the Timex Global Trainer Speed and Distance GPS Watch on Amazon pretty compelling. It is at 169 as of this morning for HR-less version - it was as low as 120 bucks yesterday. And the Timex Global Trainer Speed and Distance with Heart Rate GPS Watch goes for little over 200 buck - still a bargain. Great price considering that these babies sell for 300 bucks otherwise.

My only reason for not using this watch more at this time is Timex's decision not to support foot pod which is a real bummer for us who have to run on treadmill - PT prescribed way to recovery. Hey I can run which is amazing and run without pain which is even better. But if you do majority of training outside this may interest you. I used this unit during 2010 in few half iron races and it is a solid performer on par with Garmin FR310xt. And it looks better in my opinion.

UPDATE: The Global trainer has 50 bucks promotion on top of the discounts so you can actually get one for 120 bucks w/o HR monitor or for 155 with HR monitor. That is a steal. By the way Amazon applies the discount when you order, no need to mail in the MIR that is linked in the comments. Thanks James for pointing it out. I actually bought one myself today. For 120 bucks this is an amazing unit even without support for foot pod.

October 5, 2010

More pictures from Savageman

This one is only with pictures from the race with little bit of commentary. The pictures published so far are from the bike course and finish line - well areas that you are probably most interested in anyways.

Let's start with the Westernport wall - as I said in the race report I do not recall much about what was happening around me. I just focused on what I was doing and on avoiding any take downs by fellow racers. All photos seem to be from before pulling the handle bars. In any case if you think about this race invest in tripple ring or get easier gearing - at least 25 in the back and possibly compact crank in the front. I rode with 53 (36) x (11 - 26) I had 28 on the gearing, but was unable to use it as it is just too big to work with my derailer.

Westernport 2
Westernport 3
Westernport 1

The Westernport Wall continues with climb that is shown here - nothing you can call easier.

Above Westernport

Then you get little bit of a recovery before getting to the Big Savage where it is more climbing - no pictures from there yet.

Big Savage 1

Then it is a lot of descending - not really sure where these are from, but I can assure you that the descends were few and very short and fast.

Bike 4
Bike 3
Bike 2
Bike 1

And here is the first part of the Killer Miller - there is a lot of support on this climb as well - devils with forks and all just like on Westernport wall, only not as many people. I'm the one to the right just starting the climb.

Killer Miller

And finally the finish line - better photo than from my exclusive photographer ;-).


Few remarks about the course

  • Forget your great tri bike it is useless on those hills and there is only few segments of the road where tri bike is of any use. It is safer to get your road bike out since it handles better and is probably lighter (well mine is anyways).
  • Forget your TT specific helmet - it is easy to overheat on this course and there is nothing to be gained with tri-specific helmet since you either go 40mph for a minute or climb a hill at 10mph for next 20.
  • Get arm warmers - you will be happy you did at least until you get to Westernport. Then you will be glad to take them off.
  • I wrote about gearing above - definitely at least 25 in the back or triple chainring if you can.
  • Plan to spend little more time than usual on the bike course - it is hard one.
  • Remember that Westernport wall is just the beginning of long climbing journey. It really only gets harder from there.
  • First year I recommend to go for the brick and forget about the overall time. This is the slowest half I ever did and I still enjoyed most of it (except the bonking part).
  • Do not worry about walking parts of the run - most people do that even pros when they get to the edge.

October 4, 2010

Brick in the wall - Savageman 70.0

This season has been quite strange. I spent large portion of it either injured or re-building my fitness. Not ideal in many ways, but I guess the sport is not only roses and successes. This year was certainly year of few setbacks and many getting back on the horse. I was glad that I was able to re-build my fitness just before the Savageman which was my second A-race this season. And I had more than 2 weeks of running in my legs, much better than what I started with in Rhode Island. I did this race with one goal - get the brick in the Westernport wall. If you have not heard about Savageman before here are few highlights - as opposed to most triathlons this one is very hilly (which is understatement) and that goes both for bike and run. Bike is more brutal than run, but more on that later. If you want to look at the race details I recommend to check out the race site.

