Monday, April 02, 2012

My Big Bite

At last we left our intrepid readers, I had just completed my bike test and was still floating around in the clouds, absolutely giddy with the results.

Over the following weekend, I went to Columns Drive with Dee Dee for a 1.5 hour ride, with some over/unders thrown in for good effort.  Early on in the workout, it became obvious that my legs were in no mood for anything strenuous.  I decided to listen to my body and settled in to an hour and half of Zone 1/2 riding on a very windy day.  When I got home and analyzed my results, I was a bit shocked.  Usually, at Columns Drive, I ride in the 18-20 mph range.  My pace was somewhere in the neighborhood of 14-16 mph.

Sunday, I was feeling well enough to give my long run workout a shot.  I’ve been alternating 10-ish mile long runs with shorter (6 mile) long runs during this training block.  The plan called for an hour with 4x4 minutes hard.  I managed to pull this run off, and felt pretty good about it.  Until Monday.  I was totally shellacked.

This feeling carried on with me through the week.  I chose an easier endurance ride on the trainer Tuesday, but had to push my swim off till Wednesday due to my son’s soccer match.  After running and swimming Wednesday, I was done for.  I took Thursday off.  I was going to take Friday off too, but I thought I could manage an easy 4 miler.

Not so much…

About 1 mile into the run, I realized that I was starving.  I contemplated just heading back to the house, and I did so at 2 miles, but decided in the end to make my run an even number and finished up with 3 painfully slow miles.  I chastised myself pretty bad for that one.

I slept pretty well Friday night and was beginning to feel like my old self.  Dee Dee was working that weekend, which gave me some free time to head out to Cartersville for a Bud Plant ride.  The parking lot was full of cars, most of them looked to be TNT members, out for the run off the bike.  I took my time getting under way.  I had programmed the course into my Garmin.  It took a couple of minutes for it to load, which I thought was odd, but it worked out OK.  I even found a screen with a little compass and a two fields, one for distance to next turn, and one for time to next term.  The route is marked really well, but I still thought that technology was cool.

The ride went well.  I came in about 4 minutes faster than the same route I did back in May of last year.  That afternoon, I managed to hit all the VOS intervals on my swim set. VOS = puke pace by the way.  For my long run on Sunday (10 miles), I did a run 3/walk 1 thing, and I had a really good run.  Whatever I did to my self on the bike test, I think I’ve managed to work myself out of it.

But the lesson is learned.  Self coaching is fine, but if I choose to deviate from the plan, or something happens that forces me to deviate from the plan, then I need to be smart and work things out to their best possible conclusion, even if that conclusion is not on the happy path.

I’m so far ahead of the plan at my current level of fitness.  I’m using it more as a guide than an absolute.

That about catches us up.  I’m planning on posting more regularly.  Just recounting my workouts ain’t all that exciting.  I’d like to spice things up a bit.

Stay tuned…

Wes

Monday, March 26, 2012

What the Hell Happened?

I’d heard it said before, that it often takes years (4-5) before you begin to realize some of your potential.  After my bike test on Thursday, I’m beginning to believe.

OK.  I really should believe EVERYTHING my coach told me, either through email, over the phone, or through her blog.

I put off doing the test on Wednesday.  My legs just weren’t recovered from Sunday’s half marathon.  I went for a four mile easy run instead.  When I woke up Thursday morning, I decided to do the test over lunch.  That would give me time to wake up, fuel up, and mentally prepare.

In the past, I have dreaded these physical tests.  My motto this year?  No Excuses.  Period.  and yes, thank you Biggest Loser for joining me.

In between work, I assembled the bike, trainer, and electronic gadgetry.  By the time lunch rolled around, there was little to do but suit up and get to work.  Little to no thinking, at this point, is a good thing.

The Trainer Road 8 minute test starts out with 28 minutes of warm up.  A few high cadence and clearing efforts are thrown in to prime the muscles for the test.  At the 28th minute, the first 8 minute interval is kicked off.

