Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Buckle down for Boston

The holiday time I had with my family flew by this past week. My gift and blessing I have is my children. I enjoy watching them grow and become who they are day by day. I am declaring the "people of the year" award goes to my children. For my oldest son serving in the Navy for his hard work and service. My other son serving as a Marine who recently came home from Iraq completing his third tour. For my daughter who graduated this December with a Masters in Physical Therapy (at the age of 22). And finally for my youngest son who I am glad to see enjoy life as an 8 year old kid should.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas time with your family and friends. We sure did.

My official 16 week Boston marathon training schedule begins today. Today's workout was a 2 mile easy jog followed with 3 X 1 mile fast runs with only 1 minute rest between each mile. I finished with a 1 mile easy jog. Each mile was run in 5:56 per mile pace.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Welcome Home!

My son arrived safely home today after serving his third tour in Iraq. We love you and are glad to have you home.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Lego Room

For the past two 2 weeks we have been preparing, demolishing, and installing walls in one of the kids bedrooms. We decided to make an official "Lego room" for the kids which we hope would restrict the thousands and thousands of Lego pieces that have been strewn over the house to one room.

This wall has got to go.

Ok, lets knock it out.

It was a mess to get the wall out!

We made a hole in the closet wall too.

Framing it in.

Insulating the new walls.

Dry walling.

The closet has a dresser in the wall.

The bed and shelf are in the wall.

And we did it!

We were able to gain an additional 40 square feet of floor space by knocking out the walls and placing some furniture in the knock outs. All so the kids can have a lego room.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I love this game. I'm always looking for someone who is up for the challenge.

I have been doing some home remodeling and will post my results this weekend with some pictures.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Not much of a gadget guy.

I have no cell phone, palm pilot, ipod, or whatever electronic gizmo out there, but yet I work as a computer network administrator. It's not that I fear the use of those things, but the cost of any of them does not justify the need.

What I do have is a polar s120 heart rate monitor watch of which I only use the time and distance and mile splits for my runs. I think I only used the heart rate monitor a couple times just to see how much my heart beats while I run a 6 or 7 minute mile pace.

For my bike I have a cheap computer that only displays time, speed, and distance and that's all I needed or wanted. Until recently, I came to realize all my workouts on the bike trainer where I use DVD's and online workouts, all indicate a cadence to train at. I decided to buy a Cateye Astrale 8 for 30 bucks so that I can train using cadence to monitor my performance and progress. I think it'll be worth the 30 bucks. If anything it'll make my workouts more honest.

Today's workout from fasttendem.com had most of the spinning at 100 RPM and let me tell you if anyone can keep up with that pace has to be a tour de France champion. I think I kept most of the RPM's around 80, which was hard enough, and boy did I sweat. The numbers I gathered from today's bike workout were as follows: Max Speed = 25.7 MPH, Av Speed = 18.0 MPH, Trip Distance = 18 miles, and Elapsed Time = 1 hour. I wish the computer would have some cadence results. Maybe the higher priced ones have it but for now I'm happy with what I have. And hey, I like all the new fancy numbers that are displayed on my new bike computer.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

One lump or two lumps?

The amount of sugar we consume in a day is amazing. We consume refined sugars in the form of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup which is processed into so many foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a plethora of "goodies".

Have you ever noticed on food labels there are no %DV (percent daily value) given for Sugar? I think if there was a percent value given for sugar it would be a lot lower then the amount we ingest in a typical day.
With all the "lumps of sugar" being bonked into our heads, especially during the holidays, it is no wonder why we are not able to control our diets, we get sick with the flu/colds, and then get depressed. My goal these days has been to cut out as much as possible the refined sugars from my diet and to find alternatives for my sweet tooth cravings.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

5 mile Turkey Trot

Today was a perfect Thanksgiving Day for a 5 mile race. The weather couldn't have been better. We had clear sunny skies, cool 40 degree temperatures, and some light winds for the race. The course had some rollers as it weaved around the downtown area.

Pumpkin pies were given to the top 50 males and top 50 females. My goal was to come home with a pumpkin pie.

At the start line of the race we had the couch potatoes guys, two Elvis sightings, and a couple business guys dressed in their suit and tie and carrying in one hand a brief case and a turkey leg in the other. The smell of the leg was good but I didn't want to get hungry so I stayed out of the path of the wafting smell.

The run went well and I finished strong with a PR of over 8 years in a time of 28:50 and a pumpkin pie to boot.

I have to admit I am thankful for the strength and endurance I've gained this year and that my training and racing has gone so well.

My race results can be viewed here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Camping and a Brick

My son joined the cub scouts which means I became a cub scout too. Whatever he does as a scout I have to be involve in some way or another. I have to work with him in his scout handbook to learn and earn 12 Bear badges.
The fun part of being a scout is we get to go camping. This past weekend we went on our first camp-out with the scouts. We stayed in a heated lodge with 14 kids and about 10 adults. We hiked, played capture the flag, had camp fires, and had an official flag burning ceremony. I never realized there was a method of getting rid of a flag that was no longer in use. I didn't want to mention that when our flag got trashed from bad weather, we just threw the ragged thing in the garbage. Now, I'll have to get rid of my old flags the way I was taught this past weekend.

On Sunday, I was able to spin on my bike trainer for about 45 minutes then run out the door for an 8 mile run. The run felt almost effortless. Maybe it was the bike warm-up that got my legs ready for the run because I felt like I was holding myself back from running faster than the 7 minute mile pace that I was on. Either way it was good to get a bike/run workout which I haven't done since this past summer.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bring the kids to the track.

One of my fond running memory experiences with my four children was (and still today with my youngest) to bring them to the high school track for a run and then to watch them play on the field or in the stands while I did the serious hard workouts.

