Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another Round of P90X

I started a new round of P90X.  I seriously forgot how annoying Tony Horton can be.  I am going to start just listening to the cues and that's it.  

Yesterday was chest and back along with Ab Ripper X.  While the workout wasn't too taxing Ab Ripper X kicked my butt.  

Today was plyometrics.  Plyo is always fun.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I am back

I am sorry that I have been on hiatus from blogging.  Just not much happening with me.  I haven't been competing lately.  

I am not sure about you but for me competing is something that I live for.  The adrenaline rush, the excitement, the sense of accomplishment are things that I strive for everyday.  

I know that every morning I wake up at 5 and drag my rear to the gym that I am take steps in the right direction.  I know that with every mile I run or ride, I am build that base to one day finish my 140.6 dream.  

It's gonna happen.  Just wait and see.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Half Ironman

I recently signed up for my first half ironman.  I am excited and scared to death about it.

I am sure that the ride and the run shouldn't be a major obstacle but the swim has me on the verge of a panic attack.

In the group of athletes you hear over and over how people have gone from not being able to swim at all to swimming over a mile in less than 6 months.  Well I have been struggling with swimming for more than 3 years.  I have taken lessons, I have put in the time at the pool.  I have listened to tip after tip and tried everything imaginable.

Don't get me wrong, I have improved, considerable.  But not to the point where I feel remotely comfortable swimming this kind of distance.  I have recently began open water swimming.  My goal is to increase my confidence.

I am not giving up.  I will make it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Back to HIM Training

Now that we have completed the Ride to Cure for this year, it's time to get back to HIM training.

My main concern for the next 2 months will be swimming.  I really need to spend more and more time in the water.  Preferably the open water.  We have a couple of groups that swim in a couple of lakes in the area.  So I am have plenty of opportunities.

With that being said, I am struggling with getting to the lakes.  Life has a way of bogging down your schedule and its not easy to do.

Monday, July 16, 2012

JDRF Ride to Cure

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the first JDRF ride of this year in Burlington Vermont.  I was also had the pleasure of coaching the team.

Our first ride on Friday was a coaches.  I was a little nervous.  Riding with the coaches, I figured that we would be riding full out.  I know that as someone who should know better, the night before the ride, I changed my cleats on my shoes.  Unfortunately my bike was in the Bike room so I couldn't check them.  As fate would have it, they didn't work, but we were getting ready to leave so I decided to just suck it up and put just the front cleat in go.  Then we were about to start we hear a loud pop in the bike staging area.  Blow out.  So we waited 10 minutes for the flat change.  

I was struggling with my shoes but I still was ok.  We finally take off and within the first 1/2 mile half mile, another blowout. .  We joked that we were getting all the flats out of the way before the actual ride.  After another 10 minutes we started riding again. We were just through downtown Burlington when yep you guessed it, another flat.  We figured that this ride was doomed at this point.  We were really worried that we would never get really going.

We did get going.  The area in Burlington that we rode was really great.  I was truly a scenic ride.  Well, I really didn't get to admire the scenery too much, we rode pretty fast, although my Garmin didn't translate that too well with all the slowing and stopping.  I was also still fighting with my shoes (love that excuse).

We finished and all vowed to make this part of the weekend going forward.  I immediately found a bike tech and changed out my cleats for the correct ones.  After breakfast was the training/tune up ride with our teams.  This was the first chance I had to ride with two of my team members.  They did great.  It was obvious that they had spent time riding.  Their cardio was great.  They were not use to riding in pacelines but that was ok.  We enjoyed a short 7 mile to a scenic outlook and back.  It was still a great ride.

All bikes check out and we were free to enjoy Burlington for the remainder of the day.  We all decided to relax and enjoy Burlington.

On Saturday we were expecting the temps to be a little higher than normal for Burlington.  It was going to be in the mid 90's by the time that the majority of riders would be finishing so we started hydrating.  It had a feel of being back at Death Valley.

We began lining up at about 6:45 on Saturday morning. You could feel the excitement in the air.  We were truly excited about the ride.  Remembering that this is a ride and not a race, JDRF stationed SAG points at about every 12 - 15 miles.  This out and back would not be too incredibly challenging except for a couple of hills.

I knew my team had various plans.  I had a couple that were going to do 50 and the rest of us were going for the full century.  The ride out to the first rest stop was easy.  We took it easy and then flew down a great down hill (remember out and back).  We arrived at the first rest stop and everyone was really excited.  The group was still together and all was still fresh.

We took off and immediately cross a gorgeous covered bridge.  And of course we needed to stop and take pictures.  We started again.  It was an easy ride.  At mile 23 we observed a mile of silence.  It was tough, the miles of silence fell on the busiest section of the ride.  Also we passed camels and llamas and some of the riders couldn't contain their enthusiasm.

At mile 25 was the second rest stop.  The ride was still going great for everyone.  Two of our riders decided to turn around at this point.  They did a great 25 mile out so I was sure they would do well riding back from this spot.

The three of us remaining took off and enjoyed the ride to Vergennes.  This stop was at mile 36.2. At mile 35 we had to make the most difficult climb.  It was difficult for the grade.  It was an immediate 8 - 12% grade.  It was great.  We all made it.

In Vergennes, they were having a French Heritage festival.  I am sure they were not expecting the influx of riders.  It was still great.  We were in a little park and fortunately we had lots of shade.

We took off from this stop knowing that the next rest stop was the halfway point.  Right after we took off I noticed that one of my riders having a tough time.  After about 2 miles, I decided that it would be better for him to turn around.  Fortunately he turned without a fight.  Jim and I continued on and we picked up a couple of riders and made it to Middlebury in great shape.

At Middlebury, we were on the campus of Middlebury College.  It was a beautiful campus.  We reloaded supplies and headed back.  We took off and the ride back to smooth and beautiful.

Arriving at Rest stop 3 again, and headed out again.  About half way to rest stop 2 we were confronted 2 pit bulls.  Very scary.  They actually came out into the street.  Aggressively barking.  Scared the crap out of me.  Once we arrived at rest stop 2 the next group came in and didn't say anything about the dogs.  Oh well.

Heading back to Rest Stop 1, we were still feeling great but ready to be done.  We were still making great time and the pace wasn't too taxing so we cruised back into the stop.  We also were preparing ourselves mentally for the long climb that previously was a great down hill.  This climb was tough.  I kept reminding everyone to just spin.  Spinning is great mostly but with tired legs and the little resistance, you face cramping. And at the top of the hill I cramped big-time.  Fortunately it was quick. And as quickly as I cramped it went away.

Others walked up the hill.  At this point in the ride there was no shame in walking this hill.  It was tough.  With this hill completed, we knew that basically the ride was completed.

Crossing the finish was very rewarding.  I enjoy the personal achievement but I get more pleasure from helping others make it.

Well that ends the fun part of this blog.  Now for the more serious portion.  While riding 100 miles is great and helping others make the ride is also great, the purpose of this ride is more serious.

We rode to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes (T1D).  A person with T1D is insulin dependent and unfortunately it is a life sentence.  No matter how good the person eats, what kind of shape they are in, how well they manage their stress, they will ALWAYS have this disease.

We are riding to raise money to find a cure.  I know that God is able to do all things.  I know that if its in His Will it will happen soon.  But I also know that we are making great strides in diabetes care.  I know that even though it's not a cure, my prayer is that it makes the rode of highs and lows for a diabetic a little smoother.

For those reading this, I hope you will take a moment to donate.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 4th

Yesterday, I attended the Firecracker 100k.  It was a 100k ride with the Heritage Bike Group.  I also invited Chick from The Second Wind and other friends from Tri-Unify.

We met at Allstar Bike shop at @ 7:30.  We were all excited and anxious to get started.  While standing there we had the opportunity to just watch the diverse crowd. The differences in people.  All getting ready for either a 50 or 100k ride.

This ride took us through a tri-county route.  We went south from Wake County into Harnett County and crossed over into Chatham County back int Wake County.  While the route wasn't too difficult, it had its challenges.

The group did a great job.  We were able to stay together and enjoy the fabulous NC scenery.  Fortunately we all made it without any injuries, mechanical issues or SAG support.  It was a great time.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

Seriously does it get any better.  I am so very blessed.  I am blessed to be in an area that affords me so many different fitness avenue.  Blessed with friends that are encouraging and supportive.  

