Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Updating My Status

I know it has been a while since I last posted.  There really hasn't been much going on beside training and training and even more training.  

Even though it has been my "offseason"  I have continued to run.  The March marathon still appears to be a go.  I am excited.  The course is mostly flat so I am confident I will be able to get through it.  Over the next couple of weeks I will have to start training with either a handheld or a belt.  We will see.  I know that nutrition makes or breaks distance runners and I am not going to allow that to keep me from finishing.  

I am also working on my schedule for next year.  Right now I am planning on at least one triathlon, one run, and one long bike ride per month from March until about October.  I would love to do an Olympic Triathlon by May and then a half by October.  

I also have officially hired a coach.  So far it has been great.  I have been making considerable progress.  Fortunately my initial coach taught me really well so now we are just refining technique and increasing confidence.  I have to learn how to relax.  Not very easy for me.  

Will try to keep you better updated on my progress.

Monday, November 7, 2011

City of Oaks Race Recap

As you know from my last post, this race was a "make-up" race.  I ran this race last year and felt horrible the entire race.  My dismal performance last year really drove me crazy.  Even now when I think about it, I wince at the butt kicking I received. I felt completely out of shape and thought I was going to die towards the end.  I had no energy and no drive for the last 3+ miles.  I was passed by people running carrying on a casual conversation.  I wanted to just stop and walk.  My finish time was 1:43:24 average pace 7:54.  And that was with max effort.

Well to start the weekend, I ran in a small 5k race in the area.  I think there was about 120 runners in the 5k.  It was really nice.  As I said  in my post on Thursday, I was going to take this race really easy.  Just a training run.  No real expectations.

Once the race started, I found myself right outside the lead group.  It felt like we were all sprinting.  The first mile was at just over 6:00.  And this was not a flat course.  I had to reigned myself in.  I knew that I was not going to keep this pace.  Even if I could, I didn't really want to.  So I slowed down to a much more sane pace.  I maintained my position in the about the top 10 and just cruised the remainder of the race.

I eventually finished 5 overall.  My time was 21:28.  I finished 2 in my age group.  I was really pleased with everything.  I really didn't expend too much energy.  I was more chilled (cold) than spent.  It was a chilly morning.  The entire Second Wind crew did an outstanding job.

After the race, I went home and just relaxed and tried to prepare myself for the Half.  I knew that it would not be anywhere near as casual as the 5k.  This year this was my most important race of the year. So this year I trained much better.  I knew that I had to be ready for the hills.  I had to be prepared for everything.  The course was a little different but the heart of the race was the same.  Still running through downtown, which meant rolling hills the entire way.  There were very few flat areas on the run.

As I was mentally preparing for the race, I decided that I would find the 1:35 pacer and hang with them for the race. Then I would not think about pace, just see the target, hit the target.  No thinking.  Well the best laid plans.  There wasn't a 1:35 pacer.  There wasn't even a 1:40 pacer.  So I was faced with having to just keep my pace myself.  Well there are worst things that could have happened.

The start of this race had about 4000 people plus starting on a "narrow" street.  Plus within the first quarter mile we had a roundabout to go through.  It was like the Tour De France, half going on one side and the other half on the other.  Even with that I was being bounced in and out.  Finally at about a half mile it started to thin out.  I was able to find a clear path and concentrate on running instead of worrying about getting trampled.

My run then fell into a rhythm.  Now it was just a matter of keeping pace.  There were a couple of times where I felt myself slowing down and I was able to pick it back up.  I crossed the 10k mark at about 44:24.  Which was a little slower than I wanted but it was still good.  Once I reached the 10 mile mark I still had plenty in the tank.  I was able to pick up the pace.  I was not winded or struggling.  So I finished really strong.

I said going into this race that I didn't expect a PR and wasn't going to shoot for that.  But as it turned out I was able to set a PR.  My finish time was 1:32:28.  This also was a 10 minute reduction from last year. I am really satisfied with my training and "tactical" race.

With that settled I am moving on to a marathon and more swim training.  Next goal is Marathon in March, Open water triathlon (White Late) in May.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Terrific Thursday

This has been a very bad week for me.  I have been very down.  Emotionally and physically.  To much to go into here but just let me say, I do not want to relive this week.

I am making today a terrific Thursday because I am getting closer to my marquee race of the year, City of Oaks Half Marathon.  This is my A race.  I know that this is crazy because normally you go into an A race wanting to set a PR or wanting to win you AG.  Well for me I just want to beat my time from last year.  

Last year I did this race shortly after returning from Death Valley as well.  But as you know last year I was banged up.  I didn't really understand how badly my hip was hurt until about mile 8. This year, I have no excuse.  I am going into this race completely prepared.  Last year I didn't train for the City of Oaks and only trained for Death Valley.  This year I have done it opposite.  I didn't train specifically for Death Valley, but I have been training for this half.  

But you know I cannot do anything the easy way, so I also scheduled a 5k on Saturday.  This I am doing with the Second Wind and Wake Crossroads Baptist Church.  My goal for this 5k is just use it as a training run.  No time expectations.  No real energy expended.  At least that is what I am telling myself.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Are you are Runner or some one who runs?

Hello Monday.  I know that we never really welcome Mondays, but I am trying to not be a downer.

This morning I totally wimped out of my workouts.  I know its alright and taking an occasional day off is ok and I really needed it.  If for nothing else for getting my head cleared.  

One thing that has been bugging me lately is that all my runs are fast.  Not meaning fast as in the time, but close to my best possible time.  No matter the distance or the day or whatever the run should be.  So instead of being a runner, I have been someone who runs.  This is something that I really need to concentrate on.  

I think my problem with it more than anything is my watch.  When I see the time at say, 8:00 pace, I freakout.  I know that is crazy and I have to remember that an easy run should be slower than a tempo run.  But still the pace freaks me out.  

I am getting ready to start marathon training and Runner World's has a very detailed and SHOULD help me finish with the time that I want. Right now I am concerned with not killing myself during the first 12/13 miles and nothing to finish the race with.  

I know that you do not have to be a runner (or exceptionally talented) in order to run a marathon but you must prepare wisely.  Changing my all out, all the time, to running smarter and reserving energy.  Remembering that its a marathon and not a sprint.

This weekend was a perfect example.  I had a long run scheduled.  14 miles.  In my head I said take it easy, run slow.  Try to run at about a 8:00 mile pace. Then the first mile was 7:19 and I wasn't really working hard, I just keep going.  Yes that little voice in my head told me not to worry but here's my splits.  I only managed 3 miles at my desired pace.

             HR      ACTUAL PACE
 Mile 1 164    7:19
 Mile 2 169    7:37
 Mile 3 167    7:43
 Mile 4 163    7:35
 Mile 5 165    7:35
 Mile 6 165    7:40
 Mile 7 166    7:32
 Mile 8 165    7:50
 Mile 9 165    7:36
 Mile 10 169  7:59
 Mile 11 168  8:01
 Mile 12 165  7:54
 Mile 13 164  7:33
 Mile 14 162  7:23

I think I will have to get hypnotized before the race because once that horn sounds it off to the races.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Death Valley JDRF Ride to Cure

This past weekend I spent 3 days at Death Valley, Ca.  We were there for a 106 mile ride for JDRF.  This is for Diabetes research.  There were about 320 riders from all across the country. No one left unhappy or dissatisfied.  

