Lovin' the bike!

I'm hating having worked two late nights already and I'm on my third! I protest work, at least for a few min, with this post!

Monday was an easy ride with the Twin Cities Bike Club. It was my first time riding with them and wasn't sure what it was going to be like or where we would be going. It was an A/B ride, about 25 miles. Since I ran 15 miles the day before I had planned on taking it easy and it was a nice easy ride with a 16.7 mph average.

Today I rode with my Lifetime Fitness group, we did our usual 22 mile route. We had two flats which definitely slowed us down but we finished with a good average for the course, lots of stop signs and lights...oh and a few good hills. The first quarter of the ride consumed our two flats and I was just hanging back with LittleMissSunshine. I told myself this was a race week and I should take it easy, especially since I secretly (not much of a secret anymore...) want to PR and go sub 2 hours. After about mile 5 I stepped out front to give a guy a break from pulling and spent the next 6 miles going almost all out to our 'stop and regroup' point at the top of one of our hills. So much for taking it easy.

Once we all gathered and grabbed a little water we hit the road. Again, I was in the draft thinking about taking it easy. Then I think I was getting to close and a woman got nervous and moved to the side...I took this as my cue to see if LittleMissSunshine needed a break from pulling. She very kindly gave me the lead and from there I don't know what happened. Again I was holding a nice 20mph, we hit a gradual uphill and BOOM I'm all alone. When I'm upfront I feel like I have to work hard constantly so that I don't slow others up. Why? If they wanted to work harder they would be upfront....right?

Eventually, the A group ( I ride B ) caught us just a few miles from the end of the route. From that point on I was bound and determined to stick with them. WHY? This was supposed to be an easy ride! I did, and actually passed the lead two on the last hill. Well, to be honest, they pulled me along at 30mph to the base of the hill and then I hit it. Yelled, "On your left!" and cranked that hill as hard as I could. About 3/4 of the way up I looked back and they were both 50 or more feet back! YAY! I win! What do I win? Not much besides a fellow rider...from the A group...coming up to me afterward and saying "Great kick, I got within half a bike length of you but died off. Nice job!"

Did I mention I'm LOVIN THE BIKE lately! I can see and feel myself getting stronger, faster and more comfortable on it.

LittleMissSunshine...when are we going to join A? Two weeks? I think we can keep up for at least a short while. I'm not sure I can keep their pace for their entire route...but I would love to try and hopefully get stronger. What do you say? I bet Patty wouldn't mind being part of an A- group after Leadville next week. :-)


Long Run and Race week

I spent the weekend in rural MN...which meant my long run was going to be either late at night or down in the country. I chose down in the country. I got up at 6 am...had some wonderful oatmeal and got ready to run. It was probably mid 50's and barely drizzling when I started. Great conditions! I ran the first three miles a little slow...10:30 miles. Then I started to pick it up a little and started to get myself in trouble! about mile 4 I got the urge to...ummm...go #2. By mile 4.5 it was either duck in a corn field or poo myself...feel free to take a guess at which one I did. When I started running again I felt completely relieved! All of the sudden I was probably under 10 min miles.

Things got a little worrisome after I turned around to go back. A friend was going to meet me with extra water and food. I turned around and ran a half mile...nobody there...1 mile...nope...finally about 1.5 miles after the turn around (9 miles into the run) they showed up and I was super stoked! It was great to see someone coming with water...I was getting worried I'd have to go into survival mode with the 8oz of water I had left.

I quickly got back on the road and was feeling great! Before I knew it I was at some long "S" curves that were 2.5 miles from the finish line. Then tragedy struck! These S curves are pretty sharply banked and running about 1-1.5 miles on these banks aggravated my knee. It was really hurting, enough that I was about to quit, when I was leaving the S curves. I stopped for 30 seconds or so to stretch out my IT band and it seemed to help a little. I quickly talked myself into running again. Those last 1-1.5 miles were really long! I could see the farm I was going to the entire way! My knee was throbbing and I noticed that both my nipples were bleeding! WTF! I've had some nipple rubbage before, but I just rub a little body glide on them and they are fine. But today they were rubbed raw! When I got in the shower later they stung soo bad I wanted to SCREAM! I ended up finishing the run with 2:23:xx. That is close to a 9:30/mile average. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?!? Running in the country, where I don't know any distances, made it tough to gage how fast I was going. So I just did what felt like a comfortable pace. I had to be running 9min miles coming in...that is freaking insane for me!

