Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Employed

Sorry about all the confusion over the running/jogging statement I made in my last post. Now, see. I'm a pretty smart guy. I don't always act intelligent, and I may not always use my intelligence in ways that are constructive or apparent, but just go with me here. What's really funny about the statement about jogging stride is that that statement, in and of itself, is an attempt by me to dissect my form. This is significant. I rarely care to pay attention to the finer details of things. It is much easier and less complicated to just accept the finer details and otherwise ignore them. Ask my drill sergeants from the Army. I was always getting in trouble for not having these buttons buttoned, or that (unworn) shoe tied. For me, to question my stride, is a bit unusual.

With that said... I'm also a very fast learner. It seems that length of stride is directly related to the level of effort. The faster you run, the longer your stride. And I learned this. This was part of my grand experiment. I had read in a Galloway book that you should always run at the same number of steps per minute. If you want to run slower, then you just take shorter steps. I'm not sure that my "experiment" really answered this aspect of my question, and it bears further investigation for another day. For the record, and I do repeat myself, in my mind, if you strap on your shoes and step out the door, you are a runner, and running. That is a core principle for me that I will not negotiate. Sorry if I offended anyone.

After my interview this morning I made it to the pool. Thanks for the suggestions by the way for wearing Jammers. I had pretty much decided that that was the route for me, and I'm glad that so many of you came up with independent suggestions. I did full laps today for the first time. I warmed up with 3x50 breast stroke, 2x50 free style, 7x100 free style, 3x50 breast stroke to cool down. OK tri-gurus. I have a question for you. If you are 3/4s of the way through your 100m lap, and you cannot breath do you:

1. Change to breast stroke
2. Float on your back
3. Stand up
4. Drown

After all my interviews, I decided that two of the companies I was interviewing with were either moving too slow or had negative aspects that really didn't get me all that excited. That left me with one company that had put an offer on the table. While trying to decide what to do, the recruiter called that had made me the first offer and told me that the job was still open. With the other two companies out of the picture, it basically boiled down to which one of these jobs was best for me. In truth, they both were fine. I went with the first (original) offer because I liked the people. I liked the stress level of the job, and its a lot closer to home. But most of all, it finally felt right. I like that.

Finish strong!

Wes

OSN: 1100 meters, ~35 minutes, 2:04 100 meter laps

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Trying Something New

As most of you are aware, I subscribe to the run/walk method of training. During races, I tend to throw the whole plan out the window and just do whatever I feel like. After reading Erlina's interview with Jeff Galloway, I got to wondering if I am actually executing the run/walk method properly. Here is what led to the present conundrum.

If you come by my blog, you know that I did my 1 mile time test this past Sunday. Due to my race schedule, I haven't done ANY of the other tests in the first six months. This was a first. While I was doing my test, I realized that I haven't really been in a running stride at all. What I have been in is a jogging stride, and this is why my times are in the 9-11 minute ranges. Now, don't get me wrong, whether or not I am "jogging" or "running" makes no difference to me, in my mind, its all running. The experiment, however, will be to run at my "natural pace", whatever that is, with a full running stride. In return, I plan to shorten my Run/Walk ratio from 5/1 down to 3/1 and see how that affects my time. I'll let you know how it goes later this afternoon.

Finally, BAGS and I got back out on the road for another ride yesterday afternoon. The sun was out and it was a chilly forty degrees. I did my best to keep my helmet down when my speed picked up into the twentys, and I made a conscientious effort not to kill myself on this ride, thus my 11.7 mph average speed. The good news was that my legs felt great, and I managed to power my way up most of the hills without any undue stress. I never dropped out of the second gear on the big wheel, which is a first for me.

Another sunny day here in Atlanta, but cold. We have a chance of snow Thursday, but most likely it will just rain. Two face to face interviews today. Hopefully, by close of business today, I will be employed.

Finish strong!

Wes

Results are in. From my running log:

I did R3/W1 and tried to run harder during the three minutes I had to run. While my overall pace and time was good, I was really breathing hard during the entire run, and I am sure, had I worn my heart monitor, that I would have been aneorobic the entire time, which is not good. I think for now, I'll stick to training with my heart rate monitor so I can stay in the right zone, and not kill myself in the process. The experiment was a success. I think I could pace myself a little faster, not like today, have a shorter run time, and still do about the same time. Filed away for future reference....

ORN: 3.45 miles, 33:21, speed pace, 9:42 miles, R3/W1
OCN: 8.25 miles, 42 minutes, 11.7 mph avg

Sunday, January 28, 2007

One Mile Time Trial

Well. Here it is. I have been doing this training thing for an entire six months now. In my mind that is a pretty incredible achievement. I'm sure, in the future, I will look back and say, "Six months? Bah!" That's nothing compared to where I will be in 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years. But for me, today. This is where I am at, and it feels good.

I was thinking last night about all the adjustments I've had to make in my life to accommodate running. I have a family. I have a full time job. I have a restaurant. I have kids that play soccer 2 seasons a year. On and on and on. I've run at soccer practice. I've run at 9:45 PM at night. I always fine time in my busy schedule to get'er done, and that's important. But ya know... The biggest adjustment suddenly hit my like a ton of bricks last night as I was sitting in the wooden chair at the bar of my place, drinking a Guiness. I just don't have as much padding in my buttocks anymore. That folks is going to require an adjustment. It hurts to sit on wooden chairs for a long time. I'm blaming it all on Jodi. She and LBTEPA urged me to get in the pool, and now my glute muscles are firming up like there is no tomorrow. Owww!

Saturday was a gorgeous day again here. I went to the pool and did 900 meters in the pool. 150 meters of breast strokes, 650 meters of free style, then 150 meters of breast strokes to cool down. I worked real hard to swim easy and keep good form. It cost me about a 2 second average on my laps, but I was easily able to add the extra laps.