This weekend I participated with The Second Wind in the Raleigh's Finest 5k.  It was a run to raise money for fallen firefighters in the Raleigh Area.  This is an awesome cause helping some of our bravest in their families times of need.  

The Second Wind is a Christian group that met twice a week for the 12 weeks leading up to the race.  There were runners from all categories participating.  From the couch potato to the seasoned 5k runner.   We were all there to support and encourage each other. We also had younger children running in the 1 mile fun run.  That was also inspirational.  

This weekend was a very warm weekend to say the least.  With temps expected to break the century mark, we all were concerned with hydration and keeping cool.  Fortunately we were blessed with a little cooler temps.  It was only in the mid 90's during the run.  

The run began at one fire station was an out and back to the next fire station.  The start was a little uphill, but very gradual.  It was also shaded.  Actually the first half to three quarters of a mile had plenty of shade. That also assisted with the heat.  

We all arrived at the Fire Station around 7:30.  We were all in our The Second Wind t-shirts and I was very encouraged to be included in the group.  The many first timers so we were there helping to remind them of what to expect.  

At 8:00 the 1 mile fun run began.  We had a couple of kids participate.  They are cute as they are finishing races.  Seeing their faces light up.  Seeing how proud the parents are to witness their kids achieve this goal. 

Before this race, I actually warmed up.  I went for a quick mile run, well not quick but a mile run.  Just loosening up my legs.  The race began at 8:30.  We lined up and took off.  I was expecting this to be a smaller race, with few really fast runners.  Well I was very wrong.  I was about 30th for the first mile and my first mile was about a 6:15.  I was like WOW.  The course/road was very wide so there wasn't any jousting for position.  It was really spread out.  I found a rhythm and decided to ignore the watch and just run.  My goal was to continue trying to pass some of those rabbits who ran out in front.  

At the turnaround, I felt like I had made up some of the ground I lost but I knew that I needed to continue pushing it.  At mile 2, I still felt like I had plenty left in the tank so I tried to speed up a little.  It felt great.  Then seeing The Second Wind participants.  Their smiles and encouragement helped me to continue going.  It was great.  At about the half mile to go mark I saw that I was on pace to break 20 minutes.  I was excited.  That was on my list.  With that in mind I couldn't slow down.  Then I saw this guy just a little in front of me and I decided if I could past him then I would make my goal.

Finally at the finish I was able to past him and my time was 19:42.  A PR in the 5k.  I was so very excited.  It was awesome.  Then I went into cheerleader mode and wanted to encourage the other runners.  It was more exciting to see each person finish.  Everyone would finish and then start cheering. It was very nice.  Coach Jon Parks finished in a PR as well.  He did outstanding.  Coach Chick stopped along the course to run with his daughter.  He was well on his way to a PR as well if he hadn't stopped.  We had three Rubies run the entire course pretty much on their own.  They all did great.  

On Sunday afternoon, I meet up with some friends for my first Open Water Swim.  If you have followed my blog, you know that swimming is my weakest area.  I have been petrified of swimming for so long.  I get anxious just thinking about swimming.  I have been swimming in the pool for about 3 years now.  So I have to step it up.  I want to get to the next level in my triathlon experiences.  I am ready to step up not only in competition but in difficulty of events.  

My goal is to be ready for a half iron this season.  I have committed to doing the Half Full Tri in Columbia Maryland.  But in order to do it, I have to be able to swim in open water.  

I arrived at Beaverdam and was totally SCARED TO DEATH.  My hands were shaking so bad but I put on a brave face.  I am supposed to be a leader.  After the introductions to the group, it was time to actually swim.  We decided to do a shorter distance than the main group.  We were going to swim about 250 across and back.  

I was going to swim with Keith with Missy in the kayak.  Keith is a better swimmer but is also a beginner when it comes to open water swimming.  Ok, time to man up.  I wade out with my security blank (pull buoy) and start swimming.  The goal was to sight every 10 - 15 feet.  Well I am use to pool swimming so I wasn't very good with that.  Also I was supposed to breathe every third stroke, but my practice is every other stroke.  

Well needless to say the first 50 was tough.  I was basically hyperventilating from taking too many breathes.  That caused my heart rate to peg out.  I was exhausted by 100 and totally panicked by 125.  I had to take a break.  Fortunately Missy was right there with me and grabbed on for dear life.  Phew.  I sat there for a few minutes and then started again.  Made it probably about  75 before I was dead again.  Grabbed the kayak and cause my breathe.   This time Keith also held on so I didn't feel like a total moron (j/k). After another couple of seconds I was able to finish the distance.   

I decided that I had done good to swim across and I decided that I would hold on to the kayak as Missy followed Keith back.  A little over halfway back I was able to start swimming again and made it to the end.  

Back on shore was a couple of other waiting along with Sereion from Tri-Unify.  She was just as afraid as I was so we decided just go along the our barrier of the public swimming area.  It was shallow enough to stand and where I couldn't stand I could grab the protective rope.  We made it about a quarter of the way around and decided to turn around.  It was a great start for her. I applaud her trying.  I do not think I would have been able to start at that point in my swimming progression.  She is going to be really ahead if she is able to continue swimming.  

Once Missy returned with the group she was leading, We decided to  go about half way across again and back.  I convinced Keith to only go about a quarter and back, just to be on the safe side.  This time I made it much more easily.  I was more in control of my breathing.  I got into the 3 stroke rhythm and was able to easily make the distance.  No panic, smaller fear and anxiety.  Ready for the next time.  

All in all it was a great experience.  It was a huge boost to my confidence.  Next week I am going to do better.  I am going to practice breathing and sighting at the pool.  

Sorry for the long post I just got a little long winded this time.  


Monday, June 25, 2012

Smile Train

This weekend I participated in the Smile Train Tri in Wake Forest.  This was my first time at this specific location.  I was a little more excited but not over the top. I was still able to sleep.

Was up and moving at 5:00.  Since the race was only about 10 miles from home, I didn't need to rush.  Packed my transition bag, loaded the car and headed out at 5:45.  Arrived at the site and they didn't have the rack numbers  up yet.  This was kinda funny.  People were scurrying around trying to figure out where their racks would be.  In my new attitude of being patience is paying off.  Finally the numbers were put up and I was able to get the rack position I wanted.

I set everything up and went to get my race packet, marking and timing chip.  The packet pick was interesting.  One of the volunteers what a little frantic.  He had too many people in front of him and he was freaking out a little.  It was good. Finally had my packet and shuffled over to get marked.  This went quickly.  The line for timing chips didn't.  It was slower.  But all in all it went quickly.

After putting my numbers in place, Jody walked up.  It was great seeing him.  Was able to relax and talk with him.  Also Keith S and Butch walked by and we talked.  It really helps me to relax to be able to talk to others.  I am able to remove the stress of thinking about racing and think about how great it is to see others out with me.

We enter the pool area and the race started.  Originally we were scheduled to start in 15 sec intervals but FS decided to go in 7 sec intervals.  Those 8 seconds made a big difference.  I was happy with it since it was beginning to get hot.

Finally I was in the water and ready.  Again as I stood there getting ready, the starter was talking to me.  Loved it.  The tension of standing there and waiting for the Go command, just evaporated.  It was like being at the pool and swimming my training laps.  When I got the go, I was able to take off with minimal effort.

My goal was to swim at an easy pace and try to stay to the right.  Setting myself up for each turn.  Well, the person behind caught my by the time we got to 100 yds so I was forced to move to the outside to allow her to pass. When I arrived at the wall she was still there.  So we swam together pretty much the rest of the way.  She would take off and then I would catch her.  This happen a couple of times, but it worked.  No issues.  Again looked at my watch knew I needed to push it on the last 25 to be less than 6 minutes.  Once I was out of the water I didn't want to look, so I just ran on to T-1.

T1 was quick and I was off on the bike. This bike ride went through a neighborhood with roundabouts and speed bumps.  It was interesting.  However it was quick.  I felt like I was passing people at a rapid clip once I made it on the main street.  It was good.  The ride was smooth and felt really fast.  Once I made the turn on to the graded road, I had lots of momentum so the road didn't bother me.  Made the turn and was excited to be heading back.

The ride back was still fast.  This was my first ride that I was not passed at all.  No one even close to me at the end.  Felt awesome.

T2 was also quick.  Threw on my The Second Wind shirt and headed out of T2.  I made the decision to run easy.  No fast pace.  Just a nice run.  This course was hilly and had many turns.  Everytime I thought I was finished with the hills on the way out, there was another hill.   Finally when I saw the turnaround, it was at the bottom of the largest hill.

