Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Humbling Ride Today

I had a good ride today, actually it was a great ride today.  50 degrees in late December is a bonus day to be outside.  I rode with Don and a friend and fellow Ironman that I haven't seen for a long time Rick.  Don (as I have written) is GONZO into his Leadville 100 training and Rick is training for Ironman St. George which is the hilliest Ironman of all and the earliest US IM in May.  I am not even close to being in race shape so I knew my day was going to be a challenge.  Couple that with riding on Mountain Bike vs. road bike and crashing into the curb and going down in the first 5 minutes, I knew today was going to be rough.(I think that covers all of my excuses for sucking).

So we left out from Bethalto and Rick left both Don and I on several occasions.  We couldn't stay on his back wheel.  He is in good - scratch that... great shape.  We get to the trails and our first turn on to the trail was a very short but pretty steep incline.  I was in the wrong gear so as I down shift to climb the hill I feel my chain seize up.... then get REALLY Loose, then I fell over...  I busted my chain... UGH... By the time Rene could come get me, it would be 30 plus minutes so Don had the idea for he and Rick to ride to the local bike shop about 15 minutes away and pick up the tool and new link for my chain which was an awesome idea.  They still get their ride in, I still get what is left and all is right in the world...   So not only were these guys dragging my sorry butt around all day, they were also Sherpa to based camp (the bike shop) for supplies.  They were quick but standing waiting it got pretty chilly.  I was in shorts and cycling shoes so I couldn't run or do anything to stay warm so I hopped in place for a good 20 - 30 minutes until they got back.  The chain repair was literally 3 minutes and we were off.

The trail ride was good.  It was pretty wet and sloppy in parts.  Don of course spends most of his time riding the trails, Rick very little and me a few times under my belt this year.  We did that for about 30 r0 45 minutes and then hit the road back to Bethalto.  We were hitting it pretty hard.  On the way out into a head wind we averaged 14.5 MPH which is pretty fast on a mountain bike.  On the way home we averaged 15.25 MPH and I was feeling it.

I don't train with people normally, not because I don't like too but instead it is just very hard to do.  I am literally cramming my workouts in my day and many times I don't exactly know when that will be making it very difficutlt to plan around someone elses schedule as well.  However, when it does work out it is great.  It makes the time go by much quicker and when riding with stronger riders you tend to push harder than you would when you are by yourself making the workout harder and in many ways more beneficial.

Can't wait for the next one.  Now I just need to work on strength for the next 2 months before my final IM push begins so I can keep up with those guys.

All for now....


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm Back BABY

Rene and I had our Monday night YOGAX date. This is the P90X version of Yoga. It is 90 minutes of hurting well....... actually about 60 minutes of hurting. I have never considered myself a YOGA guy but I will tell you, it is tough and when I do it, I can get up in the morning without limping to the closet to get dressed. I was telling my coach that it normally takes me several minutes to straighten up in the morning, my legs are always stiff, my back is always stiff, I am just generally sore. Since starting YOGA, it is getting a lot better. My plan is to continue this on my rest day for the foreseeable future.

Now, on to topic number two... my low back... as I have written in the past, my back has kept me down for about the last month and swimming (of all things) is what put it over the edge and kept me from doing anything for about 10 days. So today, on my lunch hour, I went and tried swimming as a test. I was able to swim a mile in about 30 minutes. It was sloppy, it was slow, my technique was rusty but NO BACK PAIN!!!! I feel great so I am stamping myself healed!!! More yoga, more strength, more bike....

Lastly, today the tri-club kicked off the ICY IRON challenge. It is basically a gimmick for all of us to keep exercising when the weather is crappy and no one feels like going outside. It isn't super compettive but basically the goal for me is to complete the equivalent of 2x the Ironman distance in the Swim, Bike Run. So over the next several weeks, I need to swim 4.8 miles, bike 224 miles and run 52.4 miles. I don't know how long it will take but I will do my best. Again, the purpose for me isn't to win but to have another motivator to get my butt off the couch and outside. When I report my miles weekly, I wil in turn report them to you.

Take care and have a great Tuesday
Tracy Butler

Monday, December 5, 2011

Great Cross Training this Weekend

I'm writing this on 12/4 and like all exercising in December, it is difficult at best. The days are grey, the weather is cold, and all of us are busy so it is difficult to stay motivated to say the least. In addition, I have been dealing with a lower back injury for the last several weeks and to be honest, it has scared the hell out of me because what was an inconvenient pain turned into a full blown issue that was fired off by an easy swim. When I was at my peak swimming preppping for IMAZ I would get little aches and pains in my lower back, nothing that some heat and stretching wouldn't take care of and nothing that kept me down for more than a day or two. This was different set off by squats, a tempo run, and then a swim. I wasn't able to do anything for a week and a half along with three visits tot he Chiropractor (that is one visit less than all of my visits to a chiropractor combined in my life) so that shoud tell you something. All seems to be better now, I will know for sure when I attempt to swim again this week, first time in about a month.

So.... now you are caught up to this weekend. I have been riding with a friend of mine, Don Brown who is training for the Leadville 100. Basically the Ironman of Mountain Bike races. I could spend three blog entries talking about how insanelyhard that event is and may do so at a later date. For now, trust me... It is insane.... So, I have started mountain bike riding for a couple of reasons:

1) It breaks up the boredom of long rides on the trainer and is a great workout

2) It is a blast especially for a newb like me

3) Don is an expert and knows what he is doing. It is so much easier to get into a new way of training when you have someone to tell you how to do it right.

4) There is no wind in the woods so I have found you can get a good ride in when the temps are much colder than a road ride.

5) As it became apparent this weekend, it works your muscles much differently than my tri bike which is great and will serve me well later in the season.

Don and I rode from Bethalto to the GORC trails at SIUE. It was pretty windy but I have to tell you.. I HAVE NEVER WORKED SO HARD TO GO SO SLOW IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!.. I was going pretty hard on the way out and I think we averaged about 10 MPH vs 19 or so on the tri bike. That was just the warmup, then we proceeded to ride the next 1:15 or so on the trails before finishing the ride on the road again. It was a great workout (picture below) and my mountain bike legs are not what my road legs are and it was apparent on this ride. To me, the cross training will be great to help round out and strengthen muscles that I normally don't work. The most insane part is that my upper body (upper back, shoulders) were in the worst shape just because they weren't used to being used that way.

More to come, I have added Yoga on my Monday nights off just to stay stretched and focused on stretching at least once per week. I think that too will help my back as well.

All for now, enjoy your winter.