Thursday, May 28, 2009

Like a Good Idea

I still chuckle at the picture in my mind...

Myself, and four of my (best) triathlete friends were going for our first open water swim of the year in freezing arse cold water.  We paused by the pier to regroup.  Any excuse to get our burning faces out of the water was a good one.  A crowd was up on the bank celebrating Easter I believe.  Some of them made their way down onto the pier to laugh and point at the crazy-ass triathletes.  One of the group said, while he adjusted his goggles:

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

Such a simple, yet profound statement.  I am giggling again.  But you know what...  Even if I knew the water was going to be that cold again, I would do it all over again.  Crazy is as crazy does.

After my less than strenuous weekend, Monday, I got a wild hair up my boo-tay and decided I would pop the P90X Abb Ripper X video into the DVD player.  We can do anything for 15 minutes, right?  Truth is, I wanted to see how much core fitness I had lost/gained since graduating from P90X.

I surprised myself.  Not only did I do every exercise, I did every exercise at their pace without stopping.  I was as strong if not stronger as the day I graduated.

For the rest of this week, my core has been bitchin and complainin.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  For those of you who are unsure, let me tell ya.  You use your core for every facet of swim, bike and run.  This, I know :-)  My swim today reinforced this fact, as  thought for sure my wee six pack would be feeling better.  Did I mention I rocked my swim today?  I came in at 1:25 on the 100's, 1:00 on the 75's, and 0:39 on the 50's.  I was very, very happy with that!!

Jimmy and I are off to Columbus GA this weekend for the State Cup soccer tournament.  Not only will I be getting to do some awesome games, I am also bringing my bike.  The place we are staying is 1 block  from the River Walk, a 14 mile trail that runs from Columbus to Fort Benning along the Chattahoochee River.  It should be a grand adventure!

You guys/gals have a good weekend!!


Monday, May 25, 2009

I gotz Moments

After my bout with the crank monster (post swim test), I sat down and did some deep thinking.  I don't think deeply very often cause:

a.  it hurts 
b.  I just don't bother to over analyze things too much.  KISS...

Now, you know that to good catholic boyz, Pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  With the exception of my computer skillz, I've spent a lifetime being really good at a lot of things, but great at nothing.  I looked back on the past three years, and I felt that unfamiliar feeling in my chest as pride crept in.

I went to the local Barnes and Noble and got this month's issue of Runner's World.  I read, with great interest, the article titled "Breath".  What really caught my attention was the superb running efforts put forth by men who are much much older than me.  Another article described how reasonable goals where achievable with the 3 D's (desire, dedication, discipline).

With much to chew on, I got off work Friday and headed over to Columns Drive for my brick workout.  Coach had prescribed some intensity for me, on and off the bike.  I warmed up for fifteen minutes, then did 5 x 20 seconds hard, 1:40 easy.  That's when the fun really began.  I started a build up to Zone 4 on the bike.  The build lasted for fifteen minutes.  I thought 5 minutes each in Zones 2, 3, and 4 was a good idea, and that's what I did.  I embraced the burn and worked hard to stay in my zones.  Later that night, I was pleasantly surprised to see multiple miles during this period above twenty miles per hour.

After the bike, I had a fifteen minute run off at race pace.  I asked coach what "race pace" meant, and she said anything above IM pace {rolls eyes}.  I quickly changed into my Zoots and went out fast.  My heart rate quickly climbed into my aenorobic zone (170s) and stayed there.  I finished up 1.85 miles in 15 minutes for 8:09 over all pace, 5 seconds off my 5K PR time.

I texted coach on the way home, "I rock!"  I thought she would get a kick out of that.  Coach and I primarily converse through email.  I have only talked to her twice on the phone, and never texted her.  I blamed it on the fast twitch endorphins.

These types of memories are the moments I truly cherish.  They remind me of why I do these things and why I do them to myself.  The rest of my workouts this weekend have been a wash.  I got run out of the pool half way through my workout Saturday, and Sunday I got rained out of my soccer matches, so no running for me.  In the end, it doesn't really matter.  Tomorrow, I'll be back out there, starting it all over again.

There are more moments to create.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pf@#$! Swim Test

If you are a coach, you are not allowed to read this.  Move along, nothing to  see here!  :-)

Evidently, I am not out of the woods (Foliage de Whiny) yet...

or maybe, I just have a bad attitude.

Let's just get this out in the open.  I HATE lactate threshold testing.  Swim.  Bike.  Run.  I HATE them all.

but I do them.  because I have to.  I do not SHIRK from the things I have to do.  Ever.

