Another review of something simple that works, seriously, products like this win every time! This one is from Racer and specifically their Wall Frame. Time to confess I have had this a couple of months, but well you know life and all that!
Anyway Racer Wall Frame is an awesome way of displaying you racing mementos, bibs and photos etc. I could wax lyrical and say that it’s wavy form factor explores the creativity in motion that is depicted in the event or I could say it has a pretty groovy wavy frame and both would be true! Now obviously my most recent big event was Ironman Arizona last November and that’s the one that is on display. For most big city marathon, I have noticed the bibs are huge, my Rock-n-Roll bib from my very first Marathon is approximately twice the size of my IMAZ one, so it does tend to get a little lost in the frame so I simply added my swim cap from race day and this is how it turned out…pretty awesome if I say so myself.
The frame is super easy to use, four clips hold the clear plastic on the front and you slide your fingers under them and it pops off, on the back the hole for the hook is in the middle of the frame so you don’t need to worry about it being wonky! In the end I hung mine with some motivational artwork.
So like I said something simple that works and looks good in the process. But I am not the only person to think so, they also won “Best Newcomer Product of the Year” by running industry retailers. Available on line $19.95 check them out and hang some of your bibs or caps with pride!
It’s always a pleasure to write a review about something that is simple and works and this is one of those occasions! I was very kindly sent some samples of SBR Foggle from a long-time online friend, Robin from Gotta Run who got a bunch from her sponsorship on the Rev3 Team this year.
From their website;
“Another innovative and exceptional brand brought to you by SBR Sports, Inc. FOGGLE is the only anti-fog towelette that not only defogs, BUT CLEANS the lens at the same time! Tested by numerous athletes, FOGGLE is perfect for swim , snowboarding, and skiing goggles, cycling and running lens, scuba and ski masks! Simply wipe a thin film of FOGGLE onto the inside and outside of the surface then let dry. Three seconds later the FOGGLE solution disappears and you are left with crystal clear vision that will not fog up under the most extreme conditions. Recommendation…reuse the FOGGLE wipe multiple times by keeping it airtight. FOGGLE effectively de-fogs swim goggles, scuba, snowboard and skiing masks, running and cycling lens. Cleans the lens at the same time as defogging. Keeping the wipe airtight, user can yield approximately 5 – 6 applications. Available in individual wipes, a pack of 6, or box of 48.”
Since refining my goggles down to the more svelte Aqua-Sphere-Kayenne last year I did notice that they seemed to mist up around the 1000 yard mark, no matter whether I was in the pool or in open water, although in open water it’s a bit better. In the pool it’s not a drama as with the natural rest periods in a swim set I had time to wipe them, this is obviously not so easy in open water.
So this week I cracked open the first pack and wiped the inside of the lenses. Monday’s swim was short only 1200 yards but I had no issue, Wednesday’s set went far beyond that and the usual 1000 yard misting, in fact it was a good 75 minutes in the pool for 2800 yards and I didn’t not have to wipe with my fingers once. I wiped them with the Foggle before I started and that was it, no problem, no misting, nothing. As suggested I tucked the opened one into a ZipLoc bag Monday and it was perfectly moist the second time around, SBR the manufacturers suggest that by doing this it is good for 6-8 uses, I guess that depends on how often you swim as well, once a week they may not last that long, three times a week very likely.
So like I said at the beginning a simple product that works is always one of my favorites!
You can buy them in a box of 48 for $27 on Amazon or a pack of 6 from SBR direct for $7, it’s a little bit more on Amazon for the box of 6.
A big thanks to Robin for dipping into her stash for me!
