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mackey

Ouch.

Checking in before March is over. Things are moving along relatively well; Swimming is up to about 9000 yds a week and cycling on the turbo is right around 5 hours a week. Running was rolling strong until about two weeks ago.

I was outside on a long run at about mile 6 my left foot start to cramp up. Slowing to a walk and then a stop, I stretched it out a bit and then went back at it to finish up another 3 miles. A few days later I noticed the same feeling, not quite a cramp but that’s as close to an explanation as I can give, while on the treadmill at mile 4 or 5. Then I began to notice the sensation when I wasn’t running, even had that foot cramp up on the massage table once. After giving it a few days rest I tried again in a different pair of shoes but that wasn’t solving anything so I’ve now been off the run for nearly two weeks with what I suspect is plantar fasciitis.

The dreaded PF. Shit.

Looking back at mileage, I may have ramped it up a little to much, to fast.

Week A: 16.4 mi
Week B: 9.16 mi
Week C: 15.2 mi
Week D: 14.1 mi
Week E: 13.9 mi
Week F: 20.2 mi
Week G: 18.7 mi
Week H: 19.1 mi

General rule is, increase mileage by no more than 10% a week to prevent injury. Right around Week F, things jumped about 31% and that held for three weeks until failure. Here’s the thing. I know not to increase mileage too much too fast. I knew the 10% rule. I’ve been tracking my mileage for months… but I wasn’t following a plan.

My actual training plan begins next week, 12 weeks out from IM70.3 Coeur d’Alene and now I’m not going to be able to begin at the necessary mileage but my foot is FUBAR. I know better and even further to my disappointment, I’m pretty sure the causation is at least partially due to a weak vastus medialis (inner quadricep) which was giving me some left knee pain a couple of months ago.

I took some time off, did some better stretching, knee pain went away and I was able to run pain-free for several weeks making significant gains until this. It’s a lesson in ignorance: I tend to the problem until it doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore. Can’t help but to think that if I had seriously worked on my hip and leg exercises religiously, this may not be an issue. But here we are and tomorrow I’ve got an appointment with my Athletic Trainer to see what we can do. Hopefully I caught it soon enough that a few weeks off will do the trick.

At least I’ll now have more time to devote to the bike trainer and the pool.

Speaking of the bike, the TT project I’m affectionately referring to as the Rat Rod is getting closer to build day. The parts are strewn across the “reading couch” in my home office and with the addition of a headset, stem, and brake/shifter cabling, the bike will be ready to roll! I haven’t ridden a triathlon bike before so this is going to be a big step outside of my comfort zone. I’ll be documenting the bike build and initial rides soon enough, probably in late April!

As the time for the first 70.3 approaches, my training builds up, and as I work through my plantar fasciitis issue, I will be posting more regularly. Game face on.

Right. Here we are firmly in 2018 yet I haven’t checked in, in quite some time. A bit has happened, I started in a new position at work which is quite exciting. I’ve gotten into a healthy rhythm of daily training and taking care of myself. Swimming volume has gone up, running volume has backed off. Sparkling water intake has gone up, booze intake has been drastically reduced. Good decisions being made.

Let’s start with knees. Back in October-November I decided that if running once a day in the morning was good, running twice a day was better. I started heading over to the rec room near my office during lunch to pound out 3-4 extra 5k’s a week with minimal stretching and virtually no cool down. As anyone can imagine, that eventually messed me up and at some point in December after a 7 mile run I found myself limping for several days due to some pretty rough knee pain.

After chatting with my athletic trainer we decided it was due to a few factors but primarily tight hips and an imbalance in my quadraceps (vastus medialis pulling my patella off-track). I took a few weeks off of running and started a regimen of stretching and foam rolling…not my favorite things but here I am in February right as rain. Swimming distance per week has been bumped to offset some of the running and that’s certainly working out as well. I began taking some private lessons and we’ve made some tweaks to my form which I’m super excited about, but I’ll touch on that next week.

Last month I had another physical check-in and progress is still going well. My last VO2 score was 47 and now I’m up to 51.57, so that’s pretty significant. Fat mass is still at 20% which is not good at all…but some changes in diet and aerobic volume should keep working on that.

One milestone I’ve hit, is the age of 38. Man. Where did the time go? There’s a Buddhist belief that “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” I have found this to be very important in life. If you live to be the best you can be in the moment, living right for the day you’re currently in, you will by happenstance be better prepared for tomorrow and will look back fondly on this day from the future.

INWCXS 2017

This past weekend I headed a couple of hours north to watch the the Inland Northwest Cyclocross Series final race, at Walters’ Fruit Ranch in Washington. The girl and I were actually oven/range shopping but the deal I made was that we could spend the first few hours watching the races.