This morning I awoke to even more sunshine! Suweeet. It was cold and windy but an otherwise beautiful day. I got dressed and out the door by 10 AM, which is something of a record for me. Instead of heading to the track as I had planned, I decided to head up to the park and run the track around the softball fields. I did my first lap at a fairly rapid pace, coming in at 9:24 seconds. The circle was not quite half a mile like the sign said. Well, at least the Garmin said it was 0.04 short. Since I wanted to be official, I decided to go with the Garmin. I took a three or four minute break to catch my wind and set off for my test mile. I managed to burn rubber for the first 6 tenths of the mile, averaging about a 7:45 second pace. On the slight uphill past the fields I decided that I needed a walk break. What was supposed to be 30 seconds turned into a minute and then I poured it on again and came in for my test mile at 8:22. Not too shabby for this fat boy. My final 1.22 was walked/ran at a leisurely 12 minute mile pace to wrap up my day.

Lots of fun planned this week. Today I get to move my daughter BACK into my house. Joy, joy. I planning on hitting the bike tomorrow, which I failed to do all last week. I have an interview Monday and Tuesday, and the phone interview Friday went well. They want me to come in for a face to face.

Have a great week everybody!

Wes

OSN: 900 meters, 14x50, ~30 minutes, 54 second laps
ORN: 3.22 miles, 33:34, 1 mile test (8:22), 10:26 miles, walk as needed

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Just Damn! - Will Code for Food - Day 7

I am deeply saddened to report the loss of the first job offer. I'm just not the kind of guy to keep a company hanging on the line. I have three interviews scheduled for Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, and I just didn't feel right asking them to wait. I told them not to. And I'm saddened by it. In days gone past I would have jumped at such an opportunity. This time it is different. I'm going to take my time and find something I can believe in. Something that feels right.

What a glorious day it is in Atlanta this morning. The sun is actually shining for the first time since Thursday. This southern boy is waiting for the temperatures to warm up from a balmy 36 degrees to something closer to the daily high of 50. Then... I'm going to go run. I'm in the mood for something longish. I thought to myself, why not set a new weekly record? I can just go out and do six miles at whatever pace floats my boat. Be back in an hour, and all is good. So that is what I'm going to do.

After my run, I'm off to the sporting goods store for a pair of goggles and maybe a new pair of swim trunks, provided I can find the kind I want during the winter.

Have a great day, y'all!

Wes

ORN: 6.13 miles, 66 minutes, normal pace, 10:46 miles, R7/W1

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Delimma - Will Code for Food - Day 6

One job offer is on the table. It is a job which I would gladly accept if I didn't have these other things going. I just completed my two phone interviews, and the Director of one company and the CTO of the other want me to come out for a face to face interview next week. This seems to be a personal problem I have. I don't want to disappoint the folks that have already made me an offer, but I need to speak with these other two folks in order to have a few options. That bird in the hand thing just doesn't quite work here. In the mean time, the clock is ticking and Wes doesn't have any income coming in. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

With all this free time, I got to go to the pool this morning. I love how refreshing it is to get in the pool and exercise. When you get out, your body is entirely worked over. The muscles are all relaxed. It is an invigorating feeling. Today, I did 12x50s, and I swam for about 25 minutes. I hadn't really planned to bump my distance up, but I felt well enough to give four more laps ago. I have definitely decided that I need a pair of goggles. Honestly. I'm off alcohol!

Last night, I decided that I would just do my recovery run on the treadmill. Nothing spectacular. Started out with a two minute walk. I then completed two miles at 5.1 MPH, elevation 2, and then uped the speed to 5.5 MPH for the last mile. I love that about the treadmill. The walk break guaranteed me a negative split for the first two miles. The speed increase sealed it for the final mile.

All you gals doing speed work on the treadmill are getting me excited! You ROCK! I did mention on Wannabe5Ker's post that starting out with 400s might be a bit hard on us newbies doing speed work for the first time. What do you guys think?

Finish strong!

Wes

ORN: 3 miles, 35 minutes, recovery pace, 11:50 miles, all run
OSN: 600 meters, 12x50, ~25 minutes, ~52 second laps

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Will Code for Food - Day 5

For those of you who would like a little more info about lil ol me, go by Erlina's blog over at Left Foot, Right Foot. I am the feature of the day!

Things are moving along nicely now. I had my first face to face interview this morning. I have another face to face scheduled for this afternoon. Tomorrow, I have three phone interviews scheduled, and the phone continues to ring. I'm hoping for good things.

Yesterday was a rest day for me. Dee Dee did her 9 mile run yesterday after not feeling real well Sunday. She took my CamelBak and Garmin and slugged out her mileage before dinner. Way to go, Baby! You did awesome, and I'm excited that you are going to be there with me for my half.

Three mile recovery run to get in today. Not sure how or where I'm going to fit it in. I might end up on the treadmill. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to get in a swim and a ride. We'll see what the day has in store for me.

Later!

Wes

Feedback #1: Job offer #1 has come in :-) Sweet.

ORN: Rest

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Running in the Rain (WCFF - Day 3)

Where to start? Dee Dee and I watched the approaching thundershowers with a little apprehension Saturday night. I was hoping that I could get out and run before they got here. Unfortunately, I found out that my main team, Manchester United, was playing live on Fox Soccer Channel against Arsenal at 11 AM. I just wasn't going to miss that.