I'm getting close to my 2:00:00 half marathon goal! This weekend I have the Urban Wildland Half Marathon. I'm not sure if I'm going to try for that goal this weekend. I don't want to push the IT Band and knee too much before TCM. If I'm feeling really good and there is no discomfort you might see a GOAL ACHIEVED POST.


Quick update on the hilly ride ...12.7mph average

The riding group met out at Afton State Park on Wed. and everyone was excited to ride some hills. The first hill was a 4 mile monstrosity! It definitely got the blood flowing. After that we came back down...40+ mph descents ( I hit 44.7 max for the day) and went right back up it. Then we started riding through some other roads around the park, nothing too bad, just some decent rollers.

We had one girl, LittleMissSunshine, get a flat off some glass and another man went down charging hard...slamming the bike from side to side in his charge up a hill. Besides a good lump on his butt and a rashed jersey (barely a mark on him) he was fine...shaken up but fine.

After rolling around some of the side streets of the park for a while our fearless leader pointed us towards a road that went into the ski slope area. When we started getting down the road a little ways I finally recognized it....SHIT....this is the steep ***CAREFUL LOW GEAR ONLY*** entrance to the chalet parking lot.
You can blow up the Afton map on the right. Notice the Red line on the very right...that was the hill.

Everyone kind of attacked this hill in their lowest gear (I did it in my second to lowest because my bike wouldn't switch to my easiest gear) at their own pace. I was huffing and puffing the whole way up! I think I averaged between 6 and 7 mph going up that beast! At first I said SCREW THIS, I'm not doing that again. But after I had a chance to spin out a little bit and we headed back towards the cars I thought I could have done it one more time. Oh well...maybe next time.

Once we got back to the cars Mike, LittleMissSunshine, Kari and myself decided to follow suite of a few other rides with our group (who didn't do the ski slope entrance hill a second time) and do that first hill one more time. Mike, LittleMissSunshine and myself only went 3/4 of the way up it, we were all spent!


Hump Day! YAY!

So today I'm meeting a group from Lifetime Fitness to ride hills in Afton State Park (in the winter these are ski hills). I really shouldn't be exctied about this at all....it is probably going to nearly kill me. This is what I recieved from our fearless leader:

Plan on parking/meeting by the ballfields on St Croix Trail to ride at 6 pm.
Route: 5 hills (all levels)- A/some B Riders will ride each hill twice
1. We will ride the "Coulee" Hill south on St Croix Trail 1.5 miles. Turn
around at top of hill and come back down hill.

2. Take a left (east) on River Road South and ride a no so good asphalt road
for a short while to a newly asphalted hill (50th street right)(1+ mile) up
to St Croix Trail.

3. Take a left and head south on St Croix Trail and ride the hills to 70th -
left to Afton State Park. Head east to the "T" and take a right to ride a
loop of Afton State Park (4 mile loop?)

4. Come back to original "T" and head north (crossing over 70th) to Afton ski
hill. Steep downhill descent to bottom of ski lifts. This hill is only a half
mile long but very steep and requires good gearing as you will be in your
"granny gear" and must muscle your way up. (that doesn't sounds good) It would be best if C riders and some B riders take St Croix Trail back north to Afton at this time and avoid
this hill. (What is that supposed to mean? Some of us...probably me...are supposed to kill ourselves on this hill again and others don't get that pleasure?)

You will have gotten a good workout by now anyway! Trust me.

Beers and burgers after at the Afton House lounge



A picture is worth a thousand words!

Who thinks Brett should come to MN?


To the left...whoops...To the right To the right...everything you need to know is in a box to the right.

My 12 miles turned into 14! At mile 5 I was thinking, hmm I feel pretty good. Mile 6 came and went. Mile seven showed up and I forced myself to turn around. I kinda wish I wouldn't have picked an out and back route. I looked down at the watch, I turned around close to 1:08. What the...did I really just run close to 9:45 miles? I must have, the watch can't lie!