I guess the biggest novelty of the race is the climb on the Westernport wall where you have chance to get your own brick in the wall if you climb the wall without unclipping and finish the race. But that really is not the biggest challenge. But let me start from the start of the race. I'll skip all the prep work, food and bathroom stops. Lets briefly talk about the swim which is quite nice - it is done in parallel to the shore which makes sighting easy and the buoys are easy to see. The interesting thing are the turn buoys which are big turtle on one side and if I recall correctly we swam by big swan and turned back at another colorful buoy on the other side before returning to the beach. Overall the swim is easy to navigate, visibility is great and in water start is what I generally prefer. The only thing to watch for are the rocks on the bottom of the lake - just be careful there are many and few are pretty sharp. My swim was very good and felt great after exit from the water. Now onto the bike.

I knew bike will be challenging, unfortunately I did not have enough time on Saturday to scope out the course so I was riding it based only on what I knew from the race site and maps that they provided. Which is actually plenty compared to other races. This is one of the few races that provide video of the race course, Google maps, Garmin files and turn by turn directions (for all three legs of the race). So back to the bike - it starts with some rolling terrain during the exit from the park and then onto the first hill. It is not a hard one to conquer, but it is just a warning for what will come later in the race. The next few miles are rolling terrain which is good to recover from the first hill. Enjoy that because later you will not have that luxury. First long downhill is marked as dangerous and I caution anyone to be very careful. The descends are steep and curves pretty sharp. Combine that with loose gravel on the road and it pays to take it little easier that you would on normal road. The descend is very long and takes you all the way to the city of Westernport. There is really nothing much to talk about here other than the views are stunning and the ride feels more like your weekend ride through nice area than like race.

When you get to Westernport you have completed 18 miles and it feels like the bike is going to be pretty fine. But rememer you were descending for good portion of those 18 miles and what goes down must come up. And in Westernport it starts to come up. The wall itself is hard to climb and you really need to pace it. When I hit the bottom few kids yelled at me to "not use all I have in my legs on the wall" and little later someone yelled to make the BMC proud. It was one big party with people lining the wall and cheering on the racers. I really do not remember much about the people on the wall as I was focusing on keeping steady rhythm up the wall and avoiding other racers that could potentially take me down. As I was climbing the last segment that is 30% grade (yeah that is not typo) and I was doing about 0.5 mph my handlebars came loose. Thanks to all the track racing I did earlier I was able to stabilize the bike in track stand and resume climbing with putting very little power onto the handlebars. I was glad to be done with the wall and stopped to ask around if anyone had bike tool so I can tighten the bars. Well I could not find anyone with bike tool so I decided to keep going to the next aid station that is only 6 miles away - well 5 of these miles are uphill at pretty good grade. You can read more about the climb to Big Savage Mountain on Savageman site. My handlebars were getting more and more loose and I was really concerned if I will be able to continue since nobody I asked had the tool with them. Luckily at the top of the Big Savage the aid station had few bike tools so I stopped for about 5 minutes to make sure my handlebars are tight and secure since we were about to do some serious descending.

While the roads from Big Savage are much better than the first descend I recommend to take them easy - there are quite a few hairpin turns and you do not want to go too fast - this is the only race course where the organizers do not lie when they say that you could get killed there. The hairpin turns are reminiscent of alpine turns with hill on one side and long steep ravine on the other. But the course is very well marked and all you need to do is read the signs and slow down when they warn you to do so. No kidding - I ran into one guy in the bathroom after the race and he has broken collar bone on the course - just saying. There are several other climbs and they come quick - that is one thing about this course - the climbs seem very long and steep and descends are steep and fast so there is very little time to recover. Next year in prep for this race I can imagine doing my own version of Emmaus 2-5-10 since it is very close to how you feel on those hills in MD. But back to the course. The several climbs and descends will take you to mile 38 where is the Killer Miller - and it really deserves its name. By that time I was seriously overheating, tired from all the climbs and this one takes the cake. It is quite steep and relentless. It takes a lot of mental energy not to unclip and walk which some people did. Once you unclip there is really no way to re-start the climb - it is that steep. I ended up zig-zagging the top part of it as I was getting into the bonk zone. I stopped at the aid station on top of the Killer Miller, declined the Miller Light since I don't drink that beer and instead got more gels, salt tablets and water. I knew I was on the edge.

