Clinton Marathon (or Half) – 2016

Ever wanted to do a marathon or half marathon just for fun? Yes? Well here’s your chance! Join us January 2nd, 2016 at 7AM for the first ever Clinton Marathon (or Half).

Meet at the northeast corner of the square, by the Civil War monument.

A few notes:

  • This “race” is unsupported, so BYOB (bring your own bottleofstufffilledwithwhatyouliketodrinkwhilerunning)
  • You’re your own timer, so BYOW (bring you own wearabletimingdevice)

The whole thing is more of a fun run to get the year started right. Get ahead of your mileage goals on the 2nd day of the year. What could be better?

I will have turn-by-turn directions you and your group can use. Do as many or as few loops as you like. Loops 1 – 5 will be very, very close to a 13.1, as will loops 6 – 9. I’m still putting the finishing touches on loop 9, and I may have to re-measure loop 7 because the water is up since I last ran that.

Here is a sneak peak at the loops:

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 10.57.23 AM

You and your group can run the loops in whatever order you choose. If you all will give me your times I’ll post them here and on Facebook. Thank you all. Let me know if you have questions/suggestions.

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The Difference a Week Makes

The real reason for this post is to show you this:

Getting Ready for Father/Daughter Dance

Getting Ready for Father/Daughter Dance

That’s me and my girls posing for my wife and their mom before the Father-Daughter Dance here in town. It’s funny, but the “silly” pose got the most response on FB, so I’m posting it here. For me, I call that look “Cold Heat” ™. I’m not sure what the girls are doing.

So, something triathlon related…

Oh, here’s something. Last Lord’s Day I ran 9 miles and averaged a 7:46 pace. I was quite pleased with that. I know for you real runners that’s not fast, but if I could run a half or full marathon at that pace I’d be over the moon. But back down here on earth, yesterday I ran 7 miles and could only manage 8:45. Ouch. What happened?

I’m not positive, but I rode my bike on Saturday for just over an hour, but I pushed it pretty hard. I took my trail bike out on some actual trails, if you can imagine that, and, though I don’t have any kind of bike computer or odometer on the trail bike, I kept my effort up the whole time. It wore me out in a way I didn’t expect. And so my time on Sunday suffered.

All that goes to show you what a poor cyclist I am. A one hour ride the day before affects my run? I may need to ride some more, but I’m not super concerned about it this year. I’ll do a couple of short triathlons this summer, but my “A” race will be a 50K in September, so running is my focus. (The other difference was yesterday I ran on trails versus the street, so maybe that played a role as well.)

I’m also experimenting with creatine. I’ve never used that supplement but have heard positive things from the body building world, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I know body builders would never do anything to their bodies that might be detrimental to their long-term health, and everything they do is backed up by solid clinical evidence, so it should be fine. I’ll let you know how it goes once I get through this first tub and then figure out how to manscape all this extra hair I’m growing.

Until then, have fun training.

Posted in 50k, Cycling, Health and Fitness, Running, Trail running, triathlon | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Number One Reason to Stay Fit and Race

Being healthy enough to climb a flight of stairs without gasping like you just surmounted K2 sans oxygen is great, but I think we all know that the biggest payoff to being fit and using that fitness to complete races is putting the various decals on your truck. Here’s what I mean:

The Pretend Triathlete and His Dacals

The Pretend Triathlete and His Decals

I posed for that not long after Ironman Louisville 2014. My truck was decal-free until the 140.6 and then I thought, “What the heck? People behind me at stoplights have no idea that I do endurance races. I have to let them know because they care so much!” So I affixed those three decals as soon as I could get them in from Amazon. I have now found, like people who get tattoos, it’s addictive and I’m looking for my next fix. (Just as an aside, I don’t have any tattoos, and I don’t have plans to get an M-Dot on my calf, or anywhere else, not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Here’s my next decal:

50K Decal

50K Decal

I wouldn’t dream of put putting it on the window until I’ve completed one, but yes, I am signed up for a 50K in September 2015. Like a lot of these 50Ks it’s a trail run. It’s actually in the same park as the 70.3 I completed last year, so I’m returning to the scene of the crime. You can read about my experiences at the Kansas 70.3 here.