During the first few miles my legs started to feel heavy...and at that point I thought this was going to be a long day. I spent all of Saturday moving, carrying couches/boxes, unpacking, etc. By the end of Saturday I was feeling tired, so when my legs started feeling tired just a few miles into my run I thought I was done for! Somehow I was able to shake that feeling and ended up feeling great! Like I said earlier I had to force myself to turn around at 7 miles...and how did I manage to run 15 sec a mile faster and not feel fatigued? Oh well, I'm not complaining. :-)

The way back wasn't as fun. 6 miles to go...I ate some shot blocks and got some water. 5 miles to go...the sun was on the horizon, going down, hitting me square in the face. DANG THAT THING IS BRIGHT! 4 miles to to...no change. Why is this leg taking soooooo long! 3 miles to go...I finally had the sun at my back, ate the rest of my shot blocks, drank a ton more water and headed towards the finish line. 2 miles to go...three large hills kicked my butt! My left calf cramped and had to walk a min or so to stretch it out. 1 mile to go...I had to stop for water at the top of the hills. I got light headed when I stood back up, from bending over the drinking fountain. Whoooo! That was scary! I kept going and made it home...2:20:??. I finished pretty much with 10 min miles! YAY! I didn't negative split (like some people do every run!) but I was happy, especially after cramping up on the last few hills.

I would have to say the least undesirable part of the 12 mile run turning into 14 was the aftermath. I attempted to stretch out...I couldn't find a stretch that didn't involve another muscle cramping. Ouch! I also didn't bring enough food along ( or salty drinks/tabs ) for a long warm run. Mental note...you are a fat man...you need more food!

I'm going to attempt 15 next week...possibly in rural MN. I can't wait...I'll count all the corn I pass. Stay tuned.


Another day...Another run...Another good one! YAY!

Today I went out for another run, with slight nerves of what would happen. I got ready to run; laced up the shoes, filled the fuel belt bottles and grabbed the ipod. This post is solely to thank everyone.

  • To everyone out there who gave me words of encouragement, suggestions, hits on my site counter and great comments. THANK YOU!

  • To the blonde girl from Run 'n Fun who sold me my new shoes and fuel belt. THANK YOU!

  • To Nike...thanks for making my shoes and 2 favorite pairs of running shorts.

  • To Apple...thanks for inventing the iPod and taking my mind off of some of the tough runs.

  • To my roommate...thanks for being gone so I could steal your iPod. Mine died on me during a rainy run. Stupid "water resistant" jacket. I had the iPod zipped in and inside pocket and the rain soaked through the jacket and my iPod Nano hasn't worked since.

  • To Timex...thanks for making an awesome watch so I can see myself negative split!

  • If you were wondering why I'm thanking everyone it is because I had another good 5 mile run. I drank about 4 oz of water from the fuel belt at the turn around and that seemed to be enough water even though it was pretty warm out. I also had no knee pain, there was a slight tightness, but no pain.

    The last half mile on my route has a pretty large hill, just before that I was about to start giving up. Thank you to ROCKY and Survivor for the 'Eye of the Tiger'. That song came on the iPod just when I was thinking I needed to slow down for the large hill. I was running a 5 mile tempo run at 9:15 pace and feeling pretty spent about 4.5 miles. Then Eye of the Tiger and thoughts of Rocky gave me the extra energy to kick up the hill and finish the run strong.

    A few posts ago I was down on myself and wondering why I needed to run/train. I bet you are wondering what happened to that guy...he got his butt kicked by Rocky and a sweaty guy in a lime green shirt (photo to come). I think...I hope I'm back! Wanting to run, wanting to train, wanting to compete and achieve my physical goals.

    Stayed tuned. I'm moving tomorrow and have a 12 miler on the schedule for Sunday.

    Thanks again!


    Thanks Batman!

    What a difference a day makes!

    Yesterday I posted about being in a running slump...today I had a great run! It was over 90 degrees and sunny. Not the most idea running conditions! For the last two weeks I had been afraid to use my new shoes and didn't have the chance to use my new fuel belt until today. I ran 5 miles in 48:12, negative split by a min and my knee felt GREAT. The Fuel Belt was amazing! I'm not really accustomed to the heat yet and it has really zapped me the last few times. I only drank about 6 oz of water while running but just getting my mouth wet a few times was GLORIOUS! Without the water I probably would have had another run where I mentally beat myself up. With knee pain I probably would have had another run where I mentally beat myself up. Today I had a run with water and no knee pain. That is what I needed to help me get my head in the right direction.

