Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon

Woke up at 4:00am. That right there should tell you how the day was going to turn out. Got dressed and grapped a cup of coffee and out the door I went by 4:30am. Stopped by WAWA and picked up a bananna nut muffin. If that muffin doesn't guarantee a PR I don't know what will.

Made it to VA Beach I good time. Found a parking lot on 25th and Pacific that was $7 to park. Decided to walk to the convention center.
Meet some people from NC and Charlottesville and walked with them.
Arrived at the Convention Center at 5:50am. The porta-jon line was short so that was good news. I headed over to the start and found a good place to sit down and just watch the people as they went by.

The start was right on time. I was in the second corral so I went off at 7:02am. Last year there were a lot of slow people in the front corrals but not this year. I had a good first 2 miles. The pace was fast but I felt relazed and strong. Was breathing was comfortable and controlled.
During the 3rd mile I could tell that the temperature of the engine was climbing rapidly. I was sweating profusely now and could tell that it was just too hot. I crossed the 5k mat at 22:20 and began to have serious discussions between Actual Mike and Mike 2.0. Mike 2.0 wanted to try to push on and hold the pace for two more miles. Actual Mike didn't think it was going to happen but agreed to hold pace till the next water stop and then they would decide what to do.

Warm or even hot Cytomax just doesn't work. I couldn't even get a mouthful down. I grabbed 2 waters and slowed to drink them all. That was it. It was over.

My heart rate was racig due to the heat so the plan quickly became to finish and live to fight another day. I decided to hold between 7:50 and 8:00 pace and walk all of the water stops. If I didn't get 2 to 3 glasses of water in I figured I wouldn't make it. By mile 5 I was literally dripping wet. But so was everyone else. Even the girls were soaked. I saw girls holding their shorts up for miles because they were soaked and kept falling down.

I hit the 10k mark at 48:06 or 7:45 pace but the heat was getting worse.
There was no breeze at all and you could cut the air with a knife it was so humid. Honestly if it wasn't for the hot chicks in spandex I would have stopped. But they just kept bouncing ahead and I kept following in a stupid heat induced trance.

By the 10 mile mark, I was and 1:20:46 seconds into the race and my pace had slipped to 8:05 miles, mainly because the walking breaks had lengthened to get in more fluids and try to get my heart rate down.
Mile 10 was right before the Rudee Inlet bridge.

By mile 11 the carnage began. Nearly everyone was walking the water stops now. The entire field would get to the station and just stop as if Joe's happy noise went off and we all had agreed to stop. About a
1/4 mile further I started seeing people sitting on the curbs. Medical people were running around now. I saw a woman with her boyfriend that was completely out of her head. He was literally holding her up and she was just mummbling gibberish. What a romantic weekend those two were going to have.

We turned onto the boardwalk at mile 12. People were dropping like flies. I saw a lady fall down about a 1/4 mile from the finish. She was out for the 10 count. The medical guys were running like mad now.

I finished in 1:48:28 with an average pace of 8:17. I was 1129th out of
16336 total finishers, or in the top 6.9%. I was 145th I my age group out of 1129 finishers, or in the top 12.8%. Last year I finished in
1:44:23 with an average pace of 7:59. Last year I was 1366 out of 17025 finishers, or in the top 8%.

This year I was 4 minutes slower and finished 1.1% higher in the standings. The heat and humidty affects the whole crowd not just you.
Running distance races isn't just against the clock. It's a race against the heat, the humidity, and the terrain. Times don't correlate against all courses. You've got to know when it's your day and when it's not. I was disappointed with my time but it was all I could do that day.

The Rock-N-Roll is a great race to run for a cool experience. It really is a huge crowd with tons of spectators. The bands are fun but I find them distracting. And on the glass is half full side of things, the heat makes all of the hot chicks come dressed in the coolest outfits. I think this was probably my last Rock-N-Roll, it is just too hot.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Garbage In Garbage Out

I have had some problems in the past with fueling my engine. Several years ago after running quite a bit during the heat of the summer I started having chest pains. Now chest pains at 31 are pretty dang scary. It was July 4th and the family and I had just gotten back from a parade and I was sitting in my recliner around 3:00pm. My heartbeat started racing. I mean like 160 to 170 beats a minutes. I was seated with my legs elevated in the air conditioning. There was no reason for my heart to be racing. After 20 minutes it had not stopped. An overnight trip to the hospital and several IV bags of potassium and I was ok. From that day forward I realized that distance running was something to be respected and that I had to be extra careful of how I fueled my engine.

Since I have upped my mileage and have also been swimming and biking several days a week I am learning the importance of nutrition. Not just what I eat but what I eat before a workout, what I eat during a workout and what I eat post workout.

During the last few years I have been reading everything that I could get my hands on about runners nutrition. They drink gatorade and swallow GU's. They eat some carbs and try to eat a balanced diet high in protein. But then I entered the "DARK ZONE", the world of TRIATHLON. Now marathons last for 3 or 4 hours but triathlons can last anywhere from 8 to 17 hours. Now fueling for an event like that is serious science. I started reading and searching for information on tri fueling strategies. It was like someone had just opened a magic book up for me.

My training had suffered in recent mesocycles due to fatigue issues. I had blood work performed and was instructed to start taking iron supplements. This really made a difference. Today if I have a bad workout, chances are I forgot to take my "pills" the night before.

I also sensed that I wasn't getting enough calories. I quitting worring about weight issues and just started trying to fuel my engine with good high quality jet fuel. The problem quickly became that it isn't easy getting top grade food into your body in enough quantity between and after workouts. The only time left is during and right after workouts.

