Thursday, 16 Mar 2017
Testing, testing...is this thing still on?
One of my favorite challenges (or more accurately, things I do for the approval of Internet strangers) from last year was The Errandonnee, 12 days in which participants complete 12 errands by bike or by foot. This year it runs March 20-31, right around the corner!
Anyway, I looked back at my log from last year's challenge and thought it might be interesting to copy it down here. So this is that!
Category: You Carried WHAT On Your Bike?
Observation: Carrying something as delicate as a cake works best when you can keep an eye on it. I put a front basket on for this trip, and the cake survived nicely.
Category: Personal Business
Observation: It feels great to roll along at a casual pace. I usually ride faster than I need to, and probably miss a lot.
Category: You Carried WHAT On Your Bike?
Observation: Pulling a trailer with a fuel can on it handled just fine. It didn't seem to make a difference whether the can was full or empty. Climbing is slow and descending is fast with a trailer either way.
Category: Arts and Entertainment
Observation: In dense fog you can still hear cars even if you can't see them. Another eerie but awesome bit of weather to bike in.
Category: Personal Care
Observation: Biking to unexpected destinations is a good conversation starter.
Categories: Personal Business, Store
Observations: (6) I think a bike is faster through a drive-up ATM than a car, even with fumbling around with gloves and my wallet being hidden somewhere in my frame bag. (7) We were out of wet cat food, not the dry food I bought. Oh well.
Categories: Non-Store Errand, Store
Observations: (8) Lunch drivers are in a hurry. (9) I buy more when I've biked to pick up lunch.
Category: Non-Store Errand
Observation: There were at least two other bags of donated goodies waiting outside the humane society today (they were closed this morning). It's great to see so much support for the shelter.
Category: Wild Card
Observation: Don't count on the forecast.
Category: Work or Volunteering
Observation: I'm really looking forward to seeing more people out riding and running and walking. Definitely getting to be the season.
See you out there!
Tuesday, 08 Sep 2015
Hey, let's just look at a goal I set for myself and then actually wrote down.
Well, that didn't happen.
But I'm okay with it because I know why it didn't happen. I made the mistake of depending too much on my cardio fitness and not enough on getting the actual miles in my legs. Heat may have played a small factor, but not enough to make up for my disastrous splits in the final miles.
Things were going pretty well for the first 19-20 miles. I was off my pace a bit but still averaging 8:40/mile at that point. I had gained a bit during the downhill from 11 to 16, but could feel my legs tightening even then. By 20 I knew it was going to be a struggle.
I started walking aid stations, something I never do. Then I stopped to stretch, which helped a little. But I was just putting so much energy into fighting my legs I couldn't keep my pace up no matter what I tried. It felt like the wrong muscles were firing in my legs, and all of them pulling against each other.
Thanks to Nancy cheering me on at the finish I did squeak in under four hours with a 3:58:59 official time, but it wasn't pretty. Unlike Cellcom I didn't feel utterly wiped at the end, but my legs were useless for a while after.
Anyway, Twin Cities Marathon is in a month, and I know what I need to do. Run.
Monday, 06 Jul 2015
About this far.
Update: Now with content!
I've been mulling over what I learned or observed during this ride, especially since I'm thinking about a double century soon, possibly from home to Wausau, WI in one shot.
Sunday, 31 May 2015
Hey, I did this race again, finally.
Way back in 2013, James talked me into doing a gravel road race in the official middle of nowhere, Kenton. I wasn't in the worst cycling shape of my life, and thanks to mostly slow people showing up, I managed to place 5th out of 14 in the metric (100 kilometers) race. Fun times were had by all.
In 2014, I promised to be there, and had handcrafted my registration postcard from a Leinie's box. I think I even mailed it in the actual US Mail. But some dumb work thing came up, and I missed the apparently-huge second edition.
Determined to make it this year, I raised the stakes by buying a 99¢ greeting card and modifying it for the purposes of registration. In my fervor I must have signed it Snuggle Bear.
As I rounded up my gear the night before and attempted to find the cue sheet holder I had made the first year (out of a coat hanger, heat shrink tubing, freezer bag, and packing tape), Nancy cooked a batch of approximately 500 chocolate chip cookies. Fortunately only 100 were duds, and quickly dispatched by me in the name of carb loading.
It had been raining all week, but was relatively clear and cool when we hit the road for Kenton. I was hoping gravel forest highways were solid, and knew dust wouldn't be a problem.
After arriving at the Forest Highway 16 wayside and milling around for a while, we lined up for a roll-out behind an unmarked white pickup. A couple of miles of asphalt led us to the gravel, which was saturated and soft. At least one rider bailed out right away.
Race Organzier James pointed us in the right direction as we left the road for two-track, which was helpful because I probably would have missed the turn as I did several times later in the race. The two-track was fun, and about the roughest stuff I want to do on a cyclocross bike with aluminum fork.
Hills were climbed and descended. I chatted with a few racers, and was feeling pretty good rolling into the Silver Mountain checkpoint at around 35 miles in. Nancy, Zoe, and the remaining 400 cookies were waiting for me, as was the lead pack and a cooler of Old Milwaukee. I had planned to ditch my jacket at that point, but was still nearly freezing. I stood around a non-heat-generating fire built by James for a bit, and then took off a few minutes after the lead pack. Then I came back and retrieved my sunglasses. Then I left again.
