Monday, March 31, 2008

One Bike Ride, One Swim, One Run

Hi my name is Brady. I've been a multi-sport athlete for 18 months. Before that, I dabbled in competitive running for about three years. Until recently, I was able to get by. Lately, the pressures of a demanding work schedule with expected overtime is making me go a little silly. Workouts have became my coping relief-valve. Swimming at 6:00AM. Weights over lunch. Running to and from work. Trainer afterwards.

Then when the weather started warming up, I really hit the bike hard. Sometimes I'd ride with groups. Other times, alone. Solo time trials. Trainer rides after hours. Many times, I'd even spin before work or over the lunch hour. It's sad when you have to spin alone.

The insanity at work continued. The intensity picked up. I was losing sleep and a nagging injury was holding me back from training. Then I started hearing George Thorogood in my head. At this point, I was on the verge of losing it...

Wanna tell you a story about the multi sport blues
I run home from work Friday
Told the woman about my job.
She said that don't confront me
long as I get my house cleaned each Friday.
Now next Friday come I didn't get the house cleaned
and out the door I went

So I go down the streets, down to Fredcube's house
I said "Look man I'm outdoors you know,
can I stay with you maybe a couple days?"
He said "Let me go and ask my wife"
He come out of the house, I could see it in his face
I know that was no
He said "I don't know man, ah she kinda funny, you know"
I said "I know, everybody funny, now you funny too"
So I go back home
I tell Ms Katherine I'll cope with the job, I'm gonna clean the house
She said "Yeah?" I said "Oh yeah"
And then she was so nice,
loh' she was lovy-dovy
So I go downstairs, pack up the saddle bag,
I slip on out the back door and down the streets I go
So I stop in the local bike shop you know people,
I go to the shop, I rack my bike, I call Newell
Said "Look Matt, come down here, son"
So what you want?

One bike ride, one swim, one run.
Well I ain't seen my baby since I don't know when,
I've been spinning on Ol' Yeller with a big stupid grin
Gonna mash the high gear man I'm gonna get loose,
need me a triple shot of that juice
Don't wanna get punked at the starting line gun
I want one ride, one swim, one run.
One bike ride, one swim, one run.

But I'm spinning on Ol' Yeller,
Gatorades' all drunk, I'm feelin' mellow
I'm mashing the 53, I'm turning the big ring, I'm in high gear
Looked down the road, here comes Munson
I said "Look Mike, come here Mitmon
So what you want?

One bike ride, one swim, one run.

No I ain't seen my baby since the night before last,
gotta get a ride man ain't gonna get passed
Gonna mash the high gear I ain't had enough,
need me a triple shot of that stuff
Don't want Brendan punking me at the starting line gun
I want one ride, one swim, one run.
One bike ride, one swim, one run.

Now by this time I'm endorphin high,
you know when your mouth a-getting dry you're plenty high
Looked down the handlebars I say to Redemske,
I said "Look man, come down here", he got down there
So what you want this time?
I said "Look man, a-what time is it?"
Bryan said "cyclocomputer say three o'clock
Last call for Algomaha, so what you need?"

One bike ride, one swim, one run.
No I ain't seen my baby since a nigh' and a week,
Don't mind getting dropped man when I barely can speak
Gonna spin the high gear man listen to me,
one hour ain't enough Murphini, better make it three
Don't wanna get punked I'm gonna make it real clear,
I want a long ride in my high gear...

One long ride, on Ol' Yeller, in high gear...

Thank you! Thank you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Attaining The Next Level

As the competitive racing season looms around the corner, athletes should now be focusing on the primary race of the season.

Thankfully, you've got Coach Brady to help you out.

Now hypothetically let's say that you're an elite athlete named Bryan who desires to make his mark on this season's calendar. You know, have the break-out year and such. And let's say that you've diligently gone through all of the necessary homework of planning out your race calendar: selecting one or two "A" priority races, a handful of B competitions and a bunch of C events. You've put in the time over the off-season and have sharpened your skills like a master craftsman to a lathe. Each day, you place a red "X" after completing your grueling workout. You've kept an eye on your diet and have given yourself days off when needed. Considering your workload, it's deserved more than earned. Days, weeks and months go by with this solitary goal in mind.

Finally, at the dawn of the new season, you're as ready as any human could be. But then it happens.

You hear the gurgling in your tummy.

