Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lacrosse Ball is the Ultimate Massage Tool

My physical therapist turned me on to using a lacrosse ball to work through the knots in my muscles. Previously I had a TP MassageBall and both their rollers. I still love my rollers, but I was feeling that the ball was a bit too soft. When I really put pressure on it, it would collapse in too much and not get into deep knots.
Then, per my physical therapist’s suggestion, I bought a lacrosse ball and it worked great! The firmness of the ball was perfect, but it also had some give so it wasn’t like driving a solid sphere into my muscles.
This morning I had some knots in my left back and also in my pilformis and right hamstring. This is consistent with my current issues with the associated kinetic chain. Using some techniques from both the Trigger Point site and from my physical therapist, I worked on my knots there and the pain and tightness diminished or just went away.
For example, for my hamstring, I will sit on a chair and put the lacrosse ball underneath my leg, applying pressure on it by sitting on it. Then I will extend my leg slowly to pull my muscles across the pressure of the lacrosse ball. I then move the ball down my hamstring to work the entire area.
For my back, I sit in the same chair and put the ball between the chair back and my back’s affected area. I lean back against the ball to apply pressure. Then I move my arm up and down to, again, move the muscle underneath the pressure of the ball. I then move the ball again over the entire area work on knots up and down my back, along my lats, my traps also.
My ultimate massage kit consists of a lacrosse ball, both TP Footballer and Quadballer, foam roller, and a 6″ PVC pipe section. Oh, I mustn’t forget my spoon.

Is it worth $40,000 to abuse my body in Kona?

Seen in the latest Ironman email newsletter:

For a sixth consecutive year, Ironman will conduct its annual auction with eBay, designed to benefit a variety of charitable organizations worldwide. The Ironman Foundation has raised more than $2,000,000 through the auction since its inception in 2003.
This year’s auction will include six slots to the 2008 Ford Ironman World Championship taking place on October 11 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The auction will begin on Sunday, April 13 and will incorporate six phases with one slot available per week. The minimum bid for slots to the event will begin at $10,000. The average selling price for slots to the world’s most challenging endurance event is approximately $40,000.
In 2007, Ironman made grants and donations to deserving charities on Hawaii’s Big Island including: the American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts of America, Daughters of Hawaii, Habitat for Humanity and the Special Olympics. Additionally, more than $100,000 in cash and/or supplies went to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, The Hospice of Kona and the Hawaii Fire Department, in conjunction with the Daniel Robert Sayre Memorial Foundation.

Should I bid? Is it worth $40K to beat up my body amongst the lava rocks of the Big Island?

2007 Race Schedule and Goals

So far it looks like:
Ironman Brazil May 27
Vineman Half Ironman July 22
Pacific Grove Sept 8-9
NYC Marathon (maybe) Nov 4
Ironman Western Australia Dec 2
I signed up for Ironman Florida Nov 3, but think I will defer that to next year.
My goals:
1. To do better on hills with the bike and save some for the run.
2. If I do NYC Marathon, try for 3:35 (last time was 3:51 in 2005)….and to not be sick!
3. To PR in either IM Brazil or IM WA of better than 12:52 (my time at IM Austria 2006)
4. Try for better than 5:52 at Vineman Half Ironman (2005 time).
5. Try for better than 2:43 at Pac Grove (2005 time).
6. Better hill performance on the run as well.
Ultimately, I want to be able to race any terrain and get to the finish line without cramping. My strength is truly abysmal and I hope that with added hill and strength training this year, I’ll be progressively stronger this year.
See you at the races!!!!

