Training Thursday: Feb 22-Feb 28

Feb 22:
-Swim Session: 500 yd Easy Swim (9:09; 1:50 min/100yd)
-Strength Session: Shoulders & Core (1 hour 15 minutes)

Feb 23:
-Run Session: 5 Mile Fartlek (39:08; 7:50 min/mile)

Feb 24:
-Strength Training: Legs (40 minutes)
-Indoor Soccer (40 minutes)

Feb 25:
-Swim Session: 2,000 Long Session (600×3 yd reps-each rep faster than previous; 37:49; 1:53 min/100yd)

Feb 26:
OFF DAY!

Feb 27: 
-Cycling Session: Cycle 120 (1:49:45; 32 miles; 17.5 mph)
-Run Session: 6 mile run with Franky (6.04 mi; 1:18:11; 12:57 min/mi)
-Soccer Practice: 90 Minutes

Feb 28:
OFF DAY! (Became an Uncle)

Sorry I was a little late this weekend.  It took me a couple of days to catch up from my weekend.

Overall this week was a pretty easy week.  I had a hard Saturday but my Sunday was an off day because I had to head up to St. Louis because my brother had a little baby girl.  Ms. Norah Ren was born at 1:45 on Sunday.  It was a great reason to miss a workout.  Sadly that workout was going to be an indoor triathlon put on by my triathlon club.  The triathlon was a success but I am sad I had to miss the event.

This week (which is almost over) will focus on just relaxing and doing what I want.  This week and next will focus on the same thing before I start my triathlon training officially. I decided to push the start day back two weeks since this weekend I will be out of town and next week is Spring Break.  I did not want to start behind on my training plan, so I will officially start it after Spring Break.

-Runner

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Race Review: Bradley Indoor Triathlon

Review Wednesday has a new installment this week.

I have faced the challenge of a triathlon before.  In fact I faced the task of a 70.3 Race in heat over 100 degrees just last June.  But this weekend I attempted a new type of triathlon that is hard to prepare for.  I did my first indoor triathlon at Bradley University this Saturday.  Although indoor triathlons do not include the long miles found in outdoor triathlons, it does include very intense workouts meant to have you push yourself constantly for the entire time.

I got to the rec center on campus that morning around 7:20am (my swim wave was at 8:40am) prepared for what I thought would be a fun and exciting new adventure but I was in for a surprise.  I got prepared and got into the pool and started my day full of intensity, at a level I have not practiced at in a long time.

Bradley Indoor Triathlon-In the Pool

Swim Review:
Bradley’s pool is only 6 lanes of 25 yards each in a room with one wall of windows.  The sun outside made the room bright and the pool warmer than usual.  The swim wave consisted of 12 people so we were sharing lanes and I was stuck on the half lane closest to the wall.  I only hoped to not hit the top of the wall during one of my strokes (luckily this nightmare did not occur).

As the initial whistle blew I told myself to calm down and take it nice and slow.  The swim was for 10 minutes and my goal was to go 500 yards, or 10 full laps of the pool.  I got the first couple of laps completed I realized I felt good and was ahead of my pace. I continued to push the pace but as I did I realized something was wrong.  I broke my nose in high school and since then I have had issues with water getting into my nose.  With that issue I wear a nose piece when I swim but in the middle of a lap at Bradley it fell off.  The crazy part was, I kept going with basically no issue afterwards.  I finished the session with 575 yards completed, blowing away my goal of 500 yards.

Bike Review: 
After the swim we had a quick turn around to get to the bikes.  The bikes were set up along a wall on their indoor soccer/hockey court.  They were very comfortable bikes and I was most impressed with the handlebars and how comfortable they were.  The bikes had bike computers on them so we could constantly see our RPMs and distance as we pedaled.  Above us we could see the track and the runners from the earlier heat.  Also there was plenty of music playing to keep your mind off the business at hand.

I began with a high resistance and an average cadence (95 RPMs) but soon realized it would be better to have a lower resistance and a higher RPM.  I lower the resistance until I could maintain around 105 RPMs.  I kept this until the last 5 minutes when I continued to increase the resistance during the final push.  My goal for the bike was around 8 miles, but it is tough to judge this goal because each indoor bike measures a little differently.  I ended up going 8.2 miles which I am a little disappointed with after seeing the other results.  I believe the bike is where I need to work the most in order to accomplish my goals.

Bradley Indoor Triathlon-On the Bike

Not the best posture, but I am putting in the miles!

