Saturday, April 28, 2007

Only One Way: A Brad Koster 5K Race Report

This was Dee Dee's race. Brad Koster was a young man that graduated from my daughter and son's high school about the same time as Jessica was a freshman or a sophomore. He was an outstanding athlete, a runner, a basketball player, and probably many other things that I do not know about. His family activity every year was to run in the Peachtree Road Race. He contracted a rare form of cancer and died at the age of 22. His life was cut short by a brutal disease that shows no mercy. Even today, Dee Dee still feels the affects of this terrible disease.

Much to Matthew's chagrin, Dee Dee, Jimmy, and I dragged him out of bed at quarter to seven in the morning. We didn't take much time for anything, other then getting dressed, piling in to the car, and heading over to the school. We were one of the first ones there. Dee Dee wanted to make sure that we picked up our registration before the race. They had a nice setup on the practice football fields with tents, music, and a bouncy thing for the kids. I was really happy with the gifts we got at registration. I received one of those draw string bags/backpack, and a yellow cancer awareness wrist band. Luved them both. We spent some time in the activity area, talking to a few people, trying to keep our arms warm. It was a little chilly that early in the morning but was otherwise a gorgeous day. About twenty minutes before the race, we took off for a warm up run, making it back to the start about ten minutes before the race.

As we lined up at the start, friends were handing out balloons. After a few dedications, prayers, and presenting of donations, we released our balloons into the wind. Brad's father came to the start line to kick off the race. "On your mark!" I raised my fist into the air, presenting my cancer awareness bracelet to the world. "Get set." A silent prayer to Brad to give us all strength. "Go." And they were off.

Up the hill between the schools, we started and then over the railroad tracks. Footing was a bit tricky there. I had thought about before the race doing a run 2/walk 1 to see how it would go. That, as usual, went quickly out the window. As we settled into the first downhill, I glanced at my Garmin to check my pace. 8 minute miles. Hmmm, I thought. That's a bit fast for a fun run. After four minutes of 8 minute mile pace, I slowed down for my first walk break. I was very surprised when I crossed the first mile marker in 8:20. That's faster than my last one mile test. Noted, need to do a new one mile test :-) My second mile wasn't nearly as good. We headed down a dead end street and Jimmy yelled at me to quit walking. Sucker! I'm doing the Galloway thing, boy, and this is the way to do it right!

After the first mile we started the loop. It was uphill for the first half, and downhill for the second half. I didn't walk unless my plan called for it. I lost my pace a bit and turned in my second mile at 9:23. Jimmy passed me just as I started my second loop. He was keeping the leader in sight. As I rounded my second loop and headed home, my nose got the best of me and sucked a lot of my breath right out of me. Fortunately for me, the warmer weather has been kind to me, and I was still able to complete the third mile in 8:50. I gave Dee Dee a pat on the butt as she was beginning her second loop and I was heading home.

As I made it to the final turn, I realized that at this point, I just didn't have much left to give. Better still, I wished that I had more to give. I had put a lot into it. I came down the street between the school and kicked it in on the downhill to finish in 27:19.

I turned in my time. Picked up my certificate, bagel, water, and t-shirt, in that order. Jimmy came by to let me know he finished fifth overall and third in his age group with a time of 20:38. Little brat :-) At that point, I had to hurry up and take Matthew to his soccer game. He was sleeping in the car, after having declined to participate in the activities.

Although I have to admit knowing this already, my lesson or principle, if you will, was reinforced by this event. I PRed. I really only know how to compete one way. I have to try my best.

Wes

BTW: Dee Dee PRed as well, coming in at 35:08.

ORN: 3.1 miles, 27:19, race pace 8:48 mmp, R4/W1

Friday, April 27, 2007

Keeping It Real

or "Mexican is My Undoing"

For the record, a mile is 1609 meters, and while it's technically true that I did not swim the final 9 meters to reach a mile exactly, I did drift sideways quite a bit as I swam the 64 lengths of the pools/32 laps. LOL. What was really funny was that when I got done, I had a hard time standing. What a workout!! This didn't make much sense to me. I hardly use my legs to kick when I swim. I mean, I barely kick when I swim, mainly to keep my body flat and that's it. I'm saving the kicking part for actual race day. Triathletes are supposed to save their legs for the bike and run, right?

Yesterday, I made a day trip to Montgomery, Alabama to visit the Airforce base. Nothing like driving six hours in the car to stand in line for fifteen minutes to have your picture taken! After getting back to Atlanta, my afternoon meeting was canceled, allowing me to pick up the boys from soccer. Dee Dee had promised them Mexican. Arggggh!! Freakin chips and salsa is my undoing. I had zero beers, one burrito, and like two baskets of chips. Let's just say my 3 mile run last night was very unpleasant. The best I could muster was 11 minute miles. After the second mile, I did start to enjoy my night time run again, though. Felt like old times. Except for the two dogs. That got me on the way out and the way back. I'm going to give those puppies one opportunity to disappear before I start planning their demise.

TGIF! Rest Day!! The Koster 5K Charity Run is tomorrow. I am undecided on how to exactly tackle this, but I'm thinking, just for fun! One week from tomorrow is my first tri, and I'm already bubbling with enthusiasm...

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wes

ORN: 3 miles, 33 minutes, 11 mmp, R3/W1

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Wild Hair

It's really not that hard finding motivation here in blogoland. I have such fine friends and all you guys are such great athletes. Every once in a while, someone new comes along to provide you with fresh incentive to push yourself to the limit, try something new, go for the gold. I have to admit to being really impressed with Duane and John. Duane, because of his perseverance and drive to overcome physical challenges and injury to reach his goal of Iron, and John, because he pushed himself to the limit of what his body was capable of on the run, took a step back, and said, "This is where I go from here." Where he was at was impressive.

