Friday riding

Covered 89 miles today on the bike.  About 5 hrs, 45 minutes.  Two day total of over 140 miles and over 8 hours in the saddle.

The ride was originally supposed to be about 75 miles, but two wrong turns extended it by a bit.  I wasn’t overly concerned though—I was feeling good…not too cold or too tired.  And I had plenty of nutrition.  I tried my camelbak today and loved it.  Easy to drink from and holds a lot of fluid, not to mention other useful things like extra tubes, clothes and nutrition.  I’m also getting better at not sweating when I ride, which makes it much easier when my body starts to get colder late.

I’ve been debating whether to continue extending the distance of these rides indefinitely.  Right now my plan is to get up to 125 miles or so.  That distance will probably have me riding for more time than is required, but I like it too much to cut it short.  I think it’s especially ok to ride long like this right now, before I get into more structured training in the spring.  Right now I’m hoping the long rides really work my aerobic fitness.  In the spring I will likely shorten the rides (maybe to 5-6 hours only) but increase the intensity.

But those plans are for the future.  Right now I’m enjoying the riding and hoping to continue it.

My legs felt better than I expected this am.  Interested to see how they feel tomorrow morning.


Sunday morning on the treadmill

Up early this morning for 11 miles on the treadmill.  Lately on a Sunday morning like this I’d sleep in, so it’s a good sign that I got up.

Working the aerobic system—average HR 140.

I liked this workout.  Used the treadmill to start getting some longer incline work.  I also liked the idea of keeping the intensity fixed and varying the incline.

I’m hoping that this kind of workout will help me build strength for extended climbing as well as aerobic capacity.  My performance deteriorated on the second half of this particular workout.

Here are the specific grades (% incline) and times.  My times were slower on the significant inclines the second time around.  Once I get stronger I expect my performance to remain steady if I keep my HR the same.

1 (2%):  7.59             6 (2%):  8.00

2 (5%):  8.33            7 (5%):  9.05

3 (7%):  9.28            8 (7%):  9.49

4 (6%):  9.06             9 (6%):  9.31

5 (8%):  10.03           10 (8%):  10.24

This afternoon, got in 2-3 hours of cutting, hauling and stacking fire wood.  Good for strength.  I expect some soreness tomorrow.

On the week, 57 miles running plus 45 riding.  Good week.

Back on the bike

Today was a good day.  45 miles riding followed by over an hour splitting, hauling and stacking fire wood.  Also got a post-workout stretch in.

Last year we ran out of fire wood in February, right as the cold was setting in.  This year I hope to avoid that problem.  Splitting it is good strength work too.

Perfect conditions for today’s ride.  Temps in the 40s with grey skies but no rain.  I love grey skies.  I like sun too, but for whatever reason the autumn grey skies hit me in the right place.  I rode better than expected.  Finished in just under 2 hrs, 45 minutes.  Not bad for the first ride in weeks.

Hoping to continue riding frequently throughout the winter.  My current plan is to ride 2x per week, with one about 50 miles and the other starting at 50 but increasing to up to 6 hours.  I think those will really help with the aerobic capacity.

My biggest problems are keeping my feet warm and my bike clean/maintained.  Merino wool socks will be my next apparel purchase.  I’ve heard awesome things about them.

The rocking chairs are now in front of the wood stove.  I remember sitting in one of those chairs for about a week straight last December reading When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss’ biography on Vince Lombardi.  Great book that I would recommend if you are interested in football.  Lombardi was an interesting dude.  My dad played football at Fordham and was one year away from being coached by Lombardi.  My dad was a freshman in 1948, the year after Lombardi switched from coaching the freshman team to the varsity team.

Wednesday easy, learning about flinching, wood stove

11 miles today, again trying to stay at or near HR 140.  Very difficult to keep the heart rate down like that, especially on a consistent basis with hills.  It’s either too high or too low.  I suspect I’ll get better at it as I keep working on it.  I’m convinced that I should be spending some time running at these lower intensities, at least for some of the week.

I’d like to come as close to this in each of the next several weeks:

  • 2 rides per week, aiming for longer distances with some specific workouts for recovery.  Hoping this builds the aerobic system.
  • 1 long run per week
  • 1 real speed workout
  • 1 tempo workout
  • 1 aerobic run, most likely on the treadmill on an incline.  Hoping that over time I can get faster at a pretty low heart rate with bigger inclines
  • Strength work and stretching sprinkled in to each day, or at least 4-5 days per week

I think I’ll continue something like this through mid February when I have a marathon.  I’ll use that marathon as a test to give me an indicator of my fitness.

Following that race I’m trying to decide between taking on another race in April-May or putting all my focus on the Pikes Peak double in August.  Leaning towards focusing on the Pikes double.  Starting in March I’ll have about 24 weeks to prepare for Pikes Peak, which I’ve learned is as good as it gets for good race preparation.

I’m probably going to start writing a bit more about books here.  I just picked up The Flinch, by Julien Smith for the low price of $0.  Part of Seth Godin’s Domino Project.  It’s only available as an ebook.  I’ve only read the first few pages but I think it will be good for me.  I can see it being one of these books that I read in a day or two.

I love reading in front of the wood stove, which we cranked up for the first time this year.  If things go well (i.e., we don’t run out of wood), it should burn almost non-stop for the next 3 months.  It’s one of my favorite things about our place.  It keeps the upstairs nice and warm during the night, probably adds about 5-10 degrees.  It’s awesome.

Finally back

I just looked at my last post.  It was from November 20th, about 3 weeks ago.  Argh.  I can’t believe it’s been that long.

Things have been a bit hectic since then.

I finished NaNoWriMo (winner!) and then went on a vacation to Disney World with the family.  I like Disney.  The kids love it and it’s relatively easy on the parents.

I got 3 runs in while I was in Disney.  It’s not great running down there.  I find the parking lots to be useful though.  They’re well lit, large and fairly empty.  Not super exciting but good for a variety of runs.  Parking lots can be good for almost any kind of run but long runs.

My 2012 plans are coming into clear focus now.  That’s if I actually get my motivation right.  I’ll spare the details now since it’ll be a waste of time if I can’t make the training happen.

Right now my focus is on re-building the aerobic system (via longer easy runs and bike rides) and real speed work.  I’ve been listening to the “Ask the Ultrarunner” podcast on  It’s been really insightful.  I’m definitely adapting my training based on what I’m learning there.  And yes, “Ask the Ultrarunner” might be a clue as to what I’m thinking about in 2012.

Today I did a 17 mile run.  Used the heart rate monitor for the first time in probably 18 months.  Tried to keep the heart rate right around 140.  It was very useful—I discovered that I needed to lower the intensity to get into the heart rate zone that will build my aerobic system.

Especially lately, I’ve been running in a bad place.  The one where you get all the issues associated with hard running but none of the benefits.  I need to get out of that place.  Either run harder or with less intensity.  I also haven’t been getting out on my bike as much.  I’m guessing here, but I think the majority of my aerobic fitness in the past has come from my cycling work.  Since I haven’t done much of that recently, my aerobic fitness has deteriorated.

Legs are not feeling good right now, but that’s expected.  The last month or two has been inconsistent, and I’m sure I’ve lost some strength in my legs.  Hoping to find some consistency here in the next few months.

I’ve got some good ideas on new workouts that I think will help me make good progress.  Those and controlling my nutrition should help.