Blogging

Back in December I had all these plans about blogging all about my experience this year training for my first iron distance triathlon. Well, now it’s May and I haven’t done anything. :-( I suppose, thought, that now is as good as time as any to start.

So, what’s happened since my last blog post? First, I trained for and ran my first marathon: the Raleigh Rock-n-Roll Marathon.Made it to the start line. #runhappy #rnrral If you are thinking of doing a marathon for the first time, let me give you a bit of advice. Pick a different race. While I did the half last year and had lots of fun, and I had lots of fun this year too, I think the Raleigh course is just too hilly for a first marathon. I had hoped to finish in under 4:45 but with the hills I was lucky to come in under five hours. I just barely made it, crossing the finish line in 4:59:38.Had hoped for 4:45 but the hills in Raleigh nixed that. The backup was under 5 hours. I barely made it. My hamstrings started acting up near the end and I basically hobbled the last 25 yards over the finish line but I made it in at 4:59:38 and then immedi While I don’t plan on doing another marathon this year, except for my iron distance triathlon, I may look into doing another one next year and if I do I’m going to pick something flat. Either the Tobacco Road (although, maybe not since spectator support there is apparently very weak) or the Wrightsville Beach marathon. My Garmin 920XT seems to think I could to a marathon in under 4 hours but I think that would have to be on flat and perhaps 20 pounds lighter.

Anyway, at the moment, my next big race is the Raleigh 70.3. Unfortunately, I’ve had a few bumps in the road getting there. Just over two weeks ago, while heading out for a bike ride, I slipped and fell on the stairs in my garage and hit my arm. While I didn’t break it, I managed to end up with a hematoma the size of a chicken’s egg! This was possibly caused by the fact that I went out and did my hour long bike ride after the fall! In any case, I ended up in a sling for a week and then took it easy for another week and therefore lost two weeks of training! It’s just this week that I’m back to my training schedule.

This evening, I managed to get my first open water swim of the year in with a group that swims on Wednesdays and Fridays out at Falls Lake. I’m very glad I got out, even if I didn’t do that much because this Sunday I am signed up for the Jordan Lake Open Water Swim. I’m doing that in conjunction with the Inside-Out Sports Triathlon Club’s Raleigh 70.3 Preview ride so I will, in effect, get both a preview swim and ride for my upcoming half iron race at the end of the month. Never mind that I had two weeks off. I’m pretty sure I can do them both, I just won’t break any time records doing so.

After that, the next weekend I will be racing the Cary Long Course Duathlon. This will be my first ever duathlon and it will be interesting to see how it goes. I actually won an entry into this race at my triathlon club’s annual kickoff party back in Feb/Mar (so long ago I don’t remember exactly when it was!). ¬†Again, I’m not expecting to break any speed records, but it will help me remember how to handle transitions.

The other big news since December is that my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer back in February/March. Now, any cancer is bad news, but since the diagnosis we’ve probably gotten the best news we could have possibly gotten. The cancer came back as only stage 1. It had not migrated to the lymph nodes yet. It was removed successfully via a lumpectomy. And, while she is currently undergoing radiation treatment and will then do hormone therapy afterward, she will not need to have chemotherapy. So, while we would rather she just not have gotten the cancer in the first place, we feel fairly blessed with how things have gone since then. That, obviously, puts a bit of strain on my training plans, but by and large I’ve been able to work around that.

Also, I recently spent two weekends taking the Boy Scout Wood Badge advanced leadership training.Spending the weekend with the Boy Scouts #woodbadge #scouts As part of that, I now have 18 months in which to accomplish some goals that I defined. All of my goals have to do with adding more STEM to my son’s Boy Scout troop. The Boy Scouts have a STEM program via a set of awards called Nova and Supernova. Unfortunately, at the moment, they aren’t well known and hardly anyone even bothers to do the requirements for them. I aim to chance that, for our troop at least.

I guess that’s enough for the moment. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this up and start regularly reporting on my race training. As soon as the Raleigh 70.3 is done I hope to retain the services of a triathlon coach in my quest to finish my first iron distance race: the Beach2Battleship full in Wilmington in October. While I have now run a full marathon, I have yet to swim 2.4 miles or bike 112 miles so getting there will be quite a journey.

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.