Why do I hate them?  because they are hard!  and evidently, I have not decided yet whether or not I want to work that hard.  hard = not fun.

Given the choice of hard = not fun and sitting on the couch eating a twinkie, my body chooses the twinkie!  My mind chooses... the dayum twinkie too!  but at least it knows and can override the body.

I went and did the Pf@#$! swim test.  Sometimes, pre-conceived notions (emotions) can pre-determine the outcome.  Not to worry though.  I am smarter than that.

You know what else I hate?  Going into a race or test not feeling 100% physically.  Mentally not 100%, meh...  I can HTFU mentally with a snap of the fingers.  I really should not have done upper body strength training on Sunday.

Three hundred yards into the swim test, I was like,  Dear GAWD!!

but I gave it my all.  There were no other options to choose.  Maybe my 17:11 time (11 seconds slower than last time) was pre-ordained by my mental weakness.  I ain't buying into that cop out.  I have to find the catalyst that spurs me onto that next level in my swimming.

Good news is, Dee Dee and I were able to join the gym 5 minutes from my house.  No more 2 hour round trips to swim!  Woot!

It is time to Sharpen the Saw...

and the next time Coach prescribes an LT or Swim Test for me, I'll do it... and I'll like it...

Monday, May 18, 2009

What theeeeee Hellllll?

I am cantankerous.  You can drop me an email and thank me for not dropping the f-bomb.  I have a certain persona I am trying to uphold, not straying far from my true self.  It is my time of the year.  Get over it.

What has life been like at Chez Indomitable Spirit?  In a word?


It seems like everytime I go outside to do anything, I get wet.  Go to the pool?  Get wet.  Go for a bike ride?  Get wet.  Hill repeats?  Get wet.  Jeeesh!  I'm glad that the drought is pretty much over, but give it a rest will ya?

Saturday saw my long awaited return to the long ride at the Silver Comet Trail.  Coach was practically apologizing for giving me a 1:45 minute endurance ride.  Nothing above Zone 2, she sez...  I love these kinds of rides, even when you get drenched half way through.  It becomes a game.  How hard can I push myself, yet stay within the bonds of her elfness?  The answer was 32.  I rode thirty-two miles, averaging 18.5 mph, drifting above Zone 2 very rarely.  LOL...  I don't even know if that's good or not.  Meh!

After my ride, it was off to my son's camp and a State Cup play-in game I was signed up to ref.  That's when the rain really began to come down.  I got soaked again.  The 13 yr old girls didn't seem to mind, but me?  I was waterlogged!

Sunday, I was back at it, again...  I dropped my son off at his game and went to referee a 16 yr old match.  I hated missing my son's game, but I was doing a friend a favor.  Lucky for me, they closed the fields due to the incessant down pour just before I blew the whistle.  I ran, not walked, back to my son's game and enjoyed the show.  He was playing on the club's fields (rather than county fields).

Since I didn't get my fix in on the pitch, I decided to conduct an Aerobic fitness test.  I've read about this test a couple of times, and I was really wanting to try it out myself.  The treadmill is a great place for this.  I gradually built my heart rate up into the very bottom of my aerobic zone.  I was a little surprised that it took me ten minutes to do so, even with the speed at 6.5 mph, but I guess that can't be a bad thing, right?  I spent the next twenty minutes adjusting my speed up and down every so often to keep my heart rate in a tight 4 point spread ( 149-152 ).  I succeeded for the most part.  I ran 2.05 miles in twenty minutes on the treadmill, and 2.3 miles by my Forerunner.  I tend to believe the Forerunner.  Test done!  Results noted....

and with that, I am toast.  My legs are so tired.  I did a little strength training yesterday, but mostly just upper body stuff.  Coach sez this is a rest week coming.  Rest week with Liz is kind of like your birthday.  You are in for a surprise.  Evidently, my surprise is another swim test.  Oh boy.  She did say I could cut anything I wanted to short and/or move stuff around.

Do you think she'd go for a 3x25 meter swim test?  Nah, me either :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Friends in Strange Places

With Dee Dee working sixty plus hour weeks, I find myself back in the not so unfamiliar role of Mr. Mom.  My life revolves around work, training, my kid's soccer practices and games, and similar stuff.  Every once in a while, I clean a small part of the house.

This past weekend, they were having a State sponsored soccer tournament at Lovejoy, GA.  This is about an hour from my house, south of Atlanta.  I ignored the first email.  This tournament is for Classic 3 and Classic 4 teams that will not be going to State Cup.  I figured there would be plenty of refs down south to handle the games.  About mid week, I got another plantive email asking for more help.  I checked my schedule and realized that I had all day Saturday to ref.  I let the assignor know and was immediately rewarded with four games.

