Sunday, September 30, 2007

I DNFed, and I'm Proud

A Two Bridges Triathlon Race Report

Life conspired against me. In the end... I have no one to blame but myself.

I let Matthew have two friends sleep over. I finally sent them to bed at 12:30 PM. The last time I looked at the clock was 2:00 AM. The alarm went off at 4:15 AM.

As I was getting ready to load the bikes on the car, my front tire was flat and wouldn't take air. I had to change my tire.

The race director left one little turn off his directions to the event. When I stopped for directions, I stumbled over a raised section of the asphalt parking lot (it was dark). I tore up my hands and my right knee. I got to the race thirty minutes before the start.

I setup transition and had to go to the freakin bathroom again. I was still waiting seven minutes before the start. I finally got done and made it to the race start with three minutes to spare. It was windy at the lake. The waves were 1-2 feet with a strong current. Our lovely race director made us do the entire swim against the current. Lucky us. And if that was 400 meters, I'm a monkey's uncle.

After rounding the first buoy, I began my swim into the current and the sun. I quickly found myself treading water, staring straight into the sun, about 15 yards inside the buoys. After a couple of minutes of that, my fun meter went to zero, and I headed for shore.

After resting for a few minutes I tried again. I started the course over. About half way to the first buoy, I called it a day.

I thought for sure Dee Dee would drown. I was worried about her. I thought for sure the canoe that came in towing two women had Dee Dee in tow. It didn't. She came out of the water in 19 minutes, for a 400 meter swim. That's twice as long as her last tri.

This was Dee Dee's first race with her tri-shoes. As she left the bike area, she fell over and banged her elbow and hip pretty hard. She decided to stop for the day as well.

Instead of basking in the glory of my Olympic distance triathlon, I get to suck on this for the rest of the off season. Go me...

Wes

Friday, September 28, 2007

Better (more or less)

I had made all the arrangements. Wednesday, I went to Roswell Bicycles to pick up my race packet for Sunday's race. On the way back, I made a pit stop at all3multisport.com (brick and mortar) to pick up some Cran-Raz drink for the boss. I also took that opportunity to get Dee Dee her own Bento Box and myself a Helium Fuel belt. Thursday, I made it a point to pick up two more bottles of Accelerade from Publix, wash my running clothes, and stuff my fuel belt with one Luna Bar, One Clif Bar, and a Hammer Gel. I was all set.

Things have been rather nice at work lately. Nice in a busy way that is. Some days, my job has just sucked. I basically work for the goverment, and they pay me sometimes to sit around and do nothing :-( For the most part, as long as we stick to the plan, and things turn out the way they want, they are happy. My employer is happy, and I'm happy. Before I knew it, 4:30 PM had rolled around. I went down to my car, grabbed my bag, changed in the gym, and hit the trailhead right by my office.

I started out on this trailhead because it had the only real hills I would run. It was a two mile trail, giving me my first four miles. A bonus was that most of the trail was in the shade, well worth the trade off in hills. I started out at a conservative run 4/walk 1. After twenty minutes, I switched to a run 8/walk 2. I really enjoyed this portion of my run. I was feeling strong.

As I hit the four mile mark, I ran by my office and headed down the street to the Chattahoochee River Park. It was all relatively flat from here on out. Again, the sun was setting, and most if not all of my run was in the shade, nicely offsetting the 83 degree temps. Around mile seven I started to get tired, but I kept pep talking myself along. It was fun watching all the triathletes come whizzing by me as I ran down the road next to the river. At mile 9.5, I reached the turnaround and started heading home. At this point, I was really getting sore, but I was maintaining my pace. I wanted to "teach" my body to run when it was tired. Oh! I forgot! I was drinking 8 oz of Accelerade every four miles and eating something every four miles too. I hit the back entrance of the park at mile 11 and headed off down the soft gravel trail. I groaned as I came to the only hill in the park. It was a baby hill, but that was enough to make me groan :-)

I remember looking down at my watch and thinking that the first 12 miles really went rather smoothly this time. It was after that that the serious pain began to set in. My left calf really wanted to cramp, despite the 3 electrolyte tabs I had taken. I had to adjust my form to accommodate it. I walked up the hill and pretty much walked the last half mile or so to my finish, thus my last mile being 12:50, but my overall average being 10:47.

