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Sunday, April 26, 2009

F*#king Wind

Today's long brick was to be 68/16. Considering the race yesterday, the legs felt really good. I rode out to Carter Lake with my sister who turned around about a mile West of County Rd. 23 while I wanted to see just how full the reservoir was so I rode to the top of the dam with the expectation that I'd catch up to her somewhere on the way back to Boulder. While there was a headwind going back, it wasn't so bad as to make my 22 mile Z3 interval terrible. The problem started around Nelson and 75th when the wind (headwind, of course) picked up to about 30 mph with nasty gusts to probably 50mph.

It's not a long stretch of road from the afore mentioned intersection to Westbound Niwot Rd and 73rd but after that long of an interval it was awful and at some point, my legs became shot. Luckily I was done with the interval and had a nice cruise back to the gym, but the damage was done. I had nothing left for the run and couldn't even eek out 3 miles. A very bad omen for an Ironman.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Race Report - Canine Classic 10K 2009

I went to bed a little later than I should have because I was watching a movie on HBO and it's usually really hard for me to stop watching a movie halfway through. I'd not even bothered turning on the TV but I was verifying the start time of my race and realized that I was off by well over an hour. The 7:25am I saw was when registration opened, not when my race started - it started at 9am. So, I figured I had more time.

Then, this morning, for whatever reason I kept thinking that it started at 9:30 and was planning my warm-up, stretching, and post warm-up BM but then realized on the way to the reservoir, I was wrong in my planning and was very glad at that point that I'd left really early.

The weather was cold, 35-40 degrees with light rain on and off on the drive over but none at the res itself. I got my race packet and taking the rest of the crap in the bag back to the car I affixed the number to my race belt, strapped the belt around my waist and headed out for what was a 3-mile warm-up. Good rule of thumb: the shorter the race, the longer the warm-up needs to be. I'm not sure if 3 miles was necessary, but I was nice and warm (and unfortunately also somewhat wet from sweating) when finished. I got back to the car with about 20 minutes before start time so I did my normal stretches, stripped to my race gear (HEP tri shorts and my sleeveless running top emblazoned with HEP logos and the faint white outline of an iron - apparently the Howie's ironing board needs a little more padding - from when Jen ironed on the logos) donned my Halo headband, and jogged to the starting line with about 5 minutes to spare.

(The race strategy my coach came up with was breaking the race down in to 3 parts: 2 miles, 2 miles and 2.2 miles hopefully negative splitting the parts but shooting for a time goal of 45-47 minutes. The first part was to be Z3/Z4 cusp, the second, mid Z4 but below threshold, and the third, whatever I had left. The goal was also to get faster by only increasing the cadence. As I don't have a cadence sensor on my Garmin FR 305, I have no idea if I did just that, but my times did come down at the end.)

As there was no one at the starting line and indeed no less than 5 volunteers had no idea where the starting line even was I wasn't worried about missing the start, but rather staying warm. Thankfully, we started right on time and since it's the Canine Classic, there were dogs everywhere, including in the run. I started out a little quicker than normal to stay ahead of the slower people and doggies but some of them passed me (never to be seen again until after the race...there were some fast doggies). I settled in to a low Z4 pace and essentially wound up running with this really tall guy and a couple and their two border collies.

Somewhere between miles 2 and 3, I dropped the tall guy and the collies and caught up to the dog/owner in front of me passing him in a corner. I never saw any of them again though I peeked back a few times to see where they were.

As we were running counterclockwise around the res, anyone who knows that section of the road knows it's rather rolling. I'd thought that my mile splits would either stay the same or slow a tad, but because of taking advantage of the hills and upping my cadence I was able to drop the times rather significantly for the last two miles which leads me to believe I was too conservative in the middle part of the run (explained below), a mistake I will not repeat for the Bolder Boulder.

My splits were as follows: 7:10, 7:22, 7:17, 7:19, 7:04, 7:03.

I think I was a little nervous after the first mile and backed it off a tad to make sure I had enough left at the end. As briefly touched on above, I think I might have over reacted a bit and backed off too much. Ideally, for the Bolder Boulder, I'd like those last miles to be sub-7 which, with that nasty hill at the end, might be hard.

Goal for Bolder Boulder: sub-43.

A Really Good Week

I'd originally thought this week was going to be kind of bad because the gym was completely closed which mean no swimming. In actuality, it turns out that this week was pretty frickin' awesome. I was able to get all my workouts in and throw in two extras because of replacing the swim ones. The end result: for the first time in a while I've hit my mileage goals for biking and running. This assumes tomorrow won't be any different.