These things were on my mind yesterday as I entered the pool. I am basically picking back up from where I left off before recovery week. Forty-eight minutes is what the planned called for, and forty-eight minutes is what I was going to give. Now, usually when I have fifty minutes or so, I do a warm up then sets of 500s, because again, that's what the plan recommends. On my last long swim I did an 800 meter swim straight, and I felt good. This time, I got a wild hair up my butt (my father's favorite term), and decided that I was just going to swim to see how far I could go. I needed a fresh shot of perspective.

So I swam. and I swam. and I swam. It was hard in the first 500 meters, but eventually the muscles in my arms relaxed, and my breathing fell into a rythm. As I passed the 500 meter mark, I kept going. I've been here, I thought. I can do this. I swam further, and I passed the 800 meter mark, and I kept going. I tried hard to relax, let my core muscles do the work and glide effortlessly through the water, right pass the 1000 meter mark. and I swam, and swam. What's even more miraculous is that I didn't lose count of my laps! Its easy when you keep repeating the correct lap number over and over in your mind :-)

All in all, I swam 1600 meters, a mile, in 29:40. Perspective gained.

Is that good?

Wes

OCN: 2100 meters, 1x250 warmup, 1x1600 freestyle, 1x250 warm down

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Big 1-8-9

After three days in a row, I guess its OK to crow :-) I have managed to break through the 190 barrier and now weigh in at 189. I'm excited. How did I celebrate? I just had all the left over Jambalaya for lunch. Enough for two people... Should've gave some to Matthew to take to school.

I'm glad its another 2K day in the pool...

BTW: The last time I weighed 189 was 21 years ago. That's mind boggling, is it not?

Wes

P.S. I'm rhymy today. What can I say? LOL.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Brick with My Name

I hate insomnia!!

Tried to go to bed early last night. For some reason, I would fall asleep, wake up, then my body would think that I had taken a nap. Really! It felt like it should stay up for at least a couple of more hours. I just kept telling myself how good I felt. Positive vibes. Good thoughts. Leading to sweet dreams. I think I managed five hours of sleep.

The alarm clock was scheduled to go off at 5:45 AM this morning. That's like a record for me, folks, and I was up before the alarm. That was a good thing. Besides being really tired, I didn't have to wake up my super tired hard working wife. After donning the appropriate apparel, I grabbed BAGS and hit the road for my training ride.

I was really pleased to note that all of my cycling muscles had recovered just fine. The muscles on the sides of my shins and my right ankle were a bit tender from refing, but this didn't affect the bike one bit. As a matter of fact, I found myself powering up hills that I normally sit and grind. Over the one hour ride, I had to add an extra mile to fit it all in.

Then came the run...

My tri-bud TJ gave some excellent advice in a comment to my last post. The first part of the advice is like a no brainer! It is simply not within my capabilities to go out "too fast" after getting off a 13.6 mile bike ride! LOL. It took me at least seven-tenths of a mile before I could even feel my feet again. Moving on to TJ's second point, I thought long and hard about doing the 1.5 mile out and back, or stretching it out to 2 miles. Once my legs recovered, and I felt so strong, I turned up the speed a little and went ahead and did the two miles at an average 10:30 minute mile pace.

There ya have it. My first official training brick is in the books. It was good. I want to do one more easy one next week, while I am tapering for my triathlon.

Back with more mojo :-)

Wes

OCN: 13.6 miles, 1:00:00, 13.6 MPH avg pace
ORN: 2 miles, 21 minutes, brick pace(!), 10:30 avg mmp, walk as needed

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tired, Frustrated, and Sore

I've been holding back since Friday. Partly due to a busy schedule. Partly because I've lost a bit of mojo. Recovery week went well, I think, except I don't feel fully recovered.

Tired

Last night I slept like crap. My body is like clock work. If I drink more than one or two beers on Saturday, Sunday night is a crap night for me as far as sleeping goes. I've been that way as along as I can remember. Sunday night was hell night for me in the army. Certainly a self imposed hell, mind you, but a very trying night none the less.

Frustrated

It didn't help that I was frustrated from my refing duties this weekend. I did a couple of youth games Saturday. The first one went fine. I ran the line. Had a good game. Got lots of compliments. The second game, an Athena A game, I had the center. The coach from the visiting team was an arse, and I had to restrain myself from giving him the boot. Sunday night, I did an adult game. Let's just say that I would rather do the 13 year old Athena girls any day. Don't get me wrong, a lot of the adult games I do are fine. It just seems that some young men can be so damn immature. I hate leaving soccer games feeling like my performance was mediocre. I would rather have it be a resounding success or a dismal failure, but in between is less than satisfying. I'm sure some of how I feel is unwarranted. It's just some of the personal baggage I carry.

Sore

As expected, I woke up extremely sore today. I did not do my recovery run this weekend, because I was sure that I would get in plenty of running for my games, and I was right. But I'm not recovered, and I think that's a mistake. I did my swim today, but I'm putting off my ride and my run until tomorrow, to give my body time to heal. I also want to get in at least two bricks before the tri next weekend. It seems like a good idea to get the brick done early, just in case it wears me out a bit.