I have switched up my training nutrition from water and GU to Perpetutum and Endurolytes and have started taking Endurox 4 for my post workout recovery drinks. I really believe that this has made my workouts of a higher quality. I have been able to push harder and last longer during intense workouts.

One downside to hard workouts is that I am able to go 100% for a longer time. The next day I have been pretty wiped out. Even if my plan calls for a 6 mile recovery run and I am dead, I just skip the workout. How much will I really get out of a 6 mile easy run? Is the point of the workout to help my body recover? If the result of the recovery run on makes me more fatigued haven't I defeated the purpose of the day, to recover from yesterday's hard workout. I am recovering faster and I am not skipping all recovery runs just the ones after really hard efforts and where I feel completly wiped out.

I am working on designing a diet for all of my meals and snacks. I let you know how it's coming. Definitely not going to be easy with a wife and 3 kids.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lost and Found

I guess I got lost that must be why I haven't been posting for a while. Nah. Really I've just been so busy with all of the summer time activities that I just haven't had much time to write anything. Summer is half way over and it has been a blast.

My two boys have been swimming on the neighborhood swim team this summer and I really have enjoyed working the meets. I trained as a stroke an dturn judge and worked almost every meet. I really learned a lot about swimming stokes this year. It's also amazing at how much you can learn while watching kids swim for 3 hours twice a week. I have been amazed at how much my kids have improved during the summer. My 5 year old couldn't swim 25 yards in June and now he has a decent looking freestyle stroke and can swim a 50 without stopping.

My training has been going very well during the last few weeks. I have really upped my mileage and it really seems to help. It's still been hard for me to run every day, life always gets in the middle but that's OK. My running is important to me but not as important as my family and my work. Running is a part of me, not who I am.

The weather has been very hot here the last few days. It has really affected my nutrition while running. This has forced me to really examine how I have been fueling and replacing my electrolytes. One thing that I have learned is that marathoners think they know nutrition but that Triathletes really know nutrition. I mean it's one thing to fuel during a 3 1/2 hour marathon, but it's one a whole new level to fuel for a 10 hour marathon. So, I've been studing alot about tri fueling and what the top tri guys use. Someone put me onto Hammer Nutrition products. I ordered a few things last week and we are going to give them a try.

Several weeks ago I rode my bike with the guys on a long 57 mile ride. It was great! It didn't take but 3 1/4 hours and the effort wasn't that bad. Since then I have rode the "loop" 2 more times and I am scheduled to ride it again this weekend. On these long rides fueling really is important and I am startingto get the right prescription dialed in. One of the best things about the bike is that I get a great cardio workout without killing my legs. My quads hurt some the next day but usually after a couple of miles of slow running I'm good to go.

The biggest improvement that I have noticed is my recovery rates. Last year after a 20 miler I would hurt for several days and be wiped out. After increasing my mileage if I run 20 miles Sunday on Monday I'm good for another 8 miles. Instead of my muscles hurting it seems that my energy levels are what is holding me back. If I have 3 hard days in a row I will be wiped out on the 4th and usually end up skipping a day. Getting enough of the right type of calories to keep my energy levels up is as much work as training. I'm learning a lot and I guess that's what makes the whole thing so much fun.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Messing with a Man's Masculinity

In high school they used to call me Chicken because I had chicken legs. You know lean long runners legs. Well all those guys are fat as hell now and I'm 163 lbs at 5'11. But I digress. It's summer and I am working out one or two times a day and sweating like Frosty the Snowman in Hades. I have hairy legs and man are they breaking out. Now that I'm a "Triathlete" I have toyed with the idea of shaving my legs but I just can't bring myself to do it. I mean, I have zero fat on my legs but shaving them is just crossing some imaginary man line.

So I go to the gym and pull off my jeans and there I am with these shaved legs. What do you do or say. I mean where do you stop shaving. It looks like a lot of work to keep them shaved and damn, I feel like I am always in the shower anyway with all of these workouts. I mean chick stubble is one thing but man stubble is just bad. I think I'm going to be sick just writing about this. See writing this stupid stuff sometimes help work the answer to the problem out. When I start placing in my age group I'll think about shaving my legs. Until then I'll just have to deal with breaking out.

Training - Saturday I went on a 30 mile bike ride with 3 other guys instead of a 6 mile easy day. It was a great ride and we went out pretty hard. Nobody every says that they are tired or hurting during the workout but talking to some of the wives later that day I found out that they were all spent that night. "All he did was lay on the couch. You guys must have went out really hard yesterday." Yea as hard as I could.

Sunday was scheduled to be a 17 mile long run. I was supposed to go at a nice easy pace. I received an email from my buddies that they would be running 3 miles easy, a one mile time trial hard, and three miles easy for 7 miles total. Perfect, I could run down to the waterfront to meet them and back and tack on 7 more miles. I could find 3 more miles somewhere and have my 17.

Well, I guess I miscalculated the distance to the waterfront and had to running a lot harder than I wanted to so that I wouldn't be late. Mistake #1. Then the 3 mile easy warm-up became a hard 3 mile test of manhood after the bike ride on Sunday. The one mile time trial was where I was supposed to let them go and show some maturity. I must be a child because after the first quarter I was at an all out sprint and finished around 6:45, and this mile had some big hills to boot. The last 3 miles was easy because the guys were spent by now but I still had to run home. The 3 1/2 miles home were rough because it was getting hot by now and all I had was Gu and water. I needed some electrolytes but there were none anywhere. I made it home but paid for it all day. I was tired and worn out all day.