The Ride to Cure is an amazing event for an amazing cause.  The staff and the volunteers do an outstanding  job.  They also remind us that this really wasn't about riding a Century (100 miles).  It really wasn't about the personal feat of finishing the ride.  It was about finding a cure for Diabetes.  Diabetes is a disease that affects so many people. It follows no color lines, no ethnic groups or socioeconomic status.  This disease doesn't care if you are 8 months, 8 years  or 80 years.  Once its strikes it's a life sentence.  There is no cure.  There is a life of finger pricks, counting carbs and watching your diet.  Even with the greatest care you still are no longer in control. You can do everything right and still have issues.  The  best you can do is manage your readings.  

The day before the race we went on a little tune up ride.  It was only about 6 miles but it was already 103 degrees.  We knew that the next day would be cooking.  The race officials also knew that it would be tough.  They were watching the weather forecast very closely.  We knew that if it was too hot they would possibly have to modify the course.  Which would cut out Jubilee Pass.  But we also knew what kind of people we were.  Most of the riders would have killed themselves riding up to the Pass and then would have been unable to make it all the way back without assistance and we just didn't have that many SAG vehicles even though there were about 10.  

Anytime you go for a ride no matter where you are, you are concerned with drink plenty of water and having plenty of nutrition.  Death Valley is no place for the faint of heart.  It will test your ability to dictate to your body that even though right now you may not be thirst but you will be shortly.  You have to drink and drink and drink and drink.  I guess you get the point.  

All day we were drinking plenty of water.  I am sure that the staff went through more than a two thousand bottles of water.  Even 30 minutes we were grabbing more water.  And when you grabbed one for yourself you grabbed one for your team.  We all made sure that we were completely hydrated.  We spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying what an awesome venue we had for this ride.  Death Valley has some amazing scenery.  

At dinner on Friday night they announced that there were in fact going to shorten the ride.  They decided to make it a 25 out and back and for those who wanted to do 100, to do the course twice.  There were some groans but all of us knew it was probably for the best. We all looked at each other an knew that we would go into the race with the plan to do the 100 miles.  

Once we left dinner and went back to our rooms, we all decided to settle in.  Get as much sleep as possible and be ready for a great ride.  It was amazing how easily I was able to get to sleep.  I am normally very anxious about any kind of race, ride or run.  I get butterflies on a little 3 mile training run.  But I was strangely at peace going into this ride.  

We wake up bright and early and have breakfast at 5:30.  Normal breakfast but more hydration.  Even with the temps in the lower 70's were still were trying to stay ahead of the game.  We start getting lined up at 6:30.  There was a definite buzz in the air.  Everyone was excited and ready for a great day.  Then the elite riders took off.  Then finally we started.  We really took it easy for the first mile.  Just getting into a single file line, finding riding partners and establishing a rhythm.  

We keep the pace at about 17 - 18 mph for the first part of the ride.  This was mostly downhill and shaded so we knew we needed to take advantage of that but still not going all out, saving that for later in the day.  The group splintered a little bit on the way out.  But it was going great.  

The ride staff had a water only SAG stop at 10 miles and then a full service stop at Badwater, mile 17 and then a full stop at the turnaround at 25.   These were perfectly spaced out.   Except with the first stop not having bathrooms, we were really anxious to get to Badwater and then leaving Badwater getting back to the Ranch.  

We made great time going out.   Three of us stayed together.  Jim C, Frederik and I.  We formed a pretty good paceline and keep an eye out for each other.  The cadence of drinking could be heard over and over again.  We had others to join us and then fall off at the rest stops.  Either they would leave before us or after us.  We were really concerned with staying together.  

Mile 23 was designated as a memorial mile.  A mile of silence.  We did this as a tribute all of the people who  lost their battle with Diabetes.  It was the only mile marker on the trail.  It was a fitting memorial.  

On the way back we picked up 2 sisters (Tara and Amy) riders from the Cincinnati Chapter.  They had left just before us and decided to hook up with us.  

We stayed together the rest of the day.  Formed a nice pace line, encouraged each other to drink and just basically looking out for each other.  At the end of day we all finished upright, under out own power and smiling.  I am so thankful. 

Today was an amazing day.  We saw the full gambit of emotions.  The excitement and joy at the start.  The hurt and anguish of cramping.  Then excitement again as we crossed the finish line.  There were tears of joy that we were able to finish and  there were tears of sorrow for the loved one who lost their lives to diabetes. 

As my friends and readers of this blog know I didn't finish this ride last year.  I fell coming down Jubilee Pass.  I had to have stitches in my arm, fingers and a serious road rash on my left hip.  I had many reminders this weekend of that.  At the dinner on Friday night, one person said make sure you stay upright this year.  At the 75 mile mark entering the turnaround one of the race officials, said "Hey, you were here last year weren't you?"  "Yes", I said.  Then he said, "I remember you fell and we had to pull you off the course.".  My heart sank.  What a way to be remembered.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Death Valley Elevation Chart

Here is a graphic representation of the Death Valley ride.  As you can see from this, there is a little climb in the middle.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Starting the countdown

The excitement is really building for the Death Valley Ride to Cure.  I have seriously been looking forward to this since I returned last year.  I think about the ride and I remember how interesting it was last year.  Leaving NC with the temps in the mid 60's and getting to Death Valley with the temps still in the 90's.  

Last year I think I was still facing the awe factor.  Everything seemed larger than life.  I was so nervous, I am sure that I talked more than normal.  Now I feel more at ease but still really excited.  

This year the plan is to stay with our group.  It s really hard because at the start like with any race people roll out slowly.  I have to practice being patient.  This is totally not a strong suit for me but its important.  I am going to start my hydration today.  Need to seriously get it in order.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another Magnificent Monday

Today as I was reading other blogs and thinking about my friends that were competing in events this past weekend I felt a bit jealous.  As you know I haven't competed in anything in about 2 months.  My last event was Three Pigs Tri. 

I have been training and training and training.  I have put in some serious miles over the past 2 months and now I feel totally ready to compete again.  I went for a long run this weekend and was able to maintain a sub 7:15 pace for 12 miles.  I was stoked.  I have been cycling and able to maintain about a 19 mph pace for 20 miles rides solo. I am excited. 

I will be able to get my competitive juices flowing again on Oct 15.  We will be back in Death Valley.  I am totally ready for it.  I will be shipping my bike this week.  It is going to be interesting spending the next week without it. 

Like last year I will be doing the City of Oaks 1/2 marathon the first week in November.  Last year I was not very happy with my time, so I will be looking for redemption.  My goal is sub 1:40.  We will see.  I have plenty of time so lets see if I back down from that bold prediction.

