Running, Biking, Triathlons, Swimming, Snowshoeing; what's next? Sal's does it all.

Friday, October 14, 2016

New Bike or Assault Vehicle?

This is the bike Jan Fredeno won the Ironman World Championship race with on October 8, 2016. He averaged over 24mph for the 112 miles. It's pretty bizarre looking to me. I'm not sure why you would want to go from the top bars down to the lower bars for braking and I'm assuming shifting?

Fredeno finished the race in a record 8:06, winning by 3+ minutes. His 4:29 bike split was not the fastest of the day. Four men beat him on the bike, but he ran a 2:45 marathon to seal the race. Fredeno also tied for the fastest swim, 48:02 for 2.4 miles.

Amazing splits, but I'm really interested in the bike. It almost seems like there needs to be more regulations on the style, weight, and components of the bikes to make it a more fair event. I'm of the opinion that money can buy speed, especially on the bike, and this can be an unfair advantage. These men and women wouldn't spend (or get sponsored to ride) a bike costing over $10,000 if it didn't give them an advantage in the race.

You can't make everyone ride the exact same bike, but other than weight it seems like more rules need to be put in place. The advantage is more pronounced in the age group amateur categories. There have been a few races where I've passed someone using a lighter bike with Zipp wheels, but that is really rare, actually extraordinarily rare. Normally I hear them coming up from behind like they are riding a train on tracks and blow by like I'm standing still.

Let me know your opinion on this. Maybe I have it all wrong?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Misleading Packaging?

We often do our shopping at Top's Market in Spencerport. I think we do a good job with being careful about how much we spend, looking over the weekly ads and using coupons. We also invariably accrue a lot of gas points. Three days ago I saved $15 when filling up my gas tank by using the points.
Last week one of the special deals was the "Family Meal Deal". You buy a big package of beef and get ten items free, like salad, taco shells, soda, etc. One of the free items was a package of lasagna noodles. We're runners, we like pasta, so why not get it for a nice dinner and leftovers for lunch?

This is what the outside of the box looked like. We didn't pay attention to the weight of the product and assumed the box was full.
The inside of the box. No, we didn't remove any of the noodles. Kind of funny, really. And I've never seen such skinny lasagna noodles. Oh well, the dinner still tasted fine.

Dream Big

I love this poster, from FitnessHacks 101

"Don't let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big"

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Joys and Frustrations of Our First Camper

Jan and I purchased our first camper about six weeks ago. At 21' it's considered a small camper, a good size for a couple who like each others' company and don't want something huge to pull around dragging the truck down.
We took our first weekend trip four weeks ago, to Hamlin Beach State Park, about twenty miles from our home. Being new to owning a trailer and never having towed anything before we wanted to stay close in case something went wrong. Hamlin Beach is also a great place to relax, take walks, go biking or run. We did all of that.
But we didn't use the hot water heater, not knowing how it worked, or the range for cooking or the propane heater. Two weeks ago we went back to Hamlin. This time we knew how to use the range and heater. But we had a lot of frustrating problems with the water pump and couldn't use the hot water heater.
We felt dumb. Fortunately, after a trip to the RV dealer, we found out the pump was defective and the hot water heater had valves turned off.
If you are in the market for a camper, here are ten things to know;

1. There is little better feeling than sitting around a nice campfire at night with a loved one, having a drink, laughing and talking.
2. Towing a camper can be nerve wracking, never sure if the sounds you hear are normal, the movement is okay, or if it's going to suddenly become unhitched.
3. Hitching up a trailer on an incline sucks. I'm not a fan of that word, but it just never seems to go well.
4. Hitching a trailer when you don't know what you are doing sucks, whether you are on an incline or flat land.
5. A camper is like a house. There is plumbing, electrical equipment, propane, AC, and you are supposed to know all of it after a two hour lesson.
6. We should have bought a tent camper 25-30 years ago when the kids were young. I think it would have been a lot of fun.
7. I am so over tent camping. Throwing our tent out five years ago after a bad experience was one of the best decisions we ever made.
8. It's nice to be warm and dry when the weather is cold and rainy.
9. Our camper has a bed that lifts up for more storage. What a great place to put important items, like extra wine and Southern Comfort.
10. Go to all the RV dealer websites, RV shows and RV dealerships you can while shopping. It took us 3-4 years to finally make a purchase. There is no reason to rush the decision and there are lots of options on what to buy.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Quirks of the Human Body

Three days ago I went on a run through our village. The Rochester area has set a record this year with the number of days over 80 degrees. Typically the dew point has also been high, from low 60's to upper 70's, which makes exercise uncomfortable. I suffer greatly in this weather, finding it hard to breathe and sweating excessively, to the point that going more than three miles is futile.

