Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2017 Events


If 2016 taught me anything, it's that I'm wired more for endurance events than the short stuff.  While the sprint triathlons I did this year provided a needed break after an Ironman year, they just didn't require the discipline and dedication that I needed.  When I began training for IM Boulder in 2015, the thought of covering that distance (as well as the amount of money I poured into it) scared the hell out of me.  I didn't have much trouble staying motivated to get out and train.  The same can't be said of the shorter stuff.  Throughout the year I found myself blowing off training and justifying it with thinking like: "well, it's only a sprint and I still have three more weeks to train."  This was probably true, and in spite of these excuses I had a decent year of racing, but it didn't do much for my bottom line fitness at least not at the level I'd hoped for.

So now I'm looking 2017 in the eye and thinking about the things I'd like to accomplish in the coming year.  I'm leaning towards a year that's a bit like 2013 (minus the bike crash!) with a mixture of various types of endurance events.  I will likely concentrate on just a handful of events this year as that seems to be the most effective for me.

Definite:

January 1, 2017: 4th  Annual Johnson Family New Year's Day Run.  We've hosted an unofficial "fun run/ walk" each year since 2013.  I will plan on running the 5ish mile course although we also have a 5k option for those that are so inclined.  Post race there's green and red chili for everyone.  This has always been a great way to start off the new year!

UPDATE: April 2017: 24 hours of Palmer Lake.  Although this hasn't been officially announced for 2017, the race director says they're just waiting on finalizing their permit.  If they do that soon, I'll be moving this into the definite category.  This is a 24 hour race that is done completely around Palmer Lake (a .82 mile loop).  I have never done anything like this and so I'm intrigued by the challenge.  From what I understand, the best way to approach this type of event is to be steady and consistent, moving forward as much as you can while taking the fewest number of breaks that you can.  Could be interesting!  Oh, and it's only $28!


May 20, 2017:  Tommyknocker Ultras (12 hour race).  I'm already registered for this one!  Located near Golden, Colorado this is an interesting event.  Over a 12 hour period, participants run a series of randomly selected loops ranging from 2 to 6 miles.  At the end of each loop, a runner pulls a colored ball out of a bucket that corresponds to a specific loop, and that is the next loop the runner completes.  As a result, everyone's day is a bit different.  I'm really excited about this one!


May 29, 2017:  Bolder Boulder.  This will be my 29th edition and 20th consecutive race!  Need I say more?


June 17, 2017: Mountain Top Experience Ride.  100+ miles and some killer climbs on this one.  Although I've done this one a couple of times, it's been a couple of years.  The last time it really kicked my butt, so my goal this year will be to have a strong event.

July 2017: Carter Lake Swim Crossing.  This has been on my mind for a couple of years now and with its middle of summer time frame, I think it could be a possibility this year.  The race is 3 miles total and while I'd like to consider something a bit longer, I think that this would be a good starting place.  A bit further than some of my previous swims, but not outside the realm of possibility.  I also like that it's a "crossing," which is different than a typical "loop style" OWS. The front range location also makes it attractive as it's in easy driving distance of my parents house. UPDATE: This event has been cancelled by the organizer for 2017.  Have to find something else!
 UPDATE of the UPDATE: This one is back on and I am registered!

Tentative

March 2017:  Highline Canal 100K. This isn't actually a race, it's a Fat-Ass Run, which is essentially a slightly organized group run with no fees, no results, no aid stations.  This . . . ahem "event" follows the Highline Canal in Denver from Waterton Canyon all the way to Green Valley Ranch.   It's somewhere between 62-64 total miles and would definitely be a great way to challenge myself early on in the year.






September 2017: 106 West Triathlon.  I've actually done the "pre-registration" for this event which would guarantee me a spot as well as some sort of discount on registration.  I'm a bit leery of doing a fall triathlon in the mountains, but at 10,000 feet, I like the challenge that this half iron distance race provides.  This event falls during our annual Breckenridge trip so I'm not 100% convinced yet, as I'll need to make sure it's okay with the family.  I'll also have to see what the registration cost will be. There's also the Harvest Moon (renamed 5280) that month, so that's another possibility.

