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Bryan Monzon

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Week 2 of Training

I’m in week 2 of training and it’s been really great working out so much again. I’m going 6 days a week and generally I’m working out pretty early.

After our honeymoon, I decided to stay on the same daylight schedule as Cancún. We were only 2 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time but those hours have become precious to me. The hardest part is making sure I’m in bed at a reasonable time.

I’m in bed between 8pm and 10pm on most nights. That’s because I’m up at 4:31am. Yes, exactly 4:31am. (I have a weird thing about setting alarms and microwave times. They can’t be set to any time ending in 0 or 5. I don’t know why I do it, maybe I’ll write about it some other time).

My workouts usually start around 5:30am. That’ll start to move up as I’ll eventually need more and more time to get everything in. I get up an hour before so I can full wake up, clear my head and focus on what needs to be done in the workout.

Monday

Monday’s are “off-days” for me. I prefer taking Monday off  because then I can get longer workouts in without being required to stay focused at work. It’s a bit tougher to do a 2 hour run on a Wednesday and then go into a meeting with a large client.

Taking Mondays off also gives me something to look forward to. Usually people dread going to work on Mondays; I love it!

Tuesday & Thursday

I swim for an hour and lift weights for 30-45 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I joined the YMCA Masters swim team at the Mission Valley location. So far it’s been a good addition to my workout schedule.

Swimming by yourself is not a good idea. There’s something about suffering with a group of other people and the chaos caused by stopping in the middle of set that is so good for you.

When I’m in a lane by myself it’s very easy to stop short and give up. When I’m grouped with any number of people in a lane I tend work harder and if I need to stop mid-set, I feel guilty for making everyone shuffle their spot in the lane.

Since joining the team I’ve been to 3 workouts and my foundation times have already dropped significantly. My muscles aren’t quite firing like they’re supposed to yet, but that will come in time. I’m just glad to be feeling tired after a swim.

After swim I try and get in a run. This is nice because the feeling is similar to the swim/bike transition. It takes a little time to get your feet under you and not feel so wobbly.

I’ve been trying to get in a good warm up with a couple of interval sets. This morning for example I did the following:

  • 15 min warmup at an average pace (heart zone was in the 3-4 area)
  • 4 x (45 sec zone 5, fast; 2 min recovery @ zone 3-4) – 11 min
  • 4 min easy cool down @ zone 3.

I want to get more complex and increase my speed variances with my running because as my friend Derek says, “if you want to run fast, then run fast”. I’ve realized I tend to get into a zone running longer distances but that doesn’t help me speed up my pace or make me stronger. It takes fast running to get there.

Wednesday

For the first time I’m committing to spin classes. I’m taking an hour long class on Wednesdays and it’s rocking my world. It’s in no way easy. Well it could be if I let it, but that’s not why I would wake up so early to train.

What I like about spin is that it is an intensely focused workout. When you’re on the bike out on the streets you’ve got all kinds of variables that prevent you from getting a really good work out.

There are street lights/signs that cause you to unclip, there are thousands of pounds of metal flying around at high rates of speed, there is the dynamic of group riding and making sure everyone sticks together and knows the route. Lastly there is nature’s elements kicking your ass—rain, wind, heat and for some snow. On the spin bike you get an hour straight of intense pedaling.

I’ve been on spin bikes before, just never taken a class. The bikes are usually pretty minimal but these have a computer on them and the controls are much simpler and more responsive.

The main evidence that shows the benefits of spin class has been when I’m on the bike. I feel faster and stronger for longer periods of time. I don’t yet have a power meter so I can’t measure many improvements just yet, but based on how I feel, I’m liking where it’s taking me.

I’ve decided to start doing some strength training on Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s something I haven’t really incorporated into triathlon before. There are several reason I’m adding it into my training plan this year. The first being injury prevention. Injuries seem to plague me and haunt me when I’m training. I don’t know why but I want to be proactive in preventing them.

Strengthening all the unused muscles and the ligaments around the joints is my primary focus. For now I’ll be doing circuits and sticking with machines. I don’t want to hurt myself doing too much and the machines seem to keep me out of trouble. I think it’s the fact that the amount of weight your lifting is somewhat discrete. When you feel the pressure to pick up a large dumbbell or pack on an extra 45, you get hurt.

I’m not doing much core body work right now. I need to, though. I might ask my sister for some recommendations, but will get on some exercises tomorrow.

Friday

I’m trying to figure out how to do this one. I’d like to do hill-repeats. It’s tough because I don’t want to be leaving work early or traveling out to the mountains. There’s one in Point Loma that I can use but I’m not sure I’m allowed to. It’s near Cabrillo National Monument and generally you need to pay to get on that portion of the peninsula although, the road I need to get on isn’t technically in the park. I’ll check it out tomorrow and figure some stuff out.

