Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Spook-tacular Birthday

A few years back, I finally gave voice to a disease that affects all men to some degree. For me, it was all consuming. I call it: gift impaired. I mean, let's face it fellas! There is only so much jewelry you can buy for your wife over the years before it gets old. Never mind that she WANTS jewelry on every occasion. That is just besides the point. Having to shop for a new piece of jewelry you "think" she might like gets to be overly stressful.

And all those subtle hints the wife drops you in the months leading up to the big day... Umm, yea. Evidently, I'm not too keen.


Then, along came running, and especially triathlon. Not only has this shared interest been a joy, but its opened up a plethora of cool gift ideas for the Spousal Unit.

A little over three weeks ago, I set the wheels in motion. I called the local bike shop and had them order a performance cycling kit (jersey and bib shorts) for Dee Dee. Paid for it in advance and everything. I was excited when the LBS called to let me know that it had arrived. I stopped off after Jimmy's soccer game last weekend to pick it up. Little did I know, the LBS had called Dee Dee first to let her know it had come in. Thus, ruining my surprise!

Yesterday, I asked Dee Dee if she wanted a cake for her birthday. "Yea, German chocolate or a yellow cake with chocolate frosting", she said. I told her I would bake her one. "Nah", she said. "I want a cake that tastes good!" Gee, thanks, Dee Dee! I laughed and told her I would be baking tonight, but if anything went wrong, I'd get her a store bought one as a back up.

Shoulda known that life would conspire against me. I researched cakes on the internet and was all ready to beat those egg whites to death! At the boys practice, I got my fifty minutes of running in at an 11:15 mmp pace, for around 4.5 miles. I still feel like I'm a little more sore than normal, but it could just be anxiety about my twenty miler this weekend.

After practice got over at 8 PM, I was informed I had to get my youngest a costume. That took an hour. Jimmy needed to be picked up at 9:30 PM, so no sense in going home. We hung out at the Barnes and Noble before picking him up. After dropping off the carpoolers, I finally got home around 10 PM sans cake. Almost. Almost. gave in. But I said, "Screw this!" I'm baking a cake. I went up to the grocery store and got everything I needed. By 11 PM, the cake was in the oven, just in time for Dee Dee to come home from the restaurant. By 11:35 the cake was cooling, and at midnight, the frosting went on. At that point, I realized I didn't have enough frosting, so it was back to the store! Finally, I got the cake done, wrapped, and put on the counter for the big day. Tonight, we will all go out to dinner, then come home for cake and ice cream. I will let y'all know if we end up in the emergency room with food poisoning :-)

Happy Birthday, my beloved. When times are tough, it is so easy to get caught up in the wave of life and forget why we bonded in the first place (sex! just kiddin ;-). My unwavering commitment to you has not and will not change. I am yours for as long as you deem me worthy. Have a beautiful, glorious day, and know that you are truly loved.

The Naughty Witch (Rowrrrr!)

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I done good. I done real good...

Wes

ORN: 4.5 miles, 50:00, easy pace, R4/W1, 11:15 mmp

Monday, October 29, 2007

An Active Recovery

For some reason, the Running Times has been coming to my door in Dee Dee's name. Why she gets all the good stuff, I'll never know. After reading the magazine cover to cover, I got three very interesting things out of it. Running Times is admittedly an "elitest" magazine, but it had some good stuff for this back of the middle of the packer.

The editorial on the first page revisited the same thread as the Pearl Izumi "We are not Joggers" campaign. The editor explained that there will always be competitive runners who look down on people that are not as fast or faster than they are. That is the nature of humanity and competitive sports. He defined, quite eloquently I might add, that no matter how fast you are or where you finish in a race, being a runner is all about attitude. I enjoyed his essay very much, and I wish Pearl Izumi would learn a thing or two from the way he said it!

There was a very inspiring sub-article about a young man in his early sixties. He is number one in his age group in North America. He started running at the age of 35. At one point he weighed 199 pounds. He now weighs around 120. He runs a sub-18 5K. That's right. Sub-18 in his sixties. Very inspiring. I know where I wanna be :-) Oh, he's been injury free to boot!

Every Running Times magazine I have gotten has had some article about the Kenyans. I think this one had three or four. I've learned some important stuff reading these articles. Stuff like: go hard on hard days. Go easy on easy days. Beginning runners run too hard, and other bits and pieces of goodness like that. The one thing that really struck me in this issue was a blurb about Active Recovery. That is basically what I am going through now. I have been so sore all week. I would have been an absolute idiot to try and do a twenty miler this past Sunday. I'm glad I had a moment of Einsteinian brilliance (with your help of course) and switched plans.