When we woke up Sunday morning, around 9:30 AM, I could already hear the rain pitter-pattering on the roof top. There was no doubt it was going to be a wet day. I made breakfast for the family and the assortment of neighborhood children that spent the night. I was a bit peeved as I watched Manchester United give up a 1-0 lead and lose 2-1 late in the game. I put on a thin long sleeve technical shirt and my long sleeve thick Under Armor shirt. I found the CamelBak that Dee Dee bought me for Christmas and filled it with Gatoraide and one of my high energy snack mixes. Dee Dee loaned me her Adidas jacket, which was perfect for running in, nice and light and thin. I put my Atlanta Thrashers hat on my head, stepped out into the rain and waited for the Garmin to catch the satellites. In a few minutes I was off.

The run was very pleasant to say the least. I wanted to do an out and back this time. I needed my mileage to be exact. The rain was falling lightly as I made my way through the neighborhood. I was running down a familiar route, my 8.25 loop, but I was running it in the opposite direction. It has a series of hills and valleys, including one hill that is about a mile long. I was glad that I was going up the hill on the way out, and not on the way back. I passed several other hardy runners. I tipped my hat to them and said, "Beautiful day!" I got a few smiles for that one. I did have one uh-oh moment. I was crossing the entrance to one of the many subdivisions when a car I thought was going to wait to make a right turn, decided to come on out anyways, and I barely made it around the hood before the car entered the cross walk behind me. I vowed to never do that again.

At my first walk break after the halfway point, I ate my energy snack and started to drink my Gatoraide. It felt a bit weird trying to eat during the run. Just another thing to get used to I guess. I sipped the Gatoraide until it ran out about three quarters of the way through the run. Did I mention that the CamelBak is awesome? You hardly even know that it is there, and having the pockets and liquids available on the run was just awesome. As I approached the 8 mile mark, the rain began to come down in buckets. My running was smooth and unlabored. My breathing was fine. I felt really good. My hammys started to twinge a bit as I picked up the pace a bit, no doubt inspired by the downpour. My shoes got soaked, and I worried about blisters. Fortunately for me, none appeared.

Mount Doom and Ass-kicker fell beneath me. As a matter of fact, I didn't walk up ANY of the hills, unless it was time for an official walk break. I did a steady R5/W1 the entire way. I finished the run feeling tired, exhilarated, but not physically spent. I think I could of done 2.6 more miles on a flatter course. Here are the splits from my run:

1. 11:51
2. 12:23
3. 12:28
4. 11:00
5. 11:24
6. 11:57
7. 11:34
8. 11:14
9. 10:29
10. 11:38
11. 4:46 (0.5 miles)

I just can't say enough how strong my legs felt. All of that cross training has really been paying off. I was a little bit concerned when I started my run. My legs felt a little tired after biking and swimming these past two days, but the fear was unfounded.

I know, that in the future, I will never be that concerned about the wet weather again. How can I when I have such great friends like Sara, Michelle, Neese, Jodi, and Wanna-be-5ker to inspire me? And so many of you others that run for the joy of running, no matter what the weather. Thanks my friends. You inspire me to great things.

Finish strong!

Wes

ORN: 10.5 miles, 2:00:46, endurance pace, 11:28 miles, R5/W1

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Will Code for Food - Day 2

Today didn't start off quite as early as I planned. Dee Dee and I went out last night for a very small dinner around 10 PM (after leaving the our restaurant). I unfortunately decided that I had missed my gin and tonics and had four. By the time I managed to drag my sorry carcass out of bed this morning, it was already 9:30 AM. I was pleasantly surprised when my darling wife got out of bed and joined me. She wanted to swim too! We had quite a time of it, going through our clothes trying to find our bathing suits. We haven't seen them in a while. After a lot of searching, we found what we needed and headed for the gym.

On the way, we stopped off at Walmart and bought two locks for the lockers. We made it to the gym just fine, got changed and headed to the pool. I tested the water a bit, and it was pleasant. I started out with 5 minutes of warming up, simple breast strokes and kicking on my back a little. Then it was time to get down to business. Dee Dee and I decided that we would do 8x50 for our first session. I timed my first lap, and I came in at 50 seconds. I honestly don't know if that is good or not, and then I decided that my lap times just weren't important yet, so I quit timing them. Swimming was hard work! I grew up on the gulf coast. I know how to swim fairly well. What I don't have is endurance, and I haven't swam "laps" since I was on the swim team at 8 years old.

I'm pretty sure that after every lap, I got a little more tired, a little bit slower. I worked real hard to swim easy and keep a good form. More often than not, my form fell totally apart by the time I reached the end of my lap, but I was getting it done. I think I could swim, maybe, 200 meters non-stop right now, and that's OK. I have experience now, with running and biking. I know the more I swim the better it will get, and I wanna get good!

I was thinking alot today about my job situation. It's not the fact that I lost my job so much that bothers me. In the past, I usually go no longer than a week or two between gigs, and I've found jobs in as little as 2 days. Such is the nature of my profession. Its the timing that bothers me the most. It seems like life is conspiring against me. I don't like being controlled. I like to be in control. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I have a face to face interview tentatively scheduled for Monday, and a phone interview with a very promising company scheduled for Wednesday. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

Tomorrow, I have a 10.5 miler on my plate. I wanted to run at the Chattahoochee Nature Park, but Dee Dee and I decided to just hang around here tomorrow, I think. That could change. The thought of running 10.5 miles is making me gulp a bit. I think I can handle it. Tomorrow is a brand new day.

Finish strong!

Wes

OCN: 10.25 miles, 52 minutes, 11.9 MPH Avg
OSN: 400 meters, 8x50, ~20 minutes

Friday, January 19, 2007

Will Code for Food - Day 1

I have the best friends in the world, and you blogging buddies ain't too shabby either! LOL. You know I am talking about you. One of the nice things about being in my profession is that there are almost alway folks looking for people with my skills. The only limitation is usually finding one that isn't a large cut in pay. But hey, we do what we gotta do. I updated my resume yesterday, submitted a few, and the phone has been ringing fairly steady. I've already been submitted to two companies. We will keep our fingers crossed!

