2/24/07

Lovin' it!

This has been a big week for me. I've already put in 210 miles of cycling since Tues, 10 miles of fast incline walking on the treadmill and around 7000 yards of swimming. And I plan on running tomorrow morning for the first time in 4 weeks! So it isn't quite "Ironman" training but I'm feeling strong, healthy and excited to race. This morning I layered up enough to keep myself warm at 6:30am. Instead of driving myself to the group ride, I pedaled my way over 20 miles to meet the Gearlink group at CVS. I never really realized how weak of a cyclist I was until I started riding with Gearlink. Of course barely hanging on this summer was a little insight to my poor cycling ability, but I love seeing my improvements. Towards the end of my training this year, I was at my prime and feeling great when I rode with the group. Now, however, the Gearlink guys are racing hard and riding strong! They are an amazing group of people, especially the leader of the team, Karel. What power these guys have! Anyways, after riding for over an hour to meet the group, I was feeling great and excited to ride. The ride started off slow (as usual) and we rotated at an easy pace of 18-20 mph. All of a sudden however, I was dropped and the group accelerated ahead of me. I tried not to get frustrated, but when I'm cycling my hardest at speeds over 26 mph to try to keep up, there was no luck in catching the group. After a while of cycling solo I decided to get on my aerobars and ride solo (nothing new for me!). I love pushing myself and challenging myself-especially when it comes to cycling. I was happy to be out there with everyone (kinda) and surprisingly, I was feeling really strong! My heart rate was reasonable, my speeds were great and even with strong winds today I was feeling really good. My mentality of the ride really changed once I stopped comparing myself to others and started to focus on myself. Sometimes I worry about racing Elite at St.Anthony's and get my butt kicked...but then again, getting my butt kicked by the best. Secondly, this vision I have of turning pro could easily be shot down by a bad workout, the crazy splits and times of some of my age group competitors and the results of some of the top current pros. So what am I trying to say? In the sport of triathlons you must challenge yourself. I think that is the beauty of Ironman training. Although you spend a lot of time training alone, you are forced to push yourself by your own strength and discipline.
I'm glad I had a great ride and my average for the 60 miles I completed this morning was pretty stellar compared to rides last summer. Really looking forward to the next month. I can't believe it's almost March!
I also want to wish my brother good luck this weekend (today) in California at the Pacific Classic Gymnastics meet. My bro graduates in just 2 months and he is finishing off his senior year as a 4-year Varsity Letter Gymnast and All-American! Keep having fun Aaron. :)

2/22/07

No Surprise....We live in Florida!

No Surprise....We live in Florida! Within one week of cycling over 180 miles, I've experienced minimal rain, crazy winds, extreme cold and now I'm finding myself unzipping my jersey and de-layering during my rides. I tell ya, you start to get use to the freezing temperatures and then the Florida weather gods increase the temps from mid 30's to mid 70's! At first the weather is welcoming, but if I'm pulling out the sleeveless jerseys in Feb., what's to come in June, July and August!!!! Oh my. This week has been a good one for me, from starting to get more involved with nutrition consultations, adding some mileage to my cycling, swimming regularly with the SwimFit Triathlon Swim Team at the Y (ok-so I'm doing the sets by myself, but it's nice to be around others) and I finally started "walking" again!!! Even though I'd much rather be running, I've walked over 9 miles this week on the treadmill (around 4 mph with 8-10% incline). Even with my magazines, I am bored out of my mind and doing intervals while you walk doesn't make it any better. I am playing it safe and being a good athlete and not a stubborn one and finishing off the week walking and then starting to run next week. I'll keep you updated. I want to give a big thanks to Ray Lake who is doing an AMAZING job with my website. Check it out as it is still in the process of being built - http://www.trimarni.com/ Let me know if you have any suggestions or any comments. I won't give away my Web master, but if you need any help with your website, feel free to contact me for his information. He is Awesome!!!

2/19/07

Florida you say?

