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Badgers Win!

Posted by niemsco Dec 29, 2007






Yahoo!!! Badgers beat Texas at Texas 67 to 66 in one the best college hoops games I have ever seen. Wow was I ever fired up... unbelievable.



Just finished my first recovery week of four. Basically all I did was one workout a day no more than 60 minutes and took Christmas off. I'll probably take tomorrow off, but who knows. I may get on the computrainer. That thing is getting addictive. I'm excited about IM Arizona because I just realized its less than four months away! Argghh!!! Right now I don't plan to start my build up until January 21, which would give me 12 weeks. Will need to talk to coach about it, but I'm sure he will suggest the conservative route. I'm looking to push pukin hard when I can train. I'm suppose to do a lot of travel next year for work, so I'll need to train when I can. Gotta keep Kona on my mind as the ultimate goal.



Happy New Year!



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Cut the cheese!

Posted by niemsco Dec 26, 2007


Christmas was great! I didn't work out at all and the family came over to our house. I feel like I've gained 10 lbs in two days! I wanted to share a few of my gifts that I'm really excited about. First is my Cut The Cheese shirt.




I've been looking for this shirt for awhile. I saw it at Target up in Wisconsin, but couldn't find it around Chicago. My kid LOVES it as you can guess. She's at the age where Cut the Cheese is funny. And I can't help laughing everytime I see it. I'm going to wear it to the gym and get some looks. I'm sure some people may be offended, but who cares. The other two gifts I got from my wife and my daughter.





That blue guy is called Big Toe! He is an Ugly Doll. I got that from my daughter. Everyone got a different ugly doll. My daughter got Peaco and we gave my wife Gato. They are pretty funny. They seem to be a hot item. Bit Toe is sitting next to the new Aero helmet I got which I'm sure is going to drop an hour off my Ironman bike time :). The first time I saw these helmets I thought they were a bit goofy, but they are pretty much mainstream now. I figure why not, I've been wanting to get one.



Oh yeah I forgot about the new hats.







I got a UW one, I'm an alumn, and my daughter got a Northwestern one. We live a block away from the Northwestern football stadium (have season tickets as well as basketball tickets). Plus my father in law was a professor there for 40 years. So I have a family of Wildkats I need to put up with. But that's ok, as long as they aren't playing the badgers they can win otherwise they're toast! I was hoping the badger basketball team would be a little better this year like last year, but they just seem to be average right now. We'll see what they do against Texas.



Off for a run later today so I don't gain too much weight. Lots of goodies yesterday, and still a lot laying around the house... ugh. 



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I had two time trials this week for swim and bike. Just as a recap... I've spent some months since Ironman Moo to drastically improve my swim and bike. I want a shot at qualifying for Kona next year so I've got a lot of work to do. So I invested in a computrainer and vasa ergometer. People rave about these things. Most people know what a computrainer is, but the vasa ergometer is basically a swim machine. People swear that they achieve tremendous results from this and never touch a pool. Sounds insane I know. Of course you need to first have a good feel for what swimming is, good form, good balance, etc. Its really for those that are at a point where they really want to begin propulsive swimming. So I'm an easy sell what can I say, I got them both! Enough of the small talk, I had a "pool" time trial this week and then a functional threshold power test on the computrainer. First the pool test.


Swim time trial:

The goal of this was to do 3x300 with 30s rest inbetween and have consistent times. So if you went 4:30, 5, then 6 minutes.. that would be bad. But 5 minutes for all three.....good. I did this before Ironman several months ago... maybe July or August? I basically did a 5:30 at that time for all 3. I was essentially a 1:50 swimmer back then. In the time trial I went 4:56, 4:57, 4:54! Killed it. I went from a 1:50 to a 1:39, :38 swimmer. Which seems to be what I've been swimming at masters lately. Is this all the vasa? No, but it certainly got me going with building strength, along with masters I dropped my time big time. Now I just need to knock 30 more seconds off and I'm golden ;). That may take a little longer.


