Cyclocross End of Season Report

Simon's first cyclocross season finished with a third place win for the under 14 series. Because of his willingness to keep coming back for more punishment he was able to secure his place atop the podium by out scoring his nearest opponent and beating him out right in the last race. It was earned and well deserved.
One of reasons Simon kept returning was the encouragement from fellow racers and the spectators. This makes the sport appeal to most cyclist; you not only get to race but you can cheer on fellow racers when you're not racing.
So congratulations to Simon for a top three finish in his first cross season!



Thanksgiving day I ran the Weather Channel Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. It interesting how when you push yourself you learn things. Some of the things that I learned were more of a confirmation of things already knew but were not ready to consciously admit and put into practice.

Race Report:

Start time was 7:00 am. The race started in Chamblee and ended at Turner Field so the course was not out and back. Got up at 4:00am has some coffee, I had picked up my Breeze Card the night before so I was out the door 5:00am walking to the East Lake Marta Station. Got on the train at about 5:22 had to make one transfer and exited the Chamblee Marta Station around 6:05. I followed the crowd to the area where the trucks were collecting bags from people that wanted to keep their warm up clothes and pick them up at the finish line. I had decided to leave my clothes near the aid stations when I got warm on the run. The clothes are picked up and donated.

Got to my stall based on my number about 6:40 and waited. My friend Dan said he would meet me near the front but I never saw him at the start. 7:00 race started. The first few hundred meters we just walked then we had the whole road and were able to start running. After about two miles I settled into my Half Pace. A pace I thought I could finish the race without too many problems. My longest run to date was 9.5 miles.

Dan ran past me at about mile 3 and I ran his pace for about a half mile but decided to slow it down to my pace and let him go ahead. With three marathons under his belt I figured he knew what he was doing. To make a long story short here is what happened:

  • Mile: 1-8:29, 2-9:56, 3-8:46, 4-8:44, 5-9:14, 6-9:04, 7-9:09, 8-10:38, 9-10:44, 10-11:27, 11-11:43, 12-12:21, 13-13:13.
As you can see things started to go wrong somewhere into mile 10 and got worse until the end of the race. I felt as if I has sustained an injury but I ran 2 miles on Saturday without the same pain. Things I learned:

  • If you are going to run a long distance you have to train a long distance. The thought of running for over an hour does not appeal to me.

  • I am much better at pushing myself hard for a short distance that just pushing myself to run long distances.

  • I'm a better runner that a cyclists but I can work on the cycling part.
So when I talked to Dan about the race and he was describing the course after 10 miles I had no recollection of it. I was so focused on finishing I didn't even notice where I was.


Motivation for the Long Haul

Everyone struggles with staying motivated. It has happened to me two weeks ago. The combination of a change in the weather and a low energy phase seems to be the problem. By low energy phase I'm talking about training hard for a long time peaking and needing to "rest hard" for a short period without compromising my training.

This happens to all of us from time to time. Some people throw in the towel, some people snap out of it. I typically snap out of it. Even though I've done it for years the thought of getting out in the cold to work out doesn't appeal to me now. Also I've trained hard through the summer for a triathlon and cyclocross season just started plus a buddy talked me into doing the Thanksgiving day half marathon.

One thing I am is disciplined. When most people think of discipline it conjures up negative thoughts and images. However, I like the definition byRocannon ; "discipline is way of approaching a task or situation in an organized and effective manner."

As with most things, if you approach things in a haphazard manner you don't seem to end up with the results you expected and having no track set to follow you can figure out where you got off track.

I think of myself as an Athlete. Athletes don't work out, they train. Athletes have a goal and to reach that goal they have a program and a plan.

To stay motivated, start with fairly easy obtainable goals; loose 4 pounds in 30 days, run a mile in 11 minutes in six weeks, walk for 20 minutes ever other day for a month, drink only water during the day for four weeks.

How to keep on track:

  • As a guide, write down your expected training schedule, put it on the calender or frig. Allow for some wiggle room.

  • Refer to exercising as training instead of working out. Working out can seem like drudgery, training for something indicates a goal that you are trying to achieve.

  • Keep a journal of daily activities, food and energy level. I use a spiral bound notebook. This can help you discover the triggers that derail you from reaching your goals.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. Helen Keller


Cyclocross Race Report

The following is a fresh perspecrtive from an almost 10 year old rookie cross racer after his first race.

