Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Riding 65 miles on a flat tire.

Sunday I met some old friends on an annual ride around Lake Pepin (basically a fat part of the Mississippi River). It is 70 miles around the lake with one good climb coming in the first 10 miles and after that it is just rolling hills. We weren’t even five miles into our ride and I had a flat tire. My first flat in two years! I knew exactly what happened to…I was following a guy who didn’t call out any obstacles on the road those first few miles. I learned quickly he wasn’t going to be a group rider in that regards so I backed off his wheel a bit. In retrospect I didn’t back off far enough. He swerved to miss a large pothole, I tried to swerve but my back tire clipped the hole.

At first I thought I was lucky because nothing happened. 100 feet later I hear that sound I’m sure we have all heard, air rushing out of a tire at high velocity. I got my tire off, took the tube out and started inspecting. I couldn’t find anything. So I proceeded to put my tire back together with a new tube and then we found it…a slit in the sidewall of the tire and the new tube was poking through! I was going to put a Shot Block wrapper on the inside of the tire but Sol talked me into part of a GU wrapper. The GU wrapper being a little thicker seemed to work perfectly! The tire was holding.

Everyone quickly mounted their steeds and we were back on our ride. I took it pretty easy, pulling over twice to check the cut in the tire and all seemed fine. At that point I picked up my pace and hung with the group. Mike and I led the way up our biggest climb of the day; gaining 600 feet of elevation over 1.25 Miles. Usually you will see me leading the pack to the bottom of the hill as fast as gravity will bring me down but today I played it safe and kept it under 30 while most of my companions went over the 40 mph mark.

We couldn’t have ordered better weather for this ride, 70 and cloudy at the beginning. 80 and sunny at the end. We made a few potty/refuel stops along the Wisconsin side of the lake before crossing the river and starting our way back up the MN side. So, funny story. This guy Mike has been biking a TON. It was clear on the first large hill that we were two of the better hill climbers in the group. So we are going up the bridge that leads us from WI to MN and Mike looks back and I’m the only one there. All the sudden the pace lifts from 16mph to 18. Ok…I can match that. Again he looks back and I’m still there. All of the sudden I find myself doing 20 mph up this 4/5% grade hill to match his surge. Why? Because I’m competitive and he thought he could drop me. :) That is the only reason. I stuck with him to the top and coasted down letting the rest of the group catch up.

The MN side was relatively uneventful. We split up into three different pace groups for most of it. A few people that wanted to do 18-19, another holding around 17 and another 15-16. We stopped to regroup a few times and make sure no one else had any mechanical issues. At this point I had completely forgotten I was riding with a GU wrapper in my tire. I spent the rest of the day leisurely bouncing between the different paces. We were maybe 15 miles from the end of our ride and Bonnie had to stop to use the rest room; Bonnie was in the group averaging 15-16 taking in the scenery. At this point I find myself staring down nearly a half mile gap between me and the next group. Ok. Let the time trial begin. I surged ahead to let the group know to slow so Bonnie and Lauren would have a chance to catch up. I hit two stop lights going through that town, which put me in a world of hurt! I went from 25 mph to 0. I was just watching the group pull away. I was quickly back up to 25mph and stop. As soon as that light turned green I hit it. 25 mph, 24, 23…crap I was fading. I still had a quarter mile to make up and they were all riding 18/19 mph. I held on and eventually caught the group. We turned off at the first park just 0.5 miles further so we could all regroup.

During the next section Joe had to pull over, his foot was going numb. I stayed with him for a min so he could loosen his shoe and let his foot regain feeling while the rest of the group went ahead. Joe ran 10 miles the day before and I knew he might want some help getting back into the group. I don’t know why but I love pulling people. I enjoy sitting at the front of a group digging deep for a purpose. It is rewarding. Joe and I quickly met up with the group that was slowing to 16-17 mph with the headwind we picked up. I think everyone was satisfied with the day’s ride and we all coasted the next mile or so back to our cars. We had a great ride!