That is the primary challenge with my current training plan. It is a twenty week plan. I have twenty-two weeks until my Olympic tri. This fits perfectly into the two races I have inserted into the plan, I just need to train effectively for all three. Any of my tri buds have any advice on how to work these bricks into my schedule, feel free to shout at me.

Off to bed early tonight. I got a brick with my name on it bright and early tomorrow...

Nighty, night :-)

Wes

OCN: 1000 meters, 30 minutes, technique work

Friday, April 20, 2007

First Recovery Week

It's been a beautiful week here in Atlanta. The sun has been shining, the temperatures have been in the 60's and 70's. It's been a definite bright spot in my first recovery week. As I mentioned in my last post, I missed my swimming Monday. I had to drop my youngest off for his field trip to Busch Gardens and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I did manage to get a nice thirty minute bike ride in that afternoon. I took it very easy and came in with about six miles.

Tuesday, I got up a little later than normal, taking advantage of Matthew's absence, and hit the pool. Dee Dee decided she wanted to come with me. She has been eying that Sprint Tri at Calloway Gardens in June, and I think we might have another budding triathlete on our hands. I was still very sore at that point from my Sunday run. I took the swim very easily and worked hard on my technique and bilateral breathing. I ended the pool session with 700 meters in about 20 minutes. That afternoon, I put in my lowest mileage run ever. I did 1.5 miles at a leisurely 11 minute mile pace, due to the same afore mentioned soreness.

Wednesday it was back to the pool, even though I didn't feel like it. It's funny how I always feel so great after getting out of the pool. I'm starting to really feel comfortable with it. In any case, in accordance with recovery week, I did 300 meters warm up, 800 meters freestyle straight in 15 minutes, then 300 meters cool down. I felt really in the zone on the 800 meters and could have gone much, much further.

Yesterday, Matthew calls me on his pre-paid cell phone and tells me,

Matthew: Dad! I'm out of money.

Oh, crap, I thought. My youngest son is in Tampa with 2 days left on his trip and no money.

Me: Matthew? What did you do with all of your money?

Matthew: I went to the gift shop at Busch Gardens and bought a few things.

Me: Well, how much do you have left?

Matthew: Twenty Dollars

Me: You had better take some of those things back to the gift shop and get your money back!

Matthew: Dad, I can't. There's only one bus, and we have left Busch Gardens already.

Me: Well, I suggest you spend that twenty dollars wisely over the next two days.

I don't expect an eleven year old to be able to budget his money effectively, but he at least needs to know he has to eat! LOL. Fortunately, one of our friends was chaperoning Matthew. She made sure he was taken care of, and he arrived home safely this morning at 4 AM.

Last night, I took advantage of the fact Jimmy was playing a far away game of soccer, and Matthew was out of town. I ran at the Chattahoochee Park by my work. With the warmer temperatures, it was crowded! I'm starting to feel "recovered". I managed to do two miles in my alloted 19 minutes for a 9:30 per mile average. I did like 9:48 for my first mile, and then turned in a 9:12 for my second. I was happy with that.

As a final tribute to Virginia Tech, I leave you with this snippet of a song. It means a lot to me. I hope you find some meaning in it too:

I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old
So I'm going home.
Well I'm going home.

-- Daughtry, Home

Thanks, Chris...

Have a great weekend, everybody!!

Wes

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In God We Trust

Out of respect, compassion, love, and sadness for our friends at Virginia Tech, their families, the victims, the State of Virginia, and our beloved country, my voice will fall silent for the next 72 hours.


** picture courtesy of Neese.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Running Stupid

In the interest of fair and unbiased reporting, I bring you today, a not so rosy view of my Sunday training run....

Well, I went and did it. It all started out with the plan. Stick to the plan. Run fast, do good, and all will be beautiful in Wes' variation of Endurance Planet. I had plans this weekend. I signed up to referee two games on Sunday. I figured I could keep with the plan and get a longer run then scheduled by getting up early Sunday morning.

Then the rains came. Not the Teutonic thunderstorms that I grew to love while in Germany. Not the wind driven tornado spawning shakin in your boots type storms that others in my part of the country had to deal with. Just a lazy, windy, all night downpouring of drizzle, mixed with wind and clashes of lightening.

So I slept in. I figured the fields would be closed. I mean. In the past, the fields are always closed when there is a heavy dew. I dragged myself out of bed early and called the field hotline. Aghast! They were open. A message on my cell phone informed me my schedule had been whittled down to one game. I got to spend a lovely hour and a half on the soccer field, in forty degree temperatures and sideways blowing drizzle, for the love of the game. Oh, and I loved it!

Made it back home around three. Dressed appropriately and headed out for my run around four. Legs and thighs feeling tight from the game but otherwise good. I took off on my usual route around the neighborhood, knowing I could do either the eight mile loop or turn back and "only" do six. At the three mile turnaround point I felt like I really really wanted to do eight. I continued on, and bit off more than I could chew. Around mile 5, I felt like I had run a half marathon, and my body was screaming at me in protest. I tracked my pace on the Garmin and kept my average pace in the 10:45 to 11:00 minute per mile range. I don't know why it is, but I always run stronger late in my runs. I know this is a good habit to have, but I negative split the first four miles. I then went up on my fifth mile, but negative split my sixth and seventh, with the seventh being my fastest mile of the run! Weird, huh?

As I approached "The Test" on the way home (my new pet name for Mount Doom and Ass-Kicker), I decided my body had had enough. Thusly, my last mile was a 12 minute mile with a nice jog in for the final 0.4 miles of the run. I finally decided to listen to my body, and run smarter.