I’ve never raced cross, but I have taken my mtb around the local circuit several times. Next year, though, I think closing out the summer race season with a series of cross races might just be a thing to do, because why not. My Cannondale frame is now stripped down to almost nothing and the rebuild, turning it into a gravel (but usable cross) bike is going to start in the new year.

Not much news here, otherwise. Last week I cranked up the running miles and may have slightly aggro’d my achilles…so after a week off from running I followed up this morning’s spin with an easy 2 miles and all seems fine. Next week we’ll be heading to Arizona for Thanksgiving to see family, eat, enjoy the warm weather, eat, and probably eat some more. The restaurant scene in our hometown of Pullman, WA is weak AF so we need to take advantage of the chomps when we venture to bigger scenes. We’ll also be bringing our running gear and will hopefully get in some daily desert trail sessions in my old stomping ground.

There isn’t any environment I find more enjoyable to run than the desert. It’s a mix of rolling hills, sand, dirt, rock, and very little shade. Takes me back to when I began running in college and it just fills me with energy thinking about it. Hopefully it’ll offset all of the food intake but I doubt it.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, catch ya in a couple of weeks!

MIMCdATC

October 16th marked the official start of the Mackey IronMan Coeur d’Alene Training Camp. In standard training camp fashion, I’m kicking off the day with a swim session (coached) immediately followed by a nutritious shake. Then, because I’m a typical American adult, sitting on my ass for 8 hours at work. I am lucky enough to work on a university campus and there is a gym with a shower in the student housing next to my office…so I get to pop over there and pound out a few miles on the treadmill during lunch if need-be (hence the shoes, etc. under my desk).

But the Training Camp plan has been actuated and I have T-minus eight months until “taper week” which is roughly the week before Ironman 70.3 CdA. Not that there necessarily needs to be a full week of tapering off before a 70.3 but it sure sounds legit. And yes, eight months is a pretty long training camp, but it includes re-integrating swimming into my routine…which is my serious weak point.

Yes, we are currently in November and so I do have a couple of weeks under my belt. Plenty of early mornings and lunch-break 5k’s. All is good. No surprises. Nothing exciting to note.

Last week I did have another check-in with my work’s “wellness team” and things are still trending positively.

Test 3 (June 2017)
22.56kg fat mass
79.6kg fat free mass
VO2: 41.4ml/kg/min

Test 4 (August 2017)
20.5kg fat mass
77.4kg fat free mass
VO2: 47.2ml/kg/min

Test 5 (October 2017)
18.5kg fat mass
78.3kg fat free mass
VO2: 47.02ml/kg/min

Overall weight stayed the same but composition is better in both mass directions. VO2 is about level, but that’s within the margin of error for this form of testing. We’re going to schedule a full-blown V02 max test for January (which is about when I’ll turn 38) and then I’ll do another one 6 months later in July, after the tri.

So that’s it for now. The weather is turning to shit, time to be like Lionel Sanders and fully embrace the indoor trainer.

Let there be cake

The Girl and I, along with a couple of friends, are skipping town for Kalispell, Montana to attend a the wedding of Patagonia-clad flyfishing extraordinaire Tonda to his over-educated fiance, Dulce. Unfortunately we’re not going to have a ton of time to explore, and wildfires have affected a fair amount of Glacier NP, but we’re goin’ to make the most of it. The following weekend I’ll be loading up the dogs and heading West to Seattle to visit family. At around 5.5-6 hrs each way, neither drive is necessarily heinous…but it’s good to have plans to get out of town and see some friends, family, and new country.

I love weekend road trips. Several hours are spent pre-planning in the form of iPod playlist creation, searching out trails to run/hike, places to stop and take photos, coffee shops, breweries to enjoy a beer at and BBQ joints in which to chow down a messy sandwich after a long day. It’s the little things. And in this crazy world, where people dwell, fight, kill, slander, and generally aggress,  I think it’s important to look for the good in things and also plan good things to look forward to. 

In the meantime, off-season pre-training training is going along just fine. My buddy, who also serves as my legal counsel and pseudo-coach, drew up a weight lifting plan that I’ve interjected into my weekly running & biking duties. Hoping this will provide some good base strength over the winter that will a) help protect against over-use injury and, b) get to that ripped Hugh Jackman bod I’ve been dreaming of for so long. #nohomo #butmaybealittle

The other day I was digging back through some old training/racing spreadsheet files and came across a running log I was keeping back in 2009 before I moved up to Washington.