Mizuno Kazan Trail Shoes
So that's what I have planned for the coming year to this point.  A few new challenges should make it interesting, especially as I dip my toes back into the world of ultra running.  To that end, I've done a couple of things to help me get ready in the coming year.  I've gotten a membership to the Human Potential Running Series. Based out of the Denver/ Boulder area they put on a number of events throughout the year.  I am also going to try "rotating" shoes this year.  I've invested some X-mas money into some new shoes including a couple of sets of trail shoes and a pair of Hoka's (which I'll be easing into over the next 6 months). There's at least some research-based evidence that suggests that rotating shoes can result in less running related injuries over time and anecdotally at least, many runners report that they feel better when rotating shoes.  This may be the source of an upcoming post after I've tried this for a few months.
Hoka One One Stinson 3 ATR
Inov-8 Roclite 280



Currently I have 4 definite events as well another 4 tentative events planned for the coming year.  It's unlikely that I'll do all 8 events this year, but I could see 2 or 3 of the tentative ones making the list.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Fast


It has been quite some time since I posted anything to the blog.  And although a  little break has been in order, I'm excited to think that I'm coming up on the 5 year anniversary of my first post!  So now it's time to jump back in with one that is a bit different than my traditional musings about endurance, or beer, or both.  Instead, this post will chronicle my one week experience with a juice "cleanse" or fast.  Over the next five days, I plan to limit my eating to a diet of mostly vegetable and fruit drinks, with the occasional broth or yogurt thrown in for good measure.  Why on earth would I do this?

I've been toying with this idea for a couple of months now.  With the wife and kids away for a few days, it's as good of a time as any.  This way my fasting doesn't interfere with their eating or vice versa.   The main reason I'm doing this is that I really need a reset for my diet.  Despite my best efforts, I've not embraced a healthy eating regimen for quite some time.  As a result, I continue to gain weight and currently weigh the most I have in a number of years.  I suspect that my metabolism has shifted and I'm not as good of a fat burner as I used to be.

In fact, all of this indulging has dampened my overall enjoyment of food.   I still like the taste of food but I don't savor anything.  Fasting will really help me to focus on what I'm eating on a daily basis. By eliminating the snacking, junk food, etc. over the next few days, I hope to gain a new perspective on food.  I don't plan on giving up "treats" forever, but I'd like to get back to eating within reason.  I also want to try eating healthier foods not just for their nutritional value, but also because they taste good.

Most fasting plans recommend that you ease into fasting over the course of a few days.  This way your body adjusts to eating less in a softer, more gradual way.  I've done nothing of the sort.  Instead, prior to starting the fast, I've continued to eat whatever I want.  I am beginning on a Sunday afternoon however, so that when my fast begins, I won't have to endure a full first day without eating.

Ironically, one of the first things I've done to prepare for the fast is to go to the grocery store.  I've stocked up on a few different fruits and vegetables, as well as some different drinks including sparkling water, tomato juice, and low calorie Gatorade.  As I mentioned at the outset of this post, I will actually be eating during this time, but my diet will be limited.  Throughout the next week, I'll reflect on my experience, logging how I'm feeling both mentally and physically throughout the week.

6 hours:  My fast officially began at 2:00 this afternoon.  I managed to eat right up until the deadline so as I write this, I've only been fasting for about 7 hours.  As such, I'm only starting to feel slightly hungry.  I've had a Vitamin Water, some plain H2O, and a cup of Green Tea.  I also spent an hour spinning easy on the trainer downstairs.  My plan is to continue to exercise, though as the week goes on, I'll probably reduce the intensity of the exercise.  A lot will depend on how I'm doing. Current weight is 191.7 lbs. which is about 15-18 lbs. more than I'd like to be.  I use a Withings digital scale to track my weight so all of the data automatically transfers to my computer.