Lesson learned. If you want to be successful, find a good plan and stick to the plan. By running like an idiot yesterday I missed my mileage goal and am so tired and beat today that I probably won't run today. If you go out to hard one day it could affect you for multiple days and cause more harm than good. Steady work wins the race. Every workout should have a purpose and you have to stick to that purpose.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Long Run - On a Thursday Morning

I am following the Pfitz 70 plus plan which calls for weekly long runs in the middle of the week. Yesterday, I just couldn't get out of bed. I skipped running and stayed in bed. I felt guilty all day but I am glad I did it because I feel a whole lot better today.

So this morning I went out for 15 mile run and it went great. I felt really strong until the last 2 miles and my hips started getting sore. Not the muscles but the bones. I was glad to be home.

The weather was high 60's and was perfect. I never run with a shirt except in the winter so it was almost chilly the first couple of miles. The birds were out in full force and their songs were so nice to hear today. Why anyone would listen to an ipod I'll never know. The sounds of my footstrike, the noise of my breath, and the song from the birds made me really thankful to be alive. God has really blessed me and my family and this morning I was so happy that I am strong and healthy and able to run for 2 hours in God's beautiful outdoors.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lunchtime Swim

So I took lunch at the YMCA around the corner from the office and swam 2000 yards. I have swam 2000 yards in a single workout before but today I didn't stop at all. I didn't warm-up or anything. I just jumped in and started swimming. It's mostly boring but I can really tell that my upper body is getting stronger. I focused on good even strong pulls with each stroke. The tiles on the body seemed to fly by and it seemed that the overhead flags were almost always coming by.

I really need to learn how to do flip turns. I think that they would make my workouts go faster and I would look like i knew what the heck I was doing.


I ran 6 miles this morning. I felt really strong and ran much faster than I should have. Last week wasn't so great. I am switching over to morning runs and I had a really hard time getting up. I am not going to quit waking up early. I know that when I make getting up at 4:45am a habit my training will show it.

I really have been feeling much stronger. All over stronger not just my legs. I guess all of this swimming and biking is starting to pay off. I swam 2000 yards yesterday and don't even feel it today. My legs feel recovered after a couple of hours.

I still have a little belly fat around the middle that just will not go away. I am bring my food to work now and I am really focusing on cutting my fat intake. Between that and 70 miles a week, plus swimming and biking, if I don't loose it this summer then I don't know what I will do.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Completed First Triathlon

Let's get this straight - I am a runner. I grew up swimming but never competitively. I surfed in the Ocean and swam at the pool but I never, ever swam laps. Around Christmas of '07 for some crazy resaon I decided that I was going to compete in triathlons. I couldn't swim more than 50 yards without a break and didn't own a bike. The goal was to race an early summer sprint.

After buying a bike, and teaching myself to swim laps I attempted my first Tri on June 1st, 2008. What follows is my account of that race.

PRE-RACE - The alarm clock went off at 4:00am. I hit snooze once. I don't care if this was my first tri or not, 4:00am is too early for law abiding citizens and yes I hit snooze. I had packed the car the night before so all I had to do was eat and leave. I made a bowl of real oatmeal, not that instant crap that my kids eat, but real like grandma used to make oatmeal. I sprinkled some brown sugar, walnuts, and honey on top. After a couple cups of coffee and a trip to the bathroom I was off.

It's about a 45 minute drive from my house to the Naval Base. I was sipping coffee and gatorade, (No not mixed together, that's just gross, but from two different bottles.) I had planned to stop at WAWA to buy a bannana nut muffin, but I was too excited and just drove to the base. I live on the Peninsula and had to drive across the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel to reach Norfolk so I would have a good view of the conditions of the Bay. Yesterday the race site was whitecapping with 2 foot waves. As my car exited the tunnel I saw..............flat, calm water. Thank you Lord!

The directions to the base were perfect and I breezed through the gate check in. I followed a car in front of my with a bike on the back so I assumed they were heading the right way. The transition area, finishing area, and parking area was on a giant helicopter tarmac right on the shore of the Bay. I was able to park about 100 yards from the transition area. This was perfect! I unloaded my bike and headed over to the transition area to check in my bike. I was so early it wasn't even open yet and I had to wait about 5 minutes until 6:00 to rack my bike. When the area opened I was the third one in on my row and I got to pick a premium end of row spot. It pays to get there early.

Now what. It's 6:03 and the race doesn't start for 2 hours. What am I going to do? I went to the car and listened to the radio, I walked around and made sure that I knew where the transition exits were. I got my chip, ate a powerbar, and looked around.

SWIM - I got my wetsuit on right before they closed the transition area. It was getting warm and I didn't want to be in that hot thing any longer than I had to be. My wave 35-39 year old males was the 4th wave to start. There was a giant concrete boat ramp, maybe 100 feet wide, that we all walked down. This was an open water start so they had us wade into the water and swim out until we were all grouped up. We treaded water for a couple of minutes and off I went. There were about 60 guys in my wave and they went off like gangbusters. I stayed calm and smooth and started my stroke. I knew the swim was my weakness and my goal was to finish the swim with a respectful time and not drown. If I came out of the water without a lifeguards assistance I would be a winner. The turn buoys were spaced about 300 yards apart and that is a long way. The water was calm so that helped. My sighting was poor and the whole race was a series of arcs. I probably swam an extra 200 yards with all of the zig zagging I was doing. (Note to self, fastest way to pick up time, swim straight) I never got kicked or kicked anybody. I did flip over on my back about three times and rest for about 20 seconds. I knew that the fastest and most economical way for me to get out of the water was to swim an easy, but strong freestyle. I kept my mind focused on what I was doing and stayed pretty calm. The wetsuit helped a lot but my time was much slower than I hoped. I exited the water after 1K in 27:20, 52 out of 58th. At least I exited the water.