I don't believe that I injured myself. I took all my vitamins after the run, including some ibuprofen, and today, I'm a little tender in spots, but everything appears to be in fine working order. I bagged my swim this morning so I could drop Matthew off for his field trip to Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL. We bought Matthew a pre-paid cell phone for the trip, and he's already called us six times :-) I plan to ride my bike this afternoon and swim and run tomorrow to make up for the missed workout. They are both so short, it won't be more than 35 minutes or so of total exercise.

I think I would have been fine if I had done my run before the soccer game. After? Lesson learned.

Wes

ORN: 8.4 miles, 1:31:00, easy pace, 10:50 mmp, R5/W1

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Atlanta Steeplechase


It just so happens that our beer distributor is based in Rome, Georgia. Rome is a quaint little town nestled in the upper left corner of our beautiful state. Every year the steeplechase comes to Georgia, and on that one day, Rome is the place to be. Our little restaurant is not a big fancy place. We don't do a million dollars in sales in beer a year, yet the beer distributor invited us to the show. That's all Dee Dee had been talking about for the past three weeks. What's the weather going to be like? What time do we need to leave? What do I need to wear? etc, etc, etc. It's all good stuff and all good fun.

In order to fit this exciting opportunity into my training schedule, I had to get up at 6:30 AM on a Saturday, no less, and get my bike ride in. I started out by repairing the break on my bike. I say repairing, but reality is that I was just adjusting the break to keep it from rubbing on my tire. I chose the last long route I did on my bike and added another couple of miles to bring me up to the necessary one hour and thirty seven minutes. I ended up doing just under 23 miles in one hour and forty minutes, for a 13.5 MPH average. The hills around here sure make a difference.

After my ride, I showered and changed and hooked up with my Dee Dee lookin all hot and sexy in her sun dress. We made the thirty minute drive to Rome with little fan fare. This event is such a big deal they have a special traffic program in effect for the race. When we arrived at the Kingston Downs, we made our way to the parking at the back of the track, which was conveniently located near our sponsors tent. Kingston Downs is a huge (nothing fancy) oval track 1.25 miles in length. The grass was gorgeous and well groomed. Tents lined the outside of the track, and the infield had all kinds of fun and activities going on.

We made our way over to our sponsors tent to say hi, then we headed for the infield to see what was happening. In the hour and a half we spent in the infield, we enjoyed watching the pig races, the Jack Russel Terrier races, and the rock, paper, scissors tournament put by our sponsor. We really enjoyed the races. Pigs are such smart animals, and who knew they would prostitute themselves for Oreo cookies? LOL.

Making our way back to the sponsor tent, we had our lunch around noon. One of the advantages of being the guest of the beer distributor is that you get to try all the new beers for free. I tried a lime, orange, pomegranate, and blue-berry beers in that order, while feasting on pulled-pork, New Brunswick stew, and cole slaw. At noon, the released the pack of hounds to run around the track. I've never seen so many dogs in one place running lose before. They were so excited to be out, and they were having such a good time running lose on the track. You couldn't help but share in their enthusiasm.

At noon, they had the opening ceremonies. The brought out the bag pipes and the marching bands. We had the appropriate opening remarks by politicians and members of the board. Then, it was time for the races to start.

Dee Dee and I found a spot on the fence as the first race got under way. I kind of got a little uneasy when the first race came around the corner and one of the horses was riderless. They managed to jump all the steeples in our area just fine on the first lap. Dee Dee and I had a steeple just to our left, maybe 40 yards away. We were staring straight into the gates as the pack came to the hurdle the second time. The first group of riders cleared the steeple just fine, but the back of the pack wasn't quite so lucky. One of the horses stumbled and fell. A horse to the left went down and the horse behind him went to her knees, throwing the rider over the top, and all of this right in front of me. There were legs, riders, and stuff just flying every where. Holy crap!! Fortunately, all the horses got right up and proceeded around the track. It seems the horses are delighted to run around the track without their riders. Makes no difference to them. After a couple of minutes, the riders all recovered and made their way off the track. No one was seriously injured.

Dee Dee and I stayed for about half the races before leaving due to the approach of bad weather. We had a great time.

Now, this is my time to rant :-) I certainly don't mind watching horses run around a track and have a good time. That's what horses love to do, run, and I can appreciate that, but when you add in a man made obstacle, like a steeplechase, I begin to question the sanity of the events. A few years ago, I heard they had to put a horse down on the track because it broke its leg. To me, this is senseless. I know its part of the glamor of the race, the added sense of danger and excitement, but why risk the lives of these magnificent creatures for the sake of six jumps. The riders I could care less about. They have a choice. The horses do not.

OK. I feel better now. Once again, a super long post, but another event I felt like recording for prosperity.

** All photos courtesy of www.atlantaillustrated.com

Wes

OCN: 23 miles, 1:40 minutes, 13.5 MPH avg

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fartleking {giggle}

Advanced Workout on the Garmin 205

I was running late yesterday trying to get over to the soccer fields to try out my new workout. Jimmy's soccer team is seeded number one in the area playoffs, and his practice ran over until 5:45 PM. After grabbing him and driving to the soccer fields, it was 6:05 PM before I could get my stuff on and hit the fields. Matthew's practice was ending at 6:30 PM.

Lucky for me, the Garmin synched up really fast. I located my workout, loaded it, then hit the start button. The workout started out kind of funny. I had set up the warm up to walk for two minutes then jog for two minutes. As I started to walk the first two minutes, stupid Garmin kept telling me to slow down. It said I was running fast. No. Really. That was my pace! Fast Run. WTH? OK. What was really cool was that when I activated the workout, it showed the time/distance on top, and my (mis)calculated pace on the bottom. After getting through the walk segment, and the slow jog segment, it began to report my pace far more accurately.