After a failed attempt at jumping into the Mississippi River (it looks gross! Who’s idea was that?) we all headed to grab lunch.

I hope we can do this ride again in the fall, I think it would be an absolutely perfect fall ride!

FYI – That is me in the tuxedo Jersey. :)

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Did You Know

Did You Know – You can walk 1 mile cutting a normal suburban lawn? I didn’t! I wore Mr. Garmin when I cut the lawn last Tuesday and I walked 1.2 miles in the 45 min of mowing the lawn.

Did You Know – That motivation is the activation or energization of goal-oriented behavior, according to Wikipedia (the magic 8-ball of today). I’ve been lacking motivation lately. Steph and I have being stressing/worrying about how our house debacle is going to turn out. Then 1.5 weeks ago steph was in a car accident. Then this week we met with our lawyer to go over how the arbitration at our home is going to go and we are excited to have this phase coming to a close but there is still the big WHAT IF. What if we don’t recover anything? What if we don’t recover enough to fix our home? We just have lots of questions and not a lot of things in our control. I need a goal. I currently do not have a concrete goal. There are all the warm fuzzy goals but I need something to train for! Something to scare me into hitting the pavement at least 5 times a week.

Did You Know – You can take your shirt off at work, put a towel on and not have HR called? This week our group was asked to give a 10 min presentation about what we do. So, in honoring the Old Spice Man we created a 11 min video reply to questions collected from the organization. Each team member participated and it will probably be a completely awkward experience being in the room while people laugh at your 1 min video but oh well, laugh with them and hope no one calls HR.

Did You Know – That you can cover 4.5 miles walking a golf course? I brought my Garmin on a course last year to track how far I go. This Saturday we are walking the same course. I’m hoping to shorten that distance by keeping the ball in the appropriate fairway for the hole this year. After some golf the guys and I are going to hit up the Twins game. I’m hoping the eveing Twins game, lack of sleep, potential beer consumption doesn’t throw me off for our annual ride around Lake Pepin that we are doing Sunday. It is a 70-75 mile ride (depending on how much we ride around the small towns) around a wider portion of the Mississippi River that they call a lake. We will go down one side, probably the WI side, and then come back up the MN side 35 miles later. This is a great social ride; if anyone in the area wants to join us we are leaving the St. James Hotel parking lot in Redwing, MN at 7am. We usually average 17mph at the end of the ride, one year was 15 because we had someone bonk HARD. Pace will range from 17-20’ish depending on who is leading at the time. There are a few good climbs but mostly just small rolling hills and great scenery. Let me know if you are interested in joining us.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quick update

Hi All,

I just wanted to give you a quick update of last week. I got in 2 of my 3 scheduled runs along with 2 sessions on the bike. One of the runs was a short recovery run. The other was my long run, which turned out to be longer than expected. I planned to do 7 miles before church Sunday morning. I mapped out a route Saturday night and went to bed after the strong storms blew threw. I got up at 7 am, ate a small breakfast and started getting my running stuff together. I have no idea what was wrong with me that day but it took me forever to find the bottles to my fuel belt (I have the two bottle version, LOVE IT). I didn't know if I would find any drinking fountains so I knew I should take a small bottle or two with me. I eventually found them and threw on my shoes and ran out the door. In doing so, I left lights on, left the TV on, forgot to lock the door. I forgot everything that morning! Then I forgot my route. I knew I had to head down one street for a while, then take a right and I would run to a lake, turn around and head home on that road making an elongated triangle or sorts. Well, 3 miles in I had to run to the porta potty for an emergency #2. When I started running again I must have turned the wrong way because it took me 2 extra miles to hit the lake...and when i got to the lake I was on the wrong part of the lake. :(

A nice man walking his dog gave me directions. I asked him where McKnight ave was and he said (pointing) a long way that way. I thanked the man and was on with my run. Now I knew how to get home but just to be safe I turned the garmin compass on and stayed true to that heading. The next two miles, climbing away from the lake, was uphill...a fair amount. My pace slipped from 10:20's to 11's.

