December 27, 2006

Happy New Year!

The Iron H blog wishes all triathletes, triathletes in the making and non-triathletes a happy and prosperous New Year! Here's to great and healthy 2007!

December 21, 2006

Your Own Private Tri Goals

It’s that time of year to start thinking about what goals you didn’t achieve in 2006 and what you plan to go after in 2007. It’s time to list your personal achievement goals. Your fitness goals. Your family goals. Financial, career, home improvements, monetary, community outreach, and….your triathlon goals. I had one tri goal for 2006 and I achieved it. That was to finish an Ironman. Ok, so I wasn’t altogether truthful there. I did have other tri goals so I’ll come clean right now.

First, I wanted to finish the Eagleman 70.3 in under 6 hours: Nope…..didn’t make it. My excuse? I was trying to stay in my HR zones as I prepared for Lake Placid. Plus, the swim conditions were horrible. Still in the end…there really was no excuse because I was in good shape. This goal is on my list again in 2007 as I go for breaking 6 hours for the 6th year in a row. I think I know what I have to do.

Second, I wanted to finish Lake Placid IM in 13.5 hours or less. Missed it by 1 hour. Excuse? The HR zones again. I really held back on the bike. I have a history of bonking on the run so I raced in fear of that following the guidance of some experienced Ironmen I know. I’m signed up for 2007 and this goal is again on my list. But the bottomline is that it was my first IM and I had a blast doing it!

I believe that goals and resolutions can be great motivators but you have to be careful. You don’t want to put down too many and you don’t want to make them too hard. (Disclaimer: I have no Doctorate in Psychology only a BA so I’m no expert. Take my words with big grains of salt.) Goals should be reasonable in order to achieve around 75-80% of them. You may want to try having varying degrees of goals. Maybe 2 that will be achievable with just a little extra effort or training that you normally do. Then 2 goals that might require you to really turn up that effort and commitment a notch or two. You can make these but it will definitely cause some pain and suffering to get there. And then make 1 Supreme Goal that will be really, really tough to achieve. If you make it then it’s your own private Olympic gold medal. If you don’t, then buy yourself a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s because you put out a hell of an effort. And don’t be discouraged because there is always next year.

Remember, there will always be something that comes between you and your goals. Family life, injuries, work commitments, race conditions, etc. The list goes on and on. The important thing to remember is that unless you are paying the rent with triathlon prize money, this is all for fun. Training is really the ultimate reward because when you train for a triathlon, you will generally end up being in the best shape of your life. And that is definitely a great goal to achieve.

December 18, 2006

Top Ten I-Pod Songs

The 2005-2006 training season was a break out year for Apple and the I-pod. How did we live without this thing? Not too long ago I was running the streets with a Sony Walkman. Thing must have weighed at least 5 pounds. I used to try clipping the thing inside my shorts but it felt like I was running with a sack of potatoes strapped to my waist. And don’t get me started about taking the time to change tapes or trying to tune in my preferred radio station. A 30 minute run became a 45 minute run. It was 30 minutes of actual running and 15 minutes of messing around with the music. Well, that’s old technology and in the past. I now have an I-pod shuffle. The shuffle only fits about 100-120 songs but it is sufficient….sort of. Those 100 songs do kind of get stale after awhile but it’s far superior to the Walkman. This year I’m thinking of asking Santa for a Nano then those 100 songs will mix in nicely with another 400 more.

With that spirit in mind, here’s my Top 10 songs that I love to run to. At least for now.

1. Vertigo: U2
2. State of Love and Trust: Pearl Jam
3. All About Soul: Billy Joel
4. Fool in the Rain: Led Zeppelin
5. Bad: U2
6. Wonderwall: Oasis
7. The Scientist: Coldplay
8. Rock and Roll Band: Boston
9. That Smell: Lynyrd Skynyrd
10. Ants Marching: Dave Mathews Band

December 07, 2006

Winter Ride

Well, the cold weather is finally making its way here in the East. We’ve had unseasonably mild weather throughout November. Then on December 1, it was 69 degrees Fahrenheit. What’s going on here? Is it Global warming? Perhaps. But to all of us that depend on the weather for training, this kind of weather had its definite appeal. I didn’t get a chance to get the bike out on Dec 1 and I regretted it. The next day, on Saturday, we gathered for a 90 minute, Zone 1 to 2 group ride. It was the start of IM training for some. For me, I’m pushing it off 1 more week. Anyway, at ride time it was a brisk, 37 degrees. It was definitely cold enough to break out the cold weather gear. But not as cold as a day last January. We had started a ride with the temperature at 27 degrees F with a wind chill of about 20. I was not prepared. At about 6 miles out, I started to get light headed not to mention that the tips of my fingers and toes were in this extreme, sharp pain. I tried to gut it out but unfortunately I had to turn back. The pain was so intense that I stayed in the car for 15 minutes, with the heat blasting, before I could drive home. It’s needless to say that I learned a lesson that day. I was under dressed for the weather.

So, it was December not January this past Saturday but I’m taking a lot of steps to prepare for the cold weather this year. Number one is dressing correctly. The day turned out to be delightful as the sun came out and it warmed up to about 42 degrees F. It was a good start but I’m positive that many cold days lie ahead. I can deal with the cold but snow is another story. I like to ride outside during the winter not in the basement on my trainer. That just doesn’t feel like riding to me.

We followed the ride with a 20 minute run and the training season, unofficially, was off to a good start. Now, I’m on my way to the camping store to buy some of those hot packs for my gloves and shoes. They work wonders!

December 02, 2006

Hey, All You Drivers Out There

If you are reading this, you are probably not the audience I'm trying to reach for this post. But who knows maybe this will reach one driver who’s not a triathlete, runner, biker or a combination there of and stumbled onto this blog. Can you see where I’m going with this? I'm talking about the road where drivers, bikers, runners, even walkers often meet. This post isn’t about the “nice” things that drivers say when they pass you. And it's not about the “nice” things they throw out their windows (not at you but just to get rid of it since it’s taking up valuable space inside the car). And it shouldn’t be about how they never want to move over to give you some space even when no other cars are coming at them in the opposite direction. It seems that if they pass that double yellow line, they will immediately be ticketed by the cops or worse yet, explode into a million pieces. God forbid! Why risk it? But if it were about that then I have to ask you: Why is that? What did our little group of health conscious triathletes do to the driving public to be treated like criminals? I can imagine a bumper sticker: This Car Speeds Up on Bikers and Runners! Are they so desperate to get to their destination 15 seconds faster that they are willing to risk a serious injury to someone or worse, killing them? We all know the stories of athletes that don’t come back from a training ride or run. I don’t want to go there but God rest their souls.

Ok, so here it is a public safety announcement. To all you drivers out there who are sharing the road with bikers, runners, walkers, people pushing strollers, etc., please SLOW DOWN! (I’m really trying to be nice here. No foul language. Offering the olive branch, amnesty, etc.) We’re out there doing something we love. We’re good for the environment and we only need a little bit of the road. You can have most of it. We mean no harm to anyone. And we have every right to be on that road with you. Just give us a break will you?

Ok, I’m done. Hopefully, the message came through. Good night all. See you in the morning on the streets of fire.