Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Winter Running

A top ten list on running in the cold, dark, snowy northeast winters of upstate New York.



10. It’s always dark outside
9. My clothes make me feel like the little brother in the Christmas Story who falls down and can’t get back up.
8. Every spot on the road looks like black ice and I feel like I’m going to fall any second.
7. Slushy snow, yucky and cold.
6. An easy pace mile in the summer is a fast mile in the winter.
5. I get to wear funny looking hats
4. No longer have to carry fluids on a long run since I sweat so little.
3. People look at me like I’m weird being outside when it’s 15 degrees and 2 feet of snow, I like being different.
2. A hot shower never felt so good.
1. It’s fun touching Jan’s skin with my ice cold hands and having her scream.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Faster: Demystifying the Science of Triathlon Speed


Interested in knowing your predicted Ironman finishing time? There is a mathematical formula that has been tested and shown to be reasonably accurate.

152.1 +[1.332 x recent marathon time] + [1.964 x Olympic Tri time] = IM time.
Example:  Jan’s predicted finish
152.1 +[1.332 x 270] + [1.964 x 191] =  14 hours and 48 minutes.  Jan finished IM 2009 Lake Placid in 15:54, with a final marathon @ 6:12 compared with her Marine Corps Marathon time of 4:30.

Almost without fail the average age group athlete swims and bikes the IM legs faster than what they trained at and then slows precipitously in the marathon, running much slower than training pace.
Of course variables such as weather, health, training load and race course design (hilly, water conditions, wet suit or not) play a significant role. Jan's example above used the FingerLakes Triathlon time which was a year after LP. It would be better to have a marathon and Olympic distance tri completed a few months before your IM effort for the formula to be more accurate.
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ten Reasons to "TRI" in 2014

It's time to get serious again about doing some triathlons. 2014 will be different than the past two years. This year the only multisport activities Jan and I did were the Shoreline and Spring Classic Duathlons. We need to get in the water over this winter, bike indoors like crazy and continue running well. We need to think about the tri's we want to do, considering the race distance, location, cost and timeframe.

There might be ten reasons to "TRI" in 2014;

10. Winter indoor bike training can be fun! Think of all the movies you can watch.
9.  We have been competing for awhile to see who makes it to Portland, Oregon on our bikes (virtually of course, we have maps printed out and stick pins everytime we ride). I will pass Jan in December and arrive first in Portland.
8. Motivation through the long winter days.
7. Traveling to races might be fun - at least once the race is done.
6. Pizza, one of our top five food groups, tastes even better after completing three hours on the bike or a race.
5. It's fun to pick out races and make up training schedules.
4. Maybe Jan can win a few more age group medals.
3. I like beating Jan in races.
2. The training will take our minds off work.
1. We will lose our muffin tops by working out more.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why I Can't Be a Pro Cyclist



ADELAIDE, January 20, 2012 (AFP) — Tour Down Under organizers on Friday made good on a threat to sanction cyclists for urinating in public, handing fines to a dozen riders for “unseemly behavior.”

With the mercury regularly rising above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Adelaide Hills this week, riders have been forewarned by their respective teams to drink plenty before, during, and after each day’s stage.
But that advice has often led to some being caught short, feeling the need to relieve themselves at the side of the road during the race despite the presence of spectators.
The peloton was reminded Friday morning by organizers of the season’s opening WorldTour event that such behavior, fairly common in pro cycling, was not acceptable and they would be fined accordingly.
Under an International Cycling Union (UCI) rule with the heading “Insults, threats, unseemly behavior,” Australia’s Robbie McEwen, Jens Voigt of Germany, New Zealand’s Hayden Roulston, and race leader Martin Kohler of Switzerland were among 12 riders handed fines of 50 Swiss francs ($54).
The race continues Saturday with a potentially decisive stage five which finishes on Old Willunga Hill. It finishes Sunday with a 90-kilometre (56-mile) street race in Adelaide.

