A Long Weekend of Fun!- warning Long Long LONG Post!


So I got a lot of good training in this weekend! It was a rough one and I’m still feeling it, but man was it worth every second of the pain and mental toughness I had to pry out of me!

Friday!

I Started off with a 1 Mile Swim on Friday night. This was a 1 Lap at a time Mile(25 Meters). This is actually the first time I have made myself do an entire Mile, so it was a bit rough.

I am not an efficient swimmer. I’m not a graceful swimmer. I’m a strong swimmer, and as such, I spend most of my time defeating myself by not keeping correct form. I also have a very hard time breathing correctly(with form). Keeping my head low and in the water, under my recovering arm and against my leading arm, is very difficult for me, as I have not yet ingrained the muscle memory. I am getting better though, so one step at a time. I mostly worked on my breathing on this workout. I probably swam too fast to really make it good(around a 33 minute 1600- and the Garmin only picked up 1575 meters, because I didn’t start it on one of the lengths ūüė¶ lol ).

I took about a 30 second to one minute breather each length, to recover. I still have a hard time not kicking too much and my swim technique combined with poor form makes one length of the pool a grinder of trying to breath and keep my heart from not exploding in my chest!

All in all though, it was a great workout! You can see it here.

this workout felt great afterward and I feel it was a bit of an accomplishment. I am not where I need to be for the Swim portion of my upcoming Olympic Distance Triathlon. But I am one step closer ūüôā


 

Saturday!

Saturday Pic
At the Beginning

 

Saturday was next on my destination of pain weekend. I had already decided Saturday was going to be a long Ride. So I tentatively mapped out a 60 Mile course. I wanted this to be my longest ride to date- but only by a few miles.

I took Pics often
I took Pics often

So it was basically a 30 Mile out and back Course. Pretty easy. The weather was supposed to be nice so, I got up early, had some coffee and oats, rested a bit, got my gear on and got on the road!

The day was a bit chillier than I really liked. I didn’t wear my thermal leggings, although I did wear some knee warmers and Calf Compression Sleeves. I also left my full finger gloves and shoe covers at home- like an idiot. I was a bit cold, but nothing too uncomfortable and once I got warmed up, I was good to go.

The miles just kind of flew by. I set an alarm to keep me in HR Zone 3- to conserve energy for this long haul. My HR avg was 145, and it only peaked over 150 a¬†few times- usually when climbing a local¬†mountain(bridge) or if I would try to “safely”make¬†a light.

As you can see
As you can see

I say safely, because if there is traffic at an intersection I won’t even think about “making a light”, but if it is clear and I have good line of sight of all directions, I’ll push it :). I did try to maintain a nice high cadence, and came away with an 85 RPM Avg. Which I thought was pretty good, as I prioritized HR over Cadence for this ride. I found even when pushing a light gear, my HR would want to climb when I got around the 95-100 Mark. I figure this is still me getting used to moving my legs this fast on the bike.

And Usually at signs!!
And Usually at signs!!

As I continued, I felt better and better, especially with this low speed and easy to maintain cadence. I took a break at the 20 Mile Mark. I felt great!. I had filled two water bottles, one with water, the other with Heed. I also brought along a zip lock baggie with Perpetuem in it, for later in the ride.  After that break, I closed in quickly on the 30 Mile Mark of the ride. Then passed it. I decided I would do a bit more. And then a bit more. And then a bit more. Before I realized it, I was at 51 Miles!!

 

 

Now the way I mapped the course out, there were several “shortcuts” built into the ride, so if I needed to, I could be home in fewer miles if I needed to.

Whew Made it to Lunch!! I'm still alive!!
Whew Made it to Lunch!! I’m still alive!!

I decided it was about time for some lunch, so found my self a Starbucks. Had a good bite to eat and a latte, as well as finished off my water and Heed bottles. I had also been hitting my normal 10 minute rotation of some sort of nutrition every 10 minutes for this first 50 miles. I brought along enough calories to go twice as long(time wise) than I had estimated my ride would be, so I had plenty. I chilled and rested for about 30-40 minutes. Got in some good stretches, got my water bottles filled, mixed in my Perpetuem, re-organized my nutrition in my jersey pockets- for easy reach, and got back on the road!