I guess the "easy on easy days" advice didn't quite sink in entirely for yesteday's 8 miler. I started out my run in the 10.5 to 11.5 minutes per mile pace, and ended it ain the 9.5 to 10.5 minutes per mile pace range. I found myself doing 9.5 minute miles up one seriously steep hill about half way through my run. Ooopsie :-) I was seriously feeling it at the end of the run, but feeling so strong going up all those hills was priceless.

This week, I'm going to take it easy so I am in tip top shape for my twenty miler this weekend. Dee Dee, my sister, and I are heading down to Panama City for Ironman Florida on Friday. I will be a volunteer in the men's transition area. Unfortunately, my request to join Dee Dee and Kelly in the women's transition area was denied :-( Good news is that Panama City Beach is flat as a pancake. That should help make my long run on Sunday very enjoyable. I doubt the trip home will be!

Have a great week, y'all!

Wes

ORN - Friday: 3.55 miles, 40 minutes, easy pace, R3/W1, 11:16 mmp
ORN - Sunday: 8 .4 miles, 01:30:26, easy pace, R4/W1, 10:46 mmp

Friday, October 26, 2007

At What Pace (Cost)?

With the marathon looming on the horizon (December 8), my thoughts are starting to focus on the race. I'm trying to decide what a good pace for me would be. As usual, the internet has been helpful, and then again, not so helpful. Here are some pace recommendations:

FIRST
5K + 1 minute, 8:25 -- Ummmmm, no :-)

McMillan Running
9:21 pace (based on my 5K) - Possible, though unlikely

Galloway
Magic Mile * 1.3, 9:45 pace -- getting warmer!

Perseverance Pace
9:43, Joe's pace for his target finish time.

Wes' Suggested Pace
9-10:00, giving me a finish time anywhere between 4 and 5 hours

They key thing for me here, is that I want to ENJOY my first marathon, up until it really starts to hurt. LOL... Any suggestions out there, marathon gurus? What's really hard is because of the walk breaks, I have to run faster than the target pace during the run portions. Figuring this out can be challenging at times.

Part of the reason I am going through this process is because this weekend and/or next weekend I want to do a good chunk of my run at marathon pace. Last night, I was scheduled to run for 48 minutes. I had no problem keeping my pace within the desired pace range (9-10) and did 5 miles in 52 minutes, which included 4 minutes of walking to warm up.

This week will be the first week ever that I have four scheduled runs. I'm on tap for 40 minutes of running tonight, and 8 miles this weekend. My legs are still recovering from the long run Sunday. Having an easy week will definitely help me avoid injury.

For those of you who are into seasonal food, I had a couple of extra bucks in my pocket and decided to make this Pumpkin Soup. It was pretty good. Different, but good.

To all the peeps racing this weekend, especially the Marine Corps Marathon, ROCK HARD!!

Wes

ORN: 5 miles, 52:02, normal pace, R4/W1, 10:30 mmp

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Randomness

For those of you who are interested in the training plan I am on, you can find the plan here. Click on the Training button and follow the link to marathon training plans.

In my mind, I see running as a sport in which men and women can compete equally. I know there are many more. Not my point. The best men seem to always beat the best women, but in my world, and my spot in the pack, this just isn't the case. And I LOVE IT :-) Running with folks of all ages, male and female, is just fun for me. By the way, I have no problem what so ever running in a skirt. Out of respect for my family and other people that would have to see me though, I'll pass ;-)

Wait for it... It's RAINING :-) Seriously! We have rain for the first time in months and months and months and months. Due to the drought, I've been investigating other places in the United States I'd like to live (San Diego is out). I was all set to run in the rain but had to opt out. I needed to cook the boyz dinner. I did my run on the dreaded treadmill. Ewwww... I was kind of wondering how I was going to run with my extremely sore butt, but I managed. I started out at 12 minute miles and did R4/W1 and up-ed the speed by .2 miles per hour after every walk break until I got to 10 minute miles. Then, I ratcheted it back down again. I'm not sure I was quite ready for a four mile recovery run, but I got'er done. Switching to a new plan ain't easy, but worth it!

Once more into the breach....

Wes

ORN: 4.15 miles, 50 minutes, easy pace, R4/W1, 12 mmp

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sumethin (is going down) Right!