The gurgling turns into stomach cramps, cramps into nausea, and nausea into chills, diarrhea and vomiting.

Here's my advice: Don't panic. You've spent the past six months rebuilding your body better than they could have ever put old Steve Austin back together; a 36 hour bout of the stomach flu won't stop you now.

You see, among the International Federation of Competitive Eaters (IFOCE), spontaneous vomiting after the base phase of training is commonplace. By forcing large amounts of fluids to expand the stomach, you're simply stretching your gut muscles to their limits. It's like the water balloon that you overfilled in the fifth grade and simply couldn't tie the knot. A mess is inevitable. That's all there is to it. And besides, nearly all IFOCE athletes go through bouts of spontaneous stomach cramping, resulting in ralphing your brains out.

So heed my advice: you'll be fine. Rest a couple of days and slowly build up that fluid intake.

By the time July 4th comes along, you'll be tossing down 50+ of Nathan's best hot dogs and buns and grunting it out with Kobayashi and Chestnut for your 15 seconds of fame. I assure you, this little bump along the way will be long forgotten.

So there you have it. Happy eating!

Seriously Bryan, you'll be fine.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Merry Thanksgiving!

Who among you have stopped long enough to take an account of what holiday we just breezed through?

How about just taking a pause long enough to eat dinner that didn't amount to stuffing your face in less than five minutes?

I'd be happy to hear about the one who sat down and did absolutely nothing for a minute.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm as guilty as the next guy.

Simply put, there are lots of us that could just take a week or two off to do nothing but watch time go by s l o w l y. Take my neighbor: today he wished me a Happy Thanksgiving after we passed on the street while walking our dogs. It took him 10 seconds to stumble through the holidays to finally nail, "Happy Easter!" with gusto a few houses later.

When I related this story to Ms. Katherine, she was able to top it. She said that someone wished her a Merry Christmas immediately after walking out of Easter Sunday service this morning. Christmas? Thanksgiving? Do I hear a call for Festivus?

Ho hum.

So here's what I decided. I need to apply my influence and implore you to take a five minute vacation from life. You have my permission. It only has to be a solitary effort -- an attempt at taking an account for where you are now, on this planet during this millennium. To sweeten the deal, I'll even throw in a crisp George Washington to the first among you who responds with how you slowed down to catch up.

If this task is too daunting to know where to begin, here's a little meditation exercise that may help you focus on nothingness. I'm serious here. It goes like this:
1) Sit down and shut your eyes.
2) Inhale while slowly counting to four.
3) Hold your breath for a slow four-count.
4) Exhale while slowly counting to four.
5) Repeat five times.
While doing this, try not to think of anything at all. Just wipe the slate clean.

I'm always amazed it how much better I feel afterwards. In fact, it makes me feel like skipping.

So c'mon, give it a try. Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Corn Hole

As of stated previously, I am no longer just a runner. This whole triathlon training thing has changed my focus from simply training runs to multi-sport.

So it follows that I also have switched my race calendar. For example, over the past three years I've run the Omaha running club's 5K Blarney Stone. It's been a good base measure of my running fitness early in the season, but this time I decided to skip it.

It's probably a wise choice because the increased cycling mileage was perhaps too aggressive, inflaming the hamstring tendon in my left leg. That's my theory at least. So if I pushed it by racing yesterday, I could have aggravated that more.

I did go easier this past week by omitting the hellaciously-long weekend ride. I missed it. A lot. Instead, I did a cycling time trial. In itself this could have been risky but with the reduced cycling mileage (volume) and a vow to not push it too hard, I managed just fine. In fact, the good news is that the hamstring is definitely on the mend.

Less running, more cycling & swimming. Keep the long term focus. Don't forget to rest. These have been some of my mantras.

Oh yeah...Corn Hole? You'll have to ask Fredcube about that one. You see, my boy entered (and ran!) last year's Blarney Stone 5K --it was his first competitive foot race in years, possible ever. Anyway, when I pulled up a chair to get a post-race debriefing, Fred was engrossed in a heady conversation about the rules and etiquette of the game known as Corn Hole. Go figure. He then brushed me aside and curtly said to google it to find out more about it. He didn't have time for an amateur corn-holer. Well, I haven't followed his suggestion, so you'll have to google it or try to seek the advice from Corn Holer Hinsley yourself. Kissing the Blarney Stone will give you good luck!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Time Trial Test

Yesterday I headed out on the P2sL for a time trial on the airport service road. Had a nice 15 mph tailwind on the first portion, but was quite a battle into the headwind after the turnaround.