Here’s the link to the 50K trail run, if you’re interested. It’s called the Bleeding Kansas 50K. Being held at Clinton State Park outside of Lawrence, Kansas, I suppose it’s appropriate to name it in commemoration of when degenerate slave-driving Missourians came over and fought with freedom loving Kansans. If I don’t bleed somewhere along the way I will feel let down.

So that’s my big race this year. No Iron races, though there are couple of local tris I’ll get in on. I’ll soon begin training to get that 50K decal on my truck, oh, and to do well in the race.

One last thought. It occurs to me that there might be a lot fewer decals if we had to post our times along with them. At least I’d want my time in very small print.

Posted in 50k, Health and Fitness, Ironman, Running, triathlon, ultra | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Hate Springing Forward and Lent

There are two things I hate about Spring, moving the clocks forward and Lent. I have no control over the former but it’s my decision to participate in the latter.

Is daylight savings time even necessary anymore? Was it ever necessary? I’m thinking of moving to Arizona or Guam just so I don’t have to participate in it anymore. Springing forward really messes with my internal clock. It seems like it takes forever for me to get back on track. In reality it’s a couple of weeks before I’m automatically waking up at 5AM again, but that’s about two weeks of morning workouts I potentially miss. I didn’t swim at all last week because I had such a hard time waking up. The pool is only open for lap swimming in the early morning so if I don’t get over there by 5:30 I’m out of luck.

Then there’s Lent. I use Lent as a time to challenge myself, start a new habit, break a bad habit, etc. It’s not a spiritual exercise per se, I don’t make any kind of promise to God or anything, it’s just an event on the calendar that I try to make work for me. This year I gave up sugar. All sugar. No cheating. I’ve posted on here before that I think sugar is addictive, and it’s addictive in a way that makes you jones pretty hard when you go without. My hope is that by the end of Lent I no longer crave the sweet stuff and can go on sugar-free beyond Easter. But let’s be honest. Who’s going to enjoy a big piece of Easter dinner dessert? This guy.

I’m continuing my 30 day workouts. This is where I lay out a workout plan and do my best to stick to it throughout the month. The workouts increase in intensity (volume/weight/speed) throughout the month. At the beginning of the next month I mix up the workouts, add new routines, take out some others, and then begin again at a lower intensity. I believe this is called periodization. Every thirty days you’re ramping up to some tough workouts, but you’re willing to do it because you know that you’ll have time to recover, and it’s during the recovery when all the gains are made. That’s the theory.

Laying out the workouts ahead of time helps keep me focused and less willing to skip a workout. When it’s on the calendar I’m more inclined to do the workout. I really want to check off on that day. However, I do have to be flexible. There are a few evenings where I have some other obligation like work, kids, church, community, or whatever, and I don’t get my workout done. A lot of the time I will make it up, but sometimes you really do just have to skip. For instance, this month I’m squatting three times a week. I have a hard time recovering if I squat on back to back days, so I did simply skip a squat session last week because it just didn’t make sense to make it up.

Box

Box

I also built this box to help with my March workouts. I’m doing box jumps like the crossfitters. This box is very similar to what you can buy on-line, just not as nice. I’m not a carpenter but I cobbled this together with pieces of plywood I had lying around. It’s 20x24x30 inches. That gives you three different heights with which to workout. The plan is this, the first week I see how many jumps I can do in one minute, the second week two minutes, and so on. If that doesn’t get your heart rate up you are in much better shape than I am.

Rack

Rack

That’s not the only thing I’ve built to help with my workouts. A few years ago I built this rack. Again, I’m not a carpenter and again I put it together with 2x4s I had left from another project. I did have to buy the carriage bolts. On this I can do chin-ups, I can lower those cross braces and bench press in there with my bench, and I use it as my squat rack. When I’m squatting I raise up the cross braces to set the weight on if I get into trouble. I put carriage bolts on the front to set the weight on when I’m doing overhead presses. I’m trying to figure out a way to modify it so I can do dips, but haven’t come up with a good solution yet.

And so with that I spring my blog forward with one more post. Though it’s technically still winter, it’s 70 degrees outside right now, on a Sunday afternoon, which means it would be illegal and sinful for me to stay indoors. As soon as my grilled steak settles and I get this blog posted I’ll be out the door. God bless you and your family this Easter.

