Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sensory Stimuated Memory

Have you guys ever had an experience, where you are doing something totally unrelated, and a smell, a sound, or a feeling revives a memory that you had forgotten?  As the memory comes flooding back, you are able to look at it with a sense of detachment.  You glean new facts and make exciting observations that went un-noticed.

On my way into work yesterday, I drove past a guy riding his bike in the rain.  When I left the house at 8 AM, it was raining pretty hard, and the sun was no where to be seen.  I admired this guys fortitude, almost as much as I admired my own admonishment to not be so stupid (HTFU).

Later that day, I'm sitting at my desk thinking about the last time I rode my bike in the rain.  The memory of this training ride surreptitiously rose to the top.  I crashed all by my lonesome on the Silver Comet Trail at mile 37.  I knew I had gotten scummed up pretty bad, just not how bad.  I rode out to the 50 mile marker, turned around, and rode back in the pouring rain.

I looked like the Wreck of the Hesperus when I pulled back into the trail head.  I can still see the wide eyes, almost look of fear, on the face of the young lady as I weaved my way down the final 25 yards of trail to the car.  I honestly think she was afraid I was going to run her over.  I didn't realize it at the time, but I had a piece of my helmet sticking out the top, and I had rode with it that way for hours.

As I was putting my bike on the back of the SUV, the guy with the expensive car caught my attention.  I must have been quite a site for him too.  I was soaked to the skin, with a huge bleeding road rash down my right arm.  Part of my helmet was sticking up in the air.  I was soaked to the skin.  He seemed fairly impressed.  I was nonchallantly (word?) unaware, neither bragging nor whining.  It was just something I had to get done, and I enjoyed doing it, road rash not withstanding.

I enjoy these kinds of memories.  These are the experiences to be cherished.  I just hope I never smell or taste something nasty that brings back a crap memory ;-)


Friday, March 27, 2009

Still Got It

Once you go Garmin, you never go back...

I've had my Garmin 205 for about two years now, and I love it!!  If I had known what a great tool it was, I would've gone ahead and spent the extra money on the 305.  Training by heart rate is da bomb in my book.  Toss in the foot pod and cadence/speed accessory for the bike, and you have everything you need.  I aquired the Garmin Forerunner 50 with heart rate monitor prior to Ironman Florida.  I needed a new HRM cause my cheap Polar (good quality!) broke after much wear and tear.  Over the last four months or so, I have been adding the other pieces (footpod, gsc 10 for the bike).

After my test on Tuesday, I rather enjoyed my off day Wednesday.  This training plan has 4(!) rest days during recovery weeks.  Gotta love it.  Thursday called for a very short brick.  Due to family business obligations, it was late late in the evening before I could get a square to it.  I spent an hour after dinner moving my bike computer to Dee Dee's blue.  Attaching the bike sensor to Aerowyn was supa fast and easy.  After attaching the wireless sensor and magnets, I spun the wheel.  The L.E.D. flashed green and red, signalling both cadence and speed was recognized.  After pairing the bike sensor with the watch, I was ready for my brick.

The first thing I realized while riding the bike was that I could no longer view my cadence/speed at the same time as my heart rate.  While not a big issue, this was something I had not anticipated.  My ride was labeled as E1 (Zone 1).  Therefore, I focused primarily on heart rate and checked my cadence periodically to make sure I was keeping it between 85 and 95.  The Forerunner worked beautifully.

After my ride, I slipped on the Zoots with footpod and ran on the treadmill for fifteen minutes.  My treadmill is getting old.  Every run is an adventure!  My work with cadence has been paying off.  I was able to maintain an easy Zone 1 run at a 10 minute pace.  I'm not entirely sure, but I THINK this marks an improvement for me!  Even at an incline of 3 percent, I was able to easily maintain my HR in Zone 1.  I just don't remember doing this before.

Upon completing the run, I loaded my results into the Garmin software.  This process, too, is very cool.  Plug in the ANT stick, throw your watch on the table.  Come back in a few minutes, and its done!  For some reason, the software loaded my run under "Other", but it was really simple to move it to a "Run".  I was pleased to note that my cadence during my run was in the 84-85 range, and this without the metronome to guide me.   Very happy indeed.  Me thinks it's time to go for 86-87...