The highlight was a 737 that flew directly above me at about 100 feet on its final approach. I'm sure dozens of people on the plane we're thinking, "There's Brady on the p2Sl -- look at that fella go!"

I watched the heart rate monitor throughout the ride, keeping it between 165 - 172 bpm until the last quarter mile. During the tailwind portion, I was not having any serious effort going 29mph, but coming back was a struggle to maintain 19 without going redline.

Anyway, here were the results:
Distance: 9.36 miles
Time: 24:37
Avg mph: 22.81
Max heartrate: 185
Avg heartrate: 168

Sigh. While it was 8 seconds faster than the same effort last November, I've got work to do here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fred Saw Me Riding Twice Today

As you may already know, Fredcube saw me this morning commuting into work. Here's the really cool thing: I saw Fred riding too. Way to go, chap! Glad you could finally roll that rim you put on layaway for six months.

Then, Fred saw me a second time on one of the famous lunch rides at the Union Pacific.

Oh, and hold the press...RF saw me too! It's kind of funny, RF was down at the U.P. to have his father see him. That's when RF saw Fred. Or did Fred see RF? Wait - why do I care?

So anyway, Fred must have cued RF about my pending appearance because RF had a pleasant countenance about him when he saw me (instead of the usual mob scene).

We talked about some real important stuff, like a tour in California that some bazillionaire is gonna buy and how RF was going to ride his motorcycle thingy in Red Rocks, which I believe is in Montana somewhere. After like 30 seconds, I got tired of all the heady stuff and cut the chit-chat for a fabulous ride on Old Yeller.

Ho hum. I wonder who's gonna see me next?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shim Saw Me While Running Home Yesterday

Notice how I say that Shim saw me. Also notice that its ambiguous as to who was running.

To clear any doubt, Shim was on his bike when he saw me running home along Hamilton and Military.

He yelled, "Brady!"

I yelled, "Shim!"

And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

10 Things I Hated about Sunday's Ride

It all started weeks ago with a nagging knee injury that was likely the result of a poor self-fitting on Old Yeller. I've always known that the bike was a tad large for me as the top tube is 55cm and I'm 5-9". Plus, the 20mm seat tube offset and 110mm stem stretched me out. Riding required locking the elbows to reach the hoods.

So on Saturday, I took Old Yeller to the LBS for a professional fitting. You know, to do it right. Yeah, it cost a little, but the end results are well worth it. If anything, it reduces the risk of an overuse injury due to a maligned fit. In the end, the gap was shortened with a zero offset seat post and the handlebars were brought closer with an 85mm stem. The stem was a bit tricky because of Old Yeller's antiquated design of not having a modern quill that extends through the stem tube. Instead, its quill is cut at the top of the headset, requiring a special adapter piece from Zoom that inserts into the stem tube to clamp the quill. Then, the top portion of the adapter extends above the stem tube so that the stem can attach to it. Whew! It worked. Old Yeller now fits me better than ever. I can actually bend my elbows while riding and generally feel more compact.

But Somehow in the hustle and bustle of running a shop while doing a professional fitting, the final tightening of the lateral stem bolts was skipped. It was firm, but not tight.

Hated #1:
As I found shortly after beginning Sunday's ride, there are at least two parts that you don't want to fail while riding: 1) brakes and 2) steering. but you see, when your steering fails, your brakes are pointless. In my case, I was fortunately only starting to accelerate from a stop to cross busy Pacific street. The torque that I applied on the handle bar twisted the stem while the front wheel went the other way. Oh yeah, there was a truck coming, too. Fortunately, instincts prevailed as I kicked out of the pedals and let the bike fall out from underneath.

Hated #2:
At the other side of the street, I discovered that I forgot to transfer the tool kit from the commuter to Old Yeller. No tools to fix it.

Hated #3:
Only a mile from Munson's house, I called for support. I misdiagnosed the problem as a loose top stem bolt and not the stem's lateral ones. As a result, he brought the wrong allen key. He TT'd back to his place to get the right one. Thanks, Muncie!

Hated #4:
Now that we were behind schedule to meet with the other riders at Crane coffee shop, there was a certain amount of angst in getting there. In the haste to hop back on the Old Yeller, I failed to check the rear dérailleur. That was a mistake as it took the brunt of the fall and bent the hanger hook inwards. Of course, it would have been nice to know that before I shifted the chain into rear spokes and then had to stop to back it out. More lost time, but it was cool seeing Munson go Incredible Hulk on the hanger to try to bend it back in place. While not perfect, it was enough to get me going again.

