Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bike Camp Report

This past weekend (Friday, Saturday, and today) I was at a Carmichael Training Systems beginner road skills bike camp. As the longest time in a triathlon is usually spent on the bike, the more comfortable I am in bike handling, the better. Plus I might also learn some tricks and tips to help the TNT folks. Friday morning I headed downtown to the CTS building with my bike and riding gear ready to learn...

Session 1: Coach Natalie, Kirk, Ryan and intern Rachel took care of us this weekend. There were 8 campers - a great student/coach ratio! We rode to a grassy patch of MVP along the dirt trail (yup, road bikes on the dirt trail) to get some handling skills under our belt. Starting, stopping with and without unclipping the pedals and such. Then attempt the water bottle pick-up from the ground while on the bike. I managed a few times but can still work on that one. Then we rode behind others and next to others, trying to get comfortable next to other riders, as is important while in a pace line. Then we worked on the "track stand." Staying clipped in while completely stopped for as long as possible. Took a few spills on this one, but that is why we were on the grass!

Back to CTS for some lunch from Panera and then a presentation on cornering to get ready for Session 2.

Session 2: Work on cornerning while descending at Garden of the Gods. Rode over to the park and then did a short loop starting at the trading post - up the hill, hang a left, down the couple curves and back around down to the trading post. I think I did that loop about 8 times! Then we did a bigger loop around the Garden - once as a group and once on our own. Then back to the CTS building to wrap up the day!

Session 1: Presentation on bike clothing, then presentation on various pace lines. After the pace line we got to practice inside walking. Then we rode over to a residential street where we had about a mile with minimal traffic to try to get the hang of these pace lines for real. Going uphill into the wind (and boy was it windy on Saturday!) definitely felt the benefit of a group more than going downhill with a tailwind. After we got somewhat familiar with these lines, we rode over to Mark Dabling road to use these skills on a longer stretch. And sure enough with that strong wind out of the north, we got to experience the benefit! Then a quick ride back south (downhill and tailwind) to get some lunch.

Lunch from Pita Pit (yum!) and a presentation on nutrition. I was familiar with most of the concepts and CTS is definitely a high carb proponent.

Session 2: The wind was still super strong and a bit chilly, but that won't stop us! we headed out to climb gold camp road. Nice 6% grade or so - fairly comfortable climb. The descent not so much. With that wind you get some good crosswinds coming down so I was a bit out of my comfort zone. Probably didn't go as fast as I could have - I am pretty cautious on windy and wind-y roads. Then back to CTS for a wrap-up. I had a power meter on my bike today so I got to check out my numbers with Coach Natalie. For what it's worth, up the hill I think I averaged about 160(?) watts and a 162bpm heart rate.

Legs are a bit tired, but not as bad as I expected. it was really cold this morning so we waited a bit to head out until it was a tad warmer. Then we had our final ride of about 2 hours. Over to Mesa Rd on the west side up to centennial (some "big" climbs here) then a brief descent over to W. Woodmen. A short potty break here at a park, then up the West Woodmen hill back to Centennial, over to Mesa and back to CTS. My legs were feeling it on the steep stuff! But in the flat/downhill parts my legs felt pretty good considering all the riding I've done in the last few days - probably about what I'd get in a week's time, probably even more! Back to CTS for a wrap-up bagel/coffee meal and a chance to chat with the CTS coaches. A review of today's power meter had me at 180ish watts and about 172ish on the climbs. Definitely a harder workout!

A good camp - I learned quite a bit and know I have a lot to work on. But I also have some places to ride (though I think I've been at all of them before) where I can focus on specific skills. The coaches were very knowledgeable and friendly so it was a comfortable environment to learn. We did get all the powerbars, powergels, powerbar endurance drink we wanted. They took care of us - made sure our bikes were ready to ride each day (though they did give me mine today with the rear brake open - glad I caught it before we headed out!) As with all camps, it wasn't perfect, but the negatives are minor compared to the positives. It was an enjoyable and educational weekend that went by too fast.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Awesome Brick!

For those not familiar with multisport - we use the term "brick" workout for a dual workout session, most typically a bike followed by a run. Some think the term comes from how your legs feel when you try to run off the bike! But the latest thing I've read is that the type of workout was created by a guy with the last name Brick. Either way, they are great workouts, and when you're training for a triathlon/dualthlon where you have to run straight off the bike, it's important to get this kind of training in.

Today's brick was a 2 x (14mi bike, 2mi run). It was a great day for such a workout - we finally had warmer temps. We set up our transition area in our cars in a shopping center parking lot and then headed out on a super bike ride. The wind was strong and cool enough we needed long sleeves for the bike, but stayed plenty warm on the run. Here's an idea of the route, except we didn't ride on hwy 115, but went behind the country club instead. Got to see some fantastic views of the city from the south side!

