Sunday, December 30, 2007

Jill in ALASKA...

If you ever think you that it's too cold to go for a bike ride, you should check this site out - this girl is amazing!

http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/

Back from MA


What a trip! I am back in CA after 6 days (the perfect amount of time) in Massachusetts with my family friends. I have already acclimated back to CA life by a short surfing stint this afternoon :)

Some highlights of the week include:

My trip back home was interesting, which you can read about here. The short summary is that we had an unexpected 4 hour layover in Omaha Nebraska due to a BOMB THREAT against our plane. THAT was definitely unexpected! We eventually landed in Hartford at a brutal 4:45 in the morning. This was the start of a week where I never really got in a sleeping schedule (going to bed at 6am another morning didn't help either!)

I also watched a few episodes from the Sundance Iconoclasts Series. Basically, Sundance takes 2 well known people (I don't like the celebrity term they use) who on the outside don't seem to have anything in common, but once you see them interact, it's quite interesting. I have only seen the Dave Chappelle/Maya Angelou and Laird Hamilton/Eddie Vedder episodes, and although there is a small cheese factor involved, they were quite insightful and interesting. Worth the $2/episode from iTunes.

The triathlete in me for christmas received not one, but TWO, pairs of my fav running shoes - Asics Gel Cumulus VIII. I am quite fortunate for this luxury, and actually think I may dedicate one shoe to racing, and the other for training (after my current GC VIII starts hitting its limit on mileage).


Needless to say, I of course had to take the shoes out for a run. Knowing that I was gonna hafta get out of the house at one point during the week, I packed some warm running clothes. I also knew that local residents of a small new england of east longmeadow would be shocked to see someone running in running tights in 40 degree weather! Well, on my 6 mile jaunt through town, I actually had people slowing down to look at me and most likely wonder what the hell I was doing! And yes, that is snow on the ground! It is also safe to assume that given the temperature, I was moving along at a brisk pace.

The highlight of the week was definitely seeing the 2 new puppies that my dad recently got: Monty, and Blake. They are a lab/something mix (the something is obviously unknown), and the coolest, most well behaved dogs I have ever come across.


I also picked up a mild Sudoku addiction on my sister's Nintendo DS.

The rest of the week was spent relaxing, spending time with the fam, talking up the china study (there were 2 lucky recipients of that book in my family this year), and simply enjoying time off from everything.

The flight back to CA was less eventful than the trip to MA, but it was certainly interesting. Let's just say San Diego is a small town :)


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

I am heading home to MA soon (under 1+ foot of snow these days) , so I wanted to post a Merry Christmas wish and video from the best band on the planet - The Killers. The video and song are a little weird, but it makes me smile!

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 17, 2007

LA!

Most people bag on LA (including myself), but I have never bagged on the great biking up there!

I went up to Glendale to visit my IMLP compatriot, Mr. Dan Altobello, to do some serious riding. On saturday, we left his place in g-dale, and took off towards the Mt. Wilson Observatory via angeles crest trail.

View Larger Map

It was pretty much straight up from the get go. We finished off the ride by doing some laps around the rose bowl.


View Larger Map

After that, we refueled at a fantastic vegetarianism restaurant aptly named Fatty's. And to think there's no such thing as sarcasm in socal!

Sunday was the day. We headed on over to the Kanan Dume trail, which, and I quote "is the best ride in the Santa Monicas". This ride absolutely rocks. 2 years ago, I rode the west end of it, and it was a blast. Sunday, we road the east end, and somehow, I think it was better than I remembered. I was actually hootin, hollering, yelling during some of the downhill single track sections it was so much fun. It was fantastic! Dan will actually be moving 3 miles from the trailhead in a few weeks, so I am looking forward to biking the whole trail sometime soon.

Needless to say, this weekend confirmed again that mountain biking is guaranteed to kick my ass, just about every time!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Wait, I've signed up for what?

I think its all starting to dawn on me that I signed up for an Ironman.

As I have been slowly getting the engine going since the turkey trot, I have spent a little bit of time looking inside. Looking inside to wonder why someone would do something like this - something so consuming.

Some people pick up triathlon for a new challenge, or a hobby - including myself. But to sign up for an Ironman - thats big time. That's not like signing up for your local sprint. This is 140.6 miles. In it's simplest form, it's roughly 11-12 (or most likely more) hours of continuous exercise. When was the last time you did anything for 11-12 hours? And no, I don't mean sleep off a long night of boozing either.

I had a conversation with my good friend Bassam the other night, and we laughed about his theory of humans being a bored species. I mean seriously, spending how much time and money to do an Ironman? Are we that bored with our lives? We joked that if you could tell what we do now to a human from a couple hundred years ago, or to a animal like a Lion, each would look at you and be like "What the hell are you doing? 140.6 mile triathlon? You're an idiot!". I don't think either would receive an argument back from someone training for an Ironman.

Joking aside though, I think signing up for this "race" really made me look inside at WHY I would do such a thing (or other things for that matter). We all have our reasons for doing things, but to voluntarily sign yourself up for something that puts you completely out of your comfort zone and consumes you so much requires a little bit more. It doesn't matter what those reasons are - as long as they are important to you. I know my reasons and motivations for doing IMLP, which I will share with you over the season, but until then, it's safe to say that the "Journey" has started...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What's different this season?

During that thing called off season that most people don't do enough of, I like to take time and reflect on the past season, and drum up some ideas on what I can do the next season to try to get "better". These are the things that will be different this season:

Overall Diet
Inspired by a lengthy conversation with Jeff, and an eye opening book named "The china study", I have made significant changes to my diet. First and foremost, my meat intake has decreased significantly. Where a lot of people eat meat 2-3 times a day, I have decreased my meat intake to about 2-3 times per week (if that). Secondly, I started eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. Finally, I am simply eating less. This will probably change over the course of the season once the overall volume kicks up, but looking back - I was eating a little too much last season. Having said all that, changing my diet about 3 months ago has me starting this season a full 10lbs lighter than last season - even after only doing a handful of workouts during the off season.

Stretching
I still anticipate doing yoga once a week (hey, its free at my work), but in addition to that, I plan on 15-20 minutes of stretching 5 times a week. I primarily want to focus on my hips and hip flexors, and also opening up my shoulders quite a bit. Why these in particular? Your hip flexors are support muscles for lifting your leg when running. So, the stronger they become - the least likely they will fatigue (which hopefully will help me during the back half of the marathon at IMLP).

My main purpose for all this stretching is to keep it somewhat limber, since my muscles have a tendency to get tight during the course of the season. I also believe this helps in injury prevention, even if there aren't any scientific studies that support this. You can also bet that the foam roller will be in effect for the next 8 months.


Bike positioning

Even though I was fit on my bike by 3 different people last year, something never felt 100% right. Based on my slowtwitch lurkings and general curiosity, I decided to try riding steep - the way Dan Empfield says tri bikes should be ridden. This, in effect, means pushing my saddle farther forward (as my coworker called it - "The attack angle of your arse"), and maybe decreasing the amount of spacers under my stem. Well, I moved my saddle forward about 3 cm's (pretty much all the way to the stop tick on the rails) in the already flipped forward seat post position, and took out one small spacer from underneath my stem so that I only have one big one left underneath.

The results have been fantastic. Although I still think there are some tweaks to be made to the cockpit, I feel significantly more powerful on the bike - both in the high intensity efforts, and easy base building rides. I did my 20K TT last week in this new position, and I think this was part of the reason why it went so went well.