Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Busting ass on the bike, new mtn bike PR

This one, I went for it.  I really busted my butt today in a near all out effort on my 10k mtn bike course (that includes gravel roads and numerous hill climbs).    I went out fast, up off the seat a lot.  Beat my previous PR by about 1:35 min.

Conditions:  dry, partly cloudy, 74º with occasional strong headwinds.   I was hampered a bit by equipment, my seat slid down and my up shifter was sticking.  I was also rude to a neighbor who stopped to tell me something from his car, I drove on by yelling, "Can't stop, doing a time trial!!"

New PR:  25:41

end of road - 5:14
turnaround - 13:12


Fasting today, blood work tomorrow.  Should easily be below 148 tomorrow.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Swim / nutrition

First time in the pool with aqua running and swimming.  Since a new exercise, I just did an easy 20 min 'jog', trying to maintain good form.  I followed with a brief 150m swim.

Trying to stay active, I did a leisurely bike ride for almost an hour around campus.  I ran into the local HS track coach, who I thought had retired, but he said he was back into it.  I rode over to the SAS campus and briefly watched their track practice.  Heh... watching a HS track practice, guess I really miss track.  I'd normally be getting ready to leave for Penn Relays this week.  I took the brace off to ride a bit, felt fine.  Not much difference.

Was lightest I've been in a while this morning, 148.5 lbs, but that doesn't mean I've lost much fat.   It just means I ate really light last night.  Today, I ate much more because tomorrow I'm fasting for 24 hrs for my annual blood work.  I weighed 153 after dinner.  Eating very smart though, pretty much zero carbs.

I've also drastically cut my sugar intake by using this natural sweetener:  Whole Earth Sweetener.  It's a mixture of stevia, and monk fruit.  Best sugar substitute I've had.  Use it in coffee/cappuccino, tea, and most of all, in limeade - very low calorie, which I've been drinking a lot of instead of the usual high calorie orange juice.

I made a real tasty protein snack last night, salmon jerky.  It's really a delicacy, it took over 3 lbs of salmon to make just one pound of jerky.  I swear I could eat the whole pound in a sitting.  It's a really great snack or compliment to a meal.  Packed with protein, low carb.  It has 15 grams of protein per ounce.  It's similar to eating bacon but more meaty and without the grease and dangerous nitrite preservatives.   I'm going to have to make this more often.  It's easy.

    salmon jerky

Saturday, April 20, 2019

New PR on mtn bike circuit

I wrote this post on Tues, 4/16 .... Beautiful day... 72º, sunny, windy.   Started out like last time, just going to ride the course and not push it... but.  I went for it again and increased my PR to 27:05.  Better than a minute faster than last PR.  This one I won't try to break for a while.  I really pushed it from the start.  6.5 miles with several hill climbs each way.

For my records...
end of gravel road - 5:46
turn around - 13:46 
Time: 27:05 minutes

more stationary bike, quote

After walking around in the rain at Sewanee's annual track meet on Friday evening, I went to the gym and did 20 x15 sec sprint intervals with 45 sec rest on the stationary bike.

On Thurs., one of the last days of school, the knee started hurting a bit after repeated stair climbs but feels ok now after the workout.

Been eating well but it's taking a long time for the weight to come off.  Still averaging about 150-151 lbs.  149.8 lbs this Sat. morning, lowest in a while.

I saw this quote that sums up why some people live better than others.  I think if you say or think this on a regular basis, it's a recipe for eventual problems ...

When people start a sentence with "Life is too short to not... " it's most often to justify an activity that they are addicted to and will shorten their lives.

The Sewanee track meet had some terrible weather, although it could have been worse.  The rain was light and the temperature about 43º. 

A first in an NCAA track meet…. At Sewanee’s annual Mountain Laurel Invitational, the meet was small and there were many scratches.  By end of the meet, only one men’s and one women’s 4x400m teams remained, both from the home team. Everyone else had left. So, they ran them together, guys vs girls. They could find only one baton, so the men used a water bottle!  No one wanted to wait for someone to run back to the school and get another baton.  The guys had about 100m on the girls by this first exchange.  I thought the guys might have a shot at lapping the women, but they won by 300m in a not so impressive time of 3:52.   Slower than most of the masters teams I've run with.  (GPTC ran 3:46 at Millrose one yr.)

By the first hand off of the water bottle, the Sewanee Men had a slight lead over the Women's team

Two years ago at this meet, it was a beautiful night for track, 68º, no wind. I ran the 200m in 24.84, which was at the time #2 in the world in my M55 age group.  I had won the M55 World Indoor 200m Championship in Korea just a few weeks before.  I think this was the last time I ran sub 25.

Great memories ... I got the Sewanee 4x4 team together for this photo at the end of the meet.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Food review: 'miracle' pasta

In a search for low carb low calorie food, I tried the konjac noodles today, also known as shirataki noodles ... and they were ok!  Really not much different than a traditional Asian rice noodle.