I like doing hill-repeats on actual hills because it’s more realistic than in spin class. There’s so much psychology happening when you look up that big steep grade.

Training on hills makes you stronger. Stronger on the flats, even. I like climbing and I want to get better at it. Point Loma is convenient and challenging.

I want to do more strength on Friday as well. Logistically it will be tough as I won’t be interested in going back to the gym for this and it’s not near the gym even to drive. So, I’ll have to suck it up a bit and maybe go during lunch or after work. But it’s Friday so we’ll see how that works out.

Saturday

I like my long rides on Saturday. I can really push it hard and if I’m sore the next day, I can run a little later or run through the soreness, which is also good. I hope to get into some riding groups so I’m not going it alone. Riding in groups increases visibility and gives you added challenges keeping up with the group.

I’ll eventually turn this into a brick. Running on dead legs is something I really like doing. Fighting through the dead legs is really good to get used to.

Sunday

I try and get my long run out earlier than later. If Saturday night was a long one I’ll push the start time but generally, the earlier the better for me.

The primary reason for getting the run out of the way earlier is so that I can get a few extra hours of recovery in since Monday is my off day. Any extra bit really helps.

My long run isn’t usually fast but I try to get in a variety of terrain. I’d prefer trails and hills but it doesn’t matter as long as I’m on my fit for a little over an hour. Over time the length will climb up to 2-2.5 hours but that’s if I start training for anything longer than the Olympic distance.

I’ll be jumping in the pool later in the day. I think it’s nice way to do an active recovery from the week. The swim is generally longer in yardage and lower in intensity although I have some timed 500 & 1000’s in there. My gym has a hot tubs as well so that will be nice to relax my muscles a bit in after as well.


 

That’s my basic week right now. Step one is consistency. Step two is adding a time to each workout each week. Step three is to increase the number of workouts per day. Since running is my truest weakness, I’ll add in several secondary runs to get extra miles on my feet.

My first race is in 8 weeks. I’m excited to see how all of this plays out by then and over the course of the year.

Budgeting

Sandy and I are reading The Total Money Makeover together. We’re about halfway through the book and I love it.

I’ve heard friends discuss the concepts and I gathered as much info as I could which was enough to help me get out of general consumer debt (credit cards and such). Now that I’m reading it, everything is only being reinforced.

My Debt Story

Upon graduating from college in 2010, I had amassed close to $15,000 in credit card debt, I had a few thousand left to pay on my car and penchant for traveling the world. Oh I also had accrued of $100,000 in school loans (which some of that funded my travel habit as well).

One of the biggest points Dave wants to get across to us is that debt is bad. Very bad. Debt is just being impatient for things we can’t afford. While school loans are terrible, I think it was a smart choice for me at the time because I needed the confidence to get into the field I am in now. Could I have learned all this stuff on my own? Yea, but the motivation of earning a degree made it a slightly quicker process for me.

Near the middle to end of my time at school the economy fell apart. Loans were suddenly hard to come by and they (the banks) were funding the bare minimum (thankfully now in retrospect) for tuition. The last 2 quarters of school (about 6 months) I had to put a lot of living expenses on credit cards. In a short amount of time I was sixty feet under water with my only hope being graduation.

Fortunately I was able to pick up a job right out of school in the field I wanted to be in. Starting out was rough because I was only guaranteed 20 hours a week for a fairly low pay rate as a contractor.  Over the next couple of months though my my responsibilities grew and I was making enough to pay all of my bills.

Once I got over the initial shock of how much I would need to start paying a month, it was time to get things in order. After listening to several friends talk about and explain some concepts from Dave Ramsey’s book, I implemented a plan to get rid of most of my consumer debt.

My plan was to pay the minimum on my student loans. They’re too big to try and double up on or anything. I had plenty of other things to worry about with higher interest rates anyway.

I only had 2 credit cards and a car payment. My plan was to snowball them and get those out of the way. I doubled up one and paid the minimum to the rest. When that one eventually was paid off, I cut it up and moved the next card. I applied the minimum but added what I was paying to the first card. I paid that card off even faster! Lastly, I applied everything I was paying to the car payment and I had it paid off in just a few months. I no longer had any more serious consumer debt.

Fast Forward a Couple of Years

Today, I have only financed 2 things and used a credit for very minimal purposes. Both things I’ve financed were related to my wedding and have been paid off completely in a VERY short amount of time. That’s with no interest for either item! I used credit also for wedding stuff but will have it all paid for in the next month or so.

Sandy and I want to live well. We’re very simple people at heart but we like to experience things. Travel, food, and anything that’s fun we want to do. Debt is something that will cast a dark cloud over our marriage and lives if we don’t wrangle it.

Moving forward our focus is on tackling these student loans I have. I feel bad that Sandy has inherited these from me, but thankful she’s “all-in” to work through it. I can’t imagine the things we’ll be able to do once it’s all paid off!