Having already flipped onto my big ring, I neglected to follow instructions and immediately spun up in a high gear.  I practically giggled when my pace settled in at 270 watts.  Now, I held no illusions about this test.  I mean, for my last test, I settled in around 220 watts, and I couldn’t even hold that for the full 8 minutes.  Still I resolved to hang on for as long as I could and see what happened.  That seems to be a pattern with me these days.

The interval didn’t get hard until about 4 minutes in.  That was when I realized that I just might be in the right place.  I kept my cadence right at 90 and struggled to keep my watts above 270 for the remaining 4 minutes.  When the interval was over, I was elated.

For the next 10 minutes, I spun easy and recovered, knowing that another similar interval was to follow.  About half way through the recovery period, I mentioned to my wife that I didn’t think I could hold those watts for another interval.  At the 44th minute, I started my second interval.

This time, I followed instructions and used the first 45 seconds to power up to 270 watts.  By the time I had settled in, a minute had already passed.  The second interval, of course, was harder, but still, I managed to keep my power within range of 270 watts, and I felt like I gave the test my all.

After an 8 minute cool down, Trainer Road saved my workout and recommended a new FTP for my workouts.  I was surprised and pleased to see: 238.  That’s a 33% increase in virtual FTP from my last test.  How cool is that?  This is what my test looked like on the computer.

ftp-test2

I’m very pleased with this test to say the least.  Not only did my vFTP improve considerably, but the test itself was much much clearner.  No tapering of the watts at the end of each interval.  Purrrty!

I’m looking forward to starting the Intermediate Base Plan II and integrating it with my triathlon training.  Unfortunately, I made a mistake on my annual training plan.  My first race is on April 29th, not the following week.  I’ve lost one week of training on the plan.  It’s not a huge deal.  I’m so far ahead of the plan with my current fitness level.  I just have to make some adjustments to get things back on track.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Wes

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Let There Be No Distance Between Us

A Georgia Half Marathon Race Report

Back in November/December-ish of 2011,  our dear friend Lisa from Arizona surprised Dee Dee and I with the request to come to Georgia in March of 2012 and race the Georgia Half Marathon.  If you remember from my Ironman Arizona race report, Lisa tag teamed with Dee Dee as my sherpa extraordinaire.  I was all too happy and excited to return the favor.  Lisa dialed up our mutual friend Karen, also from Arizona, and together, they got on a plane Friday and headed to Atlanta.

Daddy duty required me to be at my son’s soccer match, and Dee Dee headed to the airport to pick up the girls. Shortly after half time, Dee Dee, Lisa, and Karen arrived at the high school.  The score was zero to zero.  They hadn’t missed much.  The game ended in a zero to zero tie and went into overtime.  Literally, one second before the end of the first overtime period, the opposing team scored, and that was how the game ended.

Dee Dee and I put our heads together.  Atlanta is a busy restaurant town.  We wanted to go eat someplace nice but would not require a long wait.  It occurred to me that the little restaurant at the airport would probably be ideal.  The food was good, and it was hardly ever packed.  I think we waited about fifteen minutes before being seated.  Elevations specializes in martinis topped with frozen nitrogen.  No, you don’t drink the nitrogen, but it is a kinda cool effect.

girls_eating_dinner

After a few drinks and a nice dinner, we headed home.  Dee Dee thought it would be fun to take Karen and Lisa to the local dance club for a bit.  Queue the sinister music.  Letting Karen and Lisa out into that type of environment is a riot, and potentially dangerous. Lisa went out onto the dance floor and asked the local hip hop homie to show her some of his moves.  The rumor that we have video of this “lesson” is entirely unsubstantiated. I do remember, rather vividly, Karen laughing hysterically before moving to the other side of the dance floor for a better view.

The highlight of the night was introducing Lisa and Karen to our local celebrity “Little Outlaw”, a.k.a.  “Hellz yea!”  This old guy doesn’t have a rhythmic bone in his body, yet he stomps around out there on the dance floor so much, he has to have a wardrobe change.  He even came by the table to spend some quality time with Karen and Lisa.  How do you top that?  I’ll tell you, an autographed "Little Outlaw” post card, resplendent with glossy photo.