The internet is such a great tool, and I love the sites of both commercial and non-commercial members of the endurance community. Many of the commercial endurance coaches also offer freebies on blogs and magazine web sites. If you are a good hunter/seeker, it doesn't take long to mine the secrets of the world wide web.

Basically, I found a new plan that I like better than the one I am on. Computer generated plans are great and all, but I'm just not ready for the plan I am currently using. Who am I kidding! LOL... There's just no way I'm going to be able to do back to back 18 and 20 miler long runs. Maybe its mental.

The new plan is a run/walk plan I found on a women's health web site. I get blown away by so many women during races, I thought they must be doing something right! Since copying is the sincerest form of flattery, and you know I like to flatter women (LOL), I thought I would imitate them! (chuckle, chuckle) It also helped that switching into the new plan worked out perfectly. The long run for this week called for 16 miles. Perfect! In addition, there is more running during the week (not longer) on this plan, with no speed work.

I filled up three of my bottles on the fuel belt with endurance drink, and the fourth one with water. Packed my three gels, and headed over to Kennesaw Mountain. I was feeling really brave. I was thinking about doing the 16 miles on a new trail course I had never been on before. After arriving at the site, and realizing my Garmin was low on battery power, I changed my mind. I headed over to the Silver Comet trail, where the route was (relatively) flat, and the mile markers were clear.

I won't bore you with the details of the run. Let's just say it was a beautiful day, and everything went splendidly. Many times, I was surprised to see my four minutes of running had already elapsed and it was time to walk again. I was feeling so good, as a matter of fact, that I opted to extend my run by two miles and do the full 18. I cruised along. At mile thirteen, I began to get that familiar tingly sensation in my feet and legs. As my body began to hurt, I reached back into my memory and resuscitated that feeling I had when I started the run at my Olympic triathlon. I was hurting pretty bad then, but not nearly as bad now (as then). At that point, I knew I could do this. Then, I got the strangest cramp. It was on the top left side of my left foot and ran up just a short distance on the left side of my shin. I eased my way through it, and was able to turn in some of my fastest miles of the day at 14, 15, and 18. I couldn't get over how much stronger I felt this time, versus the 14 miler I did a few weeks ago. It was a great feeling.

Overall, I did 18 miles in 03:31:16. The out portion was 1:47 minutes, and the back portion was 01:43. Yea baby! I negative split that bad boy. That makes me happy. I feel uber comfortable switching to the new plan now :-)

I've been catching up on all your blogs and all the great race reports from this weekend. Let me tell ya something, people! You are FREAKIN AWESOME!!!

Wes

ORN: 18 miles, 03:31:16, endurance pace, R4/W1, 11:45 mmp

Friday, October 19, 2007

Listen

A friend of mine came into the bar Wednesday night and tried to be funny:

"If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?"

"Of course!" I said. "The absence of a receiver does not mean there is an absence of sound waves."

"OK!", he said. "If a man cheats on his wife in the forest, and there is no one there to catch him, is it wrong."

He got a chuckle out of the perplexed look on my face. Being a good owner, I was intently listening to what he had to say, but when something rubs my honor principle the wrong way, joke or not, it makes me uncomfortable, and I'm not very good at hiding it. It was decidedly un-funny.

Being a good listener is not an easy task. Dee Dee comes home from the restaurant and wants to tell me all about her day, and not all the time do I want to listen, but I try, because I know she needs me to. I, on the other hand, don't feel the need to come home from my job and fill Dee Dee's ears with my tails of bits and bytes. I just don't think that would interest her very much at all. I have no gift for gab (hard to believe, huh?). I save my breath for important stuff, most of the time.

But yea, listening is an acquired skill. Empathetic listening is pay dirt. Putting yourself in the context of your speaker is an art form, and will truly make you a better person.

I decided last night, not to do my tempo run. I was just too damn sore still, and I am kicking myself in the ass. First, I skip my 16 mile run for a tri. Then, I put my 18 miler in jeopardy by pounding my butt off refereeing a soccer match. I'm feeling pretty stupid today, and yes, I'm worried. The good thing is I'm not feeling as sore today as I have the rest of this week. I believe I've rediscovered the form which helps with my ankles and heels. Sunday will tell... I stopped off at Target on the way home last night and loaded up on gels and Cliff bar. I'm all ready to go.

So, yes... No tempo run. I have friends, and I listen.