I really need some help here guys. Getting to mile 14 was just about more than I could take. Did you go through this too? Every time you pushed yourself a little further, did the proceeding miles get a little easier? I'm just wondering how I will ever get to 26.2 at this rate...

I'm not quite ready to give up the speed work yet. I may cut it back a little. After all, as you guys said, this first one is about finishing. PRs will fall like leaves from the tree....

Have a great weekend!

Wes

ORN: 14 miles, 02:31:11, endurance pace, R4/W1 and R8/W2, 10:47 mmp

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Bulldog Syndrome

Out of curiosity, I went to the website for the Hot Lips Hustle 5K to see where I had posted in the results. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I had placed third in my age group, 47th overall out of 300+, and I didn't even notice. I am extremely pleased! That is the cherry on top of my sundae, a fitting end to a years worth of hard work...

I'm sure you guys are somewhat familiar with the bulldog. They were bred back in the olden days for bull baiting. I won't get into the specifics of what this (blood) sport involved, but let's just say it was the dog's job to immobilize the bull.

The short muzzle and wide lower jaw were needed for the dog to clamp itself to the bull's nose like a vise, and the nose had to be upturned so that the dog could still breathe while clinging to the bull.

Thus, when someone is focused on something, almost exclusively to the detriment of all other things, they are said to have the "tenacity of a bulldog (or insert favorite breed here)".

That's the way I feel about my plans. For me, the plan makes it easy. You do this, on this date, at this pace, and the rest is easy. Plans are not made to be followed religiously. That will only get you into trouble. However, when in doubt, stick to the plan, knowing it will take you where you want to go. There is comfort in that.

Yesterday, the plan called for a 1.5 mile warm up, then one mile at 8:30 pace with a half mile jog, repeated three times. The session ended with a 1 mile cool down, for a total of seven miles. I rolled my legs with the Tiger Tail before leaving the house. At the soccer field, I took my warm up 1.5 miles very easy, at like a 12 minute pace. Then, I proceeded to do the repeats. The first one came in at 8:17. I was afraid I wouldn't hit my pace, so I started out too fast. I found a nice grassy, soft stretch of the soccer field on which to run. The second mile came in at 8:27. I wanted to take advantage of the slightly slower pace to NOT kill myself. The final mile was really hard, but I did it, coming in at 8:28. I took the cool down very easy, at about a 12 minute per mile pace.

When I got home, I drank an Accelerade and rolled my legs again. I can't say enough how amazed I am at the way my legs are recovering. I highly recommend The Stick or the The Tiger Tail before and after each run. It is safer than stretching and it seems to work wonders for me.

Now, my thoughts turn to my long run, which will most likely happen on Friday after work. I plan to load up on Accelerade and run the trails by my office. We'll see how the legs hold up before making the ultimate decision to change the plan.

Wes

ORN: 7 miles, 01:10:49, 1.5 mile w/u, 1 mile @ 8:30 w/.5 mile recovery jog (x3), 1 mile c/d, speed pace, R4/W0.5

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mile Repeats Ahead

I've been a bad, bad boy. No Marcy! I'm not talking about date night. I've been a bad boy in addition to what normally goes down on date night :-)

After my craptacular run Saturday, I decided to proceed with accelerating my training schedule this week. I ran my recovery run on Sunday, and it went surprisingly well. I had no problem what so ever maintaining a 10 - 10:30 minute mile pace over my two miles. Of course, I went up to the park so I could run on flat, but that doesn't matter, does it?

When I got home, Dee Dee and I cooked a lovely turkey dinner, and I went at my legs with the Tiger Tail with some gusto.

I got knots :-)

There are some specific places in my calves that were sore to the touch. I rolled them gently, then did the rest of my legs, and I was tingly all day, which I took as a good sign. The muscle fibers were busy repairing themselves.

Which brings us to today.

I got mile repeats. Not only do I have 3 miles to run at an 8:30 something pace (with half a mile rest in between), but it is moved up two days. Worried? Kind of. My legs feel pretty good. I'm planning on playing it by ear this afternoon. See how I feel. If all goes well, then I will do all three at the prescribed pace.