After yesterdays workout I was reminded that I got to bring my son to the track more often. We had so much fun running a mile together. He had the idea that we would run in opposite directions so that when we passed each other we would give high fives to each other. As we passed each other I would also say encouraging words to him. I tried to pace myself so that we would hit the same spot on the track together. We finished the 1 mile warm up in a time of 9:11. He still had a smile at the finish. We walked about 100 meters to the start of my 6 X 400 meter repeats and he then went to play on the exercise stations. Even though I ran my serious fast stuff I still enjoyed watching him doing pull-ups, swinging, and sitting on the chin-up bar too.

A note relating to other tri related workouts. I've been trying to swim 3 days a week. I try 2 to 3 days of strength and yoga workouts. My frustration is that I have not been sitting in the saddle for about a month now. I miss it and want to get back in the saddle. Due the winter months fast approaching it looks like I'll be riding indoors. I don't mind riding indoors but I just got to do it and hope to ride 3 days a week, maybe starting after Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm in.

Look what came in the mail today. I get the privilege to join over 20,000 runners on April 16, 2007 for the 111th running of the Boston Marathon. I know what I'll be doing this coming winter months - training for Boston.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Meet Captain Jack Sparrow Jr.

Don't mess with captain Jack he's dressed to kill. This was his way of reporting to the blackboard jungle today. Thanks to his lovely, but sorry to say ill mother, (she's had strep for the past 3 weeks)who helped the captain don his outfit for today.
He did manage to come home with some treasures to share with the rest of his mates' Although, I am on a dark nugget (dark chocolate, hint-hint) diet these days so I didn't enjoy any of the spoils.

He thinks he's going to get away with that imported Tokai from Hungary. Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin, or his. That's a spoil his grandpa acquired for us while out on his adventures in the old country. Captain Jack, didn't need the intoxicant to obtain any goods for the day anyway. And he had a Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Inside - Outside

Saturday's weather forecast called for a severe thunderstorm warning, so I decided to play it safe and do a 30 minute tempo run on the treadmill. I began the first 10 minutes at a 7:30 pace with an incline of 2%. The second 10 minutes was at a 6:15 pace with the incline at 4%. I finally broke out in a sweat and was huffin' and puffin'. The last 10 minutes was back to a 7:30 pace and the incline at 2%.

This was my first hard run since running the Columbus marathon 2 weeks ago. I felt pretty good overall. I am taking 4 weeks to recovery and build up some mileage to help prepare me for a 5 mile race on Thanksgiving morning.

Sunday was a beautiful sunny Fall day. I packed my son's bike in the trunk of the car and we headed to our favorite 8 mile bike/run route in the park. The route is an out and back and going out we were faced with some strong headwinds. I think it was more difficult for my son to bike with headwinds than for me running. We made it to the turnaround point in 30:36 and was looking forward to having the winds at our backs. The run/bike was easier and faster the second half and we did enjoy the scenery by stopping at a viewing deck to catch sight of a fish jump out of the water. We also barely missed running over a garter snake on the trail. We finished in 58:57. It was a beautiful day in the park.

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Spinning workout DVD

Today was a kind of day to hop on the trainer and get a good workout. The day began with rain and temperatures dropped to the point of turning the rain into snow.

I recently received in the mail my new off-season workout DVD: SPINerVALS Ultra Conditioning 2.0 Ultra CORE-Strength Builder. And on this wonderful gray, wet, and snowy day I did the workout.

The workout consists 60% of the time on the bike doing various one leg drills and high cadence drills. The other 40% is core workouts on the stability ball. The core workouts were mixed in between sets of the different drill exercises, which help break the monotony of just spinning for an hour. My legs felt like they got a workout along with my back and abdominal muscles. I'll be back to do that workout again during the winter months.

Here is some information on the DVD.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Out in the woods.

Today was the first day I did some running since the Sunday marathon. I am so priviledged to have a park at the bottom of my street that has a 2 mile all-purpose hiking/biking loop trail and about 2.5 miles of hiking trails.

It has been a long time since I've run the trails and I have been looking forward to running them when my structured schedule of training would end, so that I could hit the trails. It was a beautiful fall day in the park. The smells and sites of the foliage was in its fullness. I ran the trails at a very slow pace and even came right up to some deer who were not at the least bit intimidated by me. I could have petted one but I don't trust those big four legged creatures. My legs are still a little sore but it was fun to get wet and muddy shoes after running 3 miles on the trails.

I plan on running as much as I can on trails during my 2 months of down time.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Columbus Marathon with Smiles & Hugs!

I ran the Columbus marathon back in 1994 with a time of 3:29:00. But today was different...

As I looked around at the starting line of the Columbus marathon I was impressed to see an excitement among the runners that I don't remember noticing at any other running or triathlon race. The runners seemed to be full of high energy jumping up and down, arms and legs going in all kinds of directions, and chatting up a storm. It must have been the few weeks of running low mileage leading up to the race that we all were ready to explode out of the starting line.

Just before the gun went off at the start of the race we were greeted with a C-130 military plane fly-by overhead. That was exciting.

To help organize in my mind the unfathomable distance of the marathon I chose to break the 26.2 miles into various mile segments. The first 5 miles I planned to go out at a comfortable pace while sipping water and Gatorade from all the water stops. After 5 miles I was warm enough to pull off my extra tee-shirt. I think it was also around 5 miles I met fellow blogger Lloyd who had good words of encouragement and smiles. He has a short movie clip at the start of the race on his blog. He also took the one photo I have from the race. Thanks, Lloyd.
5 miles in 32:57

At the half way mark I spotted my wife and son in the crowds and I had to shout to get their attention. I was glad to see their big smiles while cheering me on.
13.1 miles in 1:25:05

Then into the 20 mile range it was all down hill. My legs felt thick and heavy. The legs didn't cramp up but they just didn't want to keep my 6:30 pace any more. The good thing was that I didn't have to walk at any point like I had to in my previous 4 marathons. I felt well hydrated and fueled from the many water stops and the two gels I took at 7 and 18 miles.
20 miles in 2:11:22

At the finish area I met Brian and got a big warm hug. We worked hard for this race and have encouraged one another throughout our training. I was so glad for him and that he broke his 3 hour dream barrier.
My wife and son met me at the finish area and I got a nice hug from them too. She wrapped her quilt blanket around me and put her arms around me to help keep me warm.
Final time in 3:03:03
This time was about 26 minutes faster than what I did back in 1994! Yes! I guess with old age you can still get faster.