I really wasn't in the mood to run yesterday, but I just would not accept that. I did let the cold dreary weather drive me inside though. I thought, given my mood, that I would try something new. There are some templates on my Garmin software for running Fartleks. I thought that I would give one a try to see how it went. This is basically what I did:

2 minutes - Heart Rate Zone 1
2 minutes - Heart Rate Zone 2
2 minutes - Heart Rate Zone 3

Repeat twice
Repeat twice
.1 mile at 7 MPH
.1 mile in Heart Rate Zone 2
Repeat twice
10 seconds at 8.5 MPH (OMG!)
1 minute in Heart Rate Zone 2

2 minutes - Heart Rate Zone 2
2 minutes - Heart Rate Zone 1

It was a blast. I extended the cool down period to about 7 minutes so I could get in 2.5 miles, and I was feelin it baby this morning when I woke up. 8.5 MPH is like ubber running god speed, and I was haulin, even if it was for such a short period. Doing this on the treadmill was a trick, especially since it was trying to throw me off, but I had fun, and I think it will be alot easier when I can both extend the time a little and add more reps. Oh, and I'm not supposed to be doing speed work. Too bad!

Alrighty then... Signed up at the gym today. Tomorrow, I will be in the pool. Neither rain nor sleet nor snow... and I'm heading out now for a 9 mile bike ride. In the daylight. That's what happens when you are "Home Alone". Don't want to push myself too much, cause I have a 10.5 miler on the plate this weekend. Who'd a thought I am going to run further than I ride my bike? LOL.

Work hard, play hard, love hard. You never know when life is going to kick you in the canoles.

Wes

ORN: 2.5 miles, Fartlek pace, 11:45 miles, 30 minutes, all run

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Kicked in the Canoles

Well, I lost my job yesterday. Let's recap my glorious past six months:
  1. My second store shutdown, draining the family finances.
  2. My father in law passed away after being in the hospital for six weeks.
  3. Christmas Eve my dear step father had heart issues and went to the hospital
  4. Christmas night my mother-in-law ended up in the hospital for a 7 day stay.
  5. Yesterday I lost my job.
Hmmmmm. I would say there is a string of misfortunate events happening that are stressing the Fountain of Boundless Enthusiasm to the maximum degree.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. It's time to start fighting back.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

199.5

A pleasant surprise this morning when I got on the scale. I'm sure I was dehydrated :-)
  • 22 - The number of pounds I have lost so far.
  • 20 - A general number of pounds I would like to still lose.
  • 13 - The number of days left before I "wanted" to be below 200
  • Seeing 199 on the scale for the first time in 15 years: incredible
Here is what's working for me. I am on the five meal plan.
  • Breakfast consists of two Quaker Oats breakfast bars, 2-3 cups of coffee with creamer Splenda. On weekends, I get eggs and waffles.
  • Mid-morning snack consists of this high energy mix.
  • A reasonable lunch, either left overs or a sandwich and fruit snack.
  • Mid-afternoon snack, if required is another high energy mix.
  • A reasonable dinner.
  • Run religiously three times a week, stick to the schedule as much as possible. This is my time. I guard it jealously.
  • Cross-train on days where it fits into my life style.
The key is the reasonable lunch and dinner. The snack lowers my overall appetite, and I am learning slowly but surely to take only what I think I need for the first round. If I am not hungy, then I have had enough. If I am full, then I have had too much. If I am still hungy, then I wait five minutes before deciding to go back for seconds.

This is what is working for me. Your mileage may vary.

Happy eating!

Wes

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Put me on Defrost

I was a little bit unbelieving when I saw the temperature on the sign on the way home. It read thirty-four degrees. There is usually a three to four degree difference between the sign and the outside temperature gauge on the Dee Dee's SUV. Unfortunately, it goes in both directions. All I knew was that I got home an hour before dark, and by the grace of God, I was going to run in the daylight, cold or not. I hurried inside, put on my running tights, a short sleeve technical, and then my long sleeve Under Armor, the one that is disintegrating, and headed out the door.

The chill hit me the minute I stepped outside. It was a good thing I made Mr. Matthew put on a jacket and long pants before he went outside. I got cold real fast as I waited for the satellites to register on the Garmin. My poor heart rate monitor just wasn't cooperating. There was no moisture, ie. sweat between it and me to enable the contacts. I figured that wasn't going to happen for a while, and I went ahead and took off for my run.

Sunday, I did manage to get in a 14.75 mile bike ride. Not quite the sixteen I had planned, but that too was a blessing. My longest ride before had been 11.5 miles, so 16 might have been pushing it a bit. I felt it all day yesterday and decided to take the day off to give my muscles time to rest. As I headed out to run, my left hip, knees and thighs felt a little tender, but I quickly worked them into a happy state and headed up the gentle slope to the head of my sub-division. I decided not to do my warm up walk as I needed to warm up real fast. At the last minute, I hung a right instead of left out of the sub-division, deciding to do the one mile loop. Matthew was at home by himself, and this way I could at least check on him as I ran by.

As I ran up the second hill on my route, my HR monitor came alive and registered 202. LOL. I was having a heart attack! Not really. It takes it a little while to catch up and adjust to my real heart rate. At about that point, I crested the hill and got a full blast of 15 MPH wind directly in my face. I fought the wind all the way down, over the next hill, and finally reached a valley, wind free, in the last two-tenths of my first mile. I have to admit, at this point, I seriously considered finishing my run on the treadmill. But then, I thought to myself. Ya know what? I am warm. I can deal with this, and instead of turning left, back to the house, I made a right to start my second loop. I'm not really sure what was in me today, but I was in the mood for a tempo run. I did a good job of keeping my heart rate below 157, my target HR. On the last lap, I threw the HR monitor out the window. I wanted to RUN BABY!