That brings me to the option of doing my 14 mile run either Thursday or Friday. I'm thinking Friday, right now. I want the extra day of rest, and if this one comes about like the last one, I'm going to give "bagging the speed work" some serious thought...

I'll let ya know how it goes....

Wes

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It wasn't Pretty

but I did it.

Dee Dee has been asking me for a while to have a date night. It's hard. Date night involves drinking, dancing, and late night hours. That pretty much precludes any physical activity the next day.

and I'm a nice guy.

So I move my long run up a day to accommodate my sweetheart. Now, I could've gotten up early this morning and run in the cool weather, but NOOOO! The American women were playing soccer at 8 AM in the morning. How could I miss that? Then, I had to make breakfast for the family. It is one of my biggest pleasures on the weekend. Well, today, Dee Dee actually did most of the cooking, but I helped.

then I went out for my run.

I'm not sure what got me. It certainly wasn't the pace. I was doing about 11 minute miles, including the walk breaks. It could've been the heat. I was sweating up a storm. It could have been the tempo run from Thursday. It really kicked my butt. It could have been the hills. Grrrrr! I haven't run on these hills in a long time. I was feeling pretty good until I stopped at the Quik Trip at mile five to refill my Camelbak. See! I was smart. I packed two gels, sports beans, keys, cell phone, and three dollars! LOL. Yea, I'm learning.

I stopped at Quik Trip to buy another Accelerade. I almost didn't stop, but I am so glad I did. There wasn't but a little bit left in the Camelbak, and if I had started back on those last seven miles without it, I would have absolutely died. I almost did anyways. Another nice bonus about stopping at Quik Trip was the drink was SOOOOO cold :-)

Around mile 9, I knew it was pretty much over. I threw the run 9 walk 1 thing out the window and just decided to walk every hill. It hurt to start running again, but I hung with it. I forced myself to run when I could, and I spent a lot of time walking up Mount Doom and Ass Kicker. It took every ounce of courage to run past the entrance to my neighborhood in order to finish the twelve miles, even though turning right would have only cut the run short by half a mile. That's just not my style.

Finally, the house came into view. I walked slowly into the house and collapsed on the sofa, wondering exactly what happened to make this one of the worst runs ever. I guess I just needed a shot of "you are not invincible, Mr. Olympic Triathlete", and that is what I got.

It's funny, you know. After a shower, and a little nap on the couch. I'm not even sore. I am tired, but not sore, and nothing hurts. I don't know if it was the Accelerade, or my body is doing a much better job at recovering. I'll just accept it and not ask questions. What I do know, is I am more determined than ever to have a good 14 mile run this week, and I'll make whatever adjustments I have to to see that come true.

Thank you for all your kind words about my last post. I am NOT giving up refereeing forever. It wasn't just the running that figured into that decision. I have a family and a wife that needs me. There are things we just need to put out of our life. The major one, the defunct lease on the other store, should be settled next week. I'm going to spend a little more time focusing on what's really important. That's what triathlete/endurance athletes do.

Off to make dinner for the kiddos. Have a great night y'all :-)

Wes

ORN: 12 miles, 02:15:51, endurance pace, R9/W1 (before falling apart), 11:17 mmp

Friday, September 21, 2007

A La Tempo

Fourteen week plan. Three runs a week. 41 runs. 20 easy runs. 8 tempo runs. 3 speedwork runs. 10 long runs. 1 race.

That's the breakdown. I am in the middle of week three, and I just completed my second tempo run. Last week, when I finished my three mile tempo run, I wondered how I would ever do four. Yesterday, I'm wondering, how will I ever do five? LOL. Fortunately for me, I only have one of those!

As I started out on my warm up yesterday, I'm still noticing some soreness in both of my Achilles tendons. If you remember this from last year, it was always the right one that was giving me problems. This year, I go through five months of tri-training with nary a problem. I ref one tournament, and boom. Both of my Achilles are bitchin...

After the warm up, they seem to get their act together, but I've made my decision. There will be no refereeing this season. I've just got other, more important things that I want to be doing right now.

Good news is that today, I'm feeling spiffy. I seemed to have recovered well from my six mile, middle of the week run. This bodes well for the future and has me thinking that someday, four runs a week might be the order of the day.