Sometime in the wee hours of our morning (still early on Arizona time), we closed it down and headed back to the house.  I would have liked to have gotten up in the morning and rode my bike, but that didn’t happen.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  Plus, I wanted to make breakfast with Dee Dee for our guests before heading out to the expo.

Breakfast consisted of eggs, bacon, grits, and biscuits, of course.  We managed to roll out of the house for the expo shortly before lunch.  On the way down. Dee Dee told me there were a large number of events going on in Atlanta, and we had better go in the back way.  Having raced in the area before, we got off at Northside Drive and went to the World Congress Center on the back roads.  No problemo!  We did have a bit of fun finding a spot to park in the parking garage, but that’s just part of the fun.

Last year, the expo was inside the dome.  This year, they had it in a huge conference center.

expoPublix set up a mini-supermarket at the entrance to the expo, and it was chock full of their Greenwise product line.  Last year, I sent Publix an email letting them know how much I loved their sponsorship of the Georgia Half Marathon.  This year, they did not disappoint.

Naturally, they put packet pickup at the back of the expo, and that was fine with us.  We headed to the back to pick up our race numbers and schwag.  The race shirts were really good this year, and they even exchanged Dee Dee’s to a different size.  We spent the next couple of hours browsing the various vendors at the expo.

girls_expo

Dee Dee and I basically escaped from the expo unscathed, and no, I didn’t restrict Dee Dee’s shopping.  It just worked out that way.  Lisa and Karen (sshhhhhhhh!) weren’t so lucky.  I did learn something though.  Those little earbuds (from two different manufacturers) that are supposed to stay in your ears no matter what?  Ummm, yea.  They don’t work on me.

We stopped at Taco Mac on the way home, much to Karen’s delight.  I tried to eat lite, just a beer and some wings, but somehow managed to stuff myself, none the less.  After making it back to the house, Dee Dee and the girls went out shopping (again), and I hit the bike for an hour.  I wanted to get in the full 1.5 hour workout, but my legs just weren’t having it.  With a half marathon on the horizon, I thought it a good idea to cut it short.

The girls stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and I whipped up a late dinner of Lasagna.  I made a side of tomato slices topped with fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette.  It was delicious.  I ate just enough to tide me over until morning.

The alarm clock was set to go off at 4:30 AM.  Lisa got up at 4:00 AM (1 AM her time), and Dee Dee got up around 4:10.  I don’t think the alarm ever went off.  Ten minutes later, I hopped up and began to get my stuff ready for the race.  I put on my black Mizuno shorts and my ING race shirt from 2007.  I opted not to wear my Vibrams for the race.  My calves were still really sore from my last Vibrams run.  I had a cup of coffee to go with my usual breakfast of consisting of a bagel and yogurt.  Right on time, we piled into the car and headed for down town.

Last year, it was getting pretty crowded by the time I arrived downtown.  This year, I pulled off the interstate on the HOV exit, proceeded right to a parking lot and parked one block from the race start.  I love auspicious starts. After paying for our parking spot, we headed down to Centennial Park.  The lines at the “Handy Cans” were a bit longer this year, but we managed to get in and our pretty quickly.  With over an hour to kill, we amused ourselves around the park.

quartet

We kidnapped some poor kid and made him take a picture of us in exchange for his freedom.

pre-race-park

Shortly after that, we went off in search of our corrals.  Lucky for me, they were in the same place as last year, and I knew right were to go.  We found a nice wall to sit on at Corral “C” while we waited for the race to start.  Lisa thought this picture of us chillaxin was appropriate, and it was.

feet

Twenty minutes before the race start, somebody who shall remain nameless decided that she needed to go potty again.  Of to the “Handy Can” lines we went, again.  I took that opportunity to go too, cause I’m just smart like that.  Using my superior intellect, I calculated that our corrals would be on the far side of the intervening hotels.  We took a side street back up to the road and came out at Corral “J”.  Dee Dee and I were supposed to be in “M”, Lisa in “L”, and Karen was seeded in “K”.  She thinks she’s all fast or sumfin.  We all decided to pile into Corral “K” with Karen.

