Sunday, July 28, 2013

11 Weeks to Kona! Wine, Dancing, Headaches and Encouraging Words from the Legs

Richter Kid is still going!  Week 3 was a good one!  I put more into the swim since week 2 was down in yardage.  10,500 quality yards this week, unless Frank texts that he's up for an afternoon swim today and lets me tag along.....

The rest of the training went well too, and I could feel the stress of increased volume and intensity both in the week's workouts.  Sooooo........

Friday I took a break!  A break from training.  A break from nutrition.  A break from this “train-for-Kona-nothing-else-matters-lifestyle.” I had been trying to insert a free night for a while, but Thursday night the plan was hatched.....

I was gung-ho Thursday just thinking about the Thursday Night World Championships, but the moment I took the first pedal stroke out of my driveway that night I thought, “Uh-oh.  I got Jell-O in m'legs.”  It had been a hard week of training already and I wasn't recovered from Wednesday's tough track workout.  I told myself that I had done plenty of Thursday rides on tired legs that went great (there was once a fun ride I did after eating a whole kielbasa sausage) and just pedaled on.  But when the heat got turned up at the "usual spot" on the course and several of the guys started ratcheting up the pace, my legs twitched as if to say, “See, this is what we were telling you back at the house?!”  I’m aware I’m not near as cool as Jens Voight, and I wish I could tell you I answered with, “Shut up, legs!!!!”  But it was more of a sheepish reply along the lines of, “Errrr, umm, legs?  Can we just pretend to be strong enough at least that the boys don't drop us?”  My ego would have never been able to take getting dropped, but I was committed at this point to riding with the guys at the pointy end of the course.  I did alright, but I was exhausted the whole time and every turn at the front felt like a tremendous effort.  I had already given myself permission to skip the run afterwards, but I strapped on the Asics anyway and took the first steps.  I knew for sure I would crumble and take the short cut home.   It was okay to quit.  Really, it was.  But when I came to the shortcut that I fully intended to take the legs stayed on course.  “Hey legs, where are we going?  It's okay, let's stop!”  "Shut up, head!  We is up for this!"  I got it done and then even hit the mat for some core strength after.

But all through that run an idea was hatching that perhaps – if I could do it without beating myself up too bad – Friday I could close the book of Training Rules According to Richter Kid and not only take a full day off but also lift the wine embargo. Angie and I had a nice stay at home date, listening to cheesy music, drinking wine (beer for her), letting loose and grilling some nice big steaks.  It felt fantastic!

 A little Friday night fun never hurt anyone!

Hmm.  I paid the price for that frivolity on Saturday's ride.  Kinda had a little headache.  70 miles in I didn't have much gumption going for me.  The last 20 were a blur.  The legs felt fine, but my head didn't have it.  I told myself I could bag the run when I got home.  Yeah, save it for Sunday's run (I tried to justify it).  By the time I got home I was pretty well cooked.  I collapsed on the garage floor.  There was no way I was running.  My head was splitting.  But once I got in the cool A/C of the house I guess I felt better enough to half mumble to Angie that I would try to run but didn't expect much.  My training plan called for 6 miles.  I hoped for 3.

 I'm having a good time......

I got 4.  And it was fantastic!  I don't know what happened but I came around and felt like I could have run forever.  It's amazing how the body and mind can bounce back if you just give it a chance!

Sunday's 14 mile run went well too.  Perhaps I'm getting used to this humidity a bit.  

Frank just texted.  Swim at 2:30!  Yesssssssssss...........!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

12 Weeks to Kona!

Week 2 in my ramp up for Kona is complete and only 12 weeks to go.  But the beatings will continue.  What a good week it was and I already feel stronger and my gumption-o-meter is nearly pegged.  I didn't log the swim mileage that I did in the first week due to our pool closing in the middle of my long swim workout on Monday for the little Phelps's of tomorrow to get their session in.  But I had a good run week and a great bike week. 

As for the run stuff, I logged 33 miles this week all of which were in some decent heat and humidity to get used to this crap by Kona game time.  I have a ton of work to do still and cannot even fathom how to run a marathon in the conditions that the Queen K Hwy will bring, but I'll figure that out over the next few weeks.

This week I returned to the track after a hiatus since spring, and it was no surprise I have no speed to offer but the workout was a good one and the company I keep at this weekly workout always helps get me through it.

 Choo, me, Carl, Bert and Frank doing our best to stay on course and not trip over clumps of grass or get swallowed up by massive puddles.  I love weight room dungeons and decrepit training venues, but this is getting a bit out of hand!

