Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fisk Knob TT Race Report

Pictured Above: Bella giving Hannah a massage last night.
Pictured Above: Me this morning. Notice the snow.

Alright all, I had a blast at the Fisk Knob TT. I didn't finish as well as I would have liked but I did alright overall in a tough age division (the top 5 in my division were clearly another caliber from the rest of us... there was a 5' gap between the 5th and 6th place!). Ultimately I think that no matter what I'm doing... marathon, triathlon, road racing (bike and run) etc. etc. I probably am not going to be one of the top performers and, in the end, that's alright with me. I'm just having fun doing it! I keep thinking back to where I was about 8 months ago... I between now and then I've dropped almost 60 lbs., made a huge jump in my fitness, learned a ton about triathlon, cycling, etc. etc.! So basically what I'm saying is that it's worth it!

I woke up this morning around 7:30 a.m. and ate a couple waffles for breakfast. I then gathered together everything I needed for the race. By the time I actually took off it was around 9:30 a.m. It was snowing pretty hard in Holland this morning but the further north (towards Cedar Springs) I got the better the weather was... relatively speaking. Once I got to Cedar Springs the snow had basically stopped but the wind was pretty nasty and the temperature was 31 degrees. If I could go back and do it all again there were two major things that I would have done:

1. I would have left the house much later. The "pre-race Athlete meeting," wasn't held until 12:30 p.m. I arrived over an hour beforehand with nothing to do because milling around outside was not an option as it was uber cold out.

2. I would have brought a trainer with me to warm-up on. I looked at it this morning before I walked out and thought, "Nah, I'll just ride on the road to warm up." The thing about riding on the road when it's that cold out is that the wind numbs up your feet and fingers pretty quickly. By the time I got to the start line (1:36 p.m.) I couldn't feel my fingers. That's always great...

Anyway, by the time the race started I was definitely ready to get on the road and start riding. A couple of the other guys sponsored by Jade/Whisper Cycles were supposed to be there but I never ended up finding them pre-race. I spent some time talking with people about the race and there were definitely a lot of people interested in my bike who had questions. Despite this, I was ready to get the blood flowing. The first couple miles of the race were basically downhill. Because of the wind blowing across my front tire I wasn't able to really put the hammer down... or rather, I didn't feel completely stable/comfortable doing so. In hindsight this probably cost me. At any rate I was able to ride fairly strong through the first 12 miles of the ride. The wind was a factor but not nearly as bad as I thought. Looking back there were two primary issues that slowed me down:

1. the turnarounds. I basically came to a stand still while maneuvering around the turnarounds. Any momentum I had was lost immediately. Not a huge deal as there were only a couple of turnarounds and a couple of right hand turns on the course but I definitely lost some time there.

2. Hills. They weren't that bad on the way out but on my way back they definitely posed a problem. I was having a hard time finding my "sweet spot" in terms of gearing and by the time I hit the "major" hill that you climb to the finish line... I was pretty much out of gas.

Overall I finished the 17.13 miles with a time of 00:53:59.58. That's a 19.4 MPH average (.6 MPH slower than my goal for this race... so close) and that put me 71/120 overall and 9/13 in my age group. Obviously I would have liked to have done better but I met a couple of the guys who I beat prior to the race and they were definitely decent riders so I'm not too ashamed. In the end it comes down to the fact that this was just another "training day" for me. The big picture is all about IMKY!!!!

So, that's that. Now I shift gears and focus on my running. Next weekend I'll be in Dearborn for the Martian Marathon. I'm really looking forward to this race. It'll be strange because this week will be a "semi-taper" week for me meaning that my training schedule will be a little lighter (similar to the last couple of days prior to Fisk Knob with either a minimal workout or no workout). However, after that I'll be right back on track with my planned out training schedule!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Carbo Loading...

Pictured top: me holding the beautfiful cake Gwen made this morning.
Pictured above: my baby, the Whisper Eclipse, waiting to be unleashed on tomorrow's TT!

So one interesting effect of Gwen's preceptorship and limited sleep came to light this morning! Apparently when one works all night and has limited sleep they have semi-strange cravings. Gwen's craving this morning... cake. I woke up around 7:30 and talked to her as she was on her way home. By the time that she got home it was around 9:00 after she ate she decided to bake a cake before she went to bed. Of course Gwen being Gwen meant that she baked the cake, ate two bites, and then went off to bed. Which left me sitting there with that cake all day... tempted... very, very tempted. Luckily I was able to resist the urge to eat that thing in one sitting. Would that have been considered carbo loading? We went out to dinner tonight to eat the standard pre-race meal of pasta... I opted for Spaghetti, not sure if that's the best choice but it definitely tasted good. When we got home from dinner Gwen had to do some school work and I briefly "prepared" for tomorrow making sure that my bike was ready and that all my gear is somewhat organized (meaning I made sure it was in the closet and said to myself, "I'll grab that tomorrow"). Check back tomorrow evening for a race report and hopefully some pictures. The weather outside is absolute crap right now (it's raining pretty hard) and I am hoping that by race time tomorrow things will look alright even though the forecast is calling for snow.