It wasn’t long before the national anthem was sung.  The race announcer was doing a decent job of keeping the crowd entertained and informed as to how much time was left before the race start.  We heard the cannon go off, but since we were standing next to the 1/4 mile sign, we had no expectations of getting started anytime soon.  Still, we shuffled forward with the rest of the crowd.  I think it took us ten minutes before we finally crossed the starting line and began to run.

start

The walk to the starting line is slightly up hill, but from the start, there is a nice long down hill section that you can use to get warmed up.  I ran with Dee Dee, and though I felt like she was pushing the pace a bit, I let her feel free to set whatever pace she wanted.

We covered the first three miles rather quickly.  As a matter of fact,  I think Dee Dee did it faster than she ran her last 5K.  The down hill certainly helped, but I was concerned that she might have started out too fast.  At about the 3.5 mile mark, we crossed the bridge over Freedom Parkway, and Lisa snapped a gorgeous picture of the sun coming up on the Atlanta skyline.

atlanta

It was fun chatting with LIsa and Karen as we ran.  We pointed out some things we knew about on the race course, and we even picked up a knowledgeable tour guide that pointed out the Martin Luther King Center, Ebeneezer Baptist Church, and Dr. King’s birth home.

mlking_church

On the approach to Inman Park at mile 6, I felt like Dee Dee was making good time.  Karen and Lisa kept her entertained, and she had a smile on her face.  Near The Carter Center, the half way timing mat was beeping as runners crossed.  Lisa and Karen took off to see who would cross the mat first.  Dee Dee and I laughed as we jogged after them.

One of the things I can say about this race, I didn’t realize how hilly it was when I PRed last year.  I kept telling the girls that I didn’t think there were many more hills, only to have the race course prove me wrong.  Towards the end of the race, it became my standard joke to say:

It’s all downhill from here.

Karen developed a special “stink eye” in response to that phrase :-)

karen_and_her_sign

Karen’s favorite sign of the day

Sometime before we headed into Piedmont Park area, there as a young man on the side walking his bunny on a leash.  LOL…  Along comes a non-racer jogging with his dog (on a leash), and the dog just about had a brand new chew toy.

We crossed by PIedmont Park before turning up parallel to Peachtree for the uphill climb to Georgia Tech.  Once we passed the stadium, it was a short 1.1 miles to the finish line.  I think Lisa and Dee Dee took this stretch shortly after passing the university.

deedee_lisa

Dee Dee stayed pretty strong to the finish.  Running down Marietta Street back to Centennial Park is always the fun part.  We passed a drum corp, and the Hawks cheerleaders.  That last one was for me.  I told Dee Dee I could hear the finish.  Right before the left turn to the finish line, Dee Dee wanted to walk again.  I took her hand, and together we ran to and crossed the finish line together.  I stopped under the finish line to get Teh Bug a Happy Anniversary kiss.

Mission accomplished.

Dee Dee finished in 3:19:08,. a thirty or so second PR from her race in 2007.  Not bad, not bad at all since her training had been somewhat inconsistent.  I know she was happy, and that’s all that mattered.

After picking up our medals and a bottle of water, we paused for a few victory photos.

finish

finish_wes_deedee

On the way out of the finish area, we picked up a bottle of cold chocolate milk.  Chocolate milk is excellent post race recovery food.  If you aren’t careful, however, the sugar in the milk can really do a number on your stomach.  I handled mine OK, but it didn’t agree with Dee Dee.

We grabbed Karen and LIsa’s bag at the drop tent before heading to the food tent for our grab bag.  I wasn’t really all that interested in food.  I brought the bag home, but didn’t touch a thing.  Lisa mentioned that she would like a post race burger.  We headed back to Taco Mac (one closer to home) and had a nice post race lunch.  Taco Mac makes a really nice burger.

burger

By the time we got home around 1 PM, we were exhausted.  After getting cleaned up, we all passed out for a nice long nap.  I think we woke up around 3 PM.  Karen, Lisa, Dee Dee and I sat out on the deck, drinking tea and coffee and enjoying the beautiful day.  All too soon, 5 PM rolled around, and ti was time to take Karen and Lisa back to the airport to catch their flight.  With a lot of hugs and laughs, we said our good byes, then headed home to pick up Matthew for a late anniversary dinner.