Overall, I did three repeats of the standard/adjusted Fartlek program that comes with the Garmin. I had a hard time matching the pace requested by the Garmin. I went too fast on my recovery, and I had a slight problem both going too fast on some repeats, and too slow on others. The lesson learned here is a good one. If you have the 205, then take a run or two, put the pace display on one of your windows, and run with it so you learn the perceived level of effort to match your pace. This can be both a benefit in setting up your Fartleks, and also will help you match your pace when actually doing the workout.

The good news is I worked up a really good sweat, and for some of the segments, I hit Zone 7 and 8 (slow run and run), which is really what I was trying to accomplish. Also, the rest periods were a bit slow for me, so I will reset them to a slightly faster pace.

As I finished up, I was delighted to see Matthew's soccer practice was just getting over. I quite luckily ran for exactly the 28 minutes required by my plan and did 2.7 miles. Next time, it will just get better and more accurate.

I can't tell you how delighted I am that today is my first rest day since Wednesday a week ago. That feeling is only seconded by my delight that next week is a recovery week :-)

Your amateur Fartleker {giggle},

Wes

ORN: 2.7 miles, 28 minutes, varied pace, 10:21 avg mmp

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Feeling Stronger Every Day

I have survived another 2K day in the pool, and I'm smiling. Ironman Trisaratops has repeated more than once, that for her personally, its not worth getting into the pool unless she is going to swim 2K. That level of fitness is just amazing to me. Now, I can say, with some seriousness, that I am at the lowest level of Ironman fitness! At least in the pool that is :-)

No real problems to report. My times continue to improve, either through better stamina, better technique, or plain newbie luck. I did my first 500 meter interval in 8:45 for a 1:45 average 100 meter pace, and I did 9:10 and 9:18 for my second and third intervals respectively.

With a little more than three weeks to my first tri, I am not quite shaking in my jammers yet, but the race strategy is starting to come together, and I want to do better than "just finish".

From the hardening mold, deep in the factory of Tri-athleticism,

Wes

OSN: 2000 meters, 50 minutes, 1x250 warm up, 3 x500, 1x250 warm down

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tasting the Possibilities

I've been thinking about my priorities a lot lately. Not just about running, but that too. I've been thinking about where I want to be as a person, a father, a husband, a referee, a runner, and an endurance athlete. Usually, when I decide on something, I go after it. Find that elusive balance and brush all other issues aside on my path to victory. With so much uncertainty in my life these days, I feel the need to slow down.

Let's take being a referee for example. My goal, during this entire process, has been to achieve my State certification. That's two levels above entry level. I achieved grade 7 in two years. If I had worked hard, I would have achieved State in three years, and I would be eligible to achieve it this year, if I had a couple of more adult games under my belt. Over the past couple of months, I've realized how little that matters at this point. I still want State certification, but next year is fine, or the year after. Just maybe, with a little less intensity, I will enjoy it more.

Carrying these same concepts into the endurance arena, I don't want to be in a hurry to get to Ironman. I'm not anywhere close to where I want to be as a runner, and I certainly don't have any personal standards by which to judge myself a triathlete, yet. With that in mind, I'm not so sure that trying to do Ironman Florida in 2008 is such a good idea. I'm thinking a couple of sprints and an Oly this year, followed by a couple of Olys and a half next year, then Ironman would be just about right. But who knows. All of this is subject to change without warning, and being at Ironman Florida 2007 as a volunteer will have much to say about that.

Soccer practice kicked back off yesterday after Spring Break. I didn't really feel like it, but I knew that if I was stuck at the soccer fields without my running stuff, I would be unhappy. My legs felt heavy and sore, which was to be expected, but I decided to give them a chance to warm up and see what would happen. The grass was soft. The land was flat. The temperature was in the sixties. It doesn't get any better than that.

1. 10:17
2. 09:41
3. 09:26
.05 0:37

Avg: 9:47
Fastest: 7:12

Negative splits. A sub-10 minute average. That's a good run for me, and two in a row as well.

After my run, I played with the settings on my Garmin. I like the defaults, but average pace is more important to me than current pace. That run walk thing really makes it hard to judge where you are in a run with current pace. Lap pace is nice measure to help with negative splits as well. I also setup a Fartlek training run for Thursday. I used my laptop software to convert all the segments to pace based rather than heart rate based (I have the 205), then I downloaded it to the Garmin. That's really cool.

Since I am in my base year, I'm not quite ready for speed work yet, but a Fartlek run once a week sounds just about right for me too.

Happy Hump Day!

Wes

BTW: I failed to mention that I've been so impressed with Joe's pace doing the run/walk thing, its inspired me to Run Fast, Do Good.

ORN: 3.05 miles, 30 minutes, normal pace, 9:47 avg mmp, R3/W1

Feeling It in Every Muscle

My second two-a-day is in the books. I made it out to the gym for my morning swim and was surprised to find two other people in the pool at that early hour (one of them being aquaman). Mondays are officially "technique" day, and I'm working hard to self-coach myself and improve my swimming technique.

Now, at this point in my training, I'm basically doing the balance drills of the "Total Immersion" book. I'm floating on my back, swimming on my side, making myself L-O-N-G. Its all going good. It's just S-L-O-W. I don't mind doing the drills at all, but I can barely stand taking one and half minutes to cross a 25 meter pool. (I guess I should mention at this point that I am NOT using my hands during these drills!) Some fins would sure come in handy here (Fins are an approved training aide). So as not to totally bore myself to tears, I am interspersing my 25 meter drills with 25 meters of freestyle, where I practice making myself long, optimizing my stroke, keeping my elbow high, and bi-laterally breath.