Monday, I did my ride at lunch and as I was going under the overpass at I270 and the Platt River Bike path, there was a car(!) parked under the bridge on the path. Forgetting for the moment that this was a really bad spot for a car (under a bridge on an Interstate), I had no idea how the car got there because there were guard rails along the highway on both sides which would have prevented the car from driving down there. So, being a good little American that spies on his neighbors for the police (big brother, anyone?) I phoned it in to the Denver police department's non-emergency number and continued on my ride. My initial thoughts weren't of anything malicious, that came later, but that car had no business being parked where it was and besides, he was blocking the path meant for cyclists and pedestrians. I should also point out that this section of the Interstate and bike path has really nothing else around it but open fields and an oil refinery.

I turned around and when I got back to the same place, the car was gone and there were two sheriff's vehicles on the path. I asked about the car and the trooper said they'd made the owner move it and I then saw that a section of the fence was down which is how the driver got through. The trooper said that he was one of the highway workers but didn't want to park his car on the side of the road. I looked down the highway and saw about an 1/8th of a mile away there were a bunch of cars parked along the side of the road. So the owner apparently drove his car an additional distance down the road, across a large swatch of grass/weeds, through the fence onto the bike path and then under the bridge.

I'm still not sure what he was thinking.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Back On Track, Sort Of

After doing most of my workouts that were slated for last Thursday and Friday this past weekend, today saw me get back on track with my training. Well, sort of. You see, the gym, in its infinite fucking brilliance, decided that closing for it's annual maintenance week in late August didn't make sense because....well, honestly, I have no idea why they thought it didn't make sense. So, they moved it to this week, in April. You see, in late August, most people's training seasons are winding down whereas in April everyone's training season is in full swing. So, naturally it makes sense to pick this week to close the gym.

On the bright side, I feel my swimming is totally solid. I have zero qualms about the Ironman swim. I'm a tiny bit nervous about the bike, but only because I'm afraid I won't hold back enough - which could wind up being a double-edged sword and I could hold back too much. I'm reasonably worried about the run. I have done long runs, but only up to ~13.5 miles or so. And my weekly mile totals haven't been on track because I seem to always blow off one run each week. This is where the gym being closed could be a blessing. It allows me to run and bike 4 days in a row this week with a day off on Friday in prepration for my 10K race on Saturday.

That said, I really should be in bed now.

Heavy, Wet, Snow

Last week was going well, until Thursday when the sun disappeared and it started raining. The sun wasn't seen again until Sunday. In between, we got a ton of rain, and a ton of snow. 9 News has the official total for Louisville at 8.3" but I know better. I had to shovel my sidewalk and driveway 4 times in < 12 hours. And this wasn't the light and fluffy stuff that skiers go "Woo hoo! Powder day at Vail!" This was the stuff that my neighbor accurately described as like shoveling cement. The shit was heavy.

My in-laws were in town for my Wife's 30th birthday and quite coincidentally, my weekend was free of workouts, or, was supposed to be. With Thursday's rain punting my workout to the evening and that also being my wife's actual birthday made it day off #1. Friday it snowed all day. It never stopped. It got heavy at times, and then lightened up a bit, and then got heavy again. But it never stopped snowing. I could have worked out inside, but didn't.

Friday, April 17, 2009

NFS mount Ubuntu linux drive on Mac OS X Leopard

After scouring the web for how to do this, I wound up having to piece through at least a half-dozen blogs to figure out how to do this and to get it working. So, to keep you from having to do the same, I give you:

How to NFS mount an Ubuntu Linux drive in Mac OS X Leopard
-- UPDATED for 9.04 support --

One assumption I have made are that both computers are running on the same network, but they don't have to be. Your Mac needs to be able to "see" your Linux box. If they're on separate networks, you will most likely have to deal with portmaping through routers and firewalls which is still fairly straight forward, but beyond the scope of this document.

I reference my Linux box by name because I have its IP address in my Mac's host file. You don't need this however, and can simply use it's IP address instead.

I also assume you have some rudimentary knowledge of your Mac and Linux, specifically, being able to open terminal windows to get a shell and command line as well as having sudo privileges on your Linux box.
  1. Before we begin we'll need some information for later. From your shell or terminal window in Ubuntu, execute the id command. You should see something similar to:

    uid=1000(doej) gid=1000(doej) groups=4(adm),20(dialout),1000(doej)

    All we care about are the uid and gid values for your username. In the output above, we see the uid and gid values are 1000 for the user doej (John Doe).