I want to thank both Karen and Lisa, not only for taking and sharing these wonderful pictures, but also coming all the way to Atlanta from Arizona to make this race so special.  I love Facebook and all, but blogging was and is the main source for all the wonderful friendships I have developed over the years through social media.  Without, I would have never met such wonderful and special friends as Karen and Lisa.  I can’t wait to see them again.

and that my friends, is the conclusion to another wonderful memory.

Wes

Monday, March 19, 2012

Out with a Whimper

Consistency, consistency, consistency... That really is the number one rule of training. Once you nail consistency, THEN you can start your orderly progression of fitness. If you are not consistent with your training, then your fitness is going to rise and fall, and almost assuredly, you will not achieve your goals.

I started the Intermediate Base Plan I over at Trainer Road a little over 7 weeks ago.  It's a six week plan, but was interrupted by my need to get home to Mobile to see my father. I picked back up with the last workout I had completed (thus repeating it), and proceeded to execute the rest of the plan.

It just so happened that the final week of the plan happened to coincide with my first week of triathlon training, and the weekend of the Georgia Half Marathon.  I would be lying if I did not admit to being a bit concerned about the impact a pure cycling plan was going to have on my triathlon training.

I nailed the first two cycling workouts, and in between, I went for a 4 mile run in my Vibrams.  Somewhere along the line, I did a number on my calves and my knees.  It had been a while since I ran in the Vibrams, so 4 miles was probably not a good idea.  My legs were so sore, I ended up cutting my long workout short on Saturday from 1.5 hours to 1 hour. I hated doing it, but with a half marathon on Sunday, it was definitely the right call.

After completing the Intermediate Base Plan I, I definitely feel like my cycling has been whipped back into shape.  The Trainer Road plan has done wonders for my form and strength, and the proof will show soon, as I plan to do another 8 minute test to see just where I am at!

Full report on my anniversary weekend, Lisa and Karen's visit from Arizona, and the Georgia Half Marathon is on its way!

Happy week, y'all!

Wes

Monday, March 05, 2012

Hold

A Harmony on the Lake 5K Race Report

Several times now, I've had to remind myself.  I'm not training for anything specific, yet.  My goal for this pre/off season is pretty simple.  I want to run 13.1 miles with my wife on March 18th.  Nothing else really matters.  If I need to skip a workout, move them around, adjust the time frame/distance, then so be it.

Not bad for somebody that's been training 7+ hours a week for the past month or so :-)  My point being, all of this base training is nice, and its certainly whipping me into shape, but I can go a little easy on the dedication.

Speaking of whipping me into shape...  This is a graph of my heart rate during a Trainer Road workout on February 15th.


As you can see, on each one of my intervals, my heart rate climbed steadily into Zone 4 and pretty much stayed there until the end.  Fast forward to last week.  This is another workout I did, with a slightly less intense interval set.


During this workout, my heart rate never climbed out of Zone 2.  This is the kind of progress that makes me happy!  Especially, given, I had not ridden my bike until this year since last July.

A few of you on Facebook may have noticed that I have slipped back into my old diet.  Operation No Red Meat is on hold while I re-calibrate.  I came to the obvious conclusion that you can over eat on a mostly vegetarian diet, and the diet itself, while much much cleaner, just wasn't having the desired effect.  I am in the process of reassessing my goals and needs.  I doubt I will go back to a 100% plant based diet, but that option is always open to me.  Stay tuned...

A few months ago,  a friend sent me a Facebook invitation to a neighborhood 5K.  This friend is a 3:15 marathoner.  Her daughter was putting on a 5K as her senior project, and she wanted to know if I would participate.  The money raised would help in the fight against cancer.  I have a personal beef with cancer, so the race was right up my alley.  I sent in a registration entry for both myself, and Dee Dee, although Teh Bug had to work that day.

Like last weekend, it was cold Sunday morning.  To make things better, the wind was blowing too.  It didn't take me as long as I thought to get to the race venue.  I decided to sit in my car for 15 minutes and finish my coffee.  Inside the neighborhood club house, Christina, her hubby, and her daughter were handling packet pick up.  I grabbed mine and Dee Dee's race packets and dropped them off in the car.  That gave me about thirty minutes before race time to sit in the club house and keep warm.

