January 17, 2013

Joe's Goals for 2013

Note from Joe: This week fellow Chub, Juho also posted about his goals on Slow Velo. Also, we have a new link in the menu above for ordering Speedy Chub gear. Click it and order away!

Dan did such a good job describing his goals that I thought I'd take a moment to talk about mine.

First, a little look back at the previous year. I started 2012 still on the mend from a back injury and an extra 30 lbs heavier from the inactivity that came from it. Toward the end of last summer I hired a coach, Michael, from PR Fitness. I also worked with a nutritionist, Cathy, and the results were quite good. I also did my very first actual races on the bike and became addicted to cyclocross.

For this year I'm looking to build on the mild successes from last year by working hard over the winter in order to come out stronger for this upcoming season.

Goals for this season:
  • Complete some century rides
  • Finish at least one race in the middle 1/3 instead of the bottom 1/3
  • Weigh 190 or less (currently at 208, lowest weight in 13 years)
  • Complete Michigan Mountain Mayhem without walking any hills
  • Earn Cat 3 license for Cyclocross (10 races or 10 points)
  • Get half way to Cat 4 license for Road (10 races)
This year will be one full of events. Below are the events I know I'll be taking part in so far.
  • Barry-Roubaix
  • AAVC Spring Training Series #1
  • AAVC Spring Training Series #2
  • AAVC Spring Training Series #3
  • AAVC Spring Training Series #4
  • Cone Azalia
  • Michigan Mountain Meyhem
  • One Hell of a Ride
  • One of the Trex triathlons
  • CXpreX #1
  • CXpreX #2
  • CXpreX #3
  • RAAM - Ohio
  • Lower Huron
  • Mad Anthony Cyclocross
  • Swampthingcx #2
  • Big Bad Wolf

2013 Goals
Weight: 208/190
Cat 3 Cyclocross: 1/10
Cat 4 Road: 0/10
Best race ranking to date: 34/42
Century rides completed: 0
Hills on MMM walked: 0/0

January 13, 2013

Iron Warrior Update - 2 weeks in

Training has definitely gotten some new twists.  Right now I am in the early stages of my training plans - one for lifting and one for running.

I'll start with running - technically I am training for a new distance.  The race in September is 15.6 miles.  It will be the farthest I have ever ran in one shot, but only by 1.6 miles.  In previous half marathon training plans I have gotten to 14 miles a few times.  One of my B goals this year in general is to finally run a half in under 2 hours.  Not a super fast time by many standards but one that I haven't been able to accomplish.  So I am following a pretty standard half marathon plan at the moment.  3-4 days of running with one speed work session a week and one long run a week.  This plan is really focusing on tempo runs though instead of intervals so I will have to see how that goes.  I really like (odd right?) intervals so I will probably be doing those anyway.  As I get farther in the plan, it has me stopping my distance increases at 13 mile runs, but I plan to extend those out to 16 miles as I get later in the summer.  So far so good other than some mild plantar faciatis pains but I am working through those.

Now to the lifting.  As I mentioned previously I haven't made and serious efforts at weight training in over a decade and the last time I did anything of significance with free weights is beyond my recollection.  So my training plan has been laid out before me by the New Rules of Lifting.  I choose this for two main reasons - I liked that it laid out a plan for me that encompasses 49 weeks so I won't have to think too hard.  Second reason is that it focuses on bulk muscle training and not muscle isolating exercises like many body building plans.  It is almost exclusively free weights though so I have had to confront some gym demons.

The first challenge to over come:  the intimidation of walking to the free weight side and then using them.  The gym I use has three main areas:  cardio in the back, weight machines front and center, and free weights off to the side.  I hadn't been to the free weight area - not for the 3 years I have belonged (this is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea).  Suck it up Dan - no one cares but you.  So I have embarked on the journey of weight training.

The basic structure of my plan for the next year:  4 weeks of the break in workouts, 1 week off, 7 weeks of fat loss workouts, 1 week off, 6 weeks of hypertrophy workouts, 1 week off, 7 weeks of fat loss workouts and continues from there.

I am currently half way through the break in workouts.  The workouts feature old school exercises like squats and dead lifts (gotta be honest, even though I am doing 100 lbs dead lifts, you still sort of feel badass doing them).  After the first workout I was so sore the next day I could barely walk.  I have adapted some though over even the first two weeks.  Sore still the next day but not debilitatingly so.  I can't quite tell yet if I am actually getting stronger or just figuring out what I can lift.  I am really looking forward to the next series as the routines get a little more interesting.

