May 30, 2008

1 Week till Mooseman

One week to go till I head up to New Hampshire for the Mooseman race weekend. I'm really looking forward to it, it will be fun, but I'm thinking it's going to be a world of pain. I'm racing Saturday and Sunday, and with my knee still aching a bit my training hasn't been all that great, especially the run. I'm sure it will be good pain though :)

I'm planning to borrow my parents camper and head up to the Newfound RV Park again, it was nice and clean and close to the race. I'm thinking my brother, uncle and brother-in-law are going at this point. My cousin and his friend have backed out so it may be just the 4 of us.

Looking forward to it.


May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Hope your weekend was great, the weather was beautiful around here!

We had a nice hike up in the Presidential Range in New Hampshire with my parents and brother and sister-in-law. We stayed overnight in the Joe Dodge Lodge at the base of Mt Washington. It was pretty nice actually, a fun atmosphere for the kids.

On Monday I went for a long bike ride with my uncle Eric and we got in close to 40 miles. A very hilly ride, it wasn't very fast but I felt good when we were done, not sore at all.

Overall, a productive and relaxing weekend!


May 20, 2008

Great ride to work

Rode my bike in again today... it really starts the day nicely. I have to make sure I hustle on the way home though, I have my uncle coming to talk about the bathroom project.

I need to remember how enjoyable it is to ride and do it more often. It's pretty easy to roll back over in bed and decide to just drive instead!


May 19, 2008


This weekend I become a USAT Certified Official and referred my first race!

Saturday, I attended a quick clinic which consisted of myself and another potential referee going over the rules book and manual for officiating USAT sanctioned Triathlons and Duathlons. The meat of the rules and indeed the job of the official is to control the bike course and emphasize fairness. This means controlling drafting, ensuring safety and making sure that the course if followed.

Sunday morning, I had to be in Glastonbury for the Shamrock Duathlon at 6:30 when the transition area opened to support the race and then be ready to go out on the bike course. We started by gong through transition, checking for missing bar end plugs and making sure bikes were racked in the correct spot. We had a lot of trouble with mis-racking mostly because the racks they used were the boxes with slits to hold the bikes. I think those racks are terrible, and are very difficult to use, but I'm sure race directors like them because they are quick and easy to setup.

I also ran into a few people I knew, a coworker, a friend of my sister-in-law, and a bunch of people from my gym. I watched them head out on the run course, and go ready to get on the motorcycle to patrol the bike course. Riding the course on a motorcycle looking for drafting or other fouls is totally different than biking it. It's really interesting to watch not only the leaders charging around the course but also how the middle of the pack responds to officials and other racers. I really got an interesting perspective on how passing is supposed to work.

I ended up documenting 4 issues and ultimately only penalized one of the bike riders for drafting. The other penalties I gave out were for racking violations and wearing headphones on the run. I'm looking forward to do another race or two this year.


May 15, 2008

Bike ride with my daughter

Took a little spin yesterday with the middle daughter. She's really gotten much better on the bike over the last few weeks. It was rough early in the spring when she was rusty after the winter, but she's enjoyed going for a ride around the neighborhood after dinner!


More bikes

In the spirit of Bike Month, I found this to be a very encouraging sign, bike production on a world wide basis is far outpacing automobile production. 13o0 million bikes to 57 million cars. Check out the graph that really illustrates the difference.

Sure, I realize not a lot of this is in the U.S. but I've also seen evidence (at least anecdotaly) that bicycling is increasing in popularity here as well. Bike shops are busier, I see many more bikes on the road, and gas prices have caused more people to consider biking at times.

This is definitely a good thing on many levels! If you're interested in commuting by bike (Jack, I'm talking to you), there are a lot of great resources on the net... start with An especially easy way to start is to bring all the stuff you need the day before, so you don't have to carry too much. Or even start by driving with your bike, leave your truck at the office and ride home then ride back the next day. This way you've split your commute across two days and reduced your ride distance for one day. Either way, I guarantee it will be fun and you'll feel good for the day as well as save a bit of money.


May 13, 2008

National Bike to Work week

I meant to post this earlier, but this week is Bike to Work week, part of National Bike Month. After struggling to get my commuter bike back in shape I did bike in yesterday in spite of the somewhat threatening weather. It turned out that we got no rain, but the wind was just brutal on the way home and played havoc with my commuting time as there were moments when I could hardly coast downhill into the headwind.

I'm still looking for a good pannier, specifically a garment style bag to keep my clothes nicely, but apparently everyone else is as well since they seem to be sold out everywhere. Dave at Tolland Bike also mentioned that he's been very busy, clearly the high gas prices are having an impact.

It was nice to get back on the road early in the morning. Planning on 3 days a week if possible, we'll see how it works out in practice.


May 12, 2008

Cold water

After attempting and failing to get in the water a couple weeks ago, Matt and I were determined to go for a swim this Saturday in Crystal Lake. We met there at 6am which would give us plenty of time for a nice leisurely swim and probably even some breakfast before I headed to track practice.

I'm not sure what the water temperature was, but it's safe to say that it would have qualified as an ice bath! Very cold, I'm guessing high 40's, maybe 50 or 51 degrees. It took a while to get my head in the water and start really swimming. Speeding up helped a bit since working managed to keep me a bit warmer, but I never felt anything other than really cold. We lasted about 45 minutes or so and did about a mile of swimming, down to the boat launch and back from my grandfather's house. The sleeveless wetsuit and swim cap didn't really help a whole lot, but it was certainly warmer for my legs than my bare feet. I noticed about 15 minutes after getting out and on the way home that my feet started tingling and stinging a bit as they finally thawed out!

I had some time to warm up before heading to track with my daughters for the distance challenge. The distance challenge is a test to see how far the kids can run in 1 hour. We start them on the track and keep track of how many laps they can do before time expires. My older daughter, age 10 did 5 1/2 miles, and my younger daughter age 7 did 4 1/2 miles. I was quite proud of them, they both put in a pretty good effort!


May 8, 2008

A new form of torture

I have many times in the past ruminated on the blissful pain that is "kick sets", so it was with restrained optimism that I watched to coach walk over with the kick board this morning at swim practice...

Before I continue, let me explain a bit more what I mean by kick sets. The concept is pretty simple, you hang onto a kick board and flap your legs back and forth in a pattern that is supposed to resemble the kicking you would do during your normal swimming. A typical kick set would consist of 10 - 25 meter kick on 1 minute. This means that you kick the length of the pool and then wait for the rest of the minute bfore starting over. The ten at the beginning means you do this pattern 10 times. The key is that the faster you finish the interval, the more rest you get so if it takes 50 seconds to kick the distance, then you get 10 seconds of rest. Take 58 seconds and you only get 2 seconds to catch your breath.

This set is pretty tough for me because I don't go very far or fast when I kick from a combination of inflexible ankles and legs, and probably poor form. Most men aren't very good kickers from what I've read so I'm not entirely alone on this. Sometimes to make the set a bit tougher, the coach will ask us to do 5 - 50 meter kick on 2 minutes, or two lengths of the pool with the remainder of the 2 minutes to rest. This just means that my legs are really burning towards the end, and I need every second of recovery. You can't slow down either, because then your legs never recover.

So, back to this morning... it would seem that there isn't a way to make kicking a whole lot tougher but clearly this was one factor I didn't consider. How 'bout if we take out all of the rest! My coach handed me the board and said "10 minutes, just keep kicking and see how far you get". Ouch!

I tried to stay steady and push pretty hard but not all out to start. I quickly figured that 250 meters was my baseline, and I needed to reach that at a minimum. The first 50 meters hurt, but I built a bit of a cushion finishing in under 100 seconds. The pace was good, it would get me to 300 meters but I wasn't sure I could keep it up. Every 50 meters got progressively harder as the lactic acid built up in my legs and I ate into my cushion. I knew I could definitely make it though, the question was going to be could I get an extra 25 meter length in. Finishing the 250 meter length, I had 40 seconds to spare and I just went all out. I was kicking towards the clock so I could see the seconds ticking off through the haze as my vision started to blur! The last fifteen meters were at a sprint pace, furiously churning through the water... and I was just short!

I think I touched the wall at around 3-4 seconds over the ten minutes and just hung there for a few minutes trying to catch my breath and get my legs back. My coach graciously allowed me to count 275 meters as my total though, very considerate of him I thought. All and all, it was a bit exhilarating and more interesting than the last practice, but I'm definitely sore now. Still looking forward to my next session though!

Oh, and Matt... where were you??


May 7, 2008

This week...

Good and bad, it's been a crazy week. Swimming practice started (good), I discovered more issues with wheels (bad), track practice has gotten my running back on track (good), running hasn't helped my knee any (bad).

I'm gearing up to start commuting to work via bike again, but I had trouble with my road bike the last time I took it out. Investigating a little further last time, I'm afraid that the hook on the edge of the rim that keeps the tire on is worn out. The tire doesn't stay seated on the rim correctly, and this has created bumps when fully inflated. Nothing like a constant steady thumping every time the wheel goes around to drive you totally nuts! I gotta run it up to the bike shop again and get it looked at a little closer. Hopefully I'm not looking at another new wheel! In other commuting news I ordered a garment bag that clips onto my bike rack for transporting my clothes. Hopefully, I can get some rides to work in starting next week.

The other problem that I mentioned is my knee bothering me which it tends to do with any significant change in running volume. I've learned that it usually goes away if I work through it and also increase my biking to help straighten the area, so I'm optimistic. Hopefully the swimming will also help as I work on leg strength without any pounding at all.


May 6, 2008

New swimming season

News Flash! Kick sets still hurt!

A new season of Master's swim has started, and I was in the pool at 5AM today excited ready to go! It was kind of nice to get started though, it's been a few months since I was in the pool. My form was definitely rusty though, I could feel it a bit in my arms and shoulders. It took a few laps for me to get back in the groove, especially with the flip turns.

All told, I probably got in 2500 yards, so it was a good start. I should be back to my regular Tues. / Thurs. schedule, so I'm hoping to get back in the groove quickly.


May 1, 2008

What are you doing today??

Here's how I'm planning to spend my day!


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