  2. Now, execute the same command on your Mac from the Terminal program. You'll notice the output is a little different:

    uid=501(doej) gid=20(staff) groups=20(staff),98(_lpadmin)

    Note that the uid is 501 and the gid is 20. In my examples, my username is the same between my Mac and Linux, but they don't have to be.

  3. Save these numbers or shell output for later.

  4. In Ubunutu make sure you have the following packages installed: nfs-user-server and nfs-common. Do this by executing "sudo apt-get install nfs-user-server nfs-common" from
    your shell or terminal window.

    NB: this will fail in Ubuntu 9.04 because the brilliant folks at Canonical decided to remove it and I don't know why. However, fear not you can still get the package here. Install this file with the command "sudo dpkg -i [filename]" - this will error out if you somehow already have the nfs-kernel-server package installed.

  5. Now we need to make a map of our user and group IDs we obtained in #1 and #2 above. This will ensure that when we NFS mount our drive on our Mac, the permissions and file ownership will all be set correctly. A common directory for this file is in /etc/nfs. If this directory doesn't exist for you, go ahead and create it.

    Create a file in this directory called - it can be called anything, but the naming convention is to use the name of the accessing server, in this case the hostname of your Mac. Mine, creatively enough, has a hostname of mac so my file is called

    Here's what my file looks like:

    # mapping for client: mac
    # remote local
    uid 501 1000
    gid 20 1000

    The first two lines are just comments. The second two map the uid and gid from steps 1 and 2 above. Here, remote means your Mac, and local means your Linux box.

  6. NFS gets its export information (the directories that are allowed to be NFS mounted) from the file /etc/exports. If this file does not exist, just create it. Here's what my file looks like:

    /home/doej mac(rw,insecure,map_static=/etc/nfs/

    The first argument is the directory on Linux that you want to be able to NFS mount. In this case, I've chosen to mount my home directory. The second parameter are the mount options. To see a full list of options, execute man exports. I've listed my Mac hostname as the server that is allowed to NFS mount this directory. The options I've chosen are:

    rw - read/write
    insecure - allow non-root user to NFS mount directory
    map_static - the file we created above that maps our user and group IDs from Mac to Linux box. If you want to be able to write to your NFS mount, you MUST have this option set and set correctly.

  7. Before you can mount anything on your Mac, you'll need to restart NFS on your Linux box (so it picks up the exports) with the following command:

    sudo /etc/init.d/nfs-user-server restart

  8. Finally, on your Mac, you can mount this drive with the following command:

    mount -t nfs bajan:/home/doej /Users/doej/foo

  9. This will mount your home directory on Linux (bajan is the hostname of my linux box) to the foo sub-directory in my home directory on my Mac. To test everything is working correctly, cd into the foo directory in Terminal and try creating a new file. If you can, you're all set. If not, shoot me a message and I'll try and help you out as best I can.
That's it! NFS is really easy once you get the hang of it, and even if you aren't Linux savvy, it should still be pretty easy to do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Good Training Week - So Far

This week's training, for the first time in recent memory, is going very well. Recovery ride on Monday at lunch and then a hard Master's swim practice where the coach moved me up to the fastest lane (faster than I normally do, but not with the swimming gods, they didn't show up, at least not all of them). The main set was 4x75m, 6x75m and 8x75m. The set of 4 was 25m kick, 50m swim on 1:25, the 6 were 25m drill/50m swim on 1:15, and the 8 were all swim on 1:05. Those hurt. A lot. But I hit my intervals and even got a "good job" from one of the gods in my lane.

Today's first workout was a 6-mile run w/ mile repeats. My times were 7:39, 7:02, and 6:40, but the weird thing was that the first one was by far the hardest. More intervals later on the trainer so that now, my legs are a bit fatigued. That's a lot of Z4 in one day. Luckily tomorrow's run is Z2 and I'll have most of the day to recover for tomorrow's Master's class.

From Almost Losing It - To Euphoria

After Sunday's recovery ride and botched attempt at running out side in 40-degree temperatures with an ice cold rain shower thrown in I emailed my coach my week 31 data and basically lost it. I told him I was tired all the time, the week sucked workout-wise and a lack of energy to do workouts, let alone get through them.