Shaking Off the Cobwebs

Today marked the second week of shaking off the cobwebs on my body from off-season. I ran Rancho San Antonio and started looping on my favorite hill run to build up my leg strength. I did two loops of the Coyote Trail whose path looks like this:
From Parking Lot to bridge where hill begins: .77 mile
Hill, steepest section to switchback where it levels off: .22 mile
Hill, rolling but mostly slight grade upward, to the top of the hill: .66 mile
Major downhill, some steep sections: .46 mile
Flat, gentle rolling back to start: .29 mile
Total: 2.4 miles per loop
Back in NYC Marathon training, I did this loop 7 times for a 2:42 run, total miles = 17. The last loop was definitely tough as I tried to accelerate up it and barely made it to the top. This year, I want to repeat this training to build hill strength in my legs, which I severely lack.
But I am still trying to solve my right foot problems, which plagued me when Asics changed the shape of their standard shoe. I am getting Graston done on my foot as well as fighting blisters from rubbing. I am still experimenting with different shoes and running without orthotics. So far, it looks like the standard (narrower for ’07) Asics shoe is working, but without orthotics (thankfully running Pose method means I can forego my orthotics), and I am still getting severe blisters on the bottom of my feet. I will try to tie my shoes tighter so my feet don’t slop around and hope this gets me to a no-or-minor blister condition with proper running.
Likewise, I went out last Saturday on a 1:52 bike ride, going from Cupertino along Foothill Expressway and its gentle rolling terrain to Page Mill Road, and then returning to go back into the hills around Stevens Creek Reservoir and then do hill repeats on Mt. Eden Road. I did only one repeat as I knew this would be a build process, so next weekend I hope to do 2, and increase by 1 repeat thereafter every week.
Swimming has been really great. I trained for two months with a self-created progression of using paddles and different interval sets to really boost my strength on short sets (1500-2000m). Now as I jump to normal distance sets (ie. 3000-4000m), I am pleasantly finding that my strength in my stroke is lasting to the end of the set. This is an extremely positive development as it bodes well for maintaining a stronger stroke for a longer time, and thus faster swim times.
The ole’ muscles are protesting the back-to-training-stress and Graston and ART are on the menu each week until they adapt.

Hack Hack Cough Cough

I’m sitting here in NYC trying to get over this damn cough thing which I’ve had for almost 1.5 weeks now. Nice gurgling phlegm coming up out of my lungs – I tried running last Thursday and it was tough. I had good run times for a distance tempo run, but afterwards I felt as though I had sucked all this phlegm back into my lungs and it was hard breathing for about a half an hour after.
It’s now 4 days til race sunday. The cough is still phlegm-ing up. I can’t tell if it’s getting better or not, but I stopped taking cough suppressants just so I could cough out as much stuff out of my lungs as possible.
It’s not looking good for NYC Marathon this year…

Kona Report 6-1-06

Kona is having beautiful weather, which is totally not what Yahoo! Weather predicted. I hope for cloud cover on the day of the race to keep the blazing sun off our backs. Previous racers have said that the run is super hot in and around the golf course of the Mauna Lani Resort.
I put together my bike and find out that my derailleur is thrashed. Chalk it up to the Samsonite gorillas who work the luggage loading at airports. I take it in to get it fixed but the guy doesn’t adjust my shifters. This makes my ride the next morning really challenging as I find out I can only use 4 out of 9 gears.
The wind on the Queen K picks up as I get out there. It is famous for these 30+ MPH gusts. I have my ZIPPs on and the wind is whipping them around like nothing else. This makes for a wobbly ride and hard to maintain the aerobar position. I make it back OK on the 4 gears.
I go out for a focus run with some light intervals and then for a quick swim. The water is warm but then I swim through some chilly spots. Later, I find out that this is actually fresh water seeping through the lava cracks all the way from the top of the volcano down to the ocean. It is butt cold coming down from all that distance. Amazing!
Luckily, the supporting bike shop sets up in the hotel and I get my derailleur shifting fixed. There, I get registered and roam the race shop. I find this new gadget called the SaltStick It is a salt tablet dispenser that is mounted within the aerobar handle. All you do is twist the dispenser and it slowly gives you one tablet at a time. COOL! No more fumbling with ziplocks on the ride!
At the moment, I sit in my hotel room waiting for some other friends to arrive. I also pop open 2 cans of Pepsi to de-fizz. One day is probably not enough to completely remove the gas, but I hope it’s enough. It’s my secret weapon after all and I need the caffeine and sugar to get me to the finish line.
I relax, watching the first season of 24 on DVD. Yet another TV series I’m hooked on now…