We walked up the street to watch more runners come in for the finish. And about 30 minutes later we got to see our friend Sheri, finish in her projected goal time of less then 4 hours. She came in 3:55. She was smiling! Good for her!
Then it was a long 3/4 mile walk (which seemed longer) to the car. I needed the walk though.

To train for this marathon I used the FIRST to the finish training schedule and felt it worked great for me. I will use it again to train (which starts Dec. 26th) for the Boston marathon. However, I would modify the long runs a little different. Rather than going out at planned marathon pace (PMP +) I am going to try and run the first half of my long runs easy and finish the second half faster. I think running negative splits on long runs, is good training for the mind and body, and if anything, it will be a good mental booster in preparation for the marathon.

I really appreciate all the great comments and compliments from all those visiting my site. You all are my encouragement. Thank you. With smiles and hugs, Papa Louie. See you in Boston, April 16, 2007

p.s. if you click on the picture you will see my big smile.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Columbus marathon update

I wanted to send a quick update on my marathon run today. I am very glad to say I finished in qualifing time for the Boston marathon. My qualifing time is 3:30:0 but I finished todays marathon in 3:03:03. Whoohoo!! I am very happy to finsh 27 minutes ahead of the time I ran 11 years ago in Columbus.

Overall place: 109
Age Division: 7/264
Male: 104/2254
Overall time: 3:03:03

To be continued...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Taper week update

Monday - 50 minute Yoga workout. 3 mile walk in morning and 2 miles in the afternoon. Good thing I didn't have to work.
Tuesday - Interval track workout of 6 x 400 meters (average 74 seconds per 400m).
Wednesday - 35 minute swim.
Thursday - 3 mile run in 19:05
Friday - 25 minute swim and 50 minute Yoga
Saturday - Drive the marathon course
Sunday - Run the marathon!

Tuesday, we watch the inspirational movie of swimming the English Channel, On a Clear Day. One of the lines my son got a hilarious laugh was, 'my friend could fart in German'. I have to admit I also got a good chuckle out of it. And while I was swimming the next day the line came back to me with the sight of my son laughing it made me laugh. The problem was that I took a gulp of some chlorine water which was not good. I had to think of something else to keep myself from laughing while swimming. I realized you can't laugh while swimming.

On a scary note. My daughter caught a flu bug last week and my wife got it earlier this week. She got a throat culture on Tuesday and on Wednesday it came back positive with strep. I'm thinking, 'Oh no,' I can't get sick before this weekend. I was almost tempted to start taking antibiotics to ward off the bug. But I was advised not to mess with the pill unless I was tested positive and prescribed by my doctor. It's Thursday and I'm feeling great. I need to remember to wash my hands a lot and not to put my fingers in my eyes, nose, and mouth.

Everyone have a great weekend.
See you in Columbus.
My Bib number is 1096

Friday, October 06, 2006

Run long and taper!

My all time favorite podcast show is Phedippidations from Steve Runner and his concluding words to his shows is, "run long and taper". After 16 weeks of marathon training which included two 18 mile runs and five 20 mile runs I can finally say it's taper time!

During taper time I cut back on distance and intensity of my runs. It's also a time to cut back on cross-training of swimming, biking, and strength training for the last week leading up to the Columbus marathon on October 15th.

I will try to sleep/nap as much as I can, stretch and do some yoga a couple times during the week. And that's it.

Eight Days until marathon!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My letter to Nando Parrado

Dear Nando,
I just finished reading your book, Miracle in the Andes and felt to write to you. Last year October I watched on the History channel the movie Alive and remember the movie having a lasting impression on me. It must have been the challenges that you all faced and the strong will to survive.
Earlier this year Outside magazine (May 2006)had a condensed story of Miracle in the Andes and I remember checking out the magazine from the library at that time but I did not read the article for some reason. It might have been because I remembered the movie and didn't think it was necessary to read about it. Although, I have to admit the article was in the back of my mind and the curiosity of reading it would now and then come up in my mind. For some reason about 2 weeks ago I thought to get the magazine from the library and read the story. I enjoyed reading it so much and at times it brought tears to my eyes. My eight year son remembers the movie well and wanted me to read him the story from the magazine, which I did.
The magazine referred to the book, Miracle in the Andes, which I immediately requested from the library. When I began to read the book I found at times I could not put it down. I wanted to read as much as I could in one sitting.
I may not have experienced an Andes as dramatic in my life but like you said we all have some Andes to overcome in our lives. I do appreciate the gift of life every day of my life.
Some of the most profound thoughts and expressions I enjoyed in the book were:
** The conversation you had with Arturo about God. (page 84)
** Death being the constant in the Andes yet the love you had for your father was much stronger than what the mountain was putting you through. And "The opposite of death is love". (page 200)
** The ordeal simplified your mind... (page 216)
** Words of advice from your father. Don't let this be the most important thing that ever happens to you. Look forward, he said, You will have a future. You will live a life. (pages 245-246)
** How can you be at peace with life... I am not at peace in spite of what I suffered, but because of it. (page 261)

Thank you for sharing your experiences in Miracle in the Andes.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Five Fast Freaks Furiously Fly

The title describes our finish in the 5 person open mixed relay at the Akron marathon today. Todd ran first for a fast 10K. Brooks fried his 5K leg. Amie had a fabulous 10K finish. Elizabeth flew on her 5K portion. And Papa Louie, freaking finished the 12.2K strong to help bring us in 1st of 456 total in the mixed team relay. Second place team was 3 minutes ahead of us before I began the last leg but I not only passed that person but added 3 more minutes to finish our team in 2:57:25.

