Thursday, January 31, 2013

Running - in 2013

The other day while running a friend asked how long I had been running. I said three years, I suppose technically I've always been running, it keeps popping up, but this is the first time I've ever actually stuck to it.

Winter 1991

As part of high school swimming we used to run through the neighborhoods before practice. I absolutely hated this, and did a ton of walking. I was regularly one of the last guys back.

Spring 1992

At the end of swimming season I reasoned that I should maybe join the track team, you know, so next year when we were running for swimming I wouldn't hate it or at least not be so slow. I don't really know how long that lasted, the coach put me in a two mile event at the first meet. That's when it stopped, I had no desire to do a race that long.

Winter 1992 - Winter 1994

We kept running for swimming, and I still did tons of walking and still really disliked it. Looking back I'm not even sure how far we were running. I remember thinking it was forever, I'm guessing it was only a couple of miles.

Summer 1999

I tried to pick up running, I can't remember exactly why. I was in college and would attempt to run around at least one of the lakes. There are two lakes within walking distance of campus, from the door around the small one and back is about 2.5 miles. From the door around the big one and back is about 4.5 miles. I was never able to muster up enough effort to get around the small one, and the only reason I knew the size of the big one was because of rollerblades, I definitely didn't try to run it.

Summer 2009

My wife and I had been married for a few years already. We had done a couple of 5ks but then, they consisted of quite a bit of walking, and I definitely wasn't doing any running outside of them. We had the new iPhone and one of the first apps we downloaded was a couch to 5k program. So we started that, we also signed up for my first and her third sprint triathlon. On yeah, and we had a 2 year old and a 6 month old.

So that's when it really started to get real, I knew if I wanted to do well in that triathlon I'd need to be able to run a stand alone 5k from start to finish. I reasoned that if I could do that before the race, that I'd be able to at least handle the 5k at the end, and peppering in some walking wouldn't be the end of the world.

My first attempt at couch to 5k wasn't stellar. I never got to the end, I just started shortening the runs. The next year we moved to Florida in April, we signed up for four more triathlons (package deal) and I started couch to 5k again. I didn't finish it again, I had still not been able to run three straight miles at the end of that triathlon season.

Like everywhere else, fall is running season on Florida, so my sister and I signed up for a half marathon that would be in January. So I picked up a beginner half marathon program and got started. At some point in there I was able to run more than 3 consecutive miles. I ran that first half marathon, missed my goal time and immediately signed up for another one a couple of weeks later. I hit my goal there. During this training period I developed some knee pain, people told me it was IT band issues, which are usually related to over training. So I took a small amount of time off to get over that, and then got back into triathlon training. This was the first time I would be able to start a triathlon knowing I could run the distance at the end.


My first long run of this season's training was an hour. Four years ago I had trouble running more than two minutes straight. I've come a long way!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Back at it

Today is day 1 of structured training for 2013, and I didn't even mess up the first workout by sleeping through it :) Also, I didn't stand on the pool deck through the entire warm-up! Though I did notice the coach did, I don't know if he saw me noticing... but I noticed... some day Scott, some day... comeuppance!

Every once and a while I read people's posts about what their favorite gear is, and it seems like I get gear every year. But I wouldn't say I have favorites.

Disclaimer - I have a bunch of gear, if you follow me much you know I try to race traithlons, not simply finish them. I think if you want to just do a triathlon, all the gear you need is
  • Swimming suit
  • Goggles
  • Bike
  • Shorts
  • Shirt
  • Shoes



  • Square leg speedos, I'm slightly modest and like the baggy look. I go through about two suits a year
  • Goggles - I'm sporting a red pair my daughter got me for Christmas, last year I got mine at Target. I go through about a pair a year.
  • Fins - because I want to get faster
  • Paddles - also because I want to get faster


  • Wet-suit. I Minnesota almost every race is wetsuit legal, and early races would be pretty chilly without one. I use this one (Xterra Vector-Full), I like it.
  • Tri-suit. I read this from David Thompson, so I got this (Blue Seventy Endurance Full.) It's not the same, but I agree, it's quite comfortable. They don't make that exact model anymore, we'll see when I need a new one what I go with.
  • Goggles - Same ones I use to train