Today's long run took me above my usual 10 miles for the first time.  Still just a 12 miler, but it was a struggle to maintain my energy til the end suffering in the 98% humidity.  I struggled in the first 3 miles to find my gumption, but then all the way through mile 7 I felt like I had at least one more gear I could use if I wanted but was smart to hold off.  By mile 8 I was cooked and was chanting "take it easy" in my head, content to hold the pace til the end rather than lift it in the last few miles like I normally like to.  I left sweat prints all over the course.

 Testing out the Craft cool wear on a hot run Thursday evening.  The back of the shirt has a pocket filled with ice.  It was way too heavy and sounded like a Yachtzee game behind me as I ran.  I don't think this will make the cut.

As for the bike, I finally got into a groove on the Thursday night ride and felt like I was turning over proper power (the perceived kind.....I don't have one of those fancy wattage thingies a lot of folks have nowadays).  I'm excited to see how this progresses as I get my skinny on further into my training.  Interestingly, I'm surprised this ride didn't go south as I had mistakenly put a few drops of Angie's coconut fragrance oil in my water bottle prior to the ride thinking it was peppermint oil (spoda keep your core temp down - credit to Dave and Lauren Mirra for the suggestion).  If I ever wanted to try lighting a fart, that evening was a great opportunity as it surely would have smelt like a Yankee candle store.

Yesterday's 90 mile ride and 4 mile run went swimmingly!  Considering a week ago the last 20 miles of my 80 miler I was pedaling squares, I've come a long way in a week.  I explored a new route down to New Bern and back, and the last 45 miles I was hammering pretty good for an old timer!  I like to get lost in thought on my solo long rides and runs, and this one definitely gave birth to some fresh ideas I want to try as I move forward with the season.  Not ready to divulge these just yet, but they're coming!

All the pros do training camps in Hawaii to prepare for the Ironman World Champs, so I figured I better do the same......

I also decided during the ride that perhaps I'm gripping race day performance a bit too tight.  With such a stacked field I can't expect to rock Kona with any sort of newsworthy performance relative to the field, though it's important that I show up race-ready, fit, and representing of my hard work that gets me there, the Tricredibles, and my friends and family that will be there or elsewhere following my progress to the finish.  I hate to make people wait, and in this case.......any longer than they need to.  But having said that, I want to enjoy race week to the fullest, so I might indulge in a libation here and there in the days leading up to the race.  I know I certainly will need at least a couple glasses of wine at JFK airport prior to my 10+ hour flight to Honolulu to knock me out.

I was excited to hear yesterday that not only is Angie in on the no-drinking-til-Hawaii thing but so is my sister in Idaho!  I guess she's taking the underpants run seriously too!

Anyway, I'm so thankful I feel great 2 weeks into my training.  The body is responding to the increased stress and the mind is handling the lifestyle changes quite well so far.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kona Training Day 7: Sunshine on Sunday!!

I had almost forgotten what it looked like, but I woke up to sunshine this morning!  Great weather for an 80 mile ride and a run.  Phillip Rowan met me on the road and we set out to circumnavigate Greenville.  We were sweaty pigs from the get-go with this humidity we have down here and I was second-guessing my decision to skip out on salt tablets.

When I get into my Ironman training, I prefer to skip the weekend group grides and go solo.  I always have some sort of agenda on my ride, and it doesn't work well with a group.  But Phillip is a good guy to do these sessions with.  I love his company, and he understands I may have a set routine I want to do perhaps with some intervals or something.  He never lets his ego get in the way with mine and lets me do my intervals without sticking his wheel halfway in front of mine.

That said, when I announced I was ready for a set of 15 minute intervals, I took off as if something impressive was about to happen. We were in a headwind, it was hot as hell, and it hurt the moment I accelerated.  Phillip was right behind me so after a few minutes of suffering I hollered back, "Does this feel like we're doing anything to you?"  "Oh yeah, why do you think I'm tucked in behind ya?"  But it was sucking my battery life down something fierce and when the interval was over, I told Phillip I couldn't do anymore of those today.  I guess after 6 months of no rides longer than 60 miles, then a 3 week hiatus from riding, attempting to jump to 80 miles with a series of tough intervals was maybe just a little bit ambitious.  I opted to live to fight another day and reset the goal of just getting the mileage in.

Which I did, but I was pedaling squares the last 10 miles.  I have lots of work to do, but all's well.....patience, Richter Kid.  Patience.

It was high noon.  I changed to my running costume, grabbed a frozen Fuel Belt bottle from the freezer (it cools me down when I hold it in my palm) and took off for a 3 mile run.  Hot.  Sweaty.  I couldn't wait for the bottle to melt just a tad so I could take a sip of ice cold water and pour it on my head.  Just under an 8 minute pace.  At the 1.5 mile turnaround I touched a branch of the mimosa tree (that makes it official - my personal timing mat!), checked the clock, poured water on my head and picked up the pace.  I always have to negative split the run......