I was feeling accomplished at the end of the run. I got up early, ran 7.5 miles, walked the last .75 extra back home and made some blueberry pancakes for Steph and I for breakfast. They were delicious!

So besides the slightly longer run, this week I've hit up a 50 mile bike ride. I threw a course together and it proved to be a really nice route. We had a fair amount of new roads, a couple large climbs but nothing too bad. We curved our way through quiet rural roads north of St. Paul. I honestly have to say that I will be doing that route again! Maybe solo, just to see what i can do on it.

We didn't have a fast day, but as this was my riding partners first time above 50 miles this year we took it easy. I ended with an average of 16.1 mph.

For the rest of this week I'm planning to get in 6 miles, 2 miles, and 9 miles of running and potentially another 30-40 mile bike ride.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A letter from Laurence and Mo

The past week has been tough. Jon has gotten in some form of work out nearly every day this week. He made us run 3 days , bike 2 other days and this was on our recovery week after that awful half marathon! Besides the half marathon this guy even made us go for a 56 mile bike ride though rural WI climbing 3,500 feet.

All of the runs were at an easy pace meant just to recover from last Sunday's half marathon. The bike rides on the other hand were pretty tough! Tuesday's ride ended up being 10 miles longer than expected and we ran out of water in 90 degree heat. Then this past Sunday we went for the 56 miler with two other. The first section of the route was fairly easy, going into the half way point the Jon's average HR was 132 (zone 2). We had some great weather, it was 80 degrees and partially cloudy. During the second half the wind picked up a little and was either in our face or from the right. Both folks Jon was riding with were strong riders but were clearly more comfortable drafting while headed into the wind. Jon pulled the two down a VERY straight stretch of rolling hills for 15 miles at an average of 19mph with an average HR of 152 (zone 3). Jon was working us a little harder and right in that fat burning zone, he is trying to kill us!

Over the past 6 weeks we've seen 6 of our buddies (pounds) pass away. If he keeps up this pace we (Laurence and Mo) will be nearly all gone by Christmas.

Send help!

Laurence and Mo

Monday, July 12, 2010

Half Marathon Race Report

I know it has been more than a week so I wanted to finish my race report and get it up. On a whim I signed up for the Inaugural Twin Cities Half Marathon that was being hosted by the same folks who put on the Twin Cities Marathon every October. I signed up as a scare tactic to make sure I ran as well as to run with a friend who was already signed up. Well, the scare tactic worked…somewhat. I wasn’t doing any short/medium distance training because I always and a reason why I should run during the week and then on the weekends I always pushed too far trying to build mileage during the long runs. I went from running 3 miles 2-3 times a week to running once a week at 6-8 miles. After each long run I was hurting! Either my IT Band was extremely tight or my foot/ankle hurt. IT was a lose lose situation.

(Porta Potty Line Pre Race)

So, onto the race. The entire week leading up to this race was super hot and muggy in MN. Race morning, at 5:00 am it was in the mid 70’s with 90% humidity. I got up super early and did my pre-race oatmeal breakfast and threw on my clothes and ran out the door. I was meeting Steve and Pharmie at their place in just 30 min (it is a 20 min drive). I knew first thing in the morning this race wasn’t going to be a great race, I had been sick for 3-4 days prior and the head cold I had was limiting my uninterrupted sleep. Pharmie, is a pharmacists…who would have guessed, game me some nose spray to take on top of the Sudafed (the good stuff…the stuff they swipe your ID for) and the cough drops. I was a little apprehensive, but I trust her…she is after all my sister-in-law now.

(Just after mile 2. Still thumbs up)

Steve, Pharmie and I jump in the car and make our way to the start. Pharmie and I are standing in the porta potty line when we overhear a man walking by; “well who do I need to talk to to get some porta potties on the race course.” Right away we think, oh no. There are already not enough at the start and there are none on the course, someone is going to have a really bad day. We stood in line for 30+ min and just made it as they were finishing the national anthem. The two of us hurried to the start line and wished each other well. We wouldn’t be running together today…I was hoping for a conservative 2:20 and she was hoping for a 1:50.