    Below are a few photos of the group and I from the 70+ mile bike ride this last Sunday.


    Falling into a slump

    Lately I've read a blog or two about people falling into slumps, loosing ambition, wondering why they continue to train, etc. As I read some of the blogs I try to leave inspirational comments and truly believe them as I write them. But shortly after I'm back into my own slump. I'm having trouble getting excited about running. I'm UBER excited to hop on the bike and crank out some miles, but running has always ended in pain for the last two months leaving me not excited to run. My "A" race is the Twin Cities Marathon...I plan to keep training but it isn't fun anymore. Earlier this spring I was excited to get outside and log some miles, now I continually think about work I could be doing rather than running. How do I get that desire to run back? I'm definitely someone who has to train for this marathon, no half assing or I won't make it. I need to get that desire to run back...I WANT to get that desire to run back.

    Why do we do this? Why push/train through discomfort and pain when your not feeling it? How do we live in the moment when most of our life outside of work is spent: training, preparing to train (i.e., early to bed, good hydration/nutrition before a workout/race) and thinking about training? A lot of my thoughts lie on 1 future event...why?

    Man...I need something to slap my head around.

    Thanks Batman...I hope that helps!

    Weekly weigh-in:
    Week 1...244
    Week 2...242
    Week 3...240
    Week 4...240 :(



    Saturday was a great day! It started out by waking up early and watching Pharmie and Steve ROCK the Lifetime Fitness Olympic course!

    After that I headed out to Lake Minnetonka with Steph and her little sister, Annie. We spent the afternoon/evening riding around the lake in the boat, tubing, kayaking, eatting delicious snacks and chatting with everyone. To everyone that was out there, thanks for giving me the opportunity enjoy the things I loved as a child but haven't done in 8-10 years. I miss boating and being on the water throughout the summer.

    Around 10 pm Steph and I eventually made our way back to Steph's house. I was getting tired since I had been up since 6 am, staying pretty active. Then I drove back to my place, started packing my bike and gear in the car (so I wouldn't have to do it in the morning) and eventually hit the pillow around 1pm. CRAP! I FORGOT MY SUNGLASSES IN STEPH'S CAR! What am I going to do?!? I can't ride 70-80 miles with no sunglasses. Steph talked me into going to a gas station and purchasing some cheap gas stations. I went back to sleep.

    A few short hours later my alarm clock went off...I had a huge bowl of Mini Wheats, filled up my water bottles and was out the door. I met up with Emily and Lauren at Lifetime Fitness in Eagan. After stopping at the SA for some $6 sunglasses. :-) We all threw our bikes in Emily's car and were on our way.

    One short hour later we were in Redwing, MN. We all started reassembling bikes, checking bikes over, pumping up tires and lathering skin with sunscreen. Kari showed up a few min later and after a few photos ( will come soon ) we were on our way. The ride out was FAST! We were all cruising over 22mph and most of the time closer to 25...not working very hard either! The wind was at our back and we were all flying. We were trying to make this a fun ride for everyone so we kept our speed in check on some long climbs and fast slopes. Kari, Lauren and I are all around the same level..."B" group as we refer to it on our Wednesday ride...Emily is a good ride but rides with our "C" group on Wednesdays. She could join the "B" group and easily become much stronger...the talent is there.

    We made a quick potty stop at the Quick Trip in Wabasha and decided we should continue our trek into WI. We hopped the 'border' and started our way back up the WI side of the Mississippi River. Kari was a great tour guide of the cities along the ride. As soon as we crossed the river we could tell we had the wind at our back s the entire way down and now we were going to be going straight into a 10-20 mph wind. Our average went from well over 20 to 17 when we made our first stop on the WI side. Another 10 miles clicked across my bike computer and our average was down to 15. WTF! Kari and I did most of the pulling and at times I was pretty tired of getting slammed with wind gusts. At 58 we hit my longest ride ever...it just happened to be the around the base of a HUGE hill. I'm a pretty strong hill climber, but man...I WAS HURTING. The hill was the hardest and longest hill I've ever had to climb. It wasn't the steepest but definitely the longest!

