Went swimming after the boys were in bed. Nothing spectacular, just another night in the pool. The lifeguard was strolling around the pool instead of sitting in the chair, which kind of wierded me out.

The Triathlon Training Book included a couple of drills. Tonight, I tried the “fist” drill – swam 5 laps with my hands balled up as fists. It was pretty amazing to see what a difference getting the arm bent soon after entry into the water made in letting my arm produce thrust instead of counting on my hand. Felt noticeably faster when I started using my hands again.

I did a set of backstroke, too, which was kind of nice. Felt the need to go really fast, since I could gasp for air whenever I wanted. It was also kind of neat – I really felt like I was stretching my arms out well over my head, more so than just in freestyle.

1000 yards – 250 breast, 250 back, 250 freestyle with fists, 250 freestyle, alternate side breathing.

What a day!

50’s, beautiful, and sunny this afternoon.

Yes, indeed, I did sleep in this morning, beginning to be convinced that I was coming down with something. Did some stretching, etc, before work, but completely avoided going to the gym. Since, of course, it’s not M/W/F. Cloudy for the drive in.

But, after a morning meeting, I headed over to get a hair cut (drill weekend, dontcha know), and couldn’t resist busting out a quick 30 minutes during an early lunch break.

The run wasn’t anything spectacular distance or speed-wise. But, I couldn’t help but grin like an idiot most most of the way. Warmed up with a set of pushups and situps, started the stopwatch, and headed out the door, loving the mild weather and wondering if the wind was going to give me issues.

One of the things I’m going to try to get back to is using a HRM, especially during non-speedy runs. Since I don’t have any set mileage targets, and my target “races” for next year are a 1.5 mile PRT and a series of sprint triathlons, I think it’s more important to focus on quality during my runs than on quantity. So, I figure I’m going to be doing a lot of “out-n-back” runs, listening to my body and trying not to drive my heel.

For some reason, I wasn’t able to get my HR into the 135-155 range I ought to be in for “fat burning”. For most of the run it stayed between 155 and 165, though the average at the end was at 155. Not way, way up there, but right at the 85% aerobic threshold. Didn’t feel short of breath at all. Stretched when I got done. Can’t emphasize how nice the run was. Can’t emphasize how nice it is to have marathon monkey off my back.

Speaking of the marathon monkey – darn, have my tendons, etc, been tight since NYC. No, I haven’t been stretching enough. But it’s been kind of building up since the race, to the point where it finally made me start doing a bunch of lower body stretching each morning. Think it’s turning the corner, and I think that starting to bike and run again will help keep my muscles loose; but ouch.

Usless Stats: 29:30, 3.2 miles, 451 calories, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups.

Training Planning / Book Reviews.

So, it’s almost December, and nigh on a month plus since I’ve done any real dedicated training. So I heighed me ho to yon Groton Public Library and snatched up a brace and a half of triathlon training books, and dug through the recesses of the Great Library of Jankexandria, where I unearthed a Navy Seal based program that got me thinking about getting fit almost three years ago now. The book links are through to Amazon. It also needs to be noted that these reviews are based on a less-than-thorough reading of the three tri books, and will likely be tweaked.

Triathlon 101Triathlon 101:Essentials for Multi-Sport Success
Triathlete’s EdgeTriathlete's Edge:Advanced Training for Performance
The Navy Seal Workout
Triathlon Training

Triathlon 101 – Good stuff. Probably my favorite book in terms of balance of content and detail. Geared towards folks getting off the couch, but with enough meat for people who have been running or swimming or biking for a while. Great big flick book. My biggest gripe? Crummy to nonexistent training plans and minimal detail on stretches, exercises and weight routines, etc.

Triathlete’s Edge – On the initial “read”, this is my least favorite book. I’ll probably grow to like it about this time next year, after a full year of focusing on tri. It’s got great info on non-couch potato training plans. Good selection of stretches for all three sports, great swimming drills. Lots and lots of meat here. Gripes: Not enough pictures when describing exercises. Training plans are completely non-specific; focus on weekly and periodic targets. Again, I can see myself getting into this book in about a year, but for now, it’s a bit over my head. Think I might burn copies of the exercises, though.