32 hours:  I'm now about 30 hours into this process.  This morning I weighed in again and there was about a 7 lb. difference from the night before.  Hmm.  I'm good but not that good, there was probably a slight error on the scale from the night before.  I'd estimate that  I began today at about 184 lbs. which seems consistent with where I've been of late.  After a morning swim, I had a "green smoothie" for breakfast which consisted of a mix of pureed fruits and vegetables with a touch of fresh ginger.  Pretty tasty.  I also had a coffee.  I know that some fasts include the elimination of caffeine from the diet, but that wasn't going to work for me.  To this point, I've felt fine.  A little hungry at times, but not ravenous.  A bit tired, but not more than usual for a Monday.

56 hours: Tonight I went to yoga for an hour.  They say that in a fast this time frame is the sweet spot in terms of how you feel.  I think that's probably true as I haven't felt terribly hungry or tired and I'm down around 181 lbs. or so.  By morning, I'll be a little more than halfway through the fast.

80 hours: I will officially end this on Friday afternoon when I hit about 120 hours time.  Today was a lot like yesterday.  This morning I did a swim workout, keeping the intensity fairly low.  I have felt a little hungrier this afternoon, but it kind of comes and goes, but what do you expect when you're only eating somewhere between 500 and 800 calories a day?  I have to say that I haven't really had cravings for different things.  I don't find myself daydreaming about specific meals or different foods.

104 hours:  Tomorrow afternoon will mark the end of this experience.  My current weight is about 178 lbs, which puts me into my goal range.  Today has been the most difficult in terms of actually feeling hungry.  Even after tonight's meal (a bowl of Tomato Soup), I still have some hunger pangs.  Oh well, I can definitely hold out for another 16 hours or so.

112 hours:  This morning I weighed in at 176.5.  I'd planned to go for a swim but wound up working out at home instead.  Again this was a low intensity workout, but  I felt fine throughout.  Surprisingly, I didn't feel all that hungry this morning after my workout but I went ahead and ate anyway and I'm glad that I did.  By about 10:30 this morning, my hunger was back with a vengeance.  To counter this I drank some water which helps to create a "full" sensation. I have a feeling that some of my hunger had to do with the copious amount of food in our staff lounge (holiday season!).  It smelled delicious and I was eager, after five days, to finally get to eat something.

120 hours: My fast finally broke this afternoon around 2:00 p.m.  I'd set aside some of the snacks from our school party including a sandwich and chips.  Just prior to diving in, I remembered hearing that if you jump back into too much solid food too quickly, you can really make yourself sick. I cut what I'd saved by half.  Interestingly enough, eating solid food again was somewhat anticlimactic.  For dinner, I joined our staff for our holiday party where I indulged a little more, enjoying a plate of Nachos and a couple of beers.  I ate a bit more this time, and quickly discovered that I was full.

So how did all of this impact my objectives for doing a fast in the first place? In terms of a diet reset,   I feel like a lot of my cravings have disappeared.  Throughout the fast I didn't find myself fantasizing about any particular food (even beer!)  which was perhaps the most surprising thing.  It's not that different things sound bad, they just don't sound that great either.  As I mentioned previously, I've also enjoyed trying some newer and fresher things, and that's something I'll plan to continue.  I also will be working to eat somewhat smaller portions of food and eating a bit more slowly.  I think that too often I eat quickly and I don't realize that I'm actually full until it's too late.

Coupled with the change in my feelings about indulging  is the fact that I've managed, for the first time in nearly a year, to actually lose a bit of weight.  And while I know that I'll gain some back as I start to eat regular food again, I believe my new habits will help me to stay closer to the weight I want to be.

Thanks for reading!
Nothing to do with fasting, but here's a pic from the RCHM which I did a few weeks back.