Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Tail of the Monitor: Part III

Back in July of 2006, I wrote this post about how to determine your heart rate zones using the unscientific 220 minus your age thing, and using the Karvonen Method I mentioned in the last post. I used my heart rate monitor sporadically that first year, and then pretty much abandoned it once I got busy with training.

This year, I've decided its gonna be different. I'm going to train religiously with the heart rate monitor, both to increase the effectiveness of my training and to keep myself healthy by not burning myself out.

Out of curiosity, while I was sitting here this morning at work, I decided to check and see what my resting heart rate was. I tried this the other day after I ran, and I couldn't get it below 70. Well, this morning, I was absolutely floored when my resting heart rate came in at 45!!! That's an 11 point drop since July of 2006. If that doesn't say "Wes is getting healthier!" Nothing does.

A couple of the streakers (Ironman, no less), have given me some other good ideas as well. I want to get my true average resting heart rate by wearing the monitor while sleeping, and I want to take 3 mile bench mark. That is, run 3 miles in (X) amount of time, while trying to keep the heart rate exactly at your aerobic threshold (AeT = lactate threshold[AnT] - 20). Fun stuff!

Oh yea!! I ran today too :-) In anticipation of my test this weekend, I took it easy. I ran on the treadmill at work: 2.75 miles in 32 minutes for a 11:39 pace. I kept my heart rate below 142 this time :-)

Wes

ORN: 2.75 miles, 32:00 minutes, 11;39 mmp

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mo Better

Keeping One's Ego in Check

It truly pains me to finish a run and see 12 minute miles. Not that I think 12 minute miles are bad, mind you, quite the contrary. I think ANY pace is a good pace. Provided of course, that's the right pace for you/me on that run at that time. I've never really had an off season, nor have I ever really tried to keep my heart rate in check for WEEKS. Then, I have those hills to run on my own turf, and my heart rate goes crazy, and I end up spending some infinitesimal percentage of my run in the target zone. Grrrrrrr!!! It gets aggravating!

Monday, I had this gorgeous night time walk. The temperatures were like in the low forties. I had on short sleeves, a warm up outfit, and that was about it. Not another single soul was out and about. The sky was clear. The air was crisp. The only thing that broke the revelry was the sounds of dogs barking and the intermittent motorist. Yea, I enjoyed that walk, despite my strong desire to register a goose egg on the streak.

Tuesday rolls around, and the temperatures climbed into the high fifties, a perfect day for running outside. I wasn't sure how windy it was, but I left prepared. I wore a short sleeve and a long sleeve shirt. My course for the day was the Bob Callan Trail, along the Chattahoochee. That's the one that is flat for half a mile or so, then a series of hills for a quarter of a mile, then flat as a pancake to the turn around at 2 miles. I ran the whole way (the long sleeves only lasted 15 minutes). I walked when my heart rate climbed above 146, and I finished the 3.3 mile out and back in 36 minutes flat, for an 11 minute per mile average. To top it off, I stayed in the zone for 26 minutes, a huge improvement over my last attempt to moderate myself! I was psyched!!

This of course, implies that the number 146 is meaningful. In truth, we won't know that until Saturday, when I take my Lactate Threshold running test. That particular number comes from my calculations using the Karvonen method. For now, it will have to do!

Today, I went to the gym to swim. Nothing spectacular, just 1500 meters in 30 minutes or so. Mostly 100 meter intervals with a 300 meter interval thrown in for good measure. During lunch today, I hit the strength training! I lowered the weights just a tad, and I felt great during the entire workout. I actually did ALL my crunches today without stopping. There's some progress :-)

Wes

ORN: 3.3 miles, 36:13, ~10:59 mmp
OSN: 1500 meters, 30 minutes, 1x300 w/u, 5x100 fins and paddles, 2x100 finger tip drill, 1x300 free, 1x200 cool down
Strength: 40 minutes

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dimensions

Maybe its just me. Maybe some of you share this trait with me. I find myself building an image of a person from the information I have at hand. For example, if I listen to a DJ on the radio, I associate that person's voice with another person I know that sounds similar. The DJ then takes on the physical characteristics of this person. The same holds true with my bloggee friends. Here, I get pics, but no voice. As I read your blogs, I associate the way you write (personality) with someone's voice, and I read your posts hearing that person speak. One tends to get a one or two dimensional view of a blogging friend, primarily because those are the facets of their life that person chooses to share.

Thus, it's always a real treat to meet a blogger in person. It tends to complete the picture, dot the i's and cross the t's, so to speak. David was in town this weekend, getting situated with his new training unit. We took this opportunity to hook up and have a few beers. I thought that David might like to do something fun (besides drink beer, I mean, I know that is about as fun as it gets, but sometimes we like multi-dimensions!). I suggested we meet at Dave and Buster's. D & B's is an adult play ground, full of video games, pool tables, a restaurant, and two bars. In retrospect, I think David would have preferred some place a little quieter, but he seemed to take it all in stride.

Despite the crowded conditions and the noise, David and I managed to score a couple of bar seats. We had a bite to eat and drank a few beers while my Matthew and a friend of his toured all the video games. Being a military man and having to get up early, David showed me the wisdom of moderation. We only drank two beers. They were 26 ouncers, but hey, it was only two :-) , and to top it off, we got done at a decent hour. David headed back to the base around 10 PM, and I shooed the boyz out around 10:30 PM. All in all, it was a great night, and I enjoyed meeting David in person and completing the picture! I look forward to seeing him again and meeting his lovely wife and super-cute daughter!

Sunday was a gorgeous day, even though it didn't reach the fifty-seven degree temps as advertised. I spent Sunday morning cooking breakfast and hooking up the bike computer (finally!). After several attempts, we got it just right. I threw Aerowyn on the back of the car and headed down to the river (Chattahoochee) for my lactate threshold test. This ended up being the perfect place for this. The route is a 2.5 mile stretch of road, flat as a pancake, with a bike path, and not a single stop other than the turn around. This isn't someplace I would want to do a fifty miler, but for testing, it was perfect.