This day the temperature was 81 and dew point 61. My run was a downhill route for a mile, then flat, and ending with some small uphills/inclines/flat over the last 1.4 miles. Jan biked along with me. I felt okay at the start, not great but my legs were willing to move. The first mile seemed like a decent pace, but was actually 30+ seconds slower than normal. The flat section along the canal was worse, 45 seconds off my normal easy run pace. Then we began climbing a bit and my struggle was worse, over a minute off normal pace and not feeling easy.

I made it home exhausted and drank at least half a gallon of water over next couple of hours. After showering I put my pj's on and did no further exercising (it was only 6pm).

Yesterday I didn't feel great, could have easily bagged the run, but wanted to get in a few miles to add to my weekly total. I drove to the canal to run on a totally flat surface. It was the same 81 degrees and 61 dew point. After about five minutes I felt pretty good. My first mile was a decent pace and I began thinking this day might go okay. My legs and breathing got better the further I ran. Instead of my planned simple three miles I extended it to four. I did an out and back route and on the way back did 12x45 seconds hard, 15 seconds easy. My pace for the last two miles was 35-40 seconds/mile faster than usual.

Why the difference? Same temperatures, same dew point. My body actually felt more sore leading into the the second run than the first. This is why racing is so hard. I never know which body is going to show up on race morning. If you have an answer please let me know. I would like to be able to predict my performance better.

Common Swimming Myths Explained


1. Freestyle is the only stroke triathletes need to know.
Freestyle is the fastest and most efficient stroke, so it will be used most of the time when completing a long-distance swim. However, every triathlete should have a “safety” stroke to use when they are tired, need to find the buoys or clear their goggles in a race. Plus, learning other strokes works different muscles and keeps things interesting.
I generally do only freestyle. In a pool I might try up to 200 backstroke.

2. You’re supposed to hold your breath underwater.
Holding your breath causes a buildup of carbon dioxide and promotes a gasping feeling. Instead, constantly exhale a steady stream of bubbles out of your nose and mouth when your face is in the water between inhales.

3. If you always race in a wetsuit, it’s OK to always train with a pull buoy.
Over-training with a pull buoy will never allow you to learn how to balance your body in the water. Instead, do drills targeted on floating and arching your back to keep your body horizontal along the surface of the water.
I use a pull buoy much more than I should. With sinking legs it's tough to get in the distance I need without the buoy.
4. Triathletes shouldn’t bother with kicking drills.
Quite the contrary: The kick is very important for initiating core rotation and balance for the entire body. Triathletes should practice kicking, at a low cadence, to create a stronger and more efficient stroke with their upper body.
I don't do much with kicking drills since I can barely move 10 yards with a kickboard.
5. Swimming continuous laps without rest is an efficient use of training time.
Stroking nonstop through countless, mindless laps isn’t maximizing pool time—it’s wasting it. Every length of the pool should have a purpose that will improve technique, endurance, speed or breathing efficiency. Start each workout with a structured plan targeting specific goals to really make it count.
Sometimes I do this just to practice going long, as much for mental as physical practice. 
6. Bilateral breathing is only important for competitive swimmers.
Breathing on both sides is more important for triathletes than pool swimmers—especially in open water. The conditions can change at a moment’s notice: wind direction, waves and chop, blinding sunlight, etc.
I practice breathing styles a lot, just for the reasons mentioned.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Exercise and Your Brain

Ever wonder if one type of exercise effects a certain part of your brain more than another? Research shows that aerobic exercise, weight training, yoga and HIIT all stimulate separate sections of the brain.

  Read the complete article here; "New Finding: Different Types of Exercise Affects Different Parts of Your Brain". Worried about memory loss? Aerobic exercise is your best bet. "The hippocampus shrinks as we get older, leading to the typical struggles with memory. But aerobic exercise not only prevents this loss — it reverses it, slowing the effects of getting older. Voelcker-Rehage has found that the brain requires less energy to complete certain tasks after exercise. “We would say that points to the fact that the brain is more efficient,” she says. “It works more like a young brain.”

So keep lifting, running, and doing other forms of movement! Don't stop no matter what age you may be.