In the meantime I am comtemplating doing a full marathon on my 45th birthday.  That will be March 18, 2012.  The course is gentle (Tobacco Road) so that really does lend itself to being a great site for an inital marathon.  One of my stretch goals is to qualify for Boston.  So this race will give me an idea how much work I am going to have to put in on order to accomplish that goal.  I have never run more than 18 miles at once so I am not sure how those last 8 miles are going to be.  I have read all the stories about the wall at 20 so I guess I will find out first hand.  I haven't signed up yet but I am about 80% sure I am going to. 

We'll see.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Monday

I know you do not hear that very often.  I am trying to be positive in today's note.  I had a really relaxing weekend.  It was very casual.  My workout schedule called for a short run on Saturday and a longer run on Sunday.

Initially when I saw it, I thought about running the 3 miles with Second Wind and then doing another 2 by myself.  But then I decided that I would leave it alone with the 3 miles.  I ran alone anyway so I was able to run at a quicker pace. 

On Sunday morning, I was up early and did a 10 mile run.  It was fun as well.  I think the great part about it was the ending.  As I approached my final turn, I saw another runner approaching.  He actually made the turn with me.  We ended up running over a mile together.  It was great.  I know that I have said it before but it is so much better to run with others.  They push you to really exert yourself.  I think that I cruise way too much and that is keeping me from obtaining the "next" level in my training. 

My mile 10 was faster by almost a full minute than miles 1-9.  And when I was done, I still felt great. 

The majority of the rest of the day was spent lounging.  We, Linda and I, went to the American Heart Association Heart Walk.  I thought about running the 3 miles, but decided that I would walk with Linda.  We meet up with my co-workers and made the walk leisurely.  The afternoon was overcast and we thought it was going to rain.  But as the afternoon progressed, it cleared up.  Then we only had to deal with the humidity.  A great time was had by all. 

Also as a random question, why would walk officials have warm water at the hydration stations?  I understand that the important thing is to drink, but who drinks water at room temperature?  I don't.  During the walk they had a couple of hydration stations but the water wasn't on ice.  Doesn't make sense to me, but who am I?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great Week

This was a great week.  I know that it gets old to hear about workout after workout but for me each workout is so different. 

This week I haven't felt really well at all, but my workouts have been all good.  It started with a piss poor swim on Monday.  I really wasn't feeling swimming.  I was dragging and not really into it at all.  But I have made a committement and a promise to myself that I would continue to swim.  So I got 300 meters in and decided to stop before I drown from lack of intensity.  On Monday night, I went for a bike ride.  This is where the fun really began.  The bike felt great.  I was surprised because I had just rode the day before but it was good.  I felt myself pushing the pace.  It was good.  Ended up ride more than 20 miles at a decent pace. 

On Tuesday I went to the 1st Headlamp Chase.  It was great.  The way it works is a staggered start based upon your pace.  It was an out and back and since it was still dark we all wore headlamps.  Thus the name.  I always get excited about runs like this.  I guess its because there is an "offical" start and finish.  So it's kinda like a race.  I almost always run faster than I plan.  For this run, the plan was for a 7:30 pace.  I ended up running a 7:00 min pace.  I am crediting the down hill finish for the faster time. 

Later that afternoon, went to Rolesville Park and ran with the Second Wind 5K group.  This always excites me.  It is so encouraging to see them out there working hard to get rerady for their 5k.  I have met really great people and look forward to running with them and trying to encourage them during their race.  Matt C and I ran the 3 miles and he was able to run 3 sub 8:00 min miles.  I was really excited for him.   I felt like I had just set a PR. 

Wednesday was another swim.  I really do not  understand what is going on with that.  I really am trying, but I am not seeing improvement.  I have decided that I am going to hire a coach (shake me if you headrd this before).  I swam my 500 meters and gave up.  I still had a 3 mile run to do.  So I go out for the run.  This was the second time running this loop.  The previous week, I went out and took a left.  It was pretty down hill.  It had it challenges but all in all it was an easy run.  This week I decided to try and go the opposite way, so I made a right out of the pool and this felt uphill all the way.  It was taxing.  I really worked to maintain pace and energy.  But it still felt great.  It was hard enough that I had to work, but not so hard that I felt that I had to strain. 

Wednesday night was a ride with a Trysports group.  We rolled out at around 6:00pm.  We thought that we might get rain, but we were going to try and still get this ride int.  It was potentially the last afternoon ride of this year.  I rode with the fast group.  We took off.  It was great.  I really worked to stay with the guys.  They were all riding tri-bikes and me I was relegated to my road bike.  I was able to mostly hang with them.  It was great.  We took most of the hills.  They were all in aero and I was leaning as far into my roadie as I could.  Trying to hang on.  I was only "left" once.  Once we made it to the RBC center we did a hot lap about the arena.  OMG that was awesome.  It was like a race out.  Again I didn't get left too badly so I was totally excited.  The rest of the ride was a blur.  I was still excited about the sprint. 

Thursday morning I had a seven mile run.  Again I was moving like I was stuck in cement getting out of the house.  My old body not really like these back to back workouts.  Once I made it outside, I had a conversation with myself about which route to take.  It was really interesting tryong to find out who would win.  Easy or Hard.  In the end Hard prevail and off we went.  After about the first quartermile, my legs loosened and I was able to get into a rhytmn and the rest of the run just flowed.  Ended up with one of my best 7 mile run times. 

This week has been realy atypical.  I am normally really even, but this week I have been down.  Fortunately my workouts have lifted my spirits totally.

Death Valley is 3 weeks away.  I have my reservation confirmed and now I am fundraising and more fundraising and more fundraising. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Morning Blahs

I am not sure why I have the blahs this morning.  I think I really need to take a bacation. This morning my energy level is in the tank.  I am not very motivated at all and I really really need my pillow.  It has been that kind of a morning. 

My weekend was no different than any other.  Nothing more or less exciting that previous weekends.  No  more activities, no less.  Ran 14 miles, biked for 25 miles and not even in the same day.  Ran on Saturday and biked on Sunday. 

I guess it may have to something to do with staying up later last night watching the football game, but I also slept later this morning.  I don't know what it s but I really need to shake it. 

I am trying to put a positive spin on it, and say that I just need too exercise. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone.  Back to work after a long weekend. 

It's amazing how 4 day work weeks seem so very long.  I think its because of all the fun from the weekend.  This Labor Day weekend was spent totally relaxing.  I normally can find a project or two to occupy my weekends but this one, I completely took it off. 

Had a couple of really nice rice and nice run.  Still looking for a workout partner. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Morning

This morning I was supposed to take part in the Chase run.  The last one of this year season.  The chase run is where a group of us get together and starting at staggered times and all end together.  The distance varies from 4 - 6 miles. 

The last chase run, I felt awesome after the run.  It was a relatively flat course with people who really pushed me to run faster.  I was really looking forward to it.

Well as fate would have it, I had a really rough night last night so unfortunately I was in no shape to run this morning.  I actually slept right through my alarm.  I really rarely oversleep and when I do, I am angry all day.  I am really trying hard to not be mad. 

