Sunday, January 31, 2010

January - The Recap

We started January off in Florida for a little family vacation. New Years Day was partially spent driving to the Tampa area with a friend that I met doing Trans-Iowa. We did some mountain biking in the Florida rain! It was a blast. We topped it off with some great Mexican food - yummy.

We headed back to Buffalo and then the snow started falling pretty regularly. It snowed quite a bit and I got some nice cross country skiing and snowmobile trail biking in. Towards the end of the month I headed to the Las Vegas area for work and was privileged to see three awesome areas; Hoover Dam, Mojave National Preserve, and Death Valley National Park. I would return to Mojave and Death Valley in a heart beat. The Hoover Dam was inspiring as well but that would be seen with the family in the future, not solo again!

At the end of the trip I stopped off in Colorado to see my family and then the body decided I had done enough training and went sick on me. First the flu and then a pretty good chest cold. In the mean time the weather warmed up and the moisture came in the form of rain so my great snow base disappeared into Ice and Muck - very disappointing.

The last 1/2 week of January the snow returned and I was able to get some biking back in and also 1 nice cross country ski trip. All in all it was a typical month for me and now I need to start ramping up for Trans-Iowa. Under 3 months left and so February and March are going to be high intensity months for me with intervals and boot camp conditioning classes mixed in. April will be long slow recovery rides and then we head to Colorado again before Iowa for some high altitude training - I wonder if it will help as much as I am hoping!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Poetry that I attempt for some reason

The Beginning The End? by Bill Graves

You made a promise that has stood the test of time

You Son is White as Snow, we are covered in grime

We often question events that occur

Do we ever slow down to think so things are not such a blur

Mountain peaks sit dusted in snow

Valley floors await the melting waters flow

Their place is not to be impatient

The beneficiaries wait and fight thirst with resilience

Father, You are The Alpha and The Omega - Feed us

Lord, You are The Beginning and The End - Fill us

The Fall by Bill Graves

Where have you gone to

What is to come

The deep greens

Overthrown by Heavenly Golds

Heat and Humidity are replaced

New scents take us back to years of old

Summers beginning are a blur

Now we wait for winters cold and snow

But this is transition time and we take hold

Of Fall

The Chief by Bill Graves

Your cracks have been filled by the fears of the fearless.

High above the valley floor the mighty hang.

Some quietly contemplate, some loudly cry out for strength;

some shed tears, but through it all they push onward and upward.

You feel their needs through the placement of fingertips.

Strength exudes through the placement of feet.

Sweat pours on your face.

Hearts race, you feel the pounding on your steadfast granite.

They are a selfish lot; they look to be shaped, they turn to you for clarity.

How do you share your story? When do you get to be heard?

The day begins to close, Your voice prepares to boom.

Your counsel is strong, You long to be honored.

You speak through awesome splendor; you speak through a ring of gold.

Your peace has been spoken, Your tranquility has returned.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Traveling Lately

Well last week found me out in Nevada for some work (and play) and then I spent the weekend in Colorado visiting my family.

The first day in Nevada I worked a little and then headed out to see Hoover Dam and Lake Mead
That is a long way down huh?

Ever been in 2 places at 1 time?

Well I worked the next morning and early afternoon and was wondering what else I might be able to see around the Las Vegas area that did not entail gambling or shows in the hotels. I found out that the Mojave National Preserve was not that far away so I headed out for some desert traveling: Yes, that is snow in the desert - pretty cool huh?

Kelso Sand Dunes - I was going to climb to the top but the weather had other ideas in store!

I was chasing this rainbow out of the park on the way back to Las Vegas - I saw the beginning and the end but my camera could not do it justice.

Well on Friday I was heading to Colorado in the afternoon and had some extra time so I went to see Death Valley. They had a lot of rain over the week and a lot of it was closed due to mud and flooding but I got a good enough picture of it that makes me want to return in the future!
This was just awesome to see in person

Another beautiful shot of the terrain around Death Valley

Well I did not get to spend a lot of time there so I headed back to the airport and flew to Colorado. Saturday morning I woke up and went hiking at Green Mountain and saw the sunrise - worth the lack of oxygen and sleep to see this!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. One day I will figure out how to it quicker into an album so you can see them all but one step at a time!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fight Jenna Fight

There is a 17 y/o girl at our church who had been experiencing severe abdomen pain since the holidays. We received news on Saturday morning that they found a grapefruit size tumor wrapped around the lower portion of her abdomen area and vital organs.

It is non-operable and they are starting chemo treatment to try and kill it today.

She is still in severe pain and her parents are very concerned.

Please keep Jenna and her family in your prayers.

This is where being a good writer would come in handy like The Fat Cyclist but I don't have that in me - I will just pray.

Fight Jenna Fight

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Small Change Makes Big Difference

As I mentioned yesterday - the hat choice I made was a poor decision. So last night as I prepared for my Wednesday night ride I grabbed my wind protection hat and I was toasty comfy all night long!

Wednesday's have been my main riding day for about 3 years now. This is how it started: Our church has a large young boys and girls night on Wednesday (Stockade and Pioneer Girls - a lot like Boy & Girl Scouts but a lot more Christian theme to it) and I was heavily involved with it because of my son for about 4 years. It came to the point where he liked it as a downtime away from dad so I found a local group ride on Wednesday during the nice months that I would do.

Now I get home from work, have some dinner with everyone, get changed, and still ride on Wednesday nights as long as conditions don't most likely lead to possible death - blowing snow or ice - bad stuff. Rain, light snow, cleared roads with 6' snowbanks on the side - Those are all good!

Last night I was still lazy and left the mountain bike with it's flat front tire in the garage and I took my single speed cross bike out for a spin - Good times! Here is a picture of one of my favorite bikes in my stable (top 2 and pretty close to being #1 but I don't want to offend the others!)
We also got our 1/2 of a 1/2 of a cow from some friends. 52 pounds of beef that should last a couple of months hopefully. I cannot wait to taste the chuck roast next week though!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winter Bike Layers

To follow up on the other day's post when I showed my cross country ski layers - here is what I do for cycling in around 15-25 degree weather and a 5-15 mph wind. Any colder or warmer will change it substantially and when I hit those parameters I will post those as well:
This is a pair of wool socks, my ems fleece tights, and a starter long sleeve wicking shirt. I also have my RoadID and Garmin on but those do not provide protection unless it is an emergency!
This is a fleece beanie (which did not cover my ears enough so I will be wearing a different hat in this type of weather in the future - one that covers most of my ears and goes down to my forehead for wind chill protection), a pair of REI heavier fleece pants with nylon around the knee area, and a Patagonia cap 3 1/4 zip top.
My favorite jacket - The North Face Apex 3/4 zip. This has been discontinued and I cannot find anything remotely close to it. It is good wind and moderate precipitation protection. If you know of something comparable (under $100) let me know please! Everything else is the same!
The final addition is my Discovery Channel wind vest.

I have found that the coldest part of this training is the wind blowing on your chest area. My arms and legs really do not get cold so I focus on keeping the core as warm as possible but not overly sweaty!

Outside I put on my balaclava, shoes, Pearl Izumi Neoprene Booties (awesome), Pearl Izumi Lobster Gloves (awesome), helmet with a blinking light on front and my red blinker on the back of it. Visibility is as important as comfort. If you get hit it does not matter how comfortable you were - remember that!

Hopefully we get some real cold weather and I will show you a small addition I add.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No Running For A While

Well the last couple of months have been a whirlwind concerning my running.

Here is a brief synopsis:

October: I have a leg flare up that makes me stop running and almost cry. Pain is so severe it effected my lower back so I went to a friend of ours for chiropractor care and he diagnoses it as ITBS. Tells me to take 6 weeks off of running, focus on a foam roller and aqua jogging.

Mid November: I begin a 1min walk/run program for a couple of weeks and then start off running 1 mile, slowly increasing to 1.5 miles, and then 2 miles.

December: Hit the 2 mile point and my leg is bothering me again so I set up an appointment with a local sports doctor after our vacation return during the holidays.

Last Week: Diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hip and am told I should not run ever again. Have 2 x-rays taken and wait for results. Get a letter in the mail saying X-Ray is fine and that is all. I call a doctor who is a friend and discuss with him and he offers to see me to help diagnose the problem.

Last Night: Diagnosed with Femoral Nerve inflammation. Now I am in the waiting game of seeing a neurologist next week to see how we can get the inflammation to disappear so I can run again.

My promise is that if I am able to run again - An Ironman will be signed up for 2011 and a fall marathon!

I miss running!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Layering #1

I decided to start taking pictures of the layers I wear so that if you like to play in the cold weather you can get an idea of what I use and can make adjustments from there.

Yesterday was around 23 or so with a pretty good wind. When it is windy I like zippers so I can close them in a headwind and open them in a tail wind for comfort reason.

This is an Wal-Mart brand Wicking Long Sleeve Shirt, EMS Fleece Tights, REI hiking socks and a North Face hat:
Then I added a 1/4 zip North Face SDS pullover and REI Heavy Duty Wind Pants with side zippers. Don't know why I took the hat off for this one but it stayed on the whole time:

I added a Bontrager Full Zipper Hooded Sweatshirt as my final layer. I wanted the hood in case of a bad wind or heavy snow but could have gotten away with my North Face 3/4 Zip Apex Jacket. In the headwinds I was very comfortable and like I said with the zippers I was in good shape with the tail winds as well.

Next post will be a cold night ski trip which I plan on taking tonight and I can have my daughter take the photos!

Gloves were a light pair of coolmax that I got a local sporting goods store. My half gloves/mittens disappeared and I love those for skiing because I can get at the food, camera, or zippers without removing gloves!

The New Year

Well the holidays have come and gone. We were in Florida for a week or so and got to enjoy some nicer weather than Buffalo generally has in the winter time. Went to Disney World for the day and even did some Mountain Biking in the Tampa area with a Trans-Iowa buddy. Good times!

Since then the snow has been falling so I have been finding solitude in the local park Cross Country Skiing - Great Times!

Anyone hungry?

This past Saturday they opened up the Toboggan Hills for the first since I moved to Buffalo. We went after the basketball game and had a great time. This picture is from Sunday but it gives you the idea!
Think anyone is worried about their Heart Rate at any particular time on this hill?

I have been biking as much as the snowmobile trails and weather allow as well. All is for Trans-Iowa which is less than four months away.

Keep enjoying the awesome winter weather!