The final few miles to T2 are not really flat by any means. You will experience some hills that you will chuckle about and call them false flats since they feel like that after all that climbing. But there are few hard short climbs that sap your energy before the run. Savageman site provides this nifty table of all the key climbs which really sums the bike course well though it leaves out some smaller climbs:

NameLocationLengthAvg GradeMax Grade
Toothpick0.5 mi0.25 mi9%16%
Westernport18.5 mi1.2 mi12%31%
Big Savage Mtn23.4 mi2.4 mi6%21%
Savage River State Forest30.0 mi2.8 mi4%7%
McAndrews Hill32.8 mi0.6 mi9%19%
Otto Lane35.1 mi0.6 mi8%17%
Killer Miller38.1 mi1.3 mi8%22%
Maynardier Ridge43.8 mi0.25 mi12%23%

One thing that I liked a lot on this course is how close you get to other people and you can not really be drafting since you all go about 3 mph up the hill. Second is that the bike course is simply awesome - it beats you up like nothing around here. I loved the Black Bear Half which is no longer on calendar and thought that was hard bike - well not any more. This is the new benchmark. I guess I need to check out Silverman in Vegas next...

This is the second race where I was glad to get off the bike - first one was Chesapeake Man Aqua Velo last year. I took T2 very easy - I mean I even sat down to change into my shoes and chatted with the Canadian guy that was racked next to me. At this point I knew that I'm solidly in bonkland and I needed to do some damage control before I can really run. So the first order of the day was to get in as much nutrition as I can tolerate without overloading the system. Hard to do when your brain is not thinking clearly. I was getting in few gels, banana and plenty of water. My first 5 miles of the run were pretty bad. I ran some of it, but I just had to power walk all the hills (and there are few through the camp site) and then walk the hill on the other side. Main concern there was that it is trail with many loose stones that are not well tolerated by my ankles. I was happy that I started to feel much better once I got back on the road and had about 2 miles back to the transition area to start my second loop. On the second loop I continued to fuel with water, Hammer Heed and things continued to go pretty well. While my first loop was horrendous the second one was not bad. I decided to run all the way to the trail and I did. On the way I passed many other athletes and some of them were only on their first loop which was encouraging. As I rounded the cone on the top of the hill I ran also down the hill while paying attention to my footing since last thing I wanted was to damage the ankle. I ran all the way to the finish. It was funny since I got passed by Jeff Mallett with about 400m to go. I knew Jeff was racing there along with Dave Scott. Unfortunately I did not have the pleasure if meeting Dave who was there on speaking engagement during the pre-race dinner. I do not believe he was racing.

So I got my brick and finished the race standing up. Lessons for next year - well first one is to plan nutrition for another 30 minutes on the bike that was a major mistake on my part that put me in a big hole. I will also need to re-think the mix of carbs and proteins for the course as well as the salt intake. The day starts cold and get warm to hot as it progresses and that requires little more salt than I planned. And lastly I'll shoot to improve my climbing time on the Big Savage - I can easily cut 5-7 minutes that I lost searching for the bike tool. That way I can get closer to time of Phil Graves who climbed the whole thing in 30.5 minutes (compared to my 43). Well not that I can compare myself with Phil. Funny note though - I was not the only one who bonked. On my first loop I caught up with one pro who was deeply in bonkland and we chatted a bit. He was really struggling to get to the finish and basically walked most of the hills to control the damage before resuming run on the downhill on the way to the finish. If you like unusual races with their own flavor in great and nice part of the country I can only recommend this one.

After crossing the finish line - which looks like I danced a little there, I reunited with my family and took Ian to the lake where I took the much needed ice bath and Ian was so nice to give me a proper post-race massage. I really like the area - it is beautiful especially at this time of the year. We spent day on the lake in rented boat which was great. We had opportunity to see the whole area and I did not need to walk which is always concern before any long race. And family usually does not want to sit in the hotel and watch TV - well we can do that at home. What was really great on the boat trip was that you could park the boat at different places around the lake and go for lunch, ice cream or coffee. That was really good.

For accommodation we used Suites at Silver Tree which is a great place - about 5 minutes away from race site by car and close to the local stores, cinema and restaurants. The area is quite rural so do not expect many chain restaurants or Whole Foods there. It is really nice site and we will be back next year to perhaps improve on the finish time a little bit.

September 14, 2010

Last ProAm race of the season in T-town

What a great night to close the ProAm racing season 2010 in T-town. Racers were on fire, the weather was great for racing and the fans were there - well the core of the fans that come on Tuesdays. The entry is free, beer is cheap and the atmosphere is great. It is much more laid back in the stands than on Friday's, but on the track it is as heated as ever. We came few minutes late so we probably missed one or two races, but the ones we saw were great - plenty of 'Devil takes the hindmost', some unknown distance races, 6 laps race in which winner is determined on 2nd lap, 2nd place on 4th lap and third on 6th lap (that one is pretty hard - if you decide to go for the win on 2nd lap and do not quite make it it is most likely over), and a 10 miler which was fun to watch. I took few pictures that you can see on Flickr. Just click on the picture below.