Hell's Kitchen was wrapping up on TV, as I sat on the couch with Dee Dee, cooling down.  I glanced over at Aerowyn as she sat on the trainer.  There on the seat post, I noticed the sticker from Ironman Florida still attached.  I smiled and welcomed the reminder.

OCN:  4.5 miles, 15:00, ~18 mph
oRN:  1.4 miles, 15:00, 10:43 mmp

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Swim Test!

One of the interesting things about this plan is that it is on a three week schedule, with recovery being in the third week.  This is a little different from your normal four week schedule.  Let's run with that.  I'm not a big fan of swim tests.  OK.  I'm not a fan of working really hard.  Yea, that's a problem.

No matter how fit I am, training hurts...

and all that stuff.

So, I went to the pool this morning and did my test.  I warmed up for four hundred yards, took a breather, then I was off.  The test itself went rather well.  I thought I did a pretty good job of being consistent.  There were a few spots where I got tired and slowed a bit, but I really wanted to give it my best effort.  I only swallowed one mouthful of water too.  Yup.  That's a bonus :-)

It took me 17 minutes exactly to swim 10x100 yards with 10 seconds rest.  That comes to 1:33 seconds per 100.  This gives me an equivelent of 1:40 per 100 METERS.  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.  That's about 10 seconds slower than my peak at the end of last year.  Again, my shoulders and arms felt fine.  I think I really need to concentrate on my aerobic/anaerobic engine.


Monday, March 23, 2009

I Miss My Coach

Tidbits, Wes-isms, and Revelations

Triathlon training is in full swing.  I find myself staring at a lot of twos (2s):  swim twice, bike, twice, run twice, strength twice.  The routine I am following seems to be working for me fairly well.  It just so happens the days I work from home are my swim days.  I pay my $3.00 to rent a lane (loosely speaking) at the Mountain View Aquatic Center.  This is a top notch facility and meets my needs perfectly, even if I have to drive twenty-five minutes to get there.

I am following the 15 week sprint plan from the book, "Training Plans for Multi-sport Athletes".  After two weeks, I find myself missing my coach.  Does anyone want to fill in for her?  Here are the criteria:
  • Must be around 4 ft 2 inches tall*
  • A professional triathlete
  • Wit of untold sharpness
  • Able to proscribe interesting workouts without thought
  • Have bad swim math
  • Have soft, if short, shoulder to cry on
  • infinite patience
  • and the kicker, work for $25.00 a month or trade for poor IT skillz...
Anyone wishing to apply for the job, please feel free to contact me at my e-mail address.  No solicitations please.

Despite missing two workouts last week (for my anniversary), things have been going well.  Til, this weekend, almost all of my workouts have been indoors.  I managed to get out Saturday for a long run.  The plan called for forty-five minutes.  I, however, felt the need for something longer.  I ended up doing 6.15 miles in a little over an hour.  My faith was justified as my legs felt wonderful after the run.  This continues to prove that for now, my base training is all about reviving my cardiovascular system.

Sunday, Dee Dee wanted to ride her bike outside.  We made the thirty-five minute ride to the Silver Comet Trail.  It was around fifty degrees when we started.  I like being warm when I ride.  I wore tights and dragged out my Ironman cycling jacket for the first time.  The first ten or fifteen minutes, the clothing was just right, but then I started to sweat and ended up a tad bit warm.  I find myself re-learning how to dress, which is amusing.  I'll take slightly too warm over slightly too cold anyday.

After my ride, I hustled to the soccer field and refereed for 260 minutes.  Half way through my last game, I was really feeling it in my legs.  The league sent an assessor out to comment on our games, and I got some really good advice.  I am excited about this new opportunity.  Hands on training has been few and far between in the seven years I have been officating.  I fully realize that, in the future, I will need to incorporate officiating into my training plan.  My poor knees took a pounding on the hard soccer fields, and I don't want to over do it.