Run Review: 
After the bike my legs felt pretty good and I was going into my best event.  I have been a runner for years now and I am confident in myself to push through the pain and to keep running.  My goal was to run 2 miles in the 15 minutes allotted, which was 16 laps of the track.  I started off at a conservative pace knowing I needed to get my legs back before I pushed too hard.  Soon I was up at the pace I felt comfortable with and was on my way.  As the time ticked by my legs began to ache from the previous cycling and running efforts.  I pushed through and at the 2 minutes left mark I was only one lap away from 2 miles.  I completed the lap and a little more, eventually clocking in with a 7:22 min/mi pace for the 15 minutes.

FINISH: 
I was happy with my performance and beat all of my pre-race goals.  After my work was calculated they estimated my spring triathlon finish time to be 1:05:42, enough for 30 place out of 90 competitors.  I am happy with my placing and it shows my training is paying off.  I do not consider myself one of the faster people, in fact I have always thought of myself as an endurance person before I was a speed demon but this shows that with practice I can get faster.  This provided me with some confidence that I can use for motivation for my longer distances in the summer and fall.

The biggest news of the weekend is by participating in this triathlon, I have qualified for the NCAA Triathlon Collegiate Championships in Clemson, SC in April! Excited, and cannot wait to participate.

-Runner

 

Training Tuesday: Feb 8-Feb 14

Feb 8:
-Swim Session: Lap Swimming (2,250 yds, 43:08; 1:55 min/100 yd.)
-Strength Training: Shoulders (45 minutes)

Feb 9:

-BRIC Cycling Session: 1 Hour Spin (28.2 mi; 28.2 mph)
-BRIC Running Session: 1.25 Mile Run (9:42 min; 7:46 min/mi)

Feb 10:
-Run Session: 2 Mile Warm-Up for Indoor Soccer (15:22; 7:41 min/mi)
-Indoor Soccer and Basketball: 1 hour 15 minutes
-Strength Session: Legs (40 minutes)

Feb 11:
-Run Session: 4 Mile Half Marathon Tempo Run (30:38; 7:39 min/mi)
-Swim Session: 650 yd (11:47; 1:49 min/100 yd; practice with a friend for Bradley Indoor Tri)

Feb 12:
-Off Day! (Travel for Bradley Indoor Triathlon)

Feb 13: Bradley Indoor Triathlon
-Swim Session: 10 Minutes (575 yd; 1:44 min/100 yd)
-Cycling Session: 20 Minutes (8.70 mi; 26.1 mph)
-Run Session: 15 Minutes (2.03 mi; 7:22 min/mi)

Feb 14:
-Off Day to Celebrate Valentines Day!

This was a very rewarding week.  I really began to focus on getting in some serious workouts to mark the beginning of my building up towards my half distance triathlon in May.  The week included multiple long and hard workouts in the beginning and ended with an Indoor Triathlon at Bradley University in Peoria, IL.  By competing I qualified for the NCAA Triathlon Championships at Clemson University in April!

This week I have a fun and unique goal.  The Rec Center here on campus is having a three week long “Indoor Ironman” competition where during those three weeks you are asked to complete 2.4 miles worth of swimming, 112 miles on the bike and a 26.2 mile run.  I thought it would be fun to try to get all those distances in one week.  I began yesterday and will work through Sunday in order to get the required distances.  What a week!

-Runner

Baby Shower

Happy Valentine’s Day! It is snowing here in Carbondale. I’m busy studying for finals but I wanted to quickly share with you our fun last weekend. Runner’s brother and his lovely wife are expecting a precious little girl this March. Last weekend we headed up to Bethalto, Illinois to celebrate the baby shower.

This was my Pinterest-inspired gift:

wagon

A welcome wagon!! The fact that you can find a mini-wagon on Amazon and have it shipped to your home is so freakin adorable! To fill the wagon, I bought some Spot the dog books and a toy, a baby cell phone and a hanging turtle. One of my favorite hobbies is scrapbook making, so I made one for Mom and baby. It was “How I Met Your Mother” themed.

The party was held at The Weeping Willow Tea Room. MaryJo worked there many years ago. It is currently open just for breakfast and lunch, serving soups and sandwiches. It was such a cute place. Our party was in the downstairs area but I got a secret tour of the top floor which had a beautiful old stage and hardwood floors.

Baby girl has about 1 month left to bake, due March 13ish. I’ll keep you updated!

 

Run Review: Monuments, Wreaths, and (Capitol) Hill!

20151230_113221I fell in love with the challenge of running while in undergrad while running on country roads and sidewalks around Illinois.  But I fell in love with the act of running while running around Washington DC during the 2.5 years that I lived less than a mile from the National Mall.  During this time I ran countless miles in the shadows of America’s most recognizable monuments and statutes. This week, while visiting my wife’s family for Christmas and New Years, I took advantage of the weather to once again run around some of the most beautiful sites in the country.