September 12, 2010

Great velodrome session

Today I signed-up for 'Try the track' session at the local velodrome in T-town. It is one of the few velodromes in the US and one that is only about 20 minutes away from my house. I already did have some experience riding the track from the previous weeks when I took the AirProducts developmental program for new track riders.

Today was different though - lots more people on the track. 22 to be exact so one needed to pay more attention and communicate more with the people around. The program was scheduled to take about 4 hours, but we lost some time to rain. Well there is no way anyone is riding track sloped 28 percent during rain. The rain delayed the start by about 45 minutes, but once we got rolling it was a lot of fun.

First we were split into two groups by ability and rode two pace lines just like in pursuit races. Leading each group was coach who controlled the pace so the groups stayed at equal distance from each other. Then on a whistle the rider right behind the coach had to jump the gap and make it to the other group. Lots of sprinting.

Then we did some racing in smaller groups of 4-8 people - normal scratch races with coach pacing the group for first 1-2 laps and then letting us go. I did well in the first race - knowing my strength I positioned myself at the front (first race was a 1k out of which only 1.5 lap was on our own so I wanted to ride from the front). It was good planing since nobody was able to jump on my wheel when the coach peeled off and I kept pushing the whole 1.5 laps.

Then we did races in three little bigger groups and I was paired up with bunch of strong roadies. I did not mind it even knowing that the distance was 5 laps. Once we got into pace line we rode 1.5 laps, the coach peeled off and I was on. I knew I can hold it or if someone was on my wheel we can tag team. But there was a problem - the tail of the group was not in the pace line when we started so we basically caught up with them on 3rd lap, had to slow down and the race got restarted. Well so much for saving energy. I had so much lactic acid in my legs that it was challenging to repeat the attack. I asked the guy in front of me who was strong to tag team with me. We lead the race for 3 laps, but then I ran out of steam. That wasted sprint to make the gap in the false start was just too much to keep the pace for too long. Ended up finishing little worse than I wanted, but it was a lot of fun.

More so with the coaches that were all very experienced track riders - well there is probably no one more qualified in T-town to talk about track racing than Marty Nothstein that was accompanied with two other coaches - Bobby Livingstone (who fit me on my road bike) and another gentleman whose name escaped me.

We got a feel for just how good these gys are - while we were racing all out both coaches riding with us just zoomed by us and kept encouraging us to put more effort. Amazing athletes.

I'm sure I'll be back to the track this year and next year I'll partake in the Masters and Rookies races that seem like a lot of fun.

Location:Trexlertown, PA

September 10, 2010

New IM 70.3 Pocono Mountains

I'm super excited about the new Ironman 70.3 Pocono that has been advertised in the latest edition of Triathlete Magazine. It is scheduled for October 2nd 2011 in Stroudsburg, PA. More details and registration should be available on October 1st at Ironman Pocono Mountains site.

July 28, 2010

Challenging myself or IMLP here I come

While my last post may sound like I'm down it is not the case. I'm actually back to regular training even with my busy work and travel schedule. I have just recently signed-up for my next big challenge. So next year on July 24th I'll be racing with about 2500 of my closest friends in one of the oldest IM races in the US. Entry is confirmed, money spent and all that remains is to train for it. I'm really looking forward to this. Until then I'll keep racing and get back on the running horse.


July 25, 2010

Two steps forward, one step back...

... that is how I can characterize this season. Compared to last year I've had it all - overuse injury earlier in the season that put me out of run training for over 60 days. I managed to have pretty serious crash on the bike just about two weeks before being able to resume running, luckily nothing broken. Just lots of bruises and some deep scars that are still healing. Due to all this I had few DNS races and one intentional DNF in Jerseyman where I pulled out right after good swim and great bike leg. I came back to racing few weeks ago in Providence, RI in the Ironman 70.3 where I had pretty good showing. My swim was not the best, mostly due to misreading the current, but bike was pretty good and on the run I managed to survive and not blow up. It was pretty big accomplishment considering the longest run leading into the race was 8 miles and I had been running for little over 3 weeks. So today I was ready to increase the effort and have another good race. Well it was not to be.