I know that this was probably for the best.  I know I would have been angry with myself also if I would have ran and it was a bad time or worse yet, injury myself by pushing too hard. 

Well lesson learned.  you have to listen to your body and give it the rest it desires.  Because you only have one and you better take care of it. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blow out City

Well it was bound to happen sooner or later.  I had been fortunate in my rides to not have any ride ending mechanical problems.  I had a big fall in Death Valley, but that was rider error. 

Last night I was cruising along trying to make up time on the bike, when all of a sudden I had a flat.  I didn't panic.  I know how to change a flat.  So I made a game of it.  If this was a competition, I would have to change it quickly if I wanted to salvage any kind of decent finish.  So I get the tire changed.  I try using my frame pump to inflate it and I am getting now where quick. 

As I am standing there scratching my head trying to figure out what I am doing wrong with this pump, a good Samaritan comes to my temporary rescue.  I has a regular pump that has a presta adapter.  Score.  We pump up the tire, all looks great.  I thank him and then he disappears again. 

Unfortunately, I forgot a step in tire repair.  That is to check the tire, not just the tube.  Well I put the "repaired" tire back on the bike and start riding and I hear the tell tale sound of a new problem.  I hope off the bike and find that the tube was sticking out the tire.  So not only had the nail punctured my tube but it also ripped my tire. 

Well, at this point I am stuck.  So I call for a ride.  Oh well.  I decide I would just get new tires and try again another day.  It was getting dark anyway. 

I will have to make up the miles on Thursday.  Turning my casual 12 mile ride into a TT 22 miler. Yippee. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Magnificent Monday

This weekend was busy.

Was up bright and early on Saturday for an 8 mile run.  The temp was perfect for a long run.  Virtually no humidity and temps were totally reasonable.  Was able to run at a great pace and never really felt taxed.  The run felt nice and comfortable. 

Later on Saturday morning met up with the Second Wind Run/Walk team for the 2nd training in the couch to 5k program.  They are planning to participate in the Road to Roleville 5k in November.  It was a great group.  We had 4 runners and about 8 walkers.  It was a great turnout.  After a brief introduction we started.  The pace again was very casual.  We had some runner who weren't quite as experienced as other so we stayed together.  The greenway at Rolesville park was beautiful and helped for an easy run.  \

At 1:30 on Satruday afternoon, the Second Wind Cycling crew gathered for a 50 mile ride.  This was the longest ride for several of the guys.  We normally ride early on Saturdays but with the Run/Walk training we delayed the start.  This delay introduced a new factor that many of the riders were not quite use to and that was the heat of the day. 

Matt mapped a course that gave us a wide variety of riding challenges.  We had some "steep climbs", rolling hills, and flats.  We rode through 3 counties.  It was a great ride.  We mostly rode at a pretty good pace, but the heat quickly started to catch up with some of us. We started with 6 riders and unfortunately a couple had to break off and head back early.  Normally we would not have done that, but our course keep us relatively close to "home" so no one had to ride very far alone.  We all made it back safely and anxious for our next long ride. 

After leaving the church I was heading home and stopped at Forestsville and Mitchell Mill.  I was the first car at the light and this is a relatively rural intersection, so you can see pretty well, or at least I thought so.  Once the light changed, I went through the light.  After I was through the intersection, the car right behind me was hit by car running the light.  After checking on the driver of the vehicles, and finding that everyone was ok, we signalled EMS and the Fire department which is also at that same intersection.  As you can imagine I was shaken.  I was already a little worn out from the ride and the heat and then to barely miss this accident.  I had to stop for a minute and just get myself together.

We always take things for granted.  Just driving the 4 miles home.  It so easily could have been me.  I am so thankful. 

Sunday, we visited Linda's daughter in Greensboro.  She was working her first shift as a server.  This young lady has come so far as we are really proud of her.  She did a great job with us and her other tables.  She is starting her senior year at UNC-G and we know that she will continue to do outstanding. 

Today is Magnificent Monday, because we should not dread anydays.  There are so many people who either did not wake up this morning or woke up with the ability to get in their car and go to a job.  So many more who wished that Monday morning meant going back to work.  I complain just like everyone else that Monday morning comes too fast but today I am just so very thankful to see this day. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

T.G.I F.

This stands for Thank God I'm Finished.  Today was my last workout in this round of P90X.  I must say that it was fun while it lasted. 

Doing P90X reminded me of how much I loved workouts from all the basketball, football, baseball practices.  The constant one right after another.  Not having to think about it, just go with the program.  You do not have to deal with too much down time. 

All the workouts were challenging.  There wasn't a single one that I would say was easy or light.  They all required max effort.  The yoga was totally extreme.  The Ab ripper workout was ridiculiously hard, especially in the beginning.  I would not say it became easier, I will say that at the end I was able to last the whole 15 minutes. 

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have very little rhytmn.  KenpoX required more rhythmn than I possesses.  I was totally lost 5 minutes into it. 

Oh well, I am now a graduate.  I will continue to do P90X or at least some variation.  My body is telling me to take a couple of days off, so next week will be light.  Although I do not think my mind will accept me not pushing it.  We'll see how it goes. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays

I borrowed the title from discombobulatedrunning.blogspot.com.

Thursdays are really mostly really good days for me.  Most weeks I get to work from home on Thursday.  That means that I am able to relax (lounge) all day and really only get dressed to go work out. 

Thursdays are also good because I have a brick workout scheduled.  I get off the bike and go for a quick run.  Unfortunately Thursdays also means yoga (yuk). 

My normal Thursday routine is to get up early (5 am) do yoga for 90 minutes and then work until around 11:30 and go ride and run.  This morning, yoga just didn't happen.  I just couldn't get moving.  So I think I can still do it tonight no big deal.  So I finally get my lazy butt up at 6:30, make breakfast and start work. 

I check out Facebook and notice that there will be a group ride locally tonight.  25 miles - 17-19 mph pace.  Score.  Sign me up.  I can do that. 

My lunch run today was AWESOME.  It hadn't quite got hot yet so it was georgeous out.  Well it wasn't 5 - 6 am nice but nice all the same.  The run it self was really good.  Nice pace.  I had to work but I didn't work to hard.  It was great.  It was a 5 mile run.  I planned for a uphill start and then a uphill finish.  I know doesn't make a lot of sense but it was meant to be a little challenging and that it was. 

Now to relax, finish the workday and get ready for tonights ride.  We will try to get yoga in some other time. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Welcome Wednesday

I am beginning to feel like a failure at blogging.  It was exciting when I was doing tri or races.  There was something to talk about.  Talking about my normal workouts sounds too much like whining and that is just not something I want to publish.  I do plenty of it but I do not want the world to know how big a baby I am.

I am looking forward to a long ride this weekend with Second Wind.  I love long group rides.  They are always fun. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

July Stats

As readers of this blog know all to well, I have been working on P90X instead of specifically training for triathlons. My rationale has been, I am taking a break it improve my swimming.  Well in the month of July I spent very very little time in the pool.  I know, I know, I can't improve by just thinking about it or wishing it.

