The Journey

The journey is more important than the destination.

Several years ago a friend of mine asked me if I would do the Fairlee Triathlon in Vermont. After training for three months, feeling like I was going to drown in the swim, feeling nauseus on the run, I crossed the finished line and was hooked.This led to my triathlon journey.

Please consider supporting my latest effort to raise money for Bretton Woods Adaptive through the Janus Charity Challenge at Ironman Lake Placid this July. Check out the Links I Like section of the blog or explore the BWA Fundraiser links.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Chilly swim

The primary pool I swim in is the Dover Indoor pool. The typical pool temp is 82 - 84 degrees, very comfortable to swim in.

So last night I'm trying to decide if I want to take advantage of the 80 degree sunny day and do a bike ride or do what is on the schedule - a 1800 yard straight swim. With my shoulder not feeling great a few weeks ago and my swim yardage being lower than I would like at this point in the season I opt to swim. However, I went to the UNH pool instead because it is closer to the house and has open lap times until 7.

Who knew that a few degrees would make such a difference in comfort?! I didn't notice the 75 degree water temp written on a while board until I left, all I knew was that for the first 50 yards it was cold enough to not get a good breathing rhythm and reminded me of what next weeks swim will be like in Newfound Lake during the Mooseman Tri. Temps are usually in the mid-60's for that race but it is bearable with a wetsuit.

After a few hundred yards the water actually felt pretty comfortable. I'd compare it to running when it is in the 40's or 50's outside. Cool when you start but comfortable after you get going.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flat tire

I haven't had a flat tire since last Spring but I got one on the Wednesday night GSTC ride. I'm comfortable changing tires, however, it's not the fastest process in the world for me. The one I had last spring was a front tire flat and it was less than 5 minutes from flat to rolling out again (using CO2 cartridges). I don't have much to compare that to but I thought was pretty good.

The flat on Wednesday night was on my rear wheel and I was on by older road bike. The rear wheel never seems to be as easy to remove as my tri-bike. My change time was closer to 20 minutes with tire irons that didn't seem to want to get under the tire. After getting the tire back on the CO2 didn't inflate the tire as much as I was comfortable with so I cut the ride short and it eneded up being a 40 minute ride instead of the planned 75 minutes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Catching up

After three weeks of blowing my nose, shooting phlem out of my nostrils on rides and runs and coughing that same phlem up each morning....I'm finally feeling close to 100%. Thankfully, I've been able to get back to a normal training schedule over the past we and a half.

The one shortfall I am still finding is during swimming, my left shoulder has a twinge on the recovery part of my stroke. I first felt the twinge about four weeks ago attempting to do the butterfly stroke. Big mistake. I've never had any formal coaching for the stroke, only watching other people at Masters. After that first time, I took two weeks off, but to no avail. After 15 minutes of swimming at Masters the pain returned. I'm going to try again tomorrow morning. I have about 2,500 yards on the schedule for tomorrow.

The last week has held some good workouts. Saturday consisted of a 50 mile ride on a beautiful warm spring day. I went out with Paul and Kate for the first 90 minutes and then Paul and I did the rest of the ride on our own.

Sunday was a 90 minute run. My legs felt pretty heavy for most of the run which was concerning me because my coach had me doing the last 30 minutes at 80% - 85%. But by the time I got to the one hour mark I was feeling pretty good and was able to go pretty hard for the last 1/2 hour.

While I was planning to ride on Memorial Day just because it was a nice day, the day just didn't allow for it and I spent some quality time with the family and good friends. Our GSTC group ride is on the schedule for tomorrow night. It is supposed to be nice night so I'm looking forward to the ride.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cross training hike

This weekend I broke from the scheduled trainings to go hiking and camping at Mt. Moosilauke with my brother for his bachelor party.

The weekend started on Saturday morning with a 2 hour drive to northern NH. There was some talk of doing a bike ride but the weather forecast didn't look great so I scrapped that plan. On the drive up I found myself trying to figure out the difficulty of a bike ride. The Ravine Lodge at Mt. Moosilauke sits at 2,500 feet so the drive up was a good climb. I wish I could have biked up it while at the same time glad we decided not too ride!

I had never been to Mt. Moosilauke so I didn't know what to expect. I soon figure out that our cabin was not close to the parking area - I would come to find out it was around 1/2 mile, almost all uphill. This wouldn't be that big a deal except that I hadn't packed expecting this. So, I had to make two trips to get all my gear to the cabin.

Overall the uphill hike was worthwhile. It was a large one room log cabin with a deck around 2 sides with the longer side looking up onto the mountains. Inside there was a small kitchen area, large rustic dining table, bunk beds and an old cast iron cooking stove that was also the heating source.

There was no electricity and while there was a sink and faucet, the water didn't seem to work. The "facilities" were about 50 yards away down an embankment and across two seasonal runoff streams. Thankfully I didn't have to make many trips there. The one cool thing about it was the view. While you were sitting doing your business and if you left the door open there was a nice view of the mountains!

The climb up Mt. Moosilauke was good but challenging. The trail we took up was 3.6 mils to an elevation of 4,800 feet which is about 2,300 feet from the cabin which by my calculation is about an 8.2% grade, pretty steep! We a lot of Moose droppings on the way up which surprised me because the area we saw them was very densely wooded with a good amount of snow still on the ground. It seemed like it would be difficult for an animal the size of a moose to maneuver.

It took us about 2 hours to get to the summit and since we didn't leave until around 2:30, that only left about 2 hours to get down to the base for the 6:30 dinner at the lodge.

We took a different route down which was also 3.6 miles. However, this route was on the northern side of the mountain so there was a significant amount of snow for about half of the trail down. It had been packed down over the winter but softened by the warmer days so it formed kind of a ridge along the trail making it difficult to maneuver.
We did make it to dinner on time and had a great meal. Despite the sore legs that we all had the next day, the rest of the weekend was good and dragging all of our gear down the hill was obviously much easier than the trip up the day before.
I had originally intended on riding that afternoon after getting home from my son's lacrosse game, but my sore legs were telling me otherwise. I'll get back on track this week with my more "traditional" training program.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bike Week

No, I don't mean the dreaded week in the state of NH when the motorcyclists show up for a week. I mean the great week of cycling I had - getting about 65 miles in and I still have a 4 hour ride on tap for tomorrow.

It has been a mix of my tri bike and road bike and with the late daylight I've been able to stay out to 7:45 to 8 PM.

Short post tonight. I'll try and write more at the end of the weekend. This weekend is a camping weekend for my brother's bachelor party. After the four hour ride I'll be hoping to do a four hour hike up Mt Moosilauke.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Feeling marginally better

I'm still not feeling 100% but I was going stir crazy not doing any training over the past week. So, I went for a short run this morning - about 4 miles. It felt great to get out and do something but I'm still a little styffy and have this nagging cough also.

I have Masters on the schedule for Tuesday but I think I'll probably bike and/or run instead. The idea of swimming with my head as stuffy as it still feels is not at all appealing.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Awesome cycling shot

While I'm not a fan of Rock Racing's team, I couldn't resist posting this picture from Velonews. It is from Brasstown Bald in the Tour of Georgia.

Cold wet weekend

I am just now getting around to writing about this past weekend's training because I've been sick for the past several days, probably because of the weekend training. On Saturday I did a three hour ride with temps in the mid-40's and intermittent rain drizzle for most of the ride.

I took a pretty hilly route from Durham out to Northwood and back in through Strafford, Rochester, Dover into Madbury. I did about 12 miles on Route 4 and after crossing over the Lee Traffic Circle it is a series of long steady climbs out to Northwood. Strafford, no matter where you go is hilly also. This helped keep me warm on the climbs but gave me the chills on the descents.

I felt good after the ride and spent the rest of the day taking it easy around the house.

Sunday had a 1:50 run on the schedule. The loop I took was just over twelve miles and I finished in just under 1:50. Again the temps were in the mid 40's with off and on showers. Running in these temps/conditions definitely beats cycling. I felt strong for the entire run and finished with some good mile times.

Here is where the mistake comes. I made plans to meet up with two friends from college over in Portsmouth. We had a great time and it was really good to catch up with them, however, training in the cold and rain for five hours in two days followed by a few pints of Guiness at The Press Room is not the ideal recovery regimen.

Monday morning I had a tickle in my throat and by Tuesday night it had developed into a full head cold. As a result I haven't gotten any training in this week. I'm feeling better today but decided to give it one more day before getting back on the training track.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

GSTC Group ride begins

Tuesday's workout was a Masters swim session. We normally don't quite finish the full workout in the hour practice. The yardage for a workout typically varies from 2,700 yards up to 3,200 yards. Ironically, with Tuesday's workout being 3,200 yards, it was one of the few workouts we've finished the entire thing. There was a lot of freestyle swimming which definitely helped and we also got started a few minutes early.

Evening workouts always make the next morning's workout more difficult. Wednesday was no exception. Yesterday morning I did a run of about 5.5 miles in just under 50 minutes. Then after work I met up with GSTC for the first Wednesday night club ride of the year. There was only four of us but it was nice to ride with a group, despite the 50 degree temp and stronger than expected winds. We got about 22 miles in about an hour and 15 minutes. We had some good hills and a pretty strong headwind for the first half of the ride that kept our speed way down. Two of the four were also new to the club so I think everyone wanted to make it more of a casual ride than a hammerfest. That certainly contributed to the slower pace.

After the ride I went on a run through college woods on my own. I don't usually enjoy afternoon runs but this one felt good. I think I planned my nutrition timing better yesterday which helped make the run more enjoyable. I ended up getting home around 8 last night, boiling a big serving of pasta and having it with my wife's homemade sauce which she had just finished making. After that I finished the meal off with a small serving of Ghiardelli dark chocolate chips (I tell myself I eat them for the antioxidants in dark chocolate ). Nice way to finish the day.

I was supposed to swim this morning but decided to get the extra rest. Tonight I have another ride scheduled which I'll be doing on my own and will be more of a workout than last night