The plan was to warm up for 5 miles, do 10 miles at lactate threshold pace, then cool down for 5 miles. On my five mile "warm up", I found myself being paced by some cycling dudes and drafted off of as it was windy. Naturally, competitiveness raised its ugly head and I rode a lot harder than I should have. After completing the first five mile loop, I immediately started my test. I was happy and surprised to see that my cadence was in the 90-95 range when I was hammering. This means I had been spot on before I got the cyclo-computer. I'm thinking I need to gear up to keep the cadence in the 80-85 range and get... MORE POWER :-)

After the first loop of the test, I was pretty tired, but I was supposed to keep an even effort. I took off on the second loop determined to give it my all! I kept my speed around 20 mph where I could and had a good over all effort. My average heart rate for the 10 miles was 150, giving me a lactate threshold on the bike of 148.

That's good to know! For me, the numbers are of course only guidelines, but they give me something to key off of as I train for the half Ironman. This weekend is the dreaded run test! I'm really looking forward to that... NOT :-) At least my testing cycle will then be complete!

Wes

OCN: 20.2 miles, 1:09:22, ~20 mph avg

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Train Like A Champion

Eat Like A Champion

Wow! I didn't know that running after you eat Mexican would impress so many peeps. I mean, you know, if you've been following my blog, you KNOW I run right after eating. Not because I like it, but because it is a necessity! And in truth, the Mexican food wasn't all that big a deal. I made it. It wasn't spicy, and the bathroom was like 10 steps away ;-)

Today, in wonderful Woodstock, GA, USA, it was cold, 43 degrees, cloudy, and slightly windy. Since this is my OFF season, I am doing the plan that is not a plan that I made up myself. I WAS going to do 4-6 miles, depending on how I felt. Well, I felt pretty damn good, because by the time I got dressed and went out the door, I had decided to do the 8.3 mile loop. You know how it is. I missed it!

First thing I noticed was that the marathon and weight training are paying off. My legs just felt wonderful for the entire run. I got out of breath a few times, but I was trying really fo really reals hard to keep my heart rate below 146. It's hard, ya know? I'm not making any excuses, but there are like 12 hills on my route, and I did get my heart rate up to 170 taking "The Test", and my average was 153, and I did stay in my zone for like 23 minutes ROFL!! Ahhhhh.... I still did 12 minute miles, but dammit I ran the whole way!

I am determined to become a champion at this tri stuff in my mind's eye. Thus my moto, train like a champion, eat like a champion! To restore much needed glycogen and carbs, I hit the Fritos and French Onion dip upon my triumphant return.

Now, where's the beer ;-)

Wes

ORN: 8.3 miles, 1:39:03, easy pace, 12 mmp

Friday, January 25, 2008

Curiosity Crushed

Or satisfied, depending on how your muscles are feeling today...

That whole seventy pounds thing sounded like a good idea, and in fact, it was for the first couple of arm exercises. It did, however, make the last few exercises almost insurmountable. As a matter of fact, I could only do 6/12 on my last rep of overhead presses, despite lowering the weights by 10 lbs like three times. Ouch!!

I did manage to pull off all the other exercises just fine. I did all my crunches and got up into the twenties this time without needing to rest. I also threw in some sitting lat pull downs, some hamstring curls, and some leg presses for good measure. I'm feeling flattened, as in pancake.

Yesterday, to keep the streak alive, I decided to run on the treadmill, after eating Mexican and drinking two glasses of wine. Blech!

Wes

ORN: 2.3 miles, 30 minutes, easy pace, all run
Strength: 40 minutes

Thursday, January 24, 2008

2fer: Curiosity Piqued

My second day of full strength training went well. I stuck with the 20lb weights, one in each hand, and while still challenging, the muscles aren't quite as sore as last time. I still can't quite do 25 reps of the core muscle exercises. Who knew that doing crunches, crunches, and more crunches was such fun? Yea, they each have a different name, but they crunch!!

After my training session, I checked out the (weight lifting) exercise machines. I identified four machines that I can use to replace the free weight exercises I am using now, and I can add one new one that I know is good for triathletes. That would be the sitting lat pull down thingee. I'm psyched. The weight machines are smoother, and they'll allow me to add more weight safely. I was testing it with 70 lbs instead of the forty I was using with free weights.

After I got home, the Spousal Unit wanted to go for a run. We did an easy three miler in the forty degree temps. Nice and balmy!

Now, I need to figure out what I am going to do today to keep the streak alive?

Wes

Strength: 40 minutes
Run: 3 miles, 41 minutes, R3/W1

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pull My Finger

I forgot to pat myself on the back yesterday. I mean, come on! If you can't float your own boat, what's the point :-)

During my swimming, on Tuesday, I did every 50 meter interval breathing every third stroke. That's right!! Woo hoo!! I bilateral breathed for an entire main set. It seems like such a little thing, but it IS progress.

It was rather nasty here yesterday. The weather forced me back onto the treadmill during my lunch time run. I am still a good boy. This is my off season. I have three weeks. Three whole weeks to take it easy and do as much or as little as I want. So I ran thirty minutes, on the treadmill, and I kept my heart rate in zone 2. This is rather easy to do on the treadmill, but uncharacteristically, my HR would spike every so often up into zone 3. I know what it is. When I have to cough to clear my throat, I can't take a breath, and that causes my HR to go up.

What kills me though is that in following the plan, I just don't get many miles in. I ramp my heart up into the required zone in 6-8 minutes. I run at pace for 16-18 minutes, then I ramp back down again for 6-8 minutes. I look at the distance, and it says 2.3. That kinda hurts :-)

Over the course of this three weeks, I plan to round out my testing on the bike and run. It's going to be fifty-seven degrees on Sunday here people! Fantastic!! That means an 8 mile TT on the bike at the Silver Comet Trail is on tap. Then, the following weekend, I'll do that twenty minute heart pounding I'm gonna die running test :-)

Wes

ORN: 2.3 miles, 30 minutes, all run

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Male Support

Guys, I need your help.