Dad: Simon after hearing me talk about cyclocross racing was the race what you expected?
Simon: Yes.
Dad: What was the hardest part?
Simon: I think carring your bike up the stairs, pushing your bike up the sandy hill, and going down the sharp turn on the gravel.
Dad: What did you like most about the race?
Simon: Finishing it.
Dad: Is there anything else you want to say about the race?
Simon: I think that it was really fun but hard at the same time.
Dad: Will you race again?
Simon: Yes.
  • Heard leaving the course:
Dad: How was it?
Simon: I thought I was going to be the first kid in America to have a heart attack.


No Complaints

I'm putting myself out there. You know, I thought I was a pretty positive person. I have friends, I get along with my co-workers and I have a great family life. But until I took the complaint free challenge, I didn't realize how many times a day I complain.

“Complaining is not to be confused with informing someone of a mistake or deficiency so that it can be put right. And to refrain from complaining doesn’t necessarily mean putting up with bad quality or behavior. There is no ego in telling the waiter your soup is cold and needs to be heated up—if you stick to the facts, which are always neutral. ‘How dare you serve me cold soup…?’ That’s
complaining.”—Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth”

The challenge is simple. Go to acomplaintfreeworld.org get a purple bracelet and put it on. Each time during the day when you complain, criticise, or gossip move the bracelet. When you have gone 21 days without complaining, you have changed your thought patterns and ceased complaining.

Why take the challenge? There are two things upon which most people will agree:
  1. There is too much complaining in the world.
  2. The state of the world is not the way we would like it.

Instead of focusing on what is wrong in the world, focus on how you want the world to be.


Armstrong to Race Cross

"Sports Illustrated" Magazine June 11th, 2005 Cover

This should be interesting. Lance Armstrong announced that he is coming out of retirement to race in the Tour de France in 2009. He also stated that he will do some cross races in preperation.

Ryan Trebon has a few thoughts about Lance on the cross racing circut: Asked about Armstrong’s plans to race ’cross this fall, Trebon said, “Sure, why not come out? I’d like him to come out. It would be cool. It would mean more people. I’ve never met him, never raced against him — never even seen him."

Read More

Maybe Lance is trying to recreate his unexpected cyclocross detour in the 2003 Tour de France.


Race Pace

Recreating a race pace effort during training is difficult to do when training alone. Powering Muscles gives you 10 Ways to Train Your Brain for Better Performance to prepare your body and mind for a race day effort.

I typically feel that I can push myself when working out alone but nothing compares with a little competition, perceived or real.

This past weekend I competed in my first 10k run, the Doug Kessler Lightning 10k. I wanted to not only know my time but to compare my heart rate to my cyclocross training. It's hard to recreate the intensity of a cyclocross practice or race with any type of cross training activity but knowing my race pace and heart rate for a run and the perceived effort is a good starting point.

My finish time for the run was 50:46 and average pace of 8:07. Here is a comparison of my heart rate with Sunday's cyclocross practice.

Cyclocross practice was broken down into two 1x10 minute effort and a 1x30 min effort.


  • Average 154
  • Max 168


  • Average 142
  • Max 168


  • Average 161
  • Max 169

Doug Kessler Lightning 10K

  • Average 160
  • Max 176

Compared to my earlier runs my heart rate was never as close as my race day numbers. Working in some high intensity intervals would seem to help my race day performance.


Cyclocross Practice

Sunday's cyclocross practice got off to a slow start. However, the course that was set up was much more challenging that last week. We had planned on doing 2x10 and 1x30 but time ran out and we ended up with 1x10 and 1x25. It still hurt.

Heart Rates:
  • 1X10-Average 161-Max 172

  • 1X25-Average 163-Max 172

This weekend its the Doug Kessler Lightning 10K in Sandy Springs on Saturday and Cross practice on Sunday.


Getting Dirty

Psychology Today has an article in this issue that talks about the benefit of growing your own vegetables. Nothing new about this, right? The interesting thing is where the article points to as the greatest benefit:

Growing your own food by messing around in your garden proves to be nature's fruitful way of cultivating your health-physically and psychologically.

The soil is a rich repository of microbes and other organisms with which we've coexisted from the beginning. As science digs deeper into understanding the effects of bacterial on human health, and especially on the immune system.
It looks increasingly like ingesting components of the soil itself might be as critical to human health as the very finest fruits and veggies grown in it.

In 2007 a University of Colorado neuro-scientist made a startling discovery. He found that certain strains of soil-borne mycobacteria sharply stimulated the human immune system. The very same bacteria also boosted serotonin levels in the brains of mice.

The article goes on to say that our obsession with keeping everything sanitized in our home environment and the lack of exposure to these bacteria and other common dirt-borne pathogens early in life might explain the sharp rise in chronic inflammatory, allergic, and immune disorders such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease in the industrialized world.

My wife and I have never had a problem with our kids getting dirty. We maintain our own lawn and garden, which is something that seems to becoming a thing of the past, and involve the kids in things like pulling weeds. They can identify poison ivy and black widow spiders as well a many beneficial insects and butterfly larva and where to find them.

Each summer we send them to several weeks of "Horse Camp". At the camp you have to earn the right to ride the horses. The kids are broken down into groups to do chores and each day they rotate to the different chores and yes one of the chores is to clean the stalls. They come home with cuts, scrapes and tough hands just like most of us did when we were kids.

If you want more information on the subject visit Mark' Daily Apple to learn about the Primal Benefits of Dirt, Dust, and Dishevelment.


Cyclocross Season

I began my sport specific training for the Georgia Cross cylcocross racing series. There is a group of about six of us that get together at a public field on the Ga. Tech campus.

The series is eight races beginning on October 5th and ending December 7th (no race on Thanksgiving weekend).

The workout on Sunday looked like this:
  • 10 min warm up
  • 2x10 min interval
  • 1x20 min interval

A good foundation in cycling and running is necessary before taking on the sport specific training. The sustained output for the training is much more intense than road cycling or running.

My last hard run was 6.58 miles at an average pace of 8:42/mile. This produce these heart rates:

  • Average: 148 beats per minute
  • Max: 168 beats per minute

The second 10 minute interval of cyclocross practice:

  • Average: 161 beats per minute
  • Max: 170 beats per minute

My highest heart rate was 173 beats per minute in the last 20 minute interval.

To learn more about cyclocross, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRZOa_E9Qs8


Mission Accomplished Fasted

I survived. I completed the 28th Annual Callaway Gardens Triathlon. I performed all morning workouts in a fasted state and broke my fast around three pm on most days. My training was sport specific and is listed below.

Food Intake:

Most of my workouts were done in the morning in a fasted state. I did perform two workouts a week in the afternoon after work once I broke my fast. Most days I break-fast around 3:00 pm. My afternoon workouts start at 5:30 for the bike and 6:30 for the run. My break-fast is typically piece of fruit, some nut butter and sometimes whey and glutamine mixed with water. For dessert sometimes a Chocolate Hammer Gel. For dinner I eat a typical Primal Diet, some protein, lots of vegetables, and some fruit. Relaxed on Friday night to enjoy my favorite Mexican restaurant.

  • Monday: Morning: 100 push-ups, 20 minutes Yoga. Afternoon: One hour hard bike ride.
  • Tuesday: Sprint work for Swimming and Running.
  • Wednesday: Morning: 100 push-ups, 20 minutes Yoga Afternoon: 10K run.
  • Thursday: Morning: Long Swim-1K+-
  • Friday: Morning: 100 push-ups, 20 minutes Yoga
  • Saturday: Morning: One hour bike ride-followed by 2 mile run.
  • Sunday: Morning: 5k-5mile run. Depending on how I felt.

This was my workout schedule for about twelve weeks.


Awake at 3:00 am. Had some coffee as I do each day. My buddy Dan picked me up at 4:00 am and we headed to Callaway Gardens. No stops along the way, just drank water.

We arrived around 5:45 am and a handful of people has started setting up in the transition area. We parked, unloaded our bikes and picked a location near the exit and entrance of the bike leg in the transition area.

Since we were early registration was simple and pain free. We signed the waivers, picked up our timing chip and proceeded to get set up in the transition area.

My bike is the Waterford next to the blue and white striped towel. This course favors a regular road bike set up. There are 17 ninety degree turns on the course, cancelling out the benefit you would gain in the aero position on a time trial bike. After everything was set up it was time to change and get ready for the meeting on the beach at 7:45. I was surprised at how long the course looked stretched out in the water. I had done one open water swim when we were on vacation so I was somewhat prepared for the swin.

At the start of the swim groups were sent off in six minute intervals. I was in the 45+ group and we went off third. We waded out into the water to waist deep and then started swimming. It started off hard as it did in training but I was able to clear most of the group and swim alone. After the first buoy I passed a lot of people in the group ahead of us. I had to stop twice; once when I could not get a fix on the buoy and once when someone swam at a ninety degree angle to the direction I was swimming. Luckily, I was the one headed in the right direction. It was similar to what I would imagine as an abandoned boat without life boats.

My transition time to the bike was long but expected for a first timer. The bike course was rolling hills and fast. I was amazed at the lack of bike handling skills by a lot of the riders. It was as if they were unaware that there were other cyclist on the road. Made it through that alive, transitioned better and was off on the run.