Got twelve on tap this weekend, and I'm sure I'll squeeze a bike ride in there somewhere.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wes

ORN: 6 miles, 1 mile w/u, 4 miles@9:05, 1 mile c/d, tempo pace, R4/W1, 9:55 mmp

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another Beginning

Not much exciting happening in the World According to Wes. I have a little saying... Nothing good happens until it happens. Helps keep things like Hope under control. It is reversible too. This helps with things like Dread and Disappointment...

Just when the thread holding the sword over my head began to unravel, the Hand of God reached in and took hold of the hilt. My attorney has informed me that the leasing company has sent me a termination agreement on the debacle of a second store. I don't know the terms yet, but I am preparing Jimmy for a life with a new set of parents :-) Should they prove to be acceptable, Dee Dee and I will no longer have to act like "ducks in a barrel" as she so elegantly put it. We can move on with rebuilding our (financial) lives.

After the race Sunday, I managed to squeeze in a 16.5 mile bike ride in one hour. I enjoyed it. I gave the hills in my neighborhood some extra luvin. Yesterday, I went on what will end up being the first of many two mile recovery runs. I thoroughly enjoyed the run, but I'm keeping my eyes on the big picture. Thursday, I have six miles, with four at tempo. Somehow, a tempo run just doesn't seem all that difficult after my race Saturday. I think my confidence is building. Next week I get to do mile repeats. I'm really looking forward to that, I think :-)

I'm off to swim today. I plan on doing 1200 meters easy. This will probably be my last practice swim for a while. Next week, before the tri, I have to move all my runs up so I can do my tri on Sunday without affecting my marathon training plan. Yea, I'm funny like that...

Happy hump day, y'all!

Wes

OCN: 16.5 miles, 01:00:25, 16.5 mph
ORN: 2 miles, 20:10, easy pace, R3/W1, 10:10 mmp

Sunday, September 16, 2007

(One of) The Reasons I Run

A Hot Lips Hustle 5K Race Report

It has been a long and fruitful year, as far as running and triathlons go. I haven't really had a plateau or a set back yet. I know its coming, and I'm not really sure how I'll deal with it. It will probably go something, "Blah, blah! Who cares!" :-)

So, yes. It has been a long and fruitful year, and I've been waiting for my first repeat. And it came. And I ran. And it was good.

I kind of like driving to the race location in 20 minutes. I swear that has to be a record. This was even after I turned around and went back to get Dee Dee's change of clothes bag. This year, it was to be a family affair. Dee Dee, Jimmy, and I were running, and Matthew was the official race photog. Matthew mentioned wanting to run the race, but he had a game right after, and we weren't really comfortable with that.

When we arrived at the Lutheran Church in Marietta, I was surprised. We were a bit early and the parking lot was filling up fast. I don't quite remember how many people they had last year, but this year, they had over 400 runners, and in this, the third year of the race too. The cross country teams from Walker High School, Walker Middle School, and Lassiter High School were all taking part. That got me excited, to see this kind of support for one of our local gals.

About twenty minutes till race time, I went out on my mile warm up. My suggested 8:08 pace kept ringing in my ears. As I did my half mile out and half mile bike, I did the run/walk thing, increasing the run time by one minute. The last tenth of a mile, I sprinted as hard as I could back to the race site, stressing out my lungs. At this point, there's nothing to do but make small talk and wait for the race to get started. Dee Dee and I laughed at the dogs that were in the race. They had Hot Lip Hustle race bibs on their backs, and they looked so cute. At five minutes till, I made my decision. I set the Garmin up for a 5K at an 8:15 pace. That is what I would shoot for. At one minute till race start, I canceled the workout and decided to just "do my best".

Eventually, the starter called us over to the start line for last minute instructions. The sheriff's department stopped traffic. With a final countdown, the starter kicked off the race. We were off and running.

The family and I had drove in along the race route. The course itself was very gentle, but mostly downhill on the way out, even if it was ever so slight. I started out as fast I felt comfortable, not really knowing what to expect. I stepped out into the left lane of the road so I could pass the throng of middle packers that started out in front of me. Gradually, I was in the front of the pack. I like the view from up there :-)

My breathing was already heavy and I was working hard when I came up to the first mile marker and crossed it in 07:23. This didn't get me too excited. One, I wanted to have a consistent effort. Part of the process of feeling good the whole race is making the level of effort consistent for each mile. Second, as I said, this section was a slight downhill. I knew that I was going to have to come back this way. At that point, I took a 20 second walk break, before taking off running again.