Guys, guys, guys! Not femmes!

I'm sure you had something like this happen to you, or something similar...

Let's just pretend you are cooking dinner. Something you've made before, multiple times. The pan is too hot when you dump in the Marsala wine. Next thing you know, you have flames shooting four feet into the air. Seriously. It was like touching the hood and everything.

I'm just standing there, watching ,waiting for it to burn itself out. Only it doesn't. As Dee Dee reaches under the cabinets for a pan to smother the thing, what do I do? I do what any self respecting man would do. I pucker up my lips and try to blow it out :-)

Yea, bad idea :-) Luckily, Dee Dee is the smart one and smothered it rather quickly before kicking my butt....

Where did we leave off yesterday? Oh yea, the plan.

I bought that book, The 12-Week Triathlete, by Tom Holland. It is an excellent resource for beginning and rookie triathletes. I chose the half iron performance plan, which focuses on quality workouts, not quantity. Based on the plan, and my desires, I will be striving for a sub-6 hour half ironman come May, with my B goal being just to finish.

Breaking it down, that gives me 40 minutes for the swim, 3 hours on the bike (+/-), and 2:10:00 for the half marathon. I'm going to have to work a little bit harder to achieve that, but I think it is do-able.

You know what I had found interesting about this plan? I had said something to Javamom a while back, that if bricks were good for you, then we would do one after every bike. Well, this plan has you do one after every bike, even if its just fifteen minutes. How cool is that? So, you get two days a week of swimming, three days of riding, and like four days of running, with two of those days being bricks. I plan to lengthen the swim workouts by doing form and drills one day, then an endurance workout on the second day. I have a 5K swim one month after the half IM ya know!

After the half Ironman, I'm going to jump right into weeks 20 or 21 of the 26 week Ironman training program in Gale Bernhardt's book, Training Plans for the Multisport Athletes. The trick here will be to get my swimming up to the required 5-6000 meter range before the 5K while maintaining my fitness for the bike and run.

Fun stuff! If it was easy, it wouldn't be any fun!!

Oh yea, yesterday, Dee Dee and I swam. I did 1500 meters. Main set was 20x50 @ T+5 seconds with 15 second rest :-) I'm getting good at this triathlon jargon!!

And, and, and... When I run, I spit on my HRM strap, so I'm a real man cause I put saliva on my chest. So there!

Wes

OSN: 1500 meters, 31:30, 1x300 w/u, 20x50 @ T+5 15 sec RI, 1x200 c/d

Monday, January 21, 2008

Machismo (or lack thereof)

How Wes wants his Mommy! Phase II

Shucks, it's been a while. Let's see if I can string together something coherent out of a lot of random thoughts and things I wanna say...

Finally, and that's with an "F", I did a full strength workout on Friday! This was after my ever so gentle 2.5 mile run Thursday and a 1500 meter swim Wednesday. I found the perfect place for my strength sessions, and its the little gym in my office building. They have everything I need. My full workout requires some free weights, a bench, a stability ball, and a pad, and thats it! Ya know what it else? The freaking workout works!

How do I know this? My ass-bacon is killing me! For the PG version of that term, we will describe it as "butter cups", although I can't promise that that term won't show up again every now and then. So, yea, my butter cups have been killing me, and then, my calves started to toss in a few complaints yesterday as well. This basically proves a suspicion I've had. My running legs are pretty strong now, but running, cycling, and swimming engages other muscles of which we may or may not be aware. Strength training will build those muscles and help us become better at what we do. I'm so grateful I don't have another session until Wednesday, but woo hoo! This routine is delicious, and I can't wait to get some more.

Yesterday, returning from my son's indoor game, I saw quite a few peeps out running in the 31 degree temps, including one dude in shorts. I was like, "no way", and he was like "way". I had been waffling on whether or not to run on the thrill mill or outside, but after seeing them peeps out braving the cold, I had no choice! I suited up with all the appropriate gear, tights, gloves, hat, two layers, yada yada... I leave my Garmin behind. I wanted to stay in zones 1 and 2 for this run and go strictly by time. Stupid HRM reads 200+ for the first 10 minutes. Yea, I was clinically dead :-) Finally, it came back to normal, and I was able to pace myself accordingly.

Keeping my heart rate below zone 2 is pretty challenging in my neighborhood. I had the best run in a long time though, primarily cause I never got out of breath. I ran the entire 4.1 miles and didn't even care at the end that my pace was 12 minute miles. I'm just going to have to suck it up, butter cup, until I get to the part of the plan that requires me to run at race pace :-)

Tomorrow, I'll bore you with the details of my plan I've picked for both the half and full Ironman!

Later,

Wes

BTW: Check out this cool story about a marathoner who ran down a burglar...

OSN: 1500 meters, 300 w/u, 10x100 @ 2:05, 200 c/d
ORN: 2.5 miles, 30 minutes, treadmill
OWN: 1.8 miles, 32 minutes
ORN: 4.1 miles, 49:41, recovery pace, ~12 mmp

Friday, January 18, 2008

Faerie Fire: The Marathon Afterglow

A Walt Disney World Marathon Post-Race Report

Dee Dee came to a screeching halt a dozen yards passed the finish line. A huge clap of thunder rolled over the finish line area. We had been racing this huge thunderstorm, and I felt like we would get dumped on at any minute.

