The benefits of exercise on physical health are no secret, but there is also an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that it can help emotional and mental well-being as well. For example, studies have suggested that it can enhance mood states, boost self-esteem and even help those with anxiety and mild depression. It’s thought that physical activity can trigger changes in brain chemistry, which can in turn have positive effects on our mood. But that might not be where exercise’s effects on the brain end, as a new study suggests exercise could be associated with changes in brain structure.
Getting back into the groove always proves to be difficult but this time, I'm really setting my sights on something big...something REALLY big. I'm talking about the Oceanside Half Ironman at the end of March 2012. Granted, I'm coming up with a workout regiment and can't wait to join up with the San Diego Tri-Club, but my schedule has already taken a turn for October making it difficult to partake in any of the activities. Here are two runs from this week. I'm still sore in my calves as well as my left foot from when I sanded / buffed over it so we'll see in the coming month if and when I can actually work things out. More or less, I think I'll be able to do my biking and running at the overnights while I'm out and the swimming, I'll have to do when I'm in town at the local 24 Hour Fitness or maybe join up with the YMCA. Does anyone know what kind of skill set you need to have in order to join a Masters' swim course? On a scale from one to ten, I give myself a six in swimming competency. I need to work on my form and breathing. (I guess that's an understatement). I also have a picture of me breaking my 60 minute 10-K barrier at the 2011 Cow Harbor Race!
I've definitely fell off the wagon in terms of not only writing, but working out. There was a good period where a Captain and I had a good time working out two of the three nights at an overnight and where I actually felt good, but I'm gaining weight, and falling behind...fast! I'm still at the hefty 185 lbs, with just under 50 days left until my second sprint triathlon but at least August is set to be a record month in days off. With that, looks like I have to put my flights of fancy (read: Vietnam) on hold for a swim class and two-three bricks a week. August is also lined with moving back to suburbia, celebrating my first year wedding anniversary and whatever other distractions so definitely not a prime month, but I will make the best of it.
Either than that, the Pitficks' and Nicolas' have officially become part of a Ragnar Relay Race in 2011 which takes place in the Florida Keys joining up with another team from the East Coast. Should be fun once all the logistics are planned out! I can't wait.
I've been wanting to do this
loop out & back for a while now and I was lucky to be running alongside a Mr. Jack Pham. I started a little too fast (well at least faster than normal = 9:00 pace) and had to take a break at mile 2 but then found the rhythm again and got back to it. My moving average was definitely slower than I would have liked clocking in at 10:36 / mile but I felt good.
Along the way though, the shin splint that I developed on the treadmill the day prior running 3 miles started to tingle and get the best of me. I was also trying to run a little more flatter, which helped out, but ultimately, my legs weren't feeling it. I mentioned to Jack at the end of the run that I felt like the time I finished my first ever 10K / first race without training.
With the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon June 5th just around the corner, I'm starting to get a little scared but I'm starting to definitely pick up the pace. I'm thinking of trying out my older Asics again. I don't remember getting bad shin splints with them as compared to my Lunarglides+ 2s. I can't believe that the Ragnar Relay: So Cal is next weekend either!
After four days of cold and bitter weather, I landed in San Diego two nights ago and then immediately prepared for some hot yoga. Being awake for over 17 hours and just coming off of a 4 hour flight isn't necessarily the best way to prep for the hotness, but Adelle and I still went for it. I almost didn't have a choice but none the less, I enjoy it. The following morning, I wake up from a zombie attacking / survival mode dream (yes, I blame the yoga and dehydration status), and am wide awake. Adelle heads out for her shift and I just hang out until I get the will power to head out for my San Diego Harbor Loop. I guess some of you, namely a Mr. Ryan Espiritu, might not consider it a "loop" but I do. I guess you can call it an out and back but and just because I want Ryan to still be my friend, I official concede.
I felt good heading out but I didn't hydrate properly and the sun was definitely beating down on me. The first three miles were great great running at under a 10 minute pace, but then it went to crap. I got a phone call, my headset stopped working for a minute and then when I started to head back, the 11:00 sun got the best of me. I didn't bring any water with me and I wasn't prepared for the heat. I would find a pace runner here and there, but ended up walking more on the way back and could never find the initial stride that I had. Overall, I'd say that I felt like a 6/10 and when I got back to the apartment, I drank and drank, and drank...and now I'm sitting here blogging. Good times all around!
