Saturday, December 30, 2006

training round-up, week ending 12-30-06

so this was recovery week, and a 10-day trip to visit the folks. i pretty much did piddly-doo. which was expected and planned. i needed a rest, even though i'm still having anxiety attacks wondering if i'm losing all the conditioning i worked so hard to get (yeah, you get this all the time once you go Ironman).

for a couple of days my diet went to all hell, with mostly fried food and fat-rich cakes and desserts. but as is always the case whenever i visit my parents, my overall caloric intake went down, so i probably ended up losing some weight. so maybe it'll be all right in the end. we'll see.

sunday, dec. 17

  • brick: stationary bike, 30 minutes + treadmill, 30 minutes (easy), aerobic conditioning (zone 2)
  • weight training (chest, shoulders, abs), 20 minutes, immediately following

monday, dec. 18

rest day

tuesday, dec. 19

  • treadmill (easy), 45 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2)
  • weight training (back, abs), 30 minutes, immediately following

wednesday, dec. 20

rest day

thursday, dec. 21

rest day

friday, dec. 22

rest day

saturday, dec. 23

rest day

Friday, December 29, 2006

too much exercise? over-reaching and over-training

these people have no idea:

basically, the gist of the article is that too much exercise results in injuries and that researchers argue because of this exercise should be limited to 12 hours per week.

12 hours per week.

that's all?!?!

they sure haven't been talking to any triathletes i know. or, for that matter, any athletes in general i know.

i'd be ecstatic if i could get my coach to let me go with 12 hours per week.

i don't know anybody in sports who's working with a limit of 12 hours per week. in fact, i'd guarantee that 12 hours is a minimum, and that if they went under 12 they'd be suffering major losses in conditioning and health.

this article is one of those health & fitness pieces that drives me nuts, and which i find in equal parts humorous, frustrating, and disappointing.

it's humorous because a few years ago i probably would have accepted it as gospel, and with everybody else who read the article i would have run off and adjusted my workout routine to match it without questioning its reasoning or premise. more than this, i would have cited it as authoritative fact to every random stranger, friend, or relative within earshot. after all, like everybody else, i look at it as a product of a reputable and well-known news source (CNN), and so view it as having legitimacy (or at least more legitimacy than some other sources you might find on the internet).

it's frustrating, because the article greatly over-simplifies a very complex issue, and because of the over-simplification ends up issuing a broad solution that is excessively general. the article introduces an apparent trend of increasing injuries from people who are engaged in exercise, and then refers to sources that indicate most of the injuries occurring with people who engage in exercise above a certain time period (12 hours), and that there's diminishing fitness returns beyond 12 hours per week because of such injuries. based on this apparently simple connection, it construes the basic logical conclusion that (voila!) the injuries will be reduced if people kept to a general limit of exercise under 12 hours.

while logical, it's an over-simplified distortion. just because there's a correlation between the level of exercise and the number of injuries does not mean there's a direct relationship (i.e., it does not mean that exercise causes injuries). this is because there may be other conceivable variables at play in determining the relationship between extended exercise and injuries. what about subjects' age? background in physical activity? understanding of exercise and training? current level of health? history of health and injuries? nature of exercise? these are all potentially influential variables that are readily apparent on a superficial introductory survey of the article and exercise science in general. they're what researchers would label as alternative causal factors--alternative causes of the results in question (injuries).

as a result, the edict of a 12-hour weekly limit on exercise is excessively general. while it may certainly address the problem of injury, it may not really address the true cause of the problem, such as improper training methods, mistakes in exercise, pre-exisiting health problems, endemic vulnerability to injury, etc. more than this, it denies the possibility that more specific and appropriate solutions to injury exist that allow people to adjust the benefit incurred vs. time exercising balance enough to justify exceeding the 12-hour time limit. in other words, that with solutions targeting the actual problems of injury, it eliminates the diminishing returns over the 12-hour ceiling produced by those injuries, and hence makes it easier to justify pursuit of added fitness gains found by training more.

the article is also disappointing, because it is actually partially right. too much exercise in too little time with too little preparation and too little recovery will definitely result in injury. but this doesn't mean that people should stop exercising, or that they should ever limit themselves. what the article should have done is to recommend that people get better educated about how to take on more exercise over a proper period of time using proper preparation with proper recovery.

every seriously dedicated athlete i know follows a very clear, specific, and organized training schedule that sets workouts with definitive purposes on a plan that recognizes each athlete's background, goals, current level of fitness, and current need for building conditioning or skills or taking time for rest. almost every one of those plans regularly rises to more than 12 hours per week in a way that avoids injury. and every athlete--and every sport--recognizes that there are worthwhile (and in some ways necessary) fitness gains to be found in training more than 12 hours per week. in Ironman, for example, triathletes regularly put in 20-24 hour training weeks just to improve their chances of finishing the 140.6 mile distance of the race (professionals who actually compete in Ironmans for time actually put in more).

there are fitness gains worth having that can be obtained beyond the 12-hour per week barrier, and that can be had without injury. rather than issuing an over-generalized 12-hour limit, the article should have focused on 2 more useful concepts related to injury risk that are more widely accepted within the sports medicine and exercise science community of research: over-reaching and over-training.
  • over-reaching: over-reaching is the condition where a person attempts to perform workouts that are beyond the body's current ability to accomplish them. done properly, over-reaching is part of every workout, in the sense that a person improves by engaging in activity greater than what their body is used to, pushing the body to adapt by improving its capacities. however, done improperly, over-reaching exposes the body to risk of injury, in that it will induce serious tears or ruptures in muscles, tendons, ligaments, or bone.
  • over-training: over-training is the state where a person is pushing their body so hard (either in volume or intensity) in training that they have overwhelmed their body's ability to recover. biologically, this causes a deterioration in the body at the cellular level, with mitochondria in the body's cells literally distintegrating, reducing the ability to produce energy or repair cellular decay. the result is chronic fatigue, weakness, or even systemic failure. it also leaves the body susceptible to over-reaching and concomitant risk of injury.
these are actually medically recognized and researched subjects that have become pretty big topics as athletes have continued to push the boundaries of what has been previously perceived notions of human physical limits. some useful (and more basic) references are:
what's important to observe about over-reaching and over-training is that they are not inevitable. they can be managed. they can be treated. more importantly, they can be prevented and avoided. all it takes is knowledge, sensitivity to body signals, diligence in following training guidelines, careful scheduling of workout and recovery, and proper nutrition. if dealt with properly, sports medicine has shown that risk of injury can be reduced, and that people can thereby pursue exercise to achieve greater fitness goals.

this makes the 12-hour limit posited by the CNN piece needlessly arbitrary, and in many ways a disservice to audience members who could benefit from more exercise. the danger is not from exercise done excessively; the danger is from exercise done improperly. a more nuanced approach would have provided CNN readers with a better grasp as to the factors that are involved in injury during exercise, a better explanation as how injuries arise, and a thereby better way of dealing with the risk that is more accurate and beneficial to physical fitness.

lord knows, looking around at all the bellies and rear ends jiggling on the streets, this society sure could use it.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

the ironman card

contrary to what some people might think, being an athlete doesn't really score much points with the opposite sex.

seriously, it doesn't.

oh sure, yeah, you see football players and basketball players and some athletes from some select random sports rolling in groupies and flesh and bodies just being thrown at them in every conceivable manner of bacchanalia.

but those guys aren't getting action simply because they're just athletes. they're getting play because they're affiliated with big-time big-name big-profile programs, which means that they're benefiting from a halo of something so many people desire most: g-l-a-m-o-u-r. the sense of being around someone (or something) famous, meaning you're famous just being around that someone (or something) famous, meaning you're the epicenter of attention, meaning you're as important as your secret inner megalomaniac really desires to be.

athletes who aren't tied to big-time big-name big-profile programs are in another class. in a way, given the nature of glamour, they might as well be in another country. in some ways, it even feels like another another another life...with nobody around.

it's funny to me, because like most other men one of the reasons i got into sport was for girls.

i'm not alone. ask any man. we all want that aura of physical superiority, that air that we're somehow different and better, that vibe that yes, we are that good and that baaaaaaad. and we want this for one main reason: girls. to impress them. to get them. to get them to like us. and if we're really lucky, to do a little more than just like us.

it's funny, because it's ended up not being the case.

it's funny, because there are no girls.

get it?

ha ha ha. quite a joke, yeah? guess who the joke's on? ha ha ha!

you see, i happen to be in a sport that gets absolutely no attention and has absolutely no profile and offers absolutely no name-brand recognition and features absolutely no publicly identifiable heroes. in fact, most people don't even know it exists. and if they do, they couldn't even identify what it involves or who is involved in it. i chose a sport called triathlon.

so guess what this means when me and the guys stroll around trolling for girls?

nothing. nada. zip. zilch. zero.

we get a lot of blank stares, quizzical looks, polite smiles. sometimes we don't even get that. sometimes we get the "i'm ignoring you...and if i ignore you long enough, you'll go away."

and you'd think that by joining the ranks of the one segment of triathlon that does have some level of name awareness--Ironman--that this might change. after all, for most people Ironman is the first thing that comes into their minds when you mention triathlon. and most athletes (and most of the people who follow athletics) know and recognize Ironman. and anybody who knows anything about sports in general concedes about the level of difficulty and hardship involved with Ironman. meaning, you'd think that as an Ironman i'd be the man. the player. just overwhelmed with the ladies.

but it's not that way. it's not what you'd think.

in fact, it's quite the opposite.

most of a triathlete's life--especially an Ironman's life--is in a near-perpetual state that is best described as ascetic. if you're training, and training seriously, and particularly if you're training seriously for competition, your life as a triathlete is one of rigid schedules, fixed times, filled hours, and austere time management. as a triathlete, each day you wake up before the sun to get your workout, you chase some time to get your meals, you obsess over training volume and intensity, you become neurotic over recovery and nutrition, you become hypersensitive to scheduling work and school and training sessions (and not in that order), you hurry to cram in a second afternoon or evening workout, and then you religiously crawl into bed as early as possible to get your required sleep, to begin it all again the very next day.

there's not much time in there for hanging out, chilling with friends, or chasing after girls and getting digits and e-mail and photos and Facebook profiles. which means there's not much action, and there's very little play.

if anything, being an Ironman is in all truth a very lonely, very quiet, very strenuous life confined by the necessity, discipline, and desire to commit to doing things most other people would not do, to sacrificing things most other people would not surrender, for a goal that most other people do not have.

and you might think that maybe by being an athlete--even an Ironman--you get to meet girls who are also athletes--and even Ironwomen. and you might think that if the guys are amazing physical specimens, then we can only imagine what the girls are like.

but that's not the case either.

because there, you see, is the fact that most triathletes, particular those involved with Ironman, are men. there just aren't that many women in the sport. you can just see it at the races. it's mostly guys. it's just not something that seems to appeal to girls.

so again, we're left out by ourselves.

i'm afraid the truth of the matter is that girls tend to view us as an oddity. you might even use the word curiousity. you can definitely use the word weird. but then beyond this they'll just stop, and just move on to someone else. and even if they do come around to being with us, they'll eventually leave because they just can't believe how consuming our lives really are.

a buddy of mine who used to be on the swim team and is now a world-class Ironman tells me i have it all wrong. he says the word isn't "oddity," but rather "studly." it's not "curiousity" but "awe-inspiring." it's not "weird" but "overwhelming." he insists that the girls are just intimidated by us and are therefore scared into hanging out with us. he says i'm presenting us all wrong. he says i need to use "the card."

ah yes, the card.

evidently, on the swim team they have something called "the swimmer's card." basically, all that a swimmer has to do to impress a girl is to casually bring up in conversation that they're on the swim team and they'll suddenly find themselves magically elevated to an exalted status of a god. need to make yourself stand out from a group of schmoes glomming onto a potential hottie? tell her you're a swimmer. need to make break that layer of ice and soften things up for conversation? tell her you're a swimmer. need to get yourself a date and moving beyond just this awkward moment of silence? tell her you're a swimmer.

my buddy tells me it's because girls know a swimmer is a very, very, very special physical specimen. they're lean. they're ripped. they can last all night in bed. they're smooth-shaven to the point of kinky. they have a body that looks great in speedos. they are, in short, hot. it doesn't matter how ugly a swimmer is, or how lame their jokes are, or how ugly their face is. if all a girl knows is that a guy's a swimmer, then he's automatically better than anything else she's going to meet tonight, next weekend, or the rest of her life.

the swimmer's card. bring it out for a hook-up near you.

my buddy, who has also become an Ironman, extends this logic to make "the Ironman card."

he tells me that if girls are doing this anytime they know a guy's a swimmer, then imagine what they'll do if they know he's an Ironman. i mean, an Ironman does oodles and oodles more swimming than a typical swimmer, and he does it in conjunction with oodles and oodles more of cycling and running too. and an Ironman is even more lean, and even more ripped. and if a swimmer can go all night, then an Ironman can go all night, all day, through tomorrow, and until the end of the week. and (somehow) an Ironman is even more smooth-shaven, and (somehow) looks better in a whole lot less than speedos. all of which means we're beyond hot. we're freakin' on fire (or, since he's mexican, we're freakin' en fuego).

all we need to do is just to bring out the Ironman card. casually. with aplomb. right in front of her eyes. and then just stand back and let the fireworks begin.

of course, this is about the time i tell my buddy that the reason the swimmer's card works so well at our school is because our university has a world-class swim program, and is world-famous for consistently producing professional and Olympic-caliber swimmers on a yearly basis. it is, in other words, famous. meaning it has g-l-a-m-o-u-r. which goes back to what i said at the start of this post (reference: the start of this post). meaning that girls aren't loving him because of the swimmer's card, they're loving him because he's affiliated with a program that's big-time, big-name, big-profile, and therefore they're bound to be just as big being next to someone like him (reference: the start of this post).

my buddy usually responds to this with a quizzical look, a moment of silence, a little bit of thinking, and then a few muttered words of frustration. after some head-scratching, he'll frown, look down on the ground, hunch over, and then wander away.


because you see, he lost his NCAA eligibility, and is now no longer on the swim team. he's no longer big. now he's just an Ironman. with his Ironman card.

and no girls.

and that's when i shrug, run after him, pat him on the back, and join him as we saunter on down the sidewalk.

it's okay, dude, i always say. there's gots to be some hot chicks around here somewhere. and sooner or later, some of them are actually going to check us out and give us the time of their day.

and yeah, it sucks, don't it?

because you see, contrary to what some people might think, being an Ironman really doesn't score much points with the opposite sex.

Friday, December 22, 2006

training round-up, week ending 12-23-06

this week was a near fiasco.

i'd wanted this to be a final build week that culminated a 4-week cycle heading into a 10-day recovery period over the holidays (coinciding, conveniently enough, with a visit to my parents for Christmas and New Years Day). to that end, i'd wanted to hit 3 "key" or "break-through" workouts: a 3600 meter swim, an 80 mile bike ride, and a fast 10 mile run.

but the following issues occurred:
  • pool closure. they closed lap swimming at MacDonald's stadium because they couldn't find any lifeguards. boooooooooooo!!! this put a MAJOR hole in my training schedule. i managed to get the swim in at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, but that was after paying $10 for a visit...meaning i paid money for a long swim, since it gave me my money's worth, but i didn't get in the recovery swims, which i just couldn't justify $10 on.
  • track closure. they're resurfacing Loker Track Stadium. double boooooooooooo!!! this freakin' SANK my training schedule, since i'd been planning to use the track for recovery runs and some technique work. i thought about using the Rose Bowl fields as a substitute, but their conditions are HORRIBLE. os basically i lost 2 run workouts. not major. but important.
  • lingering soreness and exhaustion. i am a little puzzled on this. my body periodically does this. i take it as a sign of either over-reaching or over-training. if i push through it or ignore it, i risk going into over-training syndrome--and i've done this and i've been there, and it takes months to get out. i suspect the prior weeks were a little tougher than i thought--or more than i can handle at this point in the training schedule. as a result, i scaled back my plans and nixed the run to rest up for the bike ride...and ended up almost nixing the bike ride too.
  • rain. making the trails muddy. meaning i got an additional excuse not to run. yeah, i know, this is lame. but i figured it wasn't really about rain making the trails too muddy, but really rather about the Ironman gods saying NO RUNNING.
sunday, dec. 17

rest day

monday, dec. 18


  • brick: stationary bike, 30 minutes + treadmill, 15 minutes (recovery), aerobic conditioning (zone 2), lyons center, start time 7am
  • weight training (chest, abs), 45 minutes, immediately following

tuesday, dec. 19

  • long swim (intervals, 3x400m swim, 3x400m pull), 3600 meters, aerobic conditioning & muscular endurance (zone 3), Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, start time 10:30 am

wednesday, dec. 20

rest day

thursday, dec. 21

  • long bike ride (build), 80 miles, muscular endurance (zone 3 & zone 4), Irwindale to Newport Beach and back, start time 9am


  • kung fu (recovery), 30 minutes, Garfield Park, start time 4pm
friday, dec. 22

rest day

saturday, dec. 23

rest day

80-mile bike ride

yesterday was the 80-mile bike ride.

i used a portion of a route i normally follow for a 100-mile bike ride. you can see it at:

if i wanted to go a 100 miles, the route goes from Irwindale (with the start point at the Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area) down to Newport Beach (with the midway point at the Jetty View Park), and then back again. for the 80-mile ride, i ended up just using a turn-around point at Bolsa Chica State Beach. i had an alum who is also training for Ironman as a ride buddy.

originally, i'd intended this ride to be a solid training session focusing on muscular endurance, with a goal of holding an average speed of 18-19 mph over 4-5 hours. essentially, the goal in these kinds of workouts is to develop your muscles' abilities to maintain a certain level of power output (measurable in watts) for a sustained period of time. the specified target numbers reflect steps towards desired performance level over the 112-mile bike leg of an Ironman race. long bike rides later in the training schedule will be longer and faster, but at this stage things are still early enough (14 weeks out) that the training plan is still building distance and speed.

leading into it i'd gotten a little apprehensive, as i was still feeling a certain amount of residual soreness from workouts in previous weeks. it's something that happens to me periodically, and tells me that i've either been over-reaching in training (i.e., doing workouts beyond what my body is capable of at a particular moment in the training cycle) or allowing insufficient recovery time (i.e., not giving my body adequate time or nutrition to rest, rebuild, and grow). my fear was that as a result of the state of my legs i would 1) not get in the desired level of effort i wanted to maximize the training benefits, and 2) push myself into an overtraining state (i.e., working my body or depriving it of rest to an extent that i enter a state of chronic degeneration--literally have the cells in my body start to fall apart).

for all that, i really wanted to stick to my training schedule and i was loathe to cancel a ride that other people were counting on (and had planned around). that, and this is what's considered a "key" or "break-through" workout in the sense that is a crucial turning point (or key point, technically called an "inflection point") in the conditioning curve where an athlete is supposed to enter (or break through) a higher plateau of capability, and so is a workout that CANNOT be missed.

the ride down to the beach wasn't bad. it was hard, but not excruciating, and i was holding to the aerobic/anaerobic barrier involved in muscle endurance workouts. we held to about 20-21 mph. although, it should be made clear, this was on a very long gradual downhill from the foothills in Irwindale to the shoreline at Seal Beach.

the trail itself is good. from Irwindale to Long Beach (Belmont Shores) it follows the San Gabriel River Trail, and so stays off roads and traffic. from there, it follows Pacific Coast Highway, which has a wide shoulder that easily accommodates cyclists. the only issues are: strong winds at the shoreline (always, there is never a flat wind day, meaning strong headwinds and tailwinds), monotonous riding (the San Gabriel River Trail has some of the most boring scenery you'll ever see), and questionable neighborhoods (the San Gabriel River Trail goes through some seedy areas of town). you don't want to do this ride alone, because it's entirely possible for things to happen to you on this route and that nobody will ever know. i've done it solo, multiple times...but i don't recommend it.

the ride back, however, was tough. very tough. we encountered light gusty headwinds, which are no big deal, but are demoralizing when combined with the long gradual uphill back to the start point. we held to about 17-18 mph. although, by the last 10-15 miles i was doing everything i could just to stay about 16 mph.

i attribute my performance to my residual sore state going into the ride, as well as the fact that this is the first really long ride i've had in the training schedule. i expect things to get better...they have to, or i'm going to be in BIG trouble.

it's some consolation that my riding buddy was equally fatigued as i was, and made a pointed comment to me at the end of the ride that he thought "it's a little too early to be riding this long in the training schedule...but that's just my opinion." for all that, he pretty much killed me at the end, pulling away over the last hour to finish 5-10 minutes ahead of me.

i had a total time of 4:45 to cover the 80 miles, although my riding buddy said he had it as 4:28, since we'd stopped several times to hit the toilets. we took his time, since it 1) meant that i pretty much hit my target numbers, and 2) made us feel better about ourselves.

i'm going to monitor my recovery from this ride. i felt pretty weak last night, but that's to be expected. today i felt remarkably better, and a lot of the residual soreness i had going into the ride now seems to be gone. although, having said that, my legs are still weak. given my experiences training for last year's Ironman, i'm going to take a lot more care to avoid the overtraining zone and make sure i allow the recovery time to lock in the training gains from these kinds of key workouts.

from here on out, it's only faster and farther.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

the holiday spirit

Modified from original written for the USC Triathlon Newsletter 12-16-06:

We hope you're all having fun as you head off for the winter break. We may be hard. Airport lines, traffic jams, shopping chaos. Irate air travel, boiling road rage, seething mall crawls. And the obligatory stare-downs, shoulder jostles, and muttered cursing. It's enough to ruin a holiday meant for good spirits and relaxation. It's a wonder you don't spend your days wishing everyone the Hawaiian good luck sign (you know, the one known to the ancient Romans as digitus impudicus).

As tempting as it may be to show everyone your personal expression of the holiday aloha spirit, you should know that it probably won't change anything--or make anything better. Sure, it'll make you feel better NOW...up until the point the confrontation escalates and you find yourself in a fistfight for a parking spot at the Glendale Galleria (Editor's Note: this was seen between 2 women on the 2nd level off the Brand Blvd. entrance, one a driver of a Mercedes, the other the driver of a Lexus...go figure...).

Truth of the matter is, you have little ability to control the actions of strangers, particularly ones you only see in passing. The only thing you can really do is control yourself. You can control your own behavior; you can control your actions--hopefully in ways that better the lives of the people around you, particularly those closest to your life.

And in part, this is probably what this time of year is supposed to be about.
Bringing the spirit of ohana to strengthen and tie together our respective families, sharing our hearts so that we confirm the relationships that mean the most to us, and never forgetting the things that are most important in this universe. In furtherance of these goals, we take stock of things at the end of one year as we face another, take quiet time to reflect in the long darkness of the winter nights, take remembrance of the souls most dear to us, and take once more our commitment to make a better world... even if it is just our own.

In the spirit of the holiday season, check out some links:

Baby, It's Cold Outside:
My Best Friend:
Auld Lang Syne:
Love Train:
My Heart Will Go On:
Burning Love:
My Name is Inigo Montoya:

Saturday, December 16, 2006

training round-up, week ending 12-16-06

this week was continuing the build into the winter break. i skipped the long weekend run to fit in a long swim. thank god, they had the olympic pool set up to 50 meter long-course (you have no idea how mind-numbingly insane it is to crank out long swim sets in a 25 yard pool).

my legs were still a little sore from the prior week. i'm having to manage this situation, since i have some pretty big breakthrough workouts planned for next week.

there were 2 issues this week:
  • reduced hours at the lyons center for winter break (opening at 7am instead of 6am), which eliminated an hour's worth of training time each morning. that's a lot. but since the semester was over, i was able to finish later without having to worry too much about getting anywhere in the mornings
  • the closing of the track, which eliminated the track workouts i'd been hoping to get in. this was somewhat manageable, since i didn't really have a track workout scheduled, and i was able to do a maintenance run on a treadmill, but it does make for some concerns regarding loss in conditioning
sunday, dec. 10


  • long swim (descending long intervals), 3600 meters, aerobic conditioning & muscular endurance (zone 3 & zone 4), macdonald's swim stadium, start time 11am

monday, dec. 11


  • elliptical trainer (recovery), 15 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), lyons center, start time 7am
  • weight training (chest, abs), 45 minutes, immediately following


  • kung fu (active rest), 60 minutes, cromwell field, start time 5pm

tuesday, dec. 12

rest day

wednesday, dec. 13


  • stationary bike (build ride), 45 minutes, muscular endurance (zone 3 & zone 4), lyons center, start time 7am
  • weight training (abs), 30 minutes, immediately following
  • kung fu (cool-down), 30 minutes, immediately following


  • swim (intervals), 1200 yards, technique (zone 3 & zone 4), macdonald's swim stadium, start time 2:30pm

thursday, dec. 14


  • treadmill (intervals), 30 minutes, anaerobic conditioning (zone 3 & zone 4), lyons center, start time 7am
  • weight training (legs, lower back), 60 minutes, immediately following

friday, dec. 15


  • elliptical trainer (recovery), 15 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), lyons center, start time 7am
  • weight training (chest, shoulders, abs), 30 minutes, immediately following

saturday, dec. 16


  • kung fu (active rest, some anaerobic conditioning), casuda canyon park, start time 10:30 am

Monday, December 11, 2006

training round-up, week ending 12-09-06

so things continue to pick up. the trail run this week was a lot faster than i'd planned, and just about damn near killed me. joy.

there was a slight hitch with the pool being closed in the mornings. this put a rather sizable hole into my workout schedule, since i'd planning on this being a swim week...which means i'm going to have to make up for it later. joy.

sunday, dec. 3


  • trail run (weekly long run), 10 miles, muscular endurance (zone 3 & zone 4), rose bowl arroyo trail, start time 8:30 am

monday, dec. 4


  • stationary bike (recovery ride), 30 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), lyons center, start time 6am
  • weight training (abs, back), 45 minutes, immediately following


  • kung fu (active rest), 60 minutes, cromwell field, start time 5pm

tuesday, dec. 5

rest day

wednesday, dec. 6


  • stationary bike (build ride), 60 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2 & zone 3), lyons center, start time 6am
  • weight training (abs), 30 minutes, immediately following


  • swim (continuous), 3000 yards, muscular endurance (zone 3 & zone 4), macdonald's swim stadium, start time 2:30pm

thursday, dec. 7


  • elliptical trainer (recovery), 30 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), lyons center, start time 6am
  • weight training (chest, legs, lower back), 60 minutes, immediately following

friday, dec. 8


  • stationary bike (build ride), 100 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2 & zone 3), lyons center, start time 6am
  • weight training (abs), 30 minutes, immediately following


  • run (recovery), 15 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), cromwell field, start time 5pm
  • kung fu (active rest), 30 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), immediately following

saturday, dec. 9


  • kung fu (active rest), casuda canyon park, start time 10:30 am

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Santa Lucia

Written for the USC Triathlon Newsletter 12-07-06:

We live in a world seemingly driven by competition. We compete for grades. We compete for jobs. We compete for pay. We compete on the road in rush hour traffic, we compete for dates for a night on the town. We compete to get benefits, entitlements, the attention of loved ones, recognition and rewards. We even compete in sports.

And with competition comes the primal emotions of the human struggle: aggression, ruthlessness, malice, rage, ferocity, pride, vanity, ambition, obsession, brutality. The darkest aspects of our psyche, evolved through the millenia in the ultimate competition for survival. And in the chaotic milieu of the human race, they often grow to consume us, until our lives seem to be nothing more than our most primitive selves.

The Vikings thought this way once. They lived it. For theirs was a worldview driven by the maxim: "The gods are doomed and the end is death." Given the promised apocalypse of Ragnarok, the only life was the life lived now, the only rewards were the rewards taken now, the only treasures were the treasures seized now. They lived their lives as the supreme competition for survival. And their brutality and ferocity were renowned.

Somewhere along the way, however, they changed. Sometime after their conversion to Christianity, their worldview gradually shifted to one of hope, and to a promise of better things. Part of this was the adoption of a peculiarly Sicilian tradition of Santa Lucia. In the Scandinavian permutation of Santa Lucia, girls dressed in white and wearing crowns of lit candles arose in the darkness on December 13 to deliver food to friends and families as well as the starving and the poor. In Sweden, the festival of Santa Lucia was (and still is) taken as an expression of charity and compassion. Symbolically, it is also meant to be the act of bringing light to the earth upon the darkest day of the year.

In many ways, on so many levels, Santa Lucia is entirely antithetical to the ancient Viking way. But this is perhaps by design. Because the Vikings realized that the only thing competition had gotten them was blood and death. They realized that life had to be more than just primal emotions and primitive psyche. They realized that it had to be about other things, like dignity and compassion. Because a life lived by words such as aggression, ruthlessness, or brutality is a life lived in darkness, and a life lived in darkness is pointless. Because what people need during the darkest times in our lives isn't more blood and death and promises of destruction, but a sense that things can get better--not to deny the reality of this world as it is, but to show the potential of the world as it can be. In short, what people need is hope.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

training round-up, week ending 12-02-06

still a little sick from last week, but definitely feeling a whole lot better. i don't even want to talk about what i was coughing up. and my voice sounded like the ghost of puberty all over again.

but i felt good enough to step things up a little:

sunday, nov. 26

  • trail run (weekly long run), 9 miles, aerobic conditioning (zone 2 & zone 3), rose bowl arroyo trail, start time 9 am
monday, nov. 27

  • weight training (abs), 30 minutes
tuesday, nov. 28

  • track workout (intervals, 6x800s), anaerobic conditioning (zone 3 & zone 4), cromwell field, start time 6pm
  • weight training (chest), 15 minutes, cromwell field, immediately following
wednesday, nov. 29

  • stationary bike (build ride), 60 minutes, muscular endurance (zone & zone 3), lyons center, start time 6am
  • weight training (legs & abs), 30 minutes, immediately following
  • kung fu (active rest), 60 minutes, cromwell
thursday, nov. 30

  • swim (intervals, 8x200s), 2800 yards, aerobic & anaerobic conditioning (zone 3 & zone 4), macdonald's swim stadium, start time 6am
  • weight training (chest & shoulders), 30 minutes, lyons center, immediately following
friday, dec. 1

  • stationary bike (build ride), 80 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), lyons center, start time 6am
  • weight training (abs), 30 minutes, immediately following
  • run (recovery), 15 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), cromwell field, start time 6pm
  • kung fu (active rest), 45 minutes, aerobic conditioning (zone 2), immediately following

saturday, dec. 2

  • kung fu (active rest), casuda canyon park, start time 10:30 am