As mentioned in my last post I managed to pick up some stomach bug. I first noticed at 1am Sunday morning on race day, when I woke feeling hot and nauseous, I put it down to race nerves, drank some water, turned on the AC and went back to bed. The next morning I felt ok, not great but ok. I couldn’t face any food and so I sipped on some water, I couldn’t even face coffee…now that’s a warning sign! The room was hot, I was in Palm Desert which even in March was warm. I went outside and at 6am it was a little cooler than the room and I felt better. A short drive to the race site and after the usual shenanigans of parking and setting up the bike etc I was set. I managed to sip some coffee and my stomach felt settled. I got into my wetsuit and into the water, it was cold but I had made the practice swim the day before and I knew what to expect and so I got wet and cold, especially in my ears and up my nose and water down the back so as to not get a shock. My wave was one of the last to go, so I lined up and with a whoop was in the water.
I had a target of 35-40 minutes for the swim, my sighting was pretty bad and I kept veering off to the right, eventually I could sight on some rocks and that kept me fairly straight. 32:54 minutes later I got out of the water…I was shocked and very happy, with better sighting I could have made sub 30 minutes, I am never going to be fast be was really pleased with the result. I was 52/61
A solid and steady Transition and I was on the bike. The bike course is a bit rough to start but then it’s pancake flat, I was feeling good through to about mile 18 and then my stomach started going south and my speed with it. I still hadn’t eaten anything and was drinking High-5 electrolyte fluids. I hit the 20 mile mark in just over the hour but slowed to finish the bike in 1:15:15 moving up to 45/61, had I maintained my 20mph I would have finished around 35/61 but it was not to be.
Another unremarkable Transition and I was on the run. Two loops around the lake, the first mile was fine the second a bit slower, by mile three I was throwing in walk breaks, I passed the first loop and felt terrible. To cut a long story short I walked the entire second loop with the exception of the last 100 yards. 6 miles took me 1:21:42…just to remind you my 10k PR is 43:04 on a bad day I can average 50 minutes! I was last in my AG. Overall for the race 59/61 in 3:17:18
I crossed the finish line and collapsed in some shade which was unfortunately by the podium and they wanted to get on with the awards so I crawled off to find some more shade and was basically rescued by TriBeccaTO who sat me down by a tree and took care of me, packing me up and driving me home.
The next three days were spent at home. I lost 8lbs in total although that’s creeping back on!
Despite my thoughts to and some encouragement to quit I am glad I finished, it was a case of mind over matter. I just goes to show that you can drag your sorry self along just for a piece of metal!
A good 2 hours on the bike which was made up of 5 miles warming up, 15 miles of hills and 15 miles of TT work finished off with a hours run, The hour was just over my target pace of 8:30 but like I say it feels like it is coming together. I do think that the time in the gym with weights is time well spent as I felt strong on the hills. The downside is that with all the time spent on my trainer my bike bike skills are have eroded and I need to get happier on the downhills. Right now the pucker factor kicks in around 40mph and from what I have heard the course at St George could open me up to speeds closer to 50mph! All I can say is that is effing scary!
This is the profile from my ride, the second big climb averages 6% (500’ gain over a 1.5 miles).
As per an earlier post my plans are changing some and I have added another race to my calendar this year. The Monte Rio Olympic, it’s being put on by the same folks that put on Vineman and I was able to register early enough to give me priority early entry in to the Ironman 70.3 Vineman in 2014 as well as picking up a $10 discount! You can see the revised race schedule here.
So here is the “ongrowing” graph and the digits for this week
It may look like I am back to square 1 but week 1 was an anomaly due to the Tour of Sufferlandria
While I was still pretty “chesty” I decided to avoid the pool and substitute the swims for weights. I managed a couple of weight sessions but nothing greater than usual. One brick bike/run had to be cut short (read no run) as I ran out of time. With that being said it wasn’t all bad. Instead of the brick I decided to retest my FTP using TrainerRoad and despite being sick had a pretty good result upping it from 240 to 251. I also had a short pyramid run session which involved ramping up through my zones over three miles resulting in 8:45, 7:45 and 6:45 and then maintaining that over for varying elevations 4%/1% incline over tenths of a mile I did end the week strong with a 3.5 hour brick; 3 hours on the trainer and 56 miles in the bank and a 30 minute run on the treadmill. I was pleased with that as anyone knows riding a trainer is all riding…there’s no coasting!