Thanks for checking in... also, as an FYI for those who are interested... tomorrow on the Vs. network at 5:00 pm there will be coverage of the Criterium International (cycling)!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Prep. for Fisk Knob

Above are a couple of pics taken post ride.  It's funny because I can remember a time when I thought that the last thing I would ever be caught dead in were bike shorts, tights, goofy jerseys, and certainly not that crazy looking helmet... man how quickly we change our positions!  

The last couple days have been decently eventful in my prep. for the Fisk Knob TT on Sun.  I went out and drove the course to try to get an idea of the direction I needed to head, condition of the road, etc. etc.  I'm really glad that I drove the course and it looks like it's going to be a pretty nice ride.  The road was in decent condition except for a couple of spots that were pretty torn up but now that I know they are there I can prepare myself for them.

Coincidentally my scheduled workout yesterday fit in perfectly with my pre-race plans.  I did a 1 hour ride in HRZ's 3-4.  Due to the cold weather lately I haven't been wearing my heart rate monitor but am using perceived rate of exertion and that seems to be working out well.  At any rate, I averaged 19.8 MPH for this ride.  This certainly isn't going to get me onto any podiums anytime soon but it was exactly where I want to be for Fisk Knob.  

After looking at last year's results I noticed that my age group was split in 1/2 between riders who rode 20 MPH or faster and riders who were slower than this.  Obviously the first group made up the top 50% of the age group.  Thus, my goal was to be in the top 50%.  Looks like I am on track for this but we'll see how it goes.  The important thing is that I use this as a "training" race and continue to improve while working towards my ultimate goal of IMKY.  It's difficult because one side of me is very competitive and wants to go out and push myself to the breaking point every time I ride.  The other part of me is the side that realized everything I'm doing is another step towards finishing IMKY.  Ultimately I need to stick with that "reserved" mentality but it can be difficult... especially because it always seems like there is someone who you feel like you can beat out there!  But... I need to remember to be patient and save myself to race another day!

Today was another day off in my "mini-taper," and tomorrow will be a lighter workout.  I want to make sure that I have a decently fresh set of legs come Sun. while also keeping in mind that a week from now I'll be running in my first marathon!  So, there's a lot on my plate these next couple of weeks and I just need to be sure to handle it well and listen to my body to make sure that I'm not pushing beyond my limits.  The last thing I need to do is injure myself and miss several weeks of training.  That type of setback would be very difficult to deal with right now.  

So... a final note about the race.  The weather the last couple of weeks has been amazing.  BUT, living in MI one learns that you should never count your eggs before they hatch... Sun.'s forecast is snow.  Odd that my first bike race of the year will be accompanied by snow and wind!  The upside is that everyone has to deal with the weather out there... it doesn't affect just one rider!

Alright all, if you see Gwen around (or if you don't) wish her well... maybe shoot her an email.  She has been running on all cylinders, and then some, with her preceptorship beginning this week.  She has been juggling the preceptorship (3rd shift), school, her capstone, and me all at the same time.  I give her all the credit in the world for not having pulled her hair out and lost her mind by now!  Definitely a testament to how determined, smart, and strong she is...

Thanks for stopping by!  Leave a comment or send me a message...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day Off

Today I took a day off from the training schedule.  With Gwen's preceptorship starting this week neither of us has been able to get very much sleep (she more than I... at least I don't have to put a full day in and then do 8 hours in the hospital and 2 hours of driving!).  So, I felt that perhaps it would be a good day to hold off on the training (especially since it was a swim workout today) and just relax together. 

As I've been mentioning in recent posts the weather here has finally turned for the better.  It looks like the trainer is won't be making it's way out of the storage closet anytime soon, unless there is some really terrible weather outside.  The last couple of rides I've been out on have been pretty windy which has been a blessing in disguise in a lot of ways.  When it's windy out I'm forced to really concentrate on my handling of the bike, my efficiency, etc.  The other day at the shop Jeff, one of the "uber" cyclists, said something along the lines of, "We don't have hills or mountains in Michigan.  We can't train on the Alps.  We have wind."  This is definitely the case and it helps when you look at a stiff headwind as a training technique instead of a barrier.  It sounds like group rides at the shop are going to be starting fairly soon and I'm really excited to get out with them and try to absorb as much info as I can.