I turned to look at her. She almost looked like she was in an extreme mental funk. I asked her if she wanted to walk to the medal station, but she told me no, she didn't want to move. At that point, I noticed some young chicas standing there with wheel chairs. Dee Dee said that she thought it was a good idea if they pushed her in a wheel chair to the self-medical area. The young lady pushed Dee Dee to the enclave, and I followed close behind. We found some chairs to sit in, and I made sure Dee Dee got situated before going off to get my medal. Dee Dee really wasn't feeling well, but she mustered enough strength to walk the 100 yards or so to get her medal before she returned.

After sitting for a few minutes, Dee Dee decided it would be a good idea to empty her stomach of all contents. I rubbed her back and tried to comfort her in some small way. As soon as she was through, the color returned to her cheeks, and you could tell she perked up a bit. After fifteen minutes or so, Dee Dee felt well enough to move. We went in search of food, drink, and the boyz.

At the exit to the finish line, Dee Dee and I stopped to have our picture taken. You can't tell from the pic, but the wind was blowing and the sky was threatening. We went by the athlete tent and picked up a few things to eat and drink. The boyz met us in the assembly area. Since there wasn't much going on, we decided not to hang around. Jimmy went and got the car. We all piled in and headed to the hotel room.

On the way back, Jimmy explained that they had not eaten since breakfast. The two of them had devoured what was left of the box of donuts. Dee Dee and I decided to celebrate our marathon and thank the boyz by taking them to the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. We showered, changed, and then all piled in the car and headed to the restaurant. By this time, we were running on fumes. I guess its a good thing we were hungry. Dee Dee wanted some "real" food.

The Rainforest Cafe was nice. It is, of course, a jungle theme. There is rain, forests, critters, and little Matthews swinging from the trees. We all had a nice dinner, and I began the process of restoring my carbs by drinking two Sam Adams. Somehow, we made it back to the hotel room where I promptly climbed into bed fully clothed. It didn't take long to fall asleep.

Sometime that night, the boyz got hungry again (naturally). Dee Dee bought them pizza. I remember cracking my eyes, but I didn't get up to eat. Around eleven PM, I got up long enough to dress for bed and relieve my bladder. Then it was back to bed, and that's the last thing I remembered until 7 AM in the morning. I slept, yup, fourteen hours.

So as not to disturb the sleeping family, at 8 AM, I got out of bed and went for a walk around the Port Orleans complex. It was a whole heck of a lot chillier that morning, like fifty degrees. It gave me the opportunity to wear my Disney Marathon long sleeve technical shirt. Even that was not quite warm enough. As I walked around the lake, there were quite a few marathoners and half marathoners out on recovery runs. I felt like I too could run, but walking was good enough for me.

After returning to our room, Dee Dee and I rousted the boyz, packed the car, then went to breakfast. Dee Dee was moving surprisingly well, and wasn't complaining of any ITB issues. We stopped at Downtown Disney on the way out to get a present for my daughter, then it was time to hit the road again. As we pulled out of the Disney complex, we passed the Disney arches, and that put a stamp of finality on what was truly a magical destination race.

In conclusion, I think we've already established from my perspective this was an amazing experience. I probably learned just as much about myself in this race as I did at Rocket City. Not once did I ever become concerned with what mile we were on, how far we had left to go, nor what time it was (other than to stay on pace). I never cramped, never hurt any where. Around miles 20, 21, and 22, my legs began to get tired, but at the finish, I felt like I could have easily gone on for more miles. This pleases me greatly. Somewhere between the effort at Rocket City and the effort at Disney lies another marathon with a PR. I know I can find it.

Currently, I've decided not to pursue my "maniac-ness" this year. I'm going to save it for another time. I know I can go the marathon distance and be comfortable doing it. I'm going to stick to my plan. This year is the year of triathlons, and I need to get ready for Langley Pond and Florida 70.3. And that's the end of that :-)

Thank you all for being here and so supportive. It does mean a lot!

Wes

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Magical Day!!

A Walt Disney World Marathon Race Report

Dee Dee's watch went off at 3:00 AM in the morning. She got up and got in the shower. It's her thing. I prefer to be "un-bathed" for my races. Don't stand down wind from me in the morning of a race. This, of course, was followed by my watch alarm, then the hotel clock, and finally the wake up call. No way we were going to sleep through this race start!

After Dee Dee got out of the shower, I crawled out of bed and got dressed. Everything had been laid out in different places. My clothes, shoes, Garmin, and race belt were on the closet shelf. My hotel keys, nutrition, and "Be Strong" band were on the night stand. With forty minutes until it was time to leave, we sat down and ate our carefully planned breakfast. The night before, we had bought two banana muffins at the pastry shop, milk and sugar donuts at the store. I had no trouble eating, but Dee Dee was too nervous to eat. This did not make me happy and I told her so.

Once breakfast was over, we gave ourselves a good checking over and headed out the door. It was a short, quarter mile or so walk to the lobby to meet the bus. As we walked along the dark misty side walks, other ghost like runners moved down the walk ways and paths towards the lobby. Our fellow runners we up and active. We were one of the first ones at the bus stop, but it didn't take long for twenty or thirty people to join us at 4 AM. We waited, maybe, fifteen minutes before the bus arrived.

The ride over to Epcot was rather uneventful. We could see the bright lights and sky lights from our hotel, and as we got closer, traffic picked up. We made our way into the parking lot and there was a line of near twenty buses dropping off runners. It was amazing to see. Dee Dee and I disembarked and made our way into the staging area. It was really cool. They had a live band and big screen TVs. We realized once we got there that our legs were going to get tired if we stood there for two hours. Unfortunately, we didn't bring anything to sit on. We borrowed a catalog from Champion and immediately broke it up into pieces and used that to sit on the concrete. Thanks Champion! We loved your singlets by the way :-)

Sometime around 5 AM, some dude who was green from head to toe started barking out orders about moving to the assembly area. I guess he was the sergeant from Toy Story. I think like ten people moved at the first try. Dee Dee and I decided to head over to the information tent where we had agreed to meet Kelly. We hadn't been there long when Dee Dee decided she need to use the bathroom. I told her that if Kelly came while she was gone, I would meet her at the exit door of our bag drop off. She agreed and headed out. Well, a few minutes later she came back because she was scared she would lose me in the crowd. We gave Kelly fifteen minutes past the time we agreed to meet and then headed out without her. We stopped at the port-a-potties for Dee Dee and waited for what seemed like an eternity.