Here are some awesome pictures of the beautiful weather thanks to an awesome high pressure ridge just to the north. You have here the Downtown San Diego skyline with some sailboats scattering the bay and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront and the Coronado Bay Bridge. Awesome day for a run!
After yesterday's 30 minute run on the treadmill, I felt good for another, longer run. I figured out a good route along the bay and plus, Adelle and I could enjoy some San Diego sun. Running from our apartment and finally getting on the Embarcadero, we set out at a good relaxed pace for 3.1 miles.
When we reached our turn around point, we took a quick break, then started our way back. Watching the Garmin, I noticed that Adelle and I ended up running the second half at a slightly slower pace which was a let down, but hey, we have nine weeks right?! I was able to snap this quick pic of Adelle wearing her San Diego Dodge Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Long sleeve training tech shirt and the awesome weather that we got to enjoy! Check it! I was also able to take a quick picture of the Petco Park from the new pedestrian bridge that goes from the stadium to the Hilton. Good stuff all around!
Now what stinks is the GPS readings and recordings. Compare the two maps below and you'll notice that the Garmin Edge 500 didn't "find" me right away even though it said that it captured my location and the sporadic mapping through downtown is a little off. More or less, with the data from Google Maps, my Garmin Edge 500 and my Nike+ Pedometer, I ran a solid 10K.
View Larger Map
Another good run at a good pace but I definitely know that I can do better. Maybe I'll do two laps next time at this pace and then see what's up. After today's run, I'm starting to feel confident which is a good thing. So... I said in a previous post that I was considering running Bay to Breakers 100th Anniversary and today, I registered my wife and I. Low and behold, it's selling out as I was only able to register for the "F" Corral; the last group in the race. I'm looking forward to a Saturday night in San Francisco as well as the race on Sunday the 15th of May. Should be fun!
Here's my run data from below using my Garmin Edge 500.
Every since I can remember, the very idea of running around a lake was always daunting. Let alone the veracity of the environment ridden with competitive runners (or maybe just looking like they are and like myself all decked out in Nike gear), the once you go half way or even just around the first bend you cannot turn back and all the little indentations creating the optical illusion like you're almost there...Miramar Lake has been that thorn in my side. Well, I like to come out and say, I DID IT! I ran it with my wife Adelle and actually also started out with her friend Esther Choi. It's always nice to have a running buddy but being the first time, I wanted to take it easy. I guess to be honest, her marathon like pace wasn't something that I could keep up with anyways, so I hung back and ran with the wifey. It was a good feeling as the only way that I have ever circled the lake was in a car and on a bike. I shall conquer it over again and make it my doggy. Yea, that's right...my doggy.
Feels like March came rather quickly this year and with that, it's always a good excuse to update and tell you what's been going on. This year, I've been motivated more than ever to to finally get into shape. It has, maybe a little to do with me turning the big three-oh, but I've noticed the fact that my metabolism, eating habits and general lifestyle is slowing down, getting worse and rapidly evolving when it comes to priorities. I have officially signed up for the San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon on June 5th and the Tour de Cure San Diego Century Ride which takes place just one month earlier on May 7, 2011. I can't say that I've officially setup my fundraising website for the Tour de Cure but I will have it up and running in the next few days. I promise.
Competitor San Diego just updated, revised and released the official race route for this year's marathon (PDF) and included an elevation map too! As you can see, there's a good climb / gradient starting at mile seven which, if you think about it, after you've finished the uphill battle, could reinvigorate you signaling that you're awesome done! I can assure you that's the way I'll be thinking about it.
Thinking about other races, I'm seriously considering the Carlsbad 5K where I'm aiming for the All Day 25K (Five 5K) Challenge. I'm in it really just for the medal but I guess by Sunday April 3rd, I'll already be within 60 days of the full marathon so running a half should be alright right? I even get breaks here and there between each 5K! I'll know how I feel about it after today when I run Miramar Lake for the first time. If I can do it without bonking out, I should be alright.
I'm also thinking about Bay to Breakers 2011 being the 100th anniversary on May 15th. It's calmed down considerably with the removal and strict policy of no alcohol, but hey, it's a family deal right? Should be safer and cleaner and... they also have a medal! A 12K race isn't that bad right? Who wants in on this one?! With that, I better get back to my other job at adellelijah.com.
I still haven't done any official swim lesions so until I feel comfortable swimming 1500 meters, I will be holding off on the decision to race San Diego TriRock Olympic distance.