Today the start times for the Fisk Knob TT were posted online.  Looks like I'll have a 1:36 PM start.  I'm trying to remember that I'm not necessarily out at this event to "race" but that it's another fun wrinkle added into my training.  That being said, I spent a lot of time today obsessing over the #'s of the race (i.e. what the average speed of the top 50% of my age group was last year, how many individuals from my age group last year have signed up again, etc. etc.).  Bottom line... I want to represent for Whisper Cycles.  In the end though I need to remember that I'm in this for the long haul and I can't blow my wad on one early season race that should be used as a fitness gauge.  I'm also reminding myself that Matt Smith and Joel Nemes, also from Jade/Whisper, will be out there representing and they're both fast. 

In other news... our Whisper/Jade Tri jerseys and shorts and Cycling bibs and jerseys have been ordered.  Jim showed me the design a couple of weeks ago and needless to say they are absolutely awesome!  They're sweet enough that part of me is tempted to try to wear them in my everyday life... 

Gwen and I received our new running shoes from Brooks (see the picture above).  I'll be running in the Brooks Beast and Gwen will be using the Ariel.  Neither of us has had the chance to put any serious miles on them yet but after my initial "test run" all I can say is that these are some seriously beefy, supportive, and comfortable shoes.  I haven't ever had a shoe that feels like it was made "custom" for me but this is certainly the closest that I've been.  It feels like the shoe kind of wraps around my foot... like it is molded to it.  At any rate I'll continue to provide feedback as I get some more use out of them.  They'll be the shoes that carry me through my first marathon which, coincidentally, is in two weeks!  I'm really excited about getting out and getting an indication of where my running fitness is at.  Again, same thing as the TT, it isn't about racing but finishing and making sure I'm feeling good and fit!  I've heard from a couple of other members of the Brooks Inspire Daily program that they'll be out there as well and I'm hoping that we'll get a chance to meet and say hi! 

In general training is going really well.  It's been a constant struggle for me to learn what I should be worrying about and when I should let things go.  There is so much uncertainty at this point but the most important thing is that I feel like I'm taking steps forward each day.  Hope that everyone is doing well!

'Til next time...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

3 Mile TT (run)

Just finished up with my 3 Mile TT. I ended up running over to the nearby high school track to do this. In the past I have done my TT on the treadmill but it sort of defeats the purpose but it was winter and cold and the best I could do. Here are my splits:

Mile 1- 7:33
Mile 2- 7:33
Mile 3- 7:23

I felt good afterwards but had the feeling that I could have ran a little faster had I done a better job of warming up. This is something that I probably need to start doing in general. I don't feel like I'm anymore injury-prone when I don't warm-up (although this is the case for most everyone) but I do feel that it takes me a little longer to "hit my stride." Anyway, warm-up is the word of the week.

This upcoming week I step back up in terms of the actual hours I spend working out. This week was a little lighter because of the various TT's and "testing" that I had scheduled. Work this week will be busy as well so I'll have to juggle the two as best as possible. Gwen starts her preceptorship this week at the hospital so she'll be doing some overnights. I guess the "silver lining" of that deal is that I will have some time to workout later in the evening so I don't have to rush it in after work. Other than that today will be spent relaxing. I got about 1/2 of my yardwork done yesterday and the rest will be taken care of next weekend...our yard was never pretty but this Spring it's downright ugly. I'll have to work on that but I think that this Summer my yard will be suffering from "Triathlete Yard Syndrome" (i.e. it's going to be pretty nasty). We'll do what we can...

Alright, have a good one!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

10 Mile TT

Today was my first outdoor TT/LT test on the bike.  I did 10 miles and it was much better than my last testing.  I figure that this is because I was riding my Whisper instead of my old bike as well as the fact that I have another month of training under my belt.  It still felt a little slow but I figure that when the weather gets better out it'll be a little easier (or at least more enjoyable).  It was 30 degrees out when I left the house and I was riding into a headwind for a lot of the ride.  Needless to say my hands are still de-thawing!  Overall though I'm feeling great.  

I've been on top of all my workouts this week and I suppose I can now officially say that I'm back into the swing of things.  The next couple of weeks are going to be pretty crazy for Gwen and I.  Next weekend is my first TT of the year.  It's a 17 miler at Fisk Knob in Cedar Springs, MI.  The following weekend I will be doing my first marathon, Martian Marathon, in Dearborn, MI.  The weekend after that Gwen and I will be doing a 10K in Saugatuck.  THEN the biggest event of this month is following all of this...Gwen will be graduating from Nursing School!  We're both really excited for this and it's a really big deal.  

That's basically what's going on right now.  Check back in over the weekend for some new posts.  
Hope everyone is doing well!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Start of the Week...

Started the week off the right way today with a 00:50 swim doing various drills, paces, distances, etc. I felt a little sluggish in the water and felt like there was a lot of resistance/drag today but I finished it off strong! After the swim I got a 00:30 run in outside. Again, the weather was beautiful today which makes training much easier. Did just over 5 1/2 miles which I was pretty happy with. Tomorrow I'm going to try to work out in the morning as I'll be out of town for work during the day and at night I'm hoping to drink a green Michelob Ultra or two! Speaking of St. Patty's day and the color green, check out the new bottles I got from Jim today. They're Jade Cycles bottles ( the other brand that my bike sponsor, Whisper Cycles (www.whispercycles) makes! They're the short stubby bottles which are primo. I'm pretty pumped up to have a couple of new bottles.
The water bottle that I had been using had started to develop a black...moldy type material in the bottom. I think that it has something to do with the chemicals from the pool (since I always use that bottle while swimming) and the fact that I often throw my locker key in the bottle so I don't lose it. At any rate it was extremely disgusting and no doubt unsanitary. I won't be repeating that mistake again. Please check back in the future for "product review" type posts. I'll periodically be posting regarding products from my sponsors...for instance, I should have a new pair of running shoes within the next couple of weeks (as will Gwen!) and I'll post a review. I'm super excited to have picked up the quality of sponsors that I have and I definitely feel very fortunate! Now I just have to do them proud this year.
Two more things quickly. First off I've added a gadget that shows my last 5 Twitter posts. It can be found on the lefthand side of the blog. Check it out and add me to your Twitter! I'm definitely a new Twitter's fun and helps to break up the day (plus I get all sorts of cool updates from friends and news sources that interest me). Secondly, I've been using and Both sites provide really valuable tools for the cyclists or runners out there. I'm able to accurately gauge how far I've gone and it helps me to set a goal (i.e. I have x amount of time to run...let's try to make it x amount of miles). Check them your workouts and post a link up in the comment section of my blog for other to check out! Alright all...Gwen and I are going to enjoy the rest of the night. Do the same!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend Recap

It's been a great weekend and as it draws to a close I am feeling tired but more importantly I feel like I'm back on track. Since coming home from vacation it has been up and down...a great workout one day and I bonk the next or just don't have the energy to even start but after this weekend I feel re-energized.

On Sat. I had a 3:00 brick. It was the first time that I was able to get outside with my bike and it felt absolutely amazing. I rode into Saugatuck and back to our place and then cruised around the neighborhoods around here. I did about 30 miles which isn't huge but considering the time that I spent stopped to mess around with my speed sensor (which quit working) it felt pretty good. Once I started the run I could definitely feel it in my legs and was glad that it was only a 00:30 run. My heart rate was all over the place and it was difficult to keep it in the lower zones but I figure that with it still being pretty cold out, combined with it being my first ride outdoors, that this won't be a typical thing. I was all geared out with cold weather cycling clothing and the only complaint that I have is that the gloves I was wearing didn't seem to be insulated was a beautiful day out but the wind was a killer! Wasn't able to get any pictures but will do so next time out!

Today I did a 1:45 negative split run. Basically what this means is that the first half of the run was slower than the second half. I did just over 11 miles. I felt good afterwards, tired but good. I was a little unhappy about the distance which I ran...I figured I would be closer to 13 than I was but over all it was a good feeling. I was smart enough to bring a Gu with me to give me some nutrition and I brought some cash in my shoe to buy some water at the halfway point. Thank goodness b/c I needed the water! I felt kind of bad handing over a sweaty $5 bill to the attendant at the gas station...but what else was I supposed to do?

So, the weekend is winding down. Gwen is busy hammering away on some essays for school. I'm watching the coverage of the Paris-Nice race on Vs. I'm really thankful that they are covering the races this year but wish that it was not as limited (they are only televising the last stage of this race...). Loving the cycling! On a separate note they're showing a special on the Iditarod following the coverage of Paris-Nice (which for those of you who don't know is something that I'm super interested in!). So, a good day to watch a little tv I suppose. Hope everyone is doing well...'til next time...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Learning to Tweet....