As I headed back, I had the option to Take a few Short cuts. At first, I thought I would take one of these, as I was going into a pretty stiff headwind. Although my

This was the city I actually turned around in- at like the 40- something-eth Mile
This was the city I actually turned around in- at like the 40- something-eth Mile

speed suffered greatly, I spent most of the day comfortably in the drops. I kept my HR low and my cadence high and it went along pretty smoothly. I really wasn’t feeling exhausted at any point. I did feel the beginning’s of leg muscle fatigue at around the 70 mile mark. My Longest Ride Ever!! This was my last “big” cut off. I stopped for a few minutes for a breather and a quick Self Evaluation.

How do I feel?: Well, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m not tight and I’m not feeling a loss of energy.

How is my nutrition?: I have about 600 Calories worth of chewable nutrition left, and about half of a bottle of perpetuem(which was mixed about half a scoop too rich- just in case hehe).

Well, what do you think?: Heck, lets go for it!!.

I plotted out the course going back on the exact same route as I had began that morning, this would give me about 10 miles to my next “cut off”. I’d see how I felt then.

So I rolled on, The next 10 miles were fast, with a super low HR and a cadence I was proud of, I flew right through the 10 miles. At this point, I knew it was in reach. I hadn’t given the notion or a fully formed thought of it all day, it was just a slight tickle or whisper in the back of my mind. But now, almost at mile 80, I felt it.

I can do a Century today! I can do it. I can complete this on my own!!

Yep, gotta take a minute to honor our Veterans!
Yep, gotta take a minute to honor our Veterans!

So I continued on my path. At this point I just added one of my normal weekly rides to the course(it was the same road I was on, so it was easy). This course is usually around 25 miles, with ¬†about 1.2-2 of it being from my apartment to where I intersected it with my current course. By combining the cunning use of trig- calculus- and geometry that would make many mathematicians and physicists proud- I subtracted 2 miles from 25 miles and got 23 miles. Then added 23 miles to 79.5¬†miles- and got about 103 miles!! I know I know, you’re impressed with ma maph skeelz.

At this point it was later in the day and the road were busier. I popped an extra gel, to make sure I kept my sugar with some blood in it(yeah, at this point I was seriously not the sharpest tool in the shed). I wanted to stay alert enough of vehicles on the road, as I was also in a busier section of town. I honestly should have called it quits. But I was not sane enough to make that call lol.

This portion of the course was an out and back loop of about 7 miles total and then another 12 mile loop(6 out and back) with a return loop of around 3-4 miles.

I made this first loop and felt a lot more fatigue than I had thought I would. The last half of this little loop was deep on into the wind again and I struggled to maintain good form and breathing. I got to the 12 mile loop, and decided to take it head on!(remember where I said I wasn’t all there? Yep, here is proof lol). So I slowed down a lot, kept a high cadence, just pushing a super easy gear( I later found I was still doing around 15 MPH- which I was ecstatic about- to explain further. I didn’t want to be emotionally affected with a slow speed. So, to make sure that speed was not a factor at all in this Day’s ride, I removed it from my main screen on the 910xt- So I pretty much never knew my speed all day hehe). About 1-2 miles in, I started to feel great again. Still taking nutrition and water when my 10 minute beeper would go off, and really just enjoying the ride!

I took another break at the turn around for this loop- less than 10 Miles to go!! I hit the head, drank some extra water and partially filled it back up(I was at a gas station- I actually passed this gas station 3 times, including rest stops, for this ride haha). Took a 10 minute breather and got back to it!

Going in the opposite direction, the wind was coming at my back from an angle. I would have the wind to my advantage for all but the last 2 miles of the route. So I sat up, put my hands on the horizontal bars( I call them the tops, I don’t know if they have a “real” name lol) and used my back as a wind sail. I maintained the same rhythm and patterns as the rest of the day, and I felt like I was flying!! ¬†I was only hitting about 16-18 MPH(via later inspection of the route data)¬†but man I felt great! I felt so good, that when I turned back into the wind, I kept up the pace, and pushed that last little bit out!