I rode this at 120% for the first 90 minutes and 130% for the second and ended up with roughly a 3 minute negative split over the 56 miles. My best time for this distance is still from Vineman in 2:52 so to get close to that on a trainer is somewhat pleasing
So basically Week 4 was essentially a write off, hoping to build on Week 5 onwards!
I have been nominated for an award…dun dun dun!
Needless to say it’s always nice to have unpunctuated rambles noticed! To vote, click this image, this will take you to page with all the nominees, it’s a bit overwhelming so my advice is Ctrl F and then search for “quad”…voila!
“Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” Mark Twain
Well it’s not quite that bad but it’s nearly two weeks since my last post.The truth is that there I was merrily starting my training plan and I picked up a sore throat that turned into a cough which became bronchitis! Fun times resulting in 5 days off from training! Added to which my workload has suddenly gone through the roof and after a couple of days off work sick and I was well and truly on the back foot.
That being said a swift kick in the pants with some antibiotics brought me back to life and a restful weekend in Las Vegas was a good R&R prescription. I took this week off from swimming just to get me into the clear and I am feeling a 95% recovered now.
I am still looking to fall into the “groove” with my training plan for IMSG70.3 in May and there is only 12 weeks to go! For IMAZ I really felt at one with the training but this time around I am seem to be struggling, it’s something quite intangible it may be because last year everything is new? I do think that is a factor along with it’s winter, yes we do have them here! It’s cold, dark and in recent days rainy. It’s no way a pity party but just an observation of how I feel.
The race is practically sold out, there are literally less than 10 slots less I have been told. The Pro list has expanded with the Likes of Craig Alexander, Andy Potts and Sebastian Kienle; the current men's 70.3 World Champion. On the female side Leanda Cave who currently holds the World Champion titles at the 70.3 and Ironman distance, Linsey Corbin and Meredith Kessler, the list is longer but this gives you an idea of the line up. I am assuming the turn out is also to do with the fact that the race is the US Pro Championship.
Some of my other plans for the year are changing but I am rolling with the punches and thinking long term, more info on that when things firm up a bit.
Finally I will leave you with this, it just flat out made me laugh…
I want cake!
This is the last week of “prep”. My volume compared to weeks 1 and 2 is down but that is mainly due to the completion of the Tour of Sufferlandria over that period so it was only to be expected, I had to mix things up to fit it all in and I managed to fit it in with the exception of one yoga and one core session so it wasn’t all bad. I had a cold most of the week so the reduced volume was well timed as I felt pretty crappy on a couple of days.
There are definitely signs of improvement in the gym, now I have figured out a routine I can get through thing fairly cleanly. Tuesday night track club was pretty productive, 5x800s which I managed all within a 6:00-6:06 pace. Another cold swim at the new open air pool I am going to. California is actually having a winter this year after 3 years on nothing close to the cold we have had had recently. Temperatures are in the 30’s and only hitting 50’s during the day! And yes I know the rest of the country (northern hemisphere) is under 3’ of snow but well you know! A couple of early morning Z2 trainer rides rounded things out!
Highlight of the week was winning a race entry into the 13.1 Los Angeles race from Billy over at LARunr, I had decided against this race to save some pennies so wining the entry made it even sweeter, the race is in its fourth year and I have now run all four!
So here are my deets for the week;
It was also the week to make a decision about what training plan to follow for the next 16 weeks for IMSG. Having cogitated over the Fitzgerald and Fiiel books in the end I decided to go with a plan from Beginner Triathlete, I followed their plan for IMAZ as I liked the structure. The Intermediate 16 week Plan is available through their Silver Membership (TriMag2013h for 30% discount) It’s described as;
“This plan is an advanced plan in terms of volume and intensity and appropriate for someone who is looking to go under 5:00 and as fast as 4:30. There isn’t a lot of fluff in the plan as it starts out with a good amount of volume in the first week and continues to build. The plan does have recovery weeks but even some of those weeks are still in the 12-14 hour range”.
That sounds about right, day 1 is a 7 mile AE run 5 miles at 20bpm below LTHR and a 4750 yard swim!
