Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ahead of the curve

As I have mentioned, Mistress was involved in a hit and run that totaled her van. So she is driving my newer car as I drive a borrowed 20 year old sedan. Today it started acting up and as it got worse I crossed my fingers and prayed I would make it to a garage next to one of my business locations. I barely made it.

Decision. Does Mistress come pick me up in the middle of the day, thus ruining a good work day and skipping my workout or do I work at my club and then make my way home on foot as my workout. I decided the later. Oh yeah, I live ten miles away and my workout is to run home with a 40 lb rucksack on my back.

You see, the workout today IS supposed to be a rucksack run but only five miles and only 30 lbs. Only. But the situation calls for a different plan. I can't control how far away I am and I had to stuff my ruck with extra things from my car because I won't have it back until at least tomorrow.

I can't let a car problem get in the way of my goals. I just have to overcome the obstacle, though obstacle today is twice the distance and 25% more weight on my back. Life's like that.

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Recovery vs. Planning

As I mentioned in yesterdays post Tweaking the Training, I have a pretty large training block in front of me, starting next week. I have no illusions that this is really going to stress me out and be a huge test for my body to deal with stress and recovery. Just to fit in the road march during the work week, I'll either be doing them before the family gets up, meaning a 3am wake up or doing them after the family goes to bed meaning I won't hit the bed till 3am.

The true test will be the way my body adapts to the challenge. I think my motivation will get me through the first two weeks, the Toughening Phase, fairly well. The Slow Improvement stage that follows be where I really test my damaged kidneys and the Rhabdo I have. This is why in the middle of week 4 after completing a 100% effort road race, I purposefully scheduled almost a week off of hard training.

Its all about load. How much load can a person put on their body and still perform, whether it be this for me, or someone else training for a marathon, half ironman or full ironman. As hard as this block will be, no one will be more concerned about its toll on my body than myself. If my recovery window does not match the training plan, recovery time is more important. How's that for maturity from two years ago?

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tweaking the training

I have two challenging events coming up. Mid-April I am pulling all the safety tabs and redlining a 4.2 mile road race. My goal is to run as fast and hard as I can and pray I don't blow up before the finish line. This is a maximum effort endeavor. The second event is three weeks later and is a return to the Grand Canyon early May for a one day south rim-north rim-and back hike. The north rim will still be iced over so we are going to go as far as we can before turning around. I think we will get between 26-30 miles round trip.

To get ready for both events I am going back to an old program I did years ago. I won't take the credit for putting it together. Its a training plan to prepare for the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) course. Yes, at one time I was offered a position with the Green Berets and the honor of attempting to complete the program but like many twists of fate, I turned it down at the last minute.

Its only a 5 week plan and the timing just worked out well to come back to it right now. The plan only lists "Hard" days. The "Easy" training in between is at my discretion and I am sure I will be able to fit in my more traditional endurance efforts. During week 4 I will insert the 4.2 mile road race and the week after the final workout of Week 5 I will be in the Grand Canyon. I have scheduled a full week of recovery after the race in week 4 before picking up the remaining Hard days before the canyon trip.

Week 1:
Day 1:
(a) APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test: max push ups 2 min, max sit ups 2 min, timed 2 mile run).
(b) One hundred-meter swim (nonstop, any stroke, do not touch the side or bottom of the pool).
(c) Force march with 30-pound rucksack, 3 miles in 45 minutes (along road) or 1 hour if cross-country.
Day 2:
(a) Three sets of push-ups (maximum repetitions in one-half minute period).
(b) 3-mile run (moderate 8 to 9 minute mile pace).
(c) Rope climb or three sets of pull-ups (as many as you can do).
(d) Forced march with 30-pound rucksack, 5 miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes (along a road) or 1 hour and 40 minutes (cross-country).
Day 3: Forced march with 30-pound rucksack, 5 miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes (along the road) or 1 hour and 40 minutes (cross-country).

Week 2:
Day 1: Repeat of day 3, week 1 (forced march), extend distance to 8 miles with 35-pound rucksack in 2 hours (along a road) or 2 hours and 40 minutes (cross-country).
Day 2:
(a) Three sets of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups (maximum repetitions in 35-second period three times).
(b) Run 5 miles (moderate 8 to 9 minute mile pace).
(c) Three sets of squats with 35-pound rucksack (50 each set). Go down only to the point where the upper and lower leg forms a 90-degree bend at knee.
Day 3: Forced march with 35-pound rucksack, 10 miles in 3 hours (along a road) or 4 hours (cross-country).

Week 3:
Day 1:
(a) Four sets of push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups (maximum repetitions in 40-second period).
(b) Run 4 miles (fast to moderate 7 to 8 minute mile pace.)
(c) Four sets of squats with 40-pound rucksack.
Day 2: Forced march 12 miles with 40-pound rucksack in 4 hours (along a road) or 4 hours and 40 minutes (cross-country).
Day 3:
(a) Four sets of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups (maximum repetitions in 45-second period.)
(b) Run 6 miles (fast to moderate 7 to 8 minute pace).
(c) Four sets of squats with 40-pound rucksack.