I guess I kind of felt I've been holding back a bit. I haven't been working hard enough on my training runs. I see a sub-nine minute mile in my future, but I'm a little bit frustrated that it hasn't come yet. I know that it will. I know that it will come in good time. I'm just a little impatient. Such is life. Here are my splits:

9:58, 10:09, 9:37

A sub-30 on a training run is a good thing for me. I need to try it more often. I harbor no illusions. The number of hills on my route is a big determining factor in my runs, but for now, I won't worry about that. I'll just sit back and enjoy it.

Finish strong,

Wes

OCN: 14.75 miles, 1:15:00, 11.7 MPH
ORN: 3 miles, 29:46, race pace, 9:55 miles, R5/W1

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Frostbite 5K

"Uh hmmmm. M'aam? I'm gonna need a refund! There's no frost. "

I smiled and the two women working the registration desk joined in the laughter. The Frostbite 5K is a trail run to benefit the local junior college cross country team. The crowd was small. It looked like around 125 to 150 people showed up for race. The registration tent only had two lines but was otherwise very professionally run.

The race itself was being held at Al Bishop Park in the Cobb County Complex. There was a small line of people waiting to visit the jail when Dee Dee and I rode by. We went for a short, quarter mile run to get warmed and then moved to the start line. The weather was mostly cloudy and about sixty-six degrees. Perfect!


Mr. Announcer Guy announced that the race would start in one minute. Dee Dee and I moved to the far left at the front of the pack. Given the small number of racers, and the fact that everyone else was lined up on the right, I felt comfortable starting out there. Mr. Announcer explained that the route was 1.5 mile loop. On the way back we were to turn right, run to the end of the telephone poles and then loop back to the finish line. OK. That seemed easy enough. With a pop, the gun went off and the race was started.

If you ever hunted, you would kind of recognize the start of the race route. It was tree lined meadow with a line of telephone poles running down the middle. As you approached the end of the meadow, the tree line crept in closer and closer until the end of the meadow was concave. The only thing missing was a deer stand. The grass in the meadow was uneven but soft. That is why I was running to the left. The grass was a little firmer and little more even. As we ran through the end of the meadow, we entered a small dirt path that entered the woods.

Before the race, they had blown all the leaves from path, so the route was clear. Some of the roots had been spray painted yellow to clearly mark the route. As the route meandered through the woods, I settled into an easy rhythm. My breathing was strong, but my heart rate was already going through the roof. I believe at this point it had reached 162. I tried to moderate my pace a little, but as the trail went deeper through woods, we hit our first and only hill. My heart rate climbed into the high 160's. Halfway through the woods, we reached the top of the hill and began our downhill glide. I passed lots of people here. I allowed my body to pick up speed without any extra effort on my part. I glided down the hill and came out of the woods by the softball complex.

As I hit the grass behind the fields, I glanced at my HRM and saw that I was pushing the low 170s. It seems that this was where I would spend most of the race. The path around the softball fields was soft and flat, and it was there that I hit my first mile split: 9:08. My garmin, incidentally, went off a hundred yards before their mile split. The half mile run back to the start line was along a paved bike path and was slightly downhill. I wondered how Dee Dee was doing.

Once more around the route and I was done. I started to get tired on the second loop. I hit the hill in the woods for the second time and powered my way through it. I also passed the second mile marker while in the woods: 19:01. Not a negative split, but that was OK with me. I tried to take it easy on the way down the hill. I needed to catch my breath. I refused to walk. As I rounded the softball complex, I tried to pick it up for the final half mile or so. Unfortunately, I put to much into it too soon. As I made the right hand turn to make the loop around the telephone poles, I was out of breath. My heart rate was over 180 BPM, and I slowed down into a steady jog. Down to the end of the meadow. Left turn pass the last telephone pole. Pick it up. Nobody passes me in the last tenth of a mile. I crossed the finish line in 29:30. Not a PR, but I achieved my goal. I didn't walk an iota for the entire race.

Here are my splits: 9:08, 9:53, 9:08, 1:20 (9:30 avg)

Dee Dee and I ran into an old friend after the race. He used to play soccer with us and was a referee too. He gave all this up to run marathons, seven I believe he said. His name, coincidently was Wes, and he had lost forty pounds over the last two years. It was nice to see him again.

Alrighty then. I'm off to sign up at the gym today. Monday will be my first swim. Tomorrow I am planning a 16-20 mile bike ride. Won't that be a blast. Incidentally, I believe that this is my highest mileage for a week ever, 18 miles! That's pretty cool. I'm looking forward to the 10K next month. Bring it on!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wes

ORN: 3.1 miles, 29:30, race pace, 9:30 avg, all run

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tapering with Bags

I'm not sure I'm really taking this race tomorrow too seriously. I got home from work tonight at a good time, so I hauled Bags out of the dining room (can you tell she's special?) and went for an 8.24 mile bike ride. I kept my level of effort to something reasonable, as I didn't want to be sore tomorrow for my run. Somewhere in the back of my head, I have this image of me PRing tomorrow, and my heart is saying no, nO, NO!! My goal for this race is to run the entire thing from start to finish. I'm not at all concerned about my time. The goal is FAR more important than the time. But who knows? I may find that "groove" I'm so fond of. I may feel the cool temps, the strength in my legs. I may feel alive, and I might PR.