I'm walking so my heart won't explode in my chest!
T1 - This transistion went well. No problem getting the wetsuit off. I had a water bottle and rinsed my mouth out. I was actually really taking my time because I was lightheaded from the swim and my heart rate was pretty high. Since I was on the end my kids were right there and were able to talk to me throughout the transition, that was really cool. My wife and family are really supportive so this really helped. I think it's important to teach my kids how to compete and I want them to see me try as hard as I can. They always ask why I don't win the races that I enter. I tell them that I win just by entering and finishing. My 8 year old son is starting to get what I mean.

BIKE - I ran through the chip mat and hoped on the bike. I had a little trouble getting my shoes on and I had to reach down twice to get the tongue pulled out. I started peadling and tried to get my cadence up. It was taking a lot more effort than normal to get to my standard 90 plus rpm's. After about a mile I realized that it wasn't me, it was my front tire! My front tire was really low, not where I was riding on the rim but it was close. I didn't have a repair kit on my bike and I wasn't gonna quit, so I put my head down and just pedaled. After a few gear changes I just knew it was going to be hard work, but I kept going. About mile 9 I decided that I needed to get some Gatorade in me, so I slowed down a bit and really worked on getting some Gatorade down.

I was never so happy to see that last turn into the transition area. I slowed down and swung my right leg over the pedals like a pro. The bike was really hard to handle with the flat front tire and I almost lost control, but I dismounted and ran across the timing mat.

T2 - I had a really fast transition here. But I noticed something that really upset me. Most of the bikes in my age group were already racked. That's what happens when you suck on the swim and have a flat tire on the bike. I slipped my shoes on and said "HI" to my kids and off to the run.

RUN- The legs were a little stiff, but started to loosen up a bit. I looked at my Garmin and it said I was running right at 7:00 pace. What? 7:00 minute pace. No way. I kept pushing for the first mile and realized that the bike had screwed up the Garmin's averaging and it wasn't giving me an accurate reading. OH well. Everything was going pretty good but it was really getting hot. I noticed that my heartrate was getting really high, like over 170 and I knew I was in trouble. I walked through the water stop to try to get my heart rate down but it didn't really help. I slowed my pace down to around 8:20 and decide to just cruise in and call this thing over.


  • SWIM Time 27:20 RATE 2.2mph Rank 52/56
  • T1 Time 2:31
  • BIKE Time 44:36 RATE 16.7mph Rank 50/56
  • T2 Time 1:07
  • RUN Time 26:13 RATE 8:27 Rank 33/56
  • Total Time 1:41 Rank 48/56

Conclusion: I guess I should just be happy that I finished but I was really destroyed by my results. It comes down to this, Triathletes don't play. They are serious about their sport and they show up to race. Running races has so many people that just show up to finish. I would really like to do so more tri's but I will definitely swim a lot more and will pay my dues on the bike. The race was really well organized and I did have a good time.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Great OWS Today!

Yorktown Beach with Coleman Bridge

So a friend of mine didn't have to work today so we decided to try another open water swim this morning. This time the water was calm and the conditions were perfect. We changed into our wetsuits and got our googles on. I waded into the water and let the 64 degree salt water run down my back. After a moment I was getting warm and I took a breath and pulled my head below the water. THERE WE GO! After a second I dove under the swimming area ropes and start my swim.

Starting Point

I focused on steady strong strokes. I focused on my breathing and heart rate and I was going great. I am a left side breather so the near shore was on the wrong side so every dozen strokes I would look up to see where I was going. I found that I was pulling to the left, probably beacuse that was the side I was breathing on. After a few minutes I had reached the pier and knew I was halfway done. My buddy was ahead of me, he was swimming much straighter, so he was waiting for me. He said hey you can stand up here, so we took a few minutes to rest and then we started back.

The Pier Marks the Halfway Point

On the way back the shore was on my breathing side so I was able to keep a check on where I was much better than during the first half. I also noticed that the current was behind me and I was really moving now. This was pretty cool. I stayed with a slow and strong stroke and my breathing was really good. Everyonce and a while I would start thinking about the water and start freaking out but I would start focusing on my stroke again.
When I ducked under the swim area rope, I saw that my wife and 2 1/2 year old daughter were playing on the beach watching me swim. It was pretty cool coming out of the water with my wetsuit on and googles. I felt like a real triathlete!
I had a really good time and think that I could get into this open water swimming thing this summer. It's so different than swimming laps. It's outside, there's the beach, and it's cool actually getting somewhere because your swimming. I mean you are moving, traveling, it's really cool.
My first race is Sunday and I'm really excited. Hopefully the water will be calm, but if it's not I know I can cover the distance if I stay strong and steady.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mindless Taper Babble

Well I am resting for a couple of days to get ready for my race this weekend. I have determined that I like training better than racing. The whole tapering thing just blows, especially for a marathon. Two days without working out and I feel like a slovenly pig. Why do I feel like I am getting fat over night?

So, I really like eating and I think that is one of the reasons that I enjoy endurance sports; guiltfree eating. There is nothing like the feeling of being hungry because you actually worked up an appetite and food always tastes so much better when you worked hard for eat.

