Sunday, July 27, 2008

First 100k (62.0 miles) bike ride

With my cycling accident behind me now for one week as of today, I had a strong outing today with my very first 100k ride in roughly 3 hours and 20 minutes, or about 18-19 mph. I also had a decent 10 mile run yesterday morning at about 7:55 per mile, but still was feeling the effects of the wreck, so I wisely scaled it back from my scheduled 13-15 mile run. All in all, the wreck caused me to really only lose about 3-4 days of training, so that's nothing too difficult to overcome.

Since I do my training schedules on a Monday-Sunday basis, last week was completely thrown out of whack with only 2 runs and 2 cycling rides. With the Longhorn Half-Ironman now only 10 weeks from today, I hope tomorrow (Monday) to get right back into a strong running and cycling schedule.

Also, since the only swimming I am prohibited from doing would be anything such as freestyle or breaststroke where I pull with my hands, I plan to spend what would be my normal swimming time just doing kick techniques in the pool, then some overhead lat pull downs on the weight machines using only my elbows (this motion would closely simulate a freestyle stroke without my having to grip anything), and some in and out chest exercises (no grip necessary on these either). My hope is that these routines will keep my swimming muscles fresh and make my entry back into swimming regularly in late August easier.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hello (& Goodbye) Dolly, Welcome Back Running

Since my bike wreck on Sunday and then not being able to get in to get my hand x-rayed until yesterday, my plan was to run yesterday after I got my brace. Well, along comes Hurricane Dolly, and although the eye was about 200 miles southwest of Houston, we had some pretty strong outer rain bands yesterday and today.

I finally got out late this afternoon and to say it was warm and humid is an understatement. The reason the picture looks so fuzzy is because the air was so thick. This picture was taken right after my run, and I was soaked with sweat. Thankfully I went back to the doctor this morning and picked up an extra brace, so now I have one to train and then shower in, and one to wear that is clean during the day and night.

Tomorrow I get back on the bike...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cycling accident follow-up: fractured left finger

I finally got in to see the doctor today to have my left hand x-rayed and the results were a mix of good and bad news. With the Longhorn Half-Ironman now less than 11 weeks away, here is a brief summary of the x-rays and what my training looks like:

First, the bad news is that my left pinky finger is fractured, and i will need to wear a brace (picture) for the next 4 weeks to keep it immobilized. After that, the doctor believes my pinky and ring fingers can probably be "buddy-taped" together for a few more weeks and should heal back to normal. The bad news is that I will not be able to swim at all for at least the next 4 weeks. At thet point, the doctor will do another x-ray and it will just depend on it and how I feel as to how soon I can start swimming again. My guess is that I will be back in the pool sometime between August 20 and Septmber 1, which leaves me about 4-5 weeks to get back into swimming shape before the race.

The good news, actually great news, is that as long as I wear the brace I can continue to run and cycle just fine. Also, I need to thank God and reflect more on what happened and realize that my injuries could be signficantly worse.

I will improvise, I will adapt, I will overcome.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bad Wreck (aka "Stupid Drivers Who Run Stop Signs")

This post was going to be about my 30th high school reunion on Saturday, but unfortunately that will have to wait because I'm writing (actually typing with just my right hand because my left hand is useless at the moment) about a bad wreck I had yesterday, and I feel very lucky to be alive.

I was at about mile 40 of a planned 50-60 miler and was on a 4 lane backstreet of a neighborhood that is probably overall the quietest and safest stretch of road I ride on. I am a VERY defensive cyclist, and any time I see a car approaching a stop sign, light or intersection I always presume they will do the wrong thing. I was in the right lane and could hear and then see a car approaching the cross street to my right. I had the right of way with no stop sign, and the approaching car had a stop sign. Per usual, I applied my breaks to slow down a bit, and also checked my mirror to make sure the left lane beside me was open in case this car did the wrong thing (note to avid cyclists who laugh at people like me with a mirror). It appeared at first that this guy was going to stop, but instead he just kept on cruising out into the right lane where I was. Stupid thing is, had he been paying attention AT ALL, he should have looked my way regardless to check for oncoming cars, but he didn't. There was no sun in his eyes, nothing to block his view of me, he was just flat out careless. Since I knew the left lane was open, I began moving over into it, but this idiot just kept on moving over across the right lane and into the left lane until I was forced into the curb.

I went over the handlebars and the next thing I know I am lying on my face in the road with my bike on top of me. I knew instantly that I was hurt, but could not tell how badly. I laid there for a moment trying to regain my composure. By this time, the driver had pulled back over into the right hand lane, stopped, rolled his window down and says, "Are you ok?" I can't really repeat what I said to him next, but it was not kind. I was yelling at him asking him why he did not stop, and all he could muster was a feable, "oh, I thought I did." Then I said, "Well, IF you did, then why did you pull out in front of me and continue to move over until I was forced into the curb?", to which of course he had no response.