Posted in crossfit, Health and Fitness, triathlon | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

New 30 Day Plan – Reach for the Rim

In my last post I described how I followed a 30 day plan I found on another blogger’s site. It was squat and ab specific. It helped and in hind sight I think it prepared me for the next 30 day plan I drew up, which included a lot of jumping. Why jumping? I went to the gym last month and I couldn’t jump and touch the rim of the basketball hoop. I needed to rectify that.

My 30 day plan included squat jumps, hopping (like jump rope but no rope), and one-legged hops. The plan ended last Sunday and since then I’ve been taking it easy. I’ve literally done zero workouts since wrapping up the plan. So today, one day post-Christmas and all rested up, I jogged over to the basketball court to test my hops. I’m happy to report that I did jump and touch that rim! Boom! Plan the work, work the plan.

OK, I know it’s not that impressive, but I was happy to get my fingers on that hoop. And really, what else could I ask for? In my teens and twenties the best I could do was just touch the rim. So here at 43 years old I haven’t lost a step, or a hop(?). Just for context, I’m 5′ 11 3/4″ (that 3/4″ is important). I believe all of those squats I did in the 30 days leading up to this last 30 days gave me a good base to build upon.

These plans have taught me three things:

1. When you’re trying to run and touch the rim, run and jump straight on. Don’t try to get fancy and touch as you’re going by the side of the rim.

2. Look and focus at the spot on the rim you are going to touch. I was so worried about my take off and landing that the only time I looked up at the rim was at the last second when my hand reached for it. Once I focused on the rim exclusively, I touched it.

3. A plan is a roadmap, a roadmap to where you want to go. Driving directions don’t say: “Drive to L.A.” You first have to get on this street, then that avenue, then this ramp, that highway, this interstate, change to another interstate. There may be several ways to drive to L.A. but chances are you’ll have to start on the smaller streets before you get to the interstate and finally L.A. There was some work I had to do before I could touch the rim, and the work was detailed on the plan.

The three things I learned: Take it straight on, focus, follow the plan. I wonder if that would work for other kinds of endeavors.

The whole point of these 30 day plans was to do something other than swim, bike, and run. It’s the “off-season” and I just needed a little variety. However, it’s now time to turn my attention back to the pool, the bike, and the running. I’m going to take it easy until New Year’s, then hit it again. In the meantime, I’m going to develop a plan for those first 30 days. One that will make me a faster runner, and get me back on the bike. I’ll probably wait until later in January or the first part of February to actually go swim. I love the New Year’s resolution folks, but the pool gets a little crowded with them there. I’ll definitely keep up some strength work with my sandbag, but I’m not sure what that’ll look like yet. Like I say, I’m taking it easy for now and will develop that plan over the next few days.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back soon with another installment of how I accomplished a mediocre feat of athleticism.

Posted in Health and Fitness, jump training, Running, sandbag workout, triathlon, vertical leap | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

30 Day Plan – Taking it Easy was Harder Than I Thought it Would Be

Last month someone “liked” my blog. Most of the time I check out the blog of whoever likes my blog. I have time to do that usually because I don’t get an overabundance of “likes”. Is it because my blog is poorly written and carries little in the way of useful information? Maybe. But this fellow happened to like my blog at just the time I was looking for a simple “off-season” workout. I checked out his blog, which you can find here, and I found Marc’s 30 Day Squat, Abs and Push Up Challenge. I looked at the plan for a few seconds and decided it was for me.

Marc’s plan calls for squats, ab work, and push ups in increasing repetitions each day for 30 days, with a built-in rest day every three days, which means there are 23 work days over the 30 days. Each work day you will do push ups, squats, sit ups, crunches, leg raises, and planks. None of the exercises require weights. You’re only moving your own body weight. See the link above for all the details.

I liked the idea of working my abs. I seldom work my abs. Why? Because I always read how “when swimming you use your abs” or “you use your abs when you run” and of course “your abs come into play when cycling”. I already do all of those things, so my abs are getting quite a workout already. No sense taxing them further. But in my off-season I’m taking a little break from those things, so maybe some ab work is not a bad idea.

The first couple of days went well but the workout only lasted a few minutes. I thought I could add in a couple more moves that would give me just the right challenge. I wanted to workout for about a half an hour on the work days. That would be enough. With that in mind I added chin ups, calf raises, curls, and bench dips. I did the curls and bench dips on alternating days, but the chin ups and calf raises came each day. I performed the curls with a curl bar and 25 pounds of weight. Additionally, I decided to run for 15 minutes every other day, just so my legs didn’t forget how to do that.