I have been reading books and watching videos and even watching videos of myself floundering in the pool.  So I have been "working on it".

So now that I have 2 weeks left on this round of P90X, I have decided to not only stop just visualizing swimming but actually get back to doing it consistently.  Follow the plan.  So I am going to just do it.

My training stats for July were:
Bike:        19h 22m 55s  - 333.37 Mi

Run:         13h 35m 30s  - 106.55 Mi

Strength:  16h 15m

This does not include the little swimming I did.  So this month I will be adding about 5 - 6 hours of  swimming to these totals.  It may sound a little aggressive but I have to do it if I want to improve and I do want to improve.

I also will be seeing a nutritionist next week.  I have a motor that just doesn't stop but I think I am starving it of needed nutrition.  Lets hope that I will actually eat the foods they recommend.  I am totally stubborn like that.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

Today has been a great day.  This morning I was up early for a round of P90X yoga.  It was 90 minutes of torture but it is focus time. 

Recently I have been thinking about beginning meditating.  I know everyone has their opinion of meditation but I hear that it is great for balance (emotional balance) and Lord knows I need that.  I am one of those ADD kids (not really but listen/read anyway) who can't concentrate on one thing too long or I will drift.  And I am always thinking.  I have this motor in my head that is constantly running.  I am always thinking about what I could be doing, should be doing, what I have done and why did I do it.  How can I make it better, where am I supposed to be, and on and on.

So imagine how my body/mind and spirit reacted to me telling my body that we were going to shut down for 5 minutes.  Focus on keeping the random thoughts out and just breathe.  That was a long 5 minutes but I feel like it was worth it.

I am going to continue to work on it and we will get better at meditating,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back from Mountains

Spent a great weekend in Franklin, NC.  It was great.  I was able to ride and run.  It was awesome.  We spent time with great friends. 

Everyone needs a little time away. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mountain Vacation

This weekend we are going to vacation in the NC mountains.  I am really looking forward to the different vacation.  We normally go to the beach but we are doing something different. 

I have a long run and a short bike ride schedule for these days.  It should be really interesting.  After watching the TDF all week and seeing the climbs (I know that I do not have anything like that in store for me) but I am excited nonetheless. 

I am also looking forward to the cooler weather of the mountains.  I will try to take pixs of the climbs. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

This year, I'll be taking part in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes, along with hundreds of others nationwide. Our goal: to raise $5 million to fund research for better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.

I'm asking you to help support my fundraising efforts with a donation. Your tax-deductible gift will help make a difference in the lives of people with type 1 diabetes.

It is faster and easier than ever to donate. Simply click on the link below at the bottom of this message to donate online. If you prefer, you can mail your gift check to me.  Just send me a note and I will give you the address.

Any amount, great or small, helps JDRF get closer to its goal of finding better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes. I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Visit my personal page and make a donation

Follow the JDRF Ride on Facebook and stay on top of the latest updates, events, and information!

About JDRF:

JDRF is the worldwide leader in funding research to find better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly and lasts a lifetime. It sets the global agenda for type 1 diabetes research, and is the largest charitable funder of and advocate for diabetes science worldwide. To date, JDRF has funded more than $1.5 billion in diabetes research, including nearly $107 million in fiscal year 2010.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's been a Monday

I know that I am supposed to try and be very upbeat in my writing.  and I think for the most part I have been.  There was the one very swimming frustrated post but that was the exception to the rule.  Before today.

After the weekend with a 30 mile bike ride with the Second Wind crew and a 10 mile run on Sunday I was pumped and rearing to go this week.  Thinking that I had give my body plenty of time to recover.  Well on today's schedule I had a 8.4 mile run planned.  I know that I normally can do an 8 mile run with out any problems.  If had been 12 - 15 then I would expect some challenges but not 8.

The run started great.  I was coasting.  I actually carried a water bottle today.  I know what a surprise.  It was noon so it hadn't gotten too hot yet.  I think it was about 90 deg.  The first 3 miles just clicked off, no issues.

At about mile 5, I really started feeling it and not in a good way.  I thought maybe a drink would help me get past it, but it didn't help.  My energy level never increased so I was running on empty.  By mile 7 I was spent and had to stop running.  As I walked along kicking myself for not completing the run, I just had to laugh at myself.  I will have to be smarter. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finally Friday (That guy)

This has been a long week.  I have been training my little rear off.  P90X, running and biking. And working two jobs.  Busy, busy, busy.

I am not complaining.  I love it.  But I am glad its Friday.  The weekend is when I can get a long ride and a long run in.  I also get to ride with a group.  This is one of my highlights of the week.  My long runs are still alone but its just that a long run and time to meditate.  I am not rushing to get changed, run, showered and back to my desk.

A nice easy run at a nice easy pace.  Able to just relax and enjoy.  Running is really, really therapeutic for me. I am not saying that when I am running my mind is clear because I am constantly thinking while running.

This weekend, I plan on riding between 30 - 50 miles on Saturday and hopefully get a 10 mile run in on Sunday.  I am SUPER excited.  I am turning into that guy.  Who only wants to talk about exercising.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Training Alone

Happy Monday!!!!

I just finished reading a blog "do-you-train-alone", where the question was asked if you like to train alone. When I saw the question, my first response is no.  I would much rather train in a group.  Someone to push you, conversation, competition, and camaraderie.  There is almost nothing better than accomplishing a PR and having someone there to high five or to celebrate with.

But then I remember my training schedule.  Is it realistic to expect anyone else to keep such a crazy schedule.  My workouts are totally dependent upon my work schedule and the weather.  My first workout of the day recently have been at 5:00 AM.  P90X.  Yippee. Lots of fun.  But I think when this programmed 12 weeks are over, swimming or running at this time will definitely be doable.  For cycling, I am still a little scared of riding this early.

I think that the best place for me to have a partner will be in swimming.  Swimming makes me feel like a total loser.  But I think with a partner I will not dread going and may be motivated to continue beyond my current frustration threshold.

The same blog also asked about hydration.  This is another area of total weakness for me.  I am not a big fan of running with a handheld or a belt.  I have actually tried a handheld and it never felt comfortable.  As far as a belt, I am too vain for that.  Maybe once I start longer runs, I will have to face this issue and address it more seriously.  But for now I will try to hydrate before and after.  I am sure I will regret this strategy, but sometimes that is the best teacher for us vain runners.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Three Little Pigs

Phew.  What a relief.  I went into this event with so many different emotions, as you can tell by my previous blogs.  Now that it’s over and I think back, like always, it was confirmation that I need to get back to triathlon training.  I love this competition so much.  It is so addictive.  

I arrived at the SRAC at around 6 and was immediately greeted by Jody.  He’s a fellow blogger buddy and now a FB friend as well.  He recognized me immediately.  It was awesome.  We exchanged greetings and agreed to meet backup after we setup.  Picked up my race packet and got marked up.  The kid that did my marking was a little confused.  He marked me as a MC.   That definitely made me chuckle.  