I will leave you with this interesting tidbit I gleaned from a professional triathlete's blog:

No matter how fit I am, training hurts!

Have a great week everybody!


* she's not really 4'2"  :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How Much Do I Love Thee?

It may sound crazy...  foolish even... but twenty years ago, I had already had visions of this day in my mind.  I even planned for it.  Nothing permanent, mind you, or organized.  It was all in my head.  

I would be this old.
Dee Dee would be that old.
Jessica would be graduated from college (I hoped, and out in the world).
I would have a job, and be doing this.  Dee Dee that.

You get the general idea.

Every couple who has been married as long as Dee Dee and I have, has had the opportunity to experience the gamut of married life.  Even story book weddings have their ups and downs.  The first 8-10 years, I absolutely hated being married.  This is no secret.  Dee Dee knows it.  I grew up in a family life that was very disorganized.  There was a lot of fighting, screaming, and yelling (and even more love).  This left me with a strong desire to be alone, in peace, and quiet.  LOL.  I resented having to share my solitude with Dee Dee and Jessica after we got married.

From there, we moved into a transition period.  This was the point in our marriage where something had to give.  It was make it or break it time.  I read some things that helped (I am an avid reader), finally coming to the conclusion that if anything was going to change, it would have to be me.  I, after all, only have control over myself.  With this in mind, I accepted the following two principles into my repetoire:
  1. Dee Dee deserves to be the most important person in my life, and treated that way.
  2. No matter how bad things got, nothing would ever tear apart our marriage.
We spent the next five years taking our shot at the restaurant business.  Dee Dee spent 50-60 hours a week working, at first with my support, then increasingly on her own.  The time away from each other did us some good.  We learned how to talk again.  How to work with each other and support each other (in triathlon too!).  We took our relationship to an even higher level.  I could not have said it any better than Dee Dee facebooked today.  I married my best friend.

Now, when Dee Dee does something, and I get angry, or something isn't happening the way I want it to, and I get upset, I realize that the fault lies with me.  It is I who needs an attitude adjustment.  I am being the ass.  CHANGE YOUR PERSECTIVE!!  I like to say, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

After twenty years, I can't imagine how my life would be with out you.  You are indeed my best friend, my lover, my life partner, and every day, I thank God for the blessings you have given to me.  Happy anniversary, my beloved...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go dry my eyes.  Something is irritating them....


Monday, March 16, 2009

National Nutrition Month

My friend, Marni Rakes, besides being a stella athlete, is also a dietician and sports nutritionist, studying to get her RD.  I met Marni through the bad influences of my triplet at Iron Girl Atlanta last year.  I always enjoy meeting such great new people.

Marni is participating in National Nutrition Month.  She will be featuring a series of posts all month long about nutrition, sports nutrition, and diets.  Rather than try to say it myself, go by there and check it out.  Nutrition is the fourth discipline of endurance sports, and Marni is ALWAYS willing to help us bloggie peeps out when we are in need!

Thanks so much Marn!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Sorry my photog cut out my legs. I've always had muscular skinny legs, and after 90 days, if anything, they are stronger.

While I am not ripped, I am pretty happy with the results.  I think it would take another round of P90X AND strict attention to my diet to get me to where I want to be.  Alas, that is going to have to wait until the end of this season.  I got things to do.  The good news is that I came off the winter stonger than before, and that is a definite good thing!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Beginnings

It has been four months since I had been in the pool.  Four months!!  I debated all week and almost(!) decided to bag my swim workouts for the first week.  Nah!  Y'all know me better than that!!  I cancelled my pool membership at the end of last season, and Dee Dee and I have not yet joined the local fitness club.

There to fore, I travelled the 25 minutes to the Mountain View Aquatic Center in Cobb County.  I didn't know quite what to expect.  When Dee Dee and I went there for her (our?) swim lesson, it was hoppin.  I was a little relieved to see that the parking lot was almost empty.  With the clerk's help, I was able to rent a lane for $3.18.  LOL...  This is much cheaper than a gym membership, overall.