He did what a coach should do. He gave me a good pep talk and pointed out the positives this training season:
  • huge base miles
  • LONG workouts in a difficult time of the season
  • the 5-hour trainer ride
  • going from not running at all to running half of a 10-mile run at a sub-7:40 pace.
The last may not sound like much, but remember, this is Ironman training, not short (or even long) course training.

The result: Week 32 has started off well and continues to be a good training week.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

110 Miles and a Mitzvah

Saturday's 110-mile ride was interesting for several reasons. First and foremost, I managed to leave for my ride before 10am, which never happens. Second, I saw a woman get arrested - that was entertaining. And finally, most of the ride was a blur because I totally zoned out for most of it. The last isn't so crazy as I usually zone out in races and for short spans in my workouts. But never for several hours. It's like being on autopilot. It's creepy, but I guess good in a way.

The route I took was my normal ride to work route plus an extension that saw me go all the way to Chatfield State Park. At some point on the Platt River bike path I realized my HR was a little higher than it should have been and at mile 38, I realized why. At mile 38, I looked to my left and saw the most sexy thing one can see out on a bike ride aside from a sexy female (if you're a guy, that is). At mile 38 I saw a flag galliantly flapping in the breeze indicating that I was riding dead on into a headwind. Which meant that I'd have almost a 30-mile tailwind on the way back. Oh, and did I mention that it would also be downhill?

Knowing this didn't make the ride out any easier. By the time I reached Littleton, the wind was really gusty and since Chatfield State Park is very exposed, the wind there was incredible. But turning around was oh so sweet. I was making awesome time. Right at the junction of the Clear Creek and Platte River bike paths, there was a couple attempting to change a flat. So, as I normally alwasy do, I asked if they needed any help. Either they didn't respond at first or I didn't hear them so I asked again and heard something about whether or not I had any tire levers. It appears they had left theirs behind. I'd like to think I taught them how to change a flat, but they were pretty novice and I'm essentially hoping that just a few tidbits stuck.

After the flat fix, I was on my way. 22 miles back to the house and all up hill. Well, 98% uphill. There's a nice downhill stretch at McCaslin and 128 and then again at the top of the hill by the Key Bank going North towards Costco. I still have to download my data to see how good the ride was speed wise. But I think it was pretty awesome w/ that long downhill tailwind.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Good Ride and an Unscheduled Day Off

I rode to work on Wednesday. This entails getting up at 5am and leaving by 6 in order to get to work at a reasonable time. I got up at 5:15, went through the obligatory "do I really want to do this?" and finally got out of bed closer to 5:25. I still managed to leave before 6 though, so no harm there.

The temperature was 37 and knowing that when I hit the valleys in Westminster and along the Coal Creek bike path, the temperature would drop, I dressed for a cold weather ride: leg warmers, booties, and two long-sleeved layers up top. I got the chance to wear one of my new Castelli cycling tops I scored off of BonkTown. It was awesome and more importantly, didn't prevent me from riding in the aero position.

Thursday, however, I was just too tired to do anything and wound up taking the entire day off - which I know is bad, but I just didn't have the energy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Very Much Needed Rest Day

After the 4-day beating my legs took commencing Friday and ending Monday today was a VERY much needed rest day as my body is just flat out exhausted. I'm not really sure how much more I can take of this, but my coach assures me that next week will be very light and the miles will start coming back down.

Until then, this week has 6.5, 8, and 10-mile runs, along with 2 25+ mile rides and a 110-mile ride scheduled. So far, I'm already a mile behind on the running and one of the two shorter rides was done on a trainer so I'm not really sure how that equates realistically over to distance.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dealing With the Worst

So we didn't get 16 inches of snow as promised yesterday. What we did get was 3 inches that didn't stick to the roads but was very wet nonetheless. Additionally, it was REALLY cold w/ 30mph winds driving the wind chill down close to zero if not below.

Saturday's brick wound up being a shortened run w/ the full run coming today. I finished my ride on the trainer yesterday and was outside for all of 2 minutes waiting for my Garmin to figure out where I was and was thinking, "there's no way in hell I'm going to run 13 miles in this..." So, I did 6 and called it a day.