Bike time trial:

I did the FTP test as described in the book "Training and Racing with a Power Meter". I did this just 4 weeks ago, the results are somewhere in my blog. So basically you end up doing a 20 minute time trial, after a long warmup, subtract 5% from that, and that is your FTP, which is the highest average wattage you can maintain for 1 hour.  Basically I improved my wattage by 13 watts in the time trial, 6.5% increase in four weeks, which is a pretty huge improvement. Basically went from a cat 5 to a cat 4 almost cat 3 in a month. A lot of this had to do with using the spinscan to try and find my optimal bike position. Bike shops around where I live charge you $300 bucks for a bike fit. They use the computrainer spin scan to figure out your optimal position. I'm not paying $300 bucks when I have one in the basement! So tweaks here an there over a month really helped, I'm pretty happy with the setup now. Is this all the computrainer? Yes! I haven't been out on the road for months, all computrainer.


Of course this needs to translate in the lake and the road, but I'm confident it will. I'm done with this time trialing for awhile until next year. Time to relax.... at least for the rest of the day

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The Last week

Posted by niemsco Dec 17, 2007

This is my final week until I take a month off and gain some weight and get out of shape..... But that's suppose to be good I'm told.


Its good considering the weather. I've shoveled more times this year than the past several. Thank goodness for the computrainer and the treadmill I have in the basement. My treadmill is on the fritz however, if I get the MPHS over 9, it will shut off and I will go flying. It seems to be generating too much power for the outlet I have it plugged into because I also lose power. Maybe if I can get an extension cord to a 20amp outlet that would be helpful. But maybe the thing shouldn't be overheating like it is and its time to replace. I don't generally like to run on the treadmill and if there wasn't all this ice around I wouldn't be running on it. This wednesday I may give it a go outside. Major workouts for this week are a swim time trial and a computer trainer Functional Threshold Power test, as well as a long brick on Saturday.


I can say so far that this strategy to not take time off seems to be working. My swim has improved drastically from where it was (in fact I really haven't been swimming for a year), my running improved which didn't seem possible, because I've been at the same pace for a long time, and the bike improved. We will see for sure at the end of the week, or should I say next year after the recovery. I think in the 3rd week of january I'll start the build to IM arizona. The week before I'll be in France for work. It looks like I may do a lot more traveling in 2008, especially to Asia. I'm not sure how this is going to effect things. As long as I'm not traveling on key dates and I can actually work out it should be ok. This year I racked up 50K miles on United, which is lighter than last year, went to Japan and Europe several times. But I haven't traveled in a few months (except Boston). It definitely is inconvenient for the training schedule I have to say, but I'm not really going to be looking for a new job, at least not yet. This is one reason why I got a coach as my training schedule is usually abnormal and I need help planning things. Its definitely been helpful in that regard.


I think I've got my race schedule down for next year. It goes like this:


March - March Madness Half marathon (Cary, IL) - This race is tough!

April - IM Arizona

May - Madison Half Marathon (Madison, WI)

June - Rockman Half Iron (Rockford, IL)

July - Raceine Half (Raceine, WI)

Aug - Steelhead (Benton Harbor)

Sept - IM Wisconsin

Oct- Chicago marathon (maybe)

Dec - Huff 50K (I'm skipping it this year.. coach's advice)


After looking at this I guess I don't have any short races. But then again 3 halfs, so I want a month inbetween each one with no extras. May drop one depending on how things are going, two I may use for training days rather than race. At least I got hotel reservations at all the ones that require traveling, which of course I can always cancel... You need to sign up for the hotels way before races in these events to get a good place. In fact I'm only signed up for one of these races so far, IM ZONA!

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Ice and Snow...

Posted by niemsco Dec 12, 2007

It must be the slow time of year for blogging. 


Going back to Boston I was fortunate enough to get to the airport early and catch the 5pm flight rather than the 7pm flight I was on.  I had heard snow was coming to Chicago and would be hitting pretty hard.  The flight was a bit delayed while in the air due to weather conditions at Ohare, but overall pretty good, which I was surprised at because Ohare is a disaster when the weather gets bad.  The ride home was treacherous, there was a lot of snow on the ground and the plows hadn't come through yet, so my 2 hr run on Wednesday wasn't look like it was going to happen.


I was still sick and in fact, I took four days off in a row.  I haven't had four days off in a row all year, but with the snow and the ice on the sidewalks and having the cold, I just said forget this.  I actually became very unmotivated and started to question the whole Ironman thing.  Fortunately come Thursday I snapped out of it as I finally got onto the computrainer.  Finished the week off with some treadmill running, computrainer and the vasa and felt decent. 