Nothing special…but my weight (which alone, is not an indicator of health) was right around 180 in the Summer of 2009. Fast forward a couple of years, in 2011 I was up nearly 30 pounds to 208. When I started seeing the trainers here at the University, my starting weight was 224 pounds. We can easily round and just conclude that I was up 50 pounds from my triathlon days in AZ to my sedentary days in Washington. Gross.

And enough of that shit.

Let’s talk tech. Gravel bikes are all the rage right now. So are ‘cross bikes. So are “all road” bikes. There are slight tweaks in geometry to each, but who really gives an F? For the sake of keeping it real (as the kids say) I’ve decided that my grave/cross/all-road rig is going to be built upon my original gangsta MTB hardtail, a 2006 Cannondale F400. Not the top of the line in terms of the groupset but I was wreckless and all of that shit except for maybe the bottom bracket was soon replaced anyhow.

The frame is still sound though the rest of the rig has seen better days. I rode this thing hard all over the great state of Arizona. Too many rides to count, too many crashes to remember, and sadly it hasn’t seen proper singletrack in years. Though the specifics are yet to play out, my plan is to strip it clean and build it back up as a drop bar 1×11 rolling on 650b’s. As of now I’m thinking I’ll probably roll with a rigid fork but if I happen to find the perfect Lefty on eBay…

Well I’ve sufficiently filled up an entire post of random rambling. That’s it for now. Until next time, I leave you with a new training mix:

One for the weekend.

Back in the day, when I spent my work week tromping around the Arizona desert measuring plants and counting creatures, I was introduced to Edward Abbey. Upon reading his classics Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang, he quickly became my favorite author whose writing shaped how I lived and viewed the West. Right now as I sit here in front of my computer device thinking about my upcoming weekend of riding and running miles outside, I get excited. Excited to feel a little more free, a little uncomfortable, and a little vulnerable. That is until I get an air quality alert that winds from the East will be blowing in smoke from the complex of Montana wildfires.

I love my job, but I love being outdoors more.

Essay by Edward Abbey "I Loved it…I Loved it All" from Ned Judge on Vimeo.

Rolling resistence.

It’s September 11th and nothing that I post here really matters.

That being said, one take away that can be made…is that life can change quickly so you need to live for today and do the best you can. Yeah it’s cliche, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

So here we are in September. The weather is getting noticeably cooler and the unfortunate realization of winter running & riding is still a ways out, but seemingly right around the corner. Having spent the vast majority of my running years in the Arizona desert, I’ve struggled to enjoy snow running but this season I’m hoping to make the best of it but starting to acquire cold weather gear now. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears.

“Dumb training” continues. No watch, no real plan besides doing whatever training I want to do for however long I want to do it. And while (as previously mentioned) that’s no way to train for a race, it’s doing a great job of keeping me motivated to just do it…as some might say. This past Saturday I ran my greatest distance in probably 5+ years. I attempted the same distance last weekend but bonked 3/4 of the way through, mostly due to heat & hydration issues. Yesterday I rode our Albion Loop and, again not basing this on anything but my perception, kept a greater speed and on some climbs in a bigger chainring than my previous go’s. Progress continues.

Looking forward to 2018, I’ve set my A-race for the year to be Ironman 70.3 Couer d’Alene (June 24). It’s a little early in the season, I’ll only really have about 2 to 2.5 months of weather-appropriate outdoor training time but hopefully that won’t be too big of an influence. My biggest hurdle will be maintaining run mileage over the winter (the treadmill sucks) and getting my swimming ability up to an appropriate level. And this is where a legitimate training plan will need to be introduced. Or not.

The mechanical challenge for this winter is going to be a couple of bike build projects, primarily a new road frame. Several years ago I purchased a frame from a local manufacturer with a geometry somehwere between a TT and road bike. It happened to be big (like 61cm) which I need, and the price was right. I’ve toted this frame around for a long-ass time and have never done anything with it but this winter, when road riding is out of the question, I’m going to finally slap it onto the workstand and build it up. Something I’ve never done before.

It’ll be fun to document here and with any luck, it’ll be ready to roll once the ground thaws. The general plan, at this moment, is to build up the road/tri bike by cannibalizing the carbon fork and wheels from my the current road rig. Then using the remaining components from the current road bike to build on a cross/touring frame (not yet in my possession). First B-race for the spring is the Gran Fondo Ephrata which is 80 miles, 30 of which will be grinding gravel.

Lots of riding in the future and that’s a good thing.

That’s it for now. Peace and beers.

Current training track:

Early.

Everyone’s got a morning routine. Even a non-routine, is usually still some basic set of actions. I like to get up early, which can be super beneficial when setting for the AM. There seems to be some across-the-board interest in the early morning flow of successful people these days, and not that I’m anything special, I was reflecting on my own ability to “get it going” and thought it was worth putting it down.