Good thing I wasn't concerned about my time for this run.  I made the turn and started back.  The back portion of this out and back was good.  It did feel faster.  I was able to easily navigate the hills.  No issues with stamina or fatigue.  The heat wasn't oppressive but now I was dripping sweat (more) and really needed a drink.  

Finally within a half mile of the finish, I picked up my pace.  Still feeling awesome.  Grabbed water and it was warm.  Not happy with that.  Walked around and cooled down.

All in all the race was good.  The course was nice and it was challenging.  We had a great mix of people who were racers and those who were out to have fun.  The venue as a whole was also good.  It was a little cramped.  I think they are going to have to reduce the number of participants next year.  Just not the transition or parking spaces.

My times while not stunning, were actually pretty good for my effort levels.

Swim - 5:58
Bike - 38:23
Run - 21:52
Total - 1:08:04

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday Thoughts

Today has been a great day. I had a great swim this morning.  I felt confident and strong in the pool.  That makes me happy.

With that in mind, I have been thinking about the remainder of my summer.  I am going to be busy with lots of activities for the foreseeable future.  It's really exciting to me.  I really love to compete and that drives me. I ordered a wetsuit last week and I planned to attend an open water swim on Wednesday night.  Unfortunately the suit is too small, so I have to return it and go through the waiting game again.

I am thinking about my upcoming races.  This weekend my race will be in a new location.  This will be my first "new" tri this year.  The course will be tougher than last weekend.  The club house is on a hill.  So I will have to ride down and up and then run down and up.  Sounds great.

As always my eye in on the future.  Looking forward to getting in a lake near you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Three Pigs Tri

On Saturday was back in Smithfield doing the Three Pigs Tri.  My approach this year was a little different that previous years.  My only goal this year was to beat last years time and have a strong swim.  Simple.

This was the site of my first Triathlon.  My first taste of being a multisport athlete.  So this is pretty much a fixture on my race calendar.

Since I have been doing tri's for about three years now, I do not have any problems sleeping before a race.  I do not really get excited until I am at the venue.  So Friday night was pretty routine.  Packed my race bag, visualized the race and was in bed by 11.

Woke up @ 4:45, refreshed and ready to go.  Had a PB&J sandwich and coffee.  Loaded the car and we headed out by 5:15.  Relaxed and ready for a great race.

Arrived at the site @ 6:00 unloaded  the car and headed to transition.  Was first in my section so I took the outside spot to setup.  Double check every thing and went to get marked and my timing chip.  Now the excitement starts to build, but just a little.  Just thinking that its almost race time.

After getting marked and physically ready, I see Jon Parks.  It's great to see another friendly face.  We talk and that helps me slowly relax since I still had more than an hour to my start time.  While talking to Jon, Jody comes up.  We all stand around and talk for a few minutes.  Jon's brother-in-law, whose doing his second tri also comes up and we talk briefly.  At around 7:15 everyone heads off to make finally transition adjustments.  The first racer is scheduled to start at 7:30 and I am excited to see his speed in the pool.

The first swimmer was Marty Gaal (my swim coach).  He was off like a rocket.  I normally watch the early swimmers and marvel at their techniques, but Marty was very smooth.  Fastest time of the day.

I was number 302 so I started more than an hour later than Marty. I am sure he was almost finished before I started.  Once it was my time to get in the water I was totally ready to go.  I have really learned to relax prior to Sprints.  So I was comfortable getting started.  My swim start was good.  I felt go into a rhythm quickly and felt really comfortable with my pace and effort.  I stopped at the wall for more than a couple of seconds only once and that was due to other swimmers.  I was able to pass a couple of swimmers and was passed by a couple.  It was a nice trade-off.

The swim wasn't anywhere near as dreadful as many others.  Before I knew it I was at the last wall and heading out of the pool.  At the last turn I actually looked at my watch and saw that I was at 5:15.  Not great, but not horrible.  My sense of relief that the swim portion was over wasn't as pronounced and normal.

This swim I decided to wear a tri top.  My thought was it would decrease my T1 time.  Worked like a charm.  No trying to get my shirt on.  Gently put down my goggles, slipped on my shoes, while putting on my shades and helmet.  Grabbed my bike and gloves and headed out.  Smooth mount but had problems getting clipped in.  I didn't let it bother me.  I knew once I got started I could make up those couple of seconds.  

Once I turned on Buffalo, I passed 4 riders and felt like I was getting into a good pace.  There was a headwind so I wasn't able to go too fast but I was able to get a smooth cadence and kept my breathing in check.  At about mile 4 I got "chicked".  I was shocked.  She rode past me smoothly and comfortably.  I just shook my head and decided that this isn't going to happen.  Headwind or not.  So I passed her back.  We played leap frog for about 3 more miles.  Then we made a left turn and I left her.  I looked back for a couple of miles and then decided that I was clear.

Made the turn for home and picked up the pace thanks to the tailwind.  Was able to seriously fly without exerting too much energy.  At about mile 10, I was passed by rider 309.  He flew by me and checked out.  There was not catching him.  There wasn't anything I could do except tip my hat and keep riding.  At mile 12 I looked at my watch again and I was at 47 minutes.  I was excited about that.  I started doing the math in my head.  Another 2 miles, 6 minutes and then a 20 minute 5k should put me under 1:10.  I could feel myself relax and speed up.  Made it back to transition and my legs felt strong still.

I really need to work on riding with my feet on top of my shoes.  Was able to get on foot out but not the second.  So my T2 times was a little worse than it should have been.  No worries.  I didn't allow it to fluster me.

Racked my back smoothly, helmet off, running shoes on, grabbed my The Second Wind shirt and took off for the run.  Put on my shirt over my tri top and kept running.  Linda was right at the start of the run course and gave me my hat.  I was all set.  This course was great.  Nicely shaded and flat.  I felt like I should be able to really make up time.

Obviously since this is my strong suit, I felt like I should be able to run a sub 21 minute 5k.  I was never really comfortable this run.  My breathing was off and I felt like I was flopping my steps instead of smoothly turning over.  I was able to maintain a decent pace. Once I made it to the halfway mark, I tried to turn it on, but I just didn't have anything left in the tank.  I didn't slow down, but I didn't speed up either.  Looked at my watch at the 2 mile mark and I was at about 1:04. I wanted to be sub 1:10 but that wasn't in the cards.  I knew that I would not run a 6 minute mile so I just decided to do the best I could.

I didn't have any "help" since I didn't see anyone immediately in front of me to try to catch.  It wasn't until about 1/4 mile for the finish that I spotted someone to race.  I was able to catch one person there and then another in the finish chute.  So I was winded at the finished, which is the way it's supposed to be.

Was happy to see Linda waiting and smiling as I crossed the finished.  I slowly walked around and regained my legs and drank my 2 full bottles of water to re-hydrate.  

Overall the race was very good as normal.  The course was great and the volunteers did an awesome job with assisting.  Love the venue and single lane swimming.  The shaded greenway run was also a huge plus.  This year it was not as hot as previous years which also was a blessing.  I will definitely return next year.

My finishing time was 1:11:43.  Last year my time was 1:14:32.  So I improve my time by better than 3 minutes.  Funny thing I was the 84th finisher both years.  My first year my time was 1:16:04.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Army Birthday 10miler

I must say that I had an awesome weekend.  It was a great way to start a busy June.  

First was the Army Birthday 10miler at Fort Bragg.  This was my first time running at Fort Bragg in 20+ years. Fort Bragg has long claimed to have the best trained and most fit soldiers in US Army.  Airborne soldiers run and run and run.  It was kinda a trademark.  

Race morning.  It was a typical NC morning.  Lower to mid 70's.  We knew it was going to be a hot one.  As I was mentally planning for the race and visualing the race, I decided that I would run "hard". I thought about taking it easy and running with a friend but standing there I decided to go for it.  

I lined up in the 7 min mile corral and was ready to go.  Right before the cannon (gun) went off every one closed in, so we were right at the start line.  It was great.  Once the gun sounded, everyone sprinted off.  The first mile was a complete blur.  I think there was 200+ sub 6:10 milers.  In my head I was thinking that I will never be able to maintain this kind of pace, so I started backing off.  By mile 2 I was still running a 6:20 pace and not really working.  The crowd as normal had thinned and all the sprinters were beginning to fall back.  

