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.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Subway Chubway

On a couple hour return drive from visiting family over christmas i stopped at Subway restaurant with my boys.  With their brilliant marketing campaign they had earned a place in my subconsciousness for THE 'healthy' place to get fast food - or at least fastish food.  Now normally it takes a pretty extreme circumstance to shatter these notions that have worked their way into this level of our psyche - after all they were put there by years of subliminal associations and subtle, unchallenged suggestions (isn't modern advertising great?!).  But when i walked into that Subway and every single one of the three clerks and 10 lunch time patrons weighed more than me and my two sons (4 and 7) combined, the truth was too hard to ignore.  It's moments like that which leave me - typically an eternal optimist - a bit less than hopeful that we're gaining much traction at all in this national health epidemic of ours.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Facebook - Camp IV on a global scale

Yosemite's Camp 4 and the infamous Midnight Lightning boulder problem at it's center.
For a few people reading this the title of the post could stand alone.  For those that haven't experienced the wonder of Camp IV - i'll explain.

Camp IV is the name climbers give to the walk in tent camp-ground in Yosemite valley that they seem to populate almost exclusively.  If Yosemite Valley has somewhat of a mecca status in climbing culture then Camp IV is it's heart.  I've travelled there a number of times but only once after i had started to break into that upper echelon in climbing's hierarchy and become a bit of a climbing bad ass myself.

It was brutal.

Badasses of Camp 4
There were maybe 500+ climbers hanging out there.  Lots of new-bies or recreational climbers just doing standard routes*.  A bunch of aspiring big wall climbers with their sights set on the Nose or some other trade-route* up El Capitan, one of the most famous cliffs in the world.  But i was in the select group that had done the moderate standards and the trade routes.  I was eyeing the test pieces* - the climbs that define a climber as someone special - and i was actually able to start doing them.

So what was the problem?  Well, every night when i'd come back down in to Camp IV from one of these epic, climb of a lifetime efforts and want to rest and regale others with my exploits, i'd be faced with a dozen or more stories from others in the same boat as me.  All of camp IV seemed to be making ambitions plans for bold ascents and what had felt like a tremendous accomplishment as i'd been hiking down from the cliff hours before quickly felt less than noteworthy.

In later reflecting on this phenomenon i realized what was happening.  I was unconsciously adding all the accomplishments of dozens of gifted and driven climbers to a single resume and then mentally comparing my own resume to that of this "Pseuper-man**".  I always felt lame.

Now-a-days Facebook is my Camp IV.  My news feed is populated with pictures of beautiful places and stories of exciting adventures and epic training sessions.  As i scroll through it my psyche seems to automatically begin disparaging itself with the unconscious notion that i'm just not doing enough.  Before i know it i feel lame again - i'm not doing anything cool, not going anyplace awesome, and definitely not training/racing hard enough.  Why can't i be more like this Pseuper-man?

Of course i know he/she doesn't exist - but this conscious thought only has power when i hold it in my attention, and i've got no time for that.  When i was in Yosemite and I recognized what was going on i had to escape or i was going to get hurt or die trying to compete (or at least climbing was going to stop being fun). So my brother and i caught a bus out of the Valley to Merced and hung out with its small town people and walked around its small town streets for a couple of days until we felt like bad asses again.

The Rostrum, A Yosemite Valley test-piece.
It's getting close to that point again.  So I'm going to check the schedule for the next e-train out of FaceBook land to Grand Forks central to spend a bit of time hanging out with my small town friends, training at my small town YMCA, and sledding with my small boys at our small sled hill.

Don't worry, i'll be back, and i'm sure i'll tell you all about it on Facebook.

*For those not climbers, here is a fitness based comparison that will make some of the climbing terms more accessible - the standard routes in Yosemite are like running a marathon.  Climbing a trade-route is like qualifying for Boston - takes some dedication and talent - not just anyone can do it, but it is still a pretty big group.  The test pieces?  Now we're talking sub 3 Hr. marathon.  Yeah, there are still numbers in this group but they are getting smaller (for example less than 2% of marathoners run a sub 3 - and less than 1% of people run a marathon to begin with....)

**Neology in action.  If you use my word, just make sure to credit my brilliance and pay per use royalties.  Thanks.
A sub 3 hour marathoner.  Pretty elite!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cooperation takes time...

Cooperation doesn't always come easy - but with patience, persistence, and determination, it does come eventually.

I'm pleased to announce that it gastro-intestinal tract is finally cooperating with my rather absurd training schedule.  The past few times i've headed in to the gym to punish myself unrelentingly for 10 minutes my bowels have decided to kindly remind that everything goes better all around when they are empty - totally empty - at the outset of my efforts.  My brain stem has reflexively sent peristalsis waves (or whatever the process is) to my gut a few moments before I get on the treadmill or bike which delays the start of my workout a minute or two but also helps 'eliminate' (pun intended) problems during or after it - both of which had frequently occurred in the past.  Awesome.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Eating issues

Yumm...... soggy cereal!
I'm pretty normal in that i'm the product of my past.  And when it comes to my current diet and the psychological way i view eating - i'm no exception.