Navy Seal Workout – I remember why I like this book: It takes me back over a decade to being yelled at by Marines and loving it. Lots of pictures. Lots of detail on stretches and upper and lower body gravity (as opposed to resistance or weights) exercises. 18 different stretches. 5 different pull ups. 4 different push-ups. 14 exercises for the core. Decent training plans for continuing training, with some info on how to transition from beginner-intermediate-advanced. In my mind’s eye, this is the program for me for the next few months. Gripes: No information on how to kill people with your bare hands. More pertinent, no accounting for overall lack of coordination, and the last straw here – no cycling. So, in practice, this is the program for me for the next few months, assuming I spend the next few months back on active duty and confined to a ship.

Triathlon Training – My favorite book. Shiny and glossy, few words on big pages. Lots of pictures, lots of bright colors. Motivational. The bits on training are a great compromise between Tri 101 and Tri Edge, and the training plans are the way I like them – specific to the day. Good drills for swimming and running. Cycling section includes recommendation to watch old TDF films. Gripes: All the training programs are race targeted; there’s nothing about maintenance or building base.

So, I know that y’all are asking at this point “What’s the plan, Stan?”

To which I answer – still dunno.

What I’m kicking around is something like the following:

First, I’ve got to add some gym time while the weather’s gnasty. Think I’m going to start doing M-W-F mornings at either the Y or the Newport base gym. TT recommends 2-6 weeks of “Muscle Endurance” – 12-15 core exercises per day, 12-20 reps in a minute per set, 30-60 seconds between sets, 2-3 sets per exercise. (Hey, there’s 12-15 core exercises in the Seal Book!) Dec to mid-Jan

Next phase is 4-6 weeks of “Strength-endurance”. 8-10 exercises (doesn’t specify core), 4-6 sets per exercise, 8-12 reps per minute per set. mid-Jan through Feb

After that, it’s strength and power for 4-6 weeks. TT’s got 7 exercises spec’d out – dumbell Bench Press, chin-ups, knee-tucks, inclined leg press, step-up with barbell, prone leg curl, and calf raises. March and April (Hey, it’s time to max the PRT!)

Then, Competition Phase, which in my case is going to be focusing on the Terramuggus Tri series. As soon as they announce the schedule, I can work backwards from the 8 week sprint tri program in TT.

On top of this, I’ve got to keep moving. The basis for the sprint training program is as follows:
Monday – swim
Tuesday – bike
Wed – run
Thu – swim
Fri – rest
Sat – bike
Sun – run

I’ll switch that up a little bit – probably swim Tues/Thurs nights still, and tack on a run or bike to the M/W/F gym sessions. Move the rest day to Sundays. Running intervals Wednesdays. Do one weekday bike of about 40 minutes. Keep the non-interval run to about 35 minutes. Alternate long bike/run on the weekends – bike weather permitting, or run otherwise.

Sweet. We’ve got a plan. If this were Navy tasking, I’d head down to the SK (storekeeper) shack and get a three ring binder to put it in. Got a binder, you’ve got a program. Got a program, you’ve got a fitness report bullet. Got a binder, you’ve got something that can be audited.

BTW, did you notice the intellectual sleight-of-hand that got me permission to sleep in tomorrow morning? Got to squash that.

So the plan needs tweaking, notably specifics as to which exercises I am going to do during each portion.

Great Moments in Parenting / Turkey Trot

So, Jake’s not an eater. Not quite sure exactly how it happened, he’s definitely my kid in pretty much every other ways – loves books, talks too much, gets a dopey grin when he’s busted. But the boy doesn’t like to eat. Honest to goodness, pretty much every evening he’s still working on supper after Missy, me, and Nate have chatted and had dessert. He’s not chubby, so it’s not that we’re trying to feed him too much. The boy just doesn’t like to eat (probably takes too much time away from talking)

Anyway, tonight he starts eating pretty well, but after about 5 minutes, he says “I don’t like this, can I be finished?” Uh, … no. “Um, I meant to say, I don’t feel good. Can I be finished?”

So, up until now, it’s just another evening – Nate, Missy, and I have dessert, and are chillin’ in the living room next to the tree, Jake is at the table pushing his food around the plate. Missy decides to step out and see the lights. Since Jake helped hang them, I drag him out, and the dog cleans his plate in the literally 2 minutes we’re outside. We decide that Jake’s done, what with the holidays and all, and get ready to hang some more ornaments He asks to go to bed.

Oh, crap.

Turns out he’s actually sick this time. Pukes all over the kitchen.

Ah, guilt.


