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Showing posts from 2019

Hey GooGoo

I'm working from home today.  My "office" is a corner of the basement directly under the kitchen.  The ceiling isn't exactly soundproofed, so I can make out most of the conversation happening upstairs, and I just keep hearing my daughter asking the Google Home what noise various things make.  She especially likes hearing what noise a T-Rex makes, but gets really upset when she asks about the sound a mermaid makes.

She has gotten pretty good about enunciating the "Google", and my son has started apeing her.  He understands that if you say the magic word that you can get the Google Home to do your bidding, and let me tell you, that kid has a lot of things he wants done for him.  The only thing between him and world domination is that the Google Home doesn't quite recognize "googoo" as a hot word yet.  At least not consistently (he has triggered it a couple of times).

He is doing this much earlier in his life than my daughter was.  Of course, sin…

Pick the Ugliest One

I took my daughter to a college basketball game the other day for my alma mater.  I try to go to at least one game per year with her, and since she was around two, I've had pretty good luck in doing that.  There aren't many afternoon games that work with nap time, but this is one of the few that happened to work out.

When I got her home, my wife asked her about the game, and the girl was explaining some of the things that went on.  My wife then asked specifically about the dancers that are there during some of the timeouts and at halftime, and the girl said, "Yes, we saw the dancers.  And then we had to pick out the ugliest one."

My wife's mind went straight to the fact that I was also there with my buddy from college and his son who is about the same age as the girl, and assumed that we were ranking the dancers.

I quickly interjected and explained that there was also an ugly sweater contest where the crowd had to choose the ugliest sweater.  Unfortunately, the g…

Jingle Dash 10k

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You know the saying "she won by a mile"?  Well, for my last race, I literally won by a mile.  Actually, I did the math and it was more like 1.3 miles

This is my local community's 5k/10k race.  The 10k course is two laps of the 5k course.  The turnout is pretty small - about 120 people for the 5k and 15 people for the 10k.  It's not what I would call a competitive race, but it is a really fun event with some nice people involved.

I've been running this race since 2013 and I've won the 10k 5 of the last 7 years, currently on a 4-year winning streak.  Unfortunately, the field has been dwindling each year.  From 68 people doing the 10k in 2013 to only 15 this year.  It's really sad to see, and I'm afraid that they are going to discontinue either the entire race or at the very least, the 10k.  I look at the race as a time trial because the victory feels a bit hollow.  In fact, I was the first person to cross the finish line on my first 5k lap - I beat the …

Zwift Training

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During my marathon training cycle, I found it very difficult to get the right mix of aerobic and anaerobic stress according to my Garmin watch.  I think that was partly due to the workouts I was doing, which were 90+ minutes with intervals in the middle of them.  I had trouble hitting those intervals, and I think, as a result, was not getting the anaerobic benefit.  This was a major point of frustration for me.

I've been running more on my treadmill as the weather has gotten colder and my motivation for waking up earlier to get my run in prior to my wife leaving for work has diminished.  Zwift also started a Movember campaign where there are in-game rewards for using the platform for 9.9 hours during the month of November.  I'm all about fake prizes, so I've been making a point to get on.

I did an hour run the other day.  I set the treadmill to 8.3 mph.  That translates to about 7:20 pace per my Stryd footpod.  That is faster than my "easy" pace, but not exactly …

Marine Corps Marathon

And so, for the first time in six months, I don't have any workouts scheduled on my calendar.

6:08 am race day: Just made it to the metro. I decided to Lyft to the metro and ride in. I couldn't imagine subjecting my wife and kids to a 5 am wake-up call and then have Jenn entertain cranky kids for 4+ hours in the rain.

The ride over was perfect. My Lyft driver came right on time. He commented as we were leaving the neighborhood about how crummy the weather was, as it happened to be pouring at the time. Normally I don't talk much to drivers, but I'm pretty excited about running the Marine Corps Marathon, so I told him that's where I was going. It turns out that his son has been in the Marines for 14 years. He's done two tours in Iraq as a sniper, worked down at Parris Island and is currently in Hawaii.
It's just a reminder of how awesome the military is and what a sacrifice they make for the safety of the country.

I made it on the first train and was set to g…

Giant Acorn Olympic Triathlon

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My one triathlon this year has come and gone, and it almost didn't happen (for me) at all.  My wife was less fortunate.

Last week, we took the kids to Sesame Place.  It was a grueling, but fun and rewarding day.  Six-plus hours in the car and no naps will do that.  But there was so much fun stuff to do for the kids that they powered through it.  We somehow managed to leave that trip without a single thing from the gift shop, but we still took home a souvenir.



My wife, son, and I all got a different ailment - upper respiratory for me, eyes for my son, and flu for my wife.  My son and I are both doing just fine now, a week later, but my wife is still recovering and was not able to run the race.  And because of how close we were to the race when she got ill, she wasn't able to defer her entry.