By mile 4 I was still running a 6:25 pace and the course was still pretty flat.  Since it was an out and back I felt that was good.  I started seeing the front of the pack returning.  They weren't that far a head of me.  Then Ii started looking for the female runners.  By this time there was only 1 in front of me and she was coming back to me.  Once I passed her, I started clicking off the guys.  At the turnaround I  had plenty left in the tank but in typical Army fashion the turnaround was at about 4 1/2 miles.  Leaving more than half to go.  I made it to the 5 mile mark by 33 minutes.  I started doing the mental calculations in my head.  Hmmmm, if I double what I just did then I would finish in 1:06.  That would not be bad at all.  But then I remember that sprint start and didn't see where I would be able to get another 6:10 mile in the last part of the run, plus remembering that I would have a long uphill climb to finish. Well stop thinking and just run.  

By mile 7 I had a technical problem with my iphone.  It just decided to stop for some reason.  I took it off as I was running and tried to get it going again.  Finally after about 1/4 mile it restarted.  I guess I hit something accidentally.  

At mile 8 I was just about at Longstreet.  Longstreet has a long downhill which leads into a long slow uphill.  I told myself just to cruise down and work my way to the finish.  This race also had people doing a 4 mile walk.  So as I was getting into these last couple of miles we had walkers along the course.  That made it completely interesting for the finish.  I couldn't tell who was a runner who ran out of fuel or a walker just casually finishing. 

So I decided just to continue passing people.  Mile 9 was the beginning of the uphill.  I started the ascent and started concentrating on my breathing.  Almost at the finish, just go.  Once I finally crested the hill and entered the track, I was ecstatic to see the finish line.  Looked at my watch and I was still at around 1:05 which meant I would have a negative split after all.  

Finished strong.  Felt great.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Here is my foray into Three Things Thursdays.

1.  Army 10 miler.  Friday.  This will be my first competitive 10 mile run.  I have several different thoughts about it.  Originally I thought I would just run it as a fun run and hang with a friend.  Then I thought do I really want that to be my PR for a 10 mile run?  I have been thinking about running hard and just trying to place in my age group.  Tough but doable.  I haven't really trained for this distance.  I do not think I have run over 8 miles in 2 months.  Hmmmmm.

2.  Komen 5k.  Saturday. This is totally a fun run for Saturday.  I will be pacing for Bette Carter.  This whole event should be a great time.

3.  Open water swim.  I plan to get into the water this weekend.  I am going to stay in the shallows and only swim enough to say that I did it.  My goal is to swim less than 100 yards.  Baby steps.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Anyone who has read my blogs know that swimming is my toughest discipline.  It scares me to death.  Recently I posted that I was going to try an open water swim class.

A good friend (from another state) reminded me that it would be better to start with a wet suit.  I understand why that was recommended.  Extra buoyancy, a little protection against whatever may be in the water, etc.  But here in NC the water temps are pretty much the same as a pool right now so I am not stressing too much about  that.

My biggest fear is that I can not tread water.  I also cannot back stroke.  My only swim technique is freestyle.  I also have this problem with sinking.  No matter how hard I try I cannot float.  Back to that wet suit thing again.  Not enough buoyancy.

I am not trying to be negative, just stating the obvious, no treading, no floating, will lead to tired arms.  Also and probably just as important, I have never even attempted to swim anything over 50. Meaning I always have been in a pool and had the luxury of walls to rest or stop at.

I know that I have to take the plunge and just do it.  I have to go to a class and be confident that someone will save me if I start to drown from stupidity or over exertion.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday Thoughts

I have noticed that most of my recent blog posts are on Tuesday.  I guess Tuesday is my reflective day.

Today, I am continuing to prepare for my busy June.  Lots of races, both tri's and run races.  I am really excited about them all.

First, I am running in my first 10 miler.  It will be at a local military base and they are not allowing headphones.  It's going to be tough.  This will be my first race at this distance.  I have raced longer but this should be interesting with all the young soldiers pushing me.

Next will be a 5k with one of my "students" at the Komen 5k.  We are going to try and have fun and be competitive.  I am not concerned about my time, just pushing her to do her best.

It's an awesome feeling running with someone who's really excited about getting out there and trying.  It just motivated me even more with my own personal training.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Updating my schedule

As part of my continuing to assess and reassess my progress this year in Tri's I have revamped my schedule for the remainder of the year.

I think my swimming has progressed to the point where I need to further test myself.  Open water here I come (kinda).  I am really fortunate to have a couple of different options for Open Water swimming local to me.  Also a couple of awesome coaches that offer Open Water clinics.

With that being said, I am going to go for it and commit to my first open water tri.  I am leaning toward doing Mission Man.  The only issue is that it will be the week following my century for JDRF in Burlington VT.   I do not see it as a fitness issue but a issue with gearing back up that quickly.

So my new schedule as of today (subject to the boss's approval)

6/8 Army 10 miler - Ft Bragg
6/9 Susan Komen Race for Cure 5k
6/16 Three Pigs Tri
6/24 Smile Train Tri
6/30 Run for Heroes 5k
7/14 JDRF Ride - Burlington
7/21 Misson Man - Open Water
8/12 Tri the Worx
8/26 Ironman Louisville - Volunteer
9/8 Inside Out International - Open Water
10/13 Myrtle Beach Half Iron - Open Water
10/20 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon

Sounds busy.

Ride of Silence

Tonight we number many but ride as one
In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons
With helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The wheels start spinning in the lead pack
But tonight we ride and no one attacks
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering those we held so dear
Tonight's ride is to make others aware
The road is there for all to share
To those not with us or by our side,
May God be your partner on your final ride

- Mike Murgas

The Ride of Silence

DATE: May 16, 2012
TIME: 7:00 pm
WHERE: Hundreds of locations world wide, click HERE to see an location near you
Join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride (max. 12 mph/20 kph) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways.

To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD

On May 16, 2012, at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.

In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed.

The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. There are no sponsors and no registration fees. The ride, which is held during National Bike Month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have been killed or injured.

I am riding, please join me.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Week Wrap-up

My schedule has become really pack and hectic.  I feel like I am running around constantly and I am not talking about on the track.

I have a part time job with a retail store.  I normally do not work there much, just once or twice a week.  Nothing too strenuous.  The store recently announced that it would be closing and was moving into liquidation.  That means everything in the store has been marked down up to 60% off.  Great, for the shoppers, not so great for the employees.  Because we are in liquidation the old scheduling rules no longer apply.  I have been scheduled for 20 hours per week since we started the liquidation.  That means I am working 4 nights.

**Whine Alert** With me working 4 nights a week plus my normal 40 hour job and another 13 hours of training, my body is just worn completely down.  Waking up at 5 and going almost nonstop until 11, wears on you.

Ok enough of that.  Just had to say it.  This will not last much longer than the end of May.  I am just in maintenance mode and waiting until I can get back on track with more training.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday's Thoughts

This season started off in a hurry for me.  With the marathon and 3 sprints already completed this year, I am assessing my direction for the rest of the year.  

I am enjoying my success in the pool.  My swims this season have been great and getting better.  Now to work on open water and speed.  Open water scary and speed is a funny thought to me.  I am working on drill after drill and spending as much time in the pool as I can.  I will get there.  

My cycling speed has really diminished.  I really do not have a good reason for it.  It is truly a direct reflection on the time I spend on the bike.  I have to get back to group rides and then more longer individual rides.  I really miss the groups.  

Running is still by far my strength.  Recently I have even increased my speed.  I think all the base work I did preparing for the marathon has paid off.  My "slow runs" now are averaging around 7:30 - 7:45 min miles.  My speed work is at around 7:00 min miles.  That is great.  Now to maintain that and increase the other areas.  

Time for new goals.  
Swim:  1000 continuous 2:00/100 pace
Bike:  50 miles average 18.5 mph
Run:  Sub 20 min 5k.  

My next tri is Three Pigs on 6/16.  I am planning on getting a Century completed in May and either a 5 or 10k in May as well.  

Monday, April 30, 2012

Riverwood 2012 Race Recap

This race is quickly becoming one of my favorite races.  I love the venue, the pool and the ride.

This race recap will probably be short and sweet, but once I start talking about it, it may expand.  I felt really comfortable leading up to this race.  I was really relaxed and not feeling any stress for this race.  My only goal for this race was to better my time from last year.

