Monday, December 11, 2006

Student of the Sport

A Triathlon.


One day, a few people who were training together, thought that it'd be a good idea to spur a little friendly competition by creating a race where you have to swim, bike and run. So, on 9/25/74, the San Diego Track Club gave birth to the modern day triathlon right here in Mission Bay. They created this event for FUN! 46 athletes competed, and little did anyone know, that San Diego would become a hot bed for triathlon, and that the world was soon to become our race course!

We as humans have this amazing tendency to grow things. To take something and run with it. To dream larger than thought possible. To push the envelope. To put logic and reality out the window in the face of competition.

Enter the Ironman Triathlon.

Swim 2.4 miles
Bike 112 miles
Run 26.2 miles

All in one day. Back to Back to Back.

Why on earth would anyone want to do this?

Enter debate and competition.

Some people on Oahu one day were arguing whether long distance swimmers or long distance runners are more athletically fit. Little did they know that a US Navy Commander was listening and quickly pointed out that cyclists are probably more fit since a Belgium cyclist recently recorded the highest maximum oxygen uptake of any athlete ever measured.

What better way to settle this debate, than create a really long race that includes all 3?!

Waikiki Rough Water Swim: 2.4 miles
Around Oahu Bike Race: 115 miles*
Honolulu Marathon: 26.2 miles
* (later reduced to 112 miles so that the start/finish of the bike was at the start finish for the swim and traditional start of honolulu marathon)

1st year: 15 participants
Winning Time: 11:46:58

2nd year: 50 participants
Winning Time: 11:15:56

Now, we have IM races that sell out (2000 participants) in less than an hour! We have professional triathletes (only a few) that have broke the 8 hour mark.

The word amazing can really be interpreted a number of ways, but there is no doubel that we as humans really are amazing. Can we ever really find "the limit"?

I guess our bike and gear have to progres with us humans!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Max Heart Rate Test

So, today, I performed a max heart test on a (stationary) bike. What is a max heart rate test you ask? It is a predefined plan to get your body warmed up, and with increased workload over time, ideally, your heart rate monitor should yield your max heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is the most your heart can beat in a given minute.

Why would someone do something like this? Surprisingly, it doesn't even have to do with pain that I write about so much (Although, it did hurt!) From your maximum heart rate, you can calculate your heart rate zones: 1-5. Heart rate zones (zone 2 for example is approximately 65%-75% of MAX heart rate) are the foundation of endurance training plans. Most workouts are designed around working in certain zones for the specific workout.

Some workouts are strictly zone 1 and 2 base building/endurance workouts, which build slow twitch muscle fibers. These lower intensity workouts allow your body to adapt to burning fat as an energy source, rather than glycogen (carbohydrates in your muscles), but most importantly to build endurance. Higher intensity workouts are typically in zones 3 and 4, with an occasional 5 to help build strength and fast twitch muscles.

In any endurance event, the idea is keep your heart rate below a certain % of max so you don't burn out! That point is refered to as your anaerobic threshold is the point at which your body cannot remove lactic acid faster than it is creating it. Lactic acid build up in muscles in what you feel when you go to hard to fast, and your muscles just feel dead afterwards!

My max rate was 192 (beats per minute), which seemed a little low, maybe be about 3-5 beats. I can say that towards the latter part of the test, my legs certainly had nothing in them, and the reason is simply the pretty rude ride I did yesterday! Fatigue is a common reason for testing lower than one would expect, so stay tuned for another test in a month or two!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Good Day/Random Thoughts

What a good day.

Get up, see a great sunrise.

Get to our workout location, and hammer out a solid 2 1/2 hour 40 mile bike ride. I was tasked with leading the advanced group. Well, being a mentor, having done this once before, and being asked to lead the advanced group - well, that doesn't mean that I take a leisurely stroll. That means I lead a pack of fast, eager cyclists - some of whom did raced a 5 hour 20 minute 109 mile Tour d'Tuscon ride! Woof, as if to say the ride wasn't tough enough, we finished the ride with going up the INSIDE of Torrey Pines state reserve. Follow up with a 15 transition run. Proceed to pig out on any food placed in front of me!

I came home, and knowing that San Diego was finally getting our first real northwest swell of the season, I of course had to snap a few snaps of the surf!