The second mile was progressively harder. The course flattened out and had some small uphills, and I was beginning to feel it. I decided along the way that I would take a walk break after every mile. I skipped water at the turn around point and headed back. I realized at that moment, that I wouldn't be able to run mile three entirely. I crossed the second mile marker in 8:24, almost a full minute slower than my first mile. I wasn't worried though. I was watching my Garmin. It had my average pace below 8 minutes, and I was excited by that. I extended my second walk break to thirty seconds.

Mile three was tough. I started getting passed by quite a few people, but I didn't care. As I said, these races are about me. As I stopped for my third walk break, a lady, 10 years my senior slapped me on my back and encouraged me to keep moving. I laughed and told her I did Galloway and this was part of the plan. She gave me the thumbs up as she left me behind. For the rest of the race, I used her as my pulley.

Miles 3: 8:27

When I reached the school, I knew that I had about three tenths of a mile left. My average pace had slipped above 8:08 for the first time. I kept my break short, and I took off, determined to finish this with everything I had. As the finish line came in sight, I was really hurting, but I kept my pace high and steady.

"Look at Wes, coming in under 26 minutes, finishing strong!"

I heard the race director shout over the microphone. As I cross the line, I hit stop on my Garmin and glanced at the race clock: 25:10, for an 8:06 per mile pace. I had done it. I had pushed myself further and harder than I thought I could go. It felt wonderful.

Jimmy was waiting for me at the end of the finish chute. He had run the course in 21 minutes and some change. Dee Dee came in 34 minutes, 2:25 seconds faster than her time last year. She looked great too. You could tell she wasn't really struggling this time.


Everybody gets bling and swag bags at races. Some of the stuff you get before the race. Some of the stuff you get after you finish, and only if you finish. I could go out and buy a thousand of these bracelets tomorrow and wear a new one every day. Big deal. But ya know. The little trinkets that you earn?

Those are priceless, and I wouldn't trade them for the world...

Wes

ORN: 3.1 miles, 25:10, race pace, 8:06 mmp, Walk as needed

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pre Race Mental Exercises

I'm psyching myself up for the race tomorrow.

How much pain can you take?

I miscalculated my pace. It should be 8:08 instead of 8:13 per mile.

For how long?

My five miler went well last night. Let there be no doubt. Running at a 10:40 pace on soccer fields does not equal running a 10:40 pace in my hilly neighborhood. I've got this pace thing figured out with the run/walk method.

That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

I failed The Test, but I hit my overall pace and am still undefeated versus the Virtual Partner.

Pain is fleeting...

The Hot Lips Hustle 5K is a race benefiting The Smile Train, an organization providing much needed services to children all over the world with cleft palettes. The young lady who organized this race is a student at my son's school. What's up with young women dreaming of lips and kissing? eh? LOL.

The memories are forever...

It is an honor to serve. K. I'm ready now. Bring it on....

Wes

ORN: 5 miles, 52:46, easy pace, R5/W1, 10:39 mmp

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hello, Pool

Yeeeaus! I've been missing all of my extracarricular (read non-running) activities. I have one last tri coming up on September 30th, and I don't want to sink when I hit the water :-) I stopped off at the gym last night to see how much swimming endurance I had lost. Well... Don't really know. I felt strong. I decided to do 100 meter laps, and to be safe, I thought 100 meters every 2:15 would be about right. Maybe it was a little too conservative. I had forty seconds of rest between each interval, meaning I was doing each lap in 1:35. Sure kicked my butt though! I was beat at the end of the night...

I have a special event this weekend. The Hot Lips Hustle 5K was the first race I ever did on this journey, and as such, it has the distinct honor of being the first repeat performance. On that day, my humble goal was to come in sub-30. I did that, and it was an experience I'll never forget. I am so looking forward to the race on Saturday.

