Monday, November 30, 2009

A Thankful Recap

I should have written this post a couple days ago, but better late than here it is...a short summary of the things I am thankful for.

I am thankful for:

  • Noel.  My wife Noel has and continues to be a fun, lovely, supportive and wonderful friend.  She makes every day more manageable.   Without her with me over the last year, things wouldn't have been manageable.  
  • My parents.  My mother and father have given me the skills to be a productive and happy person.   They're responsible for the person I am today.  
  • The Kids.  The munchkins are wonderful.  Jacob, Bekah and Sophie are wonderfully smart, caring and loving little people who are almost always a joy to be around. ;-)   They make every day an adventure and are a joy to parent.  I look forward to getting to watch them grown into good and happy adults.
  • My dad getting sick in San Diego.  As some of you may know on the Thursday of the week we were in San Diego for our wedding (we got married on Monday) my dad called me at 5 am saying he was sick and needed me to come down to his room.  Without going in to too much detail, Dad's gall bladder had called it a day.  As part of the diagnosis of Dad's troubles the hospital ran a bevy of diagnostics.  One of those was an MRI of his abdomen.  This discovered a spot on his kidney.  Turned out it was probably stage 2  or 3 cancer.  Had Dad not gotten sick there would have been no reason to MRI his abdomen and the cancer would still be on his kidney doing the nasty things it does.  Additionally while he was in the hospital in San Diego they discovered that his prostate wasn't exactly looking right.  Turns out there was cancer there too.  By the end of the year Dad will have all the cancer out and will be back to full working order.
  • Doctors and Geeks.   See above.  Without thousands of people I've never met there wouldn't be MRIs and biopsies.  There were scores of doctors and nurses we've dealt with who have diagnosed and treated my dad effectively.  These folks have spent tons of years in school learning a profession that saves their neighbors.  Thanks.
  • Cross and running.   I'm not saying I am thankful for Sven Nys, but I am thankful that I am blessed with good health and have the good fortune to be able to go out on the weekend and enjoy myself on a bike or on the road.  I'm healthier than most (although not as fit as I'd like to be) and even though it requires work, I'm joyous than my body continues to work well.   
  • My Job.   I've got the good fortune to work for a Senator I believe in and work on issues I really care about.  I get to put my meager skills to the service of my nation in a way I really enjoy.  If you like what I do, getting to work in the US Senate is like playing third base for the Orioles (in the years before Angelos bought the team.) 

That's not the complete list, but it's a list that I needed to start.   To all of you who have had a part in the above, Thank You.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

MABRA State Cross

I'm not up for writing too long of a report on today's race, but I will say that I enjoyed the race and did ok.   I didn't race super well and didn't race super poorly.  I'm going to have to spend sometime in the woods next years working a little more on my bike handling so that when I get to muddy sloppy courses like today's I won't be loosing so much time making stupid mistakes in the corners and the mud.

The course was much wetter and muddy than folks expected.  It had been windy and dry for at least 4 days, but we got what might have been the muddiest course of the season that than Granogue.

For those of you who are interested here are some photos:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Stress Management

So I headed back up to Hopkins today for a stress test. As some of you might remember, I've got less than a 100% functional heart. A couple years ago I was diagnosed with some heart problems. Turns out I have AFib and my doctors prescribed a couple drugs to keep it under control.

These drugs keep my heart from getting itself caught up in run away beats. This is good.

These drugs also suppress my heart rate. Which normally isn't an issue.  On them I have a resting heart rate of ~43 beats per minute. This is the type of heart rate that an elite athlete has. While I am in good shape - I am not by any means an elite athlete. What's more troubling about the drugs is that they shave a whole bunch of beats of my max heart rate. In fact my normal heart rate max should be somewhere around 184 bps. Unfortunately when I maxed out on the treadmill and had to bail off during the stress test today, I was only chugging along at 150 beats per minute. Normally this isn't an issue, but when I am trying to keep myself moving during a race, shaving 30 to 40 beats per minute off my heart rate means that there is less blood going to my legs and less oxygen being delivered to my muscles and therefore my muscles fatigue more rapidly. At least that's the theory (which my cardiologist seemed to agree with).

So the doc has shaved the dose of my prescriptions down a bit in hopes that we'll be able to find a dose keeps the a-fib in check but also lets me crank my heart rate up to where it needs to be when I am exercising. I'll let you know how it works out.  'Cross your fingers!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

More to come

I've been a bit behind on the blogging, but I'll be doing a bit more in the next couple days. I've got Taccinno tomorrow morning out at Rosaryville, and I did All Hallows last week. I'll also be blogging on some of the training tips in The Complete Book of Cyclocross.

Until then, some slightly old photos from DCCX. Tag yourself if you're in one of the photos.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cross Season in Full Swing

Well I've raced in four races this year, and I feel like I'm racing a bit better this year than last, and I am certainly having as much, if not more, fun that I was last year.

I didn't ride my bike as much during the summer as I did last year.   I took up running this year and a number of Saturdays and Sundays that might have been riding days were instead running days.  I think this helped a bit with the run-ups and maybe a bit with the stamina.  And I am very happy about it because I really enjoy the running. ( and running races give away better stuff that cycling rides although they are certainly more expensive than 'cross races.)