There is an ancient Chinese saying that if you want to eat the pig whole you had better have a flip top head! Despite my ability to navigate my mouth around some of the largest slices of toast, I do not have a flip top head.
And so it was with my attempted consumption of the Tour of Sufferlandria, 12 rides over 2 consecutive days totally over 10 hours on the trainer on the last weekend of the year was not quite to be. An enforced reduction on the trainer on day two and a rest day (or two) meant that the Tour was extended into four days.
Here are the details; 180.55 miles, ride time 11:34:19, Ave HR 118, Max HR 160, total distance traveled; about 20' moving my bike from one of the room to the other!
Each ride was ridden following Trainer Road and I dialed my FTP back to 80%, below is the Garmin Connect data from each day. You can look at my Trainer Road data here, a couple of the rides were out of sync but mostly they were fine.
Day 1; Fight Club, There is no Try, A Very Dark Place and The Extra Shot
Day 2; Angels, Hell Hath no Fury and Downward Spiral
Day 3; The Hunted, Revolver and Local Hero
Bottom line was having been off the bike for nearly 6 weeks since IMAZ other than the occasional poky ride here or there my toughness had softened and while heart was game my undercarriage had a very different viewpoint! Would I do it again…of course and next time quite possible in the two days or maybe even one to join the vaulted company of the Knights of Sufferlandria!
If you are interested there is an organized Tour being held online, you can see more details and register here.
With the Tour in my rear view mirror I am looking forward to starting my Training Plan proper next week!
Another week and more miles and time in the bank. This is really pre training and as mentioned earlier I am using the first three weeks to really just get the blood flowing and fall into a routine, especially with the addition of hitting the weights and adding some yoga, something which is new to me.
This week obviously had New Year’s Eve and Day at the beginning so my week ended up being a little back ended, not that that was a bad thing in the end as I had a rest day on Monday during the Tour of Sufferlandria (post Tour write up to follow), what that did mean was I had to double down on two days worth of weights in one day and had to throw in abs and yoga all on the same day but I seemed ok the next day so it worked out fine in the end. Overall I ended up less miles and time than Week 1 but the drop was from the bike.
The other thing that started as 2012 rolled over into 2013 was to jump back on the vegan band wagon, no real issues so far and I am still allowing milk in tea and half-and-half in coffee, I am applying the 90/10 rule and I sleep fine with that.
So here are the deets for the week and log so far;
It’s that time of year, the annual review. It’s kind of a given that this was a big year. It was ambitious, a year of Triathlon from my first Sprint to an Ironman in 9 months. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous when I signed up for Ironman Arizona, a race that was almost a year away from the day I parted with the entry fee. As the months ticked by the training came together, the short leg of the three legged stool was always my swim and so I spent time in the pool…a lot of time.
In terms of straight up numbers here they are;
This time last year I listed a set of goals in addition to the races I had scheduled, they are listed below. My thoughts on this year are in italics;
- Bi-lateral breathing, I had convinced myself this was impossible but having swam 500 yards doing it this week it seems much more possible – didn’t happen, it should have but it didn’t, I would like to say this year it will but we will have to see if this becomes reality
- Swim Swim Swim, once I have this figured out swim some more! – I think the numbers speak for themselves but I need more and more and more time in the pool!
- Do the good stuff I am supposed to; foam roll, stretch, yoga etc. – better than the year before but plenty of scope for improvement, off to a good start this year but consistency is key
- Sleep…get more than I get now! - better again but still plenty of room for improvement!
- Work more on my diet, and periodize to reach racing weight on race day – this worked really well, I switched to a vegan diet and hit the start line within spitting distance of where I wanted to be (168lb target 165lb). Made a decision to get off the Vegan wagon in December and now I am back on it indefinitely
- Become a better cyclist; stronger climber and more confident descender – descending was not such a major thing for IMAZ but I certainly spent plenty of time in the saddle this year…over 250 hours! That being said I need to get my climbing and descending sorted for IMSG with the road back into town offering speeds up to 50 mph!
