Day Two of the Experiment


October 6th 2016

The Day’s Game Plan:

Up at 4am.

Thursday is Long Swim Day.  it starts with a 45 minute light run, after which I hustle home, grab my workout bag and head to the gym.  The goal here was to log 2000 yards in the pool, and then hit the weights.

I’m guessing that I’m already going to be achy by the evening, but the goal one again is to amp up my metabolism by doing a workout at home that primarily focuses on core strength.  Again, I’m hoping that by amping up my metabolism right before bed, my body will burn more calories that it normally does while I sleep.  I’m scheduled to weigh myself on Sunday after my long workout, so we’ll see this this slight adjustment makes any dent in my number.

Nutrition-wise, I’ll once again bring lunch to the office.  I’m going protein heavy in the morning with some hard boiled eggs and a shake, but this time I am lowering the calorie total a little.  Let’s see how long I can hold out during the day before a crave a damn Three Musketeers bar.

The Outcome

Well the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.  Playoff baseball got the best of me – a great pitching duel and a 3 run homer in the 9th send the Giants into the division series and send the Mets to the golf course.  As a result, I didn’t get enough sleep and woke up too late to swim.  So I went to plan B: get home on time this evening and work out heavy to make up for the miss.

Started off the day solid nutrition-wise, having a protein shake and 3 hard boiled eggs for breakfast.  It got me through most of the morning…until I cheated and had a small chocolate muffin for absolutely no good reason whatsoever.  This is the kind od nonsense that has to stop, and I’ll need to experiment with methods of re-training myself to crave better snacks in the future.

I hit the gym by 6pm, and absolutely CRUSHED 2,000 yards in 45 minutes.  I’m going to be sore tonight – swimming at a race pace (I need to be able to cover about 1,100 yards in 26-27 minutes or less by Ironman time) really works muscles that I didn’t know I even had.

I then made the judgement call of hitting the weights for about 30 minutes.  Nothing heavy – just a basic full body workout with weight is was manageable (not trying to bench press a Buick).  Since  few people have asked about strength training, I added a page on this blog that outlines my usual strength training plan.  It’s nothing fancy – just basic stuff.

I felt good, so I decided to punish myself a bit my forcing myself to hit the dreadmill for 30 minutes.  I figured that I could use the time on the dreadmill to force myself to maintain a pace that sped up every minute I was on there.  So I set the thing to start at an 11:30 pace, and then made myself run just a hair faster every 60 seconds.  I was sprinting by the end, unable to control my breathing.  My lungs got away from me, which almost resulted in me heaving all over my shoes.  Five minutes later…I felt awesome.

Lessons Learned

  • Sleep is key.  Either stick to my sleep plan by hitting the sack by 9:30, or budget in an evening workout.  Don’t wait until morning, when I find myself sleeping through my alarm.
  • I didn’t take in enough calories yesterday.  As a result, I didn’t sleep well and I woke up hungry.  Although the protein filled me up before I left home, the calorie debt made that chocolate muffin extremely tempting.

Today’s Nugget(s)

On this day in 1783, Benjamin Hanks patents the self-winding clock.

On this day in 1882, the first World Series game was played.  (Cincinnati beat Chicago, 4-0).

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Training Log: May 12th & 13th 2016


Wednesday was big for me.  Yesterday was a big step backward,  The knee barked again – and I listened by taking a rest day.  I need to get back into a groove after a bit of a slump, and that’s exactly what will happen.  By the time I found myself in front of the boob tube watching The Avengers for the 28th time, I was big-time sore and it took a bit of effort to get my lazy copious backside off the couch.  The fact that I fit in am AM and PM session was HUGE for me – because that’s the habit I need to form in order for me to have the best chance at becoming an Ironman this year.  Most of the Ironmen I have spoken to have been willing to share their training plans and ideas with me readily – they seem to simply love speaking about the sport.  So I’ve developed what I think is a fair estimate of the average number of hours they log in a normal training week.  The number scared me a little:  30.  So – I need to form solid habits, I need to do it quick, and they need to include two-a-days during the week.

 

Since yesterday felt like a success, I need to build on that and begin to develop the two-a-day habit.