Washington DC run 12-30-2015

20151230_125742I started in a place that has a love hate relationship with my running memories. East Potomac Park was one of the most common locations I would run.  It was just a mile from my apartment and provided clear roads where I could put in miles without having to stop for traffic lights or pedestrians.  The park also proved to be one of the loniest places to run causing me to spend many hours running with no one to keep me company but my own thoughts.  I came to welcome the mental challenge of running around the point of this park and I am confident that it helped me become a better mental runner.

From East Potomac Park I ran up West Potomac Park and across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the gates of Arlington National Cemetery.  This is also a common turn around point for many of my runs, including both shorter runs and longer ones.  Across the bridge and to the front gate is almost exactly one mile so across and back adds almost exactly two miles to any run.

While I stopped at the gates I noticed a great site.  Each December Wreaths Across America honors all of our soldiers by adorning graves of soldiers with wreaths at cemeteries across the country.  The largest display is always at Arlington.  I have volunteered multiple times to be one of the thousands of volunteers who get to put the wreaths on the graves as part of the show of appreciation.  The wreaths were still on the graves and I had to go into the cemetery and take some photos to show the beauty that the wreaths provide to the cemetery. 20151230_115159.jpg

After leaving the cemetery I went back across the bridge and to the Lincoln Memorial and to the Washington Monument.  Each of these monuments is beautiful in its own rite and provide such an entertaining backdrop to run around.  There are hundreds of fellow runners and thousands of tourists traversing the sidewalks and paths around these monuments and the mall that I cannot help but continue running no matter how tired I have been during some runs.

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After leaving the Washington Monument I fan to the Capitol (whose dome is being currently worked on) and traversed Capitol Hill.  There are not many hills around the National Mall so anytime I wanted to do any hill work I headed to Capitol Hill and ran up and down.  As any one can imagine, these workouts are some of the hardest and each time I run up the Hill I cannot help but remember the suffering that has occurred on the slopes.

20151230_123633After reaching the top I had to make a special stop.  I just completed my first semester of law school and I felt obligated to stop and take a photo in front of the Supreme Court building.  Despite the fact that few lawyers ever work in the building, and even fewer ever sit as a justice, every lawyer’s knowledge of the law is based on many of the decisions that have taken place within the building.  No law student should come to DC without making a stop at this building and contemplating the knowledge that has come from this building and the impact that the decisions will have on his/her career going forward.

After the Supreme Court building I concluded my run by running back to East Potomac Park and my waiting car.  The total mileage was 9.5 and it ended up being my last run of 2015 and I could not think of a better run to conclude what was a great running year for me.  I love the ability to run around such a great running city and I am looking forward to many future runs around the monuments in the future.

You can find all of my photos here.

-Runner

 

Thanks for 2015

I want to just send out a quick thanks for reading my posts this year.  The whole blogging process is still new to me and I am working to make it a better experience for the readers by providing better content on a consistent basis.  I will continue to work through 2016 to bring you, as the reader, the best experience that I can.

-Runner

Gear Review: Zensah Thigh Sleeve

Disclaimer: I received a Buff to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I have tried a lot of products for running products.  Some are meant to help with my form, some help my speed, others build strength or endurance.  The final ones look to help my recovery, and it is with these recovery products that I have found that some greatly help while others seem to fall short of their claims.

Recently I reviewed the Addaday Pro Massage Roller and was very surprised at how much it helped me recover after long runs.  Unfortunately the Zensah Thigh Sleeve did not work as a recovery or a training tool.

I wore the sleeve during runs as well as after runs for recovery.  One of the most disappointing aspects of the product is that I feel that the comfort of the product held it back from me being able to properly feel its full potential.  During all the times that I wore it I found that it was very uncomfortable to wear.  The top band, the one with the name on it, seemed to always curl up on the top and cause some chaffing and rubbing on my leg.

Zensah Thigh Sleeve

Although this discomfort was most prominent during the runs, the same discomfort forced me to only wear it during recovery for a short period.  It also did not allow me to wear it if I was up and moving around.

I need to conclude with a very important message: I believe that this product is good, the discomfort just took away many positive aspects. If Zensah were to change the set up of the sleeve and remove the top rolling up when using it, I believe this product could work well.  When I did use it in recovery around the house, I do believe it aided me.  I still plan on using some of their other products and I hope to try out their updated thigh sleeve soon.