  • Bike - I'm rocking a 2003 Giant TCR2, it's a nice bike, it's treated me well. Standard gear ratio, standard wheels, I added aero bars. Originally this year's plan had a new bike in it, plans changed. Maybe next year :)
  • Clipless pedals - I had these   (Shimano SPD) for the first 7 years, and they were used when I got them. Then I traded those for these (Speedplay Zero). To say these pedals are better is sort of like saying fresh milk is better than rotten milk. If it hadn't been better something would be wrong. But, I do like these pedals.
  • Shoes - I had a pair of cycling shoes I bought with the bike, they were too small, and I knew that like the third day I had them. So after 7 years I retired them and got some similar to these (Shimano tri Specific.) They might actually be too big. But I do like these shoes.
  • Bike shorts, let's be honest, I spend a ton of time in the saddle, and I need some cushion. The last two years I had one pair, then I wrecked them. Now I have two new pairs.
  • Bike shirts, I like to carry food on rides even if I never use it. Some day I will, and I'll be happy to have had those pockets, plus no odd tan across my lower back.
  • Tri shorts, for summer bricks. They look sort of like bike shorts, no padding, but I literally can't even get on my bike with baggy shorts on anymore.
  • Three water bottle cages. My sister got me this one (XLAB Torpedo) last year, it's my favorite feature of my bike. Great place to put a water bottle. The other two I use because in the summer I sweat like I have a leak and would otherwise perish.
  • Gear bag - put it under my seat. It's got supplies to change a flat, tube, tiny crow bars, allen wrenches, CO2 and usually my phone.
  • Helmet - Nothing special, one that fits. I need a new one this year. 
  • Trainer - last year we didn't have a gym membership. This year we do, but I'll still probably do long winter rides on the trainer in order to avoid taking up a bike for three hours. I have this one (JetFluid Pro by CycleOps) it's good.
  • Sun glasses - keeps rocks and wind out of my eyes


  • I just wear the tri-suit
  • Tiny socks, because I have always been afraid of blisters and can't bring myself to race without them
  • Tri-clips. Easy way to not have to run in my shoes, which at times can be quite precarious, I'm sure I look like an octopus on ice with shoes on. I like them, I wish they could be permanent.
  • For short races I take two of the water bottles off, and the gear bag.
  • For longer (Half Iron) races I leave the water bottles and the gear bag on and add a bento box. My tri suit has space for one Hammer gel, folded.
  • Sun glasses



  • Shoes, I don't need much correction in my shoe, so I just get whatever shoe is in a decent price range. Last year I had these (New Balance MR890), loved them. I needed a new set near the end, got these (K-Swiss Blade Light Run), they're ok, I think they look kinda dumb. I had some Mizunos two years ago, I will not get them again.
  • Speed laces, seems like a neccesity for fast transitions
  • Socks, I wear little socks to cut down on dumb tan lines (of which I have plenty,) also the little socks seem to reduce blisters. But not as much as cutting toe nails
  • On cool days I just wear cotton shirts
  • On warm days I wear singlets
  • For any run longer than about 7 miles I wear these (NipGuard), they are a must, otherwise much distress under my shirt and I look pretty silly running holding my shirt out in front of me.
  • Running shorts, because I feel pretty silly running in basketball shorts. On days when I do bricks I do put these on over my tri shorts. See the a fore mentioned modesty.
  • For runs over an hour I use this (Amphipod hydration belt,) due to previously mentioned sweat issues, on a hot long run I will drink near 20oz of water/Gatorade an hour


  • Same shoes I train in, I only use those shoes for training and racing.
  • Same socks I bike in
  • Tri-suit, sort of surprising is that even for long runs I do not have problems with chafing with the suit. Which is a good thing because those little guards would look PRETTY silly under that suit.
  • Sun glasses from the bike
  • Number belt, I think I bought one for $2 at some race a couple of years ago and since then have acquired two free ones. They are great, highly recommended.
  • Visor! Keeps the sun out of my eyes without making me feel like my head is on fire.I got one free at a race a couple of years ago, I wear it at every race now.