Runners, its time!! It's time to move to the assembly area and on to the starting line...

Over and over the sergeant blared out his commands. Dee Dee was taking forever, and I got tired of watching for little sis to come by, to no avail. I noticed there were very short lines closer to the exit. I grabbed Dee Dee and we headed over to exit and got right in.

The starting line was about a quarter mile away. We joined the long queue of people and made the trek through the darkness to the starting line. The anticipation and excitement was palpable. They did something interesting at Disney. They had two starting lines, one for faster runners, and one for everybody else. We would run seperate routes for 3.4 miles, then the routes would converge. I thought that was neat.

Dee Dee and I made our way to corral F and climbed over the flimsy fencing at the head of the corral. We didn't know it at the time, but little sis was at the back of the corral, looking for us. We only had six minutes until the race started. Mickey, Minnie, and Donald were on the starters platform to count down the race start. With two minutes until start time, the crowd counted down the start for the wheel chair racers. It was awesome, the enthusiasm for the wheel chair athletes. In honor of the fifteenth anniversary, Mickey and crew counted down from the fifteen seconds. With a boom, the fireworks went off in front and in back of us, and the race started.

I'm going to pat myself on the back for this one. What I can't do for myself, evidently I CAN do for others. My pace was almost perfect for the first 16 miles. We started out along the highway between Epcot and our hotel. The first two to three miles was a big loop. We spent a lot of time trying to find some space and dodging the walkers. Of course, we were doing the run walk thing too. We weren't complaining. Just trying to find space when we wanted to run.

Starting out, we ran around the front of Epcot and entered the park by the big Silver Ball. As we headed around the lake, Dee Dee and I decided to take advantage of one of the bathrooms about a hundred yards off the route and stopped for our first bathroom break. I think we were at mile 3 at this point, because I noticed on my Garmin that our average pace had climbed to 14:28 by the time we started running again. I told Dee Dee not to worry about it. We would make up the time gradually, and not all in one mile. We exited out at the back of the park and found ourselves running down the same road we walked to the starting line. Sure enough, we were back on the highway again, following the same route.

This time, instead of getting off at the underpass, we headed down the road past mile 5 and began the portion of the run that took us to the Magic Kingdom. I really enjoyed this part of the run. By now, the sun had come up, and I got to see a lot more of Disney than I did riding the monorail as a child.

Dee Dee and I were making good time. We still had to struggle some to find room to run, our average pace began to decline and dip. When we ran past the contemporary resort and into the Magic Kingdom, it settled in at 14:08 per mile, the lowest point that it would get. I thoroughly enjoyed running through the Magic Kingdom. It was my favorite part of the race. There were plenty of characters out and about. Dee Dee and I ran through Cinderella's castle together, and we even paused to have our picture taken by the race photog. Running through Wilderness area where they have the Country Bear jamboree brought back such great memories of why I loved the place. We exited the park out through the back lot area. They had one more set of characters there, sitting on a ship. It was the Pirates of the Caribbean. That was cool too.

Once we exited the back lot of Disney at mile 11, things kind of got stale. We ran along a wooded road, without much to see or do. They had put up motivational signs by Sharpie, and there was music along the way. My favorite quote was, "If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you!" We danced and pranced a bit and got funky with it. At long last, we hit mile 13.1. Half the marathon was over.

I can't say enough about how well Dee Dee had been holding up. The difference between this race, Atlanta, and ING was amazing. She wasn't complaining about anything. She was having fun. You could see she was zoning in on what she had to do. I explained to her at this point that we would have to repeat the same level of effort to come in around 6:30:00. We had basically banked about twenty minutes ahead of the bus. She acknowledged me, and we kept on trucking.


Miles 14, 15, and 16 were dull and boring until we hit the Animal Kingdom. They had characters and live animals out to greet us there too, and that was just awesome. The public had started to visit the park now, and we found ourselves running through the park along with the paying customers. After running through the Animal Kingdom, the sun came out and it started to get warm real fast. At this point, I still felt really good. I had been drinking two cups of something at every water stop, and I had already had to stop and pee like four times (TMI!!). Dee Dee had eaten all of her Cliff Shot blocks, and I was right there along with her with my Clif Bars and gels.

The trip to the Disney Studios was HOT. We came to our only out and back portion of the marathon. We could see people coming back along the road. Dee Dee jokingly (I think) said to cross over, but I wouldn't let her. We were going to run the full 26.2 :-) Once we hit the end of the back, we had crossed mile 21. Dee Dee had been slowing down up to this point, but now she was really tired. As climbed the exit ramp to the express way at mile 22, I could see that she was pale and her freckles were standing out. Yes! I got worried about her. She was having a hard time taking in water and her face felt like sand paper. She was sweating though, on her arms and chest, so I wasn't really really anxious about her yet. At the top of the ramp, we ran into Jimmy and Matthew. Jimmy had taken the car and parked along the highway and climbed the exit ramp to wait on us. I thought that was really cool and a great boost for Dee Dee. Of course, Matthew told Dee Dee she looked like crap :-)

We made the long slow trek through Disney Studios. About half way through, I ran ahead, up and down the line of marathoners shouting, "Hey first timers! Who wants to be a marathoner today?" That got me some smiles and a few laughs. We exited Disney Studios and Dee Dee said we had just run through Epcot again. I said that no we didn't, that was the Disney Studios. At this point, Dee Dee said, "Read the sign, dumb ass!" I thought that was hilarious! I let it slide, and we grinded our way to mile marker 24. I asked Dee Dee if she could taste the finish line yet. She was going to make it! All she said was to leave her alone :-)

I really enjoyed running along the Boardwalk and through the Swan and the Dolphin. I had never ever been there before. We had slowed down to 17-18 minute miles by now. I got plenty of time to check stuff out :-) Once we exited this area, it was short skip and a hop to the back of Epcot. I kept telling Dee Dee the finish is right around the lake. She asked where? I, unfortunately, pointed to the wrong place. Dee Dee was about out of gas and could only muster like two running intervals.