Turkey Trot –

Thursday was chilly, chilly. Snow on the ground when we woke up, rain falling. Dragged the family to the Y, Nate still in his footy pajamas. Jake was bouncing off the wall – slept in his sweats. At the Y, he kept running, warming up and all. They let us mill about the gym and assembly hall. Cute, huh?


Run was really informal – no clocks, no chips. Great t-shirts, though.


The race started well. The first hill, between the rear parking lot and the front was no problem. Jake was flying, and Nate was having a blast in the stroller. As we left the parking lot, one of Jake’s instructors from the Y was officiating, and cheered him on. Really, really boosted his spirits about a quarter of the way into the race to get a cheer.

Over the top of the big hill mid-course, and I thought that all would be well for the rest of the race. Jake really took off on the downhill, and made it about another 30 yards when he took his first walk break. Either that, or he really wanted to stomp that puddle.

The rest of the race was walk/run. He made a huge effort coming back into the Y – ran the whole way from the entrance to the finish. Nate even got into the spirit, saying “Go, bubba” for most of the half mile back. Then – playing at the beach. In the rain. Good Stuff.

Missy had a great race – most likely sub-9’s the whole way. She easily finished in the top half of the field.

Oh, since there’s a beach at the Y, it was a “Turkey Trot and Dip”. Most of the runners jumped in as soon as they finished, carrying a little warmth from the run into the water. Me? I’m having none of that. Chilled with the kiddos about 10 minutes waiting for Missy; Jumped into the Mystic River in late November at room temperature. Yep, it’s cold.


Oh, forgot to mention I’m going to be racing again!

Mystic YMCA does an annual Turkey Trot and Dip. Missy’s doing the 3 mile race; Jake is running the 1 mile race, and Nate and I are going to be chasing Jake in with the stroller!

The funny thing? Since it’s my first official mile race, Jake and I are both going to set PR’s!

We drove the course on Sunday after Family Swim; Jake is a little bit intimidated by the hill between the start and the turn-around. I told him he’d be fine…


170 on the scale.

Blew off swimming tonight and running yesterday.


Life’s been good, though. Haven’t been this happy at work in years. Boys are healthy and happy. Haven’t done anything to irk the wife in the last week or so. Plus, I’m still working off the high from the bike ride on Sunday. What a riot. Every other cyclist I saw waved back with smiles. Think we all felt like we were cheating or something, riding the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

I do need to get back on the wagon, though. It’s kind of funny – after a year of being skinnier than I’ve been in a few years, I can feel my body trying to pull the weight back on (hence the 3 lbs since the marathon). I think one of my failures in the past has been in failing to recognize when I started falling into weight gaining patterns.

SO, the question now is how to I nip this in the bud? How do I capitalize on the foundation I laid this year to meet the goals I set out a couple weeks ago? I need a PLAN. Hit the library today (have I mentioned how much I love Public Libraries?), picked up a couple of Tri books. I’m also reviewing a “Navy Seal” book I picked up a couple of years ago. My goal over the holiday is to lay out a plan to get me to the PRT in April. I’ll likely find an Olympic distance tri program to use as a base – quality mix of stuff I like.

Night, y’all.

22 on the bike

Sunday – church, dinner (being the traditional way to refer to the meal at mid-day, with supper being the evening meal), a little trip to Target to see if there was anything shiny that caught the kids or my eye, and to let the missus pick up actual useful things for the house. Jake was acting flakey – sure sign he needs a nap, Nate was falling asleep in the car on the way to the house, and the mercury was edging somewhere above 50. Threw the kids in bed, aired up the tires, found the shoes, and put the rubber side down on the pavement.


Weather was perfect – 55 when I passed the thermometer at the bank next to the VFW, chilly but not cold when the bike was at speed. Perfect reason to pedal harder!

Headed down River Road to downtown, swung east over the drawbridge, and continued all the way down to the beach at Stonington. The wind was really kicking at the point; there was a guy there contemplating wind surfing, my guess is that he was going to bag it. Not quite whitecaps, but windy.

Turned around and headed back towards the house. Took a wrong turn somewhere; ended up back on RT 1. Absolutely hammered to make it back to the house before 4. Pulled into the drive a bit after 3:45, threw on a swimsuit, grabbed the boys, and we made it to the Y for the last 15 minutes of Family Swim (showered and everything before I jumped in the pool, of course).

Leftover onion soup from the freezer – mmmm, good.