On my ride last night, I changed up my course and added two new short loops to my standard eight mile route. I was really feeling the soreness in my legs from my long weekend, and I just didn't have it in me to push myself really hard. It didn't help that the two loops were really hilly. In fact, I only rode .3 miles further than last week, but took a full 9 minutes longer to get the ride done, averaging 11 MPH for this trip. Blah!!

Looking ahead, I have an all day event Saturday, which leaves me wondering exactly when I'm going to get in my long bike ride. Sunday, I plan to do my first really long run since the half-marathon. I'd like to do at least 10 miles. The timing is excellent as the following week is a recovery week for me.

Warmer weather has arrived....

TTYL,

Wes

OSN: 800 meters, 30 minutes, technique work
OCN: 11.44 miles, 1:02:44, 11 MPH avg

Monday, April 09, 2007

Perspective Accepted

Nuthin quite like sneakin in a run before Easter dinner. Not only did I wait as long as I could (so it would warm up), I had to time it just right to avoid cramping Ms. Dee Dee's style (and her dinner!). I used my friend Joe's dress chart to determine the proper attire for a 53 degree run. And then they were off...

I luv running in colder temperatures. Without even realizing, I was pushing a pace that I do not normally take when I do a training run. Its just when you are breathing so easy, and your legs feel strong, the pace comes natural. You understand, right? I decided to go with it. To see where this one was going to take me. No heart rate monitor required.

1. 9:45
2. 9:35
3. 9:00
4. 10:45
4.5: 5:55

Another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place since the half marathon. Other than my 18 mile hike in basic training, I don't think I've ever sustained that kind of effort, given that much of myself, for that long, and that just kind of puts these training runs into perspective.

"Every race we do teaches something about ourselves"
- Trisaratops


It makes every hill seem a little smaller, a little less steep. It makes every gasp of breath that much sweeter and last that much longer. Complaining muscles are quieter, knowing the stress they are currently under is short lived and just doesn't compare. I noticed this feeling the very week after the race (confidence?), and now, I think I've accepted it for what it is. I have the strength to train harder. I'm ready to push myself to that next level. Ratchet up my training runs another notch.

Gaining perspective and accepting it as true seem like two separate and distinct exercises to me. I guess you could accept something as truth so quickly that the distinctions might blur, but that is a topic for another day.

I'm not promising you anything, Wes, but I do see more sub-10 training runs on your horizon.

For the record, Dee Dee makes an awesome ham dinner...

Waxing philosophical,

Wes

ORN: 4.5 miles, 44 minutes, tempo pace, 9:45 avg mmp, R5/W1

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Riding the Silver Comet

The ice man cometh and brings record cold temperatures to the sunny south. We had freeze warnings here this weekend, people! In April?!?! Wow!! I had been planning for a while to get out and ride The Silver Comet Trail. Since I had an 88 minute ride scheduled for Saturday, I thought what the heck. When I realized it was going to be freezing at 8 AM in the morning, I called Dee Dee (aka the Boss), and she graciously consented to allow me to do my ride in the afternoon. This is a big deal because it turns into a three and a half to four hour jaunt. An hour and a half of driving (there and back), an hour and a half of riding, an hour of getting ready and what not, and before you know it, you've burned four hours of the weekend.

As I exited the car at the trail head, I was excited to see quite a few people coming and going. The temperature was in the forties and a stiff 10-15 MPH wind was blowing. I had no trouble at all finding the trail head, having been all over Cobb County for soccer many many times. I took off in my bike down what I thought was the right direction. It ended up being the annex they built which runs to the Kroger shopping center down the road about a mile. Being the brilliant guy that I am, I then spent the next thirty minutes trying to figure which way the freakin trail went. Once I realized that I was heading into the perimeter, instead of towards Alabama, the reality of what I had done hit me like a ton of bricks. Go the other way, Stupid!! By the time I had gotten back to the car, a full thirty minutes had elapsed, and I had ridden about 5 miles.

Finally, I'm headed down the trail in the right direction. The trail itself is flat and gently sloping. It is a two lane paved bike trail that runs for almost 40 miles. One day, it will connect to a paved trail in Alabama and run almost to Birmingham!! I enjoyed my learning experience on this trail tremendously. I was able to maintain a good cadence, and at times I was sustaining 17 and 18 MPH speeds for several miles. I can hit a steady 17 MPH in gear 4 on the big ring (my hybrid has 3 rings on front and 8 in the back). I need to work on upping that gear to increase my speed. For a short while, a dude on a road bike was actually drafting off of me! LOL. How cool is that? After a while, he decided I wasn't going fast enough so he went on by me. Later on in the ride, a dudette on a road bike came whizzing by. I laughed, because I was doing 16 MPH at the time, and she blew by me like I was standing still.

As with all good things, the ride had to come to an end. I turned around at a road crossing about 8 miles down the trail and made my way back to the car. I relaxed there for a minute, drinking my Gatorade and cooling down before heading home. My overall average was 14 MPH, but over the 16 miles I rode after I found the "right" direction, I averaged 15 MPH. Not quite where I want to be at, but a good place to be right now.

Its a warm and sunny 43 degrees here right now, a long ways from the supposed high of 55. I think I'll wait a bit before I go out for my 44 minute run.

Happy Easter, everyone!!

Wes

OCN: 21.3 miles, 1:32:28, 14 MPH avg

Friday, April 06, 2007

I'm Not Ready to Give It Up

It was probably better that I didn't swim Wednesday. You see, the bike has been kicking my arse. I rode like once in February and then twice in March. Moving to two bike rides in one week was a big adjustment for me, and I can feel it in my thighs, shins, and knees. After my run Tuesday night, they were begging for mercy.

The day off did me some good. My first key employee was sick Wednesday. I spent all night at the restaurant, on my feet, but even that was manageable. Wednesday afternoon, an old friend called and informed me he was moving to Columbia, South Carolina and would I like to meet him and another old friend at the restaurant around 5 PM Thursday for a few beers. How could I resist?

I left work Thursday at about the usual time and got to the restaurant around 5:15 PM. I had two lite beers and decided to eat something. Unfortunately, my food of choice was a basket of onion rings. Mmmmmmm. Around 6 PM, I get a plaintive text message from Dee Dee wanting me to come home and run with her. Taking my lesson from Shannon, I had a big glass of water before saying my good byes and heading out. When I got home, I had just enough time left on the Lasagna to do my thirty minute run. Dee Dee and I had a most enjoyable run. I got to wear my long sleeve technical shirt, and it was good.

Yesterday, I called to make sure the pool was open. When I got there this morning, it was clean, clear, and warm. I jumped in and did my 250 meter warm up, practicing my new technique and what not. I then began my main set, 3x500 meters. The first interval just about killed me. After the first 200 meters, I was so tired I almost thought I wouldn't make it. I persevered through it, and I'm glad I did. Towards the end of my first interval, Aquaman showed up at the pool. Let me tell ya, he is as ripped in person as he is on TV. I didn't think it was fair that he was swimming with hand fins, but I don't think he cared. I just know he kept passing me about every 4th length of the pool.

100...125...150, hello Aquaman!, 200, 225, 250, 300, Hi Aquaman! Love those fins... and so on. As I rested between intervals, he just kept going and going and going and going...

The second and third intervals felt really good. I managed to cut about thirty seconds off of my times from last week, and I learned that in order to actually implement these techniques I've been learning, I have to strengthen muscles that I don't use when I swim now. I have a lot of work ahead of me.

I do appreciate all the feedback on my last post. It wasn't the fact that I didn't want to miss a workout that was bothering me, nor the fact that I was going to work out on my "rest" day. It was the fact that when I moved it, I would have three long days in a row, and yes. That scares me a bit, but I'm not ready to give it up, just yet. I will put forth that little extra effort and see how things work out. If its too much, then this weekend will jolt me back to reality. Just another piece of the puzzle on the path to Iron.

Oh, and last week, I volunteered for Ironman Florida 2007. I hope I get picked, cause I really want to be there.

Have a great weekend,

Wes

ORN: 2.5 miles, 30 minutes, easy pace, 11:40 mmp avg, R5/W1
OSN: 2000 meters, 50 minutes, 1x250 warmup, 3x500, 1x250 warm down

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Damn Pool!!

Stupid pool was broken yesterday. I guess the cold and cloudy water Monday was a bad sign. Instead of having a backup plan, I missed my first eva 2K workout. I've been bummed about it all evening and this morning.

Now I have a decision to make. Do it tomorrow, on my normal rest day, or just let it go...

Wes

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Turning to the Dark Side

I've really turned to the dark side now. I made my first dessert, which, incidently, I have been avoiding for some time like the plague. And for good reason too. Nothing complicated mind you. I'm sure your average 10 year old could make it, but hey, you got to start somewhere, and at least it wasn't chocolate brownies out of a box. Brownies? Mmmmmmm. This is what it looks like:


The problem is that no one else in the family is eating it except me. It's absolutely delicious. I'm about half way through it.

I think I'm gonna hurl...

Wes

BTW: The recipe for this bright spot of decadence can be found here.

ORN: 2.65 miles, 28 minutes, normal pace, 10:40 avg mmp, R1 mile/W1 minute, a run in the rain

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pictures are In

Are we awake yet?

And they're off! Look out walkers!

Where's the Gin?
The happy foursome at the end of the race.
That's Kelly, Me, Dee Dee and Isela (left to right)


My first two-a-day went fine. I slept great :-) Neither cloudy pool nor broken water heater could keep Wes from his appointed rounds. Now, I have a question. You know those muscles along the thigh? The ones you sit on when you ride? They do get better, don't they? LOL.

Oh, and if you want to see my official photos from the ING Marathon, they can be found here.

Wes

OSN: ~500 meters, 24 minutes, technique work
OCN: 11.6 miles, 53 minutes, 13 MPH avg

Monday, April 02, 2007

Never too Old

I don't really know what you think, unless you tell me. I don't know if you share the same things that I do, the same cares, concerns, loves, or thought processes, as normal or abnormal as they may be. If you do, fine. Tell me. If you don't. Fine. Tell me. I will be a better person because you did so.

It is never to late, and you are never to old to learn. You may have the perfect marriage. You may be the world's greatest swimmer, the world's finest tri-athlete, but if you think that there is nothing left to learn, you are wrong. To think otherwise is arrogant, foolish, conceited, human.

I've learned some valuable things in the past twenty-four hours. I'm reading this book called Total Immersion. The book is all about technique, swimming technique to be exact. OK? I'm like a good swimmer. I have been swimming since I was four years old. My fondest memory is having a near death experience (to me) in the creek when my loving aunt was teaching me how to swim. I grew up on the beaches of Panama City, Florida. I know how to swim.

