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Archive for February, 2009

Doldrums

Why does mother nature hate us? I know, I know, it’s only February. But come on. Not but a couple of weeks ago we saw temperatures in the 60’s. What a tease.

I have been doing long runs on Saturday mornings in preparation for the Wisconsin Marathon (The Cheesiest!) on May 2nd. I haven’t actually committed to the race yet via official race entry, but I am most definitely probably going to do it. Up until this weekend, I would not have been deterred my a little snowfall. This is Wisconsin after all. However, when I woke up early Saturday morning to near-blizzard conditions, I went into wimp mode. I decided to take my 15 miler to the Y.

I hopped on the treadmill, which I now have figured out how to rig to run for 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes before it shuts itself off. I was armed with 1 bottle of water, 1 bottle of Gatorade, and 1 pack of Black Cherry Clif Shots. This is actually quite a bit of gear to be running with at the Y, but what was I to do? I made sure the treadmill I chose was smack in front of the TV that was tuned to the Discovery Channel, and I was off.

Hour one passed by pretty quickly as I simultaneusly listened to my iPod and watched Dirty Jobs in closed captioning. At the start of hour 2, Wreckreation Nation came on, and I knew this was going to be a little tougher. It’s not my favorite show, but I forced myself to watch it anyways in the interest of passing time. Somewhere around mile 10, my stomach really started to hurt, but I pressed on.

An aside – people at the Y will look at you funny when they see you eating weird little gummy bites out of a packet while you are running.

Where was I? Right, 2 hours down, 2 miles to go. These last 2 miles were tough, but only because I thought my stomach might actually explode. If not for that, I felt like I could have actually picked up the pace quite a bit. I finished out the run, and was pleased with myself for sticking it out. This was officially my longest treadmill run to date, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. If you get yourself in the correct mind frame before you start (I am in this for the long haul, let’s just press on and get it done), it’s not so bad. I also force myself not to look at the numbers very often, which helps.

I have hit the point where I am pretty focused on my training, and just waiting for winter to end. I am not interested in any more snow or cold or anything of the sort. I am hoping that the weather from here on out will cooperate enough that I can at least do my long runs outside. Hear that mother nature? Thank you in advance.

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My Christmas present from my dad was a gift certificate to a local bike shop. I asked for this so I could get a professional bike fitting before starting to train for Ironman. I have always felt ok on my bike, but I was quite sure that my positioning was probably all wrong, thus making for quite the in-efficient ride. I also wanted to add some aerobars to my road bike to make it more suited for triathlon.

Given the beautiful weather we had today, I called and made an appointment for this afternoon so I could ride to the store. My “fitter” was Andrew. He hooked my bike up to a computrainer, and the fitting began. It was all a lot more high-tech than I expected, which was really cool. First he took my body measurements with a laser, which the computer used to give some guidelines of recommended bike measurements for my size.

Then I got on the bike and was video taped from two angles. From the video sample, Andrew was able to pause it with my legs in different positions, and from there he drew lines on the screen. First he drew a line from my hip to my knee, and then down to my foot. The computer gave him the angle, and he would make adjustments to the bike based on that.

The first thing I learned was that my bike frame really isn’t even the correct size for me. Andrew said if he was selling me a new bike (I wish) that he would recommend one size up. I always kind of suspected this, but the sales guy that sold me the bike said it was all good. Anything for the sale, right?

Luckily there were some adjustments that could compensate for this. He installed a longer handlebar stem, and also lowered it to create a faster riding position. He also moved the seat back and up slightly, and tipped the handlebars back. When I got back on the bike, it felt totally different. My center of gravity is now shifted forward, and my weight more evenly distributed.

Next up was the aerobars. I had some that were given to me, so I brought them to see if they would work out. Andrew said they were actually pretty nice, and though they were old, they had a lot of adjustability. He wanted to try them out so I could hopefully avoid buying new ones. When I tried them out, my body was way too far forward, and unfortunately there was no adjustment to move them back. So alas, a new set it was. He slapped the new babies on there, and I got on the bike again. He said everything looked pretty much perfect.

I am really happy that I went and did this, because not only was it super geeky-cool, but I think it will really help with my biking. Obviously I won’t be able to test it outdoors for a while (unless we get some more awesome weather like today), so back on the trainer she goes. At least I can get used to the new riding position for a while inside where there is no danger of falling and killing myself.

In other news, I pretty much trashed my running shoes by running outside on Saturday. It was beautifully warm, but everything was covered by impossible to avoid deep dirty puddles. It was time for a new pair anyways, so I started doing some research. I wasn’t entirely happy with my Asics Gel-Nimbus because they are a little clunky. So last night I went online and narrowed it down to four pairs that I wanted to try out. I ordered all of them from Zappos because they have free shipping and return shipping. It’s probably slightly unethical to order four pairs of shoes with the intention of sending three back, but whatever. I wanted to test them out in the comfort of my own home.

Now comes the part where I fall head over heels in love with Zappos. I ordered the shoes last night around 7pm. The free standard shipping is 4-7 days, so I was hoping to get them by the end of the week. This morning I checked my email, and there was one from Zappos saying that they have upgraded my shipping method at no extra charge. Score! I tracked the package, and saw it was already out for delivery in Milwaukee. What?!? That’s right. I ordered the shoes at 7:00 last night, and at 1:30 this afternoon they showed up on my doorstep. How’s that for customer service?

Now the hard part. I really like 3 of the pairs. I am wearing 2 different pairs right now, one on each foot, trying to determine which is the most comfortable.

Option A: Brooks Glycerin 7

So far I think these are winning for comfort, but they are by far the ugliest. They are also the most expensive by about $25.

Option B: Mizuno Wave Rider 12

I like the looks of these the best. The red in the picture is actually kind of pink. They are really comfortable, and the second most expensive.

Option C: Saucony ProGrid Ride

These are the least expensive, and have a very similar feel to the Mizunos.

So what is a girl to do? They are all comfortable, and they all fit well. Short of actually running with each of them on a treadmill for a while, I don’t know how else to decide. Also, I realize that many running shoes are ugly, and we tend to sacrifice style for comfort, but the Brooks are really ugly. And expensive. But comfortable. I think I need to sleep on it.

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