One more glass of this red wine should ensure that whole non-PR thing :-) I've had this unopened bottle sitting on my kitchen counter all week, and I've gotten into the habit of having a glass of red wine every night. It's supposed to be really healthy for you. Now, as I finish cooking dinner for my kids, sipping on my wine, I'm wondering what tomorrow may bring. I just know, for me personally, whatever happens, it will be good.

Finish strong!

Wes

OCN: 8.23 miles, 46 minutes, 11 MPH avg.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

All is Quiet on Wes' Front

Not much to write about recently. I have been taking it easy because of the nine miler I did Sunday. I'm just not ready to throw in any cross training after that long run. I have been running though. I took Monday off. I ran Tuesday, and then I took Wednesday off too. I ran my normal run today, and my legs felt fully recovered, which is nice. I may or may not ride my bike tomorrow. It kind of depends what time I get home from work. Sunday, however, is a different story. I am planning a long bike ride to celebrate this "recovery" week and the fact I have done little to no cross-training.

I saw 2 on the scale for the first time that I can remember. No! That's a 2 on the end, preceeded by a zero! LOL. I'm still desperately trying to get my weight below 200 before the end of the month. I'm not going to collapse into a ball of quivering jelly if I fail to achieve this, but I feel like if I can break the 200 barrier, then good things will happen.

I final got the new template on my blog updated. The big thing with me was getting the header redone and figuring out how to get my tables on the side bar. The picture ended up being pretty easy (Thanks, Michelle!), and the tables on the right don't look exactly the same, but I will continue to work on that. I'm also going to list everyone's blog that I follow on the side bar as well. I will start doing that at little at a time as I follow at LEAST fifty blogs :-)

Warm and partly sunny for the race on Saturday. I'll try to get Ms. Dee Dee to do her first race report. Until then y'all, finish strong!

Wes

ORN: 3.43 miles, 37 minutes, normal pace, 11 minute miles, R5/W1

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

TMI Tuesday #65

Ahhhhh. TMI Tuesday! Have you missed it? LOL. I don't think so. I haven't. I don't mind participating when the questions aren't quite so racy, like today. You are going to notice a few changes in my blog. First of all, I have my own domain name now! This might throw off some of your RSS feeds. If so, go back and reset the properties. The URL is:

http://www.codegeekstail.com

I'm also going to start work on customizing it a little bit and get rid of the original template I have been using.

Yesterday was a rest day for me! I was still very sore from my nine miler on Sunday. Tonight, I had a pleasant three mile recovery run. I made an extra effort to keep my heart rate in the recovery zone (50-60%) and managed to do just that for two-thirds of my run. Not bad at all given all the hills I have to go up and down.

Dee Dee and I are registered for the Frostbite 5K this weekend. The temperatures are supposed to be in the 60's, so I doubt we will see any frost at all. Dee Dee is supposed to do 8 miles this weekend, so we are trying to figure out how to incorporate that training mileage into our little 5K jaunt. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to chime in.

Now, without further ado...
  1. Which is more appealing and why - a life of leisure or a life of accomplishment?

  2. A life of leisure should only come after a life of accomplishment.

  3. How many people have you kissed, not counting family?

  4. I have kissed lots of people. I have passionately kissed less than two hands worth of people, and I have kissed "people" I was in luv with less than the number of fingers on one hand.

  5. How many times have you ever been in love?

  6. Less than the number of fingers on one hand.

  7. Regardless of what's right for you now, would you say you have a good idea of the kind of person you'd like to end up with? Can you, will you tell us?

  8. I never determined in my mind what "kind of" person I would end up with. I pretty much like all kinds of people. Based on that, I would never compare Dee Dee to the woman I "should of" ended up with, nor would I try to change her into being the kind of woman I wanted her to be. That would only lessen the chances of us reaching our full potential.

  9. If you're dating someone, is it okay to flirt with other people?

    Oh please! Flirt all you want, but as adults we are responsible for maintaining control of ourselves and not hurting other people, especially the ones we luv.
OKee DOKee. That was fun. Y'all take care now!

Wes

ORN: 3 miles, 37 minutes, recovery pace, 12.5 minute miles, recovery pace

Monday, January 08, 2007

I'm Pissed!

Is it just me? Or does anyone else out there have a hard time sleeping after their long runs? This is the second time this has happened, and its quite perturbing. I do have a history of not sleeping well on Sunday nights, especially if I sleep well on Saturday night, but last night was pure torture. Dee Dee thinks I was dehydrated. I dunno.

And what's up with all these canisters of Christmas cookies all over the office? Do these people not know that I have three more pounds to go to get below 200, and they must tempt me not? Help!!

Finally... The event we have all been waiting for... My first meme, and an alphabet soup meme at that! I am wallowing in it!!

A-Available or Single?
Married for eighteen glorious years

B-Best Friend? My darling wife, Dee Dee

C-Cake or Pie? Hmmmm. I luv pecan and pumpkin pie, but I'm gonna have to go with cake. Chocolate. Especially, German chocolate.

D-Drink of choice? Today it's green tea. Beer and Gin and Tonic are a close second.

E- Essential Item? My laptop. I am a geek after all.

F-Favorite color? Red

G-Gummi Bears or worms? Bears

H-Hometown? Mobile, Alabama

I-Indulgence? Blogging, in days gone past I used to be a heavy drinker.

J-January or February? January

K-Kids & names? Jessica, Jimmy, Matthew

L-Life is incomplete without? That's a tough one. Things don't make my life complete. They make it greater than I can make it by myself.

M-Marriage Date? March 18

N-Number of siblings? One older brother, one younger sister, one younger brother

O-Oranges or Apples? Apples

P-Phobias/Fears? Talking in front of large groups of people

Q-Favorite Quote? “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” - Michelangelo

R-Reason to smile? Because I can... We choose how to react. I always try to choose to be positive... and smile.