I crossed the 100 Mile Mark! Threw up a fist in victory and kept chugging along! I am sure a few people saw some crazy dude on a bike, in a Marine Corps Cycling Jersey, looking like a crazed maniac rolling down the side of the street! But I didn’t care! I just completed a Century!! But now to get home!

I stayed in the drops and finished out the ride strong and feeling great!!

I got home and stretched and ate for about an hour or two haha. Took a good bath and called it a day!!

You can see the route data Here.

This was a really big confidence booster to me. As I did not think I could do my first century, and live, quite yet. I also did not think my first century would be a self supported one!

There is a Houston to Galveston Century near the end of this month, and I am thinking of doing it now. This would be my last big ride(and is scheduled to be my last big ride weekend anyway) before I do Kemah on April 12th and then the MS150 on April 18-19th. The first day of the MS150 will be a century as well.

I am feeling more and more confident of my cycling, every day.


 

Sunday!

Next up was Sunday! Now my legs didn’t feel like jello, but they didn’t feel up to much abuse either. I rolled them and stretched them and babied them most of the morning.

In the early afternoon, I decided I wanted to get a short swim in. So I decided on an 800 Meter swim. It was slow. Most of it was the same as Friday night, just breathe. Learn to breathe. Be comfortable breathing. And try to keep my heart from jumping out of my chest!!

This was a lot more rough, as my legs were sore and didn’t want to kick. Although, this ended up being a good thing! Since my legs didn’t want to kick, I wasn’t kicking!! So I wasn’t over or under balancing my body. My strokes were a lot more even. And my breathing almost even felt semi-comfortable…. Almost.

In the future I am going to continue minimizing my kick. This seems to save a lot of energy and allow for a more extended period of swimming! This is just what I need to make sure I can really perform well at Kemah next month!

This swim was a big eye opener and I am really going to keep up using that same technique. It was a bit slower- like 2 minutes for a combined¬†1600 meters slower, but the amount of energy used felt like a lot less. I don’t know if it was just me not trying to overcome bad technique as much or what, but I seemed to glide a lot more through the water. Making is so much easier to feel more “fluid” in the water as well.

You can see that swim’s data Here.

I got some more stretching and rolling in later that night to really help me relax.

Had some good food to keep things clean and wrapped up the weekend. We will see how things go! I am supposed to do a 10 Mile run tonight- Monday night, and if the weather doesn’t hold out, that may have to be on a treadmill. Which will not be fun.

All in all, this was a great weekend. Lots of activity. Lots of physical and mental testing. I came through it all. And was insane enough to enjoy it!

My over all confidence for April has skyrocketed!

I have a big Trail Run coming up on this next Sunday. It is a supported “free” run put on by Trail Running Over Texas(TROT). It is going to be a blast and can’t wait!¬†The course is to be a loop of about 4-5 miles. You just do as many loops as you can between 6 AM and 1 PM(last loop cut-off is at noon).¬†I am really hoping I can complete this at around a 50K(my first at this distance). Since I won’t really have a lot of training time the rest of the month- as I need to taper everything for next month’s madness. This weekend and next weekend, are to be my big tests and self evaluations!

After this, I’ll mostly just be doing maintenance miles, and easy workouts. I’ll do one “moderate to heavy” workout per week, but that would be like a 6-7 opposed to my current 8-9 lol. With lots of rest before and after it.

This next little bit(including this past weekend) is Testing my over all conditioning, gear, nutrition, freak of nature will power, and trying to stay somewhat sane throughout the whole thing!! April is to be my “Devil’s Three-way” and I plan on making it a memorable one!!

Thanks for reading everyone! Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions- and sorry for the book of a post!!

 

 

 

Multiple Sclerosis Quiz


As mentioned before, I am participating in this years Houston to Austin BP MS150.

As being a part of this amazing event was not enough, I have also been privy to multiple emails with intriguing information about MS.

I recently received an email with a simple quiz about MS. This was a huge learning experience for me. This was only 7 questions, but they all havea ¬†huge impact on a person’s life.

ImageProxy

I found this both amazingly eye opening and, at the same time, it created a more sensitive awareness of just what this terrible disease does to people’s lives every day.