Again, things went well at first, but after the first week I realized I wasn’t going get all of this done in 30 minutes, especially on the running days. But a plan is a plan, so I stuck with it. I didn’t make a race out of it most days, but on the last day I timed myself and moved through all of the exercises without lollygagging too much and got everything done in 45 minutes, but that wasn’t a run day. That included 75 push ups, 250 squats, 125 sit ups, 150 crunches, 65 leg raises, planking for 2 minutes, 41 curls, 250 calf raises, and 8 chin ups (my goal with chin ups was 12, I got up to 11 a couple of times in the month but I wasn’t feeling it that last day).

Just a note on the running days – I warmed up for 10 minutes and then ran at a seven minute pace for up to five minutes, and then a very short cool down because I needed to move on to the exercises.

I took body measurements before, during, and after the challenge, per Marc’s instructions.  Officially I went from 149.5 to 148.5, but my weight will fluctuate from 147 to 149 throughout any given week, so basically no change. My body measurements essentially did not change either. If anything changed, and this is purely a subjective observation since there are no before and after photos, my abs got more defined. And maybe that makes sense. Like I said, I rarely work my abs exclusively, so I have to think they got stronger over the 30 days. It was going to be impossible for me to add a chin up each day over the 30 days, but everything else was pretty doable for me, but that’s not to say it was all easy. For instance, running at a seven minute pace is real work for me, and the sit ups and crunches caused some pain. The squats were relatively easy to pound out, but I did get bored going down, up, down, up…I think the squats worked out my patience more than anything.

Planning my workouts like this works for me because once I put it on paper and get started something about my personality makes me want to finish it, even if it proves inconvenient or something different from what I imagined. With that in mind I started my next 30 day challenge. Observe:

30 Day Jump Challenge

My goal here is to increase my vertical leap. I was at the court the other day and, besides nearly breaking my legs off trying to jump, I found I couldn’t touch the rim (I only tried once for fear of my femurs comings right out of pelvis). I’ll work on my jumps. The plyometric work is said to help you run. Two birds. One stone. Boom!

The other aspect of this challenge is the sandbag. I won’t walk you through all the details, but basically everything that includes an overhead press is done with the sandbag. For instance, the S2O (squat to overhead) is deadlifting the sandbag and then pressing it above my head. I’ve been reading about these kinds of exercises and wanted to try them. Because the sandbag is inherently unwieldy you gain a kind of strength that doesn’t come with pushing balanced barbells. Here’s my sandbag:

Sandbag wrapped in duct tape

Sandbag wrapped in duct tape

It’s one of those sandbags you buy at Wal-Mart to put in the back of your truck for traction in the winter. I wrapped mine up in duct tape. The red duct tape around the middle is for a little extra flair. This one weighs 56 pounds.

I’ll let you know how it goes. With any luck (or should I say if things go as planned?) I’ll be grabbing the basketball rim at the end of the month, busting out that elusive 12th chin up, and increasing my ability to hoist a sandbag.

If I knew how to add a link to the actual Excel document I would. That would make it easier for you to download and modify. But alas, I don’t know how to do that. I will work on it, though. However, feel free to use this 30 day challenge, re-print it, whatever.  Use it at your own risk. See a doctor before hand. Consult with your guidance counselor. Burn incense. Just don’t blame me ’cause I can’t be responsible for you dropping a heavy sandbag on your neck or any other myriad of injuries I’ll likely suffer over the next 30 days.

Posted in Health and Fitness, jump training, Running, sandbag, sandbag workout, strength training, triathlon, vertical leap, workout | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Non-Carb Loading (Carb Un-Loading?)

I’ve gone low carb/high fat (LCHF) (google it).

Man, sugar is addictive. I’ve never done drugs, but I know what it’s like to be jonesing a substance I shouldn’t be using. I’ve sworn off junk food and candy but with Halloween just a couple of days ago and all the candy that’s left in the house I feel like jumping right off the wagon. As I sit here typing I’m thinking about the peanut butter fun-sized Snickers that are still sitting in the plastic jack-o-lantern in the living room. I blame the neighborhood kids. We didn’t get enough trick-or-treaters and now there’s all this left-over drugs, I mean candy.