The damage to my body was pretty good. I have a long and bloody scrape on my right elbow, bloody knuckles, bloody left knee, but the worst of the injuries is to my left hand. When I hit the pavement, I obviously braced most of my fall by putting my hands out. The back of my left hand is so swollen that you can not see anything but a dome of smooth skin. My left pinky and ringer finger have joints that have mounds on them, and I can barely even move them. The palm of my left hand is swollen and bruised looking. Also, I hit with such force that it literally ripped my watch off of my left arm and the watch face took skin off part of my left wrist. I do not know at this point if anything in my left hand is broken. Right after the wreck, I noticed the swelling there and was able to (not without some pain) bend my left pinky and ring finger, but this morning can not move them at all. If they are not better by tomorrow morning, I will probably go in for some xrays.

As for my bike, there are some good scratches on the left gear lever, which also got bent in slightly, and scratches to other parts of the bike, but not the frame. My cycling shorts and top both got scraped up pretty good and have holes in them. Thankfully the bike was fully functional and I was able to ride it home ok.

Not once, not a single solitary time, did this guy say he was sorry. I think that infuriated me more than his lack of driving skills. I made him give me his insurance information, and I made it VERY clear to him that if he dared to say that he stopped and/or yielded to me that I would have myself hooked up to a polygraph immediately and I expected him to do the same. I can tell you without any doubt that had I not been a safe and defensive driver that he would have run over me and things would be way worse. One thing that has surprised me, I am not scared in the least bit to ride again, I am quite simply extremely pissed off. This was 100% unequivocally this guy's fault, and I am sure that has something to do with my demeanor.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Great weekend of training in spite of oppressive Houston heat

With 12 weeks to go (as of yesterday) until the Longhorn 70.3 my training is going exceedingly well. This past weekend Houston had heat indexes well in excess of 100 degrees, and even the early morning or late evening temps were still above 95. Here is how my weekend went:

Saturday morning ran 15 miles in 1:57:45 (7:51 overall pace per mile), with a negative split from the first to second 7.5 mile loops that I run, and my last mile was in 7:51, which told me that I paced myself well from start to finish and didn't slow up coming in. The heat index was about 93 when I finished the run with humidity around 80%, so I feel really good about my effort under those conditions.

Saturday afternoon swam 2500m (1.55 miles) at about a 2:00-2:01 pace per 100m.

Sunday afternoon road 56.0 miles on the bike (longest ride to date and equal to the Half-Ironman distance) at about a 19-20 mph pace (just slightly under 3 hours).

I have also been keeping track of the percentage of miles put into swimming, cycling and running to see how close they are coming to the percentages of the 3 events in the Half-Ironman. Thus far, I am up about 2% in the swim, down about 5% in the cycling and up about 4% in the running. These numbers to me are good because the cycling is still by far the easiest of the 3 for me, and putting slightly more focus on the swim and especially the run I think will help me much more in my overall training and on race day.

I'd love any input or comments from you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

First "official" 50 mile ride

I got my bike one month ago today, and have been riding about 4 times a week. I know from familiarity with the area where I live that I've already done at least one ride of about 50 miles, but I made it official on Sunday after adding an odometer. I think what surprised me the most was that my average speed was consistently in the 17-20 mph range, and on one long stretch of road I got it up to around 23-34 mph and held that pretty comfortably for a few miles. Mind you, I am in Houston and all of these rides are on flat ground, but living close to the gulf we get a pretty steady wind of 20+ mph and so half of my rides are pretty much dead into that. I am still really enjoying the cycling portion of my training and have yet to experience anything remotely close to fatigue when I get off the bike to do bricks, even after the 50 miler. Right now my minimum rides are 50km or more (31.0+ miles) three times a week, and then Sunday afternoon is my long ride. I hope to consistently add a couple of miles a week to that ride and try my first century ride sometime in late August or early September (that would be about 5-6 weeks before the Longhorn 70.3).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Proud husband and father

This past weekend my wife Susan and my son Robert returned from a mission trip with UMArmy (sponsored by the United Methodist Church) to Orange, Texas that included about 70 high schoolers and 15 work team adults. Believe it or not, they were there to assist with home repairs of underpriviledged people who were still struggling from Hurricane Rita almost 2 years ago. Susan was a work team leader, which meant she led 6 teenagers in her group. They built a wheelchair ramp for an elderly lady who had lost her right leg from the knee down and had not been able to get out of the house for over a year (her group pictured below with the lady they helped).

My son's group repaired a roof on a house where for 2 years the family had to use buckets every time it rained because water just poured in, and they had a 4 year old son. On the last night of the trip, they were asked if they would like to speak about anything that week where they felt like they had seen the face of God at work. My son stood up and said that he saw the face of God through the people he helped who had so much less than he did, yet were happy. My wife said that she witnessed it when she was taking a picture of 6 sweaty, dirty teenagers standing proudly by an elderly lady whom they had never known before that week, but made such an impact on her life.