Take a moment and look at this today. It is mobile friendly(that’s where I opened it).

This is just a glimpse of what it is like to live with this disease. Thank you for taking the time to take a look at life through their eyes. And thank you for anyone who has donated anything(money or time)  to the MS Cause. With all of our help we can mitigate and someday hopefully cure Multiple Sclerosis.

Thanks for reading Everyone!

If you would like more information about MS, Click Here. You will find information about how this disease works and the treatments currently available. This is a never ending battle and the more we can spread the awareness of this issue, the more help we can get to find a cure!

Please make sure to share and like this post! This way even more people can see what a great cause this is and how many amazing people are involved in this fight!

Saturday Ride with the Wife and Sunday Training Ride


The Wife- The Boss
The Wife- The Boss

I forgot to put a Pic of the wife on her Bike! Oops!

So last Saturday the Wife and I went out to take a little ride. We only did 10 miles, but it was a great day and we truly enjoyed it. she worked on her cadence a lot and I could not have been more impressed. Her riding is progressing very quickly and she is getting stronger and stronger. She is even getting on the trainer a couple of nights a week. So motivating!

Afterwards we had a pretty chill rest of the day. Sunday was going to be a big day for me ūüôā

Sunday was a training ride with the Energy Riders Series. It was a great day out at Hockley, Texas. I was able to ride with a few friends for a couple of miles, then really put the pace on.

The ride itself had planned routes for 36 Miles and 49 Miles. I opted for the 36 Mile route, as I had a planned Run later in the afternoon and I didn’t want to be too tired for it. Haha.

The morning was slightly chilly, in the 50’s, and very foggy- like you can’t see 200 yards in front of you foggy.

After arriving and getting the bike in order and double checking my pockets and gear I made a quick “head call” then hooked up with my buddies from Team RWB.

Something came to mind while I was getting the bike and gear in order. For only having 3 pockets it really seems like I carry a lot.¬†Gels in right pocket- one packet open and one extra just in case, jacket in center pocket, knife(can’t leave home without it) clipped to left pocket and phone inside that pocket too. I know it isn’t really “a lot”, but it can feel that way lol.

I did wear some knee warmers and arm warmers. I also wore a thermal skull cap, as it was still a bit chilly, and I hate a cold and damp head(remember the fog- man I wish I had taken a pic of it). These could easily be pulled off and tossed in a pocket as well(see more gear in a pocket!!)

I carry all my flat gear in a saddle bag under the seat. Two tubes and two pop bottles. Couple of tyre levers. Multi-tool. Finished off the kit with a valve to screw onto the bottles. I also include my license and a 20$. In case of an emergency stop at a bar or gentlemen’s club.(just kidding lol)…. kinda.

After a few final checks. We took off!

This was an organized ride. The course was marked. Pretty well(with one exception that we will cover later).

The first few miles I rode in a 3 person group with my buddies.¬†It was to be a slow, easy day for them, so I chilled and got a very good warm up in. Around mile 3 we came to an unknown fork in the road. No sign to tell us which way to go, but there was a sign showing the “wrong way” on one fork and no sign on the other fork. We took a vote and decided to go down the unmarked fork. This just happened to be the right decision, haha, as we soon saw another sign for the course. There were even a few riders behind us and apparently we had “set a trend” so everyone had a group to follow so they didn’t have to stop and consult maps, gps, or cue cards like we had.

About 5 miles in I took my leave of my friends and continued on my journey to my longest ride ever! I set a pretty decent pace. Always keeping my cadence above 85 and adjusting gearing to match this(I did spend a large portion of the time over 90- I’ve been working on it and it is starting to pay off). Speed, of course, adjusted with the gear, but the average after the ride was 17.3 mph. Not fast, but not too slow for me :).

My heart rate stayed pretty high throughout the ride, upwards of 175. However, I wasn’t dying for breath and I felt great the entire time.

Before the ride, I had setup a 10 minute alarm- so every ten minutes I could drink/eat. This allowed me to alternate taking a gel and water and drinking Heed. This worked pretty good, as I didn’t feel my energy strength flagging near the end of the ride.

At the first rest stop I refilled the water, got a couple of pretzels for the salt(I did not bring salt tabs) and chilled until my buddies showed up. This was at the 14 mile mark. there was a loop that would leave and bring you back to it within a few miles(can’t remember exactly how far now), then head back to the start. Since it was warming up a bit, I went ahead and took of the skullcap. I left on the knee and arm warmers, more for comfort and wicking than because it was cold. ¬†I chilled out till my friends got there. They decided they were going ¬†to turn around there and not do the loop, since they were taking it easy and their pace would be a bit slow to complete the course in time.

So I took off to set more world records on my trusty steed. I got set up, took off, and made my way down the “short route”. I got about 3-4 miles in and looked down to see how I was doing on time, since I hadn’t heard my beeper go off to drink. So there I am looking down, and low and behold- I didn’t start the damn thing after the rest stop. So I started it…. Yep anti-climactic much heh? At that point there was nothing else I could really do.

Well, I wasn’t going to let a little thing like not recording all the data ruin my day! I continued to push a high cadence. I felt strong. My heart rate was still high, but I didn’t let it bug me. I also did a few surges and sprints. I tried to go for about 1 minute then rest for 2, then repeat. I don’t know how many I did, but I was passing people left and right!(and yes, I only passed them on their left)

I swung back through the rest stop and decided not to stop. I felt too good to stop now!

I made sure I was always aware of my surroundings by really enjoying the countryside.

As the day progressed, the fog was driven away and revealed a sunny day and that was warm and very comfortable. The sun was out and shining. The road was smooth. Other riders were really enjoying the day as well.

After a few more “surges” I set a steady pace and kept it. I continued to pass people to the end of the course. It really did seem like they were starting to tire and slow down and not be able to keep up the pace. I don’t know their individual circumstances of course. So I can’t say that this was “planned” or if it was a nutrition issue, or if they had maybe set out at too fast a pace? I don’t know one way or the other, but man did I feel accomplished that I still felt strong as I came back into the parking lot to the finish.

I made a few laps around the lot and then stowed my gear. Drank and a recovery drink to help with that, and made sure to top off the water bottle for the drive home.

All in all. Great day for a great ride. I know others can do this distance like it is nothing. For me, this little 36 mile jaunt marked the furthest I have traveled in one day of riding. I really feel that I am progressing. Although I will never be a Crowie or a Wiggins, I think I am on a good path to be the best rider I Can Be!

My data was recorded on my phone using the Wahoo App and RFLKT. I have since become the owner of a 910xt. I have it mounted up and took a ride on it today. I’ll be posting¬†that story tomorrow. Till then.

Laters!!

Fun day for a great ride!
Fun day for a great ride!

 

Thanks for reading folks! Let me know what you think!

The BP MS150- What it Means to Me


So, I’m training for the MP MS150 Houston to Austin in April. At first I thought I had gone insane, bit off too much, and this was going to look something like a wrecking ball falling on a cake, by the end.

Seemed about right since I just started cycling about four weeks ago and I have put on just under 300 Miles to date.

Even with this limited experience, I can already see that I have a lot of training in front of me, but I can totally see this as realistic and doable goal to achieve in that time frame. My fitness has been tested. And will be consistently. Up to and past this event, as I truly plan on continuing my Cycling after the BP MS150.

As I progress, I’ll be dropping a line now and then about training, riding for fun(cause that is what it is all about!), as well as a lot of the Volunteer opportunities and projects that my Wife and I are involved in.

The Training Posts will probably not be as “mature”(in regards to how I speak of it) as Other’s who Post about their training. So, if you find yourself grumbling at how poorly it is formatted or written, or what it is about, or any other general critiques, please let me know. I need to learn, and the best way to do that is to get it wrong and then be corrected.

The Fun riding posts will be just that. Something along the lines of the Wife and I going out on a nice little bike ride, or run, or maybe a plyometric workout(our favorite!!) or maybe just a walk on the beach.

And back on point!

The MS150 struck me kind of out of no where. I had never heard of it before moving to the Houston area- even though they are apparently held all over the U.S.! I think it is amazing that so many people sacrifice from their personal lives to help out others and to bring awareness and support for these kinds of causes and the events that help build funding for them.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system (the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord). It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. This means the immune system incorrectly attacks the person’s healthy tissue. This is something that is literally random and makes the the body attack itself. Such a thing almost seems impossible. Research is growing for this disease, but is still limited in many ways. Progress takes time and unfortunately money.

The MS150 is a Charity Ride, where every rider must raise 400$ to help the funding of the research a development of treatments and, hopefully someday, a cure. These donations are applied to all existing monies to assist the medical professionals in their goal of that eventual cure and of the proper care and treatment of all those afflicted until then.

It is so cool to be involved with such a great cause. We have volunteered for all sorts of wonderful projects. From Veteran related events, to public events, and many medical oriented/related drives. I can truly say, that the people that operate and run these organizations are true Heroes to everyone in their causes.

Knowing that people are always willing to give every last bit of themselves to a cause is a humbling experience. Just ask any Veteran what the heck they were thinking when they signed up within the last 12 years- we have been in conflicts the entire time and we¬†knew we would be going into harms way to help people we¬†couldn’t even talk too! Or ask the Operator of a Charity why he does it. All of the hours and sacrifices these people inflict on themselves. The countless hours that they sacrifice with their families. The wages, cause trust me, the Military will pay you, but you won’t be eating steak every night- unless you are lucky! The same goes for many of the Charities out there. Some do better than others to raise funding. But they are all out there, all the time. With no Excuses. No Complaints. And Nothing but the Will to further their cause and help people, out of only the goodness of their hearts.

We all have our own definitions of Heroes. Some have Capes or Golden Locks. Some wear a Uniform or carry a Badge or Axe. Others are more incognito about it- going about mild mannered lives, always with someone Else’s best wishes at heart. They have something in common. They willingly serve the greater good. They Volunteered to do what they are doing. By Choice! And have of these amazing people would never go out to a press corps and yell that they worked for 40 hours straight, just to get a shipment of medicine to people who really need it!

For me, Volunteering to help these Organizations out, even if it is just a bit of time or a small donation, is one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. We do it as often as we can. Giving even as much as we can of our lives and well being to help out good causes for great people.

We are humbled by those who make it their goal in life.

They way we figure it, it is the least we can do! Spending a Weeknight here or a Saturday or Sunday there. Or a few bucks now and them. We want to be a part of these great works and wonderful organizations, even if we don’t share their exact dream.

Because, in the end. Every penny helps. Every donations makes tomorrow just a bit easier. And every life saved from the work completed by these Organizations is Priceless.

Holy Crap- and Here Goes Nothing!


Well,

This is the beginning of what I hope will be a great adventure!

I recently decided to get a Bicycle! This is after almost 16 years of not even owning a bicycle. A Friend at work asked if I would be interested in doing a Triathlon with him(don’t freak out too much, its only an Olympic Distance). I agreed. Went home and got registered, then sat back and relaxed. It was about ten minutes later that I looked at my Wife after I realized “… Umm, I don’t even have a Bike to Ride in this thing!!”. Her response? “Duh, you just figure that out?”(yep always the woman to make you feel good about yourself haha).

So there I am, now researching bicycle types and brands and accessories and needs and wants. I get to talking with a local Running buddy of mine, and he goes “Well, if you are getting a Bike, why not ride in the MS150 with us?”(the “US” being a group of people in Team Red White and Blue). Since I obviously think every word through before saying anything…. I naturally said “Yes, that’s sounds awesome!”. It was about five minutes later he told me that the 150 stand for One Hundred and Fifty Miles!

Another few weeks go by, I visit multiple Bike shops. test Ride every two wheeled contraption that will fit me(or not in some cases) and end up with a Felt Z7 Road Bike. So far I have put just under 200 Miles on it, and loving it! The open space, the roads and scenery, the amazing Cycling Community. They all seem like an extension of home to me.

(spoiler alert- Trekkies Beware!) These will be the Adventures of New Guy Cycling. Our Mission: To explore new roads and ride in groups never ridden before.

We will Learn. We Will Fall. And We Will get up and Ride Again!!