The day started pretty well - nice weather, little hot but not unbearable. Water was too warm for wetsuit, but that did not bother me. If anything it makes transition faster and everyone swims w/o one. I did my pre-race routine, chatted with my enmu peers and went for a short warmup swim. Water was really nice - not too hot, but warm enough not to make you feel chilly. I was ready. We lined up just few minutes before 8am and right at 8 we were sent off. On the way to the first buoy there was some fighting for positions and feet, but nothing that would shake me up. I just kept pushing and sighting. I wanted to make this a good one. The first half of the swim was pretty good. Visibility was not too good, but I managed to avoid being kicked (just barely few times) and I did not let the pullers from the back to shake my determination. If anything they realized that I have feet and can kick. Second loop was shorter than the first one and while I lost the feet I was drafting I was doing pretty good. From the last buoy I started kicking little more to help with transition to upright position and I was out of water few seconds short of 22 minutes. Pretty good for this course and I was pleased with it.

The T1 was fast since all I had to do was put on my helmet and go. I got into my bike shoes in the first kilometer or so once I got moving and passed the curvy part of the road. I felt pretty good on the bike and shortly settled into my rhythm. All was going well until I got to the first short climb where I shifted to easier gear which dropped my chain. I cursed something in my native language, stopped and thought I'm losing few seconds. Well not quite - the chain was looped around the inside of the chainring axle and also outside on the axle on the pedal side. God knows how that happened. Gently releasing the chain helped it after a while. I cleaned my hands on the wet grass and jumped back on my bike. Ready to go. At this point I lost about 3 minutes - nothing I can not make up on this course I thought. I started climbing the hill and bam - the chain kept skipping. I shifted to easier gear, adjusted front derailer position, skipping. Shifted to harder gear, still skipping. I went another few hundred meters and when the chain kept skipping I decided to go back to transition. I had spare set of wheels, but no spare chain or bike. So that was it for me for today.

I'm quite disappointed since I was doing real well and felt like I could have good race. After I packed all my stuff in the car Erica took me for a short run to calm down and chat a bit. We cheered on the other half riders as they were finishing their first loop. It was fun to see people racing and cheer them on. But next time I'm bringing spare bike to the race for cases like this one.

I'm hoping this was the last one of the little and big incidents that seem to have converged into this season. Well I'll just continue to roll with the punches and keep coming back for more. I'm ready to have a good race workout in our bi-weekly Grin and Bear It Wednesday race. Bring it on!

June 14, 2010

Hello new friend

I admit being a HRM geek and as such I tend to test all new watches in the market. I found this unit in REI close to my home while I was there to pickup my new shoes. So far the unit is great - little large, but it is a watch with built in GPS, HRM capabilities, basic navigation, ANT+ compatibility and amazing way to configure.

I have played with it on the weekend and while the unit is not 100% there with functions I need it is very promising since Timex can update firmware just as Garmin units do. Plus this can actually be worn as a watch during the day which is what I really like.

Ray did a first look few days ago on

his blog and it is a very good read.

I would recomemd the unit to anyone who likes to try new things and likes to tinker with gadgets. I think Timex is few firmware updates away from having very solid unit for triathletes. On top of my list of missing features is footpod support for indoor running and upload of courses. If those are added I can thin out my HRM collection quite a bit.

June 11, 2010

One from the road

With so much talk about security at the airport one thing puzzles me - how can the vendors sell manicure sets from stainless steel in the gate area. The following pictures were taken during my recent trip to Germany. The store is behind the security checkpoint where you nearly need to strip down. Pretty puzzling.

June 5, 2010

Fixing it up

Just dropped off my bike at the bike shop for some love and fixes. Everything looks fine except the right brake lever that is shot. Considering the speed and length of the slide bike is in great condition.

Location:Hamilton Blvd,Upper Macungie,United States

May 30, 2010

44mph to 0 in 25 seconds or how I had my second bike crash

After the crash

Well the title says it all - I had second crash today - on my bike that is. I was doing a nice challenging 70-75 mile loop and I was enjoying myself until the last downhill. It was a steep one and I was going pretty good until I hit the wet part of the road in the woods and had to start breaking approaching a T intersection. Long story short in 25 seconds I went from flying down the hill 44mph (or about 70kph) to sliding on my side, arms, belly, the other side, helmet (luckily I had one) as the back wheel of the bike lost grip. It seemed like a split second, but according to my log it was a long 25 seconds slide. I'm all bandaged-up now. Luckily nothing got broken. Just many bruises and road rash. I'm seriously thinking about starting to shave my legs ;-).