Unless you are a lifeguard or year-round swimmer (which I have been both) you probably don't worry about the weather on a daily basis. Aside from the Floridians who bundled up for our fridged sub 40 degree weather this morning, living in Florida is just wonderful for year round sports. I have had many moments this year where I have caught myself complaining about the "cold" temperatures (like today when I brushed frost off my car windshield), but I am very lucky to be able to train all year for my sport. Even though it takes me 30 minutes to bundle up with layers for a morning ride on my bike, I laugh as an hour into my ride, the temperature will rise over 10 degrees and the layers will have to come off. Yep, that's Florida.
A couple weeks ago when I was in Bradenton for the USAT educational weekend (which was a big success), Lee Zohlman and I set out for a 6am ride, both saturday and sunday. And I must add that riding with Lee was awesome and I recommend him as not only a great mentor but an awesome coach, speaker and friend. Thanks Lee for an awesome weekend of riding! Anyways..the fog was thick and I had clean socks on my hand cause I didn't realize how cold it would be that weekend (yes-you can laugh). We joked about how cold the weather was, but in reality we were so lucky to be able to ride outdoors in Feb. and then go for an outdoor swim.
The best advice I can offer for those living in a cold state, is to move! Haha-only kidding. Do what you can to keep your fitness. If it is swimming with a swim/masters team, joining an indoor track club, starting that off-season weight training program that you vowed you would do come the off-season, or staying regular with your computrainer or gym spinning class, just keep active even in the winter. I was looking at some forums the other day, regarding training for IMAZ and I give everyone credit for sticking with their IM training program even in frigid temps and snowy conditions! I guess I don't feel so bad when I am swimming outdoors in beautiful Florida, hoping that it doesn't rain in the evening so I can go for a nice 2 hour ride :)
Just a couple more weeks until Triathlon season and I couldn't be more excited! And I'm even considering tasting a couple cycling races as well. Hey, if I've got the road bike now, I better put it to good use! And I'm always up for something new....

2/18/07

Freezing Temps & Wind...There's no stopping a serious cyclist!

As I pulled out the layers on Friday evening, I had no idea that Florida was capable of reaching freezing temperatures! Sometimes we (Floridians) take for granted how lucky we are to have no ice or snow storms during the "winter" months. It was a rude awakening come Saturday morning as I headed out the door for a ride a little before 7am. The 8am CVS Gearlink group ride turned out to be me and 3 other guys, which then turned out to be a 2 1/2 solo ride. No worries-I was glad to be out on my bike with a foot that is almost healed and ready to run. As I am a committed music listener when I am riding or running alone, I was bummed that I left my music at home and rode over 45 miles with freezing toes and a wind-burned face. Yes-it was that cold and I was riding in 30 degree weather in Florida! The music would have made me feel better about the chilly conditions, so I added some intervals to warm me up. After a quick protein smoothie and breafast, the rest of the day was spent in San Antonio cheering on Karel (who raced his first Pro 1,2 race) and the rest of the Gearlink guys. The course was ridiculously hard and the competition was fierce. Great job to everyone who tested the conditions on the chilly hills of Florida. I also tested my skills as I was 3 for 4 for passing water bottles at the Feed zone for the Pro race. And I thought triathlons were fun. Try passing water bottles to a specific rider as 20 cyclists come racing passed you in speeds over 30 mph!
The sunday routine was similar to Saturday, but I had to wait until the rain stopped and the wind somewhat died down. So the 2 hour ride this morning might as well been journaled as a 10% grade hill ride. As I started out in head wind, in about 40 degree weather, I was feeling fresh and excited to get in as many miles as I could until 9:30am. But as I made my first turn, the wind picked up....and boy did it! My normal flat stretch of road, which I can average 20-22mph in no-wind was forcing me to go 12 mph in the awful head wind. But, actually, I kind of liked it. I am sure anyone who has raced in Kona before would agree with me, that nothing is like the kona winds! Although I have never raced in Kona and have only completed one IM race, training in the wind, for the Ironman World Championships in Oct. is only necessary for my training. The winds got so bad that I was leaning so far to one side that I might as well have been doing crunches in the wind. I couldn't get aero, I was on my smallest gear and pedaling like I was climbing a mountain. But.....it was fun and challenging...just like i love!
The Dade City crit was today and I also watched that as well. Karel and Tony were racing Pro 1,2 and Karel had an amazing finish for his first Pro 1,2 weekend.
The rest of today will be spent catching up on writing assignments and emails.
So what was my big surprise? I GOT ME A ROAD BIKE! Yeah..I can be a roadie! Thank you to the wonderful people of Blue who hooked me up with a wonderful RC5 Blue road bike. Although my seduza will be missed, I can't wait to test out my skills for a couple cycling races in the upcoming months!
have a wonderful rest of the weekend everyone....and for those living in Florida...Stay warm!!!
*Also-a special congrats to Leslie Stallings who recently qualified for Boston this past sat at the Rock n' roll Marathon! Not only did this mother of 2, twice IM finisher train her butt of for this race, but she ran a 3:38 to blow her Boston qualifying time out of the water!! Great job Leslie!