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I come home, and the Ironman Championship is on NBC. No, not the 17 hour event, but an abbreviated 2 hour version that details the drama and competitiveness of the pro's, the lifelong dreams of average people just to finish this glorious event, and these 4 inspirational stories:

David Rozelle -- While in Iraq, commanding 140 troops of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Captain David Rozelle lost part of his right leg when a landmine exploded under his Humvee. With intensive rehabilitation, as a below-the-knee amputee, Rozelle returned to active duty and an active lifestyle. After completing the 2004 San Diego Triathlon Challenge, he became a mentor in the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Operation Rebound Program and set his sights on the Ford Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

David Samson – As President of the Florida Marlins Major League Baseball Team, Samson was inspired to complete an Ironman after watching the 1995 Ironman broadcast. His lifelong dream became a reality this year while he raced to raise money for two charities close to his heart, the Challenged Athletes Foundation and the Florida Marlins Community Foundation, an organization that promotes educational, athletic, health and community service programs with a particular focus on South Florida’s youth.

Jon Blais Blais completed the 2005 Ford Ironman World Championship despite being diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This year, Blais returned to Kona to celebrate the athletic accomplishments of new supporters of “The War on ALS.”

Sister Madonna Buder – At 76 years of age, Buder holds the title of the oldest female finisher of the Ford Ironman World Championship and also became this year’s last official finisher with a time of 16:59:03. (yes, that's 57 SECONDS before the final cut off time!!)

Rick and Dick Hoyt: One of the most inspiring stories of family, dedication, and surpassing what you thought of human limits of endurance and love:

I am man enough to admit that I actually did hold back tears on multiple occasions during this broadcast.

Follow up with a great sunset:

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And as I sit here on my couch at 930pm on a saturday, absolutely destroying half of a pint of ben and jerry's coffee heath bar crunch with enormous heath bar chunks, I sit back and realize... life is good :)


Man, this first month of training, mentor, fundraising has literally turned my life upside down!

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I am starting to get both my speed and endurance back, but let me tell you, after workouts like I did today - I am spent. Like I said before, I am now relegated to the couch on a saturday night eating ice cream and somehow, loving every second of it!


Someone asked me if I would ever consider doing an Ironman one day. The answer is yes. I am willing to commit to a training plan to get me to finish a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile marathon run. When? Maybe 2008. Why? Many reasons. I'll list a few:

  • As it's told, doing an Ironman pushes you to, and past, what you thought was possible
  • You learn a lot about yourself - I have always thought that being out of your comfort zone or pushing yourself to the limits really shows you a side of yourself you didn't realize existed
  • The Ironman is so much more than a triathlon race. If you look at the bullets above - it is quite obvious
  • People like Jon Blais, Rick and Dick Hoyt have done it - and they have huge physical challenges against themselves
  • It is the ultimate test of triathlon
  • I said last year that I'd never do one
  • A few years ago, I never knew what a triathlon was
  • Because I am holding Jeff Hartnett to doing one with me one day
  • This video:

    and these don't even get into the reasons why I even do what I do...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Revenge against the 5K

I got some somewhat sweet revenge against the notorious 5K from a few weeks back. We did a 3 mile time trial at track last night. My first impression was "Man, run around a track TWELVE times as part of a time trial? Geez" But it honestly wasn't that bad. In fact, I liked it. I quickly got into a nice pace, increased my speed gradually, and finished with a solid 21:45.

I also hit the gym for the first time in 10 months the other day. Needless to say, I am SORE!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Wait, I thought I liked Pain!)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dr Jekyl & Mr Hyde

So, some of my coworkers recently have checked out my blog after a bout of trash talking, and general inquiry on my training. Both of them were shocked at my latest entries of gut check week and pain. I was also called a masochist (encarta's definition 2 and 4, NOT 1 and 3), and have been asked "where did the old easy going, lovable ryno go, who has now turned into a tri-loving, blog spewing, manic who loves pain and punishment?"

Ladies and Gentlmen - ryno, juice, ryan, denner, tri freak - whatever it is that you call me - still exists!! The problem is, is that I caught this thing called the triathlon bug, and I am totally hooked. I mean really, ALL triathlon really is - is an organized, competitive, expensive, fun version of the things we liked to do when we were KIDS: swim in a pool, chase our friends on the bike, and run around like maniacs. Admit it, whatever your current age is - there is still a part of you that can relate. Throw in a bunch of people you're age who are about the same ability for some friendly competition, the fact that female's in this sport can be down right ruthless, and the fact that older guys just get faster - you have to bring your A game and game face!