As normal, I packed everything the night before so I was ready to leave when I woke up on Saturday morning.  It was a little chilly but nor bad at all.  Mostly comfortable.  Had a half of pb&j and coffee and hit the road.  We arrived at Riverwood at @ 6:15.  Picked up my race packet and timing chip and then body marking.  All really casual.

I went down to the transition area and set everything up.  Still really relaxed.  No worries.  Once everything was setup, I went to find Jon and Chick who were also both doing this race.  They are both coaches/team leaders with the Second Wind.  The Second Wind is a Christian Running and Triathlon ministry.

They were in the Athletic Center along with Paul, Chick's dad.  We were able to chat and people watch as everyone came in.  Jody also was competing and stopped by to say hello.  He was actually starting right behind Chick.

At about 7:45 we decided to get into race mode.  We went and removed our warm ups and mentally prepared to toe the line.  The first racers took off at 8:00.  My start time wasn't until 8:40 so I had plenty of time to watch.

Jon took off at 8:17, Chick at 8:20,  Jody at 8:20:15.  They are excellent swimmers so they took off early.  They swam great times. Around 5:30 times.  Awesome speed. One day I will be there :).  It was awesome to see them do well.

Finally I was in line and moving closer to the pool.  No stress.  I was still really relaxed.  I got in the water and was ready to go.  Once I started, I wanted to concentrate on pacing.  I wanted to ensure that I had plenty to make it.  This pool started at 3 feet and ended at 7 so I needed to be able to swim the entire length.

At the end of the first 50, I caught the person in front of me.  I was so excited.  I swam on and felt great.  Once I reached the 100 mark, the person who started behind me caught up with me.  It was ok, I let her go.  Then I caught back up to her.  But I wasn't fast enough to pass her.  So I tried to draft behind her.  But I kept hitting her foot.  So I got to the wall and let her go ahead.  Then I caught her again.  Finally at the 250 wall, I was able to get back in front of her and stayed there.

The run to transition was a little chilly.  I was colder here than at Granite Falls.  Brrrrr. Transition felt smoother.  I felt like I was able to quickly get my shirt, helmet and sunglasses on and get out of transition.  Once I was on the bike, I was able to think about the swim and felt really good about it.

The bike course started relatively flat so I was able to get started easily.  I passed a couple of people almost right away.  At about mile 5, I was passed like I was standing still.  This guy just breezed right on by me.  He was gone in a flash.

The rest of the ride was good.  I would see someone in front of me and my focus was on passing that person.  Once passed the process started over again, spot someone ahead and try to catch them.  By mile 10, I ran out of people and this was at the worse possible point.  My flat ride turned into rolling hills.  A little tougher and without someone to target, I just coasted along.  I glanced over my shoulder a couple of times just to ensure that no one was catching me.

Along the home stretch, I finally saw other riders and rode like a mad man to catch them. All good.  That helped.  Once I was back at the rec center, I slipped my feet out of my shoes and was able to smoothly dismount.

In and out of T2, easily, quickly.  Started the run.  Saw Linda and gave her a big smile and wave as set off to knock out this 5k.  I felt great.  Really strong.  The run was along a greenway, so I knew that I would make up more time here as well.  The first half of the run was almost totally downhill.  I felt like I was cruising and easily passing other runners.

Since this was an out and back that meant coming back I would be running uphill.  With that in mind, I throttled back on the way out.  I did not want to run out of steam.  I did a good job at maintaining pace for the run and finished strong.

Well that was the good part.   Now for the bad.  My times.  I guess I relaxed too much in the pool, didn't give enough effort on the bike and totally cruised the 5k.

My times were worst in every category from last year except the swim.  Boooo.

                     2011                               2012
Swim             8:25                                7:38
Bike             47:22                              48:32
Run              20:55                              21:22
Overall       1:19:25                          1:19:38

I was 8th out of 13 in my age group and 34th overall.  Yes that was a really tough pill to swallow.  The best part was I felt really engaged for the entire race.  No issues with motivation.  I felt I had my mojo back.  I was mentally into the race the entire time and gave 8 out of 10 effort.

Fortunately I have time now for more swimming and more cycling.  I have to improve my times in both.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday's Thoughts

It is confession time. Last week was another struggle week.  I lost my mojo somewhere.  I keep searching for it and I cannot find it. I went to the pool and swam and swam and swam and couldn't find it.  I went for a run and it wasn't anywhere on the trail or on the road.  I went for a ride.  Still nothing.  

This just going through the motions thing really isn't working for me.  I have plenty of things on the horizon that should be motivating me.  But that desire just isn't quite there.  I am sure that it is conveying in the tone of my blogs.  

Well I have a Tri this weekend.  Another course that I have a score to settle with.  :)  This race normally has a stacked field.  Lots of the better age groupers in the area compete here.  This is the week before the first Half in the area and many use it as a warm up.  I am really excited to compete there.  Its a fun ride and nice run.  Not too hilly but not exactly flat either.  

If this doesn't help me find Mr. Mojo, I am not sure what will.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Granite Falls Tri - 2012

This year's Granite Falls Tri turned out to be a great learning day for me.  I am so happy that I was able to make the race.  It was a busy week.

I recently read Mecca's book "I am here to win" and one comment that he makes is that you need to try and break routines.  Well in my case I need to find a routine.  I am so bad about just waking up and going.  No real pre-race routine.  While that can be helpful when something comes up and your routine is interrupted but to not have a guideline or a formula is just not very smart.

Ok let me just say that I know what I need to do.  I just do it on the fly.  Like for this triathlon, I woke up grabbed a prepackage bacon egg and cheese biscuit, a cup of coffee and out the door I went.  I know not even the breakfast of champions. Even with that, I arrived about an hour earlier than I needed to be.  I always tell myself to relax and go later, but again that lack of planning thing pops up.

Fortunately/Unfortunately, I picked up my packet on Saturday.  My bib number was 4.  What in the world?  IF I start 4th, I would be ran over by about 50 people.  I begged them to move me back.  So I actually started 40th.  Phew, heart attack averted.  The best thing that came from that was the rack for transition.  I was able to rack my bike with the "pro's".  So I was not really worried about them kicking my helmet off my bike or even being there when I was transitioning.

After pacing around the compound for the 1 1/2 until the race started it was finally 8 and we started lining up.  Another great thing happened with the swim, by starting 40th, there was a 1:30 break between me and the next person.  That meant that even if I sucked, this person should not be able to catch me.  That was awesome.  So no pressure on the swim.  Got to the wall to start and when I got the go, I took off calmly and smoothly.  You would have thought I was a pro.  I have to admit my swim was really easy.  I didn't catch the person in front of me and wasn't caught from behind.  I was really able to relax and go.

Once I got out of the water and headed to transition something strange happened.  I lost my drive.  I didn't run to my bike. I actually walked part of the way through transition.  I changed into my shirt and helmet and picked up my sunglasses and gloves and was off.  I mean I took it really casually.  Once I started on the bike, I really expected to get my drive back and to take off. But it never really happened.

That is not to say that I didn't ride well, I just didn't ride fast.  I wasn't admiring the scenery, but I also wasn't breathing hard.  I was passed within the first mile by one guy.  My normal reaction would have been to try to hook on (draft legal) and stay with the guy.  But that reaction just wasn't there.  I just mentally waved him goodbye and keep rolling along.

I passed a couple of riders and I tried to cheer them on.  Then as I made a turn, another rider caught me.  This time my competitive juices did kick in, just a little.  I stayed with him for about 2 miles.  Then again I just allowed him to ride away.

Once I made my turn back into Granite Falls, I still had a ton left in the tank.   I told myself that I would blow it out on the run.  I will catch these two jokers who passed me and show them a thing or two.  I started running and I could feel that I was still energized.

I ran really good.  Not hard, but good. Unfortunately, I still didn't put forth the kind of effort that I expect.  I also got lost in my own head.  I started thinking about the guys who pasted me.  I realized that I had at least a 1:30 head start on them.  That meant that I would have to catch them and leave them by that same distance.

Running and shaking my head, I decided to just run and leave all the mental stuff alone.  I still felt strong and since the race had several turn a rounds, I could see how far ahead or behind I was.  I was passed by 3 guys and actually caught 2 of them and easily pulled away from them.  I continued my normal encouragement of the other runners.

