For new readers

To get an idea of what I'm trying to do and why I think it's possible, check out the following entries, they'll help get you up to speed.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Silverman thoughts

Seems like not very long now until the silverman race.  My fitness suffered a bit in the lead up to TMF 3 as a result of the blisters on my foot and trying to get ready for my thesis defense.  Alas, the defense was  a train wreck and i'm going to continue to be (too) busy trying to sort through the wreckage for another go.  Priorities though include getting a solid training schedule planned so that i'm ready to go in november.

There's a bit of a twist though, in that because i'll be part of team Yogaslackers for the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge in December (a very high profile international stage race) they want to race with me prior to that event.  so it looks like i'm doing the Checkpoint tracker series national championship race down in Moab, Utah, the weekend before the Silverman.  I know, I know, this probably will hurt my performance a bit, but well see how it goes.  In many ways its very much against my better judgement, but on the other hand it provides a heap of excuses for the Ironman, should i need to use them.

Two more things:  i've added a link to the training pages which will take readers to my silverman training schedule (still a work in progress) which i'll fill in as i go, and i've picked out goals or benchmarks that i hope to meet during my training, which i'll use to determine preparedness (and the worth of my training).  I'd like to be able to hammer each discipline pretty hard for at least a quarter distance of what i'll be doing during the race.  In numbers this means i'm shooting to swim 1000 meters in 15 minutes, bike 28 miles in 1 hr 15, and then running 7 miles in 45 minutes.  i'm thinking that swimming is going to be the hardest, but we'll see.

TMF 3 (2010)

The wind river range trip is now over and done.  One of the guys will eventually write a fantastic trip report and when this is done i'll post a link.  there will eventually also be a movie, and i'll get that on here too.  in the meantime lets just say it was a great trip - semi-successful (in the vein of the two previous ones), and is already fueling the imagination for TMF 4 next year.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Round 2

Map of the ride

Last sunday I found myself at the in-law's cabin near Vergas, MN again.  Unable to run because of my recent barefoot running experiment, i thought i'd take another crack at the 30+ mile ride that had so humbled me back in march (post is here).  The winds were high but cool temps and a couple of days of rest had me feeling up to the challenge.   Long story short - what had taken me 130 minutes then took me about 97.  I was elated and shocked.  I hadn't even been giving it everything i've got - most of my time was in Z2 and Z3, with a few pushes into Z4 and above on some of the hills when i was feeling frisky.  I was so fired up when i completed the loop that i tacked on an extra 6 miles just for fun.

Not sure what the cause for the vast improvement is - i'd been riding more back in march, albeit most of it was inside.  The geometry has changed a bit on my bike - i spent lots of time in aero position this time whereas last time i didn't have the aerobars on the bike.  I'm not sure aero position can account for a change of this magnitude however - but i'm fairly sold now on the idea of spending as much time 'down' as possible.  Needless to say, i'm fired up and thinking that maybe i'll pull off the silverman in good style after all!

Holes in my feet (where the rain comes in)

Ok, so you decided to see what's up for me.  Before you read on, why don't you click on the embedded you-tube posting of the Pogues classic, 'Sitting on top of the World' that's been running through my head since i went out and put holes in my feet last week.  Then you can happily move on to the rest of the post while being exposed, at least in all probability, to some new music.

Well, i finished Born to Run.  great book with lots of awesome info on the Tarahumara runners and barefoot running in general (though in all honesty the constant 'over the top' story-telling that is so well suited for magazines covering extreme sports and the like got a bit tiresome after the first few pages).  It made me renew my commitment go going even more minimalist in my own running than i've been doing with inov-8's most bare-bones shoe (that's currently available anyway, as they've got some new offerings due out around Xmas).  My wife had decided to try this earlier in the week and came back raving about how easy her 5 miles had felt.  Easy and  fun.  After her glowing report and forgetting my shoes anyway on the following wednesday, i decided it was time to make the change.

On tap was a warm-up followed by 2 x 2 mile intervals with a 1/4 mile of walking in between.  it was pretty hot and some sections of the sidewalk were too toasty to linger on - but i reasoned this wouldn't make a difference since i'd be going so fast.  My goal pace was 6:40 per mile, which, based on my last couple runs should have felt pretty hard.  It was and it wasn't.