  1. 4am Run: shooting for at least 6 miles this morning.  Easy pace.  Slower than yesterday.  I beat myself up yesterday, and I cannot do that to myself every single day – I’ll break down.  And that would suck.
  2. 5am Swim:  I need to work on my form, so I need to go find some wisdom.  My gym and my triathlon team offer weekly sessions at my gym’s pool, so I need to start showing up to them.  However – before I do – I need to build a simple base.  Once I can crank out 250 yards in the pool (5 complete laps) without stopping for a breather, I’ll be ready to join the other tadpoles in the class setting without worrying about looking like an utter fartknocker.  So this morning’s session will require me to log 1000 yards (20 laps) in a 10 x 100 format.  This should take somewhere around 30 minutes.  The Ironman swim is 2.4 miles (4,224 yards) in less than 2 hours and twenty minutes.  for my little 25 yard pool, a complete Ironman swim would be 169 laps.  169.  Crap.  Based on the math, I have approximately 54 seconds to complete each lap (50 yards) in order to give myself a small cushion of time as a buffer to get my butt out of the water and into T1 (the transition area where triathlete go from the swim to the bike).  To say I have work to do is a SEVERE understatement.  This should be fun!
  3. 6:30am Cross Training: This is a class that apparently combines endurance and strength.  I’ve gotten over the hump in my first classroom setting within the gym – now it’s time to see whether I can keep up with the Jones’ in a class that doesn’t involve me peddling a bike like a rapid lunatic for 45 minutes.  My legs will be a bit tired from the run and I should be feeling it all over from the swim (now that I know I need to become the Ironman equivalent of Aquaman, I’m going to be so focused on lap speed that I bet I’ll go harder than I ever have before in the pool), so this class should SUCK.  And as Tolstoy once said, “one must embraceth the suckatude.”
  4. 6:30pm Spin Class: On the way home from work, I’m going to shoot for 17 miles over the course of 45 minutes on the bike.  My speed has increased – so I am psyched about that.

In addition, I get to visit my doctor today.  Oy joy.

Training Results:

 

Training Log: May 8th 2016


Sundays are normally considered a recovery day.  However, I am training for my first Ironman and right now I am really worried about creating a base.  I need repetition to breed some confidence, and the only way that’s going to happen is if I put myself through the steps of a triathlon as often as I can.  I am betting that I’ll still be achy from Saturday’s workout – so this one should really test my current level of preparedness.

Schedule:

  1. RUN – I’ll start the day with a 90 minute run.  Looking to rack up at least 8 miles.  Any more is money in the bank.  I need to get to the gym by 7am.
  2. SWIM – Stage 2 of the morning is a one hour swim session from 7 to 8am. I’m looking to piece together 100yd repeats, and I’d like to see how many yards I can rack up in 60 minutes.  In an Ironman, you have 2 hours and 20 minutes to swim 4,400 yards.  So I really need to nail at least 2,000 yards at this point in order to feel a little confident.
  3. STRENGTH – After the swim, my shoulders, back and arms will be tired.  So at 8am, I’ll transition to some strength training.  The goal here is NOT to release my inner Ronnie Coleman – shooting for low weight and high reps instead of trying to primarily build muscle mass.  The goal here is to further fatigue my arms and back – really burn them out – before hopping on the bike.
  4. BIKE – 45 minutes  of spin class.  Rack up at least 16.5 miles.  Case closed. The goal here is to just stay focused on getting through the distance feeling as crappy as I am sure I’ll feel by this point.
  5. YOGA – That’s right – yoga.  Again.  Another Yoga For People That Cannot Touch Their Toes With a Ruler class for me.  By the end of this process, you guys will just refer to me as the Bronx Dali Frackin’ Lama.  Namaste, dammit.

Today I am trying to mix things up a bit.  It will work my endurance by the simple fact that I’ll need to work for a prolonged period of time.  However, this test gets harder by forcing myself to try new exercises that should work muscle groups that ordinarily don’t get stressed during my regular routines.

Results:

  1. RUN – I felt strong this morning.  the pace was slow but steady, and a little soggy.  The highlight: high-fiving a cameraman for one of those morning shows shot in Times Square.
  2. SWIM – 20 laps.  1,000 yards.  slow as all hell.  If I don’t pick this up, I’ll never make it to the bike portion of the Ironman.  And swimming is normally a strong suit for me – so I hopped out of the pool royally pissed off.
  3. STRENGTH – I transitioned to the weight room and did 4 sets of my normal
  4. full body routine.  By the time I finished I was completely burnt out.
  5. BIKE – the bike portion of my morning was cut short with a stabbing pain that developed on the inside part of my right knee.  that freaked me out a bit – because my bad knee is my left knee.  Wonderful…..
  6. YOGA -I scratched yoga class today.  why? because there’s some pain in my knee and I’m starting to worry about it.  The doc will check it out Thursday – so that will suck….