According to Galloway (god of all things running), I need to add 33 seconds to my magic mile to get my 5K pace. That would mean an 8:13 pace for me. *gulp* :-) To me, that is very aggressive, but you know what? You'll never know until you try, and I'm game!

Race report to follow!

Wes

OSN: 1250 meters, 1x300 w/u, 8x100@2:15, 1x150 cool down

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Learning to Run Again

That might seem a bit odd, coming from someone who has finished a half marathon and an Olympic distance triathlon or two. Looking back though, you can see the shift in my training, from running three times a week, to swimming, biking, and running twice a week with an optional third run thrown in. Almost all of the runs were what I would call short. I think I managed to get in a couple of seven milers before the end of the training season.

One of the benefits of this has been the fact, knock on wood, that I have spent my first year primarily injury free. I would definitely say that training for sprint and Olympic triathlons is just as good as training for half and full marathons, and a lot easier on the body as well. After my long run Saturday, I was nursing a sore foot and left leg, and this was my primary concern as I began my five mile run at the soccer fields yesterday.

It didn't take long for things to start out on a bad note. I must have left my Garmin on after my ride Sunday. It immediately warned me of low battery power. I cursed under my breath and hoped it would last long enough to make one loop of my run. It didn't. It did, however, make it to the turn around at .75 miles. Using my college edumacation, I did the math, added two lengths of another soccer field, and somehow came up with a three loop 5.2 mile run, as measured by MapMyRun.com. Unfortunately, I had no backup watch, so I have no idea what my pace or time was. Based on perceived level of effort, I'm sure I was going to fast :-) But what I don't know won't hurt me! Right?

Good news is, that while still sore, the top of my foot didn't bother me on the run, and my left leg felt fine once it got warmed up. Towards the end of my run, I could feel the familiar breakdown and realized that my form was off. I was putting additional stress on the left knee. It dawned on me that this is what happened Saturday. As I got further into my 10 miler, I got tired, let my form break down, and ended up straining my left knee a bit. Lesson learned.

Today, all is well. My legs are responding well to the renewed running. I can feel the tightness of the muscles again. My midsection is responding also, having been tortured with many alcoholic beverages after the triathlon, and I'm hungry again, which is a good sign. I'd like to continue the process of losing more weight.

Have a great hump day, y'all!

Wes

ORN: 5.2 miles, ~50 minutes, R .75 miles/W?, who knows???

Monday, September 10, 2007

An Epic Weekend

Oh.My.God!! :-) Where to begin? What an incredible weekend for endurance athletes all over the country. I am, how to say, satiated with after effects of keeping up with all this.

1. Iron Wil completed Ironman Wisconsin and now has a title to go with what we always knew was an Iron spirit.
2. TriShannon completed Ironman Wisconsin, demonstrating to the world, that she too is Iron.
3. IM-Able participated in Ironman Wisconsin, halting her bid to become Iron halfway through the bike. Thanks Jayme, for reminding us that for even the toughest competitor, Ironman is no cake walk.
4. Lisa completed her half marathon in fine style. Way to chase down those bunnies Lisa!!! Woo hoo!
5. Run for Chocolate had an epic half marathon victory! Yea, baby!!!
6. Congrats to our main running god-in-training Blaine Moore who finished fourth in his first ever 50K ultra! How cool is that?
7. Finally and certainly not least, my home boy Murtha turned in a sub-1:20 Peachtree City Triathlon!!! Un-freakin believable!!

That's almost too much to absorb all in one weekend. Dee Dee and I were glued to the laptop for over six hours yesterday. LOL. What a day!

What did I get done this weekend you ask? Well, I did my 10 miler Saturday. Dee Dee had mentioned to me that she wanted to ride this weekend, and Sunday was the only day that was going to happen. Therefore, I did my long run early. That was mistake number one. Mistake number two was sticking to the 10:40 pace, which I did, but I wasn't really comfortable with it. Mistake number three was not adjusting for the heat. LOL. In my defense, I did need to get back to the soccer field in time for my son's game.

Other than that, the run went really well. I did 10 miles at a 10:39 average pace for a little over one hour and forty five minutes. I took two electrolyte tablets and had zero cramping. I drank Accelerade and had one gel on the run. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that talked me out of the 16 miler! I probably would have crippled myself...