At 5 minutes before the race start, we all went out into the cold and wind.  The race starter announced he was going to say "Mark, set, go", drop his hand, and when he did that, we take off.  I think there was about 60-70 people participating in the race.  Pretty much right away, the starter went through the motions, and the race got underway.


You wouldn't have a neighborhood named "Harmony on the Lake" without a lake right?  The race started out slightly down hill.  I wanted to run a fast 5K, but it wasn't going to be a PR effort.  Just nice, comfortable, fun.  At the bottom of the little incline, I glanced at my watch and saw a 7:15 pace.  Visions of a PR danced in my head.  I quickly quashed the idea.  This race as but the first part of what needed to be a 10 mile day for me.

We wound around through the neighborhood and came out by the lake.  The lake was beautiful.  Despite being windy and cold, the sun was shining.  When ran back by the club house and into the other side of the neighborhood.  There were a few hills here to challenge us, but nothing serious.  I had been chasing a guy my age up to this point, and around mile 2, I passed him for good.  At this point, some of the young people came running by on their way back.

Damn teenagers...

We made a big loop, and this pretty much disconnected the rest of us from the leaders.  I came out on the far side of the loop and kept my pace and effort steady and consistent.  Once we turned back out onto the main road, I knew the end was near.  It seemed to take a little longer than I thought it should, but the distance ended up being spot on.

I crossed the finish line right under 26:00.  I was kind of surprised when the score keeper handed my card with the #8 on it.  I finished 8th over all and 1st in my age group.  I was pretty happy with that.  It was slightly slower than my 5K from last weekend, but I also swam and executed a tough 1.5 hour ride the day before, AND, I needed to tack on another seven miles or so.

The awards ceremony went pretty quickly.  I grabbed my medal, a bottle of water, and some donuts, then headed over to nearby Boling Park to complete my run for the day.  I thought at first that 5-6 miles would probably be fine, but I ended up HTFUing and getting in the entire 6.86 miles to bring my total for the day to 10 miles.

Then, I went home and passed out....

Wes

Monday, February 27, 2012

I want to go fast!

A Guns and Hoses 5K Race Report

This was Dee Dee's and my third time running the Guns and Hoses 5K.   The venue is right down the street from my house and actually runs on the road in my neighborhood.  It doesn't get any more local than that!  I had been watching the weather all week, hoping that the temperatures would be warm.  I intended to run this race in my Vibrams, and the thought of cold hard asphalt was not a pleasant one!  Predictably, Mr. Murphy shows up and gives us a race time temperature of 39 degrees.  Brrrrrrr!  Now that that's settled, nothing left to do but get our race on!

I set the alarm for 6:20 AM, which is the usual time I get up to take my son to school.  On race day, getting up at 6:20 AM is a luxury.    Still, Dee Dee and I didn't drag out butts out of bed until sometime after quarter till seven, just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat, take care of the pre-race formalities, and get out the door in a most unhurried like manner.

We arrived at the park later than normal, as expected, and it was packed.  We scored a parking spot next to the van carrying Dee Dee's co-workers from Cobb County.  Like a lot of people, they were sitting in the van, staying warm, until it was time to start the race.  Dee Dee had picked up our race packets the day before, so we too stayed in the car until 10 minutes before race time.

The air was every bit of 39 degrees cold.  I had on tights, a thermal long sleeve shirt, and my long sleeve race shirt.  I had also decided to go with the Vibrams after all.  Dee Dee and I jogged around a bit before joining back up with her friends.  It seemed like the race got started a little late.  We were all still chatting when the horn sounded, and the crowd began to move.  Since I wasn't trying to PR this race, I was OK with starting the back.  I went ahead and start on my Garmin and joined the crowd.

The first couple of minutes, I spent a lot of time dodging walkers and slower runners, looking for my own space.  A quarter of a mile later, I found myself on the outside edge with plenty of room to run.  The race starts out on a long gentle down hill till it meets the road that runs into my neighborhood.  I felt the spot on my left foot start to complain.  I think there's something that goes on in there with the nerve between my tarsals (?).  It usually acts up when I get my mileage over thirty or so.  In a few more minutes, it had calmed down, and my feet felt fine and snug in the Vibrams.