After suiting up, I got to relive the joy of that first plunge.  At least their water was warmer than my old gym.  My goal for the day was to re-acquaint myself with swimming.  I started off with a timed 300 yard warm up.  I was a little surprised to come in at 4:46.  I thought two minutes per hundred would be more reasonable.  Since I didn't really have an official plan, I did 100's, leaving the wall every two minutes.  I came in at about 1:40 on each 100, giving me plenty of time to rest.  I did this all the way up to the 26th minute and finished with a 200 meter cool down.  1500 meters on my first day back is not soooo shabby!  Thanks P90X :-)

Speaking of P90X, I'm hoping to get my photog to take some pics tomorrow.  Not only am I trying to assuage your anticipation here, I am warning of you of the half nekkidness to come.  Prepare yourself!  :-D


Monday, March 09, 2009

Tinged with Sadness

Soccer has begun...

The Spring season is always a hit and miss kind of affair, made even more complicated by the fact that all three of my children play.  The first tournament I signed up for got nixed because Matthew had a tournament that weekend.  The second tournament got rained out in its entirety, due to the monsoon weekend.  The first weekend of adult soccer was also washed out by the same storms.

Finally(!), we had a nice weekend, the first weekend of the regular season.  Jimmy and I show up to do the first game and... no teams.  LOL...  Looks like I was going to go into my adult games without a warm up.

At first, I thought I was going in cold to a Division 1 adult match.  I was very relieved to see the old guys warming up on the pitch.  The Over 40 league game was a blessing.  I felt very much like running and gave myself a healthy workout.  By the end of the game, my legs were getting a little tired, but I felt strong.  The D1 game was fast and furious, but the players were very well behaved.  There weren't a lot of fouls.  Very little dirty play.  It was the kind of game I enjoy officiating and really, the kind of game I expect out of "adults" in our league.  My legs were pretty sore by the end of the day, but I was very pleased with their level of fitness.

As Dee Dee and I navigate through our current financial crisis, I find our present day lives over shadowed with sadness.  The stark reality of it all sometimes rears its ugly head and slaps you in the face.  I have had to sever our relationship with our bank.  This might seem like no big deal to a lot of peeps, but I have been with this bank and its predecessors  for almost eighteen years.  I hate that my personal life is intertwined with business (public) life, and innocent people are going to suffer because of my circumstances.  I understand that I have to do what I have to do to take care of my children, but that doesn't change the fact that the pain is very real.

Dee Dee and I drove Matthew to Tifton, GA for a soccer game Saturday.  Tifton is three hours south of our house on I-75.  We are old veterans of select soccer.  It was not a big deal to us, but you could tell who the "newbie" parents were on our team.  Travelling 7 hours to play 70 minutes of soccer was entirely a new experience to them.

On the way back, we stopped in small town Georgia to put gas in the car.  I sighed heavily when I saw a black man talking to a lady next to me as he cleaned the windows of her car.  I just knew the guy was panhandling.  I winced noticeably when he came over and started washing mine, without asking.  I wanted to yell at him not to touch my car without asking permission, but I didn't.  After I went in and paid for my gas, I ignored him as I walked to the bathroom.  Dee Dee told me after we left that the owner had given him permission to be there.  The man intercepted me in between pumps on the way back.

Excuse me, sir...  I'm out here working and...

Before he could say another word, I reached into my right pocket and felt for what was there.  I knew, just knew, in there was a five dollar bill that was meant for this man.  I pulled it out of my pocket and handed it to him, clasped him on the shoulder and said, "There you go, my friend".

When he saw the number on the bill, his eyes lit up and got wide.

God bless you.  God bless you!!   Sir!!!

I turned my back and walked away.  I expected nothing else in return, not even his thanks.  I know that somewhere down the line, I will get my "fifty dollars" back.  It has happened time and time again.  Truth is.  Even if that had been my last five dollars, I would have done the same thing.  That's the way I roll.

and that too, was tinged with sadness...


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Be Still My Foolish Heart

Somebody invented a race that was made in heaven!  Two miles on the NC State campus to the Krispy Kreme store, eat a dozen donuts, then two miles back.  Can anybody say, road trip?  LOL...