As is, I'm fairly sore with a tender left leg and stiff left foot, on top, which is really strange! I'm busy rolling out the muscles with Tiger Tail, and I hope to get in a bike ride and be ready for my easy week of 3 five mile runs. It's been a while since I've put in a 15 mile week, and it's been an extremely long time since I did that in two runs, like I did this past week.

Every once in a while, you come across something that is simply brilliant in its simplicity. You guys know I like to cook, and I have a special fondness for Gumbo. Now, for Emeril's gumbo, I made the roux the old fashioned way, on the stove. Lots of time and lots of stirring, and if you get it wrong, it burns and you have to start over again. I'll admit that I've made it twice and it hasn't burned yet, but it is time consuming.

Enter my other home boy, Alton Brown. He is a culinary master as well as a scientist. His idea was to bake the roux. Simply brilliant. Equal parts vegetable oil and flour, bake on 350 until it is the right color. Whisk once in a while. Voila! Roux!! I used my cast iron frying pan by the way, before transferring the roux into another pot. If you like shrimp, and you like gumbo, then I highly recommend this easy recipe. It was awesome!

Back to the mundane! Have a great week, everyone!!

Wes

ORN: 10 miles, 01:45:26, endurance pace, R7/W1, 10:39 mmp
OCN: 5 miles, 15 minutes, ~15 mph

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Journey Continues

As I stepped gingerly onto the field last night, I still had that lump in my throat. I suppose that's the best place for a lump, but I was worried about it none the less. My first workout since the Oly was about to begin. I have NEVER done speedwork before. I had done tempo runs, but that was usually because I ran fast when I felt good. It wasn't "required". I was a little nervous about "having to" maintain a 9:05 pace for three miles. That's a lot faster than I usually run in training.

Stupid Garmin. I don't know what has changed, but I couldn't setup a warm up and cool down for my tempo run, so I ended up breaking it up into three separate runs. I pressed start on the Garmin and took off across the fields for my warm up.

First thing I noticed was that my heels were sore. When I run on the soccer field, I have to run fast, and invariably, I forget my form and run on my heels. I need to be extremely careful of this. While I was running, I was trying to decide whether or not do the run walk thing. About four minutes into my warm up, my right knee started complaining. I figured it was needing a slower warm up, so I took a walk break. Sure enough, my knee quit complaining, and I completed the warm up with no problem.

After resetting the Garmin, I took a deep breath and took off on my tempo run. I tried to find a comfort zone and remember what my one mile test felt like. I wanted a consistent effort. I was a bit surprised when my first mile came in at 08:46. Since I was 200 yards ahead of my virtual partner, I took a walk break. This kind of ruined negative splits for me, but I wasn't quite ready to run the whole thing. I ended up turning in a 09:10 for both my second and third miles, for an overall average of 09:03 per mile.

I'm not very happy about that, to be honest. The point of doing a certain pace is to do that pace for each mile, not overall (I think). I would have rather come in at 9:05 for the second and third miles too. Oh well... No bigee. I need to set my workouts up in advance on the Garmin and get it programmed right. I'll get better at judging my pace as well. I took a slow jog for my one mile cool down, finishing in about 12 minutes. For the curious, my overall average was almost exactly 10 minute miles for five miles.

On a sad note, one of my beautiful girl's, my employee's brother decided, yesterday, that life was no longer worth living. It is truly sad when someone so young fails to see the potential that life has to offer. I know. Because I've been there. A long time ago, when I was young and very much alone, I made a decision. The World wasn't going to feel sorry for me. I would NEVER feel sorry for myself again. Ever. Period.

As I stepped out of the house this morning. The sky was a paler blue. The clouds were puffy white of many shades and grey. The bird's songs were a little less happy, the sun, a little less bright. Through the heaviness of my heart, I smiled. The journey continues, and I am grateful for my various forms of salvation, grateful that I still have (and want) things to do. Grateful that I am here to do them.

Give the kids a hug for me today...

Wes

ORN: 5 miles, ~50 minutes, 3 @ 9:03, tempo pace, R 1 mile/W1

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Packing it In

Guess what? I have a bag with running clothes in the car! You know what's funny? I didn't even need to bring it, cause I'm going back home to pick Matthew up before I go to soccer practice. LOL. I packed the bag, "just in case".