Once the course hits my neighborhood, its a flat out and back to the water treatment plant.  The race course had changed this year, due to new construction on the park, and the Garmin beeped for the first mile, shortly after turning down the road towards the plant.


In order to get to the required 3.11 miles, the race course went up the hill and behind the school before coming back down the hill and rejoining the old route.  That first sharp little climb was quite a tester.  The real struggle, however, began as we made our way back up the road towards the park.  The nice smooth downhill on the way out turned in to a gradually increasing climb on the way back.  Even after crossing into the parking lot, we had to go slightly uphill to the top of the baseball fields, before making a right then a left on to the walking path.

The good news at this point:  there was only half a mile to go, and it was almost all downhill.  At the back of the baseball fields, we deviated off the walking path down by the amphitheater and behind the tennis courts.  As we passed the tennis courts on our left, we emerged onto the lower parking lot, and there to our left was the finish line.  I kicked it in and crossed the line in 25:49 for an 8:13 over all pace.

I was pretty happy with that.  I pushed myself pretty hard, and my heart rate data corroborated this nicely.  My miles came in at 7:51, 8:26, and 8:29, with a 7:10 pace for the final 0.11.  That was a pretty even effort.  I grabbed a banana and walked up past the amphitheater to wait on Dee Dee.  While I was watching the runners come in, I saw the cutest little girl, all of 6 or 7 running with her dad.  As they get next to me, I hear the dad say:  "There's 200 meters left to go, what do you want to do?"  The little girl answers:  "I want to go fast!"  It was just so cute, and appropriate.  Watch out for that future champion!

Dee Dee finished the race four minutes faster than last year.  Due to the cold, we didn't hang around very long!  Warm coffee and breakfast was but two miles away!  Over all, I was pleased with my race results, and pleased that my Vibrams went so well.  I don't know if I'm ready to go all out in them yet, but I'm thinking about it!

Wes

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Coming Home

I'm coming home
I'm coming home
tell the World I'm coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they've forgiven my mistakes
I'm coming home, I'm coming home
tell the World I'm coming

Back where I belong
I've never felt so strong eh
feeling like there's nothing that I can't try
and if you feel me put your hands high, high, high, hey
and if you feel me put your hands high, high, hey

Every couple of months, I’ve been trying to get back home to see my father.  It’s been 10 months since he came down with bacterial meningitis.  He’s been in the hospital or an extended care facility for that entire time.  It’s been hard for me to be 375 miles away.  My older brother, my step-mother, and a few of my father’s brothers have bore the brunt of his care.  Still, I do what I can, give my step-mother a break when I can.

This past weekend, I got the welcome news that Dad was coming home.  There just wasn’t much more they could do for him at the extended care facility that could not be done at home via outpatient.  I was actually in Mobile this past weekend, and the entire family is very excited about this great news.  He still has a long road ahead of him, but we all know that Dad will be much much happier being at home, and it will be so much easier on everybody else to help with his care.

I put in two of my Trainer Road workouts last week before heading out of town.  I took my running gear with me, and figured I could make up my long ride sometime on Monday, after I got home.  Before I went to see my father Saturday, I got up and did three miles on the treadmill.  During that run, I finally came to the realization that all this working out stuff at this time was just BS.  I canned my 10 mile long run on Sunday and instead optimized my time with my father.

After driving home Monday, I took my gear with me to work, and put in 10 miles at Cochran Shoals along the Chattahoochee River.  The mini-taper gave my legs some excess energy, and I put in 10 miles at a 9 minute pace.  It felt so good to be out in the cool clean air, running on flat ground.
The plan for now is to take my swim test today (done!), repeat the last Trainer Road workout I did last Thursday, then pick back up where I left off this weekend.  I have a little ole 5K I’m planning on running this weekend, the annual Guns and Hoses 5K.  I planning on doing that one in my Vibrams.  We’ll see how it goes!

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Wes