I did some research – and I found that Caesar used to require his legionnaires to enjoy wine before battle.  Better late than never – now where the hell is my corkscrew?

Training Log: May 7th 2016


Saturdays are tough workout days.  It’s usually long run day, so I have tried to pack on the workload that will build overall endurance and also round out demands on each core muscle group.  By the end of this long day, I should need a damn nap.

Schedule:

  1. RUN – I start the day with a long, relaxed run.  Out the door at 6am, and arrive at the gym just before 8am.
  2. BIKE – Stage 2 of the morning is a 45 minute spin class. This class on Saturday mornings is usually a lot of fun.  Great music.
  3. STRENGTH – After biking, I’ll take some time and work on core strength.  Gotta release the inner Thor.

Today is basically me getting into a core form of training routine.  Most days, running, biking and strength training will be a part of morning – so I need to build a base.

Results:

  1. RUN – that was fun.  very relaxed  8 miler got me down Broadway to union square and back.  the blah weather sucks, but jamming with a homeless dude to Stevie Wonder made up for it.
  2. BIKE – spin class.  45 minutes – 17.4 miles crushed.  Felt good afterward.
  3. STRENGTH – The Woo Dude was not around, so this workout was uneventful.  I just realized who the Woo Dude from the other day looked like…..he was the spitting image of Andrew Dice Clay’s character from that movie Casual Sex.  The Vin Man.

Totals:

Swim –  0 yds

Bike – 55 miles 

Run – 17 miles

Strength Training – 1 hour

Cross Training (Classes) – 1 hour

Yoga (yes- yoga.  That’s not a damn typo) – 0

Training Log: May 6th 2016


Fridays are normally a more low-key of the week, as the weekend training schedule is usually pretty demanding.

Schedule:

  1. RUN – Heading outside tomorrow morning EARLY.  Looking to be out the door at 4am.  Going to shoot for a 10 miler this morning, and I should be at my gym at 6am to change out of my sweaty clothes and into stuff to ride in.  4am in Manhattan is pretty interesting….
  2. BIKE – 6:15am Spin Class.  The goal here is to clip off at least 17 miles in the 45 minute class.  This can be done by holding a pace somewhere between 21-22mph.
  3. CROSS TRAINING – At 5:30pm, I’m heading to a cardio Sculpt class.  THIS should be funny, because I don’t play well with others.  And….well…..yesterday may carry over a bit and I’ll WOOOOOOOOO for no reason whatsoever.

This morning’s workout is all about endurance.  I need to develop this routine so that knocking out double-digit mileage does not tax my system to the point where I am fried for the rest of the day.  This week I am treating myself like a lab rat, trying to find out how I react to levels of  physical stress.

Results:

  1. RUN –OK, so I called an audible while under the awning of my apartment building this morning.  At 5am I decided to hit the gym and mix up some stretching, ab work and sprint intervals instead of slogging through an extremely rainy early morning.  I completed 30 minutes of interval training on the DREADMILL, with 2 minutes sprinting and one minute of recovery.  Began at a 10min pace and actually pushed VERY hard at the end, getting the pace to be sub 7 minutes for the last minute.  I felt awesome at the end.
  2. BIKE – After the interval training, I changed into some fresh workout gear and hopped on the bike.  The class worked on sprints here as well, getting rpms up over 95+ at times, with decent resistance.  So by the end, I logged over 17 miles in 45 minutes…the morning overall made me feel exhausted but accomplished.
  3. CROSS TRAINING – So I took an hour’s worth of cross training classes this evening.  First was a Cardio Sculpt class – which was 45 minutes that left me wading in a pool of sweat, following by an Ab Lab class  – only 15 minutes long…but I felt cranky by the end of it.  Ab exercises are not my forte….

Totals to Date:

Swim –  ___ yds

Bike – 38 miles

Run – 9 miles

Strength Training – 1 hour

Cross Training (Classes) – 2 hours

Yoga (yes- yoga.  That’s not a damn typo) – ___ hours

Training Log: May 5th 2016


Since yesterday was May the Fourth Be With You, I’m guessing that today is technically The Revenge of the Fifth…right?  An auspicious day to begin this endeavor.