Tough day at the office.  Nothing epic yet, but a good, hard effort.  The kind that reminds me that if you look at the end goal (of completing an Ironman) then you can get discouraged, but if you break it into smaller goals and believe that you can achieve them in steps all of this suddenly becomes attainable.  You just have to trust in the steps that take you there. This workout will eventually evolve into 130 mile rides with very long, hard interval efforts or all-out time trials with 6-8 mile runs afterwards.  I know I can't do that now, but there are steps along the way that will get me there.

I had a great afternoon nap and then Frank was up for a swim in the evening so I met him for a quick 2000 yards at the Rec Center.  Great way to end the day!

Total training hours today: 5.32

For dinner, we tried a vegan chili recipe out from ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek's book.  It was awesome!  I may not roll vegan, but I do tonight! 

So, that's how my week's worth of workouts is setup.  It's gonna be a long journey.  It's gonna be fun.  It's gonna be hard.  But it's gonna be worth it.  Thanks for following.  I'll post here from time to time to let you know how it's going as the rest of my journey to Kona progresses!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Kona Training Day 6: Insanity on Saturday

Rain today.  Again. Evidently, the earth has shifted its crust and Greenville is now located precisely at the exact latitude and longitude as Seattle used to be.  I sure hope the good farming community of Ghana figures out their new home, in what used to be Eastern Carolina, is perfect for growing tobacco and cotton.

So, with that, I elected to swap my long ride and run that normally happens on Saturday with the long run from Sunday, in hopes that tomorrow will be better weather for a few hours on the bike.  Since I'm just back from a long break from running and the ramp up in mileage has just begun, it was just a 10 miler.  But as the weeks progress this run will turn into anything up to 22 miles.  Richter Kid ain't ready for dat yet.

I chose a course that went out 5 miles and back.  I wanted to simulate the first 10 miles of the Kona marathon that goes up Ali'i Drive and back before heading up the hill and out towards the Energy Lab.  I like to place my thoughts on race day while I run and go through every possible scenario that could unfold during the big day.  Is Dave's super runner-friend Eric eating chunks of time on me with some 7 minute miles?  Have I made up the gap to the pros, now with a 10 minute lead for first, and caught up to Marino Van Hoenocker telling him, "Come on, dude.  Don't crack on me again now.  Let's run this thing together!  Cowboy up!"?  Is Lindsay Corbin stopping to wait for me, pleading that I'm her hunk of sweaty manliness she's dreamed of (This one's got some truth to it.  Seriously, Lindsay, stop calling me.  I'm happily married and I've changed my number twice now.  There's another Richter Kid out there for you somewhere.  Buck up, cowgirl.)  Or am I just coming to, thinking, "Man, this asphalt is hot!" when I open my eyes to find eighty-something year old Sister Madonna Buder's open mouth locked onto mine, resuscitating me back to consciousness?  Such exciting possibilities!!!!

But it was a far less eventful 10 miles than what existed in my melon.  With 80 degree temps and 85% humidity, I was soaked in sweat by the first mile and by the last it sounded like I had a squishy wet tampon in my shoe.  I was ticking over 8 minute miles, which is pretty conservative, but just like they say to do on Ali'i Drive I wanted to run patient, take it easy today, and press the pace when I get further into my training.

I still had a good negative split when I got to Palani Hill.....I mean, when I got home.  I sped up steadily the last 5 miles and finished the last one at a 7:15 pace.  Total time was 1:18.43.  There is work to do, but time to do it!

After the run I did the Ab Ripper X routine, cuz my 6 pack is in there somewhere and if I don't find them soon I'm gonna have to send in the Chilean mining rescuers to excavate them out.

After the run we had lunch at Sakura, our usual go-to lunch hangout.  Before I could even decide what I wanted to order, Kwan (the owner) yelled at me, "Bun!  You eat Bun!  I make special one for you not have so many noodle and more meat.  You no have choice!"  She's taking my Ironman training seriously too it seems!

Special Bun with extra meat and skimpy on the noodles.  Ha!

This afternoon I added a 20 minute session of yoga out on the back patio.  I didn't feel like I had done enough, and the stretching is good for me.

I hope to get my ride in tomorrow that I missed out on today.....or I'm gonna be a little bit grumpy.

Total training hours today: 1.83

Friday, July 12, 2013

Kona Training Day 5: Freedom Friday

Wow, my blog ticked over 10,000 all-time views today?! Thanks everybody! Short post today......

Freedom Friday……cuz today is my off day! No need to do any training. But, I usually can’t help myself and end up going for a swim anyway. Today, old habits haven’t died, and I went ahead and swam 2000 yards with a series of 100’s as the main set, with some paddle work for shits and giggles.