I do though need to put in more biking miles next year before the season starts.  Noel and I are discussing next year's goals and I think we are going to put a century or two back in as goals next year.   This should help focus the summer training.  Additionally I'm going to look into learning how to swim well so that I can add triathlons to the training routine.  As I tell folks, I can swim - if you push me off a dock, I won't drown - but I don't know how to do it efficiently and for long distances.   Also I am going to be adding a half marathon and a full marathon to the schedule next year.  I did the Annapolis 10 miler a couple months ago and think I will train for the National Half Marathon and then the New York Marathon with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. (If I haven't told you my Dad was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and in a couple months will be short one prostate.  Fortunately all indications are that he will be fine.)

Ed Sanders Cross

I tried out the Master's B race at Ed Sanders and I can say that this was clearly a mistake.  The guys in the race we just too strong for me and I got spit out the back pretty quickly.  That being said, Ed Sanders is one of the most fun courses in the region.  With the boggy goodness in the front half and the hills and great cheering on the "back nine" it's an excellent course.  The race beat me up pretty good, but it was alot of fun and it was great to have the girls out there cheering for me.  They also snaged some great waffles from the  folks heckling/announcing on the back nine.

Kelley Acres

I got back to racing the C's for this race.  This one was hard, hard, hard.  Quite hilly and not a ton of space to regroup after climbing.  There were a good number of different climbs on the course, but the highlight of the course was clearly the fly-over that the folks at Kelley Acres put together.

I felt a bit wonky after the race and not 100%.  It was a fun race but I didn't feel my best afterwards.

Hayttsville / Arrow Bikes Cross 

Arrow Bikes did an amazing job with their inaugural race.  They set the race up in Magruder Park in Hyattsville which was nearly completely flat.  They were able to find a good number of technical features they could incorporate into the course.  They also threw in a nice death spiral on the back side of the course.   It could have been a grass crit, but they structured the race really well and there were alot of spots where you had to hold it and alot where you could chase down the guys in front of you.  It turned out to be alot of fun for me becuase even though I was on the back of the group there was a group of three guys I was racing with.   Near the end of the race one of the guys was on my wheel and I felt like after I made one of the last turns he was going to over take me.  Low and behold the turn before we turned onto road to the line, he came around me and beat me to the line.  I just didn't have enough gas to catch him down the line.

This was a great race and alot of fun and I will be sure to hit it next year.


Granogue is one of the best races in the mid atlantic and this year's race was epic.  It had been raining for three days before the race and was 40 degrees and raining when the race started yesterday.  The mud was great and during the first race of the day, the course hadn't been chewed up too much yet, but it was very slippery and it was tough getting traction.

They modified the course from last year and added more off camber switchbacks on the side of the bill hill under the tower.  Staying up and doing it with speed proved to be a significant challenge, especially the later in the race, but it certainly rewarded technical skills.   The run up on the front side of the course was brutal.  It was completely soup by the time the race started.  It took all your effort just to get through it.  And then the SRAM run up on in the second part of the race was just plain brutal.  It was long and slippery and seemed to never end, and was followed by the switchbacks.

All in all a great race and totally worth doing if you're considering the trip.  Below are some photos from the morning races.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bekah's First 5k

I don't know if I mentioned it, but for the last few months, Rebekah has been training for a 5K.   A few months ago we decided to pick the Run4Shelter 5K as the race that she would train for.  She did an amazing job.

Bekah finishing 5KRace day was wonderful. Mom and Dad came down from Baltimore to watch the race with us.   The weather over on Kent Island was great running weather.  It was probably in the low 60s with moderate humidity.  The rain of the last few days let up for a great morning.

The race turned out to be a perfect one too.  The course was very flat and an out and back with a loop at the turn around.  A very good starter race for Bekah

Noel and I ran with Bekah.  We paced Bekah with a minute on and minute off pace throughout the race. She kept the pace really strong throughout the lenght of the course with no stopping.   After the race Noel let Bekah know that she occasionally tacked 10 or 20 seconds onto the run portion.

On the way back once we had about 3/10th of a mile left and a boy in front of us that Bekah wanted to catch, we let Bekah run the remainder of the course.

Bekah finished really strong.  We didn't catch the boy that we were following but Bekah dropped the hammer that last little section and finished looking great.

I can't begin to describe how proud I am of her.  She set a goal and focused on it for a number of weeks and finished strong.   I know she was very proud of herself.  I think it was just icing on the cake that she finished second in her age group (under 12) and got a medal.

All in all a wonderful race and one we're likely to do again next year.  She's going to be a strong happy runner.

View Bekah's 5K - Run4Shelter in a larger map

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Annapolis 10 miler race report

So its taken me a few days to get around to writing a race report, but here goes.

A couple top line observations.  The race was a blast and I really enjoyed it.  I found it very well organized and things seemed to come off flawlessly.   I know the striders put alot of work into the race and should be congratulated for their work.