 

Schedule:

  1. STRENGTH – I need to get my butt to the gym this evening and first hit the weights.  I’ll spend about 30 minutes lifting, focusing on my upper body strength.  I want to try to burn out my chest and arms through rapid fire sets.  I’m not going to take much time in between sets at all to catch my breath.  This is going to suck.
  2. RUN – I’ll hop right on to a dredmill after lifting, and I’ll do some interval training this evening.  One minute on and one minute off.  Going to shoot for 30 minutes and going to gun for about 3 miles.  The goal here is to fatigue my legs and upper body before hopping on the bike and pushing the pace a bit.  I want to make myself tired before being required to step things up a bit.
  3. BIKE – 6:30pm Spin Class.  the goal here is to clip off at least 20 miles in an hour.  IRONMAN requires a 112 mile bike ride that athletes normally have about 8 hours to complete.  This means that athletes need to hold a 14mph average for the duration of the ride, and that’s after a 2.4 swim has sucked a bunch of energy out of them.  Hopefully, lifting before the class will burn my arms out a bit and the intervals will sap some energy from my legs.  Then we’ll see how I do on the bike.
  4. RUN – I’ll hop off the bike and I’ll do a simple “BRICK” workout, which means that I’ll transition as quickly I can to running by hopping back on the dreadmill for a messy 2 miles before calling it a night.

 

All in all, tonight’s workout should take me about 2 hours and 10-15 minutes to complete.  My running times should truly suck.  And I should basically feel like mush when I’m through.

Results:

  1. STRENGTH – Burned my arms out.  Big time.  Mission accomplished.  At one point, this dude next to me decides to do something tacky and flex while admiring himself in the mirror. He was working out solo, as was I….so I had no idea who he was speaking to when he began his imitation of pro wrestler Ric “Nature Boy” Flair.  He just decides to yell out (to no one in particular) “WOOOOOOO!!!!!   I’M STYLIN’ and PROFILIN’ !!!!!” I found this amusing.  I think I’ll WOOOOO from time to time, just for S’s and G’s.      woooo
  2. RUN – I hopped on to a dreadmill in the weight room and completed 30 minutes of intervals.  1 minute slow followed by 1 minute sprint.  My 1 minute sprints started at a 10 min pace and I finished up at my Boston Qualifying pace (7:13).  Almost heaved all over my Asics during the last minute.  Decided not to WOOOOO, because a WOOOO may have gotten messy.
  1. BIKE – 6:30pm spin class is awesome.  I felt burnt out from the work thus far, but the music and the instructor can be a rush just when you need it.  Oh I WOOOO’d.  I even got others to WOOOOO along with me.
  2. RUN – I was a sweaty disgusting mess from the class, but I hopped back onto a dreadmill for two slow miles.  My legs felt like crap and my shoulders were a little sore from the weights.  So I now have a little taste of what the beginning marathon miles of the IRONMAN will feel like.  On the THIS SUCKS Scale of 1-10, this was an 8.776 (the French judge decided to use decimals).

 

Totals to Date:

Swim –  ___ yds

Bike – 21 miles

Run – 5 miles

Strength Training – 30 minutes

Cross Training (Classes) – ___ hours

Yoga (yes- yoga.  That’s not a damn typo) – ___ hours

 

 

 

 

 

My Inferno.


I’ve probably said this before – but I’m not very creative, so I’ll repeat myself: I have a strange way of dealing with stuff that I suck at.  I wasn’t very comfortable with speaking in front of a group – so I took stand-up comedy lessons in a club here in Manhattan.  I got heckled by drunken strangers that I knew I would never again see in my life, and confronting this fear allowed me to get over it.  So now I have another fear: I’m afraid of failing to finish Ironman this year.

 

It’s a realistic fear.  It’s a fear that comes as a result of trying to walk the walk after talking the talk to my daughter.  For a while now, I’ve tried to instill in my kid the basic concept that if your dreams don’t scare you, then they are not big enough.

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I keep telling her this….but I think it’s also important to show her that I can back up my words with deeds.  That supports the other concept that I’ve tried to drill into her head over the years – to quote Ovid:”Facta Non Verba”.  Put simply – Deeds, Not Words.  (Or, to put it as Batman once did – It’s what we do that defines us.)