Early Saturday morning, I got up at 5:30, left by 6:15, and made the hour long drive to Lovejoy.  My first and only boys match of the day was a U-14 game between a Classic 4 team from Blue Springs, GA, and a Classic 3 team from Carrolton, GA.  Now, if you know anything about soccer, you know that 13 year old kids that play at this level spend most of the game trying to control their body as much as the ball.  Their skills are still developing.  The coaches are usually what we call "Daddy Coaches", and they don't know much about the game either.  I am not belittling them.  Soccer is an all inclusive sport, and we welcome those who want to play, participate in, and enjoy "The Beautiful Game".

The game started out pretty normal.  There was the usual amount of clumsiness and fouls that I let go because it either did not affect the game or I just wasn't going to blow my whistle every two minutes and stop the game.  I let the kids play, called what I needed to call, and ensured a fair match.  A couple of the players from both teams identified themselves as players to watch by running their mouths at me and/or playing recklessly.  By half time, the Carrolton team was up two to nothing.  I expected a blow out.

Shortly after the start of the second half, the Blue Springs team came back and scored two quick goals.  That was when things got intense.  I had blown a foul against the attacking team in the defender's half of the field.  During the ensuing free kick, one of the attacker's made a run at the ball before the kick.  This is a no-no in soccer.  You have to stay 10 yards away from the ball until the kick is taken.  I know this, and I also know that at higher levels, I would give the player an instant yellow card for that behavior.  At this level, not so much.  If it doesn't affect play, I let it go and have a word with the player at the next available opportunity.

Right after the kick was taken, one of the Carrolton coaches on the side lines erupts.

He can't do that!  That's an immediate yellow card!! You can't let him do that...

Lucky for me, unfortunately for the coach, play stopped shortly there after, close to the benches.  I was a bit angry.

Do NOT YELL AT ME AGAIN!  I said in a loud angry tone.

Do not do anything to distract these players and these parents from this game!  If the behavior affects play, I will blow my whistle.  If it does not, then be quiet and let the players play.  It is not an automatic yellow card unless I say it is.

The minute the coach had my full attention, he looked like a deer in head lights.  He said not a word.  It is pretty common knowledge that the more inexperienced refs run Classic 3 and 4 level games and recreational soccer matches.  I'm not sure what this coach thought was going to happen, but he bit off more than he could chew.

Five minutes later, I had to admonish the Carrolton head coach not to complain about calls and to give me a chance to blow my whistle.  It makes me look bad to blow my whistle after they complain.  One last admonishment not to talk to the other teams players, and the rest of the game proceeded smoothly.  I ended up yellow carding one player from Carrolton for dissent, and one player from Blue Springs for a particulary nasty tackle.

The game ended with a Carrolton victory, as it should have.  They were the better team.  The Carrolton coach apologized for his staff being so excitable.  I acknowledged his apology and said that I understood.  I was used to that kind of excitement.  The coach from the other team came to me three times and told me how that was the best reffed game of the season for them, even on their home fields.  When the losing coach sings your praises, you know you did something right.

and with three more matches in the day, I got plenty of training in....

Thursday, May 07, 2009

(More) Tidbits and Wesisms

So, yea, I've been cadence training.  It's been good.  Really.  From the moment I started I've learned a lot of things.  Being the giving person that I am, I am going to share them with you, whether you want them or not.

The first day, I learned that the path to a heart attack is start cadence training while keeping the same stride length.  Even though I thought I shortened my stride, I did not, and my heart rate shot up into cardiac arrest zone as a result.  People who know these things say you will reach your optimal stride length once you get to a cadence of 90 per foot.

This led me to the unalterable conclusion that I have been over striding.  That is why I am a heel thumper.  Although I have never been injured, I have never been light on my feet ever.  More than one fellow runner, when they've had the pleasure of running with me, has noticed the pounding of my feet. 

This leads us directly to tidbit number two...  How does one become a midfoot striker?  For me, it involved an a-ha moment.  I conciously tried to have my feet land behind my center of gravity.  Of course, this is impossible, but the result was extraordinary.  I was mid-foot striking without any effort.  I'm still having to practice.  Often when my cadence falls back into the sluggish 80 times per foot range, my stride is too long.  I am running sub-conciously now in the 86 per foot range, and that is near optimal for me.