The second leg had a bit more climbing in and out of the river gorge, and about 50 miles in I started to get some cramping. I hadn't done any longer rides than commuting to work, and my running legs weren't quite ready for this. Some on-bike stretching got me through it, but I was happy to see the last few miles of gravel before asphalt jog back to the wayside. By this point, the clouds were finally parting, and it was starting to warm up.
I hammered toward the wayside, hoping to pull in the rider I saw off in the distance. Some level of sense prevailed and I preserved my legs enough to dismount and consume
I stretched and bullshitted with other riders for a while, and then started getting ready for the last leg as the lead group began doing the same. I rolled out a few minutes behind, not really expecting to see anyone after that point.
The roads on the south side of the highway were amazing. Narrower, twistier, and smoother, they somehow felt faster than the rest. My legs cramped again a few miles in, but I powered through and was fine for the rest of the distance.
I caught up and rode with Carp and one other for a while, and decided I could peel away after a bit. I felt like I was pushing it for a comfortable finish, but stuck with my pace.
When I made the final curve of the descent to another small river and saw the two leaders taking a beer break, I was a little surprised. Maybe they had taken a nap as well. I'd forgotten to grab a road beer at the wayside, so waved and rolled on by.
Then I realized. I was now in the lead and at risk of winning a prize, a bottle of Imperial American Whiskey. I'd never heard of it, but was fairly confident it wasn't because I never look that far up the shelf in the liquor aisle. I had a couple of minutes to ponder this before the lead pair caught me and dropped me handily. Thank god.
I was on my own again, have a good ol' time watching the miles tick away when my GPS suddenly went flat. Just a full-screen flashing battery symbol (which it managed to power for several hours). Fortunately, checking my cue sheet all I had to do was not turn before the finish, and I did just that.
My finishing time was good enough for 3rd place in the imperial (100 mile) race. The dog was pretty impressed with my performance, and she and Nancy and I hung out with James and the other finishers to watch a couple more roll in.
So there it is. I rode more than 100 miles on gravel and had a blast. James, Heather, Nancy, and everybody else: SNUGGLE BEAR HUG.
Tuesday, 19 May 2015
Training for this race was one of the most rewarding things I've done. Every week it seemed like I was pushing my abilities, right on the edge of doing too much. In the end, I covered 410 miles over 58 days, averaging a 8:52 pace. Helping Bryant with his training kept me more disciplined than I've ever been, and I really thought I would achieve my goal time.
The weather had something else in store for me. Not that it wasn't possible to run in the high humidity and moderate winds, but I just didn't have the warm-weather training to support it. The race was under "high alert" due to the conditions, and I couldn't eke out the few extra seconds per mile I needed to hit 1:45:00. My heart rate was in the red zone too long for me to pick up any time at the end, even though my legs were willing.
I ended up with an official time of 1:45:37 (8:03 average pace), 34th out of 292 for my age group, and 220th out of all 1808 males. One of my unstated goals was to hit the 80th percentile for both age group and gender, and I was happy to find that I was in the 88th percentile for both. Last year's 1:53:03 put me in the 68th and 69th percentiles, respectively.
But enough numbers. My real success in this race was being a part of team /var/run. Nancy, Amy, Bryant, G, and I celebrated like the professionals we are.
You dudes are the best. *team hug*
And now please enjoy photos of people suffering and/or having fun.
Saturday, 18 Apr 2015
Since it seems to be going well so far, I'll share the training plan I'm using for Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon in May. It's the Runner's World Break 1:45 half marathon plan, which I found on their site as a PDF (but they now charge $30). Contact me if you want a copy.
It's a 10-week plan that assumes a base of about 30 miles per week. I filled in two weeks at the beginning as a ramp-up, and have been enjoying the plan so far. It's aggressive (for me) in both pace and mileage, and I'm optimistic that it'll put me in a place to meet my 1:45 goal. Here's the plan with some adjustments for my own schedule.
With Cellcom coming right up, I've been working on a training plan that will take me through Canal Run in July to Marquette Marathon in September, with some of the other stuff I'm doing in the meantime (a bike tour and a couple of bike races). Here's what I have now, based on something between Higdon's Intermediate 2 and Advanced 1 marathon plans.
Four weeks after Marquette Marathon is Twin Cities Marathon. So do I just stop running and eat cheetos in between? Higdon has a nice plan for not doing that.
See you out there!
Thursday, 26 Mar 2015
I guess I've been mulling this over in my head for quite a while, but now that I'm well into training for the Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon with a specific time in mind, I should go ahead and write that down somewhere. (In a secret place. This blog.)
2014 Cellcom: 1:53:03
2015 Cellcom: 1:45:00
Training is going well so far, and if I can keep from serious injury, I think I'm on target to hit 1:45, which is an 8:00 minute/mile pace.
Thinking forward to fall full marathons, I'm really just guessing at target times.
2014 Twin Cities: 4:19:24
2015 Marquette Marathon: 3:45:00
I'd like to do both Marquette Marathon (September) and Twin Cities Marathon (October), though that does seem a little ambitious. Beyond that, the only other running races on my calendar for sure are the Canal Run in July, and of course the Fifth Annual runningchunk.com 5K in September-ish.
See you out there.
Friday, 20 Mar 2015
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