I haven't done a structured workout in almost two weeks. Can you tell?

Alrighty then! First tempo run is a go! One mile warm up, 3 miles @ 9:05, then a mile cool down. Wish me luck! No guts, no glory!!

(for Chad)

SPARTAAAAAAA!!!

Wes

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

That Chiseled Feeling

I love that feeing you get as your muscles heal fully. You know the one I'm talking about. The body has jettisoned all the extra water its holding onto. The stomach feels flat. You no longer have that bloated feeling. The buttocks are rock solid and the legs are tingling with anticipation.

That feeling came to me quite a bit when I tapered before races, not so much during tri season. I guess the training was either harder or the taper really wasn't long enough for me to get there. Who knows? All I do know is today, I am feeling mighty fine!

There's certainly a line somewhere, kind of like the various phases of the moon. Once you cross over the line, you are going from chiseled to flab. Lucky for me, the line is blurred. I'm going to enjoy this for another day or so. Then, I'm going to get my ass out there and run, because I simply can't wait.

Yea, I luv this feeling...

Wes

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Post Labor Day Stress Syndrome

How we long for and crave the symbolic three day weekend. We get them twice a year for Memorial Day and Labor Day. Ever since Jess was a little girl, these weekends have meant soccer for me. Atlanta Cup is one of, if not, the biggest soccer tournaments in the Southeast this time of year. We had over 750 teams, requiring 700+ referees. This is the one tournament out of the year when I am entirely selfish. I watch my kids play the NASA Classic, then for Atlanta Cup, I do nothing but referee.

I was fortunate enough to have really good games this weekend, not matter what skill level or division. All of my games were low scoring, well behaved, and fun. It doesn't get any better than that. I reffed four games Saturday. Let me tell ya. I was NOT ready :-) When I got home Saturday night, I felt like I had just completed my first 50 mile ultra! What was surprising to me was how quickly I recovered. Sunday, I managed just three games, and I felt good all day, despite rubbing the skin off of the end toes on my right foot. Monday was the finals, and I had two games. Unfortunately, I was compensating for the pain caused by my toes rubbing together, and I ended up running on the left side of my right foot for both games. Needless to say, the muscles and bones over there are a bit sore today. My final game (U-17 girls) went into overtime. It was 0-0 at full time, and ended up being 0-0 at the end of both overtimes. The team from South Carolina won on penalty kicks. It was an exciting way to end the tournament.

Over the weekend, I finally settled on a plan. I played with the Smart Coach on Runner's World until I got a 16 week plan with which I was happy. I will basically be running three times a week, leaving me two days for cross training. I'm jumping straight into week three, which starts me out with 3 miles easy, a 3 mile tempo run (with 1 mile warm ups and cool downs), then a 10 mile long run on the weekend. Due to the fact I reffed so much this weekend, I'm blowing off the first 3 miles easy, and I'm going to decide on the tempo run later this week, depending on whether or not my foot has recovered. I'm not used to running (x) miles at (x) pace. This one is starting me out at a 9:05 pace for three miles. I wanted a plan with speed work, and I got it, ready or not. I have so much room to improve on my running. I'm going to give it my best shot. Another nice thing about jumping in at week three is week four is a easy/recovery week. I think it will work out fine for me...

Did you guys know I was interviewed at my Olympic triathlon by the same dude who interviews the Super Bowl MVP after the game? It went something like this:

Reporter: Wes! You just completed your first Olympic distance triathlon. Where are you going next?

Wes: I'm going to Disney World! Twice!!

Reporter: Twice?

Wes: Yup!! I'm doing the Disney Marathon in January, and the Florida Ironman 70.3 in May. How cool is that?


It's settled then... Florida Ironman 70.3 it is. There are a number of things about this race that make it so attractive:

1. It's an Ironman event.
2. It's in flat as a pancake Florida :-)
3. It's an Ironman event.
4. May 20th falls precisely between the end of High School soccer and State Cup.
5. It's a lake swim...
6. It's an Ironman event. ROFL...

Ya know? I think next year I'm going to take this triathlon stuff serious :-)

Here's to a great week everyone, and hopefully some great running weather...

Wes