Sidenote: I just did a whole spreadsheet on this because I got excited thinking about the future. If everything goes accordingly to plan (they never do), we can be free of debt in the next 4-5 years.

Dave Ramsey compares finances to fitness. In order to lose weight it takes time and A LOT of work. More importantly it takes an attitude willing to do the hard work. Finances are the same. You have to be consistent and constantly willing to suffer in the short term. You have to make a lot of painful decisions that aren’t any fun.

Itch that Scratch

Or scratch that itch? Whichever it is, I think you should do it.

Scratching an itch refers to solving a problem that’s been plaguing you for some time and hopefully profiting, or at least earning a living, off of it.

John Saddington wanted a better solution for writing content that was distributed to his blog. He made Desk and it’s a hit.

Pippin Williamson wanted to sell his WordPress plugins online and not deal with the big marketplaces. He built Easy Digital Downloads and is now employing a team of developers and support staff.

This isn’t a new concept. Going back a several decades you see this all the time. Go to a Crate & Barrel and look around. Everything in there is for specific purposes. There’s a tool to pop out the leaves of a strawberry that you can buy. Go back even further and it’s the same. The saddle for a horse was invented and sold because someone was tired of his kibble and bits getting beat up.

In the world of technology we get a little caught up in the way things have always been done that we sometimes forget to step back a little and see what’s wrong. The boiling frog anecdote (which may or not be true) reminds us that we shouldn’t be complacent and that taking a step back is incredibly valuable.

I struggle with this concept. Not with the idea of it but rather the implementation of it. As a developer, I’d evaluate myself as a jack of all trades and more than likely a master of none. I can write some PHP, some Ruby, some Javascript and I’m extremely confident in WordPress but not as much in Rails or Laravel. I can design, I did that professionally for quite some time but I’m not as inspired as once was.

In addition to those skills, I have the desire to work for myself. Fear gets in the way of that at times, but that’s for another post. I want to be my own boss. I want to breathe fresh air at 11:17am because I’m in charge and I can do that. Even though there’s nothing truly stopping me from taking a break and going outside right now, it’s not the same. I’d like to drive and work from anywhere, but currently, that’s not possible.

Scratching that itch is for me more about getting over the fear of failure and the fear of what people think than it is about building something (technology or business) for myself.

 

Shutting Down Email

I’ve done it after previous trips. In 2013, Sandy and I, spent a month traveling through Southeast Asia and I shut off email on my mobile devices completely. I didn’t want the inevitable work email to intrude on my vacation. I didn’t just shut off notifications or badges. I disconnected them from my phone completely.

Upon returning to the states, I realized I enjoyed life a lot more without the constant buzz in my pocket. I became a lot more focused on things that were important like friends and family.

Yet, over time, I needed to be aware of a situation and I “temporary” connected email to my iPad. Within a few weeks everything was back and I was checking notifications instantly, rather than when I was at my laptop.

There’s nothing profound about shutting off email. We’re all addicted at some level. I remember having my first work email address and how I’d get so excited when my inbox had a few messages in it. Today, email is needed for everything. You can’t sign up for an account anywhere without it. Even if you register for something with your Facebook account, you’d still need an email to register with Facebook. So, there’s more reason to check email than ever.

When you purchase something online at say, Target.com, you’re likely going to be subscribed to their newsletter list at some point in time whether you want to or not. Come Christmas time, you’ll see a plethora of deals mysteriously ending up in your inbox.

It’s been two weeks since I returned from my honeymoon in Mexico. Again, I turned off email completely on my phone. Nothing blew up at work and there wasn’t anything I couldn’t solve when I got back to work.

I’m going to try limiting my email usage on my phone again. I may only connect Victory TRI emails but I’m finding it hard to come up with reason to. I just don’t need the clutter.

If I reeeeally need anything from email, I can always log in via Safari and that’s enough for me. All of the most important people in my life have my phone number and can text or call if something is absolutely necessary. I’m on a mission to live with less. To live a little more simply.

 

2015 Races

This will be the year of races for me. I plan to sign up for most available races in San Diego starting with Super Seal. I’ll be doing a mix of Olympic/International and Sprint races starting in March.

As of now my season will end in October with the Mission Bay Triathlon. That’s one of my favorite races and I’d like very much to post a sub 1 hour time on that one.

Here’s the current list of races I’ll be participating in this year.

March

March 15 – Super Seal (Coronado, CA)


May

May 3 – Sprint Sprint (San Diego, CA)


June

TBA – San Diego International (San Diego, CA)


July

July 12 – Carlsbad Triathlon (Carlsbad, CA)


September

September 20 – TRI Rock (San Diego, CA)


October

October 4 – Mission Bay Triathlon (San Diego, CA)

There are a couple months missing in there and I’ll eventually fill them in with some 5 or 10k races. For now, this is the plan. I plan to do a race report after each on and will update this post with a link.

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