Wes

ORN: 7 miles, 01:16:18, easy pace, 2 walk breaks of 1 minute, 10:54 mmp

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Easier by the Run

Things are shaking themselves out. I was pretty sore when I started my run last night, but cooler temperatures prevailed and my breathing was easy. The only thing limiting me was the strength of my legs. It's very satisfying to run along at a perceived level of effort of 6 (1-10) and see your pace in the 9:30 - 10:00 minute per mile range. Several times, I had to remind myself, just because you can, it doesn't mean you should. SLOW DOWN!!!

The feet are feeling fairly fine. The phenom I was experiencing can best be described like this. Do you remember ever running barefoot on cold concrete? The bottoms of your feet would come out feeling itchy and sore. That is the way my feet felt for the last two weeks. I don't think the insoles were causing it at all. I think my feet were just adapting to the fourteen mile run. Anywho, I ran with my insoles last night, and the my feet feel awesome today.

I am pondering my Thursday run. Plan calls for 7 miles, 5 at a steady state pace of 9:05, or there abouts. I'm thinking of either ignoring pace, or just coming in under 10 minutes per mile. Then, its on to the big 18 this weekend.

Wes

ORN: 2 miles, 20:14, easy pace, all run, 10:07 mmp

Monday, October 15, 2007

As Sure As I Can Be

It's a good thing that beer is mostly water, and the weekend was absolutely beautiful here in Georgia. It's kind of a trade off. No rain. Beautiful weather. No rain. Awesome running temperatures. But, wait a minute, I'm on a beer diet! So much for re-hydrating with beer. Aw well....

Friday night, Aerowyn and I finally got on speaking terms again. I hauled out the ole basting brush, mixed a solution of soapy water, and proceeded to lather down the side walls of the tire, after letting the air out. As I was refilling the tire, I was rewarded with two loud popping noises. I'm happy to report that the tire didn't explode. The tube either shook loose from the tread, or the tire no longer got caught on the rim. Which ever happened, my reward was a nice smooth front tire. Now this begs the question... Should I carry a very small bottle of soapy solution on my rides/races? Inquiring minds wanna know!!

Saturday was another gorgeous day in my neighborhood. I got up early to referee some matches. I figured, since I had a recovery weekend, I would ref a couple of games. I did a U-10 Academy Boys game for my first game at 9 AM. I then watched Matthew play at 10:30, then it was off to Forsyth County to watch Jimmy play at 1 PM. I only got to watch a little more than half of Jimmy's game before I had to head back home for my 4 PM match. Evidently, I missed a few great saves by Jimmy that won his team the game.

My afternoon match went well, I thought. I had put the game in for assessment. Lo and behold, the assessor showed up on the first submitted game. I was pleasantly surprised. Having not reffed since August, I thought the game went fairly well. The assessor was a national referee. He characterized the first half of the match as unacceptable. He said the second half of the match was better, and he gave me a "marginal" passing grade.

I really enjoyed talking with the assessor. Other than the five hour class we take, it is the only time of year that we actually get training and feed back. This session also reinforced the fact that I am just not enjoying my time on the pitch, and I have no plans to referee for the rest of the season. I'm all set for next year. I want to do these things for the right reasons, and right now, those reasons are eluding me. At some point, I have to decide if I want to advance or not. All my life, I've been satisfied with reaching a certain level of endeavor. To go further requires a greater attention to detail than I am willing to give. Then, for me, it has always been on to the next thing. This has made me a fantastic generalist. I know a lot about so many different things. Unfortunately, I am an expert at none of them. Such is the path I've chosen.

Did I mention that I ran my buttocks off during the match? I am reasonably sure that I ran at least five miles during the match, maybe six. The seventeen year old boys I was working with played end to end the entire game, and I like to keep up with the ball. The field I was on might as well have been concrete. When I finished, I was extremely sore.

Despite the soreness, Sunday I decided that I was going to do my six mile long run with Dee Dee. She is still working through ITB issues, and pretty much complains about them all the time. It didn't help when she fell over on her bike at Two Bridges. She set the pace on our run, and I had to remind her several times that a 9:30 pace was too fast for me today! LOL. We ended up walking a lot of the hills, and finished with an overall 13:30 minute pace, I think.

That about catches us up! Happy Monday, y'all!!

Wes

ORN: 6 miles, 1:21:06, long run pace, R4/W1, 13:31 mmp

Friday, October 12, 2007

Class is in Session

I learned some good stuff this week, I thought I would share it with you:

1. Just because you can, it doesn't mean you should!

This kinda hit me like a cold wind. Ummmm. Wes? Hello? :-)

2. Retrocalcaneal Bursa

Evidently there is a couple of fluid filled sacks between the ankle bone and the foot. They get irritated and inflamed. This is what my problem is. I don't have bursitis, yet, but they do get very irritated at the end of my runs.