Read about it here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Monsoon-ish 5K

A Guns and Hoses 5K Race Report

Dee Dee and I had a busy weekend planned.  On the agenda was a fun 5K, refereeing a tournment Saturday and Sunday, two soccer games in Duluth, then reffing adult soccer on Sunday night.  Phew!  Unfortunately the weather for the weekend was not looking good.  I had started following it on Monday.  At that point, it called for a little rain Saturday, then cold and windy Sunday.  As the week moved along, it got progressively worse.  By Friday, it had changed to rain all night, changing to snow around noon, and then into Sunday as well.

We, quite frankly, didn't know what to expect.  We talked about it and decided to play it by ear.  I set the alarm clock for 6:30 AM.  The race was at Hobgood Park, one of my favorite stomping grounds and only two miles from the house.  I woke up off and on all night, listening to the heavy down pours and the wind.  Certainly, part of it was pre-race nerves and part of it was out of concern for the weather.  I was pretty sure, after waking up for the third time, that we were in for a pretty rough weekend.

The alarm clock went off with a buzz.  I shut it off and listened to the water cascading off the house.  I really wasn't sure how bad it was.  The run off from the house often masks the noise of the rain.  Dee Dee and I decided to go back to sleep until 7 AM.  It's a talent people.  When the alarm went off for the second time, I got out of bed and went downstairs.

Downstairs was cold and dark.  I made my way across the tile floor in the kitchen to the desktop computer and flipped on the power.  While waiting for it to boot up, I went and looked out the back door.  As expected, the run off from the broken gutter was a lot louder than the rain.  It was definitely raining.  It just wasn't as heavy as I suspected. To make sure, I went out on the back deck and checked... in my boxers.  LOL...  It was a bit cold!

Given that I had EXPERIENCE running in cold, wet weather,  I ran back inside, up the stairs and told Dee Dee to GET DRESSED!  We were running!  We went back downstairs together and had a bit of breakfast.  You guessed it!  Krispy Kreme donuts!!  The breakfast of running champions!!!

Just like that {snaps fingers}, we were pulling into the parking lot at Hobgood Park.  I was happy to see that there was quite a turn out, despite the nasty weather.  We arrived about 25 minutes before the start of the race.  I'm not one to sit in the car.  Dee Dee and I headed down to the concession stand to see what was going on.  Not much of anything, evidently.  We hung out underneath the overhang and tried not to freeze.  It wasn't so much the cold as it was the dampness.  A friend, who is a fireman and a former customer, saw us standing there and came over to keep us company.  With about fifteen minutes before race time, I took off on a loop around the softball fields.  I wanted to go at a hard enough pace to stress the lungs, but not hard enough to kill myself.  I decided, upon reaching the back side of the fields, to cut my run short as the side walks were flooded.  There would be time enough soon to get my feet wet.  I got a head start when I crossed the mushy grass back to the concession stand area.

At five minutes till race time, Dee Dee and I moved back to the parking lot.  We weren't sure which way the race was starting.  We decided to move back when we unexpectedly found ourselves at the front of the pack.  While waiting, Dee Dee noticed a friend of ours that we hadn't seen in years.  She is an awesome runner.  Dee Dee ran up to her and gave her a big hug.  This was a nice surprise.  Dee Dee barely had time to get back to me before the RD announced he was going to start the race.  He mumbled something about needing to find the starting pistol.  I laughed when he pulled a toy cap gun out of his pocket, complete with red muzzle.  The RD raised the pistol in the air and pulled the trigger.   The gun cracked and the runners were off.

We started out heading slightly up hill to the north in the parking lot.  I knew this route like the back of my hand, although I had never "officially" ran it.  Once we reached the end of the parking lot, the course was going to be downhill for the first .6 miles, then it would flatten out until the return route brought us back to the park.  My strategy was to take advantage of the downhill to gain time.  I sincerely doubted a negative split was in the cards this day.  I also wanted to do a run 3 minutes walk 1 minute strategy.