  • Garmin 310xt. Originally I had a 905, but it's not awesome for multisport racing. Actually, originally I used my phone to track workouts, but I was super paranoid about getting stuck in the rain with it. Good tool for tracking workouts.
  • Hammer Gels - Gels might be 100% mental, I have no idea. I do not feel the burst of energy people say they feel, but I do really, really, like the way the Hammer gels taste. The chocolate is like pudding. The apple cinimon is like apple pie filling. Recommended.
  • Road-ID - My wife got it for me, I wear it. Last year when I got in a bike wreck, even though everyone there knew me, and I had a cell phone with me, they all still said they were glad to see it. Wear it, it may one day come in handy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Race schedule and Goals

So I've come up with my tentative 2013 race schedule, and updated my goals section for a new year.


For the races, there are two new ones on there. and the rest I have done. Sometimes when I read other people's blogs or talk to them they say things like "I really want to try race-x" or "I'm trying to branch out from my regular races" and I guess I'm having fun doing the same races over. For me it's a chance for a year over year comparison.

There are some notable things missing
  • No running races, if you glanced through my goals there are two specific running goals. I will probably try to squeeze in a couple of spring running races and maybe some fall ones to get an attempt at them. But compared to triathlons, finding a 5 or 10k is pretty stinking easy and cheap.
  • No Rev3 race, originally we had planned on doing the Dells race, but it's on the same weekend as the Nationals race, if we don't do the nationals race for whatever reason we will be signing up for Rev3, it was a lot of fun, and my wife is fairly bummed that we'll be in Milwaukee instead of the Dells. Probably we could have tried to find another one, but after the Dells the closest race is 700 miles away, and that would mean a third vacation for the year. What we need is a destination Duluth or something, because I'd gladly add a Rev3 race the family loved it!


I guess I feel like they are pretty self explanitory. I feel pretty fortunate that so far I've had year after year significant gains, and I don't feel like I'm trying to squeeze water from a rock to get them.

The running goals are sort of milestone goals. I think I can do it, and I want to go out there and see. There are more runners than triathletes around, so when people find out I do 5k and 10ks at the end of triathlons we compare times. Because of that I like to try to stay on top of what my stand-alone race times are.

The biking goal is a motivational goal. I want to try to add a little bit of pressure to myself to get out there and do them. I knew about them last year and just skipped it.

The swimming goal is me trying to recognize and address a deficiency in my training. It's easy to put swimming on cruise control when I am consistently in at the front of the pack, but I know that if I can stick to it, it will do me well at the end of the season.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Soft in the mid section

Let's see here, I did a race at the end of October and then... dun dun duuuun... nothing for a whole month. In December I've been doing some weight training and very light running.

I put on some pants I got this summer, and much to my surprise they were a little snug. Actually this is probably a fluke, because I'm only about 5lbs heavier than I was in the summer, but still a small wake-up call.

I figure I'm not too far off of where I was last year. By this time last year I had been running pretty steadily for a month. And I started swimming and biking a little at the start of January, building up to the start of well planned out workout plans in the last week of January. My goal then was to hit my peak in early June for my first 70.3.

This year, if I remember to sign up, I'm going to focus on USAT nationals as my primary race, which isn't till August. But I'm going to start getting after the training early. The difference I guess is that I won't try to training for any specific race till about mid summer.

I do feel a little off my game, I have no come up with a training plan yet, but I have a couple of weeks to get after it.

So the plan for the next couple of weeks, add some biking, move the runs to the afternoon at work (for all my work buds out there, expect the email invite this week,) and add some swimming.

The goal for this month, come up with a 12 week build plan to start no later than the 28th. If December has shown me only one thing, it's that if the workout isn't written down, it's A LOT easier to skip.