I was fortunate that I was first in my rack, so I was able to setup on the outside position.  That allowed for easy in and out, very exciting.  It's going to be a good day.  Then I try to inflate my tires and when I go to pump up the front tire, it get no air.  It just goes flat.  I begin to feel my heart flutter.  I try a couple of times with the front and the same thing. I decided that it must be the pump and decided to try the back to confirm and the same thing happens.  Now I am in all out panic.  Fortunately Jody was setup right behind me also on the outside.  I ask him for his pump and he was able to save my day.  Thanks again Jody. 

Now for the fun part, the waiting game until my start time.  My transition setup was completed by 6:45.  My start time was 8:15.  So that means lots of waiting around.  Fortunately I didn't get nervous.  Jody and I hung around together for the majority of the time.  At about 7:00 Andrew B. walked up.  It was great to see him.  We talked briefly and then he went to finish setting up and stretch.  

Finally 7:30 rolled around and the event started.  I am always impressed with the early starters.  I guess it is just my envy of the swimmers.  lol.  They make it look so easy.  Oh well one day.  

Jody and I sat and talked.  It really helped to keep the anxiety down.  We were pretty much in the same boat.  He was 268 and I was 262.  So he would start shortly after me.  

Finally it was time to get into the pool.  Now for the nerves.  I was visualizing the swim and telling myself to just relax, and think about smooth strokes.  Breathe and relax.  I get to the starting block and starter from last year was there starting us again.  She remembers my name and also remembers that I was really nervous last time.  She cracks a joke that I cannot remember right now but it made me smile and I ready to go.  

I am off.  I start really smooth and easy.  I remember to breathe.  I make it to the first turn really easily.  Turn and make it back to the second turn.  But here like always is where it goes to crap.  I can't breathe and I forget how to swim.  So I walk a little and start trying to swim again.  I take about 10 strokes and have to walk again.  Not gliding at all.  Oh well.  Just get to the end.  Jody passed me about lap 5 of 10.  No problem.  I am not expecting to set any records in the swim.  So I just keep moving forward.  Finally out of the pool and hustle to transition. 

Once at transition, Jody is having a contact issue.   I can completely understand that problem.  Fortunately my goggles held and I didn't have the issue with a missing contact.  So I quickly change and head off.  My mount and dismount still need a lot of work but I am able to get going.  I start fidgeting with my Garmin and never get it started and just decide to forget it.  Within the first quarter mile, Jody flies past me.  I am astonished but I am ok with it.  I decide that this will be my motivation.  I decide to keep him within my sights.  I stay with him.  Not drafting but within shouting distance.  

We are moving at a pretty good pace.  We are checking off people as we move along.  At about the 7 mile mark, I get close enough to pass Jody.  As I pass, I shout encouragement.  He gives me the thumbs up so I continue moving.  Then we make the turn toward home.   I am still pedaling comfortably.  No issues.  Then at about 10 Jody gets his second wind and passes me back.  We play leap frog for about 2 miles and then he clears me for the remainder of the ride.  I begin to cramp.  Nothing major, just a concern.  Then we turn into the park and the cramp gets worse.  I hobble into my bike stall and start grabbing my hat, shoes, and number.  There was another guy next to me and he dropped his water bottle crossing the railroad tracks.  I gladly give him mine as I had not even touched it.  

So I head out of the transition 2 right on Jody's heels.  I am still trying to work the cramp out of my leg so I am not able to really take off.  I finally pass Jody and try to encourage him to just relax and get into a rhythm on the run.  I grab a cup of water and pour it down my shirt and think pace and rhythm.  The run was good.  It was shaded and relatively flat.  So I am able to make pretty good time.  I again start chasing people down.  I decided that my cramping was over and I could just enjoy the run, no worries.  I get to the 3 mile mark and start hearing the finish and I step on it.  Finish Strong.  

Overall the race was great.  I felt pretty comfortable the entire race.  My passion for triathlons completely renewed.  Even though I was not overly concerned with my time, I knew that I would not be happy if I didn't do well.  I think this wait was harder than the wait to start.  Finally my time is posted.  1:14:32

I am really happy at this point.  Andrew set the course on fire finishing 1:06.  He killed bike, finishing in 38 minutes.  Awesome pace.  Jody did great as well, considering it was his first triathlon in more than a dozen years.  He beat me in every leg except the run.  I was really happy to have him to push me in first two legs.  

Swim:  6:28
Bike:  43:09
Run:  22:08
Overall - 84th Male finisher out of 246.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The day before...

Three Little Pigs.   

Tomorrow will be another first in my Tri life.  Doing an event a second time.

As you  know from reading this I have recently changed gears and have been doing P90X instead of the base Tri training.  With that being said, I should really approach tomorrow's race without any expectations and just go out and have fun.  Well I am not sure how to just reduce my race day expectations. I am not sure it that is possible. 

My makeup requires me to go all out all the time.  As much as I try to say that I am just going to having fun, I know that I will be balls to the wall tomorrow. 

Last year my time was 1:16:04.  So this year my goal will be simply to beat that time.  I fully expect to do it. Let's just hope my next blog doesn't require tissue.

Monday, June 13, 2011

P90X Week 4

I know, I know I have fallen down when it comes to posting.  I know, I know, I do not have a valid excuse.  My workouts have decreased in number, time and distance so I should be able to sit down and drop a few lines about what I am doing.   Ok I will do better. 

I am in week 4 of P90X which is a recovery week.  So far the workouts have been sufficiently challenging and I can definitely tell a difference.  I have almost totally stopped running, biking and swimming.  I know I am supposed to still be doing all but I just haven't  been able to keep it up so far.

This weekend I have the Three Little Pigs Tri coming up.  This was my first triathlon and now I am returning.  I feel a little pressure to do better than last year but I have not really trained for it this year.  With the P90X the last 4 weeks, I have not built my speed up in anything in order to peak this weekend.  At the start of the  season, this was my "A" race for the year.  But now its just the end of my season.  I am a little disappointed and heartbroken.  I have not made the progress this year I wanted to make. 

Can I have some cheese with my whine? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I know that I have been talking about my life as a new triathlete but I have decided to take a step back and work on my core strength.  I have decided to do P90X and take some time to greatly improve my swimming. 

I have one more triathlon scheduled for this year.  That will be the Three Little Pigs in Smithfield, NC.  This was my first tri and I have a time to beat.  So we will see how much I have improved over the year. 

What has replaced my run and bike is P90X.  I know that I am getting on the bandwagon late but better late than never.  Physically, I do not think it will be a problem.  The tough part will be the diet (yes that is a four letter word to me). 

I have never really ate properly.  Fortunately I inherited great genes that allowed me to abuse my body for 40+ years and not really pay for it yet.  But lately I have received some warning signs that I better start paying attention.

I actually started P90X on 5.23.11.  I am doing a modified version so that I can continue to run, bike, and swim just to maintain a level of stamina in each.  But it will not be any where near the level of exercise that I am use to. 