S-Season? Spring. I luv to see the new leaves on the trees.

T-Tag three people: Kookla, Fran, and Olie

U-Unknown fact about me: I am a miniature wargamming enthusiast. I, in my younger day, spent lots of time painting lead soldiers and pushing them around on mock battlefields.

V-Veggie I hate: Turnips

W-Worst Habit? Dee Dee tells me I snore... I don't think its me ;-)

X-X-rays you've had? I've had a few x-rays on my wrist where I pounded my bones together hitting the golf club into the ground instead of the ball. Oops.

Y-Your favorite food? Blackened Orange Roughy with Rice Pilaf and peas/asparagus

Z-Zodiac?Sagitarius

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Three Firsts

Since Neese lives so close to me (South Carolina), we share the same weather pattern. Today was nothing like yesterday, except the temperature was pretty close, I think. Dee Dee and I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof, and I wondered if I would be able to get my long run in outside today. I made breakfast for the family, then we sat around watching cartoons and the Food Network till around 2 PM. It had pretty much stopped raining by then. I jumped on the computer and dialed up the weather channel to see what was coming our way. There were several long lines of thunderstorms coming in, but they were traveling from south-west to north-east (usually they go north-west to south-east). It was hard to tell if they were going to hit us or not. After reading Michelle's comment about getting ready to run in the rain, I decided to heck with it. I was going to go run, and if it rained then let it rain.

It was raining ever so slightly as Dee Dee and I started out our run. I echo Neese's sentiment. Why can't it be like this all the time. Once we got to the front of our subdivision, Dee Dee and I split paths. The idea was for her to do an out and back, while I was going to do my eight mile loop and pick her up on the way back. Also, for the first time on my long runs, I did run one mile walk one minute. It worked out well, except I still couldn't keep my damn heart down. Ideally it should have been kept below 150, however, my average for the run was 157. That's still in my aerobic zone, but not in my "fat burning zone". I think I'm going to go run someplace flat for my 10.5 miler I have in two weeks.

After I finished up, I walked back along the path to meet back up with Dee Dee and accompany her in on the end of her 7 mile run. On our way back in, it really started to rain again, and we got drenched. I sat down at the table in the kitchen and downed a Diet Lipton Green Tea like there was no tomorrow. About ten minutes later, my stomach got so upset. It felt like it was on a sugar rush. I had to quickly eat a Quaker's bar to settle my stomach. I'm glad that didn't happen to me on my run. I have an easy 3 miler next weekend, and the following weekend, I have a 10.5 mile run. I want to have a hydration and nutrition plan in place before I do my 10.5 mile run.

Finally, I have been tagged. Thanks Neese! Being tagged is better than having sex. OK. Maybe not that good. But close. I'm going to get started on it and maybe, just maybe, it will show up in my post tomorrow. Here's to a glorious week.

Finish strong!

Wes

ORN: 9 miles, 1:44:56, endurance pace, 11:36 miles, Run 1 mile/Walk 1 minute

Saturday, January 06, 2007

What Winter?

I can't remember, ever, being outside at this time of year in short sleeves and shorts. I can remember a few years back, when I played golf at Christmas in shorts, but not in January! Never the less, that is the situation Dee Dee and I found ourselves in this morning.

Last night, Dee Dee needed to blow off some steam, so we went out for a few drinks and ended up having a good time burning the midnight oil. In our house, there is no rest for the wicked. We were up bright and early to head over to the gym to check out the swimming facilities. The pool beneath the gym was indeed a 25 meter 5 lane pool and would work just fine. I wasn't ready to commit to a contract because there were a couple of other places I wanted to check out. Woodstock has an aquatic center, privately owned, with 3 25 meter lanes and 2 50 meter lanes. Unfortunately, free swim is from 10-3 PM, and the adults meet at 5 AM in the morning. We already know that's just not for me. The final place we went to was a little pool at the back of the neighborhood. It was just too small. The gym looks like its the place!

Dee Dee and I got home around 11 AM or so and cooked breakfast for the boyz. We rested for a bit and then decided to go on a nice leisurely bike ride. I don't like to exercise the day before my long run, but I didn't get to ride yesterday, and I knew I could take it nice and easy. Besides, it was Dee Dee's first real bike ride, and I didn't want her to work too hard, as she has a 7 miler on her schedule tomorrow. Out and back for a four miler. Nice and easy up the hills. The weather was beautiful, but I already said that! It was good (and necessary) to remind my cycling muscles that they have a long way to go to get up to that 15-16 MPH average.

After Dee Dee left for work, I took a nap then went to the grocery store to pick up dinner. I made Sweet and Sour Pork for the boyz, and I made Scallops in a Sweet Red Chilli sauce for me. I've been waiting for months to make that recipe, and I'm definitely glad I finally got the opportunity to get it done. It was "easy", declicious, and nutritious! Just call me Yan!

Finish strong!

Wes

OCN: 4 easy miles, 31 minutes

Friday, January 05, 2007

Saved by the Rain

I was lamenting on Neese's blog the other day, how I just can't seem to get up early ONE day a week and exercise. I spent a great deal of time convincing myself that today would be different. I would get up at 5:30 a.m. Ride my bike. Be back home by 6:15 or so, then dressed, showered, and off to work. As I arose out of bed this morning, I had little or no trouble accepting the fact that I just did not have the will power to get up this morning. Last night, it just plain hit me after my run. I was tired. It's funny how often we forget what being well rested feels like. Over the holiday's, I got at least 9 hours of sleep a night, and I seldom experienced the wake/sleep patterns that I do at home. Over the course of this week, and a little bit of last week, I have recognized and observed myself sliding back into that state of sleep deprived numbness.