Hated #5:
For the next 4.5 hours, coping with a rear der that would not want to stay in the lowest gear (largest cassette sprocket) under any amount of strain. That made hill climbing very squirrelly.

Hated #6
About 45 minutes into the ride, my right knee starts acting up. Good grief: they're taking turns being injured. Same issue as the left, but now on the right. What's funny is that the left knee felt great throughout the ride.

Hated #7:
...And that old north wind should begin to blow. For the last eight miles into Blair, the double whammy of a stiff north wind and dropping temperature provided character building opportunities.

Hated #8:
The high road outside of Ft. Calhoun. This one came right after hovering at around 175 BPM for a solid ten minutes as we tried to pick up the tempo to get Bryan home on time. And I was being pulled--just trying to hang on to Bryan's wheel. Dang those guys are strong! Then we got to that hill. It turns out that the high heart rate didn't matter as I shifted the chain again off the rear der and into the spokes. I admit: it was a pre-climb moment of desperation that I forgot about the bent hanger. By the time I got the chain back on, my heart rate had returned from insanity. Mike and Bryan were not to be seen. But to my relief, they were waiting for me at the top.

Hated #9:
More torture as we took on the high road rollers in an effort to pick up lost time. My right knee was toast by this time as it shot pain with each downward stroke.

Hated #10:
Post ride recovery: after the ride, my right knee felt relatively fine walking around the house. However, the left knee was now sore going down steps. Whatever.


Despite these ten rants, it was still a great time and definitely worth all of the hassles.

The highlight reel was that ridiculous hill climb on Dana College road. While the chain was dancing all over the rear der, I was in a full pursuit of Bryan. Both knees were feeling good. Meanwhile, Munson had fallen off somewhere behind. I wanted to believe that I was making small gains on Bryan but realized that the top of hill was coming too quickly for me to catch him. Just then, Munson goes flying by in a full sprint sneak-attack and catches Bryan as they crest the top. Bryan and Mike say that it only takes dropping it into that extra gear for that last 200 meters. What gear? I was already at the redline and had nowhere else to go.

Like the shanker who grooves only one drives down the center fairway, that's the one that will keep me coming back for more.

My belated apologies to Chris for my part in delaying Bryan's return home. Thanks to Bryan and Mike for waiting for me at the high road and the subsequent dragging me back home. Plus, I owe Munson a few more burritos for the on-the-site mechanic worx to keep me rolling.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Aaron Poole Rode with Me Today

Omaha, Neb. With the warm weather returning and winter indoor training rides thankfully coming to an end, cyclists are now shifting focus to races in the near future.

This past weekend, Lincoln Industries' Aaron Poole and Mike Munson and Team Kaos' Bryan Redemske and John Fairbanks joined little known 30-something age grouper, triathlete and self-proclaimed cat-6 rider Brady Murphy on one of his early spring group rides.

"Yeah. It was pretty cool," said Murphy. "I like, um, read this blog about a group ride on Sunday and I showed up and all of these people rode with me. I may be wrong, but I think Aaron Poole was impressed simply by the way he was eying Old Yeller." Murphy went on to say that it's not uncommon for people to have Old-Yeller envy. "I see it all the time. They're like, 'What is that thing you're riding?!'. For the record, it's my younger brother's hand down 1999 GT ZR4000 that I did a little number on."

Murphy and company went on to ride 75 miles in overcast skies with temperatures hovering at 30 F.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Left Knee

I haven't seen this movie. I heard it's good. I heard it's boring too. Other than the left knee's close proximity to the left foot, it is used here for dramatic effect to build tension about the current condition at hand.


Dear Left Knee,

I've been neglecting listening to you.

As you're painfully aware, I've cycling more lately. I'm commuting to work more, have been on the trainer this winter (a first) and have completed two long rides before March 1st.

While I thought that this would be acceptable cross training that you could handle, I've made an error in judgment and I owe you an amends.