- Be a better blogger; both as a writer and reader, this year I slacked off on both! – Yeah, maybe, kinda, just, 2 more posts than the prior year. I read but failed to comment on others; best described as room for improvement! To that end I have cleaned up my blog roll and I am trying to avoid the distraction of Twitter and Facebook!
- I will (no point setting myself up for failure) am going to try the keep the kit to a minimum although as it has been pointed out to me; triathlon is Greek for wallet rape! – inevitably a fail. That being said December was a breakthrough with my only expenditure being a new Road ID and a yoga mat from Marshalls!
- Do it for the kids, my eldest is off the training wheels and has a new bike, maybe I can get him to work on his swim and run too! – not to be, early in the year my wife and I separated and by Thanksgiving we were divorced. So with still a focus on getting the kids involved and now that both of my boys are off their training wheels maybe Summer Tri amp is in their future this year?
- Enjoy the journey, smile and have fun…it’s all too easy to take all this way too seriously! – well last year was a total blast as the ups far outweighed the downs and 2013 is set to be even better
I also wanted my training to be more consistent, I kinda was, I had a solid Spring but I eased of in the summer as I was flirting with Injury going into Vineman. I had a good ramp up during the late summer and fall for IMAZ injury free and then tapered into the race. The second half of November and December were basically off! So it was periodized in some ways but more by luck than judgment, 2013 needs a bit more judgment
In a year where 4 out of my 7 races were firsts it’s a but unrealistic to say they were PRs. That being said I did manage to shave nearly a minute off a 10kPR that has been around since 2010.
So onto 2013…
Well here we go again! It was around six weeks ago that I crossed the finish line at IMAZ and having had some serious downtime it’s now time to start ramping things up. In fairness this should have actually have been Week 2 but I got busy and decided to push things back a week, it’s not too big a deal as the first 3 (was 4) weeks were simply prep, get a sweat on, figure out my plan and the like, they were not dedicated training.
So the goals of the first three weeks were to:
- Figure out the plan
- Start the strength and flexibility training,
- Swim, Bike and Run for 1/2/2 hours respectively
Pretty simple really so let’s talk about them;
I am still researching plans, I seriously would like to get a coach but other financial goals (buying a P5 (or like) and a house…not in that order) preclude that right now so I find myself being an experiment of one. Fortunately while I am new to Triathlon, this will be only my second year, I am not new to endurance sports. I ran my first marathon and ultra-marathon in 2007 and since then I have added a few notches on my belt. Right now I am looking at the Joe Friel book Your Best Triathlon, the other contender for a plan is one by Matt Fitzgerald, both of these guys are steeped in history of Triathlon and training so it’s not like I am leaving myself out in the open, but both present different approaches; I will, no doubt have more to say on that when I have decided.
For the strength and Flexibility training I have worked out a plan that has 3 weight sessions broken down into different body parts each day and 2 yoga session a week
- Monday; Biceps and Back
- Tuesday; Core and Yoga
- Wednesday; Shoulders and Legs
- Thursday; Core and Yoga
- Friday; Chest and Triceps
This probably looks overwhelming but the weight sessions last around 25 minutes, the core 18 minutes (P90X Ab Ripper) and the Yoga around 20, although the yoga will increase in time.
The other big event this week was the Tour of Sufferlandria, it’s still going on so I will give you a more detailed write up when it’s finished, but it pretty much took up Saturday and Sunday and obviously boosted my bike mileage into the stratosphere! This gives you idea of the end result, and this was only halfway through the first day…
So back to this week, which actually started on Christmas Eve! It shook out like this;
I missed one weights session on Friday but other than that I hit all my goals, less 3 minutes on the Run, as with IMAZ I will post a graph but for one week only it looks a bit silly!
Onto Week 2…and 2013!
Earlier this year, well about 6 weeks ago I signed up for the much advertised Active Advantage. There were two driving factors, an additional 25% discount on schwaggle.com and the waiving of the “processing fee” that you are charged when registering for races on active.com.