The only complaint was that it was cold and a lot of us had the uncontrollable shivers while standing around waiting for our relay to start. I took the shuttle bus with Elizabeth to her 5K start and ran from there to my start. I had to tell the cheering people, who thought I was running in first place, that I was just warming up, but thank you anyway.

We got to meet the marathon legend Bill Rodgers and I took a picture of him with our 2 fast lady's. Hopefully, Elizabeth will post that picture.

Click on this link to view our results.

Say the title 5 times for fun.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Five Fast Freaks

I am excited to announce that I was invited to be a 5th member on a relay team for the Akron Marathon. The team was just put together this week and I signed up for the race yesterday. I have the privilege of running the final leg to the finish. Here is a quote from a description of:

The Finish
An Olympic-style finish in Canal Park, our beautiful AA baseball park and home of the Akron Aeros, features 9,000 seats for family and friends. For those who watched runners at the start, the 3-mile mark and the 10-mile mark, they have only a short downhill walk to arrive at Canal Park in time to watch the finish. These fans greet the runners as they enter the ballpark in right-center field and make a final circuit around the warning track to the finish line near first base. This year, fans will also be able to spot their favorite runners on the new digital scoreboard in center field.

Doesn't that sound so cool? How can I not have fun with this race?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hard to stomach 20 miles

First off don't laugh at me. Ok I've been reading a book titled, The miracle of garlic & vinegar. I found a recipe for a high power energy drink which was:
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar,
2 teaspoons of honey,
mix with 8 ounces of water.
Apple cider vinegar contains 19 of the 22 necessary minerals essential for human health.

When I first read about the drink I tried it a few days ago and it tasted good. I planned to try it on my last 20 mile run before Columbus marathon for today, except I modified the recipe to about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons of honey and mixed it with water in my water bottle.

My wife riding on her bike was my crew support for the run. She had 1 plain water bottle and 1 miracle drink bottle in the bike bottle cages. She also carried the 2 packs of Power Bar gels.

I began to sip the miracle drink after about 25 minutes into the run. And every 15 to 20 minutes there after. At one point maybe after nine miles my wife took a sip of "the drink" and with dramatic facial expressions spit out the elixir. I couldn't understand why the dramatics.

We made it to the turnaround in good time of 1:09:21. I slurped a gel and washed it down with plain water. Not long after the turnaround my stomach was doing somersaults and feeling gassy and after 16 miles I was hurting. I counted my workout as a bad day but then I realized it was the magic potion that did me in. When we got home after running for 2:21:52 I went straight to the bathroom and relieved a couple more pounds which added to my already 6 pounds of sweat loss. I felt like $hit and when I looked in the mirror I looked it too. My lips were white from all the vinegar. I laughed. Now I understand my wife's dramatics.

Later that evening my son found the bottle that had some left in it and he began to enjoy what was left. A few hours later he complained about stomach pain. Oops, I should have dumped it right away when I got home. Poor kid. He's sleeping now.

OK, I learned my lesson. Make it right. I will still try it on my other runs and biking workouts.
Now you can laugh and make fun of me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Season Finally of Triathlons

A week or so before the Portage Lakes Triathlon I checked the participate list and found my name on the International Elite Masters Triathlon list. For some reason I thought I signed up to race the sprint distance triathlon. In the back of my mind I was thinking I've got to run 15 miles at a 6:45 pace on Saturday and that on Sunday I'd be ok to race the sprint distance. It bugged me all week and even up to the day before yesterdays race whether to change my status from long course to short course. I decided to just run the longer race and have fun with the little extra pain.

The good the bad and the ugly:
Out of 127 overall finishers I finished the swim in 104th place. I guess I could have finished 127th but 23 other nice swimmers felt bad for me and let me pass by.

On the bike I somehow managed 57th place even though my legs didn't feel fresh. It must have been the 15 mile run the day before and moving grandma. Carrying the washing machine up and down stairs was a little heavy without a dolly.

When it was time to run all my troubles seem so far away. All the fun was kicking in and I remembered this was my last triathlon for the season so I better finish strong. I finished 6th in the run.

Now my attention and focus is on Columbus marathon which is in 4 weeks, then REST (i think).

37th Overall
3rd place in the Triathlon International Elite Master division.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Bike Bloopers!

I wish I had a video camera to show some bloopers of my recent experience on and off the bike. It would be one of those where you laugh but it really isn't funny.

The first 'nutty' thing I attempted on the bike was to put a popped chain back on the bike. One afternoon I decided that it's about time to see my chain sparkle in the sun so I gave it a good cleaning. After cleaning it the chain came undone from the front chain ring. Rather than putting it back on I had the wild idea that I could get on my bike shift the front derailer all the way over to the big chain ring and after a couple pedal rotations the chain would go back on without me getting my hands dirty. I have put the chain back on before using this method. Well, I hopped on my bike, clipped my shoes into my pedals, shifted the front derailer over, and I began to pedal like crazy. But...I wasn't going anywhere and it was one of those s-l-o-w motion moments where I could see myself falling down. Ouch! I got a nice knot on my knee. I think I was more amused at the dumb idea and made a mental note NEVER to do that again.

The second 'nutty' thing I did happened today while I was out running 15 miles with my lovely wife accompanying me on her bike. We were clipping at a good pace around 6:35 per mile. She had a jacket tied around her waist and it came undone. She needed both hands to tie the jacket and we did what we normally do when driving in the car and someone needs both hands to do something (god knows what). The other person leans over and with one hand steers the car. She took her hands off the wheel and while running next to her I grabbed the wheel with one hand and she began to tie her jacket. But...She lost balance and began to lean away from me and the s-l-o-w motion thing happened. Ouch! I felt so bad and with sorrow I apologized. She got some bumps and bruises but was ok. We immediately realized how dumb the idea was and vowed NEVER to do that again. Good thing no one was around to get a good laugh or to film any of these bike bloopers.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Run Home!