I finished strong.  Had a huge smile on my face.  I knew that this wasn't my best effort but I knew that I hadn't really bombed it either.  After a slow walk to cool down, I started cheering for others as they were finishing.  It was great to see Jody.  He ran a great race.  Met a guy from Fayetteville who has just competed in a tri the precious day.  That is dedication.

All in all, this race was not one that I would highlight on my memories, but it was a great day and an event that I now have to do again to make up for my lackluster performance.

Swim - 300 yrds - 6:53
Bike - 10 miles - 34:20
Run - 5k - 21:34
Total time - 1:04:50

26 out of 121 overall
6 of 11 in my AG.

Actually improved my time from last year by over a minute.  Last year was 1:06:30.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Week/Month Wrap up

Well, March has come and gone.  It was a really good month for me all things considered.

This month accomplish a life goal this month and a birthday on the dame day.  I have now set my next goal and it scares the bejesus out of me.  A half iron.

Before I get ahead of myself lets recap March.  If you have been reading my blog, you know that I was also injured this month.  For a while I thought it would keep me from the marathon, but in the end it worked out.  I completed my first tri of this season.  Again, another milestone, swimming the swim portion (it's sometimes the small things).

The low light of the month comes in my cycling.  I barely broke 100 miles on the road this month.  A truly horrible stat.  I do not even have bad weather as an excuse.  We had awesome weather all month.  I just truly didn't get out as I should have.

I actually took a couple of days off this month.  I was telling someone else how important recovery was and how important it was to follow your schedule and ensure that your schedule includes recovery.  Well I am going to start following my own advise and program a little more downtime.  Quality not quantity.

With that said, I am relaxing some of my workout distances.  No so concerned with get so many miles, but concerned with working on form, cadence, breathing, stretching/warm-up, cool down and nutrition.  Going to try and incorporate more cross training in order to strengthen my core.

One thing that has helped me in my training up until now has been the consistency of my training.  I have a schedule and my body (I think) knows where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing.  I am really comfortable with a regiment, so this change now is going to be a little tough.  I hope to make this as consistent ad my previous regiment.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Recovery Break Over

Well I guess my recovery break is over now.  My legs are finally feeling back to normal.

I ran a couple of times last week but nothing strenuous.  I swam, just because I have to swim.  I really can not explain why I didn't ride.  I guess mentally I was just not thinking about the bike.

Now I am headlong into this tri season.  I am looking forward to Granite Falls.  Another major test of my swimming.  I am again planning to really try hard to swim the entire length under 6 minutes.  I know that is really funny.  That would be around 2 minute 100s.  Well its a goal anyway.  I am not setting myself up for a failure because I know its a stretch goal.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tobacco Road Marathon

Well after a week of thinking and over thinking I finally ran the Tobacco Road Marathon today.  I must say that I am "not a very smart man" to quote Forrest Gump.

When I first thought about running a marathon, my thought was that I would only do it if I could qualify for Boston.  Then I started researching it and discovered that with my 45th birthday my time went from 3:15 to 3:25 I felt like I could do it.  I was also intrigued with running on my birthday.  Kinda  a present to myself.

Tobacco Road is a run at the American Tobacco Trail.  Its a greenway that replaced an old railtrack. Many people think that its flat but in reality it isn't.  OK, enough back story, lets get to the race.

As I said earlier I have been thinking about this race all week. With that being said, I slept pretty good last night.  It was a rainy night and we have some loud thunder booms but all in all I slept pretty good.  I woke to pouring rain.  I knew that it wasn't supposed to last very long so I wasn't really concerned.

Don't I look relaxed?

We arrived at the park at 5:30.  Right on time.  Parked and relaxed.  I was totally in a Zen mood.  Then as often is the case, something came up.  Linda had a problem with her pump.  Her BG was over 400.  Then her pump malfunctioned.  So she couldn't get insulin.  OMG, I am going to have to leave.  I decided that I would go to the medics to see if they could/would give me a needle.  I walked down to the medic tent and there was no medics.  Great.  Walk back to the car and Linda still couldn't get her pump to work.  Again my heart starts racing.  Finally I see an ambulance pulling into the parking lot and get a needle and the day is saved (except for the little run I still have).

By now its 6:30 and I start stretching.  Getting ready for the run.
Surprisingly, I was still very relaxed.

Remembering that my goal was to run a 3:25, decided to run with the 3:15 pace group.  The pace for this group should have been just under 7:30 per mile. I felt that since I normally ran 7:30 miles that I should be ok with this group.

The pace leader was really great.   He was talking and calling out splits the entire way.  "We will be going downhill for the next half mile", "The next mile will be flat".  Very encouraging.  Loved it.  We had a group of about 7 that were hanging together really well.

Well the first 13 miles we coasted.  We were at the half point mark with about a full minute in the bank.  As I think back I remember a coach telling me that in a marathon, you never bank minutes, because they always come back to bite you.

Once we arrived at the mile 14, I really started feeling the pace.  By mile 18, I lost contact with the group.  Then I told myself just to keep them in range.  By mile 19 the second turnaround, they had put about 2 minutes on me. I gave up the thought of catching them.  I was wearing compression on my injured left calf but for some strange reason my right calf started cramping.  Nothing major, but enough that I was looking for gatorade at each water stop.  Not something that I do but I wanted to make it.

At this point I was looking at my watch and looking for mile markers.  I just want to get to the finish line.  Every time I slowed down too much I cramped.  I just didn't have the energy to speed up so I just trying to ensure that the pain was manageable.

Every mile I tried to judge is this uphill or downhill. Any upgrade hurt like the dickens.  But I knew that I had to finish a 10k in less than an hour.  I felt like I could do that even with the pain.  Mile 22 and 23 were both uphill.  When I saw the mile 23 marker, I thinking only a 5k to go, about 30 minutes.

That was the longest 5k I have ever run.  I think every other step I was looking at my watch.  Finally I arrived at mile 25 and I felt that I had enough time to make it.  Then I remembered that I would have an uphill finish.

I am not far away, just down the hill.  But I finished. In time.

Needless to say I was really excited to make it.  The race really challenged me.  I really could have stopped several times but I knew that I needed to get to the finish.

Going into this I didn't think I would run another marathon until competing in an Ironman but after today, and seeing the struggle in those last couple of miles, I have to redeem myself by running another one (TBD).

Sorry this was so long but I am still a little thrilled to have this marked off of my bucket list.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankfully it's Thursday and I only have a couple of days until my birthday.  I am one of those silly people who actually still look forward to birthdays. 

This year I will be 45 and my gift to myself is to do this marathon I have been talking about.  I am so thankful that I am actually able to worry about a finishing time instead of finishing.  I am so thankful that I have the ability to do it unassisted. 

One of the sponsors of this event is the Wounded Warrior Project.  This is something that is near and dear to my heart.  As a former soldier seeing soldiers returning needing assistance breaks my heart.  We owe so much to these men and women for their sacrifices. 

I am thankful that I can do this run without worrying about my blood sugar bottoming out during the race and needing sugar or needing to test. 

I am blessed and truly thankful for the opportunity to compete. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday's thoughts

First and foremost, I think way too much.  Second I am not the best at sharing my thoughts.

Last week I was stressing about a Sprint triathlon.  It's designed to be "easy".  A sprint.  A training day.  I just about gave myself an ulcer thinking about the what ifs.

Now this week I am stressing about the marathon.

It's a bucket list item.
I have a real official time goal.
I will have no excuses.

When you add all those things together, couple with it being my birthday, your sense of expectation grows and grows and grows. Well I am really going to try to forget all those things and go out and get it done.

How is that for an attitude for running a marathon?

Monday, March 12, 2012

SCSS Wrap Up

Well I have competed in my first tri of this year.  There are lots of things to be excited about and also things to work on.  

1.  I actually do have a governor.  I can hold back.  
2.  I actually can swim.  As hard as that is too believe.  
3.  It is easy to slow down too much.  

Here's my race recap.  

This race had a later start.  It started at 9.  I had prepared my transition bag and bike the night before so I was able to sleep later.  Was up around 5:30 and only had coffee.  As I was sitting waiting to leave, I was visualizing the race.  Since I had ran the course before I remembered most of it.  So I could see the turns for the bike and the run.  

My game plan was to take it easy on the swim, step it up on the bike and finish strong on the run.  Let see how did it work. 