3. Insoles

I erroneously mentioned that I had sport gel insoles for my shoes. Well, they are NOT gel. They are polyurethane. After my fourteen miler two weekends ago, and my run in the tri last weekend, I felt like my feet were bruising (the bottoms). Now, with the insoles, after about mile 5 or 6, I start to feel them, and I'm concerned that the insoles might be affecting this. I plan to run without them on Sunday to see if there is a difference or not. BTW: Blaine, over at Run to Win, was again, my goto place in researching insoles.

4. The ole flat spot in the tire syndrome.

I learned that sometimes, when you fill a tire with air, the clincher tires grab the rim too low, resulting in a flat spot. Suggestions for fixing this are over filling the tire to pop it out, and/or using soapy water to encourage it to pop into place. I intend to give it a go this weekend.

I had a nice five mile easy run last night on the soccer fields. It was cool and windy enough for me to wear a long sleeve technical shirt for the first time this fall. I started out easy and negative split my runs with miles something in the order of 11:20, 11:00, 10:50, 10:30, 9:30... or something like that.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!

Wes

ORN: 5 miles, 52:50, easy pace, R4/W1, 10:34 mmp

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Milestones (written in sand)

I've been watching and waiting for this day to come for some time now. After the run leg of my triathlon Sunday, my mileage for the year is officially double that of the previous year. In addition, my cycling mileage went over 1000 miles. I'm excited about that. I'm also excited to see how high I can set the bar this year for next year, because surely, these milestones are written in sand, and they will be swept away as I grow and progress. Fun stuff :-)

My Michelin Pro2 Race tires came in the mail yesterday. After doing a few things around the house, I set out to change my tires. Well, these floppy, flimsy tires are much harder to get on than my Bontrager Selects. It took me almost 20 minutes to change both tires. Then, after that, I took Aerowyn out for a spin to give'em a test drive. The problem is still there!

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

Just damn! Now what? At this point, I'm relatively sure that the rim is not bent. I checked it out carefully. Therefore, it has to be the stinkin tube. I think I am just going to take it to the LBS and let them fix it for me. Dee Dee said having new tires was fine. I would need them for half ironman training. I, on the other hand, am not happy that I spent seventy-one dollars I didn't need to spend. Did I mention that I bought those tires off of eBay? Saved myself forty bucks :-)

My plan called for six easy miles yesterday. I took this opportunity to try out something new. I replaced the insoles of my Mizuno Wave Inspire 3(s) with sports gel inserts. Oooohh Yeaaaa! Despite the lingering affects of cramping in my right calf and hamstring (from the tri), the run was awesome. At some points, it felt effortless. The hills were easy. I think the insoles are a keeper. As a matter of fact, I'm going to buy some more and pump an extra 200 miles of life into my Adrenaline GTS 6(s).

Now, the question of the day. What to do about the 16 miler I skipped. Do it Sunday? Or skip it, stick with the plan (5 miles), and go straight to eighteen next week? Lay your wisdom on me marathoners!

Happy hump day, y'all!

Wes

ORN: 6 miles, 01:04:54, very easy pace, R4/W1, 10:49 mmp

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Karmatic Experience

A Cohutta Springs Triathlon Race Report

It was AMAZING to watch. Shortly after writing my post about Redemption and reading your wonderful comments, the wheels began to turn. All of the obstacles and road blocks standing in the way of another triathlon began to peel away like the layers of an onion, until finally, there was nothing between me and one last race of the season.

I am a firm believer in karma, Grace of God, call it what you will. If you live a good life, give of yourself what you can, everything will be returned to you ten fold. I have been given many wonderful opportunities in my life, not all of which I feel I have deserved, but I learned a long time ago not to ask questions and take nothing for granted. When the opportunity for another tri came around, I seized the day.

Having enjoyed my previous triathlon so much, I stopped at Sports Authority to pick up some smoke colored goggles and more nose plugs. I wanted to try something new this race day. Would not having water run down my nose on the swim help? It certainly wouldn't hurt!

I ended up working at the restaurant Friday night, but I got out of there at a decent hour. It was SO hard not to drink any beer, but I made it. Then, Saturday night, my daughter was celebrating her birthday. We made it to her birthday celebration around 10 PM. Being in a club without drinking was a new experience for me, and I had a horrible time, but again, I survived without a drop of alcohol.