Putting on the running shoes that I was so excited for at the beginning of the month was a little harder than I originally thought. To be honest, I haven't ran / jogged / or even exercised since January 6th. Getting home from commuting, or arriving at the hotel exhausted from a day of flying around the cold and wintry midwest / east coast, and just getting back into the groove usually kills the mood. The only mood it doesn't kill is going out for some dinner and grabbing a drink. Bad I know especially for the workout that I need to be having. Discipline is key for sure, but I'll admit it here, as I might have before, flying sure does take it out of you.
Well, today, I did it! I put on the shoes, and embarrassingly, although not as bad as originally thought it would be, put on the only shorts I have here in San Diego.Yes, they are my Tri Shorts made by 2XU which are a blue tinged with purple. They call it Royal Blue so whatever. I didn't have a sport sweat tee so a white tee sufficed. Definitely heavier but I put on the headsets and went out. Here's a rough sketch of the route and when I ended up taking a picture at the stop point, RunKeeper Pro, unknowingly to me, paused the workout. I didn't realize it until I got back to the apartment.
Check out the map down below. I took a cut up and over the San Diego Convention Center to do some stares which definitely added a small component to the early part of the workout. Good stuff all and in all!
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So far, 4 days into 2011, I've already logged two good workouts, bought some new running shoes (Nike Lunarglides+ 2) that I think I'll be training and running my first marathon with and have posted both on adellelijah.com and elijahnicolas.com! It's a constant barrage of staying busy and trying to utilize the time I have whether laying over at an airport or working while commuting using Gogo's Inflight WiFi. It's a bummer that the free WiFi, sponsored by Google's Chrome over the Holiday Season, has expired so I'm back to paying for it but count it as a business expense right? I'm currently working on more write-ups and reviews for the next few days and my wife even has a couple in the pipeline. I couldn't be more excited to finally get things going again. For now, here's my bucket list for 2011.
1) Run a Marathon before I'm 30 (San Diego Rock 'N Roll is in June and my birthday is in July) 2) Work up towards an Olympic Triathlon distance for the San Diego Tri-Rock 3) Ride a century either for the Tour de Cure of San Diego Century 4) Continue to post from 3-5 entries a week for either elijahnicolas.com or adellelijah.com 5) Focus more in the future on my cloud based endeavors 6) Eat healthier and less 7) Get down to my racing weight by June which is actually 20 lbs in 6 months
Check out the new Nike Lunarglide+ 2s! A little loud as they didn't have the Wolf Grey / Blue combo at Road Runner Sports, San Diego.
Here's a quick pic of New Year's Eve 2011 celebrating it with great friends at Stingaree San Diego. Over priced at $50.00 presale and nothing included. Never doing that again.
Preface:I knew that I wanted to participate in a triathlon ever since I started cycling. The idea might have actually been planted in my head when I first found out that my AP Biology teacher, Mr. Rankin, was rumored to be an Ironman contender. Maybe it was after I completed my first 10K (Cow Harbor Race 2006), but that's all history. I will admit, that from couch potato to 10K taught me an important lesson in how sore one can get after a race like that, but it also started a chain of events that led to me to this.
First and foremost, I never really enjoyed running. Dating back to fifth grade, I was always a middle of the pack runner panting and breathing heavily and was the guy that insisted on walking around each of the four backstops that made up our track. I knew that I could swim since I was in the "advanced" swim class in high school phys ed. but it's been a ages (~14 years) and cycling extended distances with my Uncle Romeo and friend Ryan Espiritu forged the thought that hey, I just might be able to finish a sprint triathlon. My roommate for a short 2 months, Michael Mangan, another tremendous athlete, provided a little bit of encouragement to sign up, so I said, "Why not?" I also had another friend Kristen that was considering the goal. For my first triathlon, I set out two goals: To finish under 1:30:00 and not at the end of the pack; second to last would suffice.
I bought a book entitled Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel and began reading. I should have probably finished earlier than 1 week prior to the race and followed the 12 wk plan (being that I had a full 14 weeks before the race when I took delivery) but I guess I do what I do best; procrastinate.
Training: I did a couple of bricks (bike workout followed by a jog or a swim followed by a bike) and began the slow and steady journey to getting into shape. That is until the month prior to my wedding when things started really piling up, I fell off the face of the earth. In other words, my training went from semi-existent to non-existent. I never really swam that much (laps in an apartment complex pool) or trained for that particular event and sporadically the occasional light treadmilling. I knew that I was just doomed from the start but I didn't give up on the idea. Essentially, you might as well just say that I did not train.