Sunday rolled around we got part of this ice storm going around.  I spent most of the morning de-icing.  There was a 1/2 inch of ice covering everything.  I've never seen it this bad, it was even like that on the street I live on, where were the salt trucks?  I had to drive to the store to get some salt, so it took about 20 minutes to get the ice off my car because I left it on the street.  From all this I think I got a pretty good workout, so I just relaxed the rest of the day  


By the time Monday rolled around I was pretty much over my cold.  Three weeks long.  I've never heard of a cold lasting that long.  Not sure what I had, but I can finally get around without carrying a box of kleenex. 


Now for the good news, I've been running on the treadmill on an incline of course between 1 and 1.5, and I feel like I'm running better than ever.  I've logged hundreds of miles on this treadmill, maybe a thousand plus (its getting old), and I feel a lot more powerful, so maybe the training is worth it.  I was able to maintain an 8min pace quite easily and mostly ran between 7:30 and 7 at a comfortable effort.  Which compared to previous miles I've logged, I've never ran this well on the treadmill.  Running really well off the bike also.   Its still too treacherous to run outside in my opinion, why risk the broken bones when I've got a treadmill in the basement.  I've been watching some Ironman dvds I have of some of the Kona ones to keep me occupied.  Favorites so far are 2001, 2002, 2004.  Compared to the one I just saw, the 2007, these blew that one away.  Seems like the coverage has gone way down in my opinion.  Though 2006 was good.


Yesterday I missed masters, but did a 1k time trial on the vasa erg.  When I first got the thing I couldn't do 1K on it.  Its tough actually when you first start doing it.  I had never gone beyond 300m on it actually in any one set, but I figured what the heck.  I surprised myself and went 18:09 / 1:49/100m.  I did the first 500 in 9:25 so I kicked it in after that.  When I first started, it was a struggle to get in the 1:50s on 100s, so I've made a lot of improvement here and I've been seeing that in the pool.  So the swim and run are going well.  The bike I don't know.  I'm not sure if I'm in the optimal position on the bike and I keep making adjustments on each ride.  I've found some bike fit programs at some shops around here, but they are like 300 bucks!  And they use the spinscan on the computrainer to do this.  I can't justify paying money for this when I have a computrainer at home.  I'll keep playing around with the seat position, I've lowered the aero bars some, and work on the spinscan to see the efficiency.  Though I'm not sure if power or efficiency is more important.  Sometimes getting a high efficiency seems to hurt more than just pedaling. 


I guess I could pay someone 300 dollars to tell me what I already may know, or they could help.  My experience in these matters however is I'm not going to get my money worth and I'm better off just doing it myself.  Hey if I can finish my basement I can figure out the right bike setup.  I do have an engineering degree after all, time to put it to use. 

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Posted by niemsco Dec 3, 2007

Fortunately I didn't get any sicker and made it through the week ok. On Saturday I did some of the IM Arizona bike course on the CT and did 75 minutes at 180 watts. So that was a pretty good workout, then a 30 minute run with about 14 of those minutes into zone IV on the treadmill. I was a bit out of it after that, but then recovered.


The weather in Chicago on Saturday was awful! There was a freezing rain and snow and it was extremely windy. This weather was suppose to be headed east which I was hoping my trip to Boston somehow would get cancelled. I went out that day and got a Christmas tree despite the weather. My daughter really wanted to put decorations up. Its a good tree actually, I'll put a picture up here when I have a chance.


I watched the IM worlds later in the day, and I have to say it wasn't one of the best coverages I've seen. I have all the IMs since 1991, and 2007 was just ok. Certainly not as good as the last few years. Didn't seem like they put an effort into it. The next day I saw myself on TV! IM Wisconsin was on Versus and I wanted to watch that before going to the airport. At the end when the #3 woman passed the #2 on the marathon, I saw myself for about 5 seconds. I remember the pass happening because there was the TV crew and I was just looking to see what happened. That was pretty cool! 5 seconds of fame. I actually followed the #3 woman for several miles after that, but she eventually passed me back. Of course I still had another lap to go!


So I'm in Boston and its snowing like crazy out! I'm not going out running, hoping I can tomorrow. I did take some EmergenC on the plane yesterday. I feel pretty good. I hope I don't get snowed in tomorrow and can get home. Its suppose to snow today and tomorrow. Time to get to work.

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