I will start when the gun goes off.
I will run for 5 miles.
Feeling good, I will run to the 10th mile.
At the 10th, I will say, "only 3 more to the half way"!
At the half way mark, 13.1 miles I will know 15 is in reach.
At 15 miles, I will say, "you've run 20 before keep going"!
At 20, I will say, "Run Home"!
The Poem ' Strategy for a marathon' by Marty Mueller.

This poem will be one of my inspirational mantra during the Columbus marathon.

I think I have enough faith in my training schedule and feel I should be physically fit for the race. But I also realize positive mental mind games will be a determining factor for a top performance. And so, I have been focusing on positive thinking and well speaking while running. I am also reading inspirational books and writing down positive thoughts to help prepare my mind for the big race. If all goes well I am looking forward to having a great race.

Follow this link for a little movie clip on the Marathon Course Preview

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A day in the park.

Yesterday, was a beautiful day in the park for a run and bike ride. Brian came over early in the morning to run 20 miles with me. The temperatures were around 65 degrees and the skies were a hazy overcast but clearing as the sun was rising. We started out from my house and ran down the hills to reach the Cuyahoga Valley Park Towpath trail. After we hit the 3 mile mark in 20 minutes we thought, 'maybe too fast' but also realized it was all down hill to get there and that the pace would eventually even out. We were feeling somewhat comfortable and agreed that mile 12 through 18 would be a concentrated effort pace. The last 2 miles up hill was to survive and see what was left in the tank. This was my 4th 20 mile training run and was my best in time and comfort. Finish time was 2:18:10 which is a 6:55 per mile pace. For my last 20 miler in 2 weeks I do not plan on bettering that time. I will savor the moment that all my marathon training is in the bank and ready for me to cash in on race day.

The afternoon was spent riding bikes on the same Towpath trail with my wife, me pulling my son on a Trail-a-bike, and a couple of friends. Before we began our 23 mile ride we enjoyed a nice lunch at Hoggy's restaurant. The ride was at a comfortable pace, which was good for my legs to recover and move out the lactate acid. We all enjoyed the time together and couldn't ask for a more beautiful day in the park!

Friday, September 01, 2006

I think it's all in my head.

These days I am finding myself amazed after my training runs. But before I get out and run I have doubts and fears of not keeping my scheduled training pace. I worry about how I could keep such a fast pace and not burn out on the run. These are some of the thoughts I felt before I did yesterdays 10 mile run. I was scheduled to run 10 miles at my "planned marathon pace".

I started the run with a first mile in 5:59. No, that is not my marathon pace. It was about 30 seconds too fast. When I start out too fast I do not yell at myself to slow down because I know eventually I will. The next few miles were around a 6:17 mile pace. It wasn't until after 5 miles that I ran at pace. I finished in 1:03:54 which was a 6:23 pace. I felt the run was tough but manageable. So, I realized my body is stronger than the doubts in my head. I'll have to remember this during the marathon.
Everyone have a great weekend.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I did it on the bike!

I've heard pro's do it. I wondered how it's done. I thought you would have to get into some sort of contorted position to be able to do it. Well, I had to do it during my 32 mile ride home from my brothers birthday party.
I was hoping to leave the party around 6:30 in the evening so that I would make it home before it got dark. It began to rain around 6:00 pm and I was hoping the rain would blow over before 6:30. It never did and it looked like it wasn't going to clear up soon either. While I was waiting for the rain to clear up I got involved playing table tennis. I was holding the table tennis championship but after 7:20 I had to throw in the towel and get on my bike.
The rain was coming down as a fine midst and the roads were wet but I was able to ride at a hard effort pace. After riding in the park around 8:30 in the evening I had the urge to pee. It was dark and with no street lamps to light my way I wanted to get the "H-E- double hockey sticks" out of the park and onto the lighted streets. I did not want to stop to relieve myself so I thought if people figured out a way to do it, so will I. It may not be the right way but it worked for me.
(note: sorry, women have a disadvantage to perform such a feat.)
While coasting at about 15 miles per hour
With my right foot on the pedal in the forward position
I bunched up my right biking short pant leg way up.
I pointed my aimer straight down and all was relieved.
Ah! With a smile!
I know I need more practice to perfect my new trick but that will come in time. If anyone has any pointers please feel free to share them.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Why the stork stands on one leg.

I have been learning the yoga exercises in this DVD and can manage to work through the routines but when it comes to standing like a Dork I mean a Stork on one leg performing the exercises with 5 lbs weights, boy oh boy, the pain.
After 2 minutes of standing on one leg like a stork I am ready to fall over. You think it's easy? Try it. Stand like the handsome couple in the picture without weights (try dumbbells later), arms out shoulder height, palm face out. Inhale with a 4 count and exhale with a 4 count. Then swing your left arm strainght in front at 90 degrees while inhale 4 count. Swing back to starting position while exhaling 4 count. Repeat with right hand. Then swing both arms to your center with 4 count. Hold and breathe in another 4 count then as exhale 4 count return arms back to starting pose.
My goal is to do this and the other challenging one legged routines in about 3 weeks. If I can stand on one leg for all the routines then I should me able to run a 3 hour marathon.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


This week is the beginning of week 9 in my 16 week training for the Columbus marathon.
The schedule I am following is from the Furman Institute of Running and is the FIRST to the Finish program.

The workouts are not ideal for the faint-hearted. Running pace is the crucial component that make up this program. The workout pace times are all calculated on your current best 5K race. There are 3 key run workouts which include: track intervals, track tempo runs, and the long run. The other three days of the week are for cross training, which for me is swimming and biking. A well deserved rest day for me has been on Mondays.

I am not sure what the hardest workout on the schedule is because some days I run on pace and some days I fall off pace. The falling off pace could have something to do with the hot & humid weather, we've had this summer, playing a mental and physical drain on me. As the days get cooler I hope to finish this training schedule in great shape and ready to tackle the marathon.