The brand: NOoodles has a somewhat 'miraculous' nutritional profile:  ZERO calories and ONE gram of carb:

So, when eating something with a nearly miraculous zero carb / zero calorie rating, you can't expect it to taste like wheat and egg pasta. Actually, if it tastes ok and has decent texture, then it's a huge win... and this pasta is just that.  It has no real flavor of it's own, and takes on the flavor of the sauce or what it's prepared with.  I wouldn't say it's particularly 'filling', but it fills the bill as a pasta dish.  The NOoodles brand comes packed in lime water.  Just 3 ingredients: water, lime, yam flour.

I prepared my first test as follows.  Empty water out of package, soak for a few minutes in warm salted vinegar water, dry fry on high heat, remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil, Italian spices, paprika, and minced garlic.  Sauté at med heat for a few minutes.  It was ok!  Not bad at all!  Not real filling for a half pound serving but I didn't add much to it.  The 'angel hair' pasta isn't really as small as regular angel hair, but like small spaghetti.  The $3 cost per serving is a bit high compared to traditional pasta but it's worth it. $36 for a 12 pack/ 8 oz.  This would be good in a Asian pho-type soup with seafood and vegetables.

What is it?
It's from the Chinese konjac yam.  From Wiki:

The dried corm of the konjac plant contains around 40% glucomannan gum. This polysaccharide makes konjac jelly highly viscous and may be responsible for many of its health benefits as used in traditional Chinese medicine, detoxification, tumour-suppression, blood stasis alleviation and phlegm liquefaction. Konjac has almost no calories, but is very high in fiber. Thus, it is often used as a diet food. Konjac fiber-rich flour contains neither gluten nor fat, almost no carbohydrates, and has just 60 calories per kilogram, compared to 3,680 for wheat.  The dietary fiber from konjac is used as a component of weight loss supplements. Konjac supplementation at modest levels has been shown to promote increased butyric acid through improved bowel flora ecology and increase bowel movements in constipated adults.

Glad to have discovered this.  Wow... only 1.6% of the calories of wheat.  THAT is pretty miraculous.

Here was the first trial:

My spicy shrimp pho... a filling meal and under 125 calories.  Really.  Might be under 100.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


It's a great life in Sewanee... waking up to this incredible view, enjoying some volatile spring weather that has sent winds gusting to 47 mph today and storms last night.   I drove to the cathedral to practice guitar after midnight amid the lightning.  The cold front is coming through now and the temperature is rapidly dropping.  Expecting 36º tonight after a high of 71º today.

Yesterday, I decided to push my usual bike route - a 6.5 mile out and back with 5 good hard hill climbs each way.   I timed it as a standard to beat.  Came in at 30:13.  Then I went to the gym last night and did a stationary bike 19 x 15 sec sprint set w/ 45 sec rest, (taking 23 minutes with warmup and cool down).   I always finish with a 30 sec sprint.   I'm going to keep cranking it up each time, one set / one minute more ... so next time, 20 x 15 sec sprints.    I also did glute machine, adductors, 70º leg press, pecks, rows, pullups. 

I was going to swim today but couldn't find my goggles so I ordered some more.  I may go to do some water running tomorrow.  Instead... back on the bike.

So today, I did my ab routine and 12 pull ups.  I wasn't going to bike again, but since I didn't swim, I thought I'd do the course but not really push it.  So much for that.  As soon as I turned on my stopwatch, I went for it and completed the course 2 minutes faster than last time.  28:12 is the new standard.  Not bad since part of the return was into a very stiff wind.  So... in my usual format:

Mountain bike 6.5 mile circuit - 30:13 
19 x 15 sec sprints w/ 45 sec rest - cybex stationary bike  
50 x each side w/ 270 lbs - glute machine 
adductors, 70º leg press, pull ups, rows, pecks
Tabata ab routine - 8 x 20 sec sets 
12 pull ups 
Mountain bike 6.5 mile circuit - 28:12 

It's always a tendency for me to set goals based on time when training.  When I was a kid, my favorite toys were stopwatches and measuring tapes.  My brother and I would go outside every summer day and try to "make and break records."  I guess I haven't changed too much.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Staying active / losing weight

It's springtime in the Cumberland and I'm enjoying the solitude and beauty of the outdoors. The wildflowers are out and I'm on the trail and the bike.

Being here in Sewanee, I can live a very active life... hike, bike, swim, gym, stationary bike, weights - all in the same day.   Pool is open Sunday so I'm going for my first swim and aqua running session.  I'm up to a 22 min stationary bike interval program that is 17 x 15 sec sprints with a 45 sec rest (with a warmup and cool down).  Going to keep upping the intervals, 18 x 15 sec next time.

Last weekend I walked too far and felt some pain, but that is thankfully gone.  I weighed less than 150 lbs for the first time in weeks but my daily avg is still over 150.  It is coming off though.   I'm back to taking daily collagen and glucosamine supplements after briefly running out.  Also eating better.  Using less sugar and eating once meal a day, but will start eating a little oat bran in the morning.  Using Whole Earth Sweetener - a zero cal sugar substitute, and going to try carb free konjac noodles.  Still have a ways to go, at least 5 lbs,  more would be better. 

I'm about half way to my first running which should be about July 4th to be safe ...or about 11-12 weeks away.  I'll find out more when I see doc in June.

Looking forward to watching my local track meet next weekend and the Penn Relays on TV.  There is an MTSU freshman that has just run an amazing 400m / 200m double yesterday and will be interesting to see if he develops.  W. Wright ran a 46.75 / 21.06 double at the TN Relays this weekend.  Pretty astounding times for a freshman.  If he gets faster, he could be elite level.  He's also trying to triple jump which I hope he stops and focuses on his 400m.  MTSU also had a 21.05 sprinter and looks to put together some really fast relay teams for Penn.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Bike - weights - progress

Made a little progress and dropped a few lbs with good activity and very light eating past few days.  Dropped from 154 lbs to 151 lbs, still a long way to go.  I figure, with the loss of muscle mass, my lean weight should be in the low 140s.  Both Monday and Tues I did my usual mountain bike circuit of 6.5 miles with some hill climbs.  It took me about 37 minutes to complete the ride.  I'll start timing it precisely and try to do it faster next time.  I also did the sprint interval workout on the stationary bike Sunday and Monday night - a 20 min regime that is 16 x 15 sec standup sprints with 45 sec rest in between.  On the last sprint I push it to 30 seconds.  It gets my heart rate over 140 for several minutes, peak to 160.  I also did weights Mon and Tues night.  And... drills - A marches and A skips - while looking at my reflection in a window to work on my running form.  No running for at least 12+ weeks but this is a good way to work on form.

Next workout will probably be Fri evening.  Looking forward to a warm weekend and more biking.  

Monday, April 1, 2019

Time to get to work / WR erased

Just 'normal' exercise isn't going to be enough to get back into shape.  Even after riding my bike 20+ miles this weekend and doing some hiking, my weight is a problem, still at 154 lbs  ... after some late night practicing (music) and snacking.   By 'normal' standards, I exercise and eat healthy, but 'normal' isn't going to cut it.

Yes, time to get to work. Tired of being fat. I snacked on bananas and nuts last night.   I have to exercise 2x a day and eat less than 1000 calories. No more late night snacking.   No more cafeteria.   Going to bike today and gym tonight.   It starts now.   I pledge to lose 6+ lbs by the end of the month.   When I put my tights on to run in June, I want to be back to 145.    Maybe this will help the nearly debilitating swelling and numbness that has gotten worse with my left hand.

No longer a WR holder - France sets M55 4x200m WR

As I expected might happen, our 'official' 4x200m world record by the '16 Team USA was broken by France, their 1:39.40 bested our 1:40.22.   However, our 1:37.88 that was nullified due to an officials mistake is still far ahead of the 'official' WR.

That 2016 season's Indoor Nationals in Albuquerque - where that relay debacle occurred - was an awesome meet for me with some fast times.  I won the 400m in 55.22 and Bronze in the 200m in 24.65, just 0.01 behind Don and 0.21 behind Alan, both World Champions.  That 24.65 was my fastest indoor and 4th fastest as a masters.   If we had Alan on that relay team (who ran 24.44), our WR time would have been even faster, but we got Ben from the M60 age group to come down.  To revisit that relay debacle and why that record was legit, read the blog post for the full story.  In a nutshell, our record was nullified because the officials failed to mark the stagger for the first handoff zone, but that didn't affect us because we were in lane 2 and our hand off occurred exactly where it should have, there is video to prove it.   The 2nd leg break was correctly marked.  Quoting from the blog post which I showed with diagrams and photos why the first hand off was legal:

...The track wasn't marked properly for a 3 turn stagger and all the leadoff runners handed the first handoff at the same line - which was wrong.  BUT... since we were in lane two, the stagger in our lane was only a few meters and the video PROVES that the handoff from Don to Jim occurred exactly in the center of the zone, even though it wasn't marked (until the next day).  Here is the leadoff handoff from Don to Jim.  It occurred in lane 2 about 2 meters at most beyond the finish line.  As the diagram below shows, they nailed it ... the handoff was legal. 

They should have shut the meet down for 45 min and just marked the track, but no!   Our second attempt at the relay record, even though we got it by .22,  wasn't nearly as good.  We were tired, handoffs were lame, and we just didn't have the edge we had on day 2.   We averaged 25.05 a leg compared with 24.47 the day before.  Too bad, the first record might have stood for decades.