View Interactive Map on

The run was hilly, with ~100ft elevation gain in 0.5mi! But just think how strong our legs are getting! As the coach, I watched the bikes while the team did the first 2mi run. When the last runner returned to start the second ride/run combo, I went to ride out with her and noticed I had a flat. Wish I would have noticed that while I was just sitting around watching those bikes! So I took a couple minutes, found the glass chip in the tire, and got a new tube going. I was able to catch up with the group when they started their second loop. I think that's my 3rd flat tire since February - might be time for new tires with a little more puncture resistance! When we returned for the second run, everyone put their bikes in their cars so I did the run. Yowie! My legs did feel like bricks, but I did manage to pound out a 9:16 pace. (the downhills helped bring the avg pace down for sure!)

The long course team was out for a 3 hour ride, and managed to return to the parking lot as the "short coursers" finished their workout. Great timing for sure! A super workout for the Team in Training folks!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

snow storm

Just a quick line to say it is snowing - several inches. It was almost 80 yesterday. Guess that's Colorado!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What a workout!

With temps in the upper 70s today (tomorrow will be mid-40s- if you can believe that!) I finally got to wear shorts and a short sleeved shirt to track practice! And boy did Coach Mitch throw one at us. Well, not really, but he did surprise us with a best effort timed mile so he could update our pacing cards. I was pretty pleased with my time - 7:11. I'm pretty sure that's the fastest mile I have ever run. It'd be nice if I could go sub-7 one of these days.

The rest of the workout was as follows:
1200 at I pace
800 at I pace
400 at R pace
2x200 @ R pace (form focus) w/200 recoveries
Plyometrics (high knees, butt kickers, skipping and bounding)
Core/strength (planks/crunches/tuck jumps, etc - "killer" stuff!)

This morning I got a good swim in as well:
300 yd warm-up
8x25 drill set
8x100 with 5s rest
8x25 kicking set
300 yd cool down
1800 total yards

Time to set up my bike on the trainer to get a good morning ride in tomorrow.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Baked Bananas

Is that a recipe or how I feel?

This is from the Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel.
4 bananas
1/4 c. olive oil
Juice and grated rind of 2 lemons
1 T. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Cut bananas in half (lengthwise) and place cut side down in baking dish greased with the oil. Drizzle with the lemon juice and vanilla, then sprinkle with lemon rind and cinnamon. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

I'm happy to report that the big guy is doing much better! He's going up and down (down is better than up) on his own and he has his old appetite back! We've backed off on the prednisone quite a bit - down to 5mg every other day. We'll compare his "on" to "off" days and then probably get his levels tested in a few weeks if the low dose seems to be OK.

Well, I haven't been too agressive with my fundraising this year (there is still plenty of time to donate!) but we had an awesome fundraiser for the team on Saturday - a Texas Hold'em tournament we called Casino Royale. We raised $2200 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! It was a lot of fun. Still getting the house back together from the event!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Phew! (well, sort of)

Let's call today 'Adventures at the Veterinary Specialists!'

After my morning swim I came back home and called the vet internist who had been treating his cushings to get in. Luckily someone had just cancelled their 10:15am appointment. No time for me to drive 30 minutes down south to work and turn around and head back so I just took the morning off. Got some dishes and some ironing done and somehow managed to lift Mars into the car. The first visit took about an hour. Dr. C looked at Mars, checked his alertness, his joints, etc, and ran a quick test to check his electrolyte level. She also did a 'resting cortisol' test. The electrolytes were good so that means one hormone (can't remember which) is fine, and the cortisol results will be back later this week. Her thinking about his loss of appetite is that his cortisol levels are still low from the lysodren treatment and now his body is responding. Ok, so we'll get him on a low dose of prednisone to see if that bumps his appetite. But she also noticed he was in a lot of back pain and has join stiffness so she recommended a consultation with the pain management guy next door for a consult and possible accupuncture treatment. wow.

Needing (not necessarily wanting) to get back to work for the afternoon, I left Mars with them and they brought him over (down the hall) to the pain guy.

A few x-rays and a laser pain treatment later the diagnosis is....
1) hip displaysia (boo!) But Mars gets applause for letting them get the x-rays without sedation!
2) good elbows joints (yay!!!)
3) definite back pain
4) possible slight tear in some ligaments in his right knee
5) possible neurological problem (would be a disc issue)

So I have a handful of drugs to give him now to get the pain under control and a recommendation that we get a consultation with the orthopedic guy.

First things first - make sure the Cushings is under control and he gets his appetite back while starting him on some pain meds. Then we'll see about the orthopedic consultation. (I hear they now even scope dog knees to see if surgery is really needed.)

So, phew! that it looks managable for now, though not easy on the wallet. Time to feed him and see about all those silly pills!