Day before: I decided that I needed a wetsuit primarily for the water temperature but more importantly, I knew that it would provide extra buoyancy. It's more than awesome that Xterra Wetsuits happen to be not only one of the best triathlon wetsuit companies but the fact that it is headquartered in San Diego fits into my procrastinating habit! I set out, tried one on and decided to rent last minute as the price tag proved to be a little steep. I missed the 40% off sale by one day and it was my first sprint tri so I settled on the Vector Pro. That same Saturday was the TriRock Expo and packet pickup so I went back downtown, grabbed my bike and I decided to head over .5 miles to the Embarcadero Marina Park.
I felt good after watching the him set up his mock transition area using my bike as his example and then that night, I laid everything out. I don't usually go that far but my nerves got the best of me so setup my own mock transition area. Every piece of clothing and race equipment I would be using, I checked it off using the checklist provided by Joe Friel with my wife calling out each item. I was a definitely nervous and then I found out that a buddy of mine, Renato Villena, was also racing! I had a buddy and that alone makes things a lot better. I put on the race tatoos (I got the age group one upside down, but I rocked it like it was intentional) and then went to sleep.
Race Day: I woke up, already packed and just threw on some clothes. I threw on my new 2XU Tri Comp Short and Vest which ended up being a little tight and as Ryan Espiritu would later say, it make him feel like he wanted cupcakes! I was lucky to have my wife drive me to the race where I met up with Ryan and we set out to find our cubbies in the transition area. We got there rather early but it was relaxing. Near the time of the race, we put on the wetsuits and made our way to the start. The swim portion was starting off in the water already along with a band on a catamaran to entertain (as part of the Rock 'N Roll experience) but I would later find out I would be able to pay any attention to them. My nerves were calm, the swim didn't look too bad, I was ready.
Swim: I would just sum this portion up by saying, I need to find a coach and go at this with A LOT more training and effort. If it wasn't for the Xterra suit, I would have probably drowned or panicked but there were times where I was just floating there and near the end, since there were others backstroking, I started to backstroke too! I got out of the water and was definitely exhausted. I didn't come out last, but definitely near.
I also recently read that I could train or find a coach at the UCSD Swim pool and am excited to venture out that way and see what kind of training schedule we could come up with.
Transition 1 into Cycling: Lightly jogging to the cycling portion, I saw and excitedly waved at my wife along the sidelines and got to it. I couldn't take off the wetsuit that easily and had to eventually sit down hence my really slow transition time. I got on what I needed and started to jog out with the bike. I got on thinking I was going to hammer, but then started to feel a light muscle twitch on my left calf. Along with that, my Garmin cadence monitor decided that it wasn't going to work either (off by 1mm???)! Oh well, but I did see my mom on the way out and that gave me yet another boost of confidence! Thanks for the support guys!
I could feel my rhythm but it definitely wasn't fast enough. I was getting passed up by some of the ladies in the 25-29 group that was in the wave behind me but the last thing that I wanted to do was cramp up. The course was longer than I thought but I got through it and then made my way to the running portion. There were quite a few bands along the way to keep me entertained at the rather slow pace. I also made a decision that day that I should at least get some clip-on aero bars. I could have really used the more aggressive position or at least the "rest" position.
Transition 2 into "Jogging and Finish:" As I made my way to the cubby, I saw my fans (Ryan and Adelle + mom) grouped together and was able to start running. Handing them my bicycling gloves on the way out, I started to see the light! My legs surprisingly felt good and off I went. I neglected to put the watch strap adapter for my Garmin Edge 500 so I just ran with it in hand. (I've lost it since) Around 1.5 miles is usually when I start to tire a bit, but I was on pace with a couple of individuals that made it a pleasant run. One young lady told me that I was setting a good pace for her but I insisted that it was her that I was following. She eventually finished before me, but I was proud. Apparently, I would end up with a pretty good 5K time. When we reached the turn around point at the USS Midway, I could feel my mind take ease and my body start to relax but I kept on chugging. As I continued on, I kept on the lookout for the tatoos of people in my age group and felt relieved knowing that there were at least a couple of people behind me. Coming to the finish, I pushed it a bit more and saw my supporters cheering me on. I thought that I was done, but I still had yet to go around the bend for what felt like an eternity! I finally crossed the finish line and eagerly grabbed my first Rock 'N Roll medal, some coconut water, hugged it out and took some pictures. It was a great experience and I cannot wait for the next one wherever it may be. You can count on it to make this my yearly event!
Here are some links and pictures to the festivities!
To see my official times, check it out in the gallery! [gallery columns="2"]