Tag Archives: Oklahoma City

To Be, Or Not To Be

That is the question. The answer? Elusive. Soliloquies aside, Shakespeare may have been describing my training this week as opposed to the suicidal ramblings of Hamlet. Who knew he had an interest in triathlon? Now that we’ve exhausted the extent of the literary knowledge I’ve retained from high school, let’s talk training. Or lack thereof.

This week began with good intentions. After the half-marathon on Sunday, I was looking forward to some time off my feet and in the pool come Monday. I went through the normal motions of gathering all of my gear (which seems to double, week after week), driving to the gym and walking all the way to the pool. There are few things more annoying than showing up to said pool and finding out that it’s closed. I stood there with my head pressed against the cool glass of the locked door that separated me from six lanes of unobstructed lap-swim bliss. I slowly turned around and made my way to the nearest window, the Jaws music playing in my head. I knew my fate. The outdoor pool opened last weekend and that only meant one thing: college students+outdoor pool+no class= …

mondayhate-spring-break

I felt angry. I felt embittered. I felt… Okay, maybe I didn’t feel any of those things, but I was definitely not getting in my swim workout. I looked at the tanned frat guys with sculpted bodies, many of whom I’m certain couldn’t string together 3 miles to make a 5K, and most of whom I’m certain couldn’t swim more than a lap (I know, I know, people in glass houses…). Meanwhile, I workout 6-7 days a week and I’m over here making sure my swimsuit isn’t squeezing my hip chub too much. Let’s focus here, though. Self-image issues aside, I looked at the tiny three lane lap pool reserved for lap swimming and noted the mass of fraternity guys with the feet dangling off the wall into the water. Wouldn’t want those Wayfarers to get wet, now would we? I walked away dejected, knowing that another workout would go unfinished due to those darn good-looking frat guys without awkward triathlon tan lines. Ah, the life.

Wednesday would be better, no doubt. I left thinking this positive message to myself and went home to outline my half-marathon training plan for the Fort Worth Jalapeño Half-Marathon at the end of June. With about nine weeks to train, I outlined a plan that is loosely derived from the Hanson’s Marathon Method, which I’m using to prepare for the Kansas City Marathon in October. It’s not training, but it’s thinking about training, so I chalked it up to a day well spent.

After a run Tuesday afternoon, followed by another on Wednesday, I made my way back to the Colvin Pool. This time I called in advance to make sure that the indoor pool would be open upon my arrival like it was supposed to be. I was told by the perky girl at the front desk that it was indeed. I walked past it. Lights on, lanes open. Good to go, as they say. I showered and changed and made my way to entrance to the pool from the men’s locker room. I pushed on the door first with my hand and shortly thereafter, my face when it didn’t budge. I stood there dumbfounded. “I must’ve pushed on the wrong side of the door.” I tried again. Nope. I backed up. “Maybe it’s stuck.” I walked towards it again, arm outstretched like some sort of shirtless linebacker. Nope. Not stuck. Closed. Again. After considering trying my hand at lock-picking, I gave up. It was not to be.

That’s my segue, and also the end of my depressing story. All this is to say that sometimes training doesn’t go the way you expect it to. There are days where you have to accept or decide, that it just wasn’t meant to be. Next week I will be back in Oklahoma City (read: I’m graduating college this weekend and will be moving back home with my parents until such time that: a. I find a job and can support myself. Or b. Get married and move to Kansas City in July.). This means my training should be more consistent since Oklahoma City has much better places to ride and a plethora of lap-swim pools sans frat guys. Here’s to more consistent training. And a successful job search.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Birthday Wishes

Well it’s that time of year again. The time of year when the majority of us are either rushing to file our taxes or (for the procrastinators) an extension. Tax season seems to predispose people to stress and anxiety. To me though, it’s always had a different connotation: excitement. Yes, the mid-April deadline happens to be my birthday. Ironically enough, I was born on April 15th to two accountants… Yet somehow I still suck at math. Oh well. Luckily for me, that’s why there’s calculators and TurboTax.

This week was busy, both with school and exercise. Here’s a breakdown of last week’s workouts:

Monday: 1 mile swim-43 minutes

Tuesday: 60 minute spin, 30 minute run

Wednesday: 1 mile swim-40 minutes

Thursday: 60 minute interval run

Saturday: 11 mile run

Sunday: 120 minute Z2 bike, 30 minute Z2 run

The weekend didn’t offer much of a break in the way of exercise, but it was great to be home with my family. Saturday evening we went out to celebrate at my favorite pizza place in Oklahoma City, Upper Crust. Since my focus has shifted a great deal since last year, so did my wish list. I’ve been drooling over the Garmin Forerunner 910XT for the last four months. (Seriously, The Fiancee can attest: it’s become a bit of a problem.) To my elation, with the help of my parents, The Fiancee, and my soon-to-be in-laws, I got one!

photo

It actually worked out perfectly because today I had another brick. 120 minute Z2 bike, followed by a 30 minute Z2 run. It was perfectly clear and just the right temperature. Unfortunately, after turning south I was greeted with an extremely stiff south wind. Again. It’s becoming such a common theme I’m considering creating a new category on my website for it. Today the winds were sustained at 20mph and gusting to 38mph. Not the best conditions for a bike ride, but I had a new toy to play with, so nothing was going to stop me.

