Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 2011 update

I've had an interesting month.  I've been able to get a lot of workouts in despite a busy work schedule.

I haven't run since 1/9/11 (3 weeks) due to a sore knee and really miss it.  My knee isn't sore anymore (hasn't been for 2 weeks), but I wanted to give it a rest until next week.

I have been sticking to a strength training regimen every other day (thanks to MT for your email about my PT workouts - I really appreciate it).  They have been getting more intense and this week I have progressed to step ups and other more challenging activities.  I am 100% committed to improving my leg strength, which I'm told will help reduce my injury risk.   I feel like I am getting stronger but my physical therapist says that I'm not ready to run "volume" yet (my legs are still wobbly when I stand on one leg during my exercises and my leg strength is generally still weak).  My ironman training starts tomorrow (1/31) and requires me to start running.  I'm not at all worried about my run aspect of the Ironman, so I've decided to do less running than my Ironman schedule requires over the first 2 weeks (and maybe longer) so that I can (1) gradually build up my mileage and (2) ease my body back in.  My Ironman training is 30 weeks (race is 8/28/11) and I'm 100% confident as an experienced marathon runner that I can catch my running up later (in fact it might be healthier for me to run less now anyway). 

I'm scheduled to run 4 days a week during my training - my first week - 30 minutes a few days, a 15 minute "brick", which is immediately preceded by a 30 minute bike ride, and a 60 minute long run.  I'm probably ready for 30 minutes at this point, but that will probably be my long run for a few weeks.  Many of you hear me talk about "getting over the hump".  Well, I'll get there but slowly.  I did the same buildup for the Chicago Marathon and was fine.  Most importantly, I'll listen to my body and if I feel pain or twinges while running I will stop.  My right shin splint is better but still nags at me every now and then.

Last week, I signed up for an account at  It's a pretty cool site and a great place to track your workouts (of course, I keep an excel spreadsheet to track also, and I've been keeping this spreadsheet since 2000).  If you decide to sign up for the daily mile, please send me a friend invitation.

Workout summaries over the last 2 weeks:

Week ended 1/30/11 (total workout time 7 hours) - 8 workouts in total

Swim - 2 swims (51 minutes and 46 minutes) - 1 mile split 38:58 and 41:30, respectively.  I'm a really slow swimmer.
Bike - 3 rides (45 minutes, 60 minutes, 60 minutes) - 2 on the trainer and 1 on the spinning bike at the gym
Run - 0 runs, still recovering from sore knee
Strength training - 3 strength workouts (25 minutes, 60 minutes, 37 minutes)
Notes:  Worked about 80 hours this week including both weekend days
Days off During Week:  2 (Monday and Sunday)

Week ended 1/23/11 (total workout time 7.6 hours) - 10 workouts in total

Swim - 0 swims
Bike - 6 rides (110 minutes, 70 minutes, 66 minutes, 60 minutes, 45 minutes, and 30 minutes) - all on my trainer and all done after my kids went to bed with the exception of the 100 minute ride, which was done during the Bears/Packers game (tough loss for the Bears!).  Got a bike fitting done, which has resulted in an increase of approximately 1.0 mph for the same effort level.  Extended my stem to 100cm from 80cm, which has stretched me out and given me more power in my legs as a result.
Run - 0 runs, still recovering from sore knee. 
Strength training - 4 strength workouts (ranging from 25-30 minutes each)
Notes:  Tough week because I worked 62 hours during the week and had a major Crohn's/Colitis flare-up all week (one that would have put me in the hospital 10 years ago but that I just dealt with this time.  Luckily, I didn't get a fever, which is an automatic hospital stay in conjunction with a flare-up for me).  I have found that exercising through my flare-ups actually keeps my immune system strong and significantly reduces the chance of me getting a fever.  It's when I don't exercise or "give in" that I really get sick.
Days off During Week: 1 (Saturday)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ironman Training starts in 2 weeks. Eek!!!!