Some of the conversations while standing waiting for a TT pool start can be really distracting.  The guy behind who was doing his first tri provided comic relief.  He first was totally impressed with how well everyone was swimming.  He couldn't believe almost everyone was doing flip turns.  Then as we inched closer to starting he decided to pray, out loud.  While I have no problem with communicating with God.  Nor do I have a problem with corporate prayer, but I think in this case it was a little overboard.  Then we were about 4 people from starting and he starting singing out loud.  I had to keep my back to him to keep from laughing out loud.  

Finally I am starting.  My first hundred was really smooth.  I was so happy with myself.  Not winded.  Not rushing.  No one passed me.  I didn't catch anyone but I was ok with that as well.  At the 100 mark, I stopped at the way for a sec and started again.  Again this was pretty smooth and easy.  The finally 50 was a little tougher.  So I slowed my pace and finished feeling good.  

T1 was really slow for some reason.  Just couldn't get it together.  Finally made it out of transition and couldn't get clipped in.  Finally started riding.  Passed several people going out.  I felt I was going good.  My bike computer/odometer decided it didn't want to work so I wasn't able to see how fast or slow I was going.  I  made it to the turn around still feeling great.  This was only a 7 mile course so I didn't anticipate feeling anything.   Coming back I ran into a serious head wind. and it was gusting so my return speed ended up being slower than I wanted.   

T2 also felt slow.  I struggled getting my shoes on. My speed laces were messed up so I just used regular laces.  I had my shoes tied so I thought it would be simple to slip my foot in.  Oh well, that didn't go as planned. Finally in my shoes and heading out of transition.  The run was good.  The start was up hill but that wasn't any thing of concern.  It was just a 2 mile run so I felt very comfortable.  Again I was able to catch and pass lots of people.  The run was very easy with a down hill finish.  I actually took it easy on the run not wanting to push to hard on my calf.  

All in all the race was more training than racing.  It was good because I didn't get passed by anyone in any leg of the race.  It was bad because of poor transitions and below average bike.  I was more than a little angry with myself.  

I ended up finishing 5 of 15 in my age group.  44th overall out of 225.  
Swim - 5:20
Bike - 23:40
Run - 12:55
Total:  44:56

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday's Thoughts

This weekend represents the start of my TRI season this year. I have so many different feelings going into this season.  I think I made significant progress this winter with my swimming.  I know that my running has been taken to a totally different level and cycling while not quite as improved as the other 2, shouldn't be that bad.

When I look at this upcoming season, I have included many of the same races from the last two years and hope to make significant improvements from my previous times.  This weekend I have the Sampson County Super Sprint.  It's a 250 yard swim, 7 mile bike and 2 mile run.

There's a couple of things going on in my head about it
 1 - I was in the top three in my age group last year.
 2 - I am in a different age group this year and my time from last year wouldn't be in the top five in that age group
 3.  My swim time was decent last year even with me walking most of the swim, so should I repeat that kind of effort this year?
 4.  The run which is my strong suit, last year I was I did about a 6:30 pace per mile but I was healthy, 
 should I push it and try  for a repeat or just coast the run and not worry about finishing position with my recent calf issues.  
 5.  I was almost hit on my bike last year on this course so that definitely affected my bike time
 but how much did it affect me?   Will I hesitate this year?  

I know I am probably over thinking and since this is a "C" race, I should just go have fun and not worry about all the other things.  But I do know who I am talking about and when the whistle blows and I toe the line, I always forget which type of race this is and go all out.  

We will see.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Week Recap

Happy Monday.

Last week was a recovery week.  I had two really short runs and bad weather/work caused me to miss my cycling workouts.  My mileage for last week was about 20 miles.  That was my shortest week since the cruise. Really bad.

Monday - 1250 yrd swim.  This was good.  Easy warm up, then an 800 yrd swim with short cool down.  Nice easy swim.  Raining at lunch so no ride.  :(
Tuesday - My longest swim to date.  Nice drills.  Really worked my shoulders.  I am thankful that I have been working on my endurance.  500 warm up.  500 Swim, 400, pull, 300 kick, 200 sw, 100 pull.  200 cool down. Nice ladder.  Felt really good.  Still raining so I did 2 miles on the treadmill.  No fun and I never feel good about my pace on the treadmill.
Wednesday - Forced Recovery day.  Unfortunately it rained again at lunch, so I wasn't able to get out to ride again.  Totally unhappy about losing the day.
Thursday - Speed swim day.  Yeah I still can't believe I am putting speed and swim in the same sentence.  500 warm up, 16 X 50, 200 swim, cool down.
Also had a speed run.  This was pretty interesting.  It was a track workout.  I enjoyed being on the track because I felt like I could control my speed pretty well.  My run consisted of 1 mile warm up, 1 mile fast, 800 recovery and repeat the fast and recovery x 4.  My goal was to run the fast miles at a 6:51 pace.  While that didn't quite happen, I think I was really close.  So all in all I was happy with the effort.  The bad part with this was after the run, I had serious calf tightness.  Iced and elevated all afternoon.
Friday - Quick 2 mile run at the office.  Nothing to really talk about other than it was slow.  No calf issues.  Was also supposed to ride, but thanks to rain no riding.
Saturday - More rain.  Went to the pool and swam 1000 yrd.  Really easy swim.  Felt sluggish however but still was able to get it done.  I set up my bike on the trainer and couldn't get it right.  No matter what I did, the tension was never right.  After a frustrating hour, I gave up.
Sunday - Nice 12 mile run.  Ran without my compression sleeve.  I forgot to put it on (stupid).  I also forgot any type of nutrition.  No GU, no snack before I ran.  A completely stupid run.  Fortunately I was able to muscle through the run without injury or bonking.   Spent the rest of the day with more ice, compression and elevation of leg.

All in all the week was light.  This week will be a little heavier.  It's Monday and I already have to push today's ride.  Will swim today at lunch.  

I have my first tri of the season on Saturday.  I am excited but downplaying my expectations.  I am not going to push too hard on the run. I do not want to hurt my leg doing the 2 mile run.  This will also be a test of my swimming skills.  My plan is to swim the entire distance.  I know too say that I am going to swim the entire 250 yards isn't saying much.  Especially since I have swam that distance every week since Dec.   The only difference is obviously competition.  Knowing that I will go all out and totally forget all that I have learned.  I am going to try really hard to rein myself in and swim easy.  We will let you know how that goes.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts

Today I am feeling really philosophical so please bear with  me.

Today is March 1st and here in NC we are expecting the temp to be between 75 -80 degrees.  Love it.  I will take humidity over snow every day of the week.  The reason I bring up the temp is because I really love calling NC home.

Here I can participate in a sponsored sporting event almost every weekend.  I could do a 5k, a triathlon, a century, a mud run, participate in a cross fit event or just walk outside and go for a run.  There are groups of like minded individuals that I can join for every sport.

Everything within a couple of miles of my front door.  While every street doesn't have sidewalks and some drivers aren't the most considerate, for the most part I can run different routes, places every single day.

Before I started running and cycling, I never really paid attention to bumper stickers.  But now I look at all the 140.6, 70.3, 26.2 and 13.1 stickers.  I can not go anyplace with see them.  I love it.  It means that I am surrounded by people who think like I do.  Who want to improve themselves through various challenges.

It is awesome living here.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Training Week In Review

Last week I must admit was not a good training week.  I am still recovering from my calf and I just didn't want to push it.  It is really hard for someone like me whose almost never injured to recover from injuries.  No patience.  Not willing to see day on the calendar with zeroes.

As I said in other posts I am a serious creature of habit and when I do not have a good workout I feel sluggish and my day isn't complete.  This week, I had a push day.

I am about 4 weeks out from the marathon and the nerves are really beginning to get frayed. I will discuss that later.

Monday - Started my workout week with a great swim.  Yes I said a great swim.  I am feeling so much more confident in the water.  I have devoted a great deal of time to this and I am truly seeing the results of it.  My swim this morning was a 300 Warm up - 800 swim free and 150 cool down.  Took it easy.  Time 37:00

Cycling at lunch.  This ride was tough.  I think I must have chosen the toughest course for my training ride.  It was a 25 mile ride out and back.  While its a fun ride, it is also a tough ride.  I was slow for the ride and finished in 1:31.

Tuesday - Another pretty good swim.  This one was longer.  My longest swim to day.  Started with a 500 warm.  I remember when 500 was all I could do.  This was followed up with 5 X 100s and then 10 X 50 kick.  The kick board isn't a friend so I used flippers to try and help with this.  Still a work in progress.  Finished with a 250 free cool down.