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 10.28.35 PM

I started out heading north and felt like the fastest cyclist alive, only to turn south and feel like I was trying to tow a car. It was a great workout and it was wonderful to be on a relatively flat course. I completed 30.29 miles in 1:49:22 averaging 16.6 mph. I was slightly disappointed with my speed, but with a wind that strong, there wasn’t much I could do. You can definitely tell the areas I was heading north (with the wind) and south (into the wind). Also, note the elevation graph which is much more my speed (sorry, couldn’t avoid that one) and definitely closer to my mediocre level of ability. I’m looking at you Ride from Hell.

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 10.29.44 PM

After the ride, I slipped into my running shoes. I purchased some Lock Laces last week and they have been a godsend. I highly recommend them. They are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve your transition time. I was concerned that my heel would slide out of the shoe given the elasticity of the “laces”, but they are the perfect tension.

I had to smile as I switched sports on my new Garmin. It was effortless and made everything so much easier. My goal was to stay under 8:00/mile for the duration of the run. It was difficult with wind and after the ride, but I managed to squeeze out 3.82 miles in exactly 30:00 averaging 7:51/mile. A successful day of training and a great way to end the 5th week of my program.

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 10.32.09 PM

This weekend was extremely busy for The Fiancee and myself. Saturday morning I elected to run The Fiancee’s long run with her (since I’ve done absolutely no training for the half marathon in two weeks since my triathlon program began). It was an 11 mile run and the weather was perfect. I took the opportunity to take some photographs and just enjoy my favorite discipline. The trail around Lake Hefner is really pretty in some places.

IMG_3989

If you’re in Oklahoma City for any length of time, you’ll likely see the lighthouse below either in a picture or on the news. It’s kind of a cool spot and makes for great pictures.

IMG_3990

The Fiancee and I went to New York City in December (that’s actually where I asked her to marry me). It was absolutely one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. The number of buildings was incredible. Behold New York City’s antithesis: Oklahoma City.

IMG_3991

I love it, but it’s flat largely uninteresting. Although, that makes it great for training. After completing her run we completed some wedding obligations and then went to my birthday dinner with my family. It was a great weekend that went by way too quickly. I hope everyone had a safe and productive week!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Just Another Brick in the Wall: Day 33

I debated on an appropriate title for this post. It had to be as epic as I felt this weekend for completing not one, but two bricks. What better way to pay homage to a weekend of sweated bliss than the world’s most obvious Pink Floyd reference? Corny puns and a great album aside, it was a great weekend.

It’s spring break for most of the southern plains, and while all other college students flock to the coasts, I’m pleased to be home right smack dab in the center of the most landlocked state in the Nation (besides maybe you, Kansas and Nebraska). Supposedly, Oklahoma boasts more “coast line” than any other state in the country (one thing our northern brethren can’t claim). I am quoting from one of those “come to Oklahoma commercials” and a Wikipedia article. Although, I usually take quality over quantity, in which case Oklahoma wouldn’t win. Either way, I took advantage of at least 18 of those miles of coast line during my rides this weekend.

Saturday morning I was out the door as soon as it was light enough to ride. I typically don’t judge this by how well I can see, but how well I feel others can see me. I began my 120 minute jaunt around 7:45 and headed north towards Lake Hefner. There’s a very convenient trail that connects two lakes that surround my house so I hopped on that and rode around Lake Hefner, then I headed south on the trail towards Lake Overholser. All in all, it was an absolutely beautiful ride. If you are interested in the nitty-gritty performance details, let’s examine the graphs below.
20110321102853

The nice thing about triathlon training versus most running programs is that you exercise for a set amount of time, not mileage. This way you know exactly how long an activity will take. Saturday I rode for just under two hours (1:56:55) and got a little over 33 miles in (33.3). I am fairly pleased with this because I feel like there’s plenty of room for improvement over the next 11 weeks to increase my speed into the 20mph range.

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 8.12.33 PM

For the time being, I’m borrowing my dad’s triathlon bike: a Trek Equinox Tri Series. The bike is a bit on the heavier side as far as triathlon bikes go, weighing in a little over 22 lbs. On flat sections the bike flies, though. Saturday it was a little windy, with winds coming from the south. I noticed heading North I averaged somewhere between 19-23mph, while heading south it was between 13-17mph. This translated to an average speed of a little over 17mph for the duration of the ride. In the graph below you’ll notice, Oklahoma is as flat as they say.

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 8.14.31 PM

I usually post my mile splits, but when there are over thirty of them I figured a summary would be best. Below, you can see that the vast majority of my ride was spent between 11:51-23.02mph.

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 8.15.55 PM

After the bike is when things got a little interesting. Although its not my first brick, it was my first after a longer ride. I had set up my transition area prior to leaving and thought, “All I have to do is take off my helmet, put on a hat, switch shoes and off I go. No big deal right? When I pulled up to my house, I stared at my stuff like it was my first time dressing myself. Needless to say, it was an awkward transition and I will definitely be investing in some Lock Laces or Yankz.