Off to Kona this week: Honu Half Ironman

This Wednesday I’m off to Kona to race the Honu Half Ironman.
The weather in Kona looks like showers, which either means it’s going to suck or it’s going to be godsend. I am a fair weather training/racing person, but you can’t ignore the fact that the humidity and heat of Kona and the lava fields roast you as your race, and cloudy/drizzling conditions make it cooler than if the sun were beating down on you the whole time.
The heat/humidity also strain my bod. I sweat a lot and I have not completely solved a muscle cramping problem at the half ironman distance. In every (3) half ironman I’ve raced until now, I have cramped towards the end of the bike which has wrecked my run. I have upped my salt/electrolyte intake as well as improved my strength so one of these years, I hope to actually complete a half ironman race without cramping.
My training has been very intense leading up to this race. I am in the middle of building for Ironman Austria, and in the last few weeks have done some focus work for Honu. My intensity has risen, and so far I have not shown signs of cramping. I hope it bodes well for this race coming up.
It should be fun. Many SF Bayers are also going so it will be one big party.
And no matter what, there is ALWAYS a great reason to go to Hawaii.

Experimenting with Changing the Order of Workouts

My coach is fond of saying that he doesn’t really care what days you do his workouts in his schedule, as long as you do them. He has also experimented greatly with varying the order of workouts to see if there is any difference in the results, and he has seen that there isn’t much difference.
Most workout schedules have a series of light workouts during the week, and then on Saturday you do a medium to long swim, a long bike, and then a short run; and on Sunday you do a long run. After the long workouts on Saturday and Sunday, you get a day of rest on Monday. I have looked at many training schedules and all of them say the same thing.
I would think that this is an attempt to maximize training benefit in performing a workout under energy depleted condition and balancing that with reduction in the chance of injury.
My first trial change was to run long the day before swimming/long bike. This didn’t seem to wipe my legs so much that I couldn’t get a decent workout on the day after running. My second change was now to run long mid-week, and whenever the sun comes out. I may attempt my long bike the same way.
Sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate. So at least until the rains subside in sunny California, I am now trying to build my endurance by getting outside whenever I can.

Energy Depletion, Winter Training Sucks

Training is back in full force as I ramp for the Honu Half Ironman on June 3 and Ironman Austria on July 16.
But base building in the Bay Area winter can really suck. Today, I first went to swim at Foothill College and cranked out 4600 meters. It is now the beginning of my “energy depletion” method training which I found to be very valuable last year. Basically, you need to train your body to be more efficient and not constantly depend on outside energy sources to replenish its stores. It needs to learn how to burn fat better, its muscles need to be more efficient in producing power, and your body needs to learn to relax so as not waste energy. But, in order to train for this, you need to constantly use up energy stores and put your body into a place where it is out of the energy comfort zone. So I like to swim an overdistance workout before heading out on the bike.
After swimming, I went out riding on a sunny day, which then turned cloudy as rain was forecast. Sunny days in the Bay Area winter can be deceiving. It looks like the sun could warm you up, but sometimes it does not.
I went out with only arm warmers and a poor man’s windbreaker – basically a Target plastic shopping bag stuffed down my shirt – and went out into the chill.
It was definitely an energy sucking moment. It turned out that the sun had no effect whatsoever on the ambient temperature, and couple that with the wind picking up, really made for a chilly ride. I found myself really struggling to maintain power as I pedalled home, and my body burning extra energy to keep warm, and with constant glances at the sky which looked like I was also racing a cold drizzle home.
As soon as I got home, I jumped into a hot shower and let steaming water run all over me in an attempt to warm up.
Let’s face it. Winter training sucks. And yes, I am a fair weather triathlete. I hate doing workouts in the cold or in the rain.

Training has BEGUN!

The season has begun and I am getting my bod out of cobwebs and back into shape. The first few workouts are a bit of a fine tuning – some of them I should be doing better at, but as the training season moves on, I should be getting better.
Given that I actually had an off season this year, I hope that the lowered activity has given my bod time to heal and recover, and bounce back stronger this year.
Focus this year:
1. Even out my left and right legs in training.
2. Get better at cycling.
3. Repair my right arm, so that my swimming can come back.
4. Get FASTER overall.
Key races will be Honu Half Ironman on June 3, and Ironman Austria on July 16. I might sign up for more, but right now I don’t want to overload myself.
I am psyched, however. Overall, I feel really good and am eager to start training smart and strong.