    Kari, Lauren and I made it to the top and we were hanging out waiting for Emily to appear. Far too long goes by and Lauren hops on her bike and heads back a little ways to check. She does't come back...Kari and I start our way back and eventually see them walking up the hill. Emily had knee issues, which stemmed from an accident she had a little while ago. She assured us she was going to ride down the hill into the next city and wait for us to come back. No more than 3 miles go by and she is in a car with some fellow cyclists who gave her a ride back to Redwing. The rest of us finished the 4-5 miles left and threw our bikes back in the cars they came in. We all grabbed some long over due water, cleaned ourselves off a bit and headed to get a great post workout meal!

    Sunday was sunny, windy, warm and a great ride! My bike computer reads...73.28 miles with a 15.5 mph average. What the heck happened to the average on the way back? Oh...the wind, the waiting for Emily, walking to the top of the hill with Emily...and THE WIND!


    New Run Gear and weigh in

    Yesterday I went out and got some new running shoes! Maybe it is mental but the Nike shoes, VERY VERY VERY similar to what I had previously (Nike Max Moto before and Nike Pegasus now), feel soo much better than the Sauconys I bought a month ago.

    While I was there I also picked up a hydration tool. :-) A new Fuel Belt.

    Weekly weigh-in:
    Week 1...244
    Week 2...242
    Week 3...240 I'm going down steady! Even after all the treats this last weekend! YAY!

    Who thinks Steve should wear this shirt during his next 5K? I found it on the garage floor of my apartment building.

    P.S. Don't worry Steve, I didn't pick up the shirt...it is actually still down there though (over 24 hours later).


    Happy Holiday Weekend!

    Hey all...I hope everyone had a good safe holiday weekend!

    I had a rough week of workouts!

    Sunday: Ran 10 Miles
    Monday: Rest
    Tuesday: Ran 4 miles
    Wednesday: Biked 22 miles
    Thursday: Ran 5 miles
    Friday: Rest Happy 4th!
    Saturday: Ran 12 miles

    Every single run involved some form/intensity of knee pain! I need serious help...maybe new shoes! I didn't have any knee pain until I got my new shoes. This whole time I've been looking for something wrong with me, my stretching, my running form, anything. Now, before my next run, I'm buying new shoes. I'm just going to take it as the kid from Run 'n Fun wasn't very smart and gave me shoes that were bad for me. I think I'm going to go tomorrow, before I hit the bike.

    My 12 miler today: I started at about 10:30 this morning and everything seemed fine. My lungs felt the best they had in 2 weeks, my legs felt great! Around mile 3 I slammed my gel, I ate far to early this morning and was getting hungry. By mile 5 I was CRAVING a drinking fountain. It was getting hot and the sun was reaching its peak for the day. There just happened to be a drinking fountain at mile 5.8 miles. oooo, that was tasty. I ran a few more min, turned around and headed back. I hit the turnaround (6 miles) at 56 min...A LITTLE FAST...4 min too fast. On the way back I hit the same drinking fountain really quick just for good measure. Miles 6 - 9 lasted FOREVER! I was burning up, my shade from the morning was gone and the sun was beating back off the blacktopped trail. Mile 6 - 9 also brought on some slight knee twinges, but nothing to be concerned about. Mile 9 I hit another drinking fountain, which was long over due! I slammed some shot blocks, I didn't feel very hungry but I knew I needed something in my system. I really needed some enduralytes (salt and potassium mostly) and not carbs but I still ate the shot blocks. I think I was trying to fool my body. The next few miles were mostly uphill and kicked my butt! My knee pain got much worse, I had to stop and walk a little ways. I think that was the worst thing I could have done. When I started running again my knee was stiff and felt 10 times worse for the first 5-10 strides. After that it was mostly back to that dull pain. I finished the run in poor shape, I was beaten up by the sun and crippled by the pain in my knee. I stopped my watch at 2:07:17...WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE SECOND HALF OF THE RUN! 11 min slower than the first 6 miles. WTF! And I felt like I was working my azz off!

    Side Note: I think I was half talked into a half IM next year....any suggestions on which ones are good ones for beginner/novice triathletes? By novice I mean I haven't done any! I haven't been in a pool swimming laps more than once since I was a child. I have no worries that I couldn't finish the bike or run. I'd like to say I fall into the average category (maybe slightly above average) on both of those and think I could put them together the easiest. Swimming would def. be my major concern. So if you have any suggestions let me know!


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