From Bicyling.com blog. 1/23/2012.

Somehow I don't think a $54 fine will stop pros from taking care of their needs, but I can understand organizers hoping the cyclists could use a little more discretion in where they pee.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Athletes for a Cure Triathlon

Amanda (mytriathletewife's daughter) completed her first Olympic distance triathlon (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run)at DisneyWorld on September 21. The swim was held in Bay Lake, so it was a nice preview of what our 1/2 IM race in May 2009 will be like.

Amanda said the water was kind of murky, it was impossible to see the bottom, and the morning was foggy, so sighting the buoys was difficult. I would have photos, but copyright protection on the official race photographer website made it impossible to grab some.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Eating Philosophy

"Lord of the Rings"
Aragorn: Gentlemen, we do not stop till nightfall.
Pippin: What about breakfast?
Aragorn: You've already had it.
Pippin: We've had one, yes. What about second breakfast?
[Aragorn turns and walks off in disgust]
Merry: I don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.
Pippin: What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he?
Merry: I wouldn't count on it.

I eat breakfast at 6:30am, but really am more of a nineses, than elevenses. By 11:30 it's lunch time, 2-3pm a snack. If I'm cooking dinner I'm eating at the same time. Then dinner and maybe some cookies around 8pm.

I could have been a Hobbit.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tri at the Y

Jan, obviously intimidated by me entering the December 13 Tri at the Y in Penfield, has yet to send in her entry, while mine went in the mail today. Rumor has it LouIneversawapoolIdidntlike and Mikeijustrun may also enter the race. To the victor goes the spoils (wine or beer). Make mine Merlot.
Thank you.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Switching Gears

Enough with the triathlon stuff for awhile. Jan and I are part of the Brooks Fleet Feet cross-country team. We are racing the Upstate New York series, directed by Pete Glavin. Races are held in the Rochester area, Syracuse, mid-way between Syracuse and Utica, and near Ithaca, NY.

This doesn't mean Jan isn't still swimming, biking and lifting weights, only that the intensity and duration of these activities has diminished.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

IM Louisville Photos




Team McCullough at Bike Transition, Bethanie, Amanda and the Ohio River, IM practice swim

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Louisville Ironman Blues

Why is it always so goddamn hot! Another race day with near record heat, bright sun, no clouds until 6pm or so. The dew point was 62, not anywhere near comfortable with the temperature soaring to 93. Support team McCullough was hot sitting in the shade watching the bikes speed by.

So I wrote a song, well actually blues singer Robert Johnson did, but I changed the lyrics. "Crossroads"

Jan went to the crossroads, fell down on her knees
Jan went to the crossroads, fell down on her knees
Asked the Ironman gods above, have mercy now,
Get me to the finish if you please.

Swimmin' like a dolphin, in that Ohio River
Whee-hee, she glided right along
Didn't nobody seem to know her, nobody passed her by.

Ridin' through the crossroads, risin' sun goin' higher
Ridin' through the crossroads baby, the risin' sun gettin' hotter
I believe to my soul now, po' Jan is burnin' up.

Jan can run, she can run, tell all her friends
Jan can run, she can run, tell all her friends
That Jan got the crossroad blues this afternoon',
Lord, baby she's sinkin' down

She went with the medics, she looked pale and sick
She went to the medics, she looked pale and sick
Lord, I couldn't find my sweet woman, ooh well,
Babe, Jan is in distress.


Jan made it to mile 12 of the marathon after an excellent swim and bike. She was almost 35 minutes ahead of last year's time. Jan had over 7 and 1/2 hours to do the marathon and still beat the 17 hour cutoff time. Unfortunately, despite an excellent nutrition plan and conserving herself on the bike, the dehydration had already begun.

Jan wouldn't be the only person to succumb to the heat. One poor man fainted with just a mile to go in the marathon and never finished. The medical area had over 60 cots and they were constantly being filled with participants. Jan received 2 liters of IV fluids and a shot for nausea.

