Preparing for a endurance events

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For 2015 I’m currently signed up to run my first marathon in April (Raleigh Rock-n-Roll), the Raleigh 70.3 half iron triathlon (May 31) and the Beach2Battleship full iron distance triathlon in October. I will probably also do several smaller races. To make sure I can make it through all these events, I went to see a physical therapist today. I already knew my core muscles were weak but I didn’t realize just how tight they all were. So, I’m going to be working through this for a while until I can get my body back into shape. We’ll see how it goes.

Triangle Orthopaedic Sprint Triathlon

I did a triathlon this morning.Me before the triathlon this morning. It was my first this year and my 7th overall. Here are my thoughts on each of the segments:

Swim – I normally tend to lose all my energy after a short effort, but today I managed to pace myself very well. I only stopped a couple of times and they were mainly just to try to sight where the next buoy was. We did a counter-clockwise swim and after the first turn we were facing the sun and the only thing I could see was glare. So, I followed the crowd as best I could until I could finally see the next two buoys. The water was very cold so I’m very glad I had my wetsuit. It was cold enough that I didn’t want to put my face in the water so I swam most of the time with it up (not ideal, but the wetsuit helped keep me more up than I would have been otherwise). I finished the swim feeling pretty good, although it took me a bit going up to the transition area to get my legs back.

T1 – Getting the wetsuit off wasn’t too bad, as long as I didn’t rush. I did have to take my Garmin 310XT off first, but with the quick connect that was easy. I should have put it directly on the bike then, but I put it back on my wrist and had to transfer it to the bike as I exited transition. Not a big deal. I went ahead and put socks on in T1. I thought about this beforehand. I’ve ridden my bike without socks a lot and it’s not a problem (my shoes are designed for that) but I haven’t done much biking yet this year and after getting blisters on my feet during the run of the Outer Banks Tri last year I just decided to play it safe and go with socks. Also, I figured that would make T2 quicker to do it now.

Bike – The bike felt fast. But, about a mile after exiting the park, a dump truck passed me and didn’t get over at all! It startled me so much, that it forced me off onto the gravel on the side of the road. Thankfully, there was a shoulder (I think it was a driveway) and somehow, some way I was able to get my hands off the aerobars and onto the brakes and slow down. I really thought I was going to go down, but the worst that happened was that I just had to stop for a few seconds. After that, thankfully, I had no more problems with cars. Last year I was averaging about 15 mph on the bike on long rides but now that I’m spending more time in the aerobars I managed to average 17.1 mph on this ride. It was awesome.

T2 – This went fairly quickly. Just off with the helmet and bike shoes, slip on the running shoes, buckle my race belt on, grab a water bottle and a few GUs and off I went.

Run – The run started off, of course, with the legs feeling like they had just biked 16 miles. Also, my run cadence sensor wasn’t working so I just tried to replicate what I’ve been working on for the past month or so and keep my cadence as high as I could. It worked. My first mile was just under about 11 minutes but then I cranked out a couple of 9 and a half minute miles and then sprinted the last 0.1 mile at 8 and a half minutes per mile to come in at an average of 9:57 min/mi for the 5K. A year ago I would have killed for that pace in just a 5K by itself, never mind a triathlon. So, apparently all the run training I did this winter is paying off.

Total time on my Garmin for the race was 1:56:58. Overall, I feel I had probably the best triathlon I’ve done so far. It was certainly a great way to start my season.
After the triathlon sporting the race shirt. I had originally asked for an XL but when I tried it on it was quite baggy so I traded it for a large instead. :-)

Diet Progress

Around about the beginning of February I started trying to lose weight. I’m using the Hacker’s Diet which essentially says that to lose weight you must burn more calories than you take in. To burn more calories, I’ve been exercising, mainly running but also swimming and playing racquetball. So, after a month, here’s my current progress.

Diet Progress 2012/Mar/04

I’m hoping I can continue at this rate for a while since my goal is to lose around 60 pounds. I may have more of a problem right now since at the moment I’m currently under doctor’s orders to do “no exertion” until he can figure out why last Wednesday I had a thunderclap headache that sent me to the emergency room. I’ve got an MRI scheduled this coming Wednesday that will hopefully find out more about that and I’m hopeful that once that is done I will be able to get back to exercising regularly.

Anyway, I will try to post at least monthly updates here on my dieting progress.

Telescope Viewing

Drawing of Orion Nebula</del>
Drawing of Orion Nebula

I took my telescope out for a bit this evening and managed to get a good view of the moon, the stars Betelgeuse and Sirius, and M42 (also known as the Orion Nebula). I managed to get a very nice view of the Orion Nebula and I decided to make a sketch of what I saw. This is from a 6 inch f/8 Newtonian reflector with a 12.4mm lens. I could clearly see the Trapezium (the four stars in the center of the nebula). Unfortunately, since this was in my front yard, and because we have a streetlight right next to our house (!), I was only able to see a bit of the nebula (the shaded in area) and all of it greyscale. At some point, I need to get the motor on my equatorial mount working so that I can try my hand a deep space astrophotography.

Woodworking projects

Apparently, I forgot to post anything about various woodworking projects I did this past year.

First off, I built a bench for our foyer to hold all the various shoes that piled up there:
Click for details: Shoe Bench

Then, I built an electric train table for my son:
Click for details: Electric Train Table

Finally, I made a couple of end grain cutting boards I gave as gifts (one to a friend on her birthday and another to my mom at Christmas):
Click for details: End Grain Cutting Board

A few weeks ago, I also made a set of shelves to fit our VCR that got displaced when we got a new TV recently. I don’t yet have pictures for that but I’ll post some later when I take them.

Now I’m wondering what woodworking project I should tackle next.