As a companion process I am also working on my goal of 40 pull ups and some as of yet to be decided number of dips.  When I started, I could do exactly 0 of each.  These combined with my goal of losing 20-25 pounds are going to now be featured at the end of each of my posts with progress reports (as inspired by FatCyclist).  I'll go into greater depth about the weight training routines next time.

2 sets of pull ups:  [1 postive rep, 5 negative reps] [4 negative reps]
2 sets of dips:  [3 positive reps, 3 negative reps] [1 positive rep, 3 negative reps]
Weight:  201.8, down 2.8 lbs

January 11, 2013

The Pain Cave: Cycling inside during winter

The frozen landscape of Michigan
Winter cycling can have its own unique challenges. There are some brave souls who bike year round no matter what the weather is. I'm more of a 3 season cyclist. I don't mind the cold or precipitation, as long as they are mutually exclusive. 

Going nowhere
Winter is traditionally when a cyclist hunkers down into some sort of small space in their basement and grinds out hours of watts seemingly going nowhere and generating little more than sweat, commotion, and heat. This designated area for voluntary suffering is commonly known as "the pain cave". The Sufferfest has taken this motif to its extreme and created an entire video set and culture (cult following?) around it. 

Spinning for hours and not going anywhere can be just as much of a psychological workout as a physical one. Music helps. Sometimes I try to watch a video or movie, but if it's too good then you get distracted and end up with a mediocre workout. 

The anatomy of a pain cave
The required elements of a pain cave are a bike and something that keeps you stationary and from flying into the wall (a trainer or rollers), otherwise you'd have a velodrome and that would be amazingly awesome and I'd want to come over to your house every day. The other items that are commonly found are a fan, some towels, and something to elevate the front wheel. The fan and towels combat the heat and sweat generated during a workout and the wheel elevation helps simulate hills for certain workouts.
Pain Cave

Now with front wheel elevated to simulate a hill

January 2, 2013

Don't call it a resolution

So first things first.  Yes I have made a new sizable goal for myself.  Yes it involves new forms of training and new benchmarks.  Yes it even involves losing a few lbs.  But it is not a resolution.  The timing is merely coincidental.

Ok, got that over with.  So last summer I did the Warrior Dash.  I'm sure you've heard of it.  A 5K with some obstacles in the way, lot's of mud, fire, and water.  It was a ton of fun.  I had debated doing the race again this coming summer but hadn't really made any decisions.  Then I got an email.  The Warrior Dash company emailed me to say that they are announcing the Iron Warrior Dash in three locations across the country.  One of them was in Michigan.  Sold.  I signed up and also made the commitment to raise money for St. Jude Children's hospital.  (This was a side goal for the year, find a St. Jude event that I could raise money for.)

So what does it involve?  15.6 miles of running.  24 obstacles some of which remind me of Ninja Warrior.  (If you haven't seen that, enjoy Ninja Warrior)  Projected best finish times are around 3 hours.  I am thinking less than 4 will make me plenty happy.

I know that I can complete the run.  I have completed a number of half marathons so the distance isn't a problem.  I will be running a half or two this season anyway.  My main goal is to complete all the obstacles without falling off an obstacle.  Some look to involve a lot of upper body strength.  So I am now doing something I haven't really done in over a decade:  I am lifting weights.  Oh god...

My schedule looks essentially like this:  monday and wednesday = lifting; tuesday thursday sometimes friday and sunday = running; saturday the occasional yoga class or just relaxing.

I bought this book:
It will be my lifting guide for the next 9 and a half months.  So far I like it a lot.  Two workouts a week based on old school exercises like the deadlift and squats.  Yesterday was my first lifting session.  Squats and lunges were a focus.  You know that kind that you actually put a barbell up on you shoulders and take your knees to 90 degrees?  Yeah, those.  My legs are fried today.  Pushed through a 4 mile run today but it was slow and rough.  A couple of weeks and the soreness will be less intense, but like all new workouts the initial adaption phase sucks.

I have devised 3 goals for myself to feel ready for the Iron Warrior in September.
1.  Lost 20 or more pounds.  This includes the 5-8 I gained over the holidays.
2.  Run a sub 2 hour half marathon.  This is a 5 minute improvement over my personal best.
3.  Do 40 pull ups consecutively.  This would be an improvement of about 39 pull ups!  This is the long shot goal.  I need to work towards something though so might as well put it out there.

I'll have a lot of progress reports along the way.  A lot of this will be new territory for me so it will be interesting to see how it goes.