Possibly some medication she takes acts as a diuretic. That is a side effect the doctors never mentioned.

Jan is a tough, stubborn, determined woman and will be participating in Ironman Lake Placid 2009.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Packing for an Ironman

Aah, there is a trick to this my friends. Let's say you are the support crew, name of Lowly, or Mrs. Lowly as the case might be. Your athlete, the King or Queen, who is participating in the race, might be under some stress, which is totally understandable.

It is up to you, Lowly, to be calm, cool and collected. Yes, an impossible task given your natural disposition, but still, it must be done for the athlete. Obviously packing your own clothes is necessary. But, use as little room as possible. More than one suitcase is not allowed! How could we ever fit the triathlon bag, wetsuit, bike, bike gear, cooler, bag of special triathlon foods, and running gear with us?

Oh, who packs all this stuff you ask? Well, Lowly, your job is make sure the vehicle is prepared. Fill the gas tank, check the oil, the tires, clean it inside and out. You are the nutrition specialist. Wash the water and electrolyte bottles, gather all the gels, Hammer bars and special nutrition supplements.

Lowly, you get to squeeze everything into the suv. Bungee cords are allowed. Borrow a bike rack, get the roof rack ready for emergency storage. Get the morning coffee ready to take on the road. Do you have the maps? What about the 3-ring Ironman binder you made with all the race information, restaurants, phone numbers, maps?

Did you bring necessary spectator supplies for race day? Remember, Lowly, you are going to have 17 hour day too. Think about breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, clothing, a portable chair, drinks, camera, video camera, cell phones. How about a book or magazine or puzzle? You can never have enough crossword puzzles. Please don't forget the cowbells, signs or other support group items. It is physically impossible to clap for all of those hours.

Good job. Now maybe you can sleep a few hours before the 9 hour drive.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why Jan will Finish Louisville IM

10. Faster, stronger on the bike than last year.
9. Better nutrition plan before and during the IM thanks to Hammer
8. Loss of 4-6 sizes in clothing
7. What else would a couple do to celebrate 30 years of marriage?
6. She wants a tattoo.
5. Jan loves swimming in the Ohio River (at least there are no alligators).
4. Jan is so hot in those goggles, swim cap and suit.
3. Faster transitions (no more milkshakes, fries and cheeseburgers - just kidding)
2. Mental strength - "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"
1. Tremendous support received from family and friends.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Louisville Ironman

We are going to Louisville!

I can hear it now, "JAN MCCULLOUGH, YOU...ARE...AN...IRONMAN!"

(the announcer says the finisher's name like this everytime one crosses the finish line)

Jan participated in 2/3 of the Sodus Triathlon yesterday. After practicing in Lake Ontario she opted out of the swim. Seems the two foot waves didn't agree with her. So she waited and was let in to the last two segments about 30 minutes after the swimmers began. Of course her times don't count, but it was still a good workout.

We are taking an educated guess that the Ohio River won't have two foot waves. The next eleven days are for resting, sleeping (maybe not falling asleep on the couch at 8pm every night, but staying up until 10pm?), and a few shorter workouts.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Haruki Murakami


I just started reading a memoir, "What I talk about when I talk about Running" by Murakami. This is a great statement that can be used by any endurance athlete, "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you're running and you start to think, Man, this hurts, I can't take it anymore. The hurt part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand any more is up to the runner himself." page vii.
Another quote, "most ordinary runners are motivated by an individual goal, more than anything; namely, a time they want to beat. As long as he can beat that time, a runner will feel he's accomplished what he set out to do, and if he can't, then he'll feel he hasn't. Even if he doesn't break the time he'd hoped for, as long as he has the sense of satisfaction at having done his best...then that in itself is an accomplishment, a positive feeling he can carry over to the next race." page 10.