Week 4:
Day 1: Forced march 14 miles with 50-pound rucksack in 4 hours (along a road) or 4 hours and 40 minutes (cross-country).
Day 2:
(a) Four sets of push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups(maximum repetitions in 1-minute period).
(b) Run 6 miles (fast to moderate 7 to 8 minute mile pace).
(c) Four sets of squats with 50-pound rucksack.
Day 3: Forced march 18 miles with 50-pound rucksack in 4 hours and 45 minutes (along a road) or 6 hours (cross-country).

Week 5:
Day 1:
(a) Run 3 miles (fast 6 to 7 minute mile pace).
(b) Five hundred-meter swim (nonstop, any stroke, but not on your back).
Day 2: APFT. You should be able to achieve a score of at least 240 (minimum of 70 points in any one event) in the 17 to 21 year age limit. If not, workout harder.
Day 3: Forced march 18 miles with 50-pound rucksack in 4 hours and 30 minutes (along a road)

Happy St. Patricks Day: 2010

Hope you all have a good St. Paddies/ St. Patties (?) Day. I am doing the same thing I did last year. Nothing special. For those that do celebrate, Faith and Begorrah be careful out there. Its amateur drunk night, starting at noon today.

Monday, March 15, 2010

tiny bubbles

I am so full of hypocrisy. People ask me what endurance sport I like the most; swimming, cycling, or running, for example. I tell people I love to run but would rather do a triathlon of any distance over a marathon. Then asked if I would rather do Kona or Boston, I respond without hesitation, Boston. I'd trade either one for a week of quiet and 60 miles of trail in a National Park.

Ironman was such a singular purpose for me for so many years that when I was forced to stop training that way, I got lost for a time. But where ultimately I prevailed was in making the dynamic leap from that training path to the what I consider a more enlightened path of overall endurance athletics. It doesn't mean someone deep into their current Ironman training is 'unwashed' but the fact remains its is a process I am not allowed to touch and therefore I must survive, nay, thrive, in a less myopic system. In my heart I wish I was cranking out 6 mile swims, 150 mile bikes and 35 mile runs week after week after week. God I miss that.

My body simply can't handle that load now. My recovery is ridiculously long. Even moderate intensity demands a 24 hour rest and zone 4 heart rate or high RPE's (Rate of Perceived Effort) is 36 hours. Its a strange new reality for a man that thrived at 100% exertion at 75% fatigued and conditioning I looked at by thinking, "Doing the most when at physically the worst." I mean really, does anything ever happen with we in perfect alignment with training, nutrition or health? Of course not. Why do you think we joking comment, "Respect the taper" the week before a race to our friends?

I was a frequent over trainer, purposefully. I loved it. The more I accomplished under the least amount of rest, I felt and still do feel, is a good way to prepare the body for reacting to stressful situations for anything in life. Some people come through a stressful situation and just look for a safe harbor. I look for another test, I press the stress bubble. And yet its the one thing I shouldn't be doing for a very, very, very long time. Such a hypocrite.

And yet I will take that and hang it around my neck. If I am a hypocrite for wanting to be a high speed, low drag, high mileage endurance athlete and yet stay within my tiny new little bubble, so be it. I will live my life vicariously through my triathlon family that swims 5 miles a workout, do century rides on Saturday mornings and race long. I am not jealous, I am envious.

It is not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The eyes and words of the young

When Mistress told Mighty Mo that the van was totaled and we were not going to get it back, he asked her if it was okay if he cried. Her heart burst and she held him close for a few moments while he sobbed.

To Mighty Mo, the van was the only car he ever really knew his whole life. He went to school in it. He went to all his doctors appointments and hospital visits in it. It was used to pick up and take home his friends. We went on trips in it and had Great Adbentures (that's how he said it). He fell asleep and woke up in his own captains chair. He sat in that chair the day we brought his sister home and he held her tiny hand in his telling her not to be scared of the bumps and the sunlight.

After a few minutes of quite sobs, he pushed away and yelled at the sky, "I hate that man for taking away our van!" He ran into the other room crying even harder. Now there are a few words I don't allow in the house, most you can guess but Hate is one of those words. Its a powerful word, that unlike the usual swear words cannot be morphed into nouns, subjects, adjectives or adverbs. The very colorful of us can turn them into prepositions. But Hate, is a singularly nasty word. It's intense, it's extreme. It's passionate. It's a strong feeling that corrupts the mind and soul unlike the utterance of mere profanity. I know people who use the F word 50 times a day and are terrifically at peace with life. I know people who do not curse 1 time a day who have been twisted by hate.