In the last 12 months my race sign ups have obviously shifted from ultras to triathlons and with that the shift to using active.com race registration instead of more localized sites such as race360.com and ultrasignup.com. Added to which that a triathlon registration is expensive; a “small” Sprint race can cost $100, an IM branded 70.3 is around $275 and a full IM is around $675 so any opportunity to save $10 or $20 here or there soon adds up especially when you are signing up for 5-6 races in a year, it almost become a case of buy 5 get one free.
The initial cost was $1.99 for the first month and another $59.95 for the rest of the year after 30 days “trial”. My trail ended and my Visa was charged. Since paying my $59.95 and signing up to activeadvantage.com schwaggle.com was retired and is now powered by Left Lane Sports under the banner of activegearup.com Left Lane is an online broker of discounted gear. Both outlets had been around for a while and I have actually purchased several things through schwaggle in the last year whereas I have never purchased anything from Left Lane, I even have their app on my iPhone and receive a daily email from them but their selection is too broad for me they cover a lot of outdoor sports including; climbing, skating and surfing and these things are not any interest to me.
The really only left one compelling reason for the membership which was the waived processing fees. With that in mind I signed up for IMSG and had $10 waived. This week I went to sign up for the Desert Tri in March, it’s a work up race for IMSG. It was my first triathlon ever earlier this year…if you remember I had a disastrous swim. I had toyed with doing both the Sprint and International (Olympic) distances, the former as some form of redemption and the latter as training, but given the combined cost of nearly $200 plus travel and accommodation and the fact that 2013 is not a cheap race year already I decided that redemption can wait.
So to active.com I went in search of the race and registration, it was easy to find and it was advertised as “Save on this event”, great I thought another $10 saved. If you click on this link it takes you to the Active Advantage sign up page!
I went through the sign process but the waived processing fee would not show when I went to check out, I tried it several times and I couldn’t get it to work?!!?
The open window is what pops up when you click on the “?” by Processing Fee
I opened a help ticket with them and got an email back asking me to call them, which I did. After some discussion I was advised that the race did not participate in the processing fee waiver and I had to pay it. I questioned that they were advertising it as such? The Customer Service Rep told me that nearly all events are advertised with it but not every event participates! It wasn’t her fault but I was upset as this is really a case of double dipping, I pay for the “Advantage” but I don’t get it.
It was at that point that I cancelled my membership and today I was refunded my $59.99…the whole experience has been rather tasteless and in the end I saved $8.00 which I probably spent in time writing to them and being on the phone!
Don’t get me wrong, I get it that these companies are in business to make money…what I disagree with is their methods; falsely representing the discount is just plain wrong.
I’ll save any more rants and raves on this issue and leave you with active.com own words “In 2011, 205 million people attended 1.8 million meetings at a total cost of $263 billion in direct spending in the United States alone” all I can say is that’s a lot of $10 processing fees!
As for the Desert Tri, my processing fee was the price of a quick look at the race website and a stamp!
This is tentative (unless noted "Registered") for 2013.
A focus on shorter races for 2013 after 2012's goal of Ironman Arizona, This is very much a year of two halves. The first 6 months are focused on a
good really good St George which is new but is based on the old Ironman course that notoriously hard. I am "hopeful" for a roll down slot to 70.3 Worlds in Las Vegas in September. The second half is focused on a Boston Qualifier time, which for my age group is a 3:25!
As for my sherpaing and head cheerleading duties I am sherpaing for my Partner in Tri' TribeccaTO who is adding another notch to her Ironman belt!
Along the way I am sure there will be a few 5kms, 10kms and some other fun and madness!
03/03 Desert Tri Olympic
04/15 Boston Marathon - Sherpa!
05/04 St George 70.3 - Registered
07/27 Barbs Race 70.3 - Sherpa!
08/19 Challenge Pentiction - Sherpa!
11/03 Santa Clarita Marathon
11/10 Malibu Marathon*
* Depends on Santa Clarita result
+ Depends on Santa Clarita and Malibu