Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Weather Teaser

I feel a little weird writing about this now that it's back in the 30's but we finally got some awesome weather.  Sunday and Monday were great.  I think it got into the upper 40's or low 50's on Sunday and high 60's on Monday.

I wanted to get out on Sunday but I really needed to get the cars cleaned up also.  I also had to be at work by 2:30 and Jen got off at 2 so I really didn't have any time.
So Monday was going to be the day.  I really wanted to get on the bike but the kids had swim lessons at 6:30 and there just wouldn't be enough time to get everything ready and still have time to get in any decent mileage.  So I decided to do my first real run outside.  I've been kind of worried how I would do since outside is on pavement and has inclines vs. the cushy and perfectly level track.

I stopped at home because Jen needed her sandals and also changed.  Then I drove to the gym and was going to start from there.  I'm not exactly sure of my distance because I don't have one of those fancy GPS watches but Jen claims I ran about 3.5 miles.  For the Altoona people I ran from the Campus to the bridge on the Gay Lea Wilson trail and then had to run home.   I forgot Jen's sandals.  Opps.  We live in Eagle Ridge and the trail connects to the back of our subdivision.  It's pretty awesome having a trail entrance right off our back door.  Sandals in hand I ran back to the campus.  Did all that in about 40 minutes.  If the distance is accurate I ran about a 9:30-10 minute pace.  On the track I was doing a 9-9:30 pace.  So not to bad for my first time out.  I will say that the route I took was pretty flat.  The only real incline was the street behind my house.  I'll need to start running some sections that have some hills.

I did have one thing that kind of slowed me down at first.  Stuff in my pockets.  I love my shorts but they have very deep pockets.  That means if you have anything with any weight it will flop around and is very annoying.  I had my iPhone in my left pocket and my keys and a knife clipped to the right pocket.  I don't like holding onto it but I can carry the phone.  It's easier to skip songs if I get something slow and need something a little more conducive to running.  The keys were another problem though.  I tried to find a spot on my car to leave them, but they make car keys so bulky now and with the other keys I have I just couldn't find a hiding place that would work.  I eventually just tucked the car key into my underwear and left the others hanging out.  I probably sounded like Santa Clause with the jingling but it's the only solution that worked.

I'd also like to mention that the City of Altoona does a fantastic job of maintaining the trails.  They routinely run a sweeper down the trail and it was built right so tree roots do not break through.  You can defiantly tell when you cross over into Pleasant Hill.  It's always littered with leafs and twigs and walnuts.  There are several sections where the drainage is poor and it runs over the trail and several areas where roots have pushed up the pavement.  If your not a biker or runner you might think big deal, but stepping on a walnut while running can break an ankle and hitting one at 20 mph on a bike can send you right over the handle bars.  Twigs and sticks can puncture tires.  And broken pavement is just as annoying as potholes when driving a car.

This weekend is supposed to be nice again.  Sunday looks like my best chance.  I might take the girls to the Zoo though.  We will see.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Taking a break from training really sucks.  Depending on how long the break is it can feel like your starting over.

3 weeks ago illness ran through the house.  First it was my wife and daughters, which meant coming straight home after work and taking care of them.  Then later in the week I wasn't feeling great.

Last week I got back to the running.  It was tough going though.  After being out just a week I lost all my motivation to even go to the gym.  I think the only reason why I forced myself to go was because my girls had swim lessons and I needed to waste time between work and when it started.

I ran my typical 5 k and surprisingly I wasn't any slower than I was before but it was rough.  I was tired, got shin splints, etc.  by mile two I was ready to quit.  Somehow my body always goes into automatic mode once I hit mile 3 though.  It wasn't until this past Monday that I really was feeling ok with my run.  I think I could have gone a lot farther but I had to get to lessons.

Again I'm on a bit of a break.  I have not been back.  I was either busy and starting Wednesday night I was not feeling well again.  I really hope I can get back soon.

Surprisingly I have not gained any weight back.  I have lost 3-4 pounds and really have been eating pretty badly the last few weeks.

As I mentioned above we have been sick a lot the last few weeks.  Poor Libby, our 9 month old) has had a constant cold just about all winter.  Normally I enjoy winter, but I'm so ready for it to be over if only so the four of us can get healthy.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Training plan

So I have been actively training for about three weeks now.  Jen has been on me to come up with some kind of plan.  She is the type of person that when she develops a goal she wants some kind of structure to obtain it.  Me, not so much.

I have done a little bit of searching on the internet.  I found a pretty good site at beginner triathlete.  It has a lot of articles and training plans.  The only problem is most training plans require a subscription. They do have a basic plan available for free.  It matches pretty close to what I am currently doing however.  Right now I am trying to loose some weight.  Once it gets nice out I will probably start doing something a little more formal.

Since I am already pretty strong in biking I have pretty much cut out the spin classes.  Currently the only class I am attending is Thursdays.  The instructor that night is a racer and his classes tend to be geared towards conditioning and strength.

Right now I have been concentrating on swimming and running, switching up every other day.  I'm also doing some weights.  I'm swimming about a mile and 5k running.  My next step is to start combining swim and run.  Last Monday I swam a mile and than ran a 5k. I was pretty surprised that I was able to do both still keep my average times.  Since I had extra time yesterday I decided to run a 10k. Again I was able to hold my 10 minute mile average.  I was pretty surprised with myself.  I was a little sore for the rest of the day though.  I was smart and took some aspirin before bed.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


So by now everyone should have heard about the route announcement.  It's a Northern route this year.  3rd shortest and 2nd flattest.  The last few years have been pretty easy.  Not sure if it's because the heat has been so horrible the last few years or if they are just trying to maximize revenue.

Personally I enjoy a challenge.  The first year I went in 2009 I think was in the top ten for distance and climb.  The weather was overall pretty good and I really enjoyed myself.

I road Snake Alley non stop!

2011 was quite a bit easier but the heat was pretty killer.  I almost quit halfway through.  Of course it ran though Boone and Altoona.  I had family in Boone so both of those nights I had a nice bed and A/C.  I think that is what almost did me in.  Those temp swings made the days rougher.  The nights I was in a tent were not as much of a shock in the morning.  Of course literally drinking 2 gallons of water each day and not having to pee were strange.
Off we go!

Last year was just about perfect weather wise.  I didn't have the vacation time since Libby was born last May.  I did get to do a single day though.  I took Davan in the Burley and we did Des Moines to Knoxville.
Mr Pork Chop

Music break in the town square

We made it!

I'm 90% sure I'm doing RAGBRAI this year.  what I'm not sure about is what I'm going to do about getting my stuff from town to town.  In 2009 I used a co-worker's bike club.  I really liked it and the price was right, but they are based out of Ottumwa.  2011 a friend and I went together and her boyfriend drove a truck with all our stuff.  That was awesome because each day he set-up and took down the tent.  She's going again this year, but her mom might go.  And not sure if her BF is driving or not.  Depends on his summer work situation.
There are lot's of services but they tend to start out around $400.  And I would still need to get myself to the start and home again.  I just can't afford that.  Of course the Register has their bag truck.  But lugging my gear at the end of the day doesn't appeal to me much.  I could bag it and pull all my junk in the Burley....

I have one problem with RAGBRAI.  My anniversary is July 22nd.  So every so often it's during the ride.  In 2009 Jen had me tie a Happy Anniversary ballon to my bike.  This year it's during the ride again.  With the girls and the northern route I won't be able to see Jen this time.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cycle Mania

So today was the Cycle Mania class at the gym.  It's held once a year and is a 2 hour long spin class.  4 instructors take a 30 minute turn so you end of with a good mix of workouts.

It's a lot of fun and I try to make it every year.  They get a few local business's to chip in for treats or raffle prizes.  The prizes are given out as challenges.  My challenge was 60 seconds of high intensity, high RPM's.  I won a bottle of Whey Protein.  I'm not sure how to use it.  Looks like you mix it as a recovery drink?  If anyone has any suggestions on how to get the best use out of it let me know.

The only problem with Cycle Mania is the treats.  They have healthy treats like banana's, gatorade, Protein balls and gel shots.  But they also have the bad treats like cookies and rice crispy bars.  Usually they have scotcharoos but not this year.  Maybe I'll have Jen make some for next year.  Jen's scotcharoos are the best.  Anyway's the little computer claims I burned about 800 calories but after 4 cookies, 5 rice crispy bars, a banana, a mini gatorade and a sample protein shake I'm sure I ate more than that 800 calories.  But it was fun and my legs are like jello right now so in the end it was worth it.  :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

My first running race

So I signed up for my first race!  The Hy-Vee 5k at the Drake relays.

I was at the Iowa Bike Expo today and Hy-Vee had a deal that if you signed up for one of there road races at the show you would be entered in a drawing for a free entry to the Hy-Vee Tri.

I thought I should try out a few local races anyways.  Just to get the feel of running in a large crowd.  I signed up for the 5k. It's on April 27th.  For most races all the distances run at the same time and just split off at different points for the turn around.  Not this one.  The half starts at 7:30, 10k at 8 and the 5k at 10.  I guess it's good this way as that will allows Jen to run the 10k and be done in time so she can watch the kids while I run.

Now if it would just get nice out so I can start practicing outside!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Why Tri?

So I had my little pity party last night.  I needed some things from the store so wondered around Wal-Mart for a few minutes.  Just like watching Maury Povich, people watching at Wal-Mart will always get you out of your funk when you feel bad about yourself.
I did end up swimming a mile.  But then I got the kids from the daycare and Jen was finishing up with swim lesson sign-ups so I mentioned Pizza Ranch.  So we pigged out there.  Probably not worth the calories, but their fried chicken is so good.

Anyways, back to today's post.  :)

Why would someone that hate's running and while is a good swimmer, thinks he would drown if made to swim a mile, think a triathlon is a good idea?

It started back when I first got serious about biking.  I'm not an overly competitive person.  I have always been supportive of my wife and her wanting to do timed runs but I have never saw the need to pay a bunch of money to go run or really do anything timed with thousands of other people.  But there was always a small part of me that wished I could say I did something.  Something athletic, something not everyone does.

I could have ran.  Other than getting a good pair of shoes it's a cheap hobby to get into.  Plus it's something my wife and I could have done together.  We already traveled to races, so instead of standing around for 2-4 hours I could have been doing something.  But as I have said before I hated running.  Mostly because of treadmills.  I just can't stare at a wall and run in place like that.  Plus I do not run a consistent speed and feel to out of control on a treadmill.

I could have done bike races.  From crit's to time trials, MTB or cyclocross there are many options for racing.  But it's expensive to get into.  I had a hybrid at the time and only true road bikes are allowed.

I had thought about doing a Tri, but I figured I was to overweight, didn't have the right kind of bike, worked to much and whatever reason I could think of to not do one.

Jen and I decided to check out the Hy-Vee Tri one year.  I saw guys that where just as heavy if not more so riding cheap, heavy mountain bikes.  I thought if they can do it why can't I?  I made up my mind that I would do a Tri.  I just didn't decide WHEN!

The years following seemed to be busier that the year before.  We had a baby in 2010 and again in 2013.  My wife wanted to be a stay at home mom so I worked extra so make up the difference so she could.  Between kids and work I've had virtually no time for myself.  I've made the dicision that 2014 is going to be my year to do a Tri.  I'm not sure how I'm going to fit in training yet, but I'm determined to do it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I had another post ready for today, but I'm going to save it for tomorrow.

It's not uncommon for Triathlete's to get sponsored.  Typically you have to be at least in the elite group to get one.  Sponsorships can range from something as simple as free product or gear all the way up to full salary's. 

This year Kyle's Bikes and Discount Tri Supply were offering sponsorships to ordinary people.  You got some cool stuff like use of a Tri bike on race day or loaner wheels if you wanted to use your bike.  A complete bike fit and clothes.  And your race entry's would be paid for.  All you had to do was compete in three sprint tri's and write up some reports.  There was an application to fill out and you also had to make a short video.

I submitted an application.  My video really sucked though.  I'm not even going to link to it.  Anyone that went to my wedding know that I just kind of lock up when I need to speak in front of people or a camera.  It doesn't matter if I have some great speech planned out in my head.  The second that I have to speak it's gone and I'm like a deer in headlights.  So I wrote out a little script.  Well, it's tough to show much emotion or personality on camera when your concentrating on reading.  Of course this last weekend I had an idea for a great video.  I guess if they do this again next year I already have an idea of what to submit.

Naturally I was not chosen.  I'm really not surprised, but I am super disappointed.  I'll talk about it later but in the summer I work 60+ hours a week.  I can't afford not to.  Without a sponsorship I'm not sure how I can afford the proper clothing or race fees and I defiantly will not have as much motivation once I'm dead tired from working so much without having to fulfill a commitment.

So I'm feeling a little defeated tonight.  I was planning on swimming tonight.  Hopefully I can get motivated enough to go.

Monday, January 20, 2014

About Me

So I suppose you might want to know a little about me if your going to read about my blog.  I feel like I'm writing a personal ad.

My name is Brant.  I'm currently 36 years old, married and have two awesome girls.
I've never been overly athletic.  Growing up I played hockey since I was about 4 years until I was about 13.  I loved hockey and while I wasn't great, I was wasn't bad either.  I played various other sports growing up as well.  Soccer for a few years and softball in my middle and high school years.

While I was never strong or really even had endurance I wasn't fat or out of shape.  Like most people I didn't begin gaining weight until I graduated college and got a desk job.

When I met my wife I was probably in the 260-270 lb range.  I really didn't do anything for exercise. 
My wife decided she wanted to get back into shape shortly after we got married and started running again.  She's one that likes the validation of races.  We have been all over the Midwest, from Chicago to St. Louis, Duluth, MN and everywhere in between.  I saw how these races made her feel and secretly wished I could do something to give me the same feeling.  The problem was I hated running. 

Fast forward to 2008 when a new co-worker happened to be really into bicycling.  He talked a lot about the races he did and RAGBRAI.  I started thinking why couldn't I do RAGBRAI?  I liked to bike.  I had plenty of time to train and get ready.  I bought a bike the fall of 2008 and began riding.  Once it got to cold to ride I joined the local gym and took spin lessons.  I actually began watching my diet and by the time RAGBRAI came around I had gotten down to 230 lbs.  I was feeling and looking pretty good.

In 2010 I started to fall back into my old habits.  I didn't ride much and gained a lot of my weight back.  My wife was also pregnant with our first child.  I guess I could blame it on that.  ;) 
In 2011 and 2012 I rode as much as I could but I still was not careful with my eating.  So while I had enough fitness to bike all day I was still overweight. 

Which leads me to today and why a Triathlon?  More on that tomorrow...


Over the course of 2014 I will be documenting my adventure into loosing weight and attempting to complete a Triathlon. 

I have been wanting to do a triathlon for a number of years.  I have always had some excuse about why I couldn't train or do it.  2014 is the year of no excuses.  My ultimate goal is the Hy-Vee Tri on Aug 31, 2014.

The majority of my posts will be about my training and trials in my attempt.  I might throw in something off-topic now and then just to break things up.  :)

I'm looking forward to talking with others on their past training or those that are in the same boat as me and looking to do their first Tri.