 

facta_non_verba_tile_coaster

I used to dream HUGE as a kid.  I’m betting that all of us did, didn’t we?  Well becoming an Ironman has been a dream of mine since I first learned about it in high school.  I used to watch ABC’s Wide World of Sports, and I remember some buddies of mine at Fordham Prep telling me that a person had to be a little nuts to try something like that.  Terms like “those dudes need checkups from the neck – up”, to “their elevators definitely don’t go to the top floor”, to the ever-so-colorful “the cheese fell off their crackers a long time ago, dude” were normally how I heard triathletes described when I was a teen.  When I transitioned to college and joined the school’s crew team, I remember one guy on our varisty men’s squad was a triathlete – and this was when the sport of triathlon was not nearly as mainstream as it is today.  This dude wasn’t muscular.  He wasn’t really tall.  He was not the best varsity oarsman as it came to rowing technique.  But there was one thing his dude had in spades, and that was endurance.  He simply never got tired.  When everyone else appeared to be on the verge of burning out, he would get stronger.  I looked at him as if he were a human power plant.  That was how I wanted to be.  We discussed the sport of triathlon, and it further fueled my fire to give it a shot.

 

But…as the song goes….life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

 

As the years went by, the dream of becoming an Ironman stayed with me, but I never actually did anything to pursue it.  Then my kiddo came along, and my entire way of thinking was flipped on its butt overnight.  While its always been my goal to allow my daughter to be her own person and let her figure out for herself what she likes and dislikes, it is a proven fact that kids observe and absorb their parents’ actions and preferences.  That simple fact made me begin focusing on how I spend my time.  I needed to show her that it’s important to have a goal, and then work like hell to achieve it.  And that, quite simply, is how I found the  sport of endurance running.

 

After taking up marathoning in 2005, I stayed with it and began to up the ante a little bit over time in an ongoing attempt to demonstrate to Mini Me that, if you continue to work hard at something and do not quit, you can accomplish things that you never thought were possible.   2012 saw me try a marathon a month to raise money for the Dream Team Project.  In 2014, I tried a multi-day event (the inaugural Dopey Challenge).  In 2015…well I got a little nuts and did a long distance run from San Francisco to Anaheim to benefit Do Away With SMA (www.doawaywithsma.org).  That last one did a real number on me, as I returned home to New York City after Labor Day Weekend rather burnt out.  The past few months have gone by in a haze of unfocused training and lackluster effort.  Well that changes right now.

 

I’ve decided that 2016 will be the year that I chase after that goal that I’ve had hidden inside me for 30 years: The Ironman.  My original goal was to run the Vineman in Sonoma on July 30th – but I don’t believe I will be ready in time.  So, I am announcing that it’s my intention to compete in Ironman Maryland on October 1st.   I’m going to compete in this event as part of a larger 2016 effort, in order to raise awareness and donations for Do Away With SMA – a charity that helps fight Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

 

Since this event takes a TON of training, I’m going to use this blog to be my daily training log.  And, since this training should make me stronger (and maybe even a little faster), I might as well take advantage of the juice that my hard work should zap into my body, right?  Glad you agree.  So I’ve put together a series of races that I’m going to attempt on the heels of the Ironman that I have lovingly named after Dante’s masterpiece….

Dante's_Inferno_(1924)_-_film_poster

My 2016 Inferno:

October 1st: IRONMAN Maryland

October 9th:  Chicago Marathon

October 16th:  The Nationwide Childrens Hospital Columbus Marathon

October 30th: The Marine Corps Marathon

November 6th: The TCS New York City Marathon

November 19th: The New York City 60k

…and, since there are nine rings of Hell within Dante’s work, my 7th ring will be attempting to run at least 2,016 miles in 2016 (which means that I’ll need to average 8.36 miles a day from today through December 31st to hit that number), the eighth will be to log enough miles on the bike to cover the distance from Central Park to Disneyland (which is 2,793 miles –  meaning that I’ll need to average 11.60 miles per day starting today and going through December 31st), and my final goal will be to earn my Coaching Certifications from bother the Road Runners Club of America (“RRCA”) and Ironman U.

 

I have a game plan.  I just need to execute it.  And whether I am successful or if I choke miserably, I hope you’ll follow me on my quest.