I can always take a rest day some other time….!!! Really, I take my rest time pretty seriously (in bed by 9 , which gives me 9.5 hrs of sleep per night) but I like to evaluate the need for a scheduled rest day based off of how my body feels it’s adjusted to the week’s training…..and I was either ready for more today or beating myself up over being a slacker yesterday. Plus, if I don’t get over 10,000 yards/week in the pool the webbing between my toes starts to recede…..

Total training hours today: 0.66

Friday nights I allow a more carb rich meal since weekend efforts are a whole lot longer and require a bit more in the tank. Also, I love to cook, so tonight I whipped up some turkey sausage pesto pasta! Awwww, yeah!

Stay tuned for tomorrow……Insanity on Saturday!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kona Training Day 4: Thrashed on Thursday

Thursdays are all about FUN!  By now, the legs usually are a little bit tuckered, but it’s a “good” tuckered……

0.8 lbs lighter this morning!

At lunch, I take a break from swimming and instead do a functional strength routine designed by Jade Teta that he calls Metabolic Affect.  Jade trains MMA fighters but has done some work with western NC triathletes like Lance Leo, who was my coach in my early Ironman training years and is a great source and coach I would highly recommend if you’re in the market for one.  Anyway, this is a quick 30 minute session that targets all the muscle groups in the body simultaneously while incorporating balance as a factor as well.  The exercises are quick and typically require no resistance beyond your own weight, and you transition from one exercise to the other immediately getting no rest.  I have added the Ab Ripper X routine and some resistance band exercises as well for further bodily harm. 

I recover from the lunch workout as best I can during work in the afternoon because after work is the infamous Thursday Night World Championships!  This is Greenville’s “premier” group ride and anybody who’s anybody in the local cycling and triathlon community shows up, all with different agendas mind you, but for some of us it’s about sticking your front wheel at the pointy end of the group and sharing in the suffering with those that dare to join!  I enjoy mixing it up with the roadie guys and love the traditions that have evolved over the years with this workout (see my post from last March for details).  There are sure to be lots of little attacks and it’s fun to watch the group dwindle down to a smaller and smaller group.

Again, rather than drive to the ride I like to bike there for extra mileage.  By the time I dismount in my garage I’ve logged 42 miles before I slip on the Asics DS Trainers and go for a short run of 3 to 6 miles.  The pace on this run is not very critical to me.  I’m more rather interested in how the legs feel after a tiring hard ride.  I usually throw in some random fartleks within the run to make sure I’m sufficiently exhausted.  BUT, since this is only week one……no run today!  Those will get added in next week.

Soooooooooooo........that's what SHOULDA happened!  Instead the skies opened up for yet more rain and I was forced to get on the trainer in the garage and ride.  AAAAAAaaaaaaargh!  There are few things in this world that suck more than riding indoors, and at the moment the only examples that come to mind are brussel sprouts or a prostate exam given by a girl you had a crush on in high school but is now a doctor.  But since this is for Kona, I tucked the string in and got on that God-forsaken thing and managed a super sweaty 1.5 hour ride with 5 intervals of increasing power by 10 watts each.  My computer wasn't working (for the Computrainer) so all I had for entertainment was what was on the radio, which included timeless hits by Justin Beiber and that silly looking idiot, Ceelo Green.  These songs made me angry, which perhaps was good for an interval or two.  But not hours.

Afterwards, I attempted to jump rope, or jumping rope,.....or rope jumping.  I was just jumping, and there was a rope involved.  I think I look like Rocky when I jump over ropes, but Angie acts like it looks more like one of those guys from the Big Bang Theory as they flop the rope around there jumping-like action.  Anyway, once I successfully jumped up and over the rope 10 times in a row, I hung it up.  I would like to be a good jumper of rope.  This will take much practice. 

So now I'm starving, which is all in my head, I have a bad attitude since I didn't get my planned workout in, and my rope jumps make me feel like an idiot.  Total training hours today was just over 2 hours, which doesn't include the bit about the rope that was twirling around my jumping.

Angie had a sweet salmon and asparagus dinner ready just at the right time, which I scarfed up quite eagerly and almost mended my frustration.

Not all Ironman training days go well.  Sigh.

Tomorrow is Freedom Friday........

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kona Training Day 3: Wasted on Wednesday

Wednesday’s training is deceptively easy. The workouts are over with quickly, but not without pegging the needle on the painometer…..

The lunch workout is a swim again. 2000 yards, and with an emphasis on drills and technique. Today I did some catch up drills, some one arm strokin’, and some stroke count focus as part of my main set. By the end of the day Wednesday, I should normally be at or approaching 10,000 yards for the week. I like to hit 12,000 yards by week’s end.