Sunday morning I got to sleep in until 8 AM! So sweet!! The race was scheduled to go off at 12:30 PM, which was both a blessing and a bane. I made myself coffee and breakfast, loaded up the car, and kissed Dee Dee good bye. This was going to be the first race in a long time that I didn't have my sweety with me. That was a mixed blessing as well. The race site was Cohutta Springs, near Crandall, GA. It is in North Central/West Georgia, on the other side of the mountains from Hiawassee. It was beautiful drive up. I arrived at the race site about 15 minutes after registration opened (10:45 AM). I got registered, marked up, and setup my transition area. I scored an end spot about half way down the transition area.

At 11:30 AM, I went out for a fifteen minute warm up jog, then I went back to transition to prepare myself for the swim. Some kids next to me were discussing my SwimSafe belt, and I explained it to them and the reasons that I wore it. At 11:45, we had our pre-race meeting. It was already starting to get hot. The meeting lasted about fifteen minutes. I then headed down to the lake for my warm up swim.

Cohutta Springs is just that, a spring fed lake. They say over a million gallons of fresh water is pumped into the lake every day. I thought it was cold. They said it was eighty degrees, but it felt colder than Lake Lanier did at Two Bridges. I swam around for a minute or two to get warmed up, then I headed out on the course. I took my time, got used to the nose plugs, and tried real hard to get a feel for the water. At about the half way point, I turned around and headed home. For the last hundred yards or so, I sprinted all out and climbed from the lake feeling satisfied.

At this point, there was nothing to do but stand around and wait for the start. Evidently, they had some issues with registration. The race was delayed fifteen minutes. After what seemed like an eternity, the kayaks and canoes hit the water. The race director gathered the athletes into their waves. With a crack, the gun went off and the first wave entered the water.

The race director called the second wave to the water. The timing mat beeped incessantly as we crossed, activating our chips. Three minutes after the first wave, the race director fired the starting gun again, and we were off. I waited 5-10 seconds after my wave start to begin swimming. The entire reason I was here was to beat this half mile swim, and I wanted to do it right. I started out on the right side of the pack, along the lake shore. I never did figure out how deep the water was there. The lake was a half mile long and maybe a quarter of a mile wide. I found myself swimming with triathletes and buoys on my left, and canoes and shoreline on my right. I intentionally swam to the outside to avoid the other swimmers.

On the way out to the turn around, I did have to pass a few people. I tried drafting, but evidently I suck at it. I eventually gave up and just went around them. I was into a grove pretty quickly. When I reached the turn around, I was able to move to the inside and pass close by the buoys. On the way back, the course really opened up and I found plenty of open water to swim in. Several times, I had to remind myself that I still had a long ways to go. Half a mile is a long ways! (Gmaps reports the distance as .6 miles!). Once on the way back, I actually split the middle of two swimmers. That was fun! I luv doing new stuff! As I came to within the final 200 yards of shore, I kicked it in. I began actually kicking and increased my stroke count. I passed three swimmers in my age group before hitting the shore in 16:35, eigth in my age group. I had had a great swim, and I was pleased.

The timing mat beeped at me again as I came out of the water. I ran up the boat ramp then down the grass for about 100 yards before getting into transition. I fully realized that I hadn't been training for this, so I wasn't really concerned about my transition times, or the bike and the run. I quickly changed into my bike gear, slipped on my Garmin, and headed out of transition in 3:39. Not too bad, I thought, for not really trying.

The bike course was eighteen miles long, and consisted of rolling hills in the Georgia countryside. It seemed to me that the ride out had a lot of downhill to it. The riders were rewarded with a beautiful view of the mountains. It was awesome. Even if it was a bit hot, the day was spectacular. I didn't do all that great on the bike. I averaged like 21 MPH to the turn around, and I was getting passed by a lot of people. It was kind a disheartening to get passed by so many people, but some of them were relays, and most of them were a lot younger than i was. On the way back, I realized that a lot of the downhills I was enjoying were actually false flats, and I was really burning my fuel hard. I practically ran out of gas on the little up hill before the finish, but I still manged to come in under an hour, 57:15, for a 19 MPH average and 14th in my age group.

Again, I took my time in T2. I drank half a bottle of what had become some very hot Accelerade, and left transition in 2:21 seconds. I stopped at the water table on the way out of transition and picked up two cups of water. I drank them both. By now, the heat was starting to get really bad.