Cardio wise i felt fantastic.  i was only timing the whole interval and never look at my watch enroute, so i didn't have any idea of what pace i was moving at as i set off down university avenue along the one mile stretch between Columbia and 42nd street, where i'd turn around and retrace my steps for the second mile.  I knew i had two intervals so wanted to be conservative and set off with a lively gait but one that didn't feel difficult.  1/2 mile in i felt invincible, except for two tiny little square centimeter patches of skin on the balls of my feet.  By a mile into it each step was painful, and i started seeking out patches of grass to ease the pain whenever possible.  I was too stubborn to stop though, thinking that i was just being soft and determined to get at least one interval in.

When i finished the watch had encouraging news (I felt quite fresh and had averaged just under 6:30 per mile) but the soles of my feet were broadcasting their own urgent, late breaking bulletin.  One look at the quarter sized fluid filled blister just under the second toe of my right foot was enough to let me know i wasn't going to get my second interval in.

The rest of the day i walked on the outside of my feet.  That night i drained one big blister on the sole of each foot and two smaller ones on toes of each, for a grand total of 6 blisters formed over a whopping 13 minutes.  Amazing.  By the next morning the right foot blister had somehow resealed itself and grown to epic proportions - it stuck out so far from the bottom of my foot that even walking on the outside of my foot caused pressure and intense pain.  I was grumpy and frustrated - it was only about 10 days until my big endurance expedition in wyoming and i'd gone and messed up my feet.  In a fit of rage i re-drained the blister and then proceeded to remove all of the dead protective layer covering the very tender and very red new skin underneath.  The increased air flow to the area made it feel like i was being branded on my foot and the pain upon walking was, unbelievably, worse than with the blister intact.  I immediately got on the computer and read about proper blister care (always good to do this after the fact - why would anyone want to make an informed decision anyway?) and how i had done exactly the wrong thing.

Later, i solicited help from the only source i could - my brother jason.  As an adventure racing guru he's had more blisters than anyone i know and also had learned effective ways of dealing with them when just doing nothing wasn't an option.  His advice?  Just do nothing.  He advised me to walk as little as possible - not go for my runs, not go for bike rides - just to limit the amount of activity and try to promote quick healing of the area.

I could only follow through with the first two suggestions.  I put my feet up whenever possible, and haven't run since.  I did 'have to' go for a bike ride though - which ended up going really well, but i'll leave that for another post.  In any effect, it's helped and the blister is on its way towards healing, and my limp (thanks to cutting a hole in my flip flop to match that in my foot) is now only a ghost of its former self - if only temporarily.  i've no doubt that the wyoming trip will cause it's own share of disaster news being broadcast by a body desperate to end the suffering.  I'll be sure to keep my earplugs in until the trips is done, i'm home, and i can share the news and seek sympathy from anyone who will listen.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mish Mash (a little of everything)

I'm fairly overwhelmed.  I've actually managed to write an 80 page thesis which has no results (in fact, the last sentence states "the results are pending" which is true only if that translates to "the results don't exist").  I'm slated to defend in less than 2 weeks, which means i have to put together a 40 minute powerpoint.  On top of that i'm trying to maintain what little momentum i have for planning the fall adventure race (thus far single handedly) - which entails at a bare minimum showing up for the city council meetings where the agenda will include deciding whether or not to grant permission for the race to require swimming in the very dangerous (at least according to nearly every city official in Grand Forks) Red River.
Tammy in our surfski on the much feared Red River of the North.

In fact, the larger city of Grand Forks had considered it so dangerous that their city ordinance was crafted to prohibit any swimming in the river, without even the option to allow it under special circumstances.  So the council itself has to first has to re-write the ordinance to give themselves permission to modify the ordinance on occasions such as this.  Don't you love politics?  Amidst all this I'm trying to get trained up for my upcoming trip to the wilds of Wyoming for 'Too Much Fun III' - which in keeping with tradition we'll wait to name something terribly cheesy until after the trip is over. 

2009 TMF expedition to Mt. Rainier (AKA Peaks, paddles and planks)

2008 TMF expedition to Granite Mountain, Montana. (AKA Four ways to die)
I'm trying to hammer the running but the heat, the long days in front of the computer, and the combined stresses of academics and politics (not to mention a family with two boys - but at least thats a different kind of stress) are conspiring to make it difficult.  I nearly quit today's ten mile run half way through (i felt like sh*T) but somehow kept going, and ended up averaging 10 seconds slower than i'd hoped to go.  Whew.  And things will just get more interesting next week as my folks (who are invaluable normally) are heading out on vacation starting tomorrow and we're set to try and potty train AJ (who just turned two last month) over the next couple days.  Luckily, my wife is a saint and has been handling things (well, me) exceptionally well and picking up the slack that i've been dropping by the armload.  Thanks tammy (;

Tammy and AJ packrafting through 'rapids valley' on the Turtle River.