You see, I've take the time to reflect about what's caused the dysfunction between us. Here's some areas that have exacerbated the problem:
* Lifting: 2.5 x body weight on hip sled too quickly
* Mashing: incorporating mashing drills into rides
* New cycling shoes and SPD Pedals without a cleat fit
* Raising Old Yeller's seat post
* Volume of riding: more than ever previously

All of this has been hard on you. I understand that now. You began hinting to me subtly through cramping and slight twinges of pain. Then, it became more pronounced and regular as the problem festered for more than a couple of days at a time. While it's not at a crisis, I recognize that I'm not made of steel and you are not bullet proof. I may have to scale back a bit.

So allow me the grace to admit this humbly: you are right. I am wrong. I am sorry.

Aw shucks, c'mon baby, please - - PLEASE!! take me back! It'll be like old times, I swear!

I yearn for you tragically,

Psst: so who's up for the Louisville loop this weekend?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Half Ironman on the Calendar

Ironman 70.3 Lawrence, KS
June 15, 2008

I'm in.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Frosty Fingers

Rode into morning practice today on the GT Karakoram. It was 19 F. I wore woolie and two base layers, tights and cycling shorts, amfibs, balaclava, skull cap, mountain bike gloves and liners. Everything was perfect execpt for the hands. Fingies were quite cold...need to invest in better hand protection for this type of riding.

Felt tired during swimming practice. Had difficulty holding form and pace was off. Not sure what's going on there as I rested yesterday. Oh well, some days are better than others.

While the sun rose during swimming practice, it was only 22 F on the bike commute to work afterwards. Fingers again were on the verge of frostbite by the time I arrived. Not fun there. As this winter is coming to an end, I'll likely go fish on eBay for some lobster gloves to rectify this situation.

On a different note, I ended up drilling the holes in the work bench last night and finished installing the bike repair stand. It works! However, I still need to do some modifications to it. My seat post doesn't have enough clearance for the hinged tee to hold it properly. I successfully mounted the bike at the seat post tube (near the water bottle cages), but will need to cut some old inner tube/tires to use as protective packing material for the clamp. The 1/4 tube insulation foam is too thick for the frame as is.

When I get a chance, I'll write up a better critique of this workstand with comments about what to look out for if you should try to build one of your own.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Weekend Recap: 59 on Bike, 11 on Foot

Friday night was date-night with Ms Katherine, which amounted to dinner at Little Saigon -- she had the special soup, I had the awesome tilapia onion fish -- and then a viewing of Michael Clayton. That's a rental I recommend.

On Saturday, I went for a four hour bike ride with the gang, riding with all kinds of people for a first time, including: Captain Extreme (Matt), my neighbor Sean, Legg, RF, Roxy, Bryan's wife Chris and about 40 others including a guy who was wearing jeans, polo and a pullover while riding his Bianchi. Fantastic! It was like the good old days when the circus came to town.

Oh, and Fred saw me. I'm like a rock star!

As for the ride, it turns out that massive group rides are like an amoeba trying to replicate and then reabsorb itself. The lead pack hammers and stretches the group until it snaps, then recoils upon itself for the tail to catch up. When the tail arrives, the entire group starts riding again. After about two minutes of warming up, the dysfunction cycle begins again after the hammer group has pushed all the lactic acid out of their muscles and start whaling on the pedals again. This cycle repeated every ten minutes until someone finally flatted. Fortunately, we were just rolling into the sleepy town of Waterloo, NE when that happened.

If you've ever been anywhere rural, you've been to Waterloo: it has four bars, a laundry mat and a convenience store. When 40 cyclist roll in, the convenience store is more than likely able to make the month's rent.

After waterloo, there was one final hammerfest that broke the chain for good. I settled in with Bryan, Mike, Legg, Sean and Matt for the ride back to Omaha. In total, about 59 miles in under four hours.

After church on Sunday, Katherine and I cleaned house. Next, I finished building a PVC workbench bike stand from instructables. By the time that I was ready for my 90 minute run, the weather had turned nasty and dropped twenty degrees while picking up 25 mph winds with 34 mph gusts of rain, sleet and snow. I still went out, but didn't enjoy it as much as yesterday's ride. In fact, it wasn't much fun at all.

Which brings me back to yesterday's ride. It was nearly 60 degrees and sunny and I was rolling with friends. I remember passing an oncoming runner with a gaunt look and strain in his face. I saw a little of me in him from years past and felt a twinge of pity for the poor sap. If he only knew how much more enjoyable it is to bike than to run.

Riding is ruining my affair with the mistress Nike. I'm guess I'm becoming more of a triathlete with each passing day.