Also it was the first time I ran with that many people.  The race closed with its final count of 4500 runners.  Wow.   Also while the beer at the end was swill that I would never drink again it was really cold and tasted really great after running 10 miles.

Personally, most importantly I ran faster than I expected.  I did a 10 mile training run a few weeks before the race where I finished right around a 12:00 minute pace - the cut off for getting the finisher premium.  I went into the race a little worried that I wouldn't make the 12:00 minute cut off for getting the swag.   I got the swag.  I'll model it soon.

To review, lets start with the important things.  The results: I finished in 1:51:16 for a 11:08 pace.  I was 3928 out of 4500 runners.  This was fast and strong for me.   Not the blow by blow.

First couple miles.

I went out worried that I would end up going too fast.  Everyone had warned me that I needed to pace myself and not get caught up in the run and the excitement and run too fast and not have anything left in the tank at the end of the race.  When I hit the first mile marker it was clear that I wasn't running too fast and that I should be ok.  I heard some folks who said they were running an 11 minute pace and tucked in with them for a few minutes.

I did discover something in the first few miles though.  Take advantage of the port-a-johns even if you don't think you need to.  It was very disconcerting to feel like I had to poo for the first few miles.   I came pretty close to despoiling some of the trees along the side of the road, but I kept things together long enough that things seemed to take care of themselves.  I don't know what my bowels did to settle things down but they should be congratulate.  YAY GI tract.   It was a good thing they made things right, becuase the first port-a-john I saw was just after mile 5.

On a brighter note, right before I turned onto the bridge for my climb I heard a "DADDY" from Sophie and was able to get over to the girls and get a high five from everybody.  Out of all the little people yelling for their dads I was clearly able to make out Sophie.   The kids were super supportive and I was glad they were out for me.   It was really sweet to see them out there.

Miles 4 - 6 ish.

The mid miles included the first climb over the Naval Academy Bridge.  The bridge is a pretty decent climb, but since it had been incorporated into my training runs it wasn't overwhelming.  I just had to sit in and start climbing.  The bridge comes at about mile 4 1/2.  As I was heading up the bridge (around 40 mins into the race) the winner was coming back down the other side (mile 9 for him).  Amazing and impressive.

The next couple miles squirreled through some neighboorhoods on the other side of the river and were relatively uneventful.  I started to feel really good on these miles and got into a nice groove.  There were tons of make shift water stops in this area put together by the local community that really enhanced the race.  The neighbors hosing us down with their sprinklers were particularly welcomed.  The homeowner playing the Notre Dame fight song was a bit odd, but a fun spot.

Mile 7 - finish.

Once I got past roughly mile 6 3/4 there was a long out and back.  The out and back seemed like a nice section from the begining but seemed to go on forever once.  Once I got to the turn-around I realized that I'd been going down hill for a bit and would have to head back uphill.   The climbing was fine but I did drink a little too much at mile 7 and paid for it later.  I had been a bit hot and when I took in too much water a ended up with a bit of a stitch later on.  It wasn't the end of the world and I was able to run through it, but it was a bit uncomfortable.  Had I not taken on so much water, I could have run faster.

Once I finished the out and back I really felt good about the race.  I knew I was near the finish and I still felt like I had alot in the tank.   I still had to go back over the bridge and that was going to be a bit of a challenge, but I knew Noel and the girls would be on the other side.  I made every effort to make sure I was smiling and looking strong when I got to the spot where I thought they would be.  I expected that they would be at the same spot they were at in the morning but as I got there they weren't there.  I knew they would see me before the finish so I kept the smile on and saw them out in front of our favorite place, Naval Bagels, where they had eaten breakfast earlier that morning.  I ran by them and got a good high five from Sophie (who was tuckered out and sitting) and a high five from Sophie.

I then trucked on in to the end of the race and ran across the finish line to my finishers premium and a nice cold towel!

All in all perfect weather, a fun race and something I will certainly do again next year.

Splits and map below:

View Annapolis 10 Miler in a larger map

Monday, August 31, 2009

2009 'Cross Season

Practice is underway, and going well (I'll have more details on that later).

I ran the Annapolis 10 miler yesterday and feel great about my effort.  I'll have a race report soon. 

In the meantime here's my schedule/map of my potential 2009 'cross season.  Sadly word on the street is that Wonderland in Lancaster will not be a go this year, and my personal schedule doesn't look like it will accomodate IronCross or Gragnoue/Wissahickon.    But things are always in flux.

View 2009 Cross Races in a larger map

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New trail

I had some free time after work on Monday night so I figured I'd take the cross bike out on a new trail.  Jim had mentioned Fairland Regional Park in the past so I thought I would run out to PG county.  It turned out to be a great choice and a nice way to get some cross bike time in after work. 

The trail is definately cross bike ridable.  The grades aren't too steep and are the terrain is certainly manageable with the knobby cross tires.  There are numerous small branches and roots along the trail that enhance the riding and enjoyability of the trail.  There area also a couple large logs across the trail that will require dismounting on a cross bike (and probably on an MTB too).  The trail also has a nice section along --- I think Greencastle Road --- where there are some swoopy parts of the trail that have you going up and down quite quickly.  Fun stuff.  The trail seems very well maintained and is easily accessible.  I parked at the Park Police parking lot on Old Gunpowder Road and was able to get right onto the road from being their lot. 