This morning, I did my full 13.5-mile run and the weather mostly cooperated alternating between sunny and not sunny until the last 3-5 miles. I must have taken off my gloves and headband and put them back on at least 5 times before just leaving my gloves on. I wound up doing a huge 13.5 mile loop from my house that had me take McCaslin to Marshall Rd by Costco and Marshall Rd all the way to the South end of the BoBo link trail. I then took the trail back to South Boulder Rd. and followed SBR back into Louisville.

If anyone's ridden out SBR, they're fully aware of the hill that starts kind of half way between Cherryvale and 75th but just keeps going up until McCaslin. It's not what I would consider to be an "oh my god" hard hill, but it sucks nonetheless. Add that the entire shoulder was completely covered in sand and I was running into a headwind my ~7:30 min/mi Z3 pace dropped to over 10 by the time I reached the top. It dropped back down once I crested at McCaslin but by then I only had a half mile left so it wasn't long enough to get my average lap pace back down.

I also haven't broken in my home copy of my new running shoes so I had to do this run in my old ones and my feet are reasonably sore. I'm curious as to whether or not they would have been had I had my new shoes and had them broken in. As I have a 10-mile run tomorrow, we'll see if my work copy of my running shoes make a difference.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Preparing For The Worst

It's supposed to snow tonight, big time. Supposedly a foot of snow....yay...after last week's two debacles I can honestly say I'm not really looking forward to it. What I am concerned about is my long brick: 65-mile bike, 13-mile run.

I'm not worried about the trainer ride, after my LOTR marathon last week, trainer rides are a piece of cake, regardless of the workouts. It's the 13 miles I'm concerned with. You see, my tolerance for treadmill running is at an historic low. I hate the damn thing. It's incredibly boring, the speed is constant, and the damn thing is so loud that I can't hear the TV so movie watching is crap. And even if it were enjoyable, the prospect of running 13 miles on a treadmill makes me cringe. Running 13 miles outside is like watching a REALLY good movie, it goes by fairly quickly and is relatively pain free. Running on a treadmill for 13 miles I would have to guess is like watching History of Violence or Last Action Hero, basically, a really, really, REALLY bad movie where each scene just drags on and every time you look at your watch thinking surely 10 minutes have passed, it turns out it's only been 3.

If we get a foot of snow tomorrow, there's no way I can run outside. Snowshoe, sure, but not run. I suppose I could go to the gym and do the elliptical machine - it's at least faster than a treadmill, but I'm still looking at probably 90 minutes (I can go 8-9 mph on an elliptical, not really realistic for real world times, but better than blowing it off all together, no?)

Stay tuned, we'll see what happens.

New Shoes!

I have two pairs of running shoes. One for work and one for home. The reason I have two pairs is because several years ago I left a pair on the bus. The really shitty thing about doing this, aside from the fact that no one ever turned them in to lost and found, is that they were only a week old. Additionally shitty was that I also had my pull buoy (with my name on it) from swimming in the same bag. I never saw either again.

So, I bought two pairs of shoes, one for work and one for home so I would have to worry about being responsible and actually remembering to take all my crap off the bus with me when debarking. While a little more expensive an option than some would choose to take, it's worked well for me ever since.

My most recent pair has definitely seen better days. They're a bit over a year old and each have about 400 miles on them including a bunch of triathlons and running races. They were purchased as part of a Cyber Monday, free shipping, deep discount, online shopping extravaganza. As any triathlete will tell you, the surest way to decrease the lifespan of any piece of equipment is to race with it - especially in triathlon. Things get wet from swimming, wet and salty from profuse sweating (hey, some of us perspire), and wet and sticky from sports drink spills. Anyway, these shoes were probably long overdue for changing.

Before anyone considers criticizing my length of shoe usage, consider this: cheap running shoes are essentially the same as expensive running shoes except that they don't last as long. As someone put it to me, the expensive running shoes last about twice as long as the cheap ones, so you don't really save any money. Whether or not that's true, I do know that if I wear running shoes too long, I get shin splints. And, I haven't gotten shin splints since I was a kid. 'Nuff said.

I dug around online looking for the same model as my current shoes, the ASICS Gel-Nimbus IX, only to discover that they had been replaced (of course) by the next model, X. Oh, I found plenty of IX models online, but they were in sizes of <> 11. So, I had to "settle" for the X model.

They came yesterday and man, are they sweet. I put my new orthotics in them and went for a run today. All I can say is "wow." It's awesome. Sometimes you don't realize just how bad something is until you replace it with something good.

I just need an extra set of running orthotics so I don't have to keep pulling them out of my work pair to bring home.