I'll spare you the gross pictures of my bruises and instead offer picture of my soon to be replaced helmet. In the other news Ian had great kids triathlon race and we all got to participate - Dasa swam with him, Veronika ran by his side on the bike leg and I ran with him the two laps around the parking lot. Good times. Blog post coming soon.

May 23, 2010

How to race Aquavelo in triathlon event

This morning was early raise - 4:30 alarm clock, small breakfast, strong coffee and off I was to Spruce run state park in NJ. It was the day of my aquavelo race as part of the Jerseyman half ironman triathlon.

I got to the park early, checked in, got body marked and setup my bike in transition - the usual morning pre-race ritual. After that I met with my friend Chris and after he got setup we went down to the water for warmup swim. Water was chilly, but not too bad and after few minutes of swimming I felt fine even with no sleeves on my wetsuit. After warmup we got out and waited for the start. We were both in the first wave and as usual with beach starts it was a mess until we reached the first buoy. I was actually sighting off of the very last buoy to avoid zig-zaging the course. There was some less experienced racer next to me who kept pushing me towards the second buoy so I slowed a little and let him go. No need to do that when there is a straight line to the very last buoy and all the other ones are on the left side as required by the race. After that incident I had very uneventful swim. Took a straight line to the last buoy, when I got there no one was around and before I rounded next corner there were only few people around and no one seemed interested to fight for position. No complaints from my side. The rest of the swim was ok and I pushed hard the whole way around as planned - goal was to swim strong and steady. Got out after little over 32 minutes and the swim seemed little long to me.

Before getting out of water I made a decision - since my ankle is not ok and i will have dnf there is really no point in running in T1. So I just walked from the beach to porta potties and the to my bike. My T1 time was something like 6 and half minutes. But that did nit worry me. At least I'll have people to pick off on the bike.

When I got on my bike I started executing the race plan - ride hard. About mile into the race I got into my shoes and it was hammer time. Just like on my fartlek rides I attacked pretty much every hill and rode hard on the straights. I did not keep count of people I passed, but I made my way through the field and when I rolled back into transition after 2:36 in the saddle there were only 8 other bikes on the racks. So even with my lousy transition I did pretty well. Lucky for me that was the end of my day. Not sure how well I would have run after that ride. According to my power meter I had averaged power 20 watts below my threshold so the run would probably suck.

In any case I'm very happy with the outcome and the swim and bike splits I recorded. This gives me hope that I may indeed do a sub-5 half this season. I hope to build up the run volume before IMRI and do that there.

May 22, 2010

Getting ready for my first DNF race

Tomorrow is my first half iron race of this season and I know going into it that I'll end up with my first ever DNF. How do I know? Well my ankle has been probed and checked multiple times. I had MRI done about 2 weeks ago and then few days later I saw specialist who made few remarks - one word he repeated several times looking at my MRI was 'IMPRESSIVE' which is not a very good sign when doctor looks at the pictures of your bones, ligaments and soft tissue.

That consultation was pretty scary for me as I really like to run. During the discussion with the doctor I learned about lose piece of bone in my heel (which is not a problem), few ligament tears around my ankle (which is likely caused by few ankle sprains and I should not worry about it much) and last which is more scary is swollen bone right under my ankle. That is the cause of all the pain I have been going through during and post runs. I have that bone slightly enlarged on my both feet which is genetical and should not cause issues. But the one on my right leg has swollen which causes some extra rubbing on the ligaments in that area and running is what irritates it. So I have been off running for over 4 weeks now and I have 4 more to go. Let me qualify that - I was not running on the roads, treadmill or anywhere else but the deep pool. I started to actually enjoy (if you can imagine that) my short runs in the pool - especially when Craig has me do some harder intervals. I get a lot of stares and few people wonder whether I'm trying to swim or what the heck I do. I got a lot of stares in Orlando when I went to the 50m pool and ran up and down the 50m lane while people in other lanes were swimming. Long explaining to do and they understood once I started swimming my cooldown 200 meters ;-).