As an aside, while out there I also had the good fortune to spot a couple deer.  One of them was a male deer with maybe 6 or 8 points.  Good stuff.

All in all I wouild definately reccomend going out there.  I think there is a bit more trail that I need to explore.  Its probably good for an hour or two of riding but if you're gonig to spend the whole day riding, Patapsco is probably a better bet.

View Fairland Regoinal Park in a larger map

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Light week

Spent this week on the stay at home honeymoon.  Lots of quality time with the new wife.   Good to hang out and spend time movies and such.  

I did an 8 mile run this morning with an 11:23 pace which puts me on track to make sure I get the swag at the Annapolis 10 miler next Sunday.  

Also getting very excited for 'cross season to start.  First practice is this Thursday, with a potluck following at the shop.  Means I am going to need to cook up some of the sweet potato casserole that everyone likes.   I think I finally have sorted out the issues I have been having with the left cleat on the egg beaters not releasing.  I adjusted the cleat on the sole a bit so that its has my heal facing in a bit more...this seems to let me release a bit earlier.  I practiced a bit on it yesterday and feel much more comfortable with it.  I went out on the local ball field and ran the bike up and down a first base line mounting and dismounting probably 50 times.  It felt good and hopefully i'll be able to run up the speed a bit and get on and off quicker and better.  

Run map here:

View 8 mile run in a larger map

Cross drills here:

View Cross training in a larger map

Saturday, August 15, 2009

La Jolla Run

I'm getting ready to head back east.  I've always been a bit skeptical about the left coast, but this week I've really taken to southern California -- San Diego in particular.  I had a great run last night and could certainly spend more time out here.  

I'll post some more details on the honeymoon / vacation later, but right now I thought I would toss up the details on last night's great run by the beach. 

View La Jolla Run in a larger map

Friday, August 07, 2009

A new trail

So last night I was able to get out and ride with Josh from the Proteus 'cross team who I haven't had a chance to ride with in a while.  Josh is a great guy - even if he doesn't make it to my Torah Study classes  often enough - and it was great to get out on the trail with him and spend some time chatting and riding.

Josh had purchased a DC/MD/VA trail book and had read about and slightly explored a trail over in Anacostia.  For those of you who aren't super familar with DC, Anacostia is one of the rougher parts of town.   That being said, during daytime hours its fine to ride around, but I wouldn't venture over for nightime riding. 

After our ride yesterday though, I will be back during the day/right after work and I would highly reccomend hitting the trail. 
The Fort Circle Trail runs through a few different forts that were erected at the time of the civil war to protect the city.  Its not the longest trail in the world, but it has some great things going for it.

  1. The trail head is about a 15 min bike ride from downtown
  2. You'll likely have the whole trail to yourself
  3. Considering its proximity to urban life its very quiet
  4. While it clearly hasn't seen alot of work in recent times the trail is in good shape
  5. Its definately cross bike ridable but not so timid as to be boring for MTB.  I think Josh enjoyed himself on his MTB.   
All in all a great ride.  I wonder if there is more to explore (it seems like there is alot of Fort DuPont we didn't ride in.  Certainly something to check out at a later time. 

View Fort Circle Trail Ride in a larger map

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Looking for a Poster

I saw a poster once when I snug into a shop during a ride one had a rider loaded down with water bottles and such for his teammates and said "The Domestique, the unsung hero of the peloton."  Any chance anyone's seen this poster? 

Monday, July 20, 2009

Odds and Ends

So it's been a little bit less than successful staying on the diet lately.  I weighed myself last week and it was less than heartening.  

Fortunately when I weighed myself this morning, it was more in line with where I want to be going.  I'm back down to 203, and certainly still need to drop some more weight to speed up things on teh bike, but I feel alot better than I did at last week's weigh in.  It was ugly.   Maybe someone had their toe on the scale or I was chock full of water, but it wasn't a good number.

Anyway, this weekend was pretty stresssful.  I had a bunch of stuff unrelated to fitness going on, but exercise wise it was good.  I did my first training run with the Striders and I feel good about it.  I ran 6 miles at a 10:47 pace, which I was pretty pleased with.  My right calf is a bit sore after whatever I did to it a couple weeks ago so I am pretty hesitant to push myself lest it blow up again and sideline me.  Fortunely I feel like I'm somewhere around 90% with it and hopefully in the next week or so it will get back up to 100% so I can push myself when I run.  

All in all I feel good about meeting the 12 minute pace and securing the awesome swag.   If all goes well today, hopefully I will be able to get home tonight and catch a bike ride.  Yay!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

So what's going on.

Let's see have a couple things going on since the last posting.

The 'cross season should be starting soon. My new pedals have been giving me a little trouble now and again, but I will get more used to them and by the time cross season is in full blast I will be fine.  The season will get into full swing in September with Charm City Cross, but before that some folks up in New Jersey are putting together an event at the New Jersey State Fair. SpectraCross should be a blast and will hopefully be a fun family outing for everyone. In addition to the 'cross races there will be a demolition derby and a trials exhibition.  

