Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Down and Out

I've got the flu! No Rocky Raccoon for me this weekend. I haven't felt this bad in a long, long time.

I'm pretty disappointed. I've been looking at the race calendars to find my next race but nothing seems to work with my schedule. I'd prefer a 50 miler or longer.

I'll let you know if I find anything. Good luck to everyone who is racing this weekend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Update on Things

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I haven't had much to say. Here's a quick status of things going on:

1. Bicycle Commuting: This has been great. I've really been enjoying the ride and the extra workout. I've been able to ride three days a week so far, although this week I will only ride one day due to my travel schedule and visits to customer sites. Next week I probably won't ride at all because I'm tapering for Rocky Raccoon.

I found a slightly different route that crosses I-635 at a different place and is much safer and more pleasant. It's also slightly shorter. The Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association (DORBA) has a Bike Commuter forum and an online tool to track everyone's commuting mileage to use for advocacy purposes. So far I am the #2 commuter, although since I can't bike much this week or next I will probably drop in the rankings. So far since January 1 I've biked about 237 miles; 224 of those miles were commuting.

To help with commuting I took a week's worth of clothes up to my office so I didn't have to carry a backpack every day. That made the ride a little more pleasant and less effort; I will continue to do that when it makes sense.

2. Ultra Training: My training has been a little spotty this month. I went through a period where I was having trouble getting up in the morning to train. I rode my bike most of those days so I still got a good workout, but I would have preferred to walk and ride.

I did a 27 mile trail walk on January 8th, and a 24 mile paved trail walk on January 21st. I tried to do a long trail walk the next day (January 22nd) but it was raining and cold and the trails were so muddy and slick, and I was so wet and cold, that I couldn't complete my planned mileage; I only did seven miles. For the month I've only walked 93 miles.

My next race is less than two weeks away: Rocky Raccoon 100. This will be my first 100 mile trail race and I'm very excited. Even though my training has been slow this month, I feel ready for the race. I've developed a very conservative race plan that gives me plenty of time to finish under the cutoffs (30 hours) and I feel confident that if I don't have any injuries (and the weather is not wet) I will be able to finish.

That's all for now. I don't know when I'll have something worthwhile to post so my updates will be infrequent. Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their training/racing/resting/whatever.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

My New Commute

I've always wanted to bike to work, but I never knew if it would be realistic (and I didn't have a bike!). Well I bought an inexpensive mountain bike at Target on New Year's Day. I bought it primarily to ride with my daughter since she got a new bike from Santa. But I decided to take advantage of the new wheels and see if a bike commute would be feasible.

Dallas has very few bike trails, but like most cities it has designated surface bike routes on city streets. So I did some research and found an interactive map where you can see the bike routes (current and future). I then used the excellent Gmaps Pedometer to find my own route and map the distance. My route turned out to be about 9.5 miles one way, so for me about 50 to 60 minutes of riding. Perfect! An extra two hours of working out should help with weight loss and leg strength.

My first ride in was great. There are some significant hills on the route so it's quite a work out. There's only one area that's really scary, and that's riding on Audelia and crossing Interstate 635; lots of cars and merging traffic. You can see the route and the hills on Motion Based. If you have a Garmin Forerunner you should check out Motion Based; it's pretty cool!

My ride home was good but I didn't realize how dark it would get. I felt pretty unsafe during the last 20 minutes because I didn't have any lights on my bike. So after getting home last night I ran over to a bike store and bought a red tail light, a head light and a rear-view mirror for my helmet.

Today's commute in was also great. So far I really like the bike commute. To make up for the extra time I've been skipping my morning latte (saves me some calories!) and eating a really quick breakfast. I don't want my commute to affect my time with my family.

I don't think I'll do it every day, and I don't know what I'll do as it gets warmer, but right now it's awesome! And I'm saving money on gas and making one teeny tiny contribution to helping the planet. If you have the opportunity, give it a shot.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2006 Plans and Goals

I've been struggling with my 2006 race plans. I've decided to race less and train more. I had a great year last year, but I raced too much and wasn't able to train like I should. I want to train hard this year and improve my speed and endurance. So I may only do seven races this year (compared to 10 in 2005 and 16 in 2004). In general my races will be well spaced to give me time to recover and train (the February/March races are a little close together, but they are "must do" races so I'll make it work).

Here are my racing plans for 2006:
2/4/2006 - Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile. Goal: First trail 100

3/17/2006 through 3/19/2006 - Three Days of Syllamo stage race (20k, 60k, 50k). Goal: Have fun!

5/6/2006 - Prickly Pear 50k. Goal: 50k PR

10/14/2006 - Heartland 100 Mile. Goal: 100 mile PR

12/9/2006 - Sunmart 50 Mile. Goal: 50 Mile PR. Fantasy Goal: Break 11 hours
My personal goals for 2006 are pretty simple:
1. Lose 12-15 pounds.
2. Get a bike and cross train.
3. Work on speed.
That's it. Keeping it simple.

Since I'm talking about goals, I'd also like to state my long term goals and my fantasy goals:

Long Term Goals:
2007 - Badwater

2008 - Trans-Texas Run

2009 - Gobi March
Fantasy Goals:
Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail
Walk Across America
The Grand Slam
Other Races I'd like to do:
Desert R.A.T.S.
Trans Korea Ultramarathon (308 km)
Sahara Stage Race
Pikes Peak Marathon
Hard Rock
That's all for now. Good luck in the new year! I hope 2006 brings everyone happiness and success.