Garmin Edge 500

Recommendation: Definite Buy

This is the Garmin Edge 500 and I'm super attached to this thing mostly because it works.  I bought this in December last year and it's reasonably priced.  DC Rainmaker has this crazy long review.

I use this computer for cycling and running though it's optimized for cycling.  I have a heart rate monitor for my heart rate and it comes with a cadence monitor to monitor rotations per minute (RPMs) or my legs around the bike crank.  It's a Garmin so there's a GPS so it measures distance and elevation.  It's also an ANT+ product and so it works with other ANT+ products like power meters and such.

The computer also comes with Garmin training center software so I can download all the information from the Edge 500 onto my computer (Mac OS X but works on Windows too).  From there, I upload the data to which records all my workouts.

From a technology standpoint, it's pretty freaking cool — a total home run product.  It works, it's minimalist by default, configurable to your needs, easy to get data in and out.  Even the battery power is pretty good, lasted me a whole Ironman race (well the bike and the run part…and I took a long time).

It's a piece of technology that will actually tell you about yourself, what you did, and could actually make you faster, stronger, better because you have data to measure against.

training day(s)

Training for Ironman St George and Ironman Canada started in earnest for me in October last year.  I have this training log that I use to record my workouts.  It's a pretty neat tool but could be a little faster and little more slick on the user interface side.  I upload my workouts from a Garmin Forerunner which I'll talk about in another post.

What's new this time around is that I'm working with a coach, Chris Hauth (a genuinely nice guy, an '92 and '96 Olympian representing Germany, and he's *won* a few Ironman races).  He's coaching a few of my friends as well.

The workouts have been/are super efficient in terms of time and effort, and I'm also working out strictly on heart rate and also interval training.  I just don't have time for any bad workouts, and his philosophy of doing something every day and getting enough rest and recovery to move on to the next level is proving to be right.

I'm also doing a bunch of (cycling) spin classes but the spin classes are based on wattage.  We use a CompuTrainer in class which you attach to the rear wheel of your bike, and it adjusts the resistance on your wheel based on what watt resistance level you give it.  Training by watts and high cadence and going to a ton of spin classes is also new this year.

In any case, St George is coming up, May 1 and Canada is right around the corner at the end of August.

*Updated for Mike, (removing thingie which was just the CompuTrainer)*

Also, adding below, the difference in training with Chris vs IronTeam.

The differences:

  • I'm training using time versus distance e.g. 2 hour run vs 10 mile run
  • I'm doing lactate threshold tests to determine my workout zones and bike wattage
  • I'm training on strict heart rate, at a "Zone 2" primarily using a heart rate monitor
  • I'm training on the bike using watts/power
  • I'm training on bike focusing on cadence, less hill work, and sustained effort
  • I've got a good bike fit

We'll see if it translates into a better time.  It is translating into far easier and manageable (even pleasurable) workouts.

Ironman St. George 2010

I'm signed up for Ironman St. George (Utah) scheduled for 5/1/2010.  The rest of the Ironman Series can be found here.

  • It will be the first year for Ironman St. George.
  • I like it because it's drivable (about 10 hours away).
  • I was lucky to be able to get some friends to sign up too, about 4 others so far.
  • Ironman St. George will be my sixth race and I'd like to sign up for Ironman France in June to get my seventh race out of the way since the timing is so close.  I still have to get permission from the big boss lady and be successful with the sign up first.

Yea, looking forward to it but won't really start training for it until November.

weight loss kit

Weight loss kit:

Weigh yourself twice a day, morning and evening.  Record once a week, like a Wednesday morning until you get to your ideal weight.  Don't stress if your body weight goes up or down, a scale is just a tool.

Weight gain/loss is a matter of fact — you gain weight by consuming more or exercising less and you lose weight by consuming less and exercising more.  It's all energy and caloric management, the more you can take emotion out of it the better.

3500 calories is 1lb of fat.  Daily caloric intake should be around 2000 calories — maybe 400 breakfast, 100 snack, 700 lunch, 100 snack, 700 dinner.

Ideal exercise is about 5 days a week, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hour workouts.  You know you're in the right groove and right frame of mind when *not* exercising feels like you haven't brushed your teeth in a few days and that you have to go exercise.

SF marathon – wrap up

I ran the SF marathon today (26.2 miles) and actually ran it.  This is the first one that I've completed without stopping, about 4 1/2 hours of continuous running/jogging.  I did the SF marathon 5 years ago and completely "bonked" at mile 22.  Today was a different story and felt good the whole way.  There wasn't a swim and a bike beforehand so I didn't really have an excuse to stop running (which is why Ironman triathlons are much better than marathons).

Some observations/learnings:

  • The SF marathon is a beautiful run, we hit the Embarcadero, the Piers, Marina/Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Haight/Ashbury, and AT&T Ball park.  First half is harder/prettier than the second half.  I recommend doing it.
  • A half marathon is probably all anyone really needs to shoot for.  A full marathon is quite a lot.
  • I burned about 3600 calories for the marathon.
  • My training schedule actually worked out ok.
  • Experience does come with age — I had better pacing and my feet were already calloused up from years of running.  Muscle memory kicked in too towards the end.  It does become easier.
  • Skip the post race massage (unless there's no line) and do an ice bath as soon as you can.  That's 3 or 4 bags of party ice in a cold bath tub.  You stay in there until all the ice melts.  Otherwise, you're going to be all cramped up waiting in line and you're not going to be walking well for next 3 or 4 days.
  • Body Glide and Assos cream really help to prevent chafing — nipples, under arms, and thighs.
  • Thermolytes or sodium pills were great in helping to absorb the water I drank and helped prevent cramping.
  • Low fat chocolate milk is a good recovery drink.
  • I'm amazed that women can run with no or bad sports bras.  It's not cute.  There is a lot of eye candy at the SF marathon though, for guys and girls.
  • Someone mentioned that within 30 – 45 minutes of an endurance workout, it's free calories and you can eat as much as you want.  After that though, it's the same or worse in terms of burning off those calories.  Seems to be right.

Next up is Cal International in December if I can make my running weight.  After that, I'd love some recommendations.  The 50 marathons in 50 States club is interesting I guess, about as cool as a Chess Club (yes, I was in a Chess Club).  International ones would be cool too.

[No more marathons until I reach 170-175 lbs or less fighting/running weight.  It's tough carrying around so much weight.]

the California Active Lifestyle Diet

Apparently, the California Active Lifestyle Diet doesn't exist.  So let's make it up.

The diet is going to consist of the following:

  • Setting up the environment
  • Exercise – a lot of it, 6 days a week at least one hour, and pretty much all weekend
  • Local food and just enough
  • Motivation
  • Tools

Setting up the environment is about hanging out with the right people, keeping the kitchen free from junk and temptation, setting up the home so that it's conducive to exercise, and getting all the right equipment for working out.

Exercise.  If in California and in the Bay Area especially, we've got a gorgeous playground.

Just enough food and local and fresh is best.  Will start out with basics and expand.

Motivation – health, family, long life.  But seeing normal people lose crazy weight helps too.

Tools – a journal, a scale, a water bottle, exercise mat, etc.


  • The goal: 100lbs. in one year.  2 lbs a week.
  • My goal is to drop 15-20lbs by July.

dream road bike

2005 Trek 5.2 Madone SL

This is the same road bike as below but with my new paint job and lots of stickers removed. Also has the Ritchey Carbon WCS Evolution bar, an X2 Thomson stem, Chris King headset, Fizik Arione seat, titanium water cages. The rest is the same from before, Ultegra double, Bontrager seat post, Aeolus 5.0 wheels, Keo carbon pedals, Mavic computer.

Definitely my dream set-up. Only other upgrades I can think of is to get a Thomson seat post and change out the Ultegra set when that's worn down. I think it looks just as good as the new 2008 Madones.

2005 Trek 5.2 Madone SL Bike w/ stock paint job. Ultegra double. Bontrager components. Keo pedals, Aeolus 5.0 race wheels. Did four Ironmans on this ride.

2004 Trek 5200

My first road bike. Road my first Ironman on this one. Ultegra Triple. Bontrager stock parts. San Selle Marco seat. Frame busted because of chain suck.

core workout program

Here's a core workout program, takes about 30 minutes. You can do these in the living room, don't need weights. Just need to be disciplined about doing them. If you do them right, and you do these consistently, you'll be in pretty awesome shape. The cliff notes version i.e. if you have only have time to do some of the workout, just do the squats or lunges and then sit-ups and push-ups.

Core workouts target the torso, or stomach, back, hip/upper thigh area. This is where all the power is in your body.

I quit my gym membership a long time ago because I've been swimming at the local pool and running or biking outside. And then doing these core workouts at home makes that $80 gym membership pretty pointless.