My first memory regarding my views on eating is from the 80's - those 'save the children' commercials featuring skin and bones kids across the ocean.  I was moved.  I vowed never to take food for granted.

Fast forward to college.  I was lucky enough to be on an academic scholarship that included a stipend for room and board.  I was smart and thrifty so i moved into the cheapest place i could find with a bunch of guys and ate all the free food a college campus could offer.  When i wasn't eating free food i was buying groceries based on value in terms of maximizing calories per dollar.  I hardly ever ate out - money that could be spent on gas to climbing destinations or crucial pieces of (very expensive gear) could not be spent on such extravagances.  I became thrifty.

During those college years and the years following, I became a climbing bum.  I learned to scavenge.  I learned that licking out my bowl provided a few extra calories - something a body starved from 16 hours of straight climbing for the third day desperately needed.  I stopped wasting food - even scraps.

Now, over 15 years later - all of these elements still have a place in my life.  Thrift still allows me to follow my passions.  Appreciating food has led me to become more educated in how it supports my pursuits as a recreational endurance athlete.  And not wasting food - well that has been hard to shake.

Which only recently has become a problem - as the three half finished bowls of soggy cereal my two boys (yeah, i know, i should only give 'em each one bowl...) have left on the breakfast table stare me in the face, waiting to be dumped down the garbage disposal. Because, well, I am the garbage disposal.

Back when i was training 3 hours a week this wasn't as much of an issue.  But these days my reduced total calorie expenditure from exercise is little match for the fickle and fluctuating appetites of my growing boys and i seem to be putting on a few pounds.

Or maybe it's just winter, who knows.

Either way it's going to-----

Oops, sorry, going to have to cut it short - AJ just 'finished' lunch and three-quarters of a cheese quesadilla is calling my name.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bike workouts for MBF plan

During the 2010 AH135. Brings perspective
to my 10 minutes of weekly suffering....

A few posts ago i laid out my minute by minute plan for my MBF swim workouts - here's what i'm doing on the bike.  Motivation on the bike is easy in the face of the Arrowhead135 - if i don't feel like really digging deep at the outset i just remind myself that if i can't bury myself for 10 minutes in the controlled atmosphere of the gym i'm not going to stand a chance for the 22.5 hours (or so) i'm planning to bury myself during the race.  I probably don't stand a chance anyway, but that is another matter.  Anyway, here are the details:

[Note, to avoid doing three short interval workouts back to back I start this week with the med. intervals and cycle through from there.  I'm mostly using a Precor stationary bike, a UBK 835 model from 2011 i think.  I control consistency between workouts by using levels and RPM data.  RI stands for rest interval, WI for work interval]
  • Workout 1 (med intervals) - 1:2 interval program for 10 minutes.  
    • Min 0 - 0:57, level 7, 90+ RPM
    • Min 0:57 - 2:51,  level 14, 90+ RPM
    • Min 2:51 - 3:48, level 4, 90+ RPM
    • Min 3:48 - 5:42, level 14, 90+ RPM.  When this becomes easy, I'll begin doing 30 second increments of the second WI at level 15.
    • Min 5:42 - 6:39, level 4 again
    • Min 6:39 - 8:32, level 14, 90+ RPM 
    • Min 8:32 - 9:31, level 4, 90+ RPM
    • Min 9:31-10:00, level 15, 90+ RPM
  • Workout 2 (single interval) - 10 minute distance trial, hill program.  I set the hill program so that it begins at level 7 and tops out at lvl 22.
    • Min 0-0:57 - level 7
    • Min 0:57 - 1:54 - level 12
    • Min 1:54 - 3:48 - level 16
    • Min 3:48 - 6:11 - level 20
    • Min 6:11 - 8:05 - level 22
    • Min 8:05 - 9:03 - level 20
    • Min 9:03 - 10:00 - level 16
  • Workout 3 (short intervals):  1:1 interval program for 10 minutes
    • Min 0-0:57 level 7 90+ RPM (warm up)
    • Min 0:57-1:54 level 15 90+ RPM
    • Min 1:54 - 2:51 lvl 4 90+ RPM
    • Min 2:51-3:48 lvl 15 90+ RPM
    • Min 3:48 - 4:45 lvl 4 again
    • Min 4:45 - 5:42 lvl 15, 90+
    • Min 5:42 - 6:39, lvl 4 90+
    • Min 6:39 - 7:36 lvl 15, 90+
    • Min 7:36 - 8:33 lvl 4, 90+
    • Min 8:33 - 9:31 lvl 15, 90+ ROM
    • Min 9:31-10:00 lvl 4 (warm down)