Tomorrow, I'm going to swim and maybe run 5 miles just to get ready. This will probably be the last swim before Sunday, well maybe another open water swim Friday morning. I'm going to run 5 miles Thursday and Friday and take all day Saturday off. Then Monday I can start training everyday again, yeah.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

First Open Water Swim

I got a call from my group that they were going to head down to Yorktown Beach and swim about 1200 yds open water. Perfect! My first OW Tri is next weekend so this will be great practice. I grabbed my bag and my wetsuit and got ready to go. The wife and kids were going to meet me and I was excited. This will be my first time in the water with my wetsuit and my first open water swim without a surf board.
We got to the beach around 10:20 and watited for the whole group to show up. The plan was to swim outside of the beach goers swim area. We were going to go 400 yards down and then turn around and come back. We would do this a couple of times.
I put on my new Blue Seventy Reaction wetsuit. It was tight but the girl a the store swore that it was just right. The water temperature was 64 degrees and man was it cold. We waded out into the water and then it was time to start.
Well the waves were bigger in the water than I had expected, around 18 inches tall. I faced down and started swimming and then I couldn't breathe. Between the wetsuit, the cold water and the waves I just couldn't get my breath. I tried again and it didn't work. I started swimming breast stroke with my head out of the water. I tried freestyle again. One stroke, breath, OMG I gonna die. I rolled onto my side and started sidestroke. A couple of guys yelled at me and I said that I was ok I was going to cut the whole thing short. I tried freestyle without putting my head in the water. Ok that's too exhausting. I gave up and headed in towards the beach.
After a few moments on the beach, I regained my composure and tried again closer to the shore. I finally was able to get about 15 strokes together before having to stand up, but this sure isn't swimming in a pool.
So I was completely humbled but not broken. I am determined to get this OWS thing down. I'll be heading down to the beach every day this week to try to get comfortable with the swim. At least I know what to work on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fueling the Furnace

I had a pretty decent week of training last week. Recap:

Monday - 2000 meter swim, 2.5 mile run

Tuesday - 15 mile run

Wednesday - 1200 meter swim, 5 mile run

Thursday - 11 mile run

Friday - Hard day of outside yard work

Saturday - 12 hours of outside yard work

Sunday - 9.5 mile run, 1000 meter swim

The yard work days really screwed me up. I had planned on running both days but ran out of time and energy. I'm not sure if it was the sun or the work but Sunday was awful. I was so tired I didn't know what to do. I tried eating but that wasn't it. Finally after swimming Sunday I just rested on the couch.

When I woke up Monday I was so tired I was delirious.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Springtime in Virginia

Man has the weather been nice this week. The afternoon runs have been perfect. I ran 15 on Tuesday with a buddy at a casual conversational pace. It was the first time in 20 years that he had ran that far. He has only been running for 9 weeks! He's really doing great.

Wednesday was a 5 mile tempo run. I still haven't got those things figured out yet. I run easy the first mile and then mash the pedal down. Normally by the end of the third mile the gas is running out of the tank and by the end of the fourth mile the engine is just puttering. I need to learn the correct pace and stick to it. I want to be able to warm up during the first mile and then get 4 good hard miles in with a walk and a jog for the 6th mile. I'll get it right soon.

Ran 11 by myself today and felt really good. Miles 3 through 8 were unbelievable. I really felt strong and fast. I was clocking 7:30 to 7:40 miles and felt pretty good. At mile 8 I really felt my blood sugar dropping so I took a GU and decided to slow down and cruise in the last 3 miles around 8:10's.

This season I am really working on increasing and maintaining 60 plus miles a week. I am also working hard a making sure that each and every run has a purpose and that I stick to that plan. Lastly you've got to be able to live to fight another day. If you work so hard that you are out of commission for 4 days then the whole workout was for nothing.

At least that's my current theory. Run hard. Have fun.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today I did my Own Triathlon - Sorta

Woke up and ran 4.2 miles with the guys at 6:00am. It was cold, 48! They wanted to go fast so off I went with no warm up straight to 7:15 pace. Last mile around 7:05 pace.

Went in the house to warm up and get caffinated. Went for a 10 mile bike ride after coffee. Legs were tired and hurt, but they should be tired after last night's run and the tempo run this morning. MPH slipped on the way back but I kept pumping and felt good about the effort when I got home.

Ate like a fiend all day. Had to go to a trade show and buffet lunch with some co-workers. They sat opened mouthed watching me eat plate after plate of food. Gotta fuel the furnace baby, fuel the furnace.

This afternoon went to the gym for a swim. Did 7 X 50 of warmup and drills. Then swam 1 X 1500 at a pretty good pace. My effort is strong but my efficency in the water is poor. Gotta get some lessons and quick.

Scheduled for a 30 mile ride tomorrow with a friend. Should be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

9 Miles

I'm going to start posting everyday only if it's a few sentences to track my workouts. I don't need to write a novel each post.

Today's Workout
Weights at the YMCA, mainly arms and chest
Core work, hanging crunches, sit ups
9 miles at 9:15 pace
Ran with a buddy, the time flies when I run with friends

Sunday, April 20, 2008

50 Miles - But Not at One Time

I had to attend a 3 day conference last and it really screwed up my schedule. On Saturday 2 of my running buddies planned on running a 50 miler at a local part. The event is an annual 24 hour run for charity. I decided that after my conference I would stop by and finish the race with my friends.