On the running front I am signed up for the Annapolis 10 Miler. Two reasons to do the 10 miler. First - and most importantly - its hard and its something I haven't done before. Seems like a good enough reason. In a close second is the fact that they give away really cool swag.  But there's a hitch - you don't get the swag unless you finish under a certain pace - 12 min/mile to be precise.  So here's the thing.  I ran 7 miles on Saturday (6.92 if we're quibbling) at an 11:14 pace.   Some background. 

I blew out my calf a week ago - everything was going well - I was almost finished my run and then my leg started getting a little tight.  Being a bonehead, I figured I would just power through it until I got home.   Well then I had some kind of popping sound in my calf followed by excruciating pain.   I gimpped home to the house.  Monday it was pretty difficult to walk on.  When I ran Wednesday with Bekah I was still feeling a little twing through my calf on each foot strike, but by Friday things were feeling pretty good so I went ahead and did the run on Saturday.  

I felt good through about mile 5 1 / 2 and then my calf started to feel a bit sore and I was worried that I would blow it up again.  Considering that I kept an 11:14 pace when my calf felt a bit rough, I am optimistic that I cna keep a 12 minute pace over 10 once my calf gets back to 100%. 

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Couple Fun Rides

So I've had a couple fun rides lately - one where I hammered longer than I had ever before and one where I got soaked to the bone.

The first was a fun ride on the Eagleman Triathlon course with some folks from the Annapolis Triathlon Club. Noel and I headed out early in the morning and headed over the bridge to the Eastern Shore. It turned out to be one of the more fun rides I've had in a while.

I jumped on with the fast group out of the gate and didn't stop. We basically pace-lined for 56 miles without slowing down. We got things spinning up to a 21 ish mph pace and kept hammering at that pace until we hit the wind. We kept hammering as hard in the wind but didn't go as fast. And when I say "we" I really mean most of the other guys in the group who were pulling up front. I was operating a bit out of my comfort zone and needed to use all my energy to keep from being spit out the back. I pulled once or twice, but mostly I hung on the back. I wasn't a parasite, but it did take a bit of work for me to hang on. I was pretty impressed that I was able to hold a 19.8 mph pace over 56 miles without one rest break.

It was a huge blast keeping up a high rate of speed and not actually stopping for a break. I'm pretty sure I've never ridden straight through this far. Now I will say that the course was pretty flat and lended itself to hammering, but still a strong output. Here's the course:

Today I decided to ride in the rain. Well I really didn't decide to rain in the rain as much as I decided to ride when I knew I was going to get rained on when I rode. I felt a bit guilty about neglecting the bike to run so I decided that I need to get out on the bike regardless of the weather. I was hoping that I would at least get a little riding in before the heavens opened up, but I hadn't made it to the South River bridge (~1.5 miles) before it was raining sideways and I felt like I was getting pushed off the side of the bridge.

It poured pretty much for the rest of the hour long ride. The best part of the rain was that it rained so hard so fast that I was soaked to the bone immediately and just kind of settled in and enjoyed the ride. I actually felt really good about my ride once I settled in and felt like I rolled at a pretty good pace. 17.1 mph in sideways rain and strong wind. Not too bad. The map is below:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Not sooo Dreaded

So I finished my first organized 10 K this morning, the Dreaded Druid Hills 10K. I hit a couple of my main goals for the race. First and most importantly, I didn't walk any of the race. I wanted to make sure, regardless of the hills, that I ran everything. I did and I am pleased about that. I also wanted to do the race in a time that I felt was respectable for me. Considering I usually run 10:30ish when I am out running on the Mall, I wanted to run something in this area. I averaged 11:14 over the whole race. Considering that it was a pretty challenging course with 45 percent of the course being climbing I feel really good about that. That makes me feel more comfortable about being able to do the Annapolis 10 miler later this year.  The Annapolis 10 miler  has a 12 min mile requirement for finishers. (Annap. 10 miler gives away the most awesome swag, but you have to finish to get the swag - so finish I will.)

As for the course it was certainly challenging but I think I talked it up a bit in my head before the race. This probably turned out to be a good thing becuase I was ready for it to be horrible and it was only really tough. The hills themselves were pretty bad but the fact that you went down them on the way out was almost unfair. But the strategy of embracing the suck and chugging through the hills worked pretty well. I wasn't moving too quickly and there was certainly alot of "I think I can..." but it was good.

Great breakfast afterward at the City Cafe in Baltimore (HUGE mushroom omelet and a bloddy mary with old bay! Yum, Hon!). Great day so far and we've got some chicken sausage to be grilled out back coming up later today.

Elevation chart and map below.
UPDATE:Check out this video to get a feel for the course. Noel at 1:15. Me - nowhere to be seen.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Big Race Tomorrow

For reasons still unknown to me I signed up for the Dreaded Druid Hills 10K. I've run 6 miles before but this thing is going to be extremely hilly and its going to kick my butt. I'm going to be able to do it, but I'm pretty intimidated. Its going to be a tough run, but I'll be ok with it. It will certainly be the hardest run I've done. Going to need to get a good night's sleep though.