There was no chance my wife would run the race, but I also encouraged her not to come down to spectate.  I thought waking up at 4am would not be conducive to her recovery.  We left the kids…

ZWIFT Ramp Test

In case you couldn't tell, I'm a bit frustrated that my watch won't figure out my FTP for me.  So I thought I would give it another opportunity today by using ZWIFT's FTP Ramp Test.  It's a pretty simple protocol - warm up for five minutes, then do one minute intervals starting at 100 watts that go up by 20 each round. 

I've done this test before and that's where I got my 293 number from, which honestly seemed a little high.  So I hopped back in the saddle today, this time letting ZWIFT do all the work and my watch in record mode, hoping it would just figure stuff out.
Well, I'm not sure if it's the fact that I got five hours of sleep last night, or that I ran a pretty hard 12+ mile workout yesterday, but I didn't fare so well in the ramp test today.  I completed the 340 watt interval and then quit.  When I did the test in March I completed the 380 watt interval.  I also completed the 400 watt interval, but I wasn't able to actually maintain…

Failed to find FTP

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I managed to figure out a great way to do the guided FTP test with my 945, log my miles on ZWIFT, and use erg mode for the whole thing.  It worked spectacularly well, except for the fact that my legs weren't up for the challenge and as a result, no FTP was found.



My set up was as follows:
Laptop with ANT+ stick running ZWIFT
Android phone with ANT+
Indoor Cycling Workout Android app
Garmin 945
Tacx Vortex smart trainer
Daughter

My Samsung Galaxy S8 has native ANT+ support, which is awesome, though now that everything seems to be moving to dual BLE/ANT+ support, it's been less important in general.  However, this would not have been possible without having an Android device with ANT+ capability.

The ICW app is what is driving the Android experience.  It has the ability to connect to the trainer in FE-C, which means that it can control the trainer.  It is a super simple interface, and while you can build workouts in the app, I chose for free-form mode since I did not know the pow…

New Tech Growing Pains

I've been using the Garmin 945 for about six weeks now.  I'm really enjoying it, but there are definitely a few quirks.  I'm using the 945 as my everything watch - workouts plus daily activity tracking.  Previously, I was using the Fitbit Versa for daily activity tracking and the 920XT for workouts.  It was a bit weird exercising with both the Versa and 920XT on, but the only way I would get "credit" for the workout on the Fitbit platform was if I wore the Versa (if I wanted the benefit of the HR metrics associated), but the actual workout-centric metrics provided by the Versa were laughable, hence the 920XT.  So combining both into the 945 has been great.  And it was only slightly painful to manually export nine years worth of activity-tracking data from Fitbit one month at a time to import into the Garmin platform.

I ended up getting the triathlon bundle for the 945, which I was not planning on, but it was the only version in stock, and with the discount I got …

Training Check-In

I'm now 13 weeks into my training plan for the Marine Corps Marathon.  Or, I guess if you want to get technical, I'm 4 weeks into my MCM training, after having completed a 9 week tune-up training regime to get me in shape for the MCM training.  So far, it's been a mixed bag.

My pre-training plan was re-doing the Hanson's Marathon Method training plan using zones for people looking to get a 3-hour marathon.  Having done this plan before, I didn't have any issues with any of the workouts, but I did have some issues hitting some of the prescribed paces.  I might have been overreaching on the target zones for these workouts, but considering the relatively short duration of the regime I was doing, I didn't bother re-working the zones.

Sometime between starting that plan and now, The Boy has started sleeping through the night, and not in that stupid way that pediatricians define "sleeping through the night" of sleeping for eight consecutive hours (which mea…

Marine Corps Marathon - Let the Training Begin

I signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon a few weeks ago.  The race takes place in October and I'd like to a) break 3 hours, b) qualify for Boston (i.e., sub-3:05), or c) beat my current PR of 3:15.  I was disappointed that I couldn't break through on my last marathon with Hanson's Marathon Method, even though I hit every single segment of every single workout for the entire 18 week program.  I still bonked right around mile 18.  That's the second time I've used Hanson's method, and while my results were much better the second time around, I feel the need to change it up.

So after some deliberation, I decided to go with the Jack Daniel's 2Q plan.  The concept is simple - the plan prescribes two quality workouts per week, and you fill in the rest with whatever easy miles you can to hit your target weekly goal.  I chose this plan specifically because the month prior to the Marathon, I have my Giant Acorn Triathlon, which is an Olympic distance race that I al…

You Win Some and You Win Some

This is an odd post, but bear with me.  Sometime in 2016, my boss was doing Invisalign and it seemed pretty neat, so when my dentist suggested I should see their in-house orthodontist for a free evaluation, I took them up on their offer.  The cost of Invisalign was a lot more than I was willing to spend for on my vanity, and even conventional metal braces were a magnitude more expensive than I wanted.

I shelved that project and put it out of my mind until 2018 when I saw an article on Techcrunch for Candid Co., which is essentially a mail order version of Invisalign for prices that were advertised for less than a third of what traditional metal braces cost.  I was intrigued and saw that there was a competing service called Smile Direct Club which offered basically the same thing for about the same cost.

Of course, because I went to their site, I started getting bombarded with ads, mostly for SDC.  Even at that price, it was more expensive than what I wanted to spend, so I just ignored…