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."

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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