The beginning of the race was good for me. It was SUPER hot (maybe 80 degrees and 90%+ humidity) but I ticked off the first few miles at my goal pace, and got faster when the skies opened up with a generous downpour of cool rain. Steve got a photo of my shortly after mile 2, still thumbs up from Jon. I was having a good day up through the first few water stops. Splits went by slowly but surely until mile 6’sih….the first hiccup of the day. Pharmie had a friend who gave us some race course info that completely missed one major hill (in my mind). I was thinking, ok, he must have gotten miles 6 and 7 confused and this is the hill…just push up this thing and it is mostly downhill from here. I kick up it, a little slower than I hoped but I was happy…one of the two large hills was out of the way. Shortly after that, the next one. Ok. We are done with hills. NOPE. Mile 7, just as instructed, a monster of a hill…steeper and longer than both the other two combined. I was mentally defeated, it was getting hotter and I had convinced myself there were no more hills. I walked half of the hill and kicked it down the other side to make up time….not a good idea.

Around mile 8.5/9 I was in trouble. My pace was slowing and my body was giving me those small twinges that let you know it is going to cramp soon. I backed off hoping I wouldn’t lock up. I was mostly successful in that regard, but I was now running more than a min slower per mile, and even slower with any type of elevation. At this point in the race I had 4 miles to go, I knew I’d finish but what kind of shape would I be in at the end? I was having trouble slowing my heart rate down. Walking the water stops, and a little ways after then, I still couldn’t get my heart rate below the high 160’s (which is low zone 4 for me). While running, my now 12 min mile pace, my HR was up around 180. I convinced myself I only had a 5K left and pushing at zone 4/5 was ok.
The miles seemed to drag on and on. At this point the rain let up and things got hot. Things were miserable. I found a few folks to attempt to chat with on my short walk breaks to keep myself for maxing out my HR. Talking seemed to help, but then I was walking more and running less, that won’t get me to the finish line any faster.

Eventually myself and another girl put our heads down and went for it…we were less than a half mile away. We finished nearly right next to each other. We took at photo at the end and went to find our friends/family cheering us on.

My finishing time was 2:30:04, my slowest half marathon to date! Slower than the first 13.1 miles of both marathons I’ve run. This race did give me a lot of confidence, it was my longest run of the year and I knew I still had the mental strength it takes to conquer these types of endurance events. Overall, I’m glad I signed up for this half…my I vow to never sign up as a motivation for working out. If I sign up for races in the future it is to test myself and the training I’ve done.

(Finishing with a smile on my face.)

Thanks for reading.


(Pharmie getting close to the finish.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Where I'm at and where I want to go...

Sorry for the late post! I've been battling a cold while trying to maintain active which has been draining.

In my last post I said I would update everyone on three things; my current state, current training, and goals. So lets get started...

I currently weigh in at 260. I'm not happy about that, just two years ago I was 227. I'm not happy about that, I'd like to get down to 230 and maintain my weight there.

I haven't been working out regularly. Over the past few months workouts have been hit or miss. I'm working on getting into a regular routine with my new schedule and slowly I've been getting in more workouts each week. I hope to keep that going and maintain at least 5 workouts a week.
With my runs being sporadic it has been hard to build mileage safely. For the past few months I've been doing short runs (under 5 miles) here and there. This past Sunday I ran a half marathon on four short weeks of training. I must say, I didn't have high expectations going into this race so simply finishing was a confidence builder. I'll have more on this later into the week.

My goals for running is to have three runs every week. I want to work on speed so I need to have 1 easy run, 1 speed workout (or tempo run), and 1 longer run. I've decided this is the year of the half marathon, so most of my runs will be to build and maintain a half marathon base while increasing speed. My short term goal is to PR at the half marathon distance, that means under 2:00:00. I was attempting to break two hours last year and in doing so, my time came in at exactly 2 hours. So I still have to break two hours at the half marathon. I'd also like to break 4 hours in a marathon, but that goal is a little longer out.