So my ankle is the reason why I will be bailing after the bike tomorrow. I will much rather enjoy more years of triathlon than having one more race and then possibly surgery. Good thing in all this is that I can still swim and bike so we have been doing some more serious work in the pool and on the bike. We will see tomorrow how that is working out. I expect the swim to be pretty good and on the bike I'll be somewhat limited as I should not be standing up even on the hills so I'll need to grind up those two or three hills we have on the course.

Good luck to all my EnMu peers racing this weekend and also to all of you jumping into races over this weekend.

May 1, 2010 - new on-line log for Suunto owners

Early in 2010 I have been invited by Suunto to take part in the testing of new service they have been working on and just few days ago unveiled to public. It is the service that lets owners of Suunto Tx line or X10 line log their activities. The service is free for all users and you can use it even without owning Suunto watch. But frankly there may be other optons that are better in such situation - like TrainingPeaks free account or other free services.

This new service is a really good news for Suunto owners on both PC and Mac as Suunto now released software to download data from the watch to their web service on both Windows and Mac OS X. That is probably the biggest news for users that are waiting for Mac version of Suunto Training Manager or Suunto Trek Manager.

Suunto really emphasizes the social aspect of the site and lets you link pictures from Flickr and videos from YouTube to your 'moves'. You can then share your moves page with friends on Facebook, MySpace, Google, mail, Twitter and other social networks.

If you own Suunto unit and want to migrate from their PC based software on-line this is the way to go. Especially if you are Mac user and were running the software in virtual machine. I like the fact that Suunto lets you load our old logs from STrM to the web to get started. Very nice - I wish Polar did this for the PPT5 (ideally both ways). In any case if you do not use on-line log, own Suunto and want new on-line log check it out.


Well that did not last long

Plans are great, but life events can change them quickly. I was planning to do a duathlon race that is to start in about 45 minutes - well I'll not be racing today. Poor Ian has been throwing up the whole night so I decided to stay home with him and Dasa. Change of plans seems to be the theme of this racing season. There is a positive in this though - my ankle has been healing, but I'm not 100% sure what is with it. On Monday I should hear results of MRI that I had last night. So if anything is torn I will be in better not racing on it ... always finding positives in life's happenings. I hope your weekend is shaping up better than ours. I really hope this stomach bug will be gone soon and Ian will be back in biking shape soon.

April 30, 2010

Getting ready for the weekend

I have been going through some rough time with my ankle as I reported few weeks ago. Last week I have pulled out of a half marathon race and continued my recovery - I have been doing lots of biking, swimming and water running lately. I'm happy to report that things are starting to look up.

This coming weekend I'll be racing in a short course duathlon not too far from my home and I hope to have good race. It is a regular 5k run - 14mi bike and 5k run. Not necessarily my format (now I would prefer abou 2 mi swim, 60mi bike and 2mi run given my training focus ;-).
I'm really looking forward to the race. Then on Sunday I'll be volunteering at the local Tough Mudder race (google it).
Good luck to all of you racing this weekend and I hope you have weather as great as what we expect (80F in the afternoon).

Location:Mallard Ln,Coopersburg,United States

April 29, 2010

My long time running buddy is no more

I was sad the other day when I found my great running and bike trainer buddy struggling to start and charge. I had this one since I started exercising back in 2005 and it has been with me on three continents and in countless countries. Oh well I'll miss you buddy - your replacement will be here next week. Until then I'll be sweating into my iPhone ;-).

March 29, 2010

Garmin, Suunto, Polar and Timex new gadgets and updates

Garmin110.jpgLooks like GPS is becoming more pervasive in fitness watches - Garmin today announced new running watch Garmin Forerunner 110 that will bring GPS to what seems like more basic watch than FR205, FR305, FR405 and FR310xt. Main theme seems to be simplicity with high level of accuracy. They will be showing the units at the major marathons in Boston, Paris and London so the watch seems to be geared to runners, walkers and joggers. For triathletes it seems that the 310xt remains the flagship.

timexironmanglobaltrainer_lg.jpgTriathletes are probably looking forwards to the release of the new Timex unit that is the first version of Timex watch with built in GPS. They already have experience with GPS technology, but never had it integrated in the watch. We will see how well this will be done. From available information the unit will be ANT+ compatible so if you have ANT+ compatible power meter or HR belt the watch should be able to communicate with them.