My cross training workouts are similar in intensity as in running. I bike 3 days a week with hill repeats, tempo or intervals, and the long ride. I swim 3 days a week with intervals in the pool and long open water steady swims.

I will be running my third 20 miler this Saturday. Nice to be half way there. It should be down hill from here.

Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes to my son serving in Iraq.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


On Saturday, I ran 18 miles in 2:10:34. It rained on and off but the last 3 miles, which is pretty much up hill, was in a torrential down pour. The rain was refreshing to run in.
On Sunday, we drove to Baltimore early in the morning to spend time with my son and to wish him Godspeed on his 3rd tour duty to Iraq. Again, we are hoping and praying for a safe journey and to return home soon.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Why wear shoes?

Here is a little movie clip from NIKE advertising the Free running shoe but 95% of the movie shows people performing athletic events without shoes. If so many people are doing things barefoot why would they or any one else need to spend $75.00 on shoes they can do without? Just run barefoot. But, if anyone uses these pups let me know what you think of them.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Greater Cleveland Triathlon

I had some concern for today's sprint distance triathlon. I wondered if my legs would be tired or sore from running yesterday's 13 miler at a 6:44 per mile pace. Normally, I would take the day before a race off but since I'm in the middle of training for the Columbus marathon I didn't want to miss a quality long run, so I ran it. I am glad to say my legs were not complaining in today's race.
The swim was in perfect 74 degree calm waters. I felt like I swam so fast and smooth that I should have past everyone, not. I probably had the slowest time but I felt good anyway.
I had no time to sit around and fiddle and fumble with things in transition. I threw my goggles and cap into my bag, put on sunglasses, helmet and race belt with race bib turn around my back. I ran while pushing my bike to the bike mounting line and hopped on with my feet on top of my already clipped in bike shoes. The trick was to get my feet into the shoes before I had to climb out of the park which was a few hundred feet ahead. My feet made it in before I began to climb up the hill. After about 4 miles into the ride I squeezed a gel into my mouth and washed it down with water. I felt like my legs were flying on the bike. I passed so many people that were not in my age group and I wondered where were all the people in my age group. Only one 55 year played cat and mouse with me. Maybe because his bike cost more than mine he got away from me. I made sure my feet were out of my shoes and on top of them before we had to go back down the hill into the park.
The second transition was even faster. All I had to do was toss my helmet into my bag and slip my already tied running shoes on and go. I heard lots of good cheering from club members at the start of the run but the greatest cheering came from fellow CTC, track buddy, and blogger Elizabeth. Thanks Elizabeth, I don't know anyone that can out do you as a cheering and encouraging fan. I think that's why the first mile flew by. Again, I was looking for all the people in my age group, that did laps around me in the water, as I passed so many people on the run including overall 1st place female (YES!!)
Just to let you know I don't think I'm a meanie. I try to always give my best wishes and congratulations (probably more to the ladies) to all those that I pass. The people I pass become my strength.
I couldn't stick around for the award ceremony but I did notice on the preliminary results posting that I placed 10th overall and 3 rd in my age group. I guess since those 2 other guys got out of the water 5 minutes before me I didn't have a chance to catch them on the 15 mile bike ride or on the 5 K run. That's okay, I was happy my legs held out for a great triathlon race today!
Final results from the Race. The officials adjusted the times for people stopped by a train crossing. I went from 10th to 13th place and got beat by 1 woman, but still held 3rd place in my age group.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Grandson's first multisport event!

The start of the 8 year old boys and girls. Jeremiah, has the green goggles on.
Jeremiah, waiting for the sound of the horn to start. The other kids took off after they heard ready, set...
Jeremiah, had the fastest transition time of 24 seconds. Most kids were around a minute and half. We practiced transitions last night and it definitely paid off. This was suppose to be a kids triathlon but the bike portion got cut because of the park roads were closed due to flood water damage.
Coming into the finish area.

Watching other kids coming in for the finish. Jeremiah, had a great time and is looking forward to next years race. His sister who watched the whole thing thought she would like to do it next year. My son on the other hand is waiting for a relay race so that he can run and not have to swim or bike.

Hand stands in the water for fun!
Jeremiah finished 17th out of 32 total boys and girls in the 7 to 10 year olds. Oh, and five girls beat him. Final results can be view here

I ended up running my scheduled 13 mile run today even though I'll be racing a sprint triathlon tomorrow. I felt it more important to run than to skip it because of the race. I was able to run it at a 6:44 per mile pace and finished it in 1:27:38.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Umm, Smooothieees!

Today's power smoothie drink was:
about 1 cup (I don't measure) skim milk (we were out of soy milk),
about 1/4 cup Stonyfield Farm fat free french vanilla yogurt,
6 ice cubes,
6 frozen strawberries,
2 tablespoons whey protein powder,
about 1/2 cup cooked oats.
Put it all in a blender and mix for about 2 minutes.

I had this around 6:30 am with my son for our "morning ritual breakfast time". If I don't wake him for breakfast I get the long face from him. We have breakfast together but when he is done he goes back to bed. Normally, we eat some healthy cereal, plus I eat my "gotta have a banana" but I find I get hungry around 9:00 am. When we do smoothies my hunger is curved until 10 or 10:30 am.

Have a great weekend!

My grandson is doing his first triathlon this Saturday and I'll do one Sunday.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A few Demotivators.

Friend: Papa Louie, how did your race go for you today?

Papa Louie: It went well, only 1 woman beat me. And she trains full time. So, what I can expect? I do have to admit when a woman beats me in a race it's a great motivator for me to race harder the next time so she doesn't beat me. Persistence will pay off, eventually. I hope.

I will not succumb to defeat all the time. I am a winner! I guess we need to keep telling ourselves this because one day victory will come to us! I hope.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

2nd 20 miler in the bank!

