Thursday, August 1, 2013

25 Days until Louisville

I know that it has been a while since I last posted a blog.  No good reason for my lack of posting.  Just haven't taken the time to put pen to paper or fingers to keys.  

I haven't posted since April so let's recap what's happened.  After getting over my Achilles strain, I have been slower than normal.  Almost a full minute per mile slower.  I am stumped at the cause of my slower pace.  But I am not going to complain about it.  There are too many others who would love to have this pace.  

In May, I signed up for my first OWS race.  It was at the Jordan Lake, the site of Ironman Raleigh 70.3.  Going into the swim, I felt pretty good.  It was just supposed to be a practice.  No pressure.  No worry about speed. It was also a wet suit swim.  So no worries, right?  Wrong. It was supposed to be a 1.2 mile swim.  I waded into the water and had a serious panic attack.  Never even started.  Turned around and got out of the water with my tail between my legs.  Sad, sad, sad.  

In June, I had Ironman Raleigh.  After the fiasco of the OWS, I was really nervous about the Ironman.  This was a race.  This was a big step up.  Arrived at the park, the same place as the open water swim.  The same start line.  It was June in NC and we didn't expect this race to wet suit legal but were pleasantly surprised to find out it was legal and fortunately I had my suit.  This time I actually made the swim start.  After several moments of panic, I was able to get going.  Stopping to visit many kayaks along the course, I was able to finish the swim.  Unfortunately some where along the way, I lost my timing chip so, I do not have an official time.  :(  I finished the bike and the run but without a timing chip, nothing was official.  Happy day. 

On July 1, I joined with Hope on 2 Wheels for a ride from Camp Joslin, Oxford, MA to Camp Nejeda, Stillwater Township, NJ.  It was 216 miles. This ride was to raise awareness of T1D.  Overall it was both an awesome day and dreadful day.  It rained all day.  At times we thought we were going to see Noah and the Ark.  We broke up into 3 groups and did the 216 miles in a relay.  Each leg was about 20 miles. There were some serious climbs and almost no flats.  I felt like I was riding in the Tour.  We had every category climb.  At the end of the day, we ended at Camp Nejeda and the welcome received from the older kids made it all worth it.  

Now here we are Aug 1st and Louisville will be in another 3 1/2 weeks.  I am both excited and completely scared out of my mind thinking about it.  I am going to take the Ironman in bite sized  chunks.  Get through the swim and then worry about the bike.  Get through the bike and then worry about the run.  Keying on drinking and eating on the bike.  And drinking on the run.  I have been working on drinking on the bike and have come a long way with it.  I have also been working on running with a water bottle. Also made huge strides with feeling comfortable.  Now I just have to put it all together.  

I am going to try and document how I am feeling over the next 3 weeks and then after Louisville.  No more 4 month hiatuses.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Injury bug

Well I have been bitten royally by the injury bug.

The week following the Tobacco Road Marathon, I was out for a little run.  Nothing too intense, just getting back out there.  With about 2 miles to go in a short 6 mile run, I notice a pain in my left Achilles.  I thought it was just a twinge so I slowed down and finished my run.  Nothing major.  That night I had an event and was on my feet all night.  Not able to rest or treat it.  The next morning pain was intense and I could not really put any weight on my foot and again, I had another function that required me to walk around.

This was last Wednesday.  I thought I would take a couple of days off, R-I-C-E it and then get started.  Well as the week ended and my gait was ok, I thought I was safe.  Sunday afternoon, I go out for a run.  I tell myself to take it easy the first couple of miles just to ensure that everything was good.  I make it two miles and the pain once again kicks in.  Full blast.  So bad that I had to stop.  I actually had to call my wife to pick me up.  Talk about being bummed out.

But I am an optimist.  I think this is just going to help me with the other disciplines.  Lord knows I need to work on my swim and cycling so for now that is what I am going to focus on.  I think the extra time in the pool will definitely help.  I know that the extra time on the bike will help.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tobacco Road Marathon Recap

Well this was my second time running this course and to say that I had high expectations would be a definitely understatement.

Before I start sounding like the spoiled brat that I am, let me tell you about the race.

Woke up around 5:00 and had my normal breakfast PB&J.  I was rested and ready for the race.  No really issue.  Linda and I left to pick up her niece who was also running the race with me.  She was staying a little closer to the race site.  It was nice to have her along.

We arrived on site at around 6:00, so I had plenty of time to stretch and get ready.   Bathroom break, then off to the start line.  The start of the race was really different than in previous years.  The start line was pushed down a little and people were congregating well back from the start line.  I worked through the some of the groups and started looking for the "my" pace group.  As per my norm, I was going to try and run with the 3:15 pacer.  Well guess what, no 3:15 pace group.  So my original plan of just zoning out and running went out the window.  Now I would have to pay more attention to my pace.

I had my Garmin and music, so I felt that I would be okay.  I said my prayer and started trying to get relaxed and ready to run.  Cleared my head and listened for the race start.  As with all races people upfront take off like they were shot out of a cannon.  Then you have to people upfront who are not in a hurry to get anywhere.  So I spent the first 1/2 mile just weaving through the crowd trying to find open space.

I ended up running the first mile at a 7:05 pace.  Whoa, way too fast.  This is a marathon.  Mile 2 was still really quick since it was mostly downhill.  7:10.  By mile 3, I was able to get into a rhythm.  Slowed to about a 7:15 pace and decided to try to stay there.  It was good.  I was comfortable, it was open pavement and all was great.

Then about half way through mile 4, my laces came undone.  I looked down and saw that my shoe wasn't really moving around so I was going to just run unlaced.  Then I started worrying about it.  Lost my rhythm.  So I stopped and tied it as quickly as I could.  And took off again.

Started talking to myself at this point.  "It's ok."  "Not a big deal".  "Didn't lose too much time."  Breathe.  Concentrate on mechanics.  Relax.

Then I started feeling better.  Running easy.  The next 10 miles just clicked off.  No worries.  Easy running.  On pace.  In rhythm.  I was running with a smile.  I am sure some of the volunteers were surprised at my smile.  Even though I was running easy, I was still mindful of my pace.  I tried to keep it right at 7:20.  There were a couple of times when other runners would run with me and I could feel them speeding up and I had to fight the urge to continue to run with them.

By mile 18 I was still good.  I felt like I had done a good job with my pace and everything was good.  By mile 20, I realized I was going back up an incline and my legs started yelling.  I could feel myself slowing down. Looked at my watch and I was running around a 7:45.  And I couldn't speed up.  I decided that maybe I needed a cup of water.  So I actually stopped at and drank water.

That helped.  I think the next 2 miles were back on pace.  I felt much better.  Then mile 23 I started struggling again.  So I felt like, hey it worked once, let's do it again.  So I did.  I walked through a water stop and then started again.

Didn't quite speed back up but still felt much better than before.  Once I was back on the street, I felt like I was able to get back into a rhythm.  Felt like my turn over was better.  I finished feeling much stronger than I did in previous races.  No cramps. That doesn't mean I didn't have twinges, just no real cramping.

My finishing time was 3:21:54.  While it was a PR by about 30 seconds, I felt like it was a much better race than that.  I was on pace for a 3:15 up to mile 20. Again I feel like I fell apart at that point.  Before my next marathon, I am going to have to force myself to do more 20+ mile runs.

Like I said at the beginning I know I sound like a brat not  being happy with a 3:22 marathon.  But when I look at my training, I know that I can do better.

I totally appreciate Linda again, soldiering out to the park and just hanging around for the 3+ hours waiting for me to finish.  It was nice seeing her as I finished.  Loved the welcome. I know how bored I get so I am not sure how she does it.  Fortunately this year it wasn't as cold so hopefully it wasn't too bad.

I finished 59th overall.  Net time:  3:18:18  Finish time:  3:21:54. 6th in my age group.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


This morning I want to ramble a little about training and training plans.  Most runners and triathletes that I know follow training plans leading up to their events.
I am such a stickler for a "plan" that I even have a plan for off seasons.  I am totally fixated on my training plan.  I do not like ever finishing a mile short or mile over my plan.  So much so that if I am running with someone else and they want to go for a shorter distance, I run my scheduled run/ride and then go back out to run with them.

Speaking of training partners.  I am finding that it is becoming more and more important that I have training partners.  Not because of the need to be social but for the push.  It's so easy for me to get out and just run alone.  My mind just blanks and I just pound out the miles.

However when I do that, I am running at "race pace".  Every run becomes a timed event and I am concerned with hitting a per minute mile pace.  I am looking to finish within a certain time limit.  Not working on mechanics.  Not thinking about breathing and cadence.  Just go hard, go long, go fast.

The same on the bike.  I have to remember there are other things I need to consider than time.  Pacing, nutrition, support.  Normally when I am cycling, just like running, I just go out and hammer out the miles.  But with cycling, you can't do that.

You have to remember to drink, to eat, to spin going up hill.  To allow gravity to pull you down hill.  Staying in aero even when you do not feel like it.  I know going into an ironman or half ironman, that I will just try to sprint the entire distance and I am sure I will burn myself out within the first 20 miles and have nothing left in the tank.  So I really need to remember that Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect".  Sorry but Mr Lombardi is right.

Any triathlete will tell you, in their mind they are doing everything correct, until they look at themselves on video or receive a critique from a coach, training partner.  Then we refocus concentrate on the little details and improve.

I know that because of the volume and intensity of my training plan, I will spend lots of time training alone.  But I really need to make a more conscience effort to schedule weekend training around times I can have a partner.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I know that I have posted about this before but it bears repeating.  I just can't master swimming.

I am extremely frustrated with my progress.  Well at least I am progressing so that is a bonus.  I have had two great coaches.  Read tons of books and spent hours in the pool.  I have tried every method of swimming known to man and still I am crawling along.

Recently I think I turned a corner and graduated from toddler to pre-teen, no wait, I have seen small kids that would swim laps around me.  I am getting there.  I have 2 months until my first open water tri. Yes I am going from barely swimming 350 without stopping to 1500 in just a couple of months.

Like I said earlier, I know that I have said all this before, but I am just venting.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Week Recap

This weekend was my first long run since Disney.  Well I was supposed to do 16 last weekend but a route snafu ended the run at 13.3.  This weekend with a little better planning I did my complete 18 mile run.  Love it.  Felt so much better than the 13.3 miles last weekend.  Not sure what I did differently.  The course was actually harder this week than last and it was definitely colder.

I went for a 25 mile ride yesterday.  Also felt great.  Lots of energy.  Unfortunately there was lots of wind so my time wasn't as good as I felt on the bike.

I attended a Multisport Expo this weekend and from talking to a coach about nutrition.  This is going to be a major point of emphasis going into this tri season.  Eating properly and then fueling properly during and after workouts.

There's no magic bullet is the message I received loud and clear.  What's good or what works for some may not work as good for me.  I will be doing lots of trials in the next couple of months.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Half Iron Training

First today's blog is going to be broken into two totally different subjects.  Triathlons and Running.  

This Monday, Jan 28, I started my half iron training program.  I have been doing a variation of this training program for about a year so I am familiar with the schedule.  The difference now will be the intensity.  My goal is to not only to improve my endurance, but to also improve my speed.  

I plan to incorporate more speed drills and tempo runs/ride/swims.  This is going to be fun.  As always when I go into a new season, I plan out my races and then work backwards from there.  This year, I have actually rated A races.  I have incorporated a couple of sprint tri's as B/C races just to work on transitions and to keep my focus.  

An 18 week training plan can tend to get a little monotonous, but with less intense races scattered, I think I will be able to make it.  I love racing.  

Now about Running.  I have a love/hate relationship with running.  For me running has always been easy.  I can quickly zone out while running.  I never really worked on it.  

I am currently reading "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.  This book is mostly about ultramarathons and ultra racing.  While I have run a couple of marathons and I enjoyed the challenge, I have not been bitten by the ultra bug.  While some would consider an Ironman an ultra event, I don't.  Not yet anyway.  

While I am finding some of the book very interesting and good, other parts seem to be dragging on.  Way too much background on each person.  I am struggling to finish it.  More on this once I actually finish it.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Morning

Good morning.  I am one of those weird people who do not really mind Monday mornings.  There are very few things in life that I really dread .  

Last week I took a recovery week and finally went for a run on Friday.  It was great.  I took the weekend off just because it was busy and I had a list of chores a mile long.  Today, I am back at it full force.  I have a 7 mile run at lunch.  It's going to be interesting to see how my legs feel.  To see if I can maintain my normal pace for the entire run. 

I will let you know how it goes. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Finally Friday

So this is what it's like to take time off.  This week has been really different.

After racing on Sunday, I was really sore and stiff the earlier part of the week so I decided to rest and recover.  No real workouts all week.  I have to say that I am dying.  I have way too much energy and I am dying to get out and run.  

I was able to spin a couple of days but I didn't really spin enough to count it as a workout.  I just wanted to loosen my legs.  It feels like it worked.  As a final wrap on my Disney race, I want to say that I really want to go back.  I feel like this course is great and I also think I can definitely PR the distance there.  I am hoping that I will be able to do the Goofy in 2014.  

Now I am looking forward to my next race.  Tobacco Road on March 17.  I really love this course and am excited to race.  I still feel like I can do much better, so I am going to train even harder and work harder on my long runs to ensure that I do not die at mile 18 again.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Disney Recap

As you know this past weekend I ran the Disney Marathon.  This was great race and I encourage everyone that can to attend a race weekend there. 

Ok, I know you want more details so here goes.  I will try to not ramble too much. 

When I decided to do Disney, it was at first to run with my friend Chick.  He has been an awesome advocate for my running and triathlons.  He was planning on going alone, going just too run and come back.  Since we are doing many of the same events this year, I decided that I would go with him and run as well.  

I started training for this in October.  Running 4 days a week.  Doing speed and tempo work.  My long day was Saturday.  Saturdays were supposed to be the days where I built up my distance.  Getting my body use to running 20 miles.  Over the course of my training, I had five 20 mile runs built in.  Out of those 5 only 2 happened.  

As many of you know, I am totally stubborn and I think I can basically walk on water.  So I didn't allow that to deter me.  I felt like I had a base sufficient enough to get me through this marathon.  Not only to get me through but to also have a Boston Qualifying effort.  

We left for Disney on Saturday morning.  Everything was great.  The weather was awesome.  It was mid 70's leaving NC and low 80's in Orlando.  I love warm weather so I thought this was just perfect.  We arrived at Disney, checked in and then went over to the expo. This expo was like nothing I have ever seen.  Everything and anything that a runner could want was there.  It was like information overload.  

As Chick and I walked around we were just amazed with everything.  It was great.  We picked up our race packets and race bags and continued to browse.  After about an hour of walking around, we decide to head back and just relax.

We were staying at Old Key West Resort.  We stayed there because it was within walking distance to the start line.  This was a huge advantage.  It meant that instead of having to get up at 3, catch a bus and walk a mile to the start line, we could sleep in until 4 and then just walk over.  Perfect.  

We woke up at around 3:50 and decided to go ahead and get moving.  I had my kinda normal pb&j sandwich before the race and a cup of coffee.  Trying to keep everything normal.  At 4:30 we walk over to the start corral.  Walking to the corrals and seeing all the people was really really intimidating. I was in the A corral which was the second to start.  Chick was a little behind me in the C corral.  We wish each other luck and went to our corrals. 

My race plan was pretty simple.  Find the 3:15 pacer and just hang on.  Just mindlessly follow him and not worry about pacing myself.  Knowing that he would get me there in the time I wanted.  I think there were about 30 others who had the same idea.  We were all congregated together.  One big happy group.  

Finally its start time.  Mickey, Donald and Goofy does the count down and then fireworks get us started and all form and fashion breakdown.  You would think that being in the A corral with runners who have all finished marathons in less that 3:50, you would be with people who knew how to stay in running lanes and not move all over the FOUR lanes of road.  

We ended up running the first mile in a little under an 8 minutes.  Bad start.  The pacer ended up having to work his way through slower runner, causing his group have to follow suit.  With that being said, I didn't get into any kind of rhythm.  This wasn't the way I wanted to start my race.  

My mile 3, we were finally on track pace wise and some of the jostling for road space was over.  We were able to get into a running groove.  Then I felt my stomach getting a little queasy.  In my head, I thought it was just nerves.  The anticipation of the race and then the start was causing my stomach to be a little upset.  Well by mile 6 the queasy feeling started to become an all out rumble.  By mile 10, I had to stop.  If you know me, stopping during any runs not less a race isn't something I normally would do.  

After my quick port-a-potty break, I was feeling better.  I knew I would not catch back up with the 3:15 pacer so I decided to just run easy and do my own pacing. Not a big deal, all things considered.  By mile 13, I started cramping.  My calves and quads began to totally knot up.  Again, I start talking to myself.  This will be ok.  Just give a couple of miles.  By mile 15, I can not keep going.  I decide to stop and drink a complete cup of Powerade.  In fact I drank 2 cups.  Just for the record, I had been drinking some earlier, just not walking with it.  So I was just basically getting a splash each time.  But I knew that I needed more than just a splash.  

Well this didn't really help.  I was behind the curve at this point.  So I decide to keep going.  Not worrying about anything more than just one mile at a time, one aid station at a time.  Drinking water and Powerade.  

With my race plan out the window, I decide to just relax, run as much as I can but not worry about time or anything else.  I decided to stop when I needed to.  Just make it to the finish. By mile 22 the 3:25 pacer caught up with me.  Which was encouraging.  It meant that I wasn't too totally out of it.  Just 10 minutes off pace.  I decide to try and stay with him.  Well I was able to stay with him until about mile 23 and had to walk again.  

Now I am telling myself, just a 5k to go.  Even if I walk I would be ok.  Just finish.  So I gut it out the last 3.2 miles and finish with a time of 3:30:09.  

Ok, so to be completely honest I was completely angry, frustrated and entirely pissed at myself.  For about an hour.  I was sullen and down.  I felt pathetic.  Seriously.  I trudge over to the resort, shower and head back and I hear that Chick was having some issues during the race as well.  That helped me stop being the BRAT that I am and start focusing on him.  I keep trying to find him.  

Once I took the focus off myself and looked at the bigger picture, I felt better.  Chick, with runner's knee and cramping finished in 5:45 and was happy. 

In the end I finished 452 out of more than 20,000.  Today, I am happy with my race.  The spectator support was incredible.  The heat and humidity was more than expected and more than I prepared for.  With that said, I WILL definitely go back.  Now it's a must.  Not only for the marathon, but also for the half marathon the day before.  It's called the Goofy Challenge.  That is definitely in my not so distant future.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 Update

Hello everyone, I am back.  Sorry for the hiatus from blogging but truthfully I haven't been very active in any real sense.

My last post was another round of P90X.  Well I stopped in week 3.  It was "screwing" up my other workout and I felt they were more important.  I promised myself that I will continue to do some lifting and core work, just not the regimented P90X schedule.

I have been able to mostly keep up with that.  I have spent lots of time in the pool but also lost of time running.  I am getting ready to compete in the Disney Marathon.  This is a huge deal for me.  I am a huge Disney fan and I am totally looking forward to running through all the parks.  I am also looking forward to running with about 25,000 people.  WOW, I know.  That is  a lot of people.  At first I was concerned about getting trampled at the start but my friend Chick, assured me that I would be ok.

As you know I ran my first marathon last March.  I ran a 3:22 something.  My goal for this marathon is 3:20.  I know it's not much of a decrease from my first marathon and this course is going to be flat.  Well after talking to mentor, I found that my running did not include a sufficient amount of long run, so I am going to listen to his advise and go for a 3:20.  I am growing, how about that.

Know that this is the first blog of a new year and it's customary to list goals and resolutions.  So here are a few of mine.

1.  Complete Ironman Louisville before dark.
2.  Complete Ironman Raleigh in 6 hours.
3.  Compete in an double century ride.
4.  Ride at JDRF Nashville and Death Valley
5.  Become a running mentor and work on becoming a coach.

That's it for athletic / fitness goals.  I am sure I am forgetting something really important.  It will come to me later.