It's been a while since I blogged, here's what's new:
  • I signed up to do an Olympic Distance Triathlon in South Beach, Miami Florida on 4/10 (Olympic Distance: 1.5K ocean swim, a 40K out-and-back bike course, and a 10K out-and-back run course.).  My family is coming with me, can't wait.  A few of my former Goldman Sachs colleagues are doing it and convinced me to do it.  Who wants to join us?  I will ship my bike down for the race.  Click here for a link to the Nautica website to sign up.
  • I registered for the 2011 New York City Marathon (I had automatic entry for this year because I ran 9 NYRR races last year and volunteered for one).  Unfortunately, I probably won't run it this year and will defer, as my Ironman race is on 8/28 and I don't think that I will have enough time to recover (the Ironman finishes with a full marathon also).
  • I ran a 5 mile race (the Fred Lebow Classic) on 1/9 (7:43 per mile booking at the end at around 5:09 per mile).  Average heart rate 169, peak heart rate 186. Click here for the Garmin file from this race
    During the race, my knee was a little sore and after it just flat out hurt, so once again I knew that I had to take some time off to heal. At that point I decided to abstain from running until 2/1 (which would be just over 3 weeks off), when my 30 week Ironman training program officially starts.  So I haven't run at all since then, have been icing a lot, and have been taking an Epsom salt bath most nights (alternating between warm and ice baths). I really believe that Epsom salt baths work.  I also stopped walking to and from work since then (1.6 miles each way). As of today, I feel great (no knee pain) and could run again, but I am going to take it easy until Ironman training starts on 2/1. It is nice to feel totally healthy. 
  • I also started getting acupuncture weekly again (I am a huge believer if you have the right acupuncturist), which helps my knee pain, arthritis in my knee, and shin splints, all of which are basically gone now. It is covered under my insurance and costs me around $33 for each visit, my insurance covers the rest. Well worth the money.  Often, I go into acupuncture feeling pain and when I leave it is 100% gone. It really is amazing. I also had needles put in my right elbow and it hasn't bothered at all since then (I often get swelling in my right elbow due to my Crohn's).  I'm really hoping that I can get acupuncture done weekly during my training (I would do it every day if I had the time).   If you would like my acupuncturist's information, let me know.
  • Recently, I also got an expert fit on my bike to make sure that my bike isn't causing my tight IT bands. The guy I used is a physical therapist by trade but also a road bike racer.  A perfect mix if you ask me.  He came to my apartment to fit me while I was on my trainer.  He determined that I was not properly fit on my bike, as my stem length (80cm) and elbow angle (I think) was way off, causing my elbow to be too close to my knee when cycling. He changed stem to 100cm to extend me out, which he said will relieve pressure on my IT bands and could give me more power.  Time will tell.  The great thing is that he will give me a follow up visit for free.  Let me know if you want his information.
  • Recently, with my physical therapists, we figured out that my right leg is probably getting hurt because of my lack of strength in my right leg and glutes. I have been doing my exercises regularly again (generally using a resistance band or doing balance type exercises on one leg to strengthen) and they have really helped. I have decided that these exercises are critical to my long term health.  I did them during my Chicago Marathon training and stayed healthy the entire time.  I stopped doing them after the marathon and all my pre-Chicago Marathon knee pain came back quickly.  I have decided that I will sacrifice some aerobic training to make sure that I get my strength training in (hopefully I can both) .  I've never been dedicated to strength training.  I need to be.  I also wish that I had time for Yoga, which is basically strength training for the body. 
  • A few weeks ago, I got fitted for and received new orthodics from Soris Tribino at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). She fits professional runners and is totally awesome. She was able to quickly look at my foot and say, just by looking at me stand and not knowing anything about me, "your feet fall out drastically - I bet you have IT band problems, shin splints, and I bet your shoes are worn on the outside after you wear them for a while". Check, check, and check. She looked at my current orthodics, which I have been wearing for 18 months in my work shoes but only recently when I run (and not for any of my 3 marathons), and said that they were doing the exact opposite of what I needed (they were helping me fall out further). I also have a fallen metatarsal on my left foot, so my previous podiatrist said that she would add a bridge to protect against this. Soris said that this bridge was put on the wrong foot! I paid $580 for these orthodics, they were hard plastic and had to be glued together, and squeaked when I walked (think of the Seinfeld episode with the guy walking with tic tacs).  Plus the glue kept coming loose and caused the orthodics to seem flimsy.   The podiatrist I used for these shoes is not an athlete and didn't provide follow up. Soris, on the other hand, wants to see me in a month and the cost of my orthodics ($485) is all I pay (plus 70% of the cost of this is covered by my insurance). I've already seen her twice and will likely see her a few more times, all for 30% of $485. Plus the orthodics I got are soft, direct my foot to move toward the middle (which, for the first time in my life, I feel like my foot strikes squarely on the ground), and are easy to get in my shoes. I am wearing them all the time now, but won't run with them until I start Ironman training. Fingers crossed that they help! I still have mixed emotions about wearing orthodics during a long race - I'll let my body tell me whether or not I should wear them during my next long race.
  • After the Chicago Marathon, I had a bad shin splint (the first of my life).  The doctor recommended that I have my leg length tested (trying to figure out why my right leg is consistently getting hurt, even after taking 5 weeks off from running). I think the #1 reason is weakness in my legs, which I am dedicated to improving, but the leg length test also showed that my right leg is 1.4 cm shorter than my left leg (over a half an inch, which isn't a small difference). The doctors say that I could get a little lift in my orthodics to even the legs, but that it may bother me too. I'm going to try everything else first before going with the lift.
  • I also had my vitamin D tested twice over the last month (I have blood work taken in conjunction with cholesterol tests, so they threw in Vitamin D test too) - my cholesterol is now around 120 with a high good cholesterol level and a low bad cholesterol level. My vitamin D was 66, at the top end of the suggested range of 19-67. My liver function tests were both normal (they are checking them because I started taking 2.5mg of Crestor to lower my cholesterol). All good!
  • Ironman Training starts in less than 2 weeks (on 2/1).  Hopefully I can stay healthy!
  • To stay fit, I've been riding my bike in my apartment on the trainer for 60-80 minutes a night.  Love my Cycleops Fluid 2 trainer!
  • I will blog weekly about my Ironman training staring in early February!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chicago Marathon Training Tracker - Training Plan vs Actual Miles run

Below, I have included my 2010 Chicago Marathon Training Plan and what I actually ran against this plan (actuals are on the yellow line in the spreadsheet).  I would have posted this earlier but I just figured out, through Google documents, how to post an excel spreadsheet to my blog. 

This was my 3rd marathon, so I decided to run a lighter schedule, usually 4 days a week of running and 1 day of a biking (usually a long ride).  My peak running week was 43 miles and my lowest week was 14 miles.   Overall, I averaged just under 30 miles per week for 17 weeks (501 miles in total).  My Chicago Marathon time was 3:56.  If you receive this blog via email, you will likely need to go to the blog website to scroll through the training spreadsheet.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rose Bowl

Me with ACM standing at our seats (2nd row)

Outside of the stadium before the game
Today, I went to the Rose Bowl in Pasedena, California to watch the Wisconsin Badgers (my alma mater) play TCU.  I went with my friend ACM and also spent time with our friend BP prior to the game.   Unfortunately, the Badgers lost a close game (21-19), as they were unable to convert a 2 point conversion to tie the game with 2 minutes left.  This was my third Rose Bowl (went 1-1-1999 for the Badgers vs UCLA game and on 1-4-2006 for the Texas vs USC game, which was for the NCAA national championship and one of the best games I ever saw).  Prior to the game, I hung out with ACM's family (including his adorable 2 boys). 

When we arrived at the stadium, we were surprised at how awesome our seats were (we got them through our friend BP).  I didn't know where the seats were until we got to them.  They turned out to be in the second row in the TCU end zone.  When we sat down, we knew that we potentially could have great seats for a late game touchdown, which turned out to be true.  Here is a video I took of the Badgers' final touchdown and failed 2 point conversion.  Nothing spectacular, but I thought I would share it.  I would have liked this video a lot more had we converted our 2 point conversion.

Here are some pictures from today's game (as well as a picture of Marlene and me from the 1-1-98 Rose Bowl game (12 years ago today).  Time flies, doesn't it?

Me along with Stone, ACM, Logan, and LM

Ticket from today!

ACM with his sons Logan (with me) and Stone

1998 Rose Bowl with Marlene