Sunday, March 21, 2010

A New Beginning

This past winter really sucked for me. Last fall, after my racing season ended, I took 2 weeks off from running to let everything heal. On my very first day back I went out for a really easy 8 miler and half way through my achilles felt a little off. This was weird because it was my left achilles that was bothering me and I had never had any trouble with it before. I have had a lot of trouble with my right achilles, but this was new. I ended the run, iced, took some advil and did not think much of it. The next day I was barely able to walk and ended up taking more than two and a half months off, completely. That's right, no running at all for two and a half months. On top of that it was the holiday season, I was working a ton and our son Noah was born. In the end, I think I gained about 15 pounds. Yikes!

Around the new year I decided to get my act together and start working out again. I could not run so I started out walking 4-5 miles each day on the treadmill. I felt like such an old fart but I knew that this was the only way I was going to get back running. After time I started adding in a some running, alternating 1/4 mile run with 1/2 mile walking. Eventually, I increased the run portion and by the first of March I was able to run 3-4 miles straight. None of this was fast, mind you. Most of my mileage has been at 8:00 minute pace and sometimes I can work down to 7:30ish pace for a mile or so. Most days I begin each run with 20-30 minutes on the bike and some easy stretching. This whole ordeal is making me really appreciate running and also realize that I can not do it as much as I would like going forward.

This is where the new beginning part comes in. I dabbled in cycling last summer a bit but did not really do it consistently, or for a long time. I decided that I need to add cycling back into my game plan and have decided to give the whole triathlon thing a try. Winters in New Hampshire are a bit rough for cycling so I started by buying an indoor trainer and also went as far as buying a new triathlon bike. I am going to put swimming off a little bit and get my running and cycling miles up. I am only running about 25-30 miles per week right now so I have a lot of work to do.

Based on reviews I read I bought the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll Pro trainer. I have put a decent amount of time in on it and like it so far. The only thing the Pro model adds is a larger flywheel (12lb add on to 6lb flywheel). I have been riding by feel because I have not switched the speed sensor to the rear wheel yet and the battery in my HR monitor is dead. I figure that it does not matter too much at this point because I am just putting in the hours and getting used to the bike. Right now I have a crappy, 15 year old cycling computer but I would like to find one that has gps (would be nice), cadence, speed, HR and power when I move outdoors. I am leaning towards the Garmin Edge 305, although that lacks the power option. I need to look around a bit more.

Now for the really exciting part - the bike. I have been riding a 1996 Trek 5000 with an 8-speed Ultegra groupo for a number of years. Not that this is a bad bike, but it was called an antique when I took it to the bike shop. After lots of research and reading about the new component groups, the different frame materials and brands I bought a used 2009 Kuota Kueen K with full SRAM Red groupo on Ebay, shown in the picture below. It came with Easton Circuit training wheels, but these will have to do for the first year. If I spend any more money my wife will not be too happy. I have not been able to ride it because it came completely disassembled and it is at the bike shop until April 8th getting built.

While buying this bike I discovered that I am not a very good Ebayer, if that is a word. I did not really get the hang of how the auctions ended and got a bit frustrated when I lost a bike to people 'snipping' at the end of the auction. I really wanted the Kueen K but bid on a Kuota Kalibur at the same time and ended up winning both bikes. Oops. The other bike is a 2008 Kuota Kalibur with the Campy Record groupo and Reynold MV32 wheels. Oddly enough, the bike did not come with tires, rim strips or brake pads, so I have to buy those. There is no way I can convince the wife to keep both so I am going to ride them both to see how they feel, compare the component groups and wheels and then sell one of the bikes.

Well, that's it for now. I am glad to be back to training and posting on my blog and actually pretty excited that I have something new to work at. I will try to do both the Tuesday rides from Goodales Bike shop (40-60 miles at 23-24 mph, or so they say) and the Wednesday track sessions with the Gate City Striders and post those workouts when they start in 3-4 weeks. Here is a summary of the last two weeks of training:

Monday: b(20), r(5.0)
Tuesday: b(30), r(4.0)
Wednesday: b(30), r(5.2)
Thursday: b(40), r(6.0)
Friday: b(33.3), r(0) <-- Actually rode outside
Saturday: b(23.2), r(5.8) <-- Outside again, a brick
Sunday: b(30), r(0)

Bike total: 205.5 miles
Run total: 26 miles

I am still getting used to the riding and my running is still not where it should be. I am shooting for 225-250 miles on the bike next week and 30-40 miles of running. Last week I rode 150 miles and ran about 25-30 miles.


by7 said...


glad to now that you are back in action... you were a good role model for "doing doubles"...

on the achilles... well., I could write a book... I was out of action for 14 months..

on the bike, I would give you 2 suggestions:
(as a former Elite cyclist and certified cycling coach)
A) buy also a normal road bike. If you train always with the Tri bike you will end up with a broken down back. And also you can not do many climbs with the TT bike...

B) I would go for the Campy all the way... the Campy stuff lasts all your life

Ethan Crain said...

Thanks for the advice. I do have a road bike that I do most of my training on so far and will probably keep doing that. I will have to ride the tri bike a bit though - no sense in paying all that money on a bike that you never ride. I have only ridden Shimano so I am excited to try both the SRAM and Campy. I have heard good things about both.