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.