I'm finally a "twitterer." Check me out... my handle is jboeve! Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Roller Report and Disappointment...

Roller Report.  Finally busted them out.  Wish that I had Gwen use the video camera, or normal camera, to capture this crazy moment in time.  The picture to the left is of my bandaged right hand.  Here are a couple of tips I learned today while trying out my rollers:
1.  Position the rollers away from glass objects such as the glass coffee table covered in glass crap.

2.  When you fall try to unclip your cleats from your pedals.  If you do so you may get lucky and get your feet on the ground before plummeting to the floor.

3.  When people say, "Put the rollers in the doorway it's much safer," they are lying.  All this means is that instead of falling and breaking glass you slam into a small, cramped, doorway.  It's like getting stuffed into the trunk of a Mazda Miata.

4.  Learn to laugh at yourself ( because even if you don't your wife will)!

So...the initial attempt at the rollers didn't go as well as I had hoped.  I'll probably hop on them again tomorrow, and the next day, and so on and so forth until I get used to them.  They are going to be a great tool in my training... even though I'll be moving outside shortly!  Can't wait to get the hang of them though.  They're definitely fun.  

With that being said... today's workout was a big disappointment.  I was only on the bike for 30-35 minutes of what was supposed to be  a 1:30 ride followed by lifting.  I just couldn't get it together today and I'm not completely sure why.  Today was a complete s-storm at work and I know that tomorrow will be as well so that has been on my mind but I think that it's a "vacation hangover," that I'm suffering from today.  At any rate, tomorrow will be much better!  I'm getting back in the swing of things so it is what it least I worked up a sweat and spilled some blood!

A couple of weeks to the Fisk Knob TT and then a couple more and it's my first marathon... Martian Marathon!  It's going to be a big month for me and I'm just happy to start taking the first big steps in my path to IMKY!  Weigh in, wish me luck, give me some words of wisdom!

'Til next time... 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wii Be Fit and Return from Vacation

Gwen and I returned home from vacation this morning and what a great week it was!  There was so much to do and we had such a great time I can't do it justice by writing a blog.  Needless to say though the weather was great and it was a nice chance to recharge.  I didn't work out as often as the training plan called for but I'm looking forward to a big week this week.  I have my legs back and feel 110%.  The couple of times that Gwen and I did get out and run I was able to gauge, somewhat, the effect that "hot weather," has on me while working out.  I wasn't too drained by it but am sure as ever that I'll need to be very careful making sure that I'm properly hydrated.

Prior to leaving I found out that Brooks (makers of shoes, clothing, etc.) will be sponsoring me through their "ID," (Inspire Daily) program.  I'm really excited about this opportunity and in the future I'll keep you informed of how everything is going.  In the meantime I'll be adding a link to their home page as well as the Inspire Daily page.  Take a look when you get a chance.  Also, take a look at the pages of my other sponsors and if you have any questions let me know!

I'm also posting pictures from right before I left of Jared and I "working out," with the Wii fit.  We were playing Mario and Sonic Olympics which was pretty fun.  As dorky as it sounds using the Wii provides a semi decent workout.  Don't get me wrong, there's no substitute for actually performing real exercise but I guess the Wii is a better alternative to those fitness conscious individuals than the standard video game console has been (although maybe the track pad from old school Nintendo offered a decent "workout"...).  Anyway, the pictures are pretty funny.  I have to say that we basically split our victories.  While I dominated the Track and Field events Jared was much more skilled at Swimming and Trampoline routines.  Who would have figured? 

So, like I mentioned above, this week is an important week for me to get back on track and take advantage of the break that my body, and mind, have received.  I got my rollers last week so my first ride of the week (on Tues.) I'll get a chance to try them out and will throw up some pics as well as a initial "review."  So look for updates.  We're excited to be home and are looking forward to a good week.

--As a little bit of a humorous aside here is a bit of a funny exchange that Gwen and I had via text message on Fri.  Prior to our leaving I ended up dropping my bike off at the bike shop for the week and suffered a bit of separation anxiety!  Thus, the following:
Me to Gwen:
I ended up dropping my bike off and I feel like a parent leaving their kid at school for the first time.  I am having serious separation anxiety.  I love that bike.
Gwen to Me:
yikes that's weird.  bet you love that bike more than me...
Me to Gwen:
No, but it's don't make me mad.

Obviously, I don't love my bike more than Gwen... and I don't think I'll make the mistake of joking about it again since she wasn't too happy about it.  Anyway, 'til next time...