-Runner

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 4

This week was another scorcher.  I knew it would be from the start and tried to plan accordingly.  Luckily it was an off week for me so I did not have any long runs during the week.  Instead I did a lot of running on the indoor track at the Rec Center.  Wednesday afternoon I was sitting at home after completing all my work and the power went out.  I took that as a sign that I needed to get out so I went on an unplanned bike ride for an hour.  I knew that it would not hurt but since this was an off week for me I did not plan on doing any cross training.  On Saturday, during my long run, I knew that even if I started early it would get too hot for me so I ran as long as I could before getting too hot. After about 8 miles in the heat I ran to the rec center and finished the rest of my run on the track.  I didn’t like having to do that but it was really the only way that I would be able to get in the miles that I needed.

WEEK 4: Summer Running
Monday July 13: 4 Mile Easy Run
Tuesday July 14: 5 Mile Decreasing Fartlek (Miles Decreased in Time) & Core/Back Strength Session
Wednesday July 15: 1 Hour Bike Ride & Arms and Shoulder Strength Session
Thursday July 16: 5 Mile Easy Run
Friday July 17: OFF DAY!
Saturday July 18: 12 Mile Long & Slow Run
Sunday July 19: 5 Mile Track Run & Core Strength Session
TOTAL MILES: 31.1 Miles

This upcoming week will bring on more miles again.  I still plan on doing only 5 runs (instead of the 6 that my plan calls for) with hopefully two cross training sessions. I know that the weather will not cooperate so I will try to do most of my longer runs this week in the morning to try to get them done and over before the true heat of the day.  My long run on the weekend will probably be another split one between the gym and an outdoor run but we will see. With each run I am getting more excited for the race, which is only 81 days away!!!

-Runner

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 2

Although I pushed through the first week of training with long heavy miles I realized that my body wasn’t quite ready to push in with a lot of heavy miles weeks yet.  I know this will be a long training cycle and I need to focus on being the best that I can on October 11, rather than now.  With that mindset I backed off this week and just tried to focus on running consist speed and shorter runs.  I gave myself a break over the holiday weekend and cancelled my long run (scheduled to be 12 miles).  My legs were tired and just putting in those miles at this point in the training because my plan said so would not have helped.

I continued to focus on gaining speed, doing another great Fartlek workout this week, along with a few runs that had long stretches at Marathon pace.  I also started some cross-training with getting back on the bike during my off day on Friday.  I am looking forward to getting in the hard miles this week and getting in a few strength training and cross training sessions as my first period of training starts!

 

WEEK 2:Speed and Recovery
Monday June 29: 5 Mile run at Marathon Pace
Tuesday June 30: 6 Mile Step Fartlek Workout (10, 5, 3, 2, 1 minute sessions)
Wednesday July 1: 4 Mile Easy track run
Thursday July 2: 6 Mile easy run
Friday July 3: 18 Mile Cycling Ride
Saturday July 4: 4 Mile Freedom Run (Forest Park in St. Louis, MO)
Sunday July 5: OFF DAY!
TOTAL MILES: 25+

This week I am going to focus on increasing mileage by doing more easy runs to allow my legs to build the endurance up.  I will also begin an intense focus on running specific strength, especially my hamstrings and core.

-Runner

Weekend Recap

Just wanted to share a slice of this past weekend with you. Our Saturday morning began with a 9am Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast. Our neighboring club, the Kiwanis Club of Fairfax – puts on this delicious and classic fundraiser as part of the City of Fairfax Chocolate Lover’s Festival. For $7 you get unlimited chocolate chip pancakes, sausage and coffee. What a yummy way to start the day. I ate as much as I could because my scheduled training run for the day was 6 miles!!

halftraining

Yes, my training plan was written by hand. Don’t I have the best trainer? It’s old school, but I love crossing out the squares with a big red pen!

I spent my afternoon hitting the gym and then relaxing. Runner went for an indoor swim and then volunteered at the Virginia Polar Dip to benefit Camp Sunshine. No, he didn’t jump in frozen Lake Anne, he just collected donations. Our brave friend Nicole did the jumping!

That evening we joined some friends at Yard House in the new and improved Springfield Town Center. Visiting the old mall was a brand new experience for Runner and I – the last time we were there was summer 2013 to buy our wedding rings. The construction back then was such a mess. Turns out the major renovation was worth it!

On Sunday morning I woke up bright and early to teach a Safe Sitter course with members of my Kiwanis club. We taught a class of 14 students aged 11-13 the basics of baby sitting. I teach choking infant and child rescue. The kids really get a kick out of the mannequins.

manny

At first they are “scared” (because of those faces!), but by the end of the course they are happy to have learned a life-saving skill. We order pizza for the kids at lunch time and their parents pick them up at 4pm. It’s a long day – how do teachers do it?!

Runner got to enjoy the great weather and bike outside (jealous!). We took it easy on Sunday night, after I ran my miles of course. I made some tasty cheeseburgers for dinner and that wrapped up the weekend.