I can do without bread. I don’t miss pasta. I like hash browns and mashed potatoes, but it doesn’t bother me to do without them. The hardest things for me to give up is the afore-mentioned sugar, and chips and crackers that I can use for dipping. When you’re low carb, about the only thing you can find to dip with are pork rinds, which are OK, but they’re no replacement for a potato chip.

Missing out on the chips is bad, but I don’t have a physiological response to them. It’s just inconvenient when you have a good spinach dip but nothing to dip down in there. But with sugar, and all the desserts that contain it, I can feel my body reacting to it when it’s present and I don’t eat it. I swear it is not in my head. It’s all I can do to resist grabbing “just a couple of pieces” to get my fix.

The physiological response is not just my mouth watering. I get restless, almost fidgety, and I’m compelled to walk over to and reach for the candy. Resisting that urge is uncomfortable. My body tells me there’s no good reason stay away from it. My head tells me different.

Besides making me uncomfortable and missing out on some good Halloween candy, what has LCHF done for me? It’s hard to say. I’ve only been eating low carb for about a  year, and for most of that time I’ve been prone to cheat. For the last couple of months, however, I’ve tightened it up and cut out the cheating. For instance, in the past if my wife made a pasta dish for dinner I’d have some. Now, I skip the pasta and find something to replace it with, like salad. I also skip the potatoes and the bread at dinner. But my wife has slowly transitioned us to low carb dinners, so it’s getting easier to be faithful to my diet.

Last April, when I last had my cholesterol checked, it was something like 230, which is considered high, but my HDL, the good cholesterol, was through the roof. It was quite high (I don’t remember the number) and was jacking up my total cholesterol number. There’s some doubt today anyways about total cholesterol being a good indicator for anything, let along heart disease.

I was just looking at my weight log on my phone. At the beginning of 2011 I hovered around 164 pounds (6′ tall). Keep in mind I took up triathlon in 2010, but I don’t have any weight logs that go back to 2010. As I trained through 2011-2013 I’d hover in the mid 150s, getting down to 149.5 as I got close to my 70.3 races in 2011 and 2012. Today, I regularly weigh in at 147. Now, I completed an Ironman on 8/24/14 and a marathon on 10/18/14, but even though my training volume has gone down considerably since Ironman Louisville, I have not gained the weight back. I’m 43 years old. I ought to be plumping back up to my hibernating weight. I’m convinced I can stay lean based on what I eat and not on how much I workout.

And believe me, I don’t go hungry. Often when I’m craving the sugar I’ll have something I can have, like cheese. I get my belly full at every meal. I have eggs almost every morning, often with sausage or bacon. I snack on almonds and cashews. I eat a hearty dinner sized lunch, and a good dinner each evening. After workouts I’ll have a protein shake. I’m telling you, I don’t count calories and I don’t limit myself, except when it comes to the carbs.

Energy wise I feel fine. In my last post I talked about finishing the marathon without any carb-based gels or sports drinks. I didn’t do any worse than I did last year consuming all that stuff.

Will I continue eating this way. Probably, yes. It is inconvenient at times. Carb-laden foods are cheaper to buy, easier to prepare, and oh so delicious. But I think I’m over the hump and it’s really a lifestyle now. It’s just part of who I am. I can certainly see why someone might say the LCHF diet is not sustainable. It is sustainable, but it is inconvenient and at times hard, especially when every molecule in your body says, “Let’s have a pumpkin spice Reese’s cup.

Is LCHF fat for you? I don’t know. You could try it and let me know how it goes. All I can say is be prepared to buy some new pants, or at least a belt. I don’t have any pants that fit me any more. Not that I every had to buy the big boy pants, but if I don’t cinch up my belt all my pants want to hang low like all those cool kids that hang out down by the gas station. Oh, and my ab muscles show through my skin, if  you can believe that. This is an ab-selfie free blog so I can’t show you the proof, but they’re there, and I do very little ab work.

So there you have it, my low carb/high fat blog. This is about the third iteration of it and I’m sorry it’s not any better than it is.

 

Posted in Health and Fitness, Ironman, ironman louisville, Kansas City Marathon, marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment