A New Beginning


Life.  It happens.

We get pushed, pulled, twisted, and stretched as we conquer our fears, chase our dreams, accept our limitations, and diligently execute on our responsibilities.

Sometimes we make a change seeking something different and better, only to fall down and wish we had never made a change.  It takes us longer to get back up and moving again with another change to change course on the original change.

After moving to Seattle from Santa Barbara, I fell.  My heart was still in paradise and my inspirations were swept away with the grey, dreary rain and cold of a Seattle winter.  Not only did I learn about my allergy to high humidity and barometric pressure changes, but I learned how much being true to yourself and your values is far more important than making any new life work.  There is much more to this story which will be revealed as I move into this new beginning.

This fall, I am relocating to Colorado.  The area of Boulder and Louisville at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  I was born in Englewood, so I feel like I am coming home.  Unlike Seattle, Colorado has a lot more sun during the winter even though it is significantly colder with periodic snow.

You can tell a lot about whether you are in the right place by how you feel. We humans have an instinct which helps protect us.  From the start, I never felt great about living in the Puget Sound area.  By contrast, I am happy in Colorado with a collected, calm head.

This is a new beginning.  A restart of my love for fitness, cycling, and triathlon.  I have 25 “Seattle” pounds to shed and a training program to rebuild.  But I’ve done this before and have fond memories of my triathlon journey.  I am looking forward to not only meeting a bunch of new people, but also feeling great again.

You know, life happens.  But now it will happen a bit differently.

Posted in AricInTraining, Commentary, Cycling, inspiration, Triathlon | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Timelapse Video: Goleta Beach Triathlon Sprint Turnaround


During the 2015 Goleta Beach Triathlon, I volunteered as a bike coordinator for the event.  For something a little more interesting, I mounted my GoPro camera to the flag pole denoting the turnaround.  I captured the entire sprint portion of the bike and part of the long course (the battery died).  I sped it up and added some catchy jazz music. The result is below. Enjoy!

Posted in timelapse video, Triathlon | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Next Challenge


Coming off the heels of my February Challenge with mixed results, I am struggling to find another challenge.  I have to say, my diet seems to be a bigger hurdle in my fitness rather than getting the workouts in.   But then, focusing on diet seems rather boring compared to cycling miles, especially when it comes to data visualization.

The Ultimate Challenge

Then, this evening I stumbled upon Outside magazine’s online site.  A headline in particular caught my attention for a couple of reasons.  First, it included a drive I have on my bucket list, a drive I would love to do in a 67 Hurst equipped Pontiac GTO, dark blue. Second, I have been reading a touching book by Bruce Weber called Life is a Wheel. And, third, I am desperate to do something insanely huge with my life to solve this midlife crisis I seem to be in.  You can see where this is going??

The headline was simple, profound, and eye catching.  Whoever wrote it knew what they were doing.  The headline was a simple question: “Why Drive Route 66 When You Can Bike It?

OMG! Its perfect!  The article was announcing the latest adventure documented and mapped by the Adventure Cycling Association.  The 2,493 mile route cover Los Angeles (well, Santa Monica) to Chicago.   I never knew there was a AAA-like Trip Tik for cyclists!!  Sell everything and let’s hit the road!

After spending a fair amount of time looking at the remarkable cross country routes, I am jazzed.  The TransAmerica Trail is very similar to the route Weber covers in his book. It was his story of life, the open road, and the spontaneous experiences combined with the pain of an insane challenge which intrigued me.   To do something similar is a personal accomplishment, something which I can only experience in my own way and own in my own way. The only question is, which do I do first, Route 66 or TransAmerica?

Coming Back to Reality

With my longest ride in over a year being 16.5 miles, suddenly 4,228 miles seems a bit of a stretch. Even the 400 mile average daily ride might push me farther than expected, even if it was all flat.

Coming back to reality and a challenge appropriate for the next two weeks (3.15), the diet challenge is more realistic.  In researching potential products for TrainingMetrix, I came across an article which discusses how to measure food quality.  They do this by assigning a weighting to each of the macro-nutrients, such as fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, etc.  The product is a food score, positive for good, negative is bad.   The staff at TrainingMetrix modified this theory and improved upon it in a product we call the Yum Score. You can test the food you eat by visiting the Yum Score Calculator at the corporate website.

But, this post isn’t about shameless self promotion of my company’s products.  Rather it is about my own journey of life, fitness, triathlon and everything in between.  Back to the challenge.  Using the Yum Score, I would like to challenge myself to eating better by maintaining a Yum Score of 4 or greater from 3/3 to 3/15.   This means low saturated, low sugar, and lots of fiber.

Well, I better go eat the last of that chocolate cake tonight.  The challenge begins tomorrow.

Posted in Cycling, food scoring, Nutrition, TrainingMetrix | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

February Cycling Challenge Results


February Cycling Challenge Results

Fitness challenges serve an important purpose.  First they help the athlete focus on a specific part of their training.  Second, they provide a measurable milestone which provide feedback.  Third, if the athlete has taken the challenge seriously, it will result in improvements, regardless of whether the ultimate challenge was met.

The Challenge

A month ago I created a personal cycling challenge to help get myself moving more consistently and lose a bit of weight.  The challenge was to cycle every other day, increasing mileage as I went and cover 230 miles by March 1st, culminating with a 20 mile ride. This seemed challenging, but I knew if I could stick to it and put in the mileage, I could get close.

Reality Sets In

The first three rides were fairly easy, but aggressive.  I didn’t stick to the planned mileage, riding a mile or more than planned for the first two rides.  The third ride was a bit of a stretch and fell just short of the planned goal.  Then I started missing rides.  Two days passed before I rode again. The body was realizing and feeling how aggressive it was to go from riding 8 miles to 11+ miles in no time flat.

This was the start of riding whenever I could while not pushing my body too far. It was also difficult to get rides in during the week of the 18th when an important client was in town for a project.  While catching up to the plan was nearly impossible, I kept riding, trying to get a decent amount of miles in.  It is more important to listen to your body and skip a ride for recovery than to push too hard and injure myself.

The Results

I completed the challenge with 144.4 miles compared with the 230 planned challenge miles.  While this is only 63% of the distance, I still feel great about the challenge.  Yes, I missed the ultimate goal, but my average ride went from 8 miles to 12 miles.  I feel great and am quite happy to be spending more time on the saddle.  Time in the saddle is a spiritual place where I spend the miles brainstorming and solving problems.  The challenge was a success.

Cycling Challenge Actual vs Plan

blue bars represent actual rides with green being planned. Actual falls a bit short

Did I lose weight?  No.  Starting weight was 229.8 with the final weight at 230.6.  The change is statistically insignificant was the deviation across the month was 2+ pounds.  After all of those miles sure would have been nice to be slipping into a smaller sized short.  But at the end of the day, body weight ins’t necessarily an indicator of fitness.  I feel and look more muscular than when I started the challenge.  As an athlete works out, they build muscle, which is heavier than fat. So, a change in weight can be delayed as the body burns more fat than the muscle in builds.  A better measure would be waist and wrist size.

The Next Challenge

With March 1st nearly here, I am thinking about my next challenge.  I like the idea of doing another cycling challenge, but would also like to incorporate a dietary challenge.  Cutting flour and sugar from my diet completely worked extremely well in 2008 and 2009 during my racing best. So stay tuned…  a new challenge is coming.

Posted in AricInTraining, Cycling, Cycling Challenge, Fitness Challenges | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A February Cycling Challenge


I’ve been so far away from a regular exercise routine, I see death coming for me and he’s across the street. It’s time to get back into a routine and put a little more distance between myself and death. Just the fact that he is so close and I let him get so close is just shameful, but that is a topic of another post. This post is about the new beginning and a new personal challenge.

A Proud Triathlete

In 2009, I was a proud sprint triathlete who worked his way up from finishing at the back of the age group to the middle. I could run a mile and not even get tired. I could cycle 30 miles and call it satisfying, 40 miles would be a workout. I also almost lived at the gym. I had an awesome trainer, participated in the local triathlon club, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Until the day in early 2010 it all came crashing down. I was insanely sick with a nasty cold for 2 plus weeks and lost my fire. I just couldn’t live at the gym anymore. It seemed life had gotten the best of me. And so, I started a slow, long digression back to a state somewhere between office potato and triathlete. I wasn’t exactly not exercising and I wasn’t exactly eating healthy, but I wasn’t “training” either.

Getting Started Again

So today, as the scales push 230 pounds and I feel the fat accumulating on my skeletal frame, I am making “training” a priority. Training means I have a goal in mind, milestones to measure against and I will eat the best food I can. I already have an awesome food log setup in Excel using the TMX Yum Score. I even have an awesome training log setup in Excel thanks to TrainingMetrix (disclaimer, it is my company). I am lacking a trainer, but in the beginning that is fine. I have also decided to focus on hiking and cycling until I lose a few pounds.

What is the challenge? The challenge is to drop at least 10 pounds and cycle 230 miles by March 1st. Yep, riding every other day, starting at 8.5 miles, I will cover 230 miles and an average of 7.4 miles per day. Along the way, I will shed at least 10 pounds. If I can do this, I will not only be ready to start running, but also be able to squeeze into my tri shorts without looking like a muffin top in the pool. hehehe

The First Challenge Ride

I got started early with a ride yesterday covering 9.3 miles. The ride was along Mountain Drive in Santa Barbara and the weather was nearly perfect. The rolling hills and meandering canyon road was certainly challenging with acceleration, braking, and dodging cars on blind curves.  Certainly a bit sore this morning, but it is great to get a solid start. Many more exciting miles to go.

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/685701361

Check back for the next update.  A 9.5 mile ride has been scheduled for 1/31!

Posted in Cycling, Cycling Challenge, Getting Fit | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Getting Back onto the Triathlon Start Line: The Interval Run


Being outside of true triathlon performance for so long is a heart wrenching thought.  From my prime in 2009, I have seriously degraded in my ability to run, bike, and swim.  It makes me sad, but the thought of recapturing my prime drives me on.

Getting Back Into Running

I recently restarted my run workouts after focusing solely on bike workouts.  After cycling religiously three times a week for the past few weeks, it felt great this week to get off the bike and back on my own two feet.

The Interval Workout

This week focused on three run workouts.  While they were short, they are the beginning of a new chapter.  The first two runs were really walks, two miles long and at roughly 18:00 pace each.  Not blistering speed by any means, but even the Road Runner started slow…  I hope.

The third run was the most interesting.  While the SmartCoach app suggested a slightly faster pace, I decided to shake it up with a much faster paced, interval run.  I ran quarter mile (0.25mi) segments, alternating running and walking.  The first interval felt great.  The second, a little worse, and the final two challenging.

Running Form is Important

During the last two intervals, I focused not on run pace but run technique.  I remember an old coach who told me to run from the hip.  Run the hip???  Yep.  Running from the hip means you straighten your back and lean forward to the point you have to take a step or fall forward. You basically let gravity help move you forward as you step and push off the pavement with the ball of the foot.   Once you lean forward and get your feet in sync, the speed comes on fast and you really feel more like gliding as opposed to doing squats every time you step.

Even Slow Can Feel Awesome

At the end of the two mile workout, I managed to shave about three minutes off my pace, down to about 15:00 pace for the combined workout.  It felt great to get the blood moving along with the knees and feet.  While few people would every brag about a 15:00 pace run at two miles, when you have been away for so long, even slow feels awesome.

Posted in AricInTraining, interval workout, Running, running form | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

So, You Fell Off Your Bike?


You are cruising along with the wind in your hair, enjoying the beautiful world around you, when, suddenly, you fall off your bike and come crashing to the ground.

“Ouch!” you scream as the other cyclists in your group either swerve to avoid you or stop to look back at the scene which just unfolded.

You lay there momentarily stunned at what just occured.  “Am I okay? Anything broken or missing?”, you ask.

As the pain makes it way from the nerves to the brain, you realize you can still move and begin to unclip from the pedals and stand up.  Realizing you are okay, you survey the bike, hoping nothing has been scared from contact with the road.  Nothing has.

You realize the pothole was hidden and you were the only lucky one to take that particular path along the road.  You stand, making sense of what happened as your cycle partners help to get you going again.

Falling off your bike is synonymous with the sudden, life changing moments life throws our way.  Losing a job, a friend to suicide, or even just moving to a new, strange place for a fresh start, a shock to the system and normal pace is what makes us better people and triathletes in the end.

2014 for AricInTraining has been a year chocked full of these events.  In the end, after every punch has been thrown by life, I am still breathing and still a triathlete.  As hard as it is at times to get back on the bike and start pedaling again, it is the way forward.  The finish line is waiting and so are my dreams.

Posted in Life, Narrative, Triathlon | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment