Thursday, November 5, 2015

2016 Schedule

I am sitting here at my spending way too much time thinking about my race schedule for 2016.

I have already committed to Ironman Chattanooga and now I am trying to plan a schedule that will help me best prepare for that race.  

With that in mind I know that I need to spend as much time in the open water as possible.  I also know that I will not be able to do that until at least April.  The first large open water race is also in April.  Where do these people train in NC for an April open water swim.  I know that the water temp will probably be in the mid 60s.  That is just crazy, wetsuit or not.  

This offseason or between now and March, my goal is to swim at least 3 times a week and to try and improve my swim speed.  I know that this is a  tall order because just swimming will not always do it and I HATE drills.  I am debating about participating in a Master's swim group but I can only freestyle swim.  I know that I need to work on other strokes but is now the time for that?  Or is now the best time.
But there is so much more to deciding a schedule for me.  I know that I am going to need to decide on a Spring Marathon and a fall Marathon.  I also know that I want to participate in a number of sprint.  My goal will be to make the majority of my sprints OWS. Like I said earlier, that is going to be the key to me getting more comfortable in the water.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

City of Oaks Marathon

Yesterday I ran my 4th full marathon, City of Oaks Marathon.  This was another local race held here in Raleigh.  This course is a beautiful course going from the campus of NC State University through the downtown area out to Meredith College and down a beautiful greenway.  Sounds wonderful, right?


For whatever reason I was stressing this race.  For the first time in forever, not only could I not sleep before a race, but I also was having nightmare about it when I was able to sleep.  I was unusually uptight about it.

Woke up at 5:30 and had my normal PB&J with coffee and headed out to the race.  About 3 miles from home I realized that I left my Garmin.  OMG.  I am kinda weird about turning around and going back home.  I think it's because my grandmother was superstitious and it rubbed off on me.  But unless it's a dire emergency, I wouldn't do it.  The thought of running a marathon without a my Garmin made me pause.  So I turned around and went back home.  

Pick up my Garmin and head back out.  I get to the parking lot and couldn't remember which parking lot was the best for walking to the start line.  I eventually find a spot and set off to find the group at the Bell tower.

Previously whenever I was racing, I was the lone ranger before races.  I would go, find a spot and just wait for the start.  Now that I am part of BMR, we met before and took pictures and really encouraged each other to have a good race.  This really helped me because I was a ball of nerves especially after the whole Garmin thing.

Finally, I go to the start chute.  Here is another point where my nerves normally get the best of me.  However seeing the others around, knowing that they were in the same boat, help me to relax and just get ready to go.

It's is go time and we are off.  My goal was to maintain a pretty consistent 7:25 pace.  This would help me to conserve energy for the finishing hills. Well once the gun went off, I was pulled out much faster. My first mile was 6:56.  My second mile was 7:04.  I was just shaking my head and trying to slow it down.

Well the first 5 - 6 miles were all really quick.  We were through the downtown area in a flash and heading up Glenwood.  My perception on the elevation was that downtown would be flat.  Well it wasn't as flat as I imagined.  There were more climbs than anticipated but nothing major.  It was all good (in my head).

I was cruising along still clipping off 7:10-7:20 miles and feeling great.  Going out of Meredith and on House Creek going out was all good.  I was excited at the turn around knowing that I was ahead of my planned pace and time and was still feeling great.

Then everything went to pot.  On the first hill on House Creek, my right leg from the knee down, cramped up.  I thought I was going to be able to power though it.  Every step became torture.  The cramp went from my knee all the way to my toes.  I wasn't going anywhere.  So I started walking.

Finally it went away and I started running again.  Then I hit another hill and another cramp.  Mre walking.  Finally at the next water stop, I grabbed water and gatorade.  Took off again and said to myself I can make this.  WRONG.  Over the next 2 miles I was more of the same.  Run a couple of steps and more walking because of cramps.  I was hurting everywhere now.  My head was spinning because I could not believe this was happening.

Finally I was back at Hillsborough and I was telling myself to finish strong.  Well my body and my head weren't on the same page.  My cramps became more intense and I was slowing down instead of being able to pick it up.  Well I wasn't going to stop.  I keep moving and finally was able to run through the finish.

Final time was 3:21:38.  Looking back at my last 6 miles and I see that I must have banked a lot of time because after all the cramping and walking I still was able to BQ.  I am so thankful to the BMR crew for the encouragement.  Lots of lessons learned from this race.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Last week was a really good week.  Enjoyed a nice vacation in lovely Denver, CO.

I love the scenery in Colo.  The mountains in the background makes for amazing sunrises and sunsets.   Unfortunately the first two days I was there we had steady rain.  It was completely miserable.

I had just left NC where we had 12 straight days of rain is it finally sunny.   But it was vacation and I was visiting my grandson so I will not complain anymore (right now).

Since I am just over a week away from my first marathon in 3 years, I had to continue to run while I was out there.  The first day it was pouring, so I had to find a gym.  Fortunately I am a member of a gym that's a national chain and they had a nice facility in South Denver.  It was a great place for my run.  Only 7 on the dreadmill.

Day 2, I had just 5 miles so I woke up early and found it was only slightly misting so I went ahead and ran out side.  It was great other than the puddles.  I thought since Denver had so much snow, they would have better drainage.  They do however have bike lanes on almost every street so I was able to avoid the sidewalk ponds.

Day 3 was just a 4 mile run.  Once again only a mist so it was back outside.  I decided to run around a park.  It was nice.  No issues.  No puddles.  Easy run.

Day 4 was a long run.  12 miles.  Fortunately the sun was out and I was loving it.  Like I said earlier, Denver has great bike lanes so I was able to run mostly in bike lanes.  I did run into a running snob.  I do not like to run on the sidewalk.  It really hurts my knees.  So wherever possible, I run on grass, dirt or the street avoiding sidwalks.  Well this hero yells at me while I am running to run on the sidewalk.  I just smile and kept going.  For there it was smooth sailing.  I only thought I was lost once.

All in all the altitude didn't had as big an effect on me as I thought.  My times were pretty comparable to normal times.

Back home now and the marathon is just 5 days away.  My heart is pounding just thinking about it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2016 Ironman

Well after watching Ironman coverage this past weekend and having the serious FOMO moment, I think I have decided to do an Ironman in 2016.

After taking most of 2014 off and changing jobs, I think I can get to the fitness level required for another attempt at an Ironman.

My biggest challenge as you know if you have read my blog posts is the swim.  While it has improved tremendously, my confidence levels haven't.  I haven't been in open water since swimming in the Ohio River Aug, 2013.

I have narrowed my choices of events down to either Ironman Chattanooga or Louisville again.  I know that Louisville and I have unfinished business but I think I need the confidence of completing another course.

Well I wasn't completely accurate when I said the tough part.  That actually comes now when I tell my wife.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Weekend Long Run

This weekend's long run was a 22 mile run that was a store to store out and back.   It was a tough run.
We gathered at the store at 8:00 am.  While listening to the pre race announcements, expecting to get the route was informed that we would be given a scavenger hunt like route at each water stop.

I was like WTF?  Seriously?  Well I decided to make the best of it and just go.  The course itself had the best of all running surfaces.  We ran some on the greenway, then through Umstead on crushed gravel and the road.

A couple of things about this.  1.  The people at the water stops weren't prepared to give the clues/route  to people who didn't want water.  2.  For a 10 mile out and back you should have more than just 2 water stops and 3.  You should have them both ways.  I understand that you had shuttle service to take runners back tot he start point for the other stores.  I understand that this was more about promotion of the stores than about the actual run but come on.  Give us who are training and using this as a long run a break.

We enough about the organizers and about my run.  At first I was thinking I was going to make this a really easy run.  Slower pace and just move along.  But then as I started running I remember that I needed to be back in 3 hours.  yikes.  So I sped up.  The course was challenging,  Lots of ups and downs.

It was insane.  My pacing was totally off.  I was up and down.  Fortunately I was still able to finish my 22 miles in time but geez it was hard work.

This was also my last long run before my marathon.  I am still hitting the 20 mile wall and seriously suffering.  My next training cycle will definitely include more 20+ mile runs.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Early mornings

I am wrapping up my marathon training and I have had to do long weekday runs.  In the past I was able to get these runs done either at lunch or after work.

With the early onset of darkness, I have had to do long runs early in the morning.  While normally early runs are fine and I do not mind getting up at 6 am, but when you live an hour away from work, you can't get an 12 mile run done.

Yesterday getting up at 4:45 didn't make me very happy.  The 12 miles were tough.  I am working on increasing my cadence so the run was faster than I wanted.  It was really comfortable.  I wasn't pushing it so I shouldn't complain.

Today was another early morning.  Today I had an additional 8 miles.  I was able to get started a little later but still was an early wake up call.

Next week I start tapering,

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I really wish there was more to report about this weekend.  Unfortunately we have been dealing with

I am sure that I am like many of my tri-friends and can not stand either riding on the trainer or running on a treadmill.  

Fortunately my tri season is over so I am just riding as maintenance and improvement so missing a 
wasn't too bad but I couldn't miss my run.

So today, I went for a little 13 mile run.  Since I like to listen to music while running I use Nike Plus as well as a Garmin.  I love the little voice in my head telling me how far I have run as well as pace.
What I do not like is when the Garmin and Nike Plus is off by 1/2 mile.  It's crazy.  

Oh well what can you do.  I am just going to have to continue to gin and beer it (sorry, that should be grin and bear it).  

On a non-sports related note, we went to see The Martian last night,  It was awesome.  It was a great mix of comedy and drama.  Matt Damon is a great actor.  What is crazy is that I have watched him grow up in film.  If you get a chance watch Good Will Hunting and then this movie.  Crazy.  

Ready for another amazing training week.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tired Legs

Since I am still excited about blogging again, how about two days in a row.  

Today I really have to complain about having seriously tired legs.  This morning I had a 8 mile run.  This is coming off a 12 mile run yesterday.  My run plan is seriously wearing me out.  

Of I know that I have to be really careful about complaining about speed, so I will not mention that, I will just talk about feel.  

I actually think this is more due to me trying to be superman and doing a kickboxing class last week.  I am not sure about other reading this but I hate not doing everything.  The first time I tried a kickboxing class about 6 moths ago, I didn't make it 30 minutes.  This time I was bound and determined to see it through to the end.

The trainer (the little demon who I would not want to seriously kickbox with) put together these brainsplitting, extremely difficult routines.  I was getting lost about have way through.  Example, left jab, right cross, left hook, right uppercut, left, right, left, front kick, back kick, front kick, back kick, knee, knee, knee and knee.  That was just one move sequence.  I am getting winded just thinking about it again.  

Well needless to say, I was hurting by the end of class.  This was last Wednesday.  Fortunately Thursday is a light day and I only had a quick spin on the schedule so I was able to muscle through that.  Friday I was a hurt puppy.  And now I think the cumulative effect has me with dead legs.  I am going to have to endure another day with a "slow" run and "slower trainer" ride.  

Man I really love this life.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tri Season Wrap Up

Well look who's back :)

I have actually been busy getting back into my "tri-life".  Since I was just getting back into it after over a year out of the game, I competed in sprints this year.

I will not bore you with the details of the past year, but needless to say I have been staying busy.

Commitment Day - 1/1/15
Tobacco Road Half Marathon - 3/15/15
Sampson County Super Sprint - 3/28/15
Granite Falls Sprint - 4/  /15
Rex Wellness Garner - 7/12/15
Rex Wellness Wakefield - 8/16/15
Rex Wellness Knightdale - 9/20/15

Still to go
City of Oaks Marathon
Skinny Turkey Half Marathon
Race 13.1 Durham

I am looking forward to renewing my blogging effort and hopefully this time I will be able to stick to it.