Oh yeah, yesterday I noticed my regular swim jammers are one flip turn away from detonating into something crotchless, and since I already have a full wardrobe of that kind of stuff I decided to break out my skimpy little square leggers. I’ll refrain from pictures at least til I get in better race shape….

After work, it’s time to meet the group at the track or greenway for some run intervals. I’m following the interval protocol suggested by the Hanson Brothers marathon plan. For the first 7 weeks of the plan, the workouts are speed oriented. Total distance covered during the intervals is 3 miles with no interval longer than 1 mile. For today, I did a ½ mi, 2x1 mi, ½ mi. Pace is approximately 5k to 10k pace for these intervals. In the heat and humidity, this is a sufferfest and it’s a glorious feeling when each interval is over with and more so when the whole thing is done. For the final 8 weeks, the workouts are strength oriented. Total distance covered during those intervals becomes 6 miles, with no interval shorter than 1 mile and the pace slows to more like 10k to half marathon pace.

I also biked to the track and back. To be honest, this is pretty much trash mileage, but I figure if I’m training to do 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running I should be able to ride or run to a workout rather than drive. It seems kind of pointless to drive to a workout if I can help it. Plus, it makes for a good warmup and cooldown.

Here’s my entire run mileage plan, which is a modified version of the Hanson Plan. Note, only the Monday and Sunday runs are not “brick” workouts. I ride before all the other ones. I believe lots of bricks per week to be a major advantage going into a triathlon.

The Hanson’s premise is to run often (6 days per week) and therefore refrain from a long run day (I believe they consider 18 miles or more long). I still believe in the long run, so to provide further torture I’ve adapted their run-often marathon plan to include long runs. God help my legs from falling apart. This is essentially the plan I used for Ironman Florida, and I had a pretty good day as a result. Cross your fingers that it works twice! Total hours of training today was a hair over 2 hours. Short but with some good intensity.

Special rare occasion dinner tonight! What normally would be salmon has been replaced by wahoo! My neighbor caught it and was nice enough to share. As wahoo is the fastest fish in the world (well, wahoo or sailfish…..I’m not sure anybody has set up a head-to-head race) I’m hoping this nice fishy will share his speed with me…..

By the way, I got a couple comments regarding how little I was eating from yesterday’s post. I should clarify that at this stage in my training I’m also trying to lose some weight. My target race weight is 155 lb (same as IMFL), so that means I have 12 lbs of Richter Kid that isn’t invited to Kona. The extra weight will be detrimental to performance in the hills and heat of the Big Island.

The other part of the diet that I should point out is what’s more important to me is what I eat when. Notice that the daily diet is carb rich early in the day, and that it gravitates to protein rich later in the day. I try to get my carb intake in early when the metabolism is boosted, and the protein in after my workouts for recovery. And I’m a big believer in time released proteins as you sleep, so hence the cottage cheese at bedtime. That said, I was so tired last night I collapsed in the bed without it. I was on the verge of dreaming when Angie barged into the room and said, “You didn’t eat your cottage cheese!!!!!” Ha! What a great sense of urgency! I love that she’s all in on this poker game just as I am!

And with that, it’s time to “elevate the pelvis” as my friend, Dave Mirra, calls it. G’night!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kona Training Day 2: Torture on Tuesday

Don’t worry, I won’t blog every day. But maybe just the first week for those of you interested in the weekly routine I’m following to prepare for Kona.

Tuesdays are big days compared to Mondays. By Tuesday, I should be good and recovered from the weekend’s long efforts, so I don’t mind putting in a good one today. Today’s swim was a short 2000 yards. Nothing too lavish today, though I did throw in some 50’s with the band around the ankles. Great way to remind yourself how bad you suck at swimming!

After work is a 1.5 to 2 hr bike ride, either with the group at Eastern Pines (which involves some good small group pacelining at decent speeds with short pulls) or I’ll do intervals such as 6x5 min at what would equate to Olympic tri distance effort, plus or minus. Today I flew solo for intervals since it was raining and I wasn't sure anyone would show up.  I do the intervals on RPE since I don't have a powermeter.  After the ride I duck my head into the house to tell Angie the ETA I need for dinner to be ready (she’s a trooper for playing along with this whole shenanigan!) and then quickly head out for a run of 5 to 10 miles depending on where I’m at in my training block. The run is the important part of Tuesday's workout. The weight of this brick workout is tipped slightly run heavy, and I like to use it to see how my pacing is going deeper into run mileage after the bike ride.  Since I'm just starting, 5 miles in a downpour was all I needed. I finished it up with 20 minutes of functional strength in the garage and then it’s time to shower, eat dinner and go to bed.

So, total training hours for Tuesdays is between 3.25 hrs and 4.5 hrs.  Just 3 today though.

What a life, huh?