The run was purely a mental exercise. I had to force my legs to run after the hard bike ride. The course was an out and back loop. After about a mile I started to pick up some of the eariler groups comming back. Most of the people were not having a good time on the run. I suffered through the first mile and a half and then setteled into a pace and really suffered on about the last 800 meters. I finished with a total time of 1:57:57, good enough to take seventh out of twenty-five in my first triathlon.

Go here to view the full results, my times were:

  • 1K Swim-Swim Rank 7th: 15:30
  • Transition #1: 3:18
  • 39K Bike-Bike Rank 8th: 54:46 Avg Speed: 20.4 mph
  • Transition #2: 2:25
  • 8K Run-Run Rank 8th: 42:00 Pace: 8:24
  • Total Time: 1:57:57

I will continue to experiment with IFing and athlethic performance. And to be sure I will continue to train for athlethic performance and not just exercise.


Staying Focused

I just got back form vacation on the 9th. I was able to do pretty good keeping my overall fitness and kept my food consumption in check most of the time. I was also surprised at how easy it was to maintain my intermittent fasting routine. Everyone got up later so I would have some coffee, do my workout (or not) and then hang out on the deck and wait till the kids would wake up and either take them down to the beach or to the south end of the island to fish.

One of the best thing about being on a laid back vacation at the the beach is that I can practice focusing on the task at hand. There's no pressure about getting the task I'm doing complete so I can move to the next thing that needs to be done. I just focus on what I'm doing and do the next thing when I done. It's ironic that no matter how much you have to do, worrying about the other things you have to do doesn't get anything done faster. However, it does cause you to make more mistakes.

One of the things I like about kids is that they are not tied to a time schedule. They focus on the things they are doing and then move on to the next thing. They don't use phrases like it's time to eat or it's time to go to bed. Instead they say I'm hungry or I'm tired.

I've found that this week at work I have been able to focus more clearly on what I doing by being mindful of of my actions. Here are some things that have helped:

  • Keeping a list of the remaining things I need to do helps me focus on what I'm doing.
  • Don't check email or answer phone calls except at certain times of the day.
  • With big assignments, start the assignment way ahead of the deadline and work on it some every day or every other day or at least once a week depending on the time before the deadline . It could only be for 5-10 minutes or just to read though the old work.
  • Organize your desk each day before you leave. Arriving to an organized desk each day allows you to start with an uncluttered mind.

The trick will be to remain vigilant.

Staying Focused = More Productivity = Less Stress


Weekend Suffering

Sunday marks my first endeavor into the world of triathlons. A buddy talked me into this back in the spring and I adjusted my training to be more tri-centric.

It's interesting to note that I had never been a big runner until I signed my daughter up for the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program at school last year and I had never used swimming as an exercise method until my son and daughter joined the neighborhood swim team this year.

If you just try to go with the flow (which is one of the things I have to constantly work on) events seem to lead you to where you need to be.


Getting Started


Why wait, we might as well get to the meat of the issue. With all the information available on the net and most of it free, there is no reason that anyone, and that includes you, can't get in shape, lose fat and develop a diet that can help eliminate a lot of your minor everyday health problems and help you live longer.

Here are the top three excuses people don't work out and some solutions to each excuse:

I don't have time.

Zen Habits has 25 Painless Ways to free up and hour a day. One way is to turn off the computer or tv, go to bed and get up earlier. Try getting up 15 minutes earlier each week. 15 minutes is a good starting point to get in the workout habit.

I don't like going to the Gym.

You can go here, here , or here to find a workout that can be performed outside in your yard, the local playground, or in a 4x4 room. Remember almost all workouts can be scaled down to anyone's level of fitness.

I can't stay motivated.

Go here and there are several articles that can help with getting motivated and staying motivated. Listen to what Will Smith has to say about motivation. Set realistic and specific goals and then tell someone about your goals and enlist them to help keep you motivated. Better yet get a workout buddy.

I'm sure you can think of others but these seem to the top three reasons people give for not starting a workout routine and sticking with it. You may ask; "Why should I listen to you?" Well, I'm just like you; I have a 8-10hr a day job that I work at five days a week, I do limited consulting work outside my regular job, I have a family, I have a house and yard that I maintain, I volunteer to help line soccer fields and coach baseball. I have studied the subject for three years and made the mistakes and found what works and doesn't so you don't have to waste your time. I not selling anything and all the information comes from people that have spent their time reading the exhaustive research on the subject and have nothing to gain. Use my time that I have weeded through the information and experimented with the different systems and let me provide concise information that can help. Feel free to ask questions.

Up next; diet and nutrition.

"What ever you are thinking about is literally like planning for a future event....What are you planning."


Blog Redo

I downloaded something on the other blog that won't allow me to change or add information as I would like. If you are interested in past information it can be obtained here.