The running has been going pretty well though. I was able to get a great run in with Jake Thursday morning. I'm looking forward to more runs with the kids. Assuming the weather cooperates we'll try to get over to the track at Jake's middle school on Wednesday nights.

Friday, May 15, 2009

2009 'Cross Calendar

If you've got a few minutes, you should really take a look at the 2009 MABRA 'Cross calendar (below) starting September 20th with Charm City Cross.

The calendar looks great with alot of established races and a bunch of new races. It looks like pretty much every Sunday there will be a race and sometimes two in a weekend. I'm pretty stoked about it. The only downside I can see so far is that it looks like Ed Sanders might be the same weekend as the Erev Yom Kippur.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rainy run along the Mall

Rolled out last night for a nice afterwork run. Noel was supposed to be hitting the sack early yesterday so I figured it wouldn't be a huge deal if I stayed in DC a little later.

It had been beautiful most of the day and I was pretty excited to have a nice sunny end of the day run. Well by the time I got out of the office to walk around the building and stretch it was already crazy windy (probably 20 mph winds) and the sky was turning green. But I had already changed my clothes and was already outside so I figured I should go anyway.

Well I was about a 1/2 mile into my run (down by the NGA) when the heavens opened up. I was far enough away that there was no way I was making it back to the office without getting completely soaked so I figured I'd just have to plow through.

The run was a little rough becuase for unknown reasons (probably inadequate stretching in the hast to get out the door) I had some shin splints and some calf achyness. I ran through them, but I did run a little tenderly and this probably slowed my pace.

It was a nice run - and I think my longest to date - and I was rewarded with getting to see the Capitol bathed in orange sunlight as the sun set over the Potomac. Path below.

For details go to Abaqus GeoDiary share page for this track.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Just plugging along

Things are going well - mostly. Diet went in the crapper this week with passover and the seders. I ate like a pig. Sat down one night with a jar of casher butter and tam tams. Finished half a box of tam tams and half a jar of cashew butter. not good for reducing weight.

But - I've been trying to keep up with the training with a nice 30 spin down at Hains last night and a decent six mile rune around the neighborhood last night.

Looking like I'm going to hit the mall at lunch for a maybe 5 mile run and then this weekend hopefully jump on the Bike Rack's Sunday morning ride (with my sweetie Noel) for their 40 mile ride.

Also on Google Maps Mania I came across a couple great training sites:

Check them out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Training for 184.5

So I tackled the first serious training ride of the season.  I'm trianing to ride the full distance of the C&O Towpath from Cumberland, Maryland to Georgetown in Washington, DC in one day.

This weekend I put 60 miles in on hard packed rock dust.  The surface was roughly similar to what I'll see on the C&O - smooth but not paved.  We had some light tree cover out there and chilly but warming weather.

I took a few things from the ride.
  1. Not ready yet to do that 3 times in a row.
  2. My ass needs more time in the saddle.  South of 5 hours in the saddle was a little tough on the rear.  Need to harden it up
  3. and I need to condition myself more.  and maybe most importantly.
  4. I think I can do 184, but its not going to be a cake walk.
NCR 004Those of you that read regularly will remember Ben from the last post who chewed everyone up at the Baltimore CX race.  I rode with Ben this weekend and he put some serious hurt on me.  I did ok on the first 20 but somewhere around mile 28 my legs really started screaming.  The pain lasted through around mile 40 and then a light came on (and the path got faster) and I was feeling pretty good.  I didn't roll into the parking lot doing 20 mph or anything but I did feel better at the end of the ride than I did at the lunch stop.   Ben though looked awesome all throughout.  Guy's a monster on a bike and the nicest guy in the world. 

Surprisingly there was a fair bit of climbing during the ride, which I don't expect we'll encounter on the C&O.   All in all I feel good about how I did and I am pleased that my legs aren't scream at me a day later.

70 miles in two weeks.   Map and elevation chart below. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Baltimore CX Race

Its a bit late and I'm not really up for posting too much but I just did the data dump from my Garmin, so I thought I would put some stuff from last week's Baltimore CX Stage Race up on the blog.  For those of you who were not there it was a balst.  roving impromptu multi stage cyclocross race zooming through 5 different courses in an industrial site in Canton, Riverside Park in South Baltimore, Federal Hill, Wyman Park and Patterson Park.  It was a blast and we had a great group of folks from the Baltimore and Washington 'cross scene's racing.

Results wise the long and short is that Ben Bassett of the shop opened up a huge can of hurt on the field.   Jim organized a great race and made it a ton of fun for folks.  I think there is something to be said for swinging by Home Depot, getting some construction marker flags and setting up our own cross courses on the fly.  A local guerilla 'cross crew would be a great way to keep the season running. 

Anyway, below is the slide show of photos and the map of our tour.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Jim V. Still Awesome After All These Years!

In spite of Jake having some variation of a sinus infection, we still have had a pretty awesome weekend with a bunch of Dad/Dude bonding. Jim V is responsible for a good portion of it. For those of you who don't know Jim V. he's 110% awesome. How is he awesome you might ask. Well certainly there are many reason's Jim V. is awesome but this particularly instance of awesomeness centers around Jim V.'s generosity.

As some of you may have seen, Jake is very into biking. He did a 'cross race last year and had alot of fun and is looking to do a good bit more mountain biking. Unfortunately the bike he was riding was getting way too small (actually its probably more accurate to say Jake was getting bigger - fairly confident that the bike has remained the same size.) - so small in fact that it was becoming uncomfortable to ride. I had mentioned this to Jim and asking him to keep an eye out for any deals at the shop. Jim did a huge one better than that.

Jim gave Jake a long-term loan of a really great single speed mountain bike. He provided the frame, the wheelset, fork,handlebars and everything. We only had to pick up a few minor odds and ends here and there to make it trail ready, but thanks to Jim Jake was hooked up with a really great bike that he's going to have a ton of fun riding. Jim was hugely generous in loaning Jake this great bike - Jake really loves it.

Jake and I spent a bit of last night and a good bit of the time after Hebrew school this morning getting the bike ready for the road. Jake and I took to the first floor and installed the brakes and some new cables, tossed on a new chain-ring, broke and shortened the chain, mounted the fork and the head-set and tossed in the spacers on the fork. Jake is a quick study and it was fun to see his brain process and learn how the various mechanical parts on the bike worked. He's also super stoked to have a new ride. Its a sweet ride and with the current gearing its going to be a monster hill climber. Might end up being geared a bit too small, but that's fine - it'll just be a good excuse to do some more Dad/Son bike work.

Jim V.'s awesome and his generosity is greatly appreciated in Casa Jones/Turner.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Could an Android enabled phone replace my Garmin

Official Google Blog: Happy trails with My Tracks for Android-powered phones
Many GPS receivers require you to plug a separate device into a computer, install software, transfer, convert and upload your track to the web. With My Tracks, this has become a whole lot simpler. I no longer need to carry multiple devices when I go out for a ride, and I can easily share my rides on the spot with anyone I'd like by recording and uploading my track right from my phone and then sharing it out via email or even Twitter.

This seems very tantalizing. I'm usually lugging my BlackBerry out on the road with me anyway, so it would actually reduce the amount of crap I have to stuff in my jersey pocket.

Also the uploading seems much easier than the rigamaroll I have to go through currently.

Maybe it'll come to Blackberry soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

First 5K

Finishing with Bekah
Originally uploaded by Tom H. Jones
So I finished my first 5K yesterday morning. Noel signed me up for an Annapolis Striders "couch to 5K" program. I have to say that all in all I am really pleased with the program.

We met every Saturday morning for the last couple months for training at one of the local school tracks. We started out the first week with 3 minutes of running and 1 1/2 minutes of rest. This actually was a bit tough the first week. I got some really obnoxious shin splints. Shin splints has been the limiting factor in my running in the past and I was really worried that they were going to keep me from completing the program. Fortunately one of the coaches was able to give me a set of streches that have become an essential part of my pre-ride routine and have kept the shin splints at bay.

It was extremely satisfying each week to increase the distance and time and not actually die. It also helped out alot that we have a treadmill in the basement and can train indoors during the winter.

On Saturday I set out with two main goals 1) finish the race in less and 30 minutes and 2) not walk any of the course. I am pleased to report that I was able to achieve both of my goals. I rolled across the finish line at 29:45 and ran the whole course. The course was decent - a few hills here and there but nothing out of control.

It was great that mom and dad and the kids were there to cheer me on. Noel ran the race as well, but I only saw her at the start line, saw her at the turn around and saw her nice and relaxed at the finish line. She rolled across the line 7 minutes before me. She was there cheering loudly for me at the end. She was a very good cheerer.

I think I'll probably do another 5K (there's one with beer in Baltimore on St. Patrick's day) and may start working on a 10K.
Here's the course:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Last Race of the Season - First Race of the Season

So I'm at least a week overdue on a race report from Cross My Heart.  The importnat stuff up front.  I finished 43 out of 57.  While that's still in the ass end of the pack, I actually feel pretty good about how I performed.  (This is of course not the important info but I did want to toss it out out front.)

cross my heart cyclocross spectator mapA couple things I think were worth noting about the race.  It was a pretty technical course with a moderately sketchy surface.  We'd had a bunch of snow and freeze thaw cycling in the week approaching the race so the day before the course was covered with a crunchy layer of frozen-over icy snow.   But the day of the race the local weather decided to spike up to roughly 60 degrees and get the ice and snow all melty.  When combined with riders rolling through the course all day the course became pretty muddy pretty quickly in alot of spots.  It turned out to be alot of fun. 

One of the more interesting spots in the course was a turn into a mulch pile area were you took a turn left, went up a short steep hill, turned almost 180 degrees and came back down. The mulch and dirt on teh hill was a bit loose so it made getting up and down it a bit tough.  On the third lap I was pleased that I was able to make it though the turn and back down the hill upright and with a bit of speed.  Unfortunately I came into the next turn a bit too hot and hit an as yet unmelted patch of ice and lost the bike out from under me.  I swear that up until that lap I was chasing a race who would later finish 20th in the race.  Maybe I'm kidding myself but between that fall and one I took a little later in some mud, I lost some serious time and places when I went down.  But keeping control of your bike on sketchy surfaces is a big part of the race. 

The course over all was great though.  I really enjoy the more technical courses over the faster ones.  They promote more thinking and tend to keep you on your toes more.   This one made for good fun and a challanging race. 

Hopefully next year Jim will decide to move it even closer to the end of the MABRA cross season so we can have even more folks out at the race.  

Can't wait for next year's season to start! 

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Great Race on Sunday

Originally uploaded by ryandudek
I had a blast on Sunday and rode really well. Progress is nice. I'll post a full race report soon, but thought I would toss up a photo real quick.

Also in slightly related news weigh in this a.m. 199.5! Sub 200 again for the first time in something like 8 months.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

C&O Riding Today

C&O Riding 026
Originally uploaded by Tom H. Jones
After sleeping through the inaugural speech I got out on the road and headed over to the C&O Towpath for some riding next to the frozen canal. The ride was a race against sunset and wasn't terribly long but it was pretty cool to get out there and see kids playing ice hockey on the canal with their dads and skating with their moms.

The photos are along the ride path in the map below. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Much Better Garmin - Slipstream - Chipotle

Team Garmin-Slipstream introduces new kit for 2009
January 16, 2009 - Boulder, CO – Pro Tour Team Garmin-Slipstream unveiled its 2009 team kits today. The new team kit highlights title sponsor Garmin’s leadership role, while also bringing attention to Slipstream and its focus on ethical sporting and developing the next generation of American champions.
Much better Garmin - Much better.   I'm much more pleased with this kit than the one they uneiled last year after adding Garmin as the name sponsor.  This kit brings back the orange from the previous SS/Chipotle jersey while still prominently displaying the Garmin logo.  It also has a stronger argyle element to it.  Enhancing the argyle design element is nice in light of how prominently the argyle motif features in the fan base.    I'm very pleased with this one.  I'll be interested to see what the rest of the kit looks like and to see how the national champion kits look. Kudos Team Garmin.  Wouldn't mind picking up a long sleeved version to diversify my wardrobe.  

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I know. I've never been a big fan of runners, but I have to say that this 5K class that I am taking is really making running quite enjoyable. I am finding that now that I seem to be able to manage the shin splints with pre-run stretching that I can actually have quite enjoyable runs. And since running is a little easier to do in a pinch (no getting the bike off the car finding somewhere to ride, etc.) I think I might be able to tuck in workouts a little more regularly.

Most importantly I have discovered that running can be alot of fun with music. I hit the treadmill the other night with the iPod and really enjoyed running with the Kaiser Chiefs blasting. I did end up listening to some good songs that were sadly not particularly running friendly. Good music and all, but not much to run to. So to keep a steady beat in my ears, I made a playlist. I know you want to know and without further ado here it is:

Friday, January 09, 2009

Gearing Up!!

Have I used that pun before?   Yeah well - had to at some point.

So I got in a nice ride last night.  Josh met me at the parking lot of my office after work and we headed up to Proteus.   He took me up there via some roads and trails I hadn't traveled before.   I think we hit the NE Branch trail for a bit and then jumped onto the roads behind Rt. 1 in College Park for a little bit.  It was cold but it was a pretty clear night and the wind wasn't too terrible.  Josh loaned me a light and we were able to get up there pretty quickly.

We hung at the shop for about 3 1/2 hours or so while Josh replaced the drive train on his MTB.  Due to some overly aggressive tightening of the bottom bracket in the past by Josh, extraction of the cups required the use of vise grips and the application of some serious leverage in the form of an improvised lever and some serious umpth from Ben.   It was a sight to see, and quite an impressive mechanical feat.   After 4 slices of pizza, a few beers, 3 chain rings, 2 derailleurs, 1 bottom bracket and a little bit of football we were able to get back on the road and head southbound towards the city.

We rolled out just before 11 and almost immediately discovered that our lights didn't have much charge left.  This made riding the wooded trails back prohibitively dangerous and/or slow, so were went with an audible and headed down Rhode Island avenue back towards home.  By this time of night Rhode Island was almost deserted, so it was a cold and lonely ride back - but a good crisp ride.  I split with with Josh at 1st and RI  NE and he headed back to his house and I headed back to the car and drove home.   Map below.   And oh yeah -  Josh discovered today that he was riding last night on a broken front axle.  Not good. 

This weekend looks like running on Saturday morning in yicky  weather and then some riding on the C&O on Sunday - possibly in residual snow.  

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Still on the Road

I haven't been doing a ton of posting lately.  There has been periodic riding over the last week or so, but nothing too exciting.  I've also been keeping up with my running program, which gets me on the treadmill twice a week and on the track once.

Riding wise I am just planning on riding out to Proteus tonight with Josh, which should get me in a nice 30 miles out and back.   Josh says the roads are pretty decent, so if I get run down its all his fault.

Other than that, I appeared in Roll Call earlier this week.  Photo of me below.  Link to the article here.