Run at lunch.  I was afraid for this run so I took it easy.  I wasn't sure how I was going react if the pain in my calf made me stop.  But it was good.  I was able to maintain a decent pace all things considered.  Ran 7 miles in 57:01 mins.

Wednesday - 30 miles on a trainer.  Much fun (not).

Thursday - Had a swim lesson.  It was awesome.  I have made serious progress.  Looking at the video from my earlier swims and comparing it to now is great.  I can definitely see how my body position has improved. I am not quite up to endurance swimming but I am getting there.  

After my swim lesson, still had a swim workout scheduled.  It was a 500 warm up, 4 X 200 free and 200 cool down.

I was supposed to have a 7 mile run.  It was raining and I wasn't near a treadmill so I couldn't get this run in.  It really sucked.  I was not happy.

Friday - Six mile run.  I was actually able to run this a little better than my run on Tuesday.  I didn't chose a tough route but I knew that anything would be tough considering.  Was able to maintain a 7:40 pace.  Finished 46:08

Saturday - I am supposed to have a long bike ride on Saturdays but with the promise of rain on Sunday, I decided that I would get my run in today and ride tomorrow on the trainer in necessary.

20 mile Run. Well this run was the pits.  No rhythm, no pace, no fun.  It was slow and painful.  I wanted to quit about 1000 times during the run.  I guess I didn't do myself any favors with the course but still this was miserable.  I was so slow.  I just kept thinking this is going to get better.  I would get into a groove and then things would pick up.  Well it never happened.  Ended up 2:47:51 for a pace of 8:24.

Sunday - 45 miles on a trainer.  Oh my goodness.  I wanted to pull my hair out.  This was dreadful.  Couple of things that went wrong with this ride.  First I couldn't get the trainer setup correctly.  I either had too much tension on the tire or not enough.  So I had to keep stopping to adjust it.  Then I was hot and then cold and hot and cold.  I know I know, I am just complaining because I hate the trainer so much.  But this was not a good time.

If I had to guess a moral to my weekend workouts it would be intestinal fortitude.  Even though I was not very happy with my time or position, I did hang in there and complete the exercises.  I am hoping that this week I will get some speed back in both running and cycling.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Terrific Tuesday

So happy that I have a Valentine to spend today with.  It's tough to be a triathlete without a supportive spouse or significant other.

It's hard to explain how much time we spend swimming, riding and running.  The early mornings, the early nights.  The meal plans and the carb loads.  The odd smells coming from the bathroom.  They put up with so much.

I am not sure about everyone else, but I have to favorite gear.  I am pretty much a creature of habit.  I know what to wear to be warm, comfortable and safe.  I know because I wear the same things over and over again.  And I am a typical male who thinks laundry is a 4 letter word.  But the magical laundry fairy ensures my gear is always ready.

This is just for a "sprinter".  Just imagine how much more challenging it will be once I step up to the next level.  I spend on average 10 hours a week now training.  Imagine that number being 20 hours.  Even earlier morning.  Even more time on the weekend devoted to riding and running.  Makes my head spin just thinking about how she is going to handle it.  lol.

Thank you for all the help and encouragement.  Thanks for being my Valentine.

Monday, February 13, 2012

And Then It Happened (Injury Bug)

Happy Monday everyone.  Well not really a happy Monday for me.  The ugly injury bug bit me hard on Friday.  Let me just preface the story with the fact that I am a big baby when I am hurt.

Friday was a normal easy run day.  It was scheduled to be 8 miles at an easy pace.  Well as soon as I hit the road to start my run, I felt a slight pain in my left calf.  I ignored it thinking that I was just still tight and that the pain would go away.   And mostly it was just a dull throb for the first 3 miles.  Then it started to flex its control.

It felt like a cramp.  So I just did what you normally do when you have a cramp while running.  Run it quickly while still moving.  Well it didn't work.  So I decided that I would take it easy for a couple of blocks.  Well this still didn't help.  In fact it started hurting more.

Now on the verge of panic, I tell myself to just continue slowly.  Not racing so time is not important.  So I finish the run.  By now my calf is screaming bloody murder.  It hurts like crazy.  So I decide to R-I-C-E it.  I immediately get everything together.  I get an ice pack and  ace bandage.  I wrap it and sit there with it elevated for the rest of the afternoon.

It still feels a little tight but I know that I have a 45 mile ride on Saturday.  I caution myself against getting upset.  I say the worst thing that could happen is that I would just have to cancel the weekend workouts.  Well the ride went really well.  No issues.  So now I am thinking that maybe the pain will go away once I start running.  Sunday I had a 16 mile run scheduled.  So again my plan was to just take it easy and go as far as I could.  Well I didn't get very far.  I started to run and the pain immediately returned.

So I went back inside and decided to just take the day off.  Well its Monday now and there is still pain there.  I am not very happy with it but what can you do.  I just have to face the reality of age.  I am not going heal as quickly as before and I just have to accept that.

I have to trust that I have built a solid base and I will be ok.  Tomorrow is a 7 mile run.  I am going to start it on the treadmill and see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Well today was a much better day.  Not feeling as blah today.

Today was a 25 mile ride.  It was cold and misty but I got it in.  the story for today's ride and you know there is always a story, was an older gent riding as well.

For some reason my cycling time has been declining.  Today I averaged about 17.2.  When I look at the course it doesn't seem that daunting but it is totally kicking my butt.  This is the forth time in the past week that I have ridden this course and it's not getting any easier.

Oh well, I will get it.  I am going to continue this route and work it out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dragging Butt

Today my energy level has totally tanked.  I am not sure what's going on but I just want to go somewhere and sleep and sleep and sleep.

I know that over the past couple of days I have put in some hours training and running around and just doing different things but in the grand scheme of things, it hasn't been much more than I would normally do.  I am not sure what the deal is.

Am I getting sick?

Is it just old age?

Bad diet?

I don't know but I seriously have to kick this.  This morning I went to the pool.  Everything felt normal.  I was actually out of the house relatively quickly.  I made it to the pool by 6:15.  I only had to wait a minute for a lane.  Nothing major.  Today was the second straight day of speed work.  Ha, imagine me talking about speed work in the pool.  Well after my warm up, I was spent.  I had zero energy left.  I was bankrupt.  but I had to get my workout in, so I soldiered through it.  I wouldn't want to compare my time with a snail but it was all completed. Every lap and the cool down.

I left the pool and wanted to head home and find my pillow.  Well we all know that that will not happen.

At lunch today, I had an 8 mile run.  Where have all these 8 miles runs come from.  The distance is just so odd.  Also and probably more importantly it is really hard to map from the office.  I finally figured out a course (remember my energy level is still low).  I take off for the run and tell myself to just get it in.  Remember you are building.  That is my new mantra.  So I get the run down and still zero energy.

Now I struggling through the remainder of the afternoon.  And to make things even better, I have a meeting tonight which will probably last until 9 pm. Yeah.  Well at least I get to sleep until 6:30 tomorrow morning.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend Recap

This weekend was really good. Was able to get everything in and also enjoy some down time.  Loved it.

On Saturday, I went for a ride with the Tour De Cure team.  We were riding 50.  It was fun.  I totally miss riding with groups.  I say that after every group ride.  It's amazing how much group riding helps.  We started with a group of about 7 and ended with 4.  The 3 that dropped wanted to ride a shorter distance.  The pace was really good.  these guys are really strong riders.  I was dropped at about the 30 mile mark, but they waited for me to catch up.  The hills on this ride, while not to intense in their grade, just keep moving up.  Then I look at it on the map and you can barely discern the tough climbs.

On Sunday, went for a run.  It was 8 miles.  Unfortunately I hadn't prepared so I had to run around the block at the end in order to make the distance.  The run was ok.  I feel like I really took it easy.  I have been really concentrating on relaxing while I am running.  Just accept the time I am told and not try to push it each mile to ensure that I make a specific pace. This works for the first half.  Then the second half I always pick  it up.

This morning was a swim.  While the swim was good, I am still tense in the pool.  This makes the swimming tougher than it should be.  Still working on that.  Today was speed work.  I do not think you should ever put speed and swimming in the same sentence with me.  It wasn't very fast.  Oh well.  Something else to work on.

For lunch today I went on a 25 mile bike ride.  This has totally sapped my energy.  Right now its a struggle just to stay awake.