The run was just brutal. We ran along the same road as the bike route. We had runners going out and bike's coming in. At about the mile mark, they diverged. The sun was just beating down on the asphalt and our heads relentlessly. On the way out of the resort entrance, I unzipped my tri shirt. At about the half way mark, I took it off entirely. The run was a two mile out and back. The first 1.8 miles was all up hill, and some of it pretty steep. I started out doing a Run 3/ Walk 1 thing, but that eventually broke down into a walk whenever I felt like it routine. I think I managed like an 11 minute pace for the first 1.8 miles. Then, just to make it worse, the final 0.2 miles was downhill to the aid station and the turn around. That of course, meant we had to go back up hilll for the first 0.2 miles after the turn around. I got some Gatorade and ate a Hammergel at the turn around. After cresting the hill, it was all downhill from there. Shortly before the crest of hill, a 45 year old woman stopped beside and said she "couldn't take it anymore". She wanted to quit. I spent a few minutes pumping her up! Telling her how good she was doing and brutal the out portion of the run was. The rest of the run was going to be like buttah. She smiled, thanked me, and took off running. Evidently, I helped, cause she finished before I did! LOL...

The run back was uneventful. I managed to get back into my Run 3/Walk 1 routine. As I ran back into the resort, I put my shirt back on. No bare chested running pics for Wes :-) As I passed transition, I picked up speed and headed down the chute. The finish was lined with friends and family of all the college students doing the race, but no Dee Dee :-( Everything was quiet until I raised my arms in triumph, and the crowds cheered! I cross the line in 2:01:02, with a run time of 41:15, a 10:19 average pace.

For anyone who lives close by, I highly recommend this triathlon. The area it is in is just beautiful, and I'm pretty sure that it isn't always that hot there. I think, next year, I will be better prepared for the run. The race was well organized, and there were just ton's of college kids who volunteered for the event. Everything went so smooth. I can't speak highly enough about it!

I am so VERY GLAD that I had the opportunity to be blessed and end my triathlon season on a positive note. It would not have been possible without the loving support of Dee Dee and my family. My most important goal of this race, have a good swim, was accomplished, and I am very thankful for that. Now, I can focus solely on the up coming marathon with all my strength and convinction.

In looking back, its been a great triathlon season. It's been a great learning experience for me, and that is part of what makes this process so exciting. I know what I need to do to get better and be prepared for next season. The swim will always be a challenge for me. I have not yet reached anything near my full potential there. I have some serious strengthening to do on the bike. I have lots to improve on the run as well, but marathon season is going to help out a lot there.

I am deeply grateful and humbled by these opportunities that life has given to me. Looking forward to a great running season and next year too :-)

Wes

OSN: 0.5 miles, 16:35, ~2:00 100 meters
T1: 3:39
OCN: 18 miles, 57:15, 18.9 mph
T2: 2:21
ORN: 4 miles, 41:15, 10:19 mmp

Friday, October 05, 2007

I Got Bling

This is my (first EVA!) trophy I got for finishing third in my age group at the Hot Lips Hustle 5K. I'm gonna hug it and squeeze it and call it George :-)


Got my six miles in yesterday. I could only get three done at tempo though! C'est la vi! Life goes on...

Thinking about adding some more stuff to my race schedule next year after the half IM. There's a 5K swim(!) and a century ride I'd like to do...

Good luck to all the peeps racing in Chicago (and else where) this weekend. Fight the good fight!

Wes

ORN: 6 miles, 01:00:48, 1 mile w/u, 3 miles @ 9:05, 2 miles c/d, R4/W1, 10:08 mmp

Thursday, October 04, 2007

One Gimp Bike

Starting out with David's excellent advice, I flipped Aerowyn over on her back side and spun the front wheel. It took all of two seconds to diagnose the problem. There was a flat section in the tire. Going slow, you hardly noticed it, but going fast, well, you already know the deal...

After taking off the tube and the tire, I confirmed that the rim was smooth as Dee Dee's bottom. That confirmation left me with more questions than answers. I realized that on some of my last rides in the neighborhood, I had hit a pot hole with some force, and that is probably what caused the damage. I just don't know why it didn't manifest itself until the tire went flat and I changed the tube.

It is what it is. Now, I'm on a mission to replace my tires. The ones I have on there now are pretty cheap (Bontrager Select). I will ask the opinion of my LBS. In the end I will factor in that opinion, and the recent review of Iron Jodi (future) M.D., whose opinion I value greatly in all things tri.