Today, I ran my second 20 mile training run for the Columbus Marathon. I began to run with my new Fuel Belt, that was graciously giving to me from fellow CTC member, DaisyDuc, but found the belt too loose around my waist and it had so much bounce and jiggle that I felt funny holding my jugs, so I handed it off to my wife as she drove past me in the car, while on her way to meet me at the 2.5 mile mark.

A comparison of the 2 runs.
The course was the same for both runs.
1st RUN:
Start - 2 weeks ago at 7:00 am
Weather - light rain, 65 degrees
Company - Brian
Fuel - water from fountains on the trail and 2 packs of gel.
Pace - 7:12 per mile average
Finish Time - 2:24:01

2nd RUN:
Start - 8:00 am
Weather - sunny, 78 degrees
Company - "she who must not be named", (my lovely wife) on her mountain bike, keeping pace with me for 15 miles. She met me at the 2.5 mile point which was past the 2 major hills.
Fuel - plenty of water, no gels
Pace - 7:28 per mile average
Finish Time - 2:29:25

I think my pace suffered today because it was a hotter day and no gels to eat. I have 3 more 20 mile runs to get acclimatized to the heat and figure out the nutrition aspect of running long before the race. I think I'll learn something along the way.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

No beating the HEAT! Yet.

No matter how long one has been running, no one can beat the heat when it comes to running in projected times and pace. I am learning this lesson even after 20 years of running.
Today's workout was a track run of 2 x 1200 meters and 4 x 800 meters with 2 minutes of rest between the all the sets.
I knew the temperatures would be rising throughout the day so I decided to take an early lunch break around 10 am and run to the track. Before I took off running I squeezed a jelly pack (raspberry Hammer Gel) in my mouth and washed it down with some water. After running for about a mile and half to the track I was dripping with sweat and feeling the heat.
The splits times were as follows:
Scheduled: Actual:
2 x 1200m @ 3:56 (1) 1200m 4:03
(2) 1200m 4:12

4 x 800m @ 2:31 (1) 800m 2:53
(2) 800m 2:53
(3) 800m 3:02
(4) 800m 2:57
As you can see the actual times do not match the scheduled times. After the first 800 I felt like bagging the workout and just run for an easy 6 miles. But, as it has been said, "If you want to run fast you've got to train fast," and even in various conditions like the scorching heat we had today.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

More Maine Pics

These pictures are from Acadia National Park where we spent 2 days hiking and swimming at variouses places in the park. As you can see from the pictures the place is beautiful.
We had so much fun that my diet and training was put on hold while on vacation. We feasted and we played.
Now I have to see how I hold up in this heat on the track today. The heat index is supposed to be 110 today.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Friday Maine Pics

Here are some pictures from our Maine trip on Friday at Reed State Park Beach, Maine

The grandpups braving the 58 degree ocean while PapaLouie checks out a shell

Fleeing from a Tsunami

The making of our beach abode

We're going to Acadia National Park Saturday morning.
I should have more pictures posted Sunday night.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Maine weekend

Papa Louie will drive up to Maine this weekend to bring home his grandkids that were visiting their dad. Before they return to Cleveland on Monday they will visit Acadia National Park for some site seeing and hiking. He will also try to squeeze in an 18 mile run and find a beach to do some open water swimming this weekend.
Updates to follow.
Everyone else have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Track then Swim

TSICK (pronounced like the onomatopoeia word tsk) is defined as T for a Track workout, S for a Swim workout, and ICK is the feeling you get while working out on the track in sunny, 80 degrees, and 80 percent humidity.
The track workout began with a 2 mile warm up at a 7:40 per mile pace. The heart of the workout was a 3 x 1 mile repeat with only 1 minute rest between each mile. Each mile was run at a 5:40 per mile pace. The track workout concluded with an easy 1 mile cool down run to the pool for a 20 minute swim.
The "ick" feeling was during the run portion and the "ah" feeling was the relief enjoyed while in the pool.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Monumental 20 miler!

I would have to admit a few days before running my first 20 miler in over 11 years I had some doubt and fear of accomplishing such a run. According to my training schedule this was to be my first of five 20 miler runs and was to be run at a 7:30 pace. It's scary when you think of the distance and the pace. But, thanks to Brian, who emailed me earlier in the week, asked to run the 20 miler with me. The thought became less daunting because I realized that I would have someone to run with. He is also using the same training schedule to train for this coming October Columbus Marathon race.
This morning's temperature was 65 degrees and a light rain was falling down. Brian arrived at my house at 7:00 am. We started our run by heading down to the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area onto the towpath trail.
Brian wore a Fuel Belt for his water and gel needs. I had 2 packets of gel on the waist band of my shorts. We stopped at the 6 mile marker for water and gel. We made it to the 10 mile turnaround in 1:11:31 which was about 3:29 faster than scheduled but it was mostly down hill and I think we were comfortable with the pace. On the return we had a couple other pit stops and managed to run the split in 1:12:30 for a total time of 2:24:01, which is a 7:12 per mile pace. Overall I felt pretty good. I think with the near ideal weather, water and gel supply, and good company the run afforded us a good confidence builder and a setup for continuing the remainder four 20 milers.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Buckeye Lake Triathlon

As many of you who are from the mid west area know that it was one blazing, sizzling, scorching, hot, hazy, and humid weekend. My saving elements from these weather conditions during the International Distance Triathlon were: my water bottle, 3 gel packs, and lots of ice cold cups of water.

Race morning I was up at 5:30 am from a sleepless night of camping at a party happening KOA camp site. It was a camper trailer weekend with special guest Chubby Checker. I didn't take the time to find him rather I went to Olive Garden to enjoy a whole wheat pasta spaghetti meal. For breakfast I had a banana, Cliff Bar, and some orange juice. I drank sips of water up to the start of the swim portion of the race. About a half hour before the start of the swim I slurped down a gel pack and chased it down with more water.