Polar is releasing new sleek cycling computer CS500 that is based on their proprietary W.I.N.D. technology used in CS600 and RS800/RS800cx lines of products. The design looks very clever for cycling - I hate switching displays on CS600 especially when I wear my gloves and I'm in traffic. The rocker design seems to make it all very easy. Not sure though if I upgrade. The announcement on Polar site does not list power meter as one of the compatible accessories which is a shame. I hope it will work with it since I'm getting another Polar power unit I found few days ago so I can put it on my new road bike.

SuuntoBlackFlame.pngAnd last news is from Suunto that is releasing new designs of T6 line with release of three new color schemes and different packaging under the T6d name. According to their announcement the new units will ship in few weeks and will include the dual belt, but otherwise seem to be exactly the same as T6c. The new designs are Black Flame - black yellow (pictured), Black Smoke (Black and gray) and Black Fusion (Fusion with black housing - as opposed to the greenish one that currently ships). So unless you die to spend over 400 bucks for different design of the watch there is really not much new in terms of technology or functionality. Still the units look very good.

Slow return to running

My return from the log run fail from few weeks back has been somewhat slow. But I think I'm on the way back. Last week I did whole 1 hour on track - long run on the track is only little less boring than long run on treadmill. But I was happy to have completed it. The bad part was that the ankle felt sad after the run. So I narrowed it down to the Newtons and my significant supination. On Monday after the long run I went to local running store that sponsors our club to get fitted for more significant shoes for training. I ended-up getting Saucony ProGrid Ride 2 that are neutral shoes. I added Powerstep inserts to make up for my high arches. Now I have run two times withe them and did not have any significant issues with the ankle. Things seem to be coming back. On Friday I did 20 minutes test run outside which felt good and today I did 1 hour on treadmill - still sticking to softer surfaces. Things are definitely looking up considering I did a long bike ride yesterday and did not have any ankle issues. The season opener Duathlon is in two weeks and I hope to be back to normal by then and hopefully will restore some of the fitness I lost by not running as much.

Thank you everyone for well wishes and notes of encouragement. Things are definitely looking much better than few weeks ago.

March 26, 2010

Testing out the new bike

Well I'm not the only person in our house who got a new bike. Ian got one too - nice blue bike with shiny training wheels. We have been riding our bikes every day since Monday when we got it. It was at least 30 minutes each day and yesterday he managed a full hour. He really likes this new bike and keeps telling everyone we meet on the street how cool his new bike is.

March 23, 2010

Going against the fad

Over the past few days I had done little research and consulted with few people about my ankle issues. There seems to be two issues at play - one is that I'm supinator (pretty serious one - if you check my older shoes you can see that I wear the outside only, saving the other half for later). Second issue is that I have been running in very minimal shoes for the past 2 years and it seems to have irritated a bone right under my ankle. Nothing structural, but painful nonetheless. So going forward I'm moving from minimal shoes to more significant trainers with more cushioning - at least for training or until the ankle pain gets under control. Yesterday I bought new pair of Saucony running shoes - still neutral shoe, but more cushioned trainer and fitted them with new Powerstep insert. We will see if that helps a bit - from the short run I did in them (and other three different shoes) the more cushioned shoes seem like something I need now. So let's hope things stabilize enough over the next few days so I can resume proper training. Until then I'll keep enjoying my new bike and swimming.

While everyone seems to be talking about minimal shoes I'll be going my own way and move to more significant shoe for at least next few weeks ;-).

March 19, 2010

New addition to my stable

Few days ago I Found a big box on my porch. I was waiting for it for few days after I made purchase at Competitive Cyclist website. They had a great deal on BMC team machine bike that just seemed to be too good to pass up. More so since I was in market for new road bile which is one kind I miss in my stable.
The bike arrived on Wednesday and was packed very well. It took me about 30 minutes to unwrap it and put it together.
I have yet to get fitted on it (that is today's plan) and take it out for a ride. But I'm already liking the machine.
I also want to give props to Competitive Cyclist guys that provided a great service. They were extremely helpful in advising the right frame size for my needs based on my self measurement and existing bike fit and they let me use free shipping coupon for purchase although I applied it after the physical purchase. Overall great experience.

Posted via web from musiljan's posterous

March 14, 2010

Long run - fail

Today's long run left me with two ankles on my left leg. It started already last week after the Quakertown 10 miler. The ankle got better during the week, but today's long run brought the second ankle back. The picture is taken after 20 minutes of icing. Let's hope compression and more icing will do the work.

Posted via web from musiljan's posterous