Finally, y'all remember that pain I was having behind the ankle on my left foot.  It healed up nicely during the off season, and I hadn't really noticed it before until yesterday.  It is a direct result of kicking out my heel to unclip from my bike.  Duh...  I got to think about this one...

And that's it for this episode of Tidbits and Wesisms.  I am accepting cash, checks, and homemade meals in payment.  Till next time :-)


Monday, May 04, 2009

Crashed (but not burnt)

It would seem that I have been burning the candle a bit at both ends...

It really started Wednesday.  I had a 500 yard time trial on my schedule.  Nope.  Never had a 500 yard TT before.  I checked.  Wasn't sure what to expect.  Especially, since, the warm up consisted of over 1000 yards of 25, 50, and 100 yard intervals at varying speeds.

I wasn't feeling overly zippy in the pool.  I hit all of my times on the warm up, gave myself a couple of minutes to recover, and then I was off.  As usual, the first coupla hundred yards felt strong.  Incidently, that's about the time it starts to hurt!

For the next couple of minutes, it was more like, "I think I can.  I think I can."   and I felt like I was dragging.   I turned it up for the last 100 yards, feeling the necessity of giving it my all.  I touched that wall the final time feeling dizzy but glad to get it over with.  Upon completing the cool down, I checked my time.  7:38, it said.  That's seven seconds faster than my T-time times 5.  Yikes!  Perhaps I shoulda slowed down a bit?

That night, I picked up a U-14 girls game to referee.  I love to run on the pitch, and I got in a good 70 minutes of soccer style action.  This had me a little concerned about what to do for Friday's run.  The workout called for 50 minutes of running with some pick ups.  To make a long story short, my kids were all out for the night.  I could not pass up the opportunity to run someplace different after work.  I chose Kennesaw Mountain.  Running on the rolling hills was definitely different, but I enjoyed a 10 minute per mile pace, even with tired legs.

Saturday, I was supposed to bike, but I was just too busy.  My Saturday morning soccer game got rained out.  I went home and did my strength session instead.  That afternoon, I took my youngest to Covington for his match.  I ended up spending over four hours in the car.  I love traveling teams ;-)

Sunday morning, I got up and went for my ride.  I really don't mind riding and reffing in the same day.  I rode for about one hour and fifteen minutes and turned in 22 hilly miles.  The rain let up long enough for me to ref a U-13 Elite match at 3:00 PM.  Fortunately for me, the public soccer fields were closed and all my adult games were cancelled!

I went home and cooked dinner for my sweety, or should I say helped to cook dinner.  I polished off a few beers that were left in the frig, and by 8 o'clock, I was passing out on the couch.  Dee Dee disappeared for a few minutes.  I hauled my carcass upstairs to bed and slept like a log for 11 hours.

I could use another one of those...


Friday, May 01, 2009

What Smells?

I am lacking in recognition...

For many hours a day, I surf various forums.  Some of them, I consistently use my "handle".  Some of them, I use my real name.  There are a few where anonymity is the norm, rather than the exception.

All I have to say is,  "Where is my Troll Badge?"  :-)

All the hard work I have put in.  All the flaming.  The witty sarcasm.  This is hard work, and I deserve recognition.

More often then not, I find myself defending those truths which should be self evident.  Imagine that, a troll in shining armor.

Take the nefarious Georgia Soccer Forum for instance.  Along with anonymity comes a complete lack of self control and common sense.  It is the favored medium for bashing all that is soccer in the State of Georgia, including the Corp of Referees.  Most of the time, I just let this stuff go.  Others, I dive in with both feet.  The balance between insanity and common sense must be restored.

In fitness related new, my calorie tracking web site has a fitness forum, where often questions are asked about running and triathlon.  I use my own name here.  It is the prefered tactic to back up one's advice with studies and articles linked on the internet.  It goes something like this.

Oh!  Never ever run!  My knees are ruined, and this article on the internet shows that running results in 1012% more injuries...

This is all fine and dandy.  The people reading this stuff may actually even go read the article.  Some will not.  I, on the other hand, don't just read the article.  I dissect it.  What's wrong with this picture?  First, the article was written in 1977.  What did they know about running back then?  (don't get me started).  Second, they had the "subjects" run at 90-95% of max HR for every run.  No wonder the poor bastards were dying.

At least most of the peeps on this forum are good natured.  Flame wars are few and far between.  It really is all about helping people lose weight and get fit.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder.

Is that smell me?  The Troll?  Or is it the B.S. I am having to tip toe around here?

You decide, and that's one of the beauties of the internet...