Around the lake we ran, back by the Silver Ball, and out the side of the park. As you came around the final blind curve, there was youth choir just a singing their hearts out for the marathoners. They brought such joy to my heart. I flipped my hat around backwards and ran down the line high fiving all the kiddos. I turned around to wait for Dee Dee and laughed, cause she was doing the same thing! As we exited the blind curve, the finish line sprung into sight. There was Jimmy and Matthew hanging out by a tree. Dee Dee and I stopped to give them more high fives.

With less of a tenth of a mile to the finish line, I turned to Dee Dee and said, "Are you ready?" She said that she didn't want to run, and I laughed again. I said, "You HAVE to run across the finish line! There's no other way!" She groaned and started running. As we passed the grand stands, Dee Dee waved her arms in the air, drawing applause from what was left of the spectators. We ran together for the final race photo. I grabbed Dee Dee's hand. We raised our arms in triumph and crossed the finish line together.

I turned and gave Dee Dee a hug. She said, "Get off me!" ROFL!!!!!

Stay tuned for the final installment...

Top Secret Mickey Schwag

Sunday, January 13, 2008

WDW Quickie

It was a LOOONG day :-) Dee Dee and I used every bit of our alloted seven hours, coming in at 6:56 chip time, or there abouts, and some change. Clock time was like 7:01 or something like that. Dee Dee, God love her, gritted it out and finished by my side (or I finished by hers!).

Full report to follow,

Wes

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Highway Run

A Walt Disney World Marathon Pre-race Report

Not even the best laid plans oft go awry :-) Work stuff kept me busy until almost 3:30 PM on Friday, a little later than I had planned. By the time I got home it was already 4:15ish or so. Dee Dee and the boyz were busily preparing to leave. Sometime in between packing the bags and packing the car, I managed to sneak in my 30 minute run. The streak, ya know.

After a trip to Walmart, we managed to finally get on the road and make it to South Atlanta before the tribe needed to be fed. Full stomachs equals quiet stomachs, and then it was on to the open road again.

Highway run
Into the midnight sun

Along I-75, we traveled south to Macon and Valdosta, reaching the Florida state line around midnight. We stopped for fuel, drinks, and a bathroom break. Much of South Georgia is under repair, and the speed limit fluctuates back and forth between 50 and 60 mph. I think I like traveling at night the most though. Its quiet. The sun doesn't make you sleepy, and the roads are less crowded.

We passed over I-10 and then Gainesville fell behind us. Gator fans we are not. Before you knew it, we were on the Orange Parkway, pulling into Orlando. We followed the signs to Disney and arrived at our hotel around 1:30 PM.

The wheels go round and round
in my mind

Checking in was a breeze. We were the only poor lost souls in the hotel besides the cleaning crew. I think it took us all of twenty minutes to check in before our sleepy heads hit the pillow. Unfortunately, the air conditioning in room was making a rattling noise. It bothered Dee Dee all night, but I slept pretty good.

Around 8:30, 9 AM, we woke up and dragged ourselves out of bed. Time was a wasting. We dragged the boyz over to the expo and picked up our race packets and commemorative pins. We didn't get to spend as much time in the expo as we would have liked. The boyz were restless. We left the expo after meeting up with Kelly and headed over to the Disney Studios.

The boyz had wanted to go to the Animal Kingdom, but they were OK with the change of plans. We spent a good day at the studios, watching the shows and doing what ever rides we felt like doing. We made it back to the hotel around 7:30, just in time for the dinner rush. We were going to eat in the restaurant at the hotel, but decided to eat for half the cost at the cafeteria. After dinner, the boyz went back to the hotel room, and Dee Dee and I hung around in the bar, watching a guy perform on the piano. He was fantastic. He had the kids up and dancing around the room. The adults were clapping and singing with him, and when he stopped and blew a horn, all the adults had to stand up and give out a Tarzan yell. Hilarious, I tell ya!!

Dee Dee and I made it back to the hotel room byt 10 PM where we promptly passed out. We set our alarms for 5:30 AM. We had looked at the route for the half marathon and thought that it was coming right by the hotel. After getting up at the crack of dawn, getting showered and dressed and heading out to the street, we realized the route wasn't actually by the hotel. We piled onto a bus and headed over to Epcot. We arrived about an hour and thirty minutes into the race. We found a spot along the fence and waited for Kelly to arrive.

Evidently, Kelly had intestinal fortitude issues on the half and stopped a couple of times along the way. She came by us at two hours and seventeen minutes or so. We got some great pictures. We caught up with Kelly and her boyfriend after the race for some chit chat and plan making. Dee Dee and I then left for the expo. We had forgotten our chips from the day before and we wanted to take this opportunity to verify them. After scanning our chips, we went back down to the expo and picked up a Disney tank top to run in tomorrow. I think we'll both be comfortable and good looking in the AM :-) The temperature at race time tomorrow is sixty-four degrees, with a high of seventy-three.

Matthew and Jimmy were already at Animal Kingdom, taking care of the sparse crowds. We were able to join them by 10:00 AM or so. Despite what I thought was a large number of people, the worst wait for a ride was around thirty minutes. By two-thirty or so, we were done and headed back to the hotel. We were able to catch a fifteen minute catnap while Matthew went swimming, and then it was off to Epcot to eat at the Italian restaurant.