Six miles on tap for me tonight, four at tempo. May yes, maybe no! (on the tempo part) :-)

Wes

BTW: I almost forgot! I am joining some of the blogging family in Octapolluza this month. I am not trying to exercise everyday. I already do enough of that. I am abstaining from all forms of alcohol to go along with my abstaining from all forms of tobacco. I am pleased to report I have been entirely free of tobacco for some time now, and I survived a night at the restaurant last night. It's a great start!!

In answer to your questions:

Information on the SwimSafe belt can be found here.
I am going to execute the 27 week plan in Gale Bernhardt's book, Training Plans for Multisport Athletes.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Redemption

I spent the last couple of days reviewing the upcoming triathlons. I felt the need for redemption. I felt the need to prove to myself that DNFing was "just one of those days". There were actually two pretty good candidates coming up. The first is about an hour north of me, and it starts at 12:30 PM in the afternoon. How cool is that? The second was at Hickory Knob in South Carolina. It also looks like a great event, but will involve more resources of time and money.

Dee Dee, being the uber-supportive spousal unit that she is, gave me the go ahead for this weekend. I could tell that she was a bit unhappy with my decision, but she still understood. I think she feels the same way I do. Unfortunately, due to kiddo events, I would have to take this one on by myself.

After thinking it over for a while, I decided to pass. I had made a promise to myself, and indirectly to Dee Dee and the kids. When I decided not to referee this season, I promised to put them first, and that is what I am going to do. Now that I've had the opportunity to let all this sink in, I realize that this is a victory, a subtle redemption for the soul. The ego is just going to have to wait...

Yesterday afternoon, my left foot reminded me that I had developed a sore spot, right in the middle of the pad. I think it is at the top of the Plantar fascia muscle. I was kinda worried about it heading out for my recovery run last night, but my worries proved unfounded. I managed two miles, negative split in 10:19 and 10:00 respectively, all run. Today, the foot is feeling fine. I just need to make sure I am aware of it come Sunday, when I have my sixteen miler.

Finally, I settled on a 27 week half-iron plan. Training gently kicks off the week of November 10th. Up through December I'll have to be careful to integrate it with my marathon training. No way I'm gonna mess that up!

Wes

BTW: I'm so pleased that I think a 10 minute pace is a recovery run now :-0

ORN: 2 miles, 20:19, recovery pace, all run, 10:09 mmp

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Riding on Cobblestone

Yesterday was such a beautiful day. As I meandered home in the so-so Atlanta traffic, I saw lots of peeps out running and riding their bikes. I thought to myself, "Self, you haven't done anything since Friday... How'se about a bike ride?"

Nothing says love like walking in the door to dinner :-) I scarf down my dinner, change my clothes, grab Aerowyn and head out for my ride. Everything was kewl until I started going 30 mph downhill in the aero position. It felt like I was riding on cobblestone streets. Ya know the ones. Like in Ole New Orleans or my home town, Mobile, AL...

I thought it might have just not been seated properly, so I took it off and reset the tire. No luck. I took her back home, took off the tire, deflated it. Took the tire off. Put it all back together again. Took her out for a spin. No luck. Now, I'm concerned. I'm going to put another new tube in and see how that works out. Then, if that doesn't work, I guess I'll have to take her to the doctor.

I am renewing, for the third time, my commitment to upper body work... You guys are letting me off the hook with this :-) This week, I will develop a plan for strength and core conditioning.

So it be written, so it be done...

Wes

OCN: too little to matter

Monday, October 01, 2007

Whirlpool

After I got over being angry, delayed onset sadness set in. It's not the DNF that has me upset. It's the waste, of time, and of money. I have so little of each :-) It is frustrating to expend both and not come away with that feeling of satisfaction.

I keep replaying the events of the day over in my head, wondering what I could have done better.

No sleep overs the night before, fer sure...

Adequate directions, fer sure...

For now, just wear the stinkin SwimSafe belt.

Don't do a fourteen mile run two days before the race. It makes treading water for a long time difficult.

Start out slow and build. If you get out of breath, flip over on your back. On the way into shore, I backstroked and recovered pretty quickly. I was wondering why I didn't do that out in water, but by then I was more than half way back and it was too late.

I don't believe that I am going to be able to squeeze in another tri this year. I would like to. It seems my races come in pairs, one bad one, then a good one. I want to do an Oly before the half Ironman next year, so I'm thinking I need to do another sprint before then to make sure the half falls at the right place in the cycle :-) LOL.

At any case, I am at peace with all this. Regularly scheduled training resumes tomorrow with a 2 mile recovery run. I will find comfort in the plan.

Wes