As an added incentive, my son JC has also started this workout.  Wish us luck.  I will post progress reports.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gladiator 5k

This weekend was the Gladiator 5k.  This was supposed to be a test not of my ability to run a 5k, but also an obstacle course.  I have been looking forward to this race since a friend mentioned it to me earlier this year.  The location was perfect as it was being ran in Cary, not very far from home.

Here is the list of obstacles that were supposed to be on the course.

  1. Gladiator Bars – Make your way across the gladiator bars while you’re suspended in the air.
  2. Walls - This part of the course is littered with walls varying in height; make your way over them however you can.
  3. Cargo Net - Three sets of cargo nets at 8’, 10’, and 14 feet one after another are quite the climb.
  4. Ab Crawl - You guessed it, get down on your stomach to crawl thru more than 80 feet of cammo-nets.
  5. Tire Valley – You’ve never seen tires quite like this. Make your way up, around, and through a never-ending valley of tires.
  6. Tunnel Crawl – Crawl your way through a series of dark, damp tunnels.
  7. Battle Walls – Without using your hands, high step your way over each post.
  8. Balance Beams – Balance is a must on the downhill balance logs. Don’t miss a step or it’s back to the beginning.
  9. Rope Bridge – Hold on tight while you crawl upside down along 29 feet of rope.
  10. Glory Wall – Getting over the 8 ft Glory Wall is a great accomplishment, so get your biceps ready!
  11. Monkey Bars – Make your way across the hardest monkey bars you’ve ever seen, while you are suspended in the air.
  12. Fence Jumps – Jump and slide your way through a series of wooden fences. All of your body

These all look completed awesome. I was totally excited to compete. 

The race ended up only having about half these obstacles and they were not very tough at all.  The toughest was an 8 foot wall.  Yep that's it.  Not very tough. 

Let me walk you though the day. 

My wave wasn't set to start until 9:30 so I did not need to get up early.  Another reason I was excited to participate in this race.  Had breakfast with Linda and JC.  this was supposed to be just a fun run so I had a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich.  Breakfast of Champions.  lol. 

Let home at @ 8:15 just to be sure that I was there and could get a quick look at the course as well as see the earlier legs take off.  The first wave was scheduled for 9:00.

The event started right on time.  The 9:00 wave went off as scheduled.   The course started with a quick downhill.

In my wave was a couple of guys with wigs.  I actually thought for a second that I should have dressed up.  That made me laugh.  One of the others waiting with me was excited because she thought she was the oldest in our group. But she was only 40 and surprised that there were several others of us that were older. 

Then the first obstacle.  It was a modified version of the Battle Bars.  When I got there the person in front of me used his hands to cross it and the race official/volunteer didn't say anything so I did the same.  One obstacle down.  Back up the hill we went.   Went back by the starting line and off to the Ab Crawl.  It was about 15 feet.  as I was crawling I saw several timing chips.  That was not good for those competitors that were ahead of me.  That meant their time would not be measured.  Oh well, as quick check down at my feet to ensure that I still had mine and I continued on.  I did yell back to the race official about the timing chips.  I do not know what if that made a difference but I felt better that I told someone. 

The next obstacle was a cargo net.  It felt like I was moving in slow motion as I crossed it.  But I made it without anyone passing me.  :)  In my wave of about 25 people, there were 3 guys still in front of me.  We were heading back down hill and went off onto a dirt trail.  At the bottom of the hill was the first wall.  It was about 6 feet.  Made it over with out much trouble.  Then to the next wall, it was about 8 feet.  Again made it over with much struggle and while running I past the next guy, so I am now third in my wave and feeling really strong.  Knowing that we still had many obstacles in front of us and I wasn't winded yet.  The next obstacle was the balance beams.  This was going to be a challenge for me since I am not very coordinated.  So I slowed my pace and made it over, no problem.  then the second balance beam.  Same thing.  Slow down and make it over.   Done.  Started back running and now more balance beams.  This time instead of being just a straight beam, this was a up and over.  When I arrived there were people on them.  Crap.  But they made it off just as I started.  There was another set immediately after the first, so I bypassed the slower runners and crossed the next set quickly.  Now I was in second in my group and loving it. 

More uphill running to the next obstacle.  It was the tunnel crawl.  it was about 20 feet.  Again just a bump in the road.  Made it quickly through and on back running.  More uphill.  I keep  the first place guy in my sights and felt like I could still catch him.  thinking it was only a matter of time now. 

We then crossed back into the soccer park and once we crossed the road we had the "mud pit".  Only there was no mud, only water.  So it was more similar to a slip and slide than a mud pit.  When I started into the pit there were two other competitors crawling through.  They were taking it easy and not splashing.  But of course you know that I went sliding pretty much head first and made a huge splash and totally drenched the caution.  lol.  I had to laugh at that.  I made it through no problem.  Now I could tell that I was getting close to the end. 

Ran down and around a small lake on the Soccer park and then around the parking lot.  There we found the "Tire Valley"  It was only about 15 feet across and it had tires hanging so we had to work through them.  Very easy.  I was just about ready to sprint up to catch the first place guy.  We only had a little stretch left to go.  Once we made it back to the payment we were told that we had to run down and touch a fence and back.  WTF?  What kind of obstacle is that? Oh well.  At this point the front runner must have gotten his second wind, because I could not close on him.  Made it to the finish and was really surprised with my time.  Around 21 minutes. 

21 minutes, wow.  I was really happy with that but being honest with myself, this must have been shorter that 5k.  I have run 5ks in tris and barely beat that time.  With the obstacles on the course there should not have been anyway my time was that good.


Well I will take it. I had a good time even with the disappointment with the course. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tour De Cure Fundraising

As I was sitting here thinking about my upcoming events, I remembered that I have Tour De Cure on June 4th.  This has a fundraising component.  I need to raise 500.00  Right now I have $25.00.

This ride is to raise money for Diabetes.  This cause is near and dear to my heart.  I am a Type 3 diabetic.  That is someone who is in a relationship with a Type 1.  We share the ups and downs that diabetes cause.  We see all the finger sticks, all the carb counting.  This disease affects every aspect of a diabetics life.

The ride itself is 200 miles.  One hundred miles to Southern Pines on Saturday and then returning on Sunday.  Its looks like its going to be fun.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Riverwood Golf & Athletic Club Tri

Well I did it, again. I completed another one. What a relief. This was another great day. What a thrill to see so many athletics competing and celebrating personal accomplishments.

Where do I start talking about this weekend? "It was the best of time and the worst of times". That is a line from a book or a movie. I think it was a Tale of Two Cities. That is great way to describe my adventures as a triathlete so far.

I started the mental race preparations on Friday night. Picked up my race packet on Friday night and learned that I was bib number 217. My cursed swimming strikes again. The overall race begins at 8:00 I do not start until 9:00. This means plenty of standing around waiting. No worries. I can handle that now.

Arrive back at home and begin the ritual of packing my transition bag. Checking and double checking. Adjusting and measuring. Trying to ensure everything was in its proper place. Finally all was set and bike loaded.