When it comes to biking, I don't have many racing goals here. I have never raced. I have a long term goal to break 5 hours in a century but having never actually riding one straight through that is an fuzzy goal. I'd like to become a stronger hill climber and improve my recovery time. When I group ride I tend to hang out at the 18-20 mph average. I'd like to continue to improve that and eventually carry this into a triathlon.

This brings me to my last section, to do a triathlon. I hope I can fit a late season sprint into my calendar this year. Next year I would love to work on swimming and get myself in shape for a half ironman. I don't think it is fair to have any time goals for a triathlon, so lets keep it as finish. I've got that long term, back of the mind, goal of doing Ironman.

So, there is the quick snapshot of where I'm at and where I'd like to go. I hope to be sharing weekly workout summaries along with monthly totals and running totals.

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saying Hello to Laurense and Mo

I’d like to start this blog by giving everyone a little background about myself, my plans for this blog, and how I hope this blog will help my life.

Here are a few quick bullets to help you get to know me:

• My name is Jon
• I have had a blog in the past (Borsch In Training)
• I’m 27 years old today
• I am newly married
• I live in the a St. Paul, MN suburb
• I’m currently riding the weight roller coaster
• I started a new job 8 weeks ago
• My wife starts a new job next week
• We purchased a house renovated by a crappy flipper and now are in a legal battle to get the house put back together
• I’m currently enrolled in an MBA program
• I run
• I bike

So, a little more about me and my hopes for this blog. Knowing the above you should also know that I plan to use this blog as an outlet for life. My main focus for this blog will be on physical fitness, running, cycling, triathlons, and other active adventures. I also plan on sharing household renovations/projects and other random things I find interesting. I hope that committing to posting will help hold me accountable for not only tracking my workouts but actually doing them. I hope this can be an open conversation, a two-way dialogue between me and you. I plan on sharing my life and my journey and I hope you will do the same with me.

So, I bet you are asking, what spawned this blog…why start reposting under a different blog now? Well, I have previously been a contractor (the past 4.5 years) and just took a new job 2 months ago. With this new job came all the normal health benefits and medical insurance. A couple weeks ago I went to the doctor for the first time in 4-5 years. Overall the doctor game me a good bill of health. We did have a short conversation around weight and what a healthy weight should be. After Mr. Doc explained the BMI chart and where mine is (36) and should be (25). After that I asked the doc to talk real, sustainable weight goals. There is no way I can sustain a weight of 180. I updated the doc on my weight history and after that we had a productive conversation.

The background for you, I’ve weighed as much as 295 pounds and as little as 227 over the past 6 years. Starting at 295 6 years ago I made a commitment to get in shape. I got down to the 260’s when I signed up for my first marathon and that summer I made my way down to 227 on race day. At that point I slowly climbed back up to 275 over the next few years. I’ve remained active but have skipped workouts, ate poorly and convinced myself I wasn’t that unhealthy.

So during this conversation with the doctor he told me I was morbidly obese. Not just overweight or obese, he threw on the word morbidly. In my head I’m thinking, I can ride my bike for hours. I can run steadily for over an hour, how in the world can he use the word morbid. This word has stuck with me the past few weeks and is probably the biggest instigator in my return to blogging. The doc and I discussed activity levels and then picked a weight loss number to shoot for and maintain.

I shared the news with my wife and eventually more people, as a joke. My wife and her aunt, while on a family camping trip, named my belly Laurence and designated that I was now to be called MO (short for morbidly obese). We all take this in fun but to me this has stayed semi-real. Once something has a name it takes on a presence. Think about a common hill you run/bike/walk or just know of. Once you give it a name it is real. Like Heartbreak Hill in the Boston marathon. It went from an incline on the elevation chart to a standalone obstacle during the race.

So, the common theme I hope to carry through this blog is distancing me from Laurence and Mo. I want to be healthier and I’m afraid if I have three identities for too long I may truly give these alternate identities personalities.

More details to come later this week around my current state, training activities, and goals.

Thanks for reading.