Four miles on the road is what I accomplished last night. It was a pleasant run. The temps were in the sixties. Matthew all of a sudden decided that riding his bike while I run just ain't cuttin it for him, so he left me. I got news for the little bugger. If he wants to ride his bike when I ride, he'd better be ready to do a little more than 4 or 5 miles. Heart Rate training is tough. Last night, I wore my monitor, and I tried to stay in my aerobic zone between 145-157 HBPM. Between the hills, which make my heart beat faster, and the walk breaks, which make my heart beat slower, I only spent a little over half the time in the zone. I'm not particularly worried about it. It's just a little frustrating.

I've got an appointment to visit the gym this Saturday. They have a five lane 25 meter indoor pool. It looks very promising. I'm hoping to get Dee Dee to go with me. It's going to take a little more than "want to" to get the pool thing going, and she needs to be a part of it.

I would really like to get up early in the morning and exercise. The desire is there. Just not the commitment. It was a good thing that thunderstorms were rolling in this morning. That's the REAL reason I didn't get out of bed this morning and ride. Y'all believe me. Don't you?

Wes

ORN: 4 miles, 44 minutes, aerobic pace, R5/W1

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I Quit

I will no longer be runner. I will no longer be a triathlete-wannabe. I'm going to sit on my fat arse and drink Enviga. You see. If you drink three Envigas a day, you are going to lose 100 calories. What the hell? All this time, I've been thinking that I should be out exercising, bettering myself, having fun. When all I really needed to do was sit on the couch, watch TV, and drink a negative calorie soft drink. Amazing! Now, I just need to find a handful of pills I can take with my negative calorie cola! I don't have to do anything. I'm an A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N for chrissake. Money and little purple pills fix everything. Errr. Uh hum.... Sorry, that's not meant to be dark, but witty, yea, witty. Seriously, I'm poking fun at myself :-)

Unfortunately, on my last post, I failed to mention one very important fact. Oh, and thanks by the way. I've been carrying that around for a couple of months now, and I needed to get it off my chest. If you see a sliver of anti-matter slipping into my posts, you will now know why. In any case, the important fact is that Mr. Matthew, Little Ironman, made it all the way up Mount Doom on his one speed bike without stopping last night, and I am less than a perfect dad for not mentioning it sooner! LOL. That's the long side too!! Matthew and I have a new thing now. Instead of him holding me back when I ride my bike. He rides his bike when I run, and it suits him just fine.

Tonight it was much warmer on my ride. I've established the 8 mile loop as my base for the moment. I'm a little sore from the last two bike rides, but I still managed to take every hill without stopping, even if my average mph dropped a half point.

It's official now. I'm on a quest. I need a pool.

Wes

P.S. What is it about hoons (Thanks, LBTEPA) That makes them want to yell at people on bikes?

OCN: 8.23 miles, 41:25, 12.0 MPH Avg

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Looking Back to Glimpse the Future

Who would have thought that this could happen? I was quite content to drink, smoke, and eat myself into the grave, graced by however many years God chose to give me. Was it fate that led me to blogger that day? It wasn't my fault, after all. It wasn't my fault that they couldn't keep me busy at work. It wasn't my fault that Google returned Blogger in the search results. It wasn't my fault I had so much paid for time on my hands to hit the "next random blog" button over and over and over and over... It was fate that Iron Wil's web site was one of the first ones I came across, fascinated by the graphics and layout of the site itself. No, it wasn't my fault. It was destiny. It was selfishness. As I read more and more of your blogs, I wanted that for myself. Me. I wanted those things. I deserved those things. But I needed to earn it, and nobody else could do that for me, but me.

I started running. To be exact, I started to run outside. Not on the treadmill. And I started to write about it. I just had no idea that there were so many wonderful people out there. I know, I know. In real life, you might be a serial ax murderer, but here in our world, blogland, you are wonderful. I was motivated. I was sustained. I had purpose. Well, a new purpose then. To go with all the others.

I finished my first 5K in sub-30. I am a runner. I finished my first 10K within a hair's breadth of 1 hour. I am a runner. I PRed on my second 5K. I am a runner. I have run further and longer than ever before in my life, and I'm not even close to being finished, for I am a runner.

Looking forward to the future... I am not one to make resolutions. I set goals. I strive to achieve them, but I do not define myself by my victories nor my defeats. I am uber flexible, and defeat is nothing more than an opportunity masked by adversity. My running goals are clearly spelled out in my race schedule. I want to complete my first half marathon. I want to complete my first triathlon. I wanna do an Oly. Then the big one, the Atlanta Marathon. In my running life, 2007 promises to be a good year.

In my personal life, 2007 has the potential to be darkest of my lifetime. Maybe even darker than the divorce I experienced as an eight year old child. Darker than the dying of loved ones. Dee Dee and I made a mistake opening the second restaurant. We over committed. What is the old saying? Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I failed to learn my lesson, and I repeated it. The second restaurant is now closed, and the financial obligations associated with it is an anchor around my neck. I can see the storm clouds gathering on the horizon, and I fear for my wife, and my children. The future is full of uncertainty and bleak.

It is with a heavy heart that I complete this post tonight. While I fear for my children and their future, I will be brave. I will seek and accept help where it is available and offered. Most of all, I will have faith in myself, my wife, and my family to pull through this and prepare ourselves for a brighter future. Would you expect any less of me?

I don't.

Wes

Monday: Cycling - 8.23 miles, 39:32, 12.5 MPH Avg
Tuesday: ORN - 3.5 miles, 37:55, recovery pace, 10:50 minutes, All run