My alarm typically goes off between 5 and 5:30am…though many times I naturally wake up before it goes off. My workouts switch between an outdoor run (3-5 miles) 2 or 3 times a week and a HIIT session at the gym 2-3 times a week. I like to do what I call “sober” workouts, where I don’t eat anything before hand. For no other reason than eating before working out makes me want to hurl. So I’ll drink a little water, warm up, do my thing, and then get ready for work. Any “daily reflections” or “mediation” is done while working out, typically during my run. That’s my church.

Today I had my fourth fitness test and my results are definitely trending in the right direction.

Test 3 (June 2017)
22.56kg fat mass
79.6kg fat free mass
VO2: 41.4ml/kg/min

Test 4 (August 2017)
20.5kg fat mass
77.4kg fat free mass
VO2: 47.2ml/kg/min

Essentially, I’ve lost 10 pounds and bumped my VO2 conversion. Cutting back on the IPA and logging more miles has done it’s job.

Today I’m sick as hell. Working from home and watching the Stage 17 TT of the Vuelta, wishing I were out for a ride.

It’s hot, harvest time, and grain trucks are speeding past us on a two lane road in the hills of the Palouse. We’re only about 6 miles into the ride when “POP!” and my rear end begins sliding.

It doesn’t happen very often, and maybe I had overinflated my tube, but I blew out the center of my tube & tire. This sucks because the tire itself is garbage ($50-60) not to mention it won’t even holding a spare tube long enough for me to ride home. There is where cash-money comes in handy; A trick I learned in my MTB days, when you get a flat so significant that it compromises the wall of your tire, you essentially need to reinforce the inside so that the tube doesn’t squeeze itself when it inflates.

I had a twenty spot that was actually for some post-ride tacos but those were gonna have to wait. Folded up and positioned between the new tube and rupture spot on the tire, I was able to make it almost all the way back home before I had burned through the bill and the new tube, flatting again.

Flats suck but it’s all a part of it.

The Fall semester is about to kick off and work has been nuts. So much so, that we completely spaced and forgot to renew our campus parking pass and of course now everything is full. It’s not really a big deal and to be honest, I felt a little guilty driving to work since we live so close to campus. The only real need for driving is either when the weather is absolute dog shit or when I want to hit the student rec center (re: gym) in the mornings.

I decided now was a good time to resurrect my single speed and begin commuting, something I haven’t done since living in Phoenix (where it’s flat). This was my first morning ride in and the route I took wasn’t right. Or at least, my gearing isn’t appropriate for the route I tried. Tomorrow morning I’ll try a different way that’s a little less steep.

Also, my rig which has been in storage for the past three years, is in rougher shape than I had thought. Both wheels are FUBAR’d. They roll, but the rear is far from true and the front has a serious dent. In addition the brakes are pretty sketch. They’re OG and the pads are tiny & dry. I’m thinking this is a solid opportunity to upgrade from 27 inch wheels to 700c with modern brakes. That’ll be a project for next month.

All of that being said, I’m stoked to have a reasonable need to commute and justification for putting some money into my beloved-yet-neglected single speed.

Just woke up from a nap on the sofa, after having fallen asleep watching the last stage of the TdF. Froomebot won, which was predictably fine, though I am stoked for Rigo and the Canondale/Slipstream boys. They showed up and for a $15 million dollar team to land on the final podium and rack up multiple jerseys with multiple guys while running against $30-$45 million dollar teams is hella respectful. And although Taylor Phinney isn’t quite my Dave Zabriskie, he’s my new homeboy to follow.

Speaking of DZ Nuts, I see that he and ‘ol Floyd Landis are running together pushing product for Floyd’s of Leadville. Specifically, CBD hemp oil soft gels. Geared towards endurance athletes as a natural alternative to ibuprofen, I’ve been wanting to give the CBD pain reliever thing a try for awhile now. If I end up giving it a whirl I’ll report back here to my wide audience of one.

In general, training is going solidly. I’m not working off of any specific plan, rather I’m setting broad weekly goals and am putting in whatever mileage or effort level feels right for the day. In fact, for most runs/rides I’m not even wearing a watch. Just getting out there and wearing myself out, then turning around and getting my ass back home. This is no strategy when it comes to actual race training but in the general “getting back into training shape” phase I think it’s perfect; Less risk of overuse injuries due to stubbornly trying to hit quantitative benchmarks.

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Ouch.

This will be like last year but more and better.

INWCXS 2017

MIMCdATC

Let there be cake

One for the weekend.

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