Somebody, ahem, ahem (Kelly), who shall be nameless, was dragging, and we almost lost our reservations. The nice restaurant people went ahead and sat us with a partial party, and then Kelly and her company joined us. We had a really nice dinner. There were eight of us in all. The food was good. The drink was good, and the company was especially good.

Dee Dee and I abandoned Matthew and Jimmy and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the race in the morning. All the clothes are laid out. The alarms are all set. Dee Dee is waiting for me in bed, and the boyz are gallivanting around the Magic Kingdom, unsupervised. As tired as I am, I'm sure I won't worry about them. My only worry, as a matter of fact, is that I didn't walk too much the past couple of days to make me really struggle tomorrow on the run. It is what it is now. I'm ready as I'll ever be. Dee Dee is ready as she'll ever be. The warm sheets are calling, and the marathon looms on the horizon.

Good night, y'all...

Wes

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Wonderful World of (Disney) Expectations

The boys are excited. Dee Dee is excited. I'm excited. It has been very, very tiring getting to this point, this week, but after today, I get to leave all my troubles behind, if only for a short period. How's that for a long run on sentence? :-)

The nicest thing, I think, about going to Disney is that I have no expectations of my performance. I am going to run this one with Dee Dee. We will set our targets on a 14 minute pace for the first 15-16 miles or so. Then after that, we'll have to see how Dee Dee is feeling. That will give us a 30 minute or so buffer ahead of "the bus". If we need to walk quite a bit the last ten miles or so, then we'll do that. If Dee Dee decides she's ready to ride the rest of the way, then I'll finish the race on my own.

My crazy sister texted me yesterday to let me know she is flying in from Spain today. We won't leave the house until 4 or 5 PM. We might get to Orlando before midnight.

Last night, I walked 2 miles in 31 minutes. The streak lives.

I've decided to take my laptop with me to Disney. Hopefully, I'll be able to post while I'm there. Next stop, warm and (slightly) sunny Florida...

Wes

OWN: 2 miles, 31 minutes

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Three and Counting

I took advantage of the warmer temps here in Georgia to run during lunch yesterday. I fully realized that the extra long hours I am working made it quite difficult to get in any running at home (other than the treadmill). I ran on the trail that leaves from my office building. It ended up being a little warmer than I expected, and I regretted bring just a long sleeve tech shirt to run in.

My legs felt heavy for most of the run, but a little pep talk was all I needed to run the entire distance. The little trail I run on goes something like this... Flat, hill, hill, hill, hill, flat... Repeat on the way back, and that last hill is a doozy. I had to reinforce my pep talk on the way back up that sucker, but I did it. I told myself no matter how slow I ran, I was NOT going to walk. I finished up the three miles in 31 minutes for a 10:20 average.

To keep the streak alive and not jeopardize the marathon, today I walk. Tomorrow I'll have a short thirty minute run, then Friday and Saturday I'll walk at Disney.

I'm pretty pleased at how this "no walking" thing is going. I did back to back runs of 3 and 6 miles Friday and Saturday. Then, I did this run yesterday with "heavy" legs. It hasn't been quite as hard as I thought it would be.

Wes

ORN: 3 miles, 31 minutes, normal pace, 10:20 mmp

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mommy?

After a near sleepless night Sunday, I looked forward to a long day at the office on Monday. I'm having to bank hours so Dee Dee bug and I can take Friday off and head down to Orlando. Nothing like coming into work late then having to put in a 10+ hour day. The sun had long since set by the time I left, but at least the traffic was good. By the time I got home, kissed the wife, beat the kids, ate dinner, and got sitiatated, it was 9:00 PM.

Of course, all day the Kindzia Challenge had been on my mind. Would I walk? Run? Strength train? Punt? Blah! Deciding that the stroke of midnight was coming way to fast, I hauled out the tri book, "The 12 Week Triathlete" and the Total Gym and got down to business doing some strength training.

With the marathon looming this weekend, I wanted to be very careful with my legs and core. There to fore, I primarily focused on the upper body. It was fun trying to convert the exercises in the book to equivalent exercises on the Total Gym. For the most part, I succeeded. As I move along in this strength training business, I will determine which muscles the exercise is targeting, and find a suitable replacement for the Total Gym.

What was also nice is that the majority of the exercises required no weights at all (or dumbells for additional resistance). These included the dreaded push ups. Now, I haven't done push ups since I was in the Army, and it shows :-) The book called for 2 reps, till failure.

How many did I do? 7 on the first rep, 3 on the second. I ROCK! but at the time, I wanted my Mommy :-)

Wes

OStrN: 30 minutes

Monday, January 07, 2008

Will need Work

I shifted my six mile run to Saturday so I could ride Sunday. Saturday was the colder of the two days. Once again, my day fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. I actually slept in a bit again, second day since the start of the holidays. I had breakfast with my family, then raced to the Silver Comet Trail to get my ride in and make it to my son's indoor game by 3 PM. I had debated what to wear, and ended up settling on short sleeves and short pants, but with an extra layer on top.

When I arrived at the trail, I saw that all the cyclist had tights and long sleeves on. It wasn't a good sign, and in truth, it was a little cooler in the shade, but manageable. I tried my hardest to keep my pace reasonable, as I haven't ridden in a while. I thought that I might end up doing close to thirty miles, but after the first 7 or 8, it struck me that it might be a good idea to turn around at 12.5. Let's just say I was developing a crotchticular problem :-)

Yea, rode back, hooked up with three folks, two of which were sharing the same bike. Wasn't paying attention, almost ran over some walkers and pulled into the parking lot at 2 PM. I rode 25 miles in exactly 1:30:?? and some change for a 16.67 mph average. Not to shabby, but my muscles in my crotchy reason are going to need more work.

Then it was off to Jimmy's game and home to cook dinner. After dinner, Dee Dee and I shaved Mufasa (he's the king of the house). Being new at this dog grooming business, we failed to bath the poor guy, and he kept us up all night with his constant squirming around. I finally gave him a bath at 4 AM in the morning and he settled down, but by that time, my night was pretty much shot.

This little episode makes it a bigger challenge for me to keep my streak alive. Thirty minutes of cardio, low impact, no leg work (except maybe some walking). I'll let ya know how it goes.

Wes

OCN: 25 miles, 01:30:46, 16.67 mph

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Maybe it IS Mental

Last long slow run before the marathon next week at Disney. I had decided, without following any plan what so ever, that six miles would be appropriate. First things first... Got up and cooked the fam breakfast. Nothing fancy. Scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, sausage, ya know how it goes. I'm clearing off the table and my left ankle cracks. Not the oh crap! I just wrecked my ankle. The Holy Crap, the ligaments in my ankle just released themselves. They were a bit sore after breakfast, but I gave them, and my stomach a break while Dee Dee and I took down all the Christmas decorations.

After doing my fatherly duty, I headed out on my run around 1 PM. I made it up to the main road of my sub-division where I had my first "Close Encounter of the Teenage" kind. Some teenagers were parked in our community center, chatting and checking out each others cars. Normally, I would have ignored them, but they kept looking at me, so I kept looking at them. After I turned my head to run by, one of them raised his hand and said "Hi!", in that oh so cute teenage way. Now, I don't take kindly to being messed with. Somebody could get hurt. I said nothing and kept running. Even though they drove by me, nothing ever came of it.

Did I mention that I was NOT taking any walk breaks on this run? I mentally set myself up before the start to run the whole thing, no matter how slow. I had to stop for a minute to wait for a light, then about fifteen seconds on the way back, but other than that, I took not one walk break. Nada. Some old jerk in a truck refused to yield for me in the cross walk. That raised my piss meter a few bars. Then, as I was taking "The Test" in the final mile, another car with two teenagers passes before the four way stop and drops the f-bomb on me. I wave at him to come back, but of course His Teenage Sissiness would not do that. Flipping me the bird was more appropriate. Now, if I had been smart, I would have at least scanned his license plate, because I'm reasonably sure the l'il bastard was parked at a house a few doors down from me. If I had, and I was sure the car was his, I would have been delighted to escalate this and make it personal. But I wasn't, and I didn't.

Now, I've been struggling all evening to "just let it go". Nothing good will come of this. Ever. I remember what it was like to be a teenager once. No harm done. It is EASY to just dislike them all, but that would make me less of a person than who I am.

It's a shame that senseless acts by other people had to cloud what was otherwise a great run for me. 6.1 miles with no "intentional" walk breaks.

No animals, teenagers, or innocent people were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Wes

ORN: 6.1 miles, 1:01:46, normal pace, 10:07 mmp

Friday, January 04, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Listen up boyz and girlz... I'm going to regal you with words of wisdom...

OK. I'm like minding my own business, reading people's blogs and such. One of the blogs has me look at a You Tube video. Then, out of curiosity, I follow some links to other people's blogs. Ya know how it goes. I click on somebody's My Web Page link in their profile, and my browser is redirected to an IP address (web site without a name, just numbers, like 88.124.32.222. Next thing you know, the alarms on my oh so secure computer are going off, saying I'm downloading a "Downloader", which stopped it cold in its tracks. I force shut down my browser and got rid of the sucker by deleting all of my temporary internet files. Then, being the brave soul that I am, I went back through the same process and tried to find that sucka virus again. I had no luck. This has led me to the following conclusions. You geek types out there feel free to poke holes in this.

1. The virus was already on my machine (not likely, since Norton caught it).
2. The virus was embedded in the You Tube video.
3. The virus was embedded in the URL of the web page, but I couldn't find it.
4. The virus was written into the blogger's web page withouth them knowing it (still couldn't reproduce it).
5. Finally, and very scary, the browser was redirected by having the HTTP packets intercepted over the internet.

Now, I am concerned enough about this to make sure all of my anti-virus software is up to date. I think it would be wise of each of you to do the same. Or, if you are a techno geek like me, switch to Linux :-O It would be a good idea, if your computer acts like it freezes up, and it says waiting on http://23.232.122.2 or something similar, to kill that sucker.

Here's some more useful advice for you. When you are on an unfamiliar treadmill, and running a program for the first time, don't distract yourself by trying to scratch the unreachable places on your back. You might get caught by surprise and thrown off the machine. You're welcome.

Finally, for the first time ever, I cooked a delicious meal last night without cracking the recipe book open one time. Brilliant!!

I joined Paul's "Streaking Challenge" and started my streak off with a 31 minute run, no walk breaks on the treadmill. Welcome to 2008.

Wes

ORN: 2.75 miles, 31 minutes, easy pace, 11:13 mmp

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sub-20: Windchill That Is

This is that time of year when I get to ask my northern friends (hint: Stacy) to shut the damn door :-) It's cold!! From fifties and sixties this past weekend to sub-20 degree over night temps is just a bit much.

A while back, I was reading through a running magazine, and I came across this picture of a runner. He was dressed in black from his cap to his shoes. He was coming down a snow covered trail, and while I believe they used illumination for the pic, that really doesn't matter. The runner was lean, fit, and obviously enjoying his run. The dark clothes were a stark contrast to the snow whiteness of the trail.

Yea, I admit it. I want to be "that" runner. With the temps last night in the 20(s), and the wind chill below twenty, I dressed all in black, except for my shiny shoes. I hit the streets around 8 PM. I knew the run wasn't going to be spectacular. I had way to much beer, alcohol and food over the holidays. I won't thrill you with the amount of weight I gained. I did, however, want to begin the process of weaning myself off the walk breaks.

Thirty minutes out and back, three short walk breaks, four hills, and a snot fest. What's not to love?

Wes

ORN: 2.8 miles, 31:00, easy pace, 11:02 mmp