Just to share some further details, nutritionally here’s what gets thrown down my gullet every day:

1 st Breakfast:
A cup of fresh fruit (ie, pineapple, mango, can’t elope)
Nutella on one piece of whole grain toast
A cup of orange juice

2 nd Breakfast (I’m half-Hobbit):
A Chobani Greek yogurt
A banana
Nutella and almond butter on whole grain bread
Diet Pepsi
Honey Stinger Waffle (optional)

Post Lunch Workout Meal:
Salad, including ham, with balsamic vinegarette dressing
1/3 cup Kalona Supernatural organic cottage cheese
1 cup chocolate milk
Small piece of Green and Black organic dark chocolate (or similar brand)
Diet Pepsi

Afternoon Snack: Peanut butter chocolate chip Larabar (optional)
La Croix flavored sparkling water

Salmon or chicken (about the size of a deck of cards)
Steamed veggies
A couple slices of tomato
A cup of rice or similar carbs (Friday and Saturday only)
An apple, asian pear, peach or similar

Pre-Bedtime: 1 spoonful of Kalona Supernatural organic cottage cheese

I'm not a die hard organic foodie, but some products I think it offers value and it can be an indicator of quality as well.

So, that's how Torture on Tuesday goes down.  A nice glass of wine on the porch to watch the rain would be nice, but......!!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kona Training Day 1: Medieval Monday

Today’s the day I pull out all the stops and gear up for the Ironman World Champs in Hawaii on October 12. 13 weeks away! I call this Medieval Monday, because from here on the training goes into torture mode. No alcohol, a very mundane diet of the nutrients I think I need and nothing more, and everything revolves around my training. Work becomes my rest time to let the body recover from the workouts.

At lunch I did a short weight routine including Ab Ripper X and some basic strength moves in the gym. I refrained from leg extensions – doctor’s recommendation since I have that knee issue. The cortisone shot prior to vacation seems to be just what I needed though and my knee feels brand new! I did just 2 sets of 20 reps of each exercise since I’ve been on vacation for a while and don’t want to be too sore tomorrow. Next week I’ll evolve to 3 sets.

Opinions vary as to whether hitting the weights is helpful for a triathlete. I look at it as a means to strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and joints and to prevent injury. I stay away from the exercises that target smaller muscles (like biceps curls) and what I call “vanity exercises” (like biceps curls!), and try to give them a sufficient workout through pull-ups for example. I also move as quickly as I can between sets. This is not about gaining muscle at all for me. In fact, I feel a bit too muscly for this sport but I do like to train the muscles I have to be as strong as they can be if I’m gonna tote them around anyway.

Monday nights are my long swim workout – anywhere from 3000 to 6000 yards. Tonight I did a 4300 yarder with my buddy and excellent swimmer, Frank Fisher. I always have great swim workouts when it involves trying to hang with Frank, which is an exercise in futility mind you.

After the swim, I’ll evolve to adding in a short recovery run on the greenway of 3 to 5 miles, but those don’t start for two more weeks. Then it’s time to go home, have a bath or a shower, eat either salmon or chicken with steamed vegetables and lots of water flavored with 0 cal grape mix and then finish off with a spoonful of Kalona Supernatural cottage cheese before bedtime to get the time-released caseine protein kicking in while I slumber.

And that’s a typical Medieval Monday…… for the next 3 months! Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Man and a Horse

This is a story about a cowboy living off the land as he and his trusty steed, Cruiser, encounter grizzlies, hostile Shoshone Indians, duals at sunsets, six-shooters, the occasional saloon fight over whiskey, and a trail of unpaid bills at brothels from Crouch to Stanley, Idaho.  I guess I can't back all that up, but the bit about the trusty steed named Cruiser is true. Come along on a journey with us.....

Howdy, Cruiser and I would love to show ya the Sawtooths!  Follow us on this fantastic journey.

"Okay, nice mount!  Pull the reins to the left to make him go left, right to make him go right.  Pull the reins toward you to make him stop.  Okay, that's how you ride a horse!  Let's go!"  And with that we were off!  I'm riding a horse?  I'm not even clipped in!  And that's an awful long way down to the ground.  Didn't Superman get paraplegic'd on one of these things?!  What the hell was I getting into?!

Cooper owned these mountains evidently. And he was quick to show us how you do things up there.

My dad and I had planned this a year ago.  An epic trip into the Sawtooth Wilderness of Idaho by the name of fly fishing at least on paper.  In the name of loving my dad everywhere else.  Not to worry cuz he ain't going anywhere soon, but if it's all the same I wouldn't mind racking up a few epic trips with him so that when it's too late I have a lot of fond memories to draw from.  I have a good dad....a great dad.  And I intend to savor the moments.