I arrived at the park at 6:30pm. I met my friends at the car where they were resting and eating. During an endurance race fueling is key. My friends plan was to run one loop, or 3.5 miles and then head to the car to eat and drink for about 10 minutes. My friends were scheduled to have one lap left at 6:30pm.

When I arrived my buddies had 13 miles left and they looked beat. I quickly saw why these things are called endurance events.

Monday, April 7, 2008


The alarm clock rang at 5:00am.
I am an athlete. Athletes get up and workout everyday whether they want to or not.

But it sounds like it’s raining and it’s supposed to be in the mid 40’s. This bed sure is warm.

Get out of bed right now! We’ve got miles to run! We’re never gonna make it to Boston if we sleep all the time.

Hold on a minute. There I hit snooze. I think about what you said and get back to you in 9 minutes.

The alarm clock rang at 5:09am.

Listen, we have our Monday morning meeting today at 9:00am. Unless we get up right now and really get moving we will never get our miles in and make it the office by 8:00am. I’m gonna hit snooze and we’ll try again tomorrow.

Let me tell you what we’re going to do. We are getting up right now and get dressed fast. We are heading outside no matter what and we are running at least 5 miles. Don’t you do it! Stop don’t hit the button.

See ya in 9 minutes sucker!

The alarm clock rang at 5:18am.
Look it’s too late. I’m not even arguing with you anymore. These covers are too warm. See ya in 9 minutes. Click.

This went on until 6:45am. I don’t know how I can hit the snooze but for an hour and forty five minutes but I can. And by the way, my alarm clock is across the room. I have to get out of bed to hit snooze. I can promise you that this whole operation does not make my wife happy at all.

So soccer practice was canceled due to bad weather. Yea I can go to the gym and get my miles in. I am still trying to get back in shape after the 3 ½ weeks off so most runs are just easy until I get the mileage up. I couldn’t remember what I was scheduled for today but I knew it was at least 5 miles. I ate a Snickers Marathon bar before coming to the gym. It sat in my stomach like a load of bricks. After two miles I thought I was going to die. I walked for 30 seconds and tried again. A guy I grew up with got on the treadmill beside me and we started talking about the economy. Before I knew it I was at 7.5 miles. Well you can’t stop on a treadmill on an uneven number. I hit 8 miles and 1000 calories. ( I like to track calories because it tells me how much cake or cookies I can eat later and not feel guilty. I’ll talk about that another day. I run, so I can Eat!)

I have been reading a couple of guys blogs. Both guys are weeks away from sub 3:00 attempts and both guys are 10 years younger than me. They are also both injured right know and that really scares me. I stretched real good tonight and I’m going make a serious effort to stretch everyday.

Pretty good day. Tomorrow, I hope to get up early. We’ll see.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I ran 5.2 miles today through the Yorktown Battlefields. I ran around a 9:00 pace and stopped nearly every mile. It was a great run!

Not because of my performance, the pace was slow and I felt really strong. I didn’t need the walk breaks my heart rate never got going really. What made this run special was that I ran with one of my good friends that’s just getting back into running. My buddy used to be a College XC runner so he knows what to do, it’s just been a matter of doing it. Two kids and a lot of years latter and he’s just getting started again.

Running is definitely an individual sport, but I really love an easy recovery run with a good friend, or even a newly made friend that I know nothing about. I have meet people in a parking lot at 6:00am and by 8:30 and 17 miles later I end up knowing stuff about these people that their close friends never had the time to ask.

I ran all summer with a group of guys from my neighborhood. By fall these guys were close friends. We all decided to travel one weekend and run the Kiawah Island Marathon in Charleston, South Carolina. Due to too much racing last fall, (3 marathons in one month and Kiawah a month later) I had to DNF at the half marathon point. I waited for two of my friends to finish and it was very emotional. One guy was trying to break 3:40 and he was so close. I was screaming at him during the finish you would have thought that I had a thousand on him to win the Kentucky Derby it was great. My other friend had always grown up in his big brother’s shadow. His brother had run a 4:00 marathon and that was his time to beat. After several attempts and at the age of 50, he beat his brother that day with a 3:50. For the last ¼ mile I kept screaming you’re gonna beat NED! It was very emotional and a great feeling.

Sometimes it’s not about the performance but about the experience. Running for me isn’t a sport but a lifestyle. And I really enjoy sharing that lifestyle with new and old friends.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

First Day Back

Yesterday was my first run in 3 1/2 weeks. I have never had a flu that kept me down like this thing did. I ran my normal 5.2 mile loop through Yorktown. I started slow and steady and I felt really good.

Yorktown is a great place to run. It's a natioanl park where Washington beat Lord Cornwalis and where America won it's independence. The park has nearly 20 miles of paved asphalt tour roads. These are asphalt one ways roads that are about a car and a half wide. On a normal 6 mile run I might see one car and they are only driving around 15 miles an hour.

The tour roads are mostly covered by large trees so they are great to run in during the summer heat. The roads take you through the actual battlefields and the encampments where the French and American soilders fought the British. Today the area is large fields with green grass. Since the entire park is protected the area is full of wildlife. It is common to be running at dusk and look out across a field and see a herd of 30 or 40 deer.

Running through the battlefields is so peaceful. It is always time that I can spend with my thoughts. The only sounds are the wind and birds in the trees. When work is just terrible all I want to do is put my shoes on and run through Yorktown.

The terrain is rolling and there are several decent hills. It is a great place to run. The national park backs up to a city park that has miles of dirt trails. I can go out and run 25 plus miles and never cross the same path. Oh and this is only a mile from the house. I'll post some pictures soon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I have had the worse case of the flu. This is the end of three weeks of being sick. I missed a whole week of work and had a fever for 5 days. I've never had anything like this in my life. I lost almost 8 pounds and I really didn't have it to lose.

Three weeks without running has almost killed me. I have gotten mean and all I think about is running or working out. I dream about running. This has almost gotten crazy.

I tried riding my bike Tuesday and it wasn't pretty. I made it about 30 minutes but I had to pull over three times with severe caughing fits. When I got home from the head down I was great but my head almost exploded with my sinus pain.

Tonight I biked for 45 minutes and didn't really have the cough as much. I had 2 fits but didn't have to stop. Tonight my sinus pain hurts so bad I can't even eat. My doctor said that my flu gave me a sinus infection. I have some meds but it isn't helping enough.

I'm going to run this weekend no matter what. I just can't stand it anymore. I've missed my spring marathon and my first triathlon is Saturday. There is no way that I can compete in a race right now.

This is a part of running. There are ups and downs. There is health and sickness. In my glass is half full way of thinking, the flu is better than IT band or pulling a muscle or an ACL tear. I'll get over the flu.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What are you doing now? I'm going to Disney World

I took my kids to Disney World last week. It really was a lot of fun but it definitely wasn't a vacation. My wife planned the whole trip and really did a great job.

We were scheduled to fly from Virginia to Florida direct on Airtran at 12:30 on Saturday. We arrived at the airport at 11:00am. When I walked into the terminal the Airtran there must have been a hundred people in line. What is going on? Someone told me that the flight had been canceled. Are you kidding what am I going to do with my kids? The wife an dkids found a seat and I waited in line. After about 10 minutes my oldest son comes over and says, "Mom says call the airlines like they do on the Amazing race." Sounds good. I called the airlines and finally got us booked on an 8:30pm direct flight with 5 seats together. Almost everyone in front of us got booked on a 5:30am flight the next day. UGHHHHHHH! Good call dear.

Spending a whole week with my family was great. I had so much fun with them and it was great to see the excited and really happy. Discipline in a family theme park is the easiest thing to do, and my kids quickly figured it out. Everyday the boys stretched their boundaries until waiting in line became a Little Rascals episode.

I only ran twice during the week. 5 miles both days.

The family was shark bait at Epcot.

All of us for a photo.
My little monkies.

The monkies outside of Magic Kingdom. Don't let the cute little girl fool you. She can hold her own with the two brothers.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Who Am I

Ok, there isn't anything to watch on television and I don't even have anything saved on the dvr worth watching so I decided to ramble for a while.

So who am I. I am 36 and a father of 3, a son 7, another son 5, and my little girl is 2. I've been married for 11 years to my college sweatheart. I live in Yorktown Virginia and have lived here all of my life except when I went out of state to college. I own a contracting business and it is a lot of work.

I started running in 7th grade and have always been pretty good at it. In 8th grade I was fast enough to go up to the high school and run cross country and track. Probably one of the worst things that I ever did. I was talented enough to hang in there and finish all of the workouts but I ended up spending more time in the trainers room than anywhere else. I had stress fractures in both feet, hip flexior problems, IT band issues, and even a broken arm that required surgery and a screw in my wrist. I was tripped while running the freshman mile and broke my wrist. Even then I ran the rest of the season with cast. By the end of my sophmore track season I was done. My coach had completely burned me out. He knew how to get us to peak each season, he just didn't know how to keep us healthly so that we could peak as seniors.

I went to Clemson University and studied Construction Science. I did my share of partying and trashing my aerobic systems. After college I went to work for an industrial construction company. We worked in the areas shipyards and coal plants. Breathing that mess all day on top of the 2 packs of ciggarettes that I smoked for 10 years and I was a walking time bomb. I always kept my weight in check. At my largest I weighed 185 lbs and I am 5'11.

My wife told me one day that she wasn't going to get pregnant if I was still smoking. And she really meant it. We went on a week long cruise that summer and during that week I went "cold turkey." A year later my lungs had cleared and I started running again. It was really tough. I would run 800yds and then walk 200 yards. Soon the miles increased and one cold February day I ran 24 miles in our local park. I was hooked again. I loved how I felt running long. I loved laying in bed a night and my legs felt spent. It's great.

That was three years ago. I ran my first Marathon in March 2007 and then ran 3 more last fall. This year I am going to really work on my training and see how my speed improves.

Got a Call from the Doc

So I have felt like I have been running on fumes for the last month. I mean tired. So tired I can't hardly even get out of bed in the mornings. So tired that I don't think I have the energy to keep my eyes open. Not sleepy muscles nut like I am completely running on empty.

Then I got the flu. I have 3 kids and they just bred disease and sickness. The little suckerbaits are like petri dishes that go to school and coleect every nasty disease culture that they can find nd bring them home. The flu this year was some evil stuff. I ran pretty good on Wednesday night but by Thursday morning I had a fever and a bad case of the chills. I went to work for a few hours and then came home to get in bed. I put on thick socks, sweat pants and a hooded sweat shirt and got under the covers. And shivered for hours.

Anyway, I stayed home Friday and didn't have anything to do so I started looking at my running journals. I track everything I eat, the weather, my runs, how I feel and other stupid stuff. I was trying to figure out why my performance was off and why I felt so bad. I noticed that I was eating a whole lot more during the summer. During the summer I drank a 32 oz Gatorade after every run. During the winter I drink water. I was eating smoothies with protein at night, now I was drinking a cup of hot tea before bed. I was eating a bagel, 2 scrambled eggs, cheese and 2 slices of ham or turkey for breakfast. Now I am eating one package of instant oatmeal. So I came to the grand conclusion that I need to up my calories.

Great News! Eat more! Yea it isn't that easy. I figured I am only eating about 2000 calories and I need between 3500 and 4000 calories a day. So I have started drinking Gatorade after workouts. I started eating big breakfasts again and trying to eat more during the day. After a week or two of this diet I would have thought that my energy levels would perk up. No such luck. In fact I feel even worse. My wife told me that I needed to get a physical and get a full blood work up. I actually listened to her and made an appointement.

So I went to the doc's office and he checked me out. My blood pressure was great. They weighed me with my clothes on and I got a lttle perturbed. I mean I'm a distance runner. Weight is a big deal for us. They just thought I was crazy. I looked at the nurse and told her that I run marathons, of course I'm crazy.

Then the masochist nurse stuck me with a bunch of needles and drew a bunch of blood and I was done. The doc was supposed to call me the next morning. He called and said that everything looked real good except for my hemoglobin count was 13. Ok Doc, what does that mean to me. Well he said that hemoglobin is how the blood carries oxygen to the muscles. If my hemoglobin is low then I can't get as much oxygen to my muscles. My performance will suffer and I would feel tired. I might look pale. Hey Doc that's me! I feel like that. He said that he was going to run a few more tests and call me later. He said not to worry because it is a fairly common occurance in distance runners.

Hopefully this at least explains some things. Now I just gotta fix it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I had a great week, until Saturday. I had been running in th evenings and ran great all week. I had a long 10 miler Friday afternoon and was scheduled to run with my running group on Saturday. My group starts at 6:00am and they meet about 15 minutes from my house. I normally get up at 5:00am to meet my group. The alarm clock went off and I couldn't get up.

My legs just hadn't recovered from my 10 miles that I had run only 12 hours earlier. I layed in bed and heard the cold wind howling. I just felt so tired..............I turned the alarm clock off and went back to bed. I woke up later at around 7:00am with my two boys yelling, "Yea Daddy's here! Get up and make us breakfast!." I spent the rest of the day doing stuff with the boys. It was good having a guy day.

But this meant that I missed my mileage for the week and my 6 day streak. I feel really bad and disappointed in myself for missing this critical workout so early in the training cycle. Sunday afternoon I spent some time thinkng about the week and how I could make next week more successfull. The main thing I decided was that just because a mileage is written down on my weekly plan doesn't mean that I am going to run the plan. I have to schedule the run into my life.

I am a busy businessman and I schedule my entire life. From now on I am going to schedule my runs just like I would a meeting. I am going to think about my next day's workout and I am going to think about recovery time and rest time. Good plan, now I just have to stick with it.

Last week was really warm outside and I took full advantage of the weather and ran outside everyday. This week is really cold and in Virginia the low 30's is really cold. I decided to hit the gym and run on the treadmill's and stay warm. I ran 10 miles yesterday and it wasn't so bad. I ran the first 4 in front of the tv and the last 6 with the ipod. Today I ran a 6 mile tempo run and I really think that the treadmill might be the way for me to get my speed and endurance up. I ran 7:30's tonight and they didn't feel that tough. I ran the last mile in 7:00's and the last 800 in 6:40. The people in the gym thought that I was crazy.

Two days down and four to go. Scheduled for a 20 miler this weekend. Need to start thinking about that run and how I am going to make it a successful run.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Tomorrow morning is a long run and completes my first week of serious training in 2008. I haven't ran 6 days in row in a long time. I have felt that my legs were a little tired and sore in the mornings but all and all I have felt exceptionally well. My ankle joints have hurt more than anything but no serious problems just soreness. I have had a time getting out of bed a couple of days this week.

My goal is qualifying for the Boston Marathon. When the 2009 race occurs I will be 37. My qualifing time will be 3 hours and 15 minutes. That averages 7:20 for 26.2 miles. My training and goal pace is to break 3:00 hours or a 6:52 pace. I want to train so that I can maintain a 6:50 pace. If something happens during the race and I slow I should still be able to finish in 3:15. At least that's the plan right now.

Sounds simple enough on paper. Last year my PR was a 3:45 at Richmond. It felt painful and I walked an awful lot during the last 8 miles. I know I have an 3:30 in me right now if I can just get it out of me. The Shamrock Marathon is on March 16, 2008. I am training using a short 12 week plan that should get me to the finish line in under 3:30. This will serve as my baseline for the summer training and will help me determine my starting point for a fall sub 3:00 attempt.

My Shamrock training plan will peak at 70 miles per week. That will serve as a good test for what kind of mileage I can handle during the hot summer months. I should have around 40 weeks after Shamrock until a December attempt. Right now I am thinking about spending 20 weeks building up my endurance, strength, and speed while continually keeping my mileage around 70 miles per week. Then I am planning an 18 week training plan that will take me straight to Boston.

Last year I ran one day a week speedwork sessions. I am planning on twice a week speed or hill workouts. The problem is that all of the running clubs do intervals on Wednesday nights, and that just makes scheduling a second hard week difficult. I've got plenty of time to figur that out.

The key to being succesful this year is going to be consistancy and sticking to the plan. No sleeping in, no skipping days. The only way to Boston is with mileage, lots of mileage. I am going to use the hard day easy day technique. And every third week is going to be a fall back week where I cut my mileage back.