Unfortunately, my problems didn’t really stop there. The run was awkward. Why? Well, for starters I felt that I still had the saddle between my legs, so that took some getting used to. Then, I had absolutely no idea how fast I was running. Typically, I’m pretty good at judging my pace based on different cues like breathing rate, surroundings, or how my legs feel. After the transition, though, all of those cues felt off. I didn’t know whether I was running a 10:00/mile or a 6:00/mile. I crested a small hill around mile 1 I looked at my time: 7:54. Good, but I quickly found I couldn’t sustain it. Honestly though, it felt good to run. It felt familiar. It’s an event I’m decent at and can do with relative ease. After my 30 minutes were up I called it quits. I completed 3.6 miles and was pretty spent after the two workouts.

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 8.21.55 PM

My mile splits are listed below. Compare the average vs. fastest paces. Yeah, I had no idea how fast I was going.

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 8.22.21 PMIt was a busy day as far as training goes, but I really enjoyed the change of pace riding provided. Plus, I got to see half the city in two hours.

My training program which you can find here didn’t call for another brick workout, but did call for a 60 minute bike and another 30 minute run. I read a post recently on BeginnerTriathlete.com which talked about the origins and the importance of brick workouts. The author submitted that there is almost no benefit to running with fresh legs when training for a triathlon since you’ll never run with fresh legs during the race. With the exception of speed workouts, he suggested the more you can run with your legs fatigued, the more experienced you’ll become in the sport. I thought this was a pretty good point and decided to get both workouts done at once.

Once again I woke up early and went riding. I took the same trail to Lake Hefner and completed about 19.3 miles in 1:12:57. If you don’t have your calculators out at home, that equates to an average of 15.8mph. Why the difference from yesterday? There was a stiff north wind at about 15mph that blew the entire ride. It was windier than Saturday’s ride and much colder. The wind chill was around 30 when I left in the morning. I won’t bore you with more charts and graphs, but the important takeaway here is that my pace was much slower due to the wind. The transition was better than Saturday’s. If I had to rate it I’d say it was at least 25% less awkward (I hope the sarcasm is coming through). I also found that I acclimated to the run faster and was more consistent with pace. Whereas Saturday I averaged 8:29/mile, I managed to average 8:12/mile on Sunday on the same 3.6 mile course. Attribute that to less fatigue, more experience, or sheer luck. Either way, it was an improvement.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I rode about 53 miles in 3 hours and ran a little over 7 miles in an hour. For my first weekend of training, I’m satisfied. Now it’s time to listen to some Pink Floyd. “All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Happiness: Days 9 & 10

For one reason or another, I’ve had The Pursuit of Happiness on my mind lately. You know, the movie with Will Smith? If you asked me why I couldn’t tell you. Maybe it’s because I’ve felt a little beaten down by all of the stress this past week. Or maybe it’s because I’m a poor college student looking for a job. In either case, I woke up this morning with a sense of clarity I hadn’t had all week. Oddly enough, scenes from from the same movie kept playing over and over in my head. Except this time, the scene I kept seeing was the very last in the movie. The part where Will Smith (or “Chris Gardner” as it were) narrates: “This part of my life… This part right here? This part is called happiness.”

For anybody who is curious, my flight test went well yesterday. I passed! I can tell I’m getting closer to becoming an instructor because although the examiner didn’t have many critiques for me, I spent the whole drive home critiquing my own performance. The curse of a perfectionist, I suppose. The next step will be an checkride with the FAA this coming week, but I’m going to take it one day at a time.

I apologize for the radio silence yesterday, although I must admit, except for a quick hour at work and my flight test, not too much happened. I finished up at the airport about 5:30 yesterday evening. We were delayed due to extensive ice on our scheduled plane. After half an hour of literally pouring on de-icing fluid and hacking at it with a squeegee, we were forced to relent. Mother Nature: 1, Zach: 0. After successfully passing my End of Course examination, The Fiancée and I packed up The Golden and headed south to Oklahoma City. We came home to spend some time with both sides of the family. It’s always nice to come home.

This morning The Fiancée and I tackled a new route: Lake Overholser (or for the 18 and under crowd: Lake Hold-her-closer. Take what you will from that.). This was her farthest run to date, completing 6.5 miles in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. It was cold morning (windchill around 15°F), but with almost no wind. What a great morning to run!

IMG_3912

This is an old part of Route 66 that you run on the north side of the lake.

IMG_3916

She was bringing it on. I felt like I was getting some speed work in trying to catch up to her after stopping to take pictures.

IMG_3914

About 3 miles in, we ran by some llamas. Or are they alpacas? I don’t know the difference.IMG_3920

Here’s The Fiancée standing (semi) victorious.IMG_3919

As we walked across the dam after our run, I spotted these weird ice formations. Any clue what causes these?

IMG_3918

Finally, we made it all the way around the lake and back to the car. The clouds had cleared and I couldn’t help but think to myself “this part of my life… This part right here? This part is called happiness.”

Tagged , , ,