Day 1

Our guide from Valley Ranch Outfitters, Randy and Unnamed Horse, his Australian shepherd Cooper (evidently the boss of the operation), 2 pack mules and a pack horse, dad on Sedona the Horse, and me on Cruiser the Horse were outward bound, and we left our women to tend to the corn, children and clotheslines at 4th of July Creek near Stanley, Idaho.  5 miles later we would arrive at Hell Roaring Lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness.  The trip was uneventful - except for the fact that I was on a horse! - but the view when we arrived was spectacular!

Hell Roaring Lake.  This is what we would wake up to every morning for 4 days.  Cramer Peak on the left, and Fate's Finger is the spire to the right of the flat tree-lined ridge in the middle.

It was pretty obvious why the lake was named Hell Roaring.  From any part of the lake you can either hear the rapids where the river exits the lake or the waterfall that feeds into it (or both!).

Dad and Sedona get their first look at Hell Roaring Lake upon arrival.....and slurpy lake drinks for the horses!

Dad and I checked out the fishing (no worms, please brotha, we were snooty fly fisherman!) from around the shore.  I was concerned that backcasting would pose a major problem as the foliage was way too strong to allow it. Dad's a better roll caster than me.  But the bigger concern was that the trout, though plentiful, looked like french fries and the only bigger ones seemed to be in the middle of the lake.  There was no way to get our line out that far.

Dad readies his fly rod while Cooper keeps a keen eye out for critters...

For an alpine lake at 7400 feet, it wasn't that cold.  I'd guess 55 degrees.  I could at least wade in to fish.

Randy cooked up a fine cowboy meal on the fire of steak, potatoes, and beans.  I joked that maybe we could re-enact that ground-breaking scene from Blazing Saddles around the fireplace what with the beans, but that scene ended up waiting til dad and I were in the tent.

 Our first meal of the trip.  Real cowboy food!

I've always been into maps.  Love pouring over them.

Dad and I tried our fly rods out that night - rather half-assed to be honest - and turned up nothing.  No matter, we had this incredible view!

Dad blends into the surroundings hoping to raise a trophy trout in Hell Roaring Lake.

A few rubs on Cooper's belly, and we turned in for the night.  Cooper is the Master of Everything Wilderness. We saw no critters.  Cuz they saw Cooper.  You don't mess with Cooper.

An evening shot of Hell Roaring Lake with Cramer Peak in the background.

Dad had his restless leg syndrome issue the first night but got over it.  I feel horrible about that and hope I'm not next in line.  It's enough for me when my legs get restless for skipping a workout, so I can just imagine what he goes through.  No sleep talking the first night.  No snoring either.

Day 2

Coffee at first light with these views is a life changing experience!

Randy made some kickass eggs and bacon for breakfast.  He was pullin out all the stops for this guided trip.  Once bellies were full, dad and I hiked to the waterfall, occasionally dropping a line in along the way.  The foliage was way too thick for me to be successful, but dad found a spot that he could dab his line in and hook some 4" trout with a San Juan Worm.  We did spot a nice 10"ish trout so there was hope!

I fished at the headwaters of the waterfall but turned up nothing.  It could have been a number of things that led to my getting skunked: leader was too long, wrong fly, wrong temperatures, too late in the day, angry trout having fights over who deserved my fly more than the other.  Whatever, as long as it's not my fault.  Myeh, right.  I could see and hear a thousand trout sticking their heads above water laughing at me like I was the Lake Jester.

 That hike to the waterfall was strenuous, and I was impressed that my dear old dad made it on those new baboon knees and hips that he had to replace his human ones.  At least the new joints went well with his baboon ass.  I could show you that picture too, but kids might be reading.

Just a kid trying to raise a trout.  I think they were annoyed at my constant technique of bopping them on the head rather than delicately presenting a meal in front of them that might look like an actual insect worth eating.

Dad and I also spied a couple bikini babes sunning themselves on a rock.  I'll admit that we hesitated when we first saw them, in case they wanted to accept their false seclusion and attempt some skinny dipping without anyone knowing.....heh, heh.  Aww crap, I can't back that up either.  We tripped over ourselves to say hello, gawked for a minute or two, and then pressed on realizing we were both far too gentlemanly to make any sort of impression on them.

Cooper and I take a chill break before dinner.

Dad and Randy retired to the tents to take an afternoon nap, while something welled up inside of me: the need for doing something epic.  Had anyone ever swam this lake?  Was it too cold?  I snuck to a point where I could drop in.  There were hikers on the other side, sunbathing on boulders while taking in the beauty of the lake.  I splashed in and was on top of them in 5 minutes.  Not much of  a swim, but my heart rate soured with the adventure of it all.  I don't know that anybody ever did that before on a lake so remote and sorta cold.  The hikers looked at me like some sort of alien and I loved it.  Cuz I am. It was a long walk around the lake back to the campground barefoot though.