A&P had clementines for $3/box; clementines and kashi for breakfast…


Pulled off the double workout today. I am pleased. First, though, huge thanks to Dianna, our RCWTOH, for sending the NYT Marathon section. Will scan soon, and will put in the “accomplishments” folder for eventual incorporation into the Bill Jankowski Presidential Library.

The grey has rolled in something fierce. Not the nastyness we had about the time of the Hartford Marathon, but the general winter grey, topped off with the sun setting sometime before I leave the office. You’d think it’d get me down, but frankly, I’m kind of enjoying the weather. There was a mist as I was leaving work today, and everything looked kind of clean and soft-focused under the sodium lights.

Standard fallback meal of grilled chicken and broccoli slaw; couple of games of ring-around-the-rosy with the boys; a little tag-team wrestling complete with the patented “over the shoulder” foot-tickler; bath; story; kisses; up for water, and I was headed to the Y by 8:00.

There was a SWEET Serotta cross bike tied up to the rack. Ran into the owner in the locker room; he didn’t mind talking bikes with a guy in the process of getting naked. He rides for Mystic Velo, picked up the bike for a song, and was well aware exactly how lucky he was to have it.

Didn’t want to knock myself out swimming. Started out with 5 easy laps breast. Then 5 of free with arms only.

On the next set of 5 free with arms and legs, I progressively pushed harder. Can’t say I went faster, ’cause I’ve got no empirical evidence to support that. But I completely went harder. Felt great. Smooth strokes. Quick overhead stroke and big stretch – get that effective hull length as long as I can. Just felt good.

Cooled down with 3 free easy, and 2 breast. 1,000 yards; plenty of time to shower and make it home for “My Name is Earl”. Love that show. I’m guessing that Earl is one of my high school classmates (metaphorically).

Inspiration for the night was the one high school guy there, obviously a good swimmer, teaching 3 other guys things like flip turns and kicking technique. Just the kids, no adults. Looked like they were having fun.

Checked out my shoes today for the first time since September. Somewhere along the last 4 months I’ve decided to become a heel striker again. I’m back to having heavy wear on the outside of both heels. Rats. I was so happy after my Jan-June shoes showed next to no wear on the heel, and equal wear on both sides of the ball. Fortunately, nothing is hurting, so I think it’s just a matter of concentrating while i build mileage again.

Lastly, I’d like to welcome one of my childhood friends and idols, Jeff, back from a little time to unwire. He may be wound a little tight, but he’s always had a confidence that I wish I had just a little chunk of. Plus, he lived right down the street from the cool radio station in town when we were kids. And it’s his birthday this weekend.

Quick one

Actually watched Monday Night Football last night. Great game. Is it just me, or is Madden beginning to go kind of senile? Regardless, I loved the commentary, and the game was pretty good. Made even better by the fact it was Dallas v. Philly, and I could play the opening monalogue off of the VU’s 1969 Live album with Lou Reed’s immortal “You ought to give people a chance. In football, anyway.”

The diet hasn’t kicked off too well, though – wings, cheese, and summer sausage. Melissa made the wings off of a recipie out of a magizine – I need to look it up since they were great. They were boiled and then baked, so some of the fat had melted off. Added a bit of Tabasco, but that’s just ’cause everything needs more ‘basco. Haven’t weighed myself since Friday – Jack is already at least two pounds down on me. Good on him.

Managed to run before work today. Nothing special, just 20 minutes or so on the exercise path at NUWC. 2.5 miles according to Gmaps Pedometer. But it felt good to be running again. Felt good to get it out of the way early.

Weather was on the warm edge of chilly, driven home by the low, grey clouds rolling by overhead, and the silent V’s of geese heading south. Might could have used gloves, but it wasn’t so cold that I needed to pull my hands inside my shirt. Legs were kind of confused – not quite sure if they wanted to run, or if they wanted to complain. I told them to shut up and go.

Tried to take it easy, but the Nano kicked out “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” off of Wilco’s “A Ghost is Born” album. Quickly dialed up the whole thing, and spent most of the run just completely lost in the music. Perfect album for running on a grey day in late fall. Perfect album for navel gazing, which I’ve been doing a bunch of lately.

Think I’ll try to get to the pool tonight for another slow swim, and then take tomorrow off. Either that, or wake up and try out the wife’s Kathy Smith Pilates tape. Need to work the core.