Now, I don't know if this book is good, bad, or indifferent. I suppose that I'll form my own opinion, and you may or may not give me yours, but time will tell. I just know that when I swim in the pool my way, it takes me 23 strokes to swim 25 meters. This morning, when I was practicing my technique, I was able to swim 25 meters in 14 strokes, in about the same amount of time. I wasn't exaggerating either stroke, and I'm not exaggerating my words. That's a significant conservation of effort, and I haven't even gotten past lesson one yet. Bouya!

I also learned this morning that I really need to pack my bag the night before I go to the pool. You see. I forgot my boxer shorts today. I'm going commando at work.

I think I like it.

Wes

OSN: 24 minutes, technique work, ~500 meters

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Kennesaw National Park

A Week in Review: Going Long x 3

The first week of triathlon training is complete. In all fairness, I skipped the first workout of the week, my Monday 2-a-day, so that my body could recover, but I was happy to pick back up Tuesday with a recovery run before setting into my long days. After my long swim Wednesday, I ran for 30 minutes Thursday and then took Friday off, due to work and family obligations. When Saturday morning rolled around, it was time to get in my long cycle ride.

Dee Dee and I got up and at'em early Saturday. I don't make it a habit of getting up early on Saturday's, but this is serious, people. It was going to be a beautiful day. The temperature was starting out around 60, and would rise up into the 80's before the end of the day. The training plan called for 80 minutes of cycling, which left me a bit concerned, but after thinking about it, I decided what the hell. I really didn't have anything to do in the morning, so what was an extra twenty minutes or so? Without a planned route, I left the house and started my ride. I could have repeated my last 18 mile ride, which was 82 minutes by the way, but I really wasn't in the mood to brave all those 2 lane roads and all those hills. I chose a slightly different route which dropped me off on Highway 92, took me through the heart of Woodstock, GA, then looped back around to bring me home. There's nothing quite as exciting as riding your bike on an eight lane highway at 8:45 AM on Saturday morning. Oh, except maybe for getting honked at by a moving truck who was naturally afraid to go around me. I was a good boy, however, and decided to be prudent and not show the driver my middle finger :-) A few yards down the road I pulled off into a turn lane and let the fine gentleman go around me. After getting back home and plugging in the Garmin, I was delighted to see that I actually went 19 miles this time, in one less minute, and averaged 14 MPH, which is an improvement for me. How exciting!! Getting back home, without a planned route, within one minute of your alloted time, is also priceless. I luv this stuff!

I almost, almost(!), decided not to go run at Kennesaw this morning. I was feeling pretty good last night and decided to carbo load with beer. I can't remember the last time I actually drank more than 2 beers in one night. Dee Dee and I woke up before the alarm at 8:30, and I decided that I was going to run at Kennesaw. I rarely do things "just for me", and today was one of those days. I had a forty minute run on my schedule today, so that too was a consideration. Was it worth driving for 25 minutes to "only" run for 40? Well, for me, today, it was.

Every day on my way to work, I ride past Kennesaw Mountain. My children go to school in its shadow, but I had never actually visited. I've been to Chattanooga, the Battlefield at Chickamaugua, and Stone Mountain, but never Kennesaw, which is right here in my own back yard. Maybe its the fact that nothing "exciting" happened there. Joe Johnston picked Kennesaw Mountain as his battlefield, and Sherman was wise enough to pass, and go around. Anywho, I got to the visitor center around 10 AM. There was zero parking. There were a lot of guests running and hiking this morning. I managed to find an empty spot along the road to put my car, and I returned to the visitor center to start my run. While I was waiting for the Garmin to synch up, a slight built dude a little younger than me saw the ING logo on my running shorts and asked if I did the race. After informing him I had, he proceeded to tell me he did the marathon in 3:42. I was impressed, and we chatted for a few minutes. When the Garmin finally synched, we said our good byes and I took off down the trail.

There is no explanation for why I have these visions of routes being flat. I mean, it does say Kennesaw MOUNTAIN Park, not Kennesaw Valley Park. I took off down the trail and was immediately challenged. Running on packed dirt, loose gravel, roots, leaves, and what not is tricky business. As I made my way further and further down the trail, I kept thinking to myself that coming back was going to be a pain. I was enjoying some serious downhill, but the return trip would be a test, at best. A short ways before the turn around point, a couple of college age kids passed me having a nice conversation. Show offs!! On the way back, I missed the trail as it V'ed to the left and right. To the right was the trail back to the visitor's center. The trail I took went towards the top of the mountain. Oops! Lucky for me, there is a road that runs to the top of the mountain. I made a right on the road, and it was all downhill back to the car. As I walked back to the car to bring my heart rate down, I noticed a nice bike trail that runs along the mountain, and I smiled. I'll be back with BAGS...

While I don't consider 40 minutes a LONG run, by any stretch of the imagination, I'm simply going with the plan. I fully realize that I have to be careful not to burn myself out. I only have one off day a week, and even though I wanted to run six to ten miles, doing so might have an adverse affect on my training next week, and I don't want that to happen.

Sorry for the long windedness of the post. I wanted to record this for me, just as much as I did for you. Tomorrow is a small test for me. My first two-a-day. Swim in the morning, bike in the evening, lots of energy and loving life in between.

Finish strong!

Wes

OCN: 82 minutes, 19 miles, 14 MPH avg
ORN: 4 miles, 40:40, normal pace, 10:09 avg mmp, R6/W1