There were plenty of ways to entertain yourself or get some exercise around the lake. This one took a lot out of me.

The mosquitos came in the cool air of the morning and evening.  The kill ratio in any single day was probably 70 mosquitos to 1.5 liters of my blood.  I was losing.  And in the heat of the afternoon the flies would come in carrying silver goblets and fill them with my blood at their leisure, leaving me with massive welts to scratch at while I rolled around in my sleeping bag at night.  This was paradise!

Day 3

Dad didn't take much coaxing to get mounted up and ready to head to Imogene Lake!

A trip on horseback to Imogene Lake, which was another 3 miles away and at 8500 feet!  The trip was mostly uneventful, with one small fun story.  About a third of the way up, Cooper had gone missing.  Randy hollered for him like crazy and was obviously flustered.  I wondered what this meant.  Was the whole trip scrapped without Cooper?  Would we go on without him?  More calls for Cooper turned up nothing......and then......a rustle of branches and out came........a jackrabbit!  Bounding down the trail toward us at breakneck speed, this jackrabbit was obviously also named Cooper and was heeding the call!  A few feet from us he leaped back into the brush and disappeared, at which point the real Slim Cooper please Stood Up and leaped after him.  All was right in our world.

Cruiser gets a drink in a spring along the way to Imogene Lake.

When we got to Imogene Lake we had it all to ourselves!  It was spectacular.  Crystal clear water with great big boulders thrown into it over years of glacial movement, rock islands sporadically rising from the depths, and. not. one. sound.  Okay, birds, but they don't count.  Total peacefulness.

 Imogene Lake all to ourselves.

Casting lazily into Imogene Lake.

We hiked around the lake and then dad retired to his reading while I futilely cast my fly rod.  It was 11:30 am - way too late to raise a trout, but a fun way to take in the view and pass the time.  Afterwards, I hiked further to the headwater waterfalls and was delighted to find Randy and Cooper appear out of nowhere and join me.  We hiked above the falls, which was on a giant slab of white rock, and encountered layers of pools and waterfalls upon each other til we arrived at an unnamed alpine pond almost at the pass over the Sawtooths to the backside of the range.  I had no problem imagining I had discovered this little piece of Heaven all by myself, and that nobody had seen this before me.

 The lowest waterfall that dumps into Imogene Lake.  Randy and Cooper just got into the shot out of nowhere, seen on the left.

Randy and Cooper hike up over the white rock slab above Imogene Lake towards the unnamed ponds above.

Randy and Cooper survey the highest pond above Imogene Lake, about 9000 feet.

We rode back to basecamp at Hell Roaring Lake just in time to eat dinner before a storm rolled in. The rain hitting the tent sounded like an audience clapping wildly for me as I retired to my sleeping bag.  I must have been good at it.

Hell Roaring Lake even looks spectacular in the rain!

Dad chose to show off his skills at talking in his sleep that night.  "You know, I have two gold fish."  "Really?"  "Yeah, they're right next to you!"  and "That monster looks like Frankenstein!"  There was much more to the conversation but that's all I can remember.

Day 4

Homebound!  And nobody was more eager than the horses, evidently!  The last pack mule in the line had a problem keeping up with Randy's pace, which seemed to cause dad's horse, Sedona, to break into a trot himself just to keep up. Cruiser did the same.  My guess is they like to be right behind each other so that the tail of the one in front helps swat the flies off their face. But it was quite annoying going from a comfortable walk to a 10 second trot constantly, and I was pulling on the reins repeatedly trying to assert myself as respected cowpoke over my horsey.  Dad was doing the same.  About halfway back I finally got Cruiser to see it my way and the trots seized.  I don't know if dad had the same luck.  For us greenhorns, trots hurt the buttocks and the kidneys.

No, we didn't catch any fish, and that's a shame.....somewhat.  But not if you account for the amazing views, the peacefulness, and the glory that we basked in for 4 days.  That's a long time to live in the same pair of drawers (the horse riding bit generated the most ass soup, interestingly enough) but well worth it.  What an epic adventure and one I hope will turn into many with my dear old dad!

Dad and I at Imogene Lake.


When I got back to my folks' place in Garden Valley, Idaho, their neighbor invited me fishing.  We would hit some spots along the South Fork of the Payette River, which flows right in front of my folks' house.  Dad was too tired to join, but he made sure I knew: "Son, now if you catch a fish out of my front yard after we just spent $2000 on a fishing trip and got skunked......"  Point taken.  But I sucked and I had fished that river tons of times and got skunked!  Not to worry!  Uh oh, cuz this is what happened......

15" rainbow trout caught out of the South Fork of the Payette River with a helgramite nymph.  That's a bunch of words to say I caught a kickass fish in my folks's front yard!

Richter out!!!!!