Woke up at 5:30 and had a bowl of cereal. I am not sure why but I felt very nervous. It was weird. This would be fifth triathlon but I was as nervous as if this was my first. Woke up my youngest son JC and we headed out. I stopped at McDonalds to get breakfast for JC and this turned an adventure itself. First of all they were very, very slow. I was thinking to myself, it 6:00 on Saturday morning, why would there be a line of 10 cars. But I have been in lines at fast food restaurants that went quickly. Well this one didn't. I know we all have had or heard about bad experiences at fast food places and you know you never really expect it will happen to you.

After sitting there for 20 minutes, they brought out my simple order and it was still wrong. But my son, very much like his dad, just said it was ok and ate it without complaint. I guess he could see my frustration since it is now 6:20. Deep soothing breathes, deep soothing breathes.

I arrive at the Athletic Club at around 6:50 about 20 minutes later than I wanted to be there. Again, I am telling myself to just relax. I am still 2 hours ahead of my start time. So just relax.

As I am walking over to transition area, I drop my bike. AUGH! Deep breath. It’s ok. Don't worry it will be alright. I keep this conversation going with myself. I am trying to not allow JC to see how angry I am getting.

I arrive at my rack and find that since I was "late", I wasn't able to get the preferred spot on the rack. Again, deep breath. Relax. I put my transition bag down and rack my bike and go pick up my timing chip and get marked. All set.

Now back to transition to get setup. Once there I find that my bag and bike have both been moved. OMG, can this get any worse? More deep breaths. But then I think to myself that they will probably be well ahead of me after the swim, so do not worry about it.

So I set up my gear, ensuring that I had everything in place. All set. Now I walk up to the pool. The athletic center is very nice. Great equipment, great layout, everything was well kept. Now the pool. I notice that the pool is shallow on one end and deeper on the far side. At my training pool, it was 4 feet to 5 1/2 feet. This pool was 5 feet to 8 feet. Again deep breathes.

I can do this. I have been practicing. I know that I can swim the distance. No worries. Just do it. Finally it's 8:00 and the race begins. As we watch the swimmers take off. I spend the time talking to JC, trying to get his feelings about triathlons. He likes them but doesn't think he would want to do one.

8:30, still watching the swimmers. Everyone lines up and takes off. I say to myself, 30 more minutes. I move to a better spot to watch the swimmers. I see everyone starting really fast and fading by the end. I try to remind myself to take it easy at the beginning. Just take it one lap at a time. Concentrate on your form. You can do this.

9:00 in line waiting to begin. Quietly telling everyone to just go on past me. I know that I am going to be slow and I do not want anyone feeling bad about passing me or to give anyone the impression that I would be climbing over them.

Starting. Take off was pretty smooth. But I forget about taking my time. I rush through the first 25 and at the wall I am struggling and then I remember that I have 275 more yards to go. I keep going I make it about half way back before I have to stop. Forgot all my keys, breathing out the window, patience out the window, forget about relaxing. All my pre-race visualization is shot. Now the brute comes out in me and I think I just need to finish the swim. I can make it up on the bike and run. I get passed what seems like 50 times. AUGH. I cannot believe I suck so badly.

Thankfully I make it to the end and exit the pool. I am thinking, oh well, at least that is over. I scurry along to the transition area. I get to my bike and since I am still angry about the horrible swim, it takes me forever to get going. I just pull my shirt over my head, slip into my shoes, helmet on and forgot that I had a GU in my helmet. After picking it up, I finally start moving. Run out of transition and get to the mount line. After I mount, I try to set my Garmin. No dice. I couldn't get it started and I feel like I am wasting too much time. I again decide to forget it and just go.

The ride was good. I get into a rhythm pretty early. I am motoring along and passing people. I am in aero within the first mile. When I was looking at the information on this ride, it said 14 miles, but the T-shirts said 12 miles. So I wasn't sure which it was. Not that the additional 2 miles meant anything, I just hadn’t thought about it again until I was on the bike.

At about mile 5, I was passed by a female rider. She was doing great and I was thinking she is going to ride off and leave me but then a car pulls out in front of her. It was far enough ahead that she didn't have to hit the brakes hard but enough to break her rhythm. I focus and decide that I am going to ride with her. I pass her and then about a mile later she passed me back. We played leap frog for the rest of the ride. We passed about 10 other riders and we are just moving out. At the end of the ride there were several hills. They helped me to end up ahead of her in the end by about 20 sec. Not much but it was still ahead of her.

I get in and out of transition pretty smoothly and take off on the run. It was a tough run course. So I was trying to be really careful about not burning myself out to early. I feel I am running quick but I am not winded. I know that my heart rate is high but I do not think it’s a problem. I continue to pick off runners. As I pass I shout encouragement. Great job, keep it up.

Turn around was very narrow. When I saw it, I knew that this would break my momentum and I just hoped that I would be able to find my rhythm quickly after the turn. I felt like I did. I was still running with relative easy. I did not think I pushed too hard. At about the 2 mile mark, I passed my biking buddy and we gave each other a high five and keep going. She was doing an outstanding job. I am sure her time was going to be great. Mine on the other hand would be a different story. I finally get to the last turn and pick it up. I still feel like I have plenty in the tank so I pick up the pace and end with smooth strides.

Right after finishing, I see JC he was right there waiting for me. He did a great job videoing the race. He was at all the right spots at the right times. Awesome job by him. For a teen, 14 he was very patience all day. Not antsy or bored with the activities. He seemed very engaged with everything going on around him. I am so proud of him.

Now my race was over and as we were walking to the transition area, we watched people reaching goals they have been training for. All the hours of swimming, running and bike in order to be prepared to do them all on this stage. Crossing that finish line is what makes it all worth it.

I think the highlight of my day was meeting a new friend from Daily Mile - Andrew Brazee.  He had the kind of day I was hoping to have.  He ended up with a 14th place overall finish.  Hoorah, Airborne. 

My time goal going into the day was 1:15. Well I didn't quite make that. Well I wasn't even close to making that this time.

Swim: 8:25
Bike: 47:22
Run: 20.55
Overall: 1:19:25

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Achilles Heel

I have been trying really hard to overcome my swimming shortcomings. I have tried to read articles, tried just going swimming more, and every other conceivable ideas on my own to improve my swimming and it just isn't working. Am I going to be one of those sprint triathlon kings? Never doing an Olympic or Half? Not doing a 5150 or Ironman? Am I really a triathlete if I don’t? Am I going to stay mired in mediocrity.

I am really going to be forced to make some really tough decisions. Hire a coach? Give up? Just work on other things? What do I do? This is my Achilles Heel. Am I going to quit?

I am thinking about hiring a coach but I had a great coach and I just freaking suck. AUGH. I am thinking about just continuing to go swimming. Hard work. Dedication. Just do it. But that hasn't worked in the past. I really need to decide. I had really high aspirations. I know I can do the bike and I know that I can do the running. I do not even have to be a great swimmer, I just have to be able to make the distances. I know, HTFU, I am trying and I have tried. But my frustration is about to a boiling point.

I just read today that a buddy is starting an Ironman training program. I am really happy for him but really sad for me because I know that I could do the same thing. AUGH.