So we don't use that word in our house. But that day we let it slide. We understand now that Mighty Mo has suffered a big loss in his life too. Oh, his schedule stayed the same, he didn't get injured in the accident, but to him his quality of life has been altered. It might as well be that we put the dog down. He doesn't have his own seat. He doesn't have his big sliding door that he was so proud of when he could close it all on his own. He doesn't have a big hatch to climb out the back of and look tough when he jumps down.

We try to shield our children from the worst in life until we think they can handle it. We also know that its crap. We can't. Everything that happens to us parents, is reflected in our kids. If we set proper examples we hope that something sinks in. If we set horrible examples we know that it will be imitated 100%. All we can do is show Mighty Mo that life goes on, maybe we'll get another van, maybe something else he will think will be even cooler. But whatever it is, he will learn that using the the word 'hate' in that moment was entirely appropriate for him. Because sometimes the word hate, does need to be used. Because none other fits.

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Ahead of the game ain't that great sometimes.

I have been on for several years. As the website has improved it has had significant changes in the positive. However problems occurs when people who make the first jump to new technology can't have their make, model or version adapt to current technology. For a number of reasons. So I was quite unhappy when the developers sent me a notice that my version of blogger can no longer be supported by an FTP (a paid host server) and I would have to make adjustments to my system in order to keep my blog.

Well crap. I don't know how to do this stuff so I fell upon bended knee to my provider JoomlaAmerica and they did the work for me. I kind of feel like my partners who ran out to by the first version of iPhones only to have the price drop in half a few months later. And their phones virtually obsolete by the 3GS version two years later.

I can still publish on here, but unlike the more current versions of blogger, I lost all comments from my 1,800 posts and I I have to manually add widgets, rather than drag/drop as an option. Its what I do for the fans.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ego Sucker

If you follow Joseph Campbells Hero Journey, you already know that the titular hero gets his ass kicked many times before he is triumphant. While not the proverbial ass kicking today, I have had my ego bruised. I admit it, I have an ego.

To continue the saga of Mistresses hit and run last week, the insurance company totaled her minivan. That sucks as we got a lot of use out of that vehicle and she really liked driving it. It complimented our lifestyle. And it had a great payment price. As the both of us need a vehicle, I have given her my Charger and I am borrowing a 1992 Chevy Lumina. Yeah. There's the ego being sucked out of the room.

I don't mind that the seat belt is attached to the door. I don't even mind the red velor interior. I actually really like that I don't have a second car payment right now. But this car gets zero respect on the road and whereas I used to have to remind myself to stay at the speed limit, I am now pushing my foot down to get there.

The reality Mo's health has taken a turn and he needs more prescriptions and doctor appointments, plus with the current economic climate, not having a car payment right now can overcome a lot of my pride. HTFU. We could pay off the Charger a lot sooner. Funny enough, a few years ago I would have thought of all the race entry fees, that money could go to. Oh well.

It is not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Monday, March 8, 2010


I still hold the record for most injuries in the household but Mistress was involved in quite a serious car accident last week. It was a hit and run. Thankfully witnesses followed the vehicle and called 911. Police and helicopter were dispatched to give chase and he was caught. Other witnesses stopped to provide assistance to Mistress who was understandably distressed.

I got there as soon as I could and by the end of the day, our vehicle was in the shop and Mistress had gone to her doctors for a physical and get some pain management. The kids were not with her, thankfully.

Almost a week later, Mistress is still moving slowly. The van was totaled but she thankfully was not. Her recently broken ankle has thus far only been irritated but with any injury, it may not present for several days or weeks.

As this unfolds I will continue to comment on the process. It will not be simple, or painless, or fun.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I must have a headache, cause my ass hurts

How's that for a catchy title, huh? The reality is that I pulled a muscle in my glute last week and whether I stand or sit or lay down, it just aches. Its not a sharp pain, but its uncomfortable. It feels like a massive charlie horse. Best guess is that my hamstrings are stronger than my quads and during one of my more intense running segments this imbalance fired my glute to hard and now my my butt cheek aches.

Its a funnier and more juvenile statement then the actual effect. Thus the title of this post. You have to have a sense of humor in things like this. I don't actually think this is going to be a deal breaker on my training but I did take a couple days off to stretch and rest. And I can assure you I did not spend that down time just sitting on my ass. Cause it hurt to much.

Come to think of it, I am planning on some spinning tonight. That may not go so well. I may be out of the saddle a bit more than usual. Come to think of it, I should probably just do some incline treadmill walking tonight and get back in the saddle tomorrow.

Good news though is that I had some blood work done last month and the numbers couldn't have been much better. My cholesterol was a total of 168. My pulse 59. My HR 115/75. Weight 182. I did have one high number that had to do with my kidney function but it was just out of range, so I will take it. Good to go. Mistress was hoping those were taken after the marathon but they weren't. No pleasing that woman.

Its not enough to exist. I am going to live.