The Swim I thought went well. I did not have much problems navigating the 2 lap swim course and my effort felt like I was working hard but under control. I even felt my bilateral breathing was going well and that I was maintaining concentration on form and technique. It wasn't until I saw the race results that I noticed that my swim sucks. I finished 61 out of 75 finishers. Maybe one of these days I might learn how to swim.

On the Bike I started with a gel pack and washed it down with some water. During the ride I would drink 2 sips of water from my water bottle every 10 to 15 minutes. At the closing miles of the ride I squeezed my last gel into my mouth with the last few sips of water. My bike rank was 19 out of 75. The bike course was a beautiful rolling ride through farm country.

For the Run I enjoyed the 2 water stops where the volunteers were handing out ice cold cups of water. I was glad to hear them say, take as much as you need, because I gulped 2 cups and poured 2 on my head. I thanked them and ran on. My run rank was 5 out of 75. The run course was an out and back with lots of shady areas.

In conclusion, I had a great race probably because I was well nourished and hydrated. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise, a triathlon race does indeed start with the swim. I feel like I have so much catching up to do during the rest of the race but I guess that is what makes the sport so much fun.

To view my 14th overall place view the Buckeye Lake Triathlon Results web page.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Swimming at the beach!

Today I had the chance to swim at Edgewater State Park Beach during lunch time. The water quality was good, and a water temperature of 74 degrees. Life guards were on duty both on the beach and out in the water floating around on a surf board. I told a life guard that I would be swimming back and forth across the beach by the buoys. It felt great swimming in fresh water and not in a chlorinated pool. I am hoping to hit the beach once or twice a week and if anyone wants to meet me for a lunch swim let me know.

Iron Yoga Review:
Anthony Carillo a nationally ranked triathlete guides you through a 60 minute strength training power yoga workout. The workout combines the use of light dumbbells (1-5lbs) with traditional yoga exercises. Since yoga is new to me I first watched the DVD before I followed along doing the exercises. When I did follow along using 5lbs dumbbells there was no way I could perform some of the exercises trying to focus on proper technique and balance. To complete the workout I ditched the dumbbells and even then had to modify some of the exercises from advanced to intermediate to beginner. This is good! I can see if I continue to use this DVD there will be improvement in my overall balance and strength.

Saturday I drive down to the Columbus area for the Buckeye Lake State Park Triathlon on Sunday morning. I will participate in my first and only International distance (1.5 K swim, 40K Bike, 10K Run) this year. I am looking forward to having fun.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Hot and Sunny on the Track!

It was brutal on the track today. The hot sun spanked my butt. I wore sun glasses, and a mesh cap. I brought a bottle of water with me too. I started out with a 1 mile easy warm up at 8:05 and then attempted to run 5 miles at a 6:22 per mile pace.

1st mile flew by in 6:18.

2nd mile I went on feel and did not look at my watch for each lap and did it in 6:40. I thought that's what I get for not paying attention to my pace.

3rd mile was pushed for a 6:08. After the 3rd mile I realized I'm running all over the place and the heat began to take a toll on me and I was feeling nauseous.

4th mile was done in 6:24.

5th mile was a dismal 6:37.

I finished the 7th mile in 8:03. I went home, showered, ate, and crashed for an hour while reading Marathon from Hal Higdon. I'm feeling better now. I need more adjusting for hot weather running.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Home Run!

It is good to be back home from 2 weeks in Alaska followed by a 1 week family reunion vacation in Deer Creek State park, Ohio. The 3 weeks flew by and on most days I couldn't tell you what day it was. I managed to get in some decent training and it paid off on today's 15 mile long run. Today's weather was a hot 81 degrees and 55% humidity. I took off running from my home without any water hoping to find some along the route. By the time I made the turnaround to head back home there was no water to be had. I knew I needed water but my head was still clear and I wasn't hallucinating so I was hoping to survive the last 6.5 miles back home safely. To top off the run there is a 6 to 7 percent incline of 2 miles to the finish. Thinking of the ice cold water in the fridge kept me going to the finish. I managed to keep a steady pace of a 7:04 per mile to finish in 1:46:07. And I know I am tempting the running gods when it comes to hydrating on the long run. I don't think the Greek legend Phidippides wore a fuel belt or had much water on his long run. It was only after running 300 plus miles did he collapse and died. I promise I won't go that far. I'm working on fixing my water supply for my next long run.

More Alaska pictures:

Our ship the Zuiderdam at port in Juneau, Alaska

Cruising in the Tracy Arm near Jeneau

Exploring Mendenhall Glacier

Bus tour in Denali

My favorite picture in the Chugach mountains outside Anchorage.

Friday, June 30, 2006


I think we got what we wanted to see and experience in Alaska and more. I would have to say that my wife and I were one of the young couples on the cruise ship and tour. We began with a 3 day cruise ship from Vancouver to Juneau Alaska. On one of the mornings while on ship most of the people woke up to being sea sick including my wife who had scheduled a yoga class that morning but had to cancel. I had fun with a 40 minute spinning class followed with 5 miles on the treadmill. The treadmill run was the most difficult run I ever experienced. It was like running on a roller coaster ride. The food on board was exceptional along with the service.
The land tour of 7 days was a jam packed whirl wind site seeing of the Yukon Territory and Alaska. We traveled by train, motor coach bus, and boat to follow the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. We visited many historical towns and learned about how a romantic life was like to live in the wilderness at that time.

We also did a lot of walking and hiking up mountains.

This was a hike to the Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska.

Under a glacier!

Smallest desert in the mountains.

Alaska is calling all those who love the true wilderness and want to experience the last frontier. Don't wait until you retire. You need all your young strength to enjoy the vastness of Alaska.
I wanted to add more pictures but Blogger would not accept more pictures. We are off for a family reunion during the 4th of July week at Deer Creek State Park, Mt. Sterling, Ohio. Anyone want to come visit me for a bike ride along the Deer Creek Triathlon course or swim in the lake can email me for more info. I'll bike Wednesday & Friday. I'll run Tuesday & Thursday. And I'll swim just about every day.