Taking advantage of the downhill, I ran through the first walk break.  When I reached the first mile marker, I was pleasantly surprised to see a sub-8 minute first mile.  I had glanced a few times at my Garmin to check my heart rate.  It was registering a bit above 170, which surprised me.  The effort didn't feel like 170s, but none the less, it was.  After another two-tenths of a mile or so, we made a right into the water treatment plant.  This was the area where I had seen that flock of turkeys last year.  I have lived in the neighborhood for over thirteen years, and I had never been down this road before.

Well, there wasn't much to see.  The good news, it was all flat.  Before we curved around to the left towards the buildings, the race peeps had set up a aid station.  I decided to catch it on the way back.  By now, I was taking my walk breaks religiously.  I was pushing myself pretty hard, but my most important goal was to have fun.  When I made the turn around, I felt that familiar twang on the outside of my left knee.  I decided to ignore it for the time being.

I arrived back at the aid station soon after my next scheduled walk break.  That was damn convenient.  I loved it.  I grabbed a cup of water and took my time.  The rain had stopped too.  I took off my Nike rain jacket and wadded it up in my hand.  I was sweating profusely.  To show my support for the "guns", I had worn my cotten, black, long sleeve t-shirt.  I actually started running again before my watch beeped.  Before I made the left out of the treatment plant, I saw Dee Dee coming up the road.  We smiled at each other.  She was doing fine.

The knee was starting to bother me more.  I focused and tried to figure out why it was hurting.  I realized that I was running with my left toe pointing more to the outside, rather than straight ahead.  I made an adjustment and noticed an almost immediate relief.  The knee didn't stop hurting.  It did stop getting worse.  Since the pain was dull, I decided I would just run through it and stop if it sharpened.

Left out of the treatment plant.  Back long the boulevard to the main road.  It was all up hill from here back to the park.  I was leap frogging some of the other runners.  I would pass them on my runs.  They would pass me on my walk breaks.  It became apparent, as we climbed the hill, that my strategy was a wee bit better.  I had more energy and powered up the hill a lot faster then they did.  I glanced down at my watch and saw a heart rate of 184 and laughed.  That was the highest number I had ever seen on my HRM.  I saw 184 once way back when I first started running.  The mileage read 2.62 miles as I neared the park.  I suddenly realized that there was more to this course then met the eye.

Sure enough.  We turned right back into the park then right again onto the running side walk.  We only went a couple of hundred yards before they shunted us off the path and onto a trail.  The trail went down hill then turned left towards the amphitheatre.  Eventually, we went back up the hill and onto the path once again.  The good news was, we by passed most of the flooded sidewalk.  From experience, I knew this side of the park was slightly up hill.  Once we reached the top of the clock, it was all downhill to the finish.  I tried to stay strong.

At high noon on the sun dial, I turned it on.  Surely, I had enough in the tank to sprint this last eighth of a mile or so.  A few of the other runners yelled encouragement as I passed them.

"Looking strong!", they said.

At nine o'clock, I made the left into the park.  I heard foot steps behind me and kicked it up, determined not to be passed.  The foot steps were getting louder.  With 25 feet to go, I heard the foot steps soften and surrender, accepting their place at the finish behind me.   The clock read 28:15 as I crossed the line.

I turned in my time, then went in search of water and food.  At the concession stand, I grabbed a bottle of water and a banana.  I stood by the finish line for 10 minutes or so, waiting for Dee Dee to finish.  She was smiling when she crossed the line, and I had a big smile for her too.  We chatted with our friend, who ran the 5K in 20 minutes, despite "pooping" out in the last mile or so, she said.  We hung around for the awards to make sure we didn't win anything.  You never know at these small races.  We didn't, but it really wasn't a big deal.

When we arrived back home, the boys were still sleeping.  Dee Dee and I made ourselves some breakfast and coffee, our just desserts for such a fine race performance.  The tournament I was to ref was cancelled.  So were Matthew's games and the adult games I was supposed to ref.  We ended up spending a nice quiet weekend at home, a fitting tribute to an otherwise dark, cold, wet, and dreary end of the week...


ORN:  3.11 miles, 28:15, 9:05 mmp, R3/W1