Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Something to remember.

This poem is a good reminder of not missing an opportunity to be thankful for our family and friends and to express our love in any way we can as long it is called "today".

Around the Corner by: Henson Towne, Source Unknown
Around the corner I have a friend
In this great city that has no end,
Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone
And I never see my old friends face,
For life is a swift and terrible race,
She knows I like her just as well
As in the days when I rang her bell,
And she rang mine.
We were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men.
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.
"Tomorrow" I say "I will call on Jane"
"Just to show that I'm thinking of her"
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
And distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corner! -yet miles away,
"Here's a telegram sir-"
"Jane died today."
And that's what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.
If you love someone, tell them.
Remember always to say "what you mean".
Never be afraid to express yourself.
Take this opportunity to tell someone what they mean to you.
Seize the day and have no regrets.
Most importantly, stay close to your friends and family,
They have helped to make you the person you are today,
What it's all about anyway.

I am in the 6th week of my off-season cycling and core workout program and am pleased with my results so far. I've been spinning on the trainer and have gotten my cadence up to 130+ rpms for a typical 6-8 x 20 second intervals. I have never worked at such high rpms before and I'm enjoying the progress.

The core workouts are mainly focused on bike specific exercises and after 6 weeks I feel the difference. I am able to keep up with Graeme as I follow along on the DVDs. And I have to admit a 6 pack is beginning to take shape.

Six more weeks to go and I'll be ready to start planing for my 2008 training and racing schedule.

Enjoy life!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday tunes

In between enjoying time with my family and friends I will try and get some running in, including a run with my local running club and triathlon club, maybe some outdoor biking, and my favorite core workouts with Cyclo-Core.

Enjoy the Holidays with some seasonal sounds - (be sure to click on this link)
Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Drills, Drills, Drills

I never could figure out why would I waste my time doing drills for swimming, biking, or running when I could be using my time for the "real" workout at hand. Well, this off season I've finally began to incorporate drills into all my workouts and my have my eyes been opened.

Favorite Swim Drills include:
"Single Arm" Is freestyle using one arm at a time. The non-stroking arm is held loosely by your side. I think this will help to even out and strengthen my total arm strokes while swimming normal.

"Push and Glide" Is freestyle swim, pausing at the end of every stroke with arms out-stretched, one held out front, the other held loosely against the body. This reminds of pushing and gliding while ice skating. I feel relaxed and surprised at the ease of gliding through the water and how it takes me less strokes to make it to the end of the pool.

Favorite Bike Drills on the trainer include:
"Runners", while pedaling, you stand up to an upright position WITHOUT holding onto the handle bars. I do this for 15-30 seconds and then return to seat for easy pedaling before I try it again. This drill is not easy but it does challenge my balance and coordination while strengthening my core.

"Single Leg Pedaling", with the chain in a big gear I alternate left and right legs of spinning for 30 to 60 seconds. I like this drill because when the workout calls for fast spinning I can manage the high cadence drills a lot easier.

With "Super Spins", I spin my legs as fast as possible without my butt bouncing in the saddle. The reps last 15-30 seconds long and I can get up to about 135 rpm before my butt bounces all over the saddle.

Favorite Running Drills at the track include:
"Skipping". As a kid, this was easy but doing them as an adult I realize skipping requires strength and coordination. To get a good warm-up before running fast intervals or repeats I would skip around the track in good form with high knees and a relaxed arm swing.

"Running Backwards". I like this because I get to use different leg muscles that don't get used during normal running. If I can run one time around the track while staying in my lane I am happy.

These are just some of the drills I began to work on for the past month. With all these drills, as I do them I realize that I have to focus on what I am trying to accomplish in order to have proper form. Doing drills have kept my off-season training fun, interesting and fresh. And who knows it might even help to improve my swimming, biking, and running.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Off-Season stuff & Quote of the Day

If you have 3 and a half minutes to watch this video it will give you an idea how my Off-Season training began.

I am in my 3rd week of a 12 week Off-Season program from Cyclo-Core and have progressed beyond what these kids are complaining about. I am able to keep up with Graeme as he does the routines and as a result I'm feeling stronger.

I just found out that Graeme is offering a new Off-Season/Pre-Season Triathlon training workout routine and am looking forward to using it in my up coming Triathlon Pre-Season training.

My little quote for today is:
“If you have people around who are telling you that, ‘Oh you’re too old to do this or that,’ get away from them. Age is an attitude. In endurance sports, you get better as you get older.” Lorraine Moller, Olympic Marathon Medalist

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cleveland Turkey Trot

The weather wasn't in our favor but I felt good on this Thanksgiving morning while running the Cleveland Turkey Trot. We had rain, strong winds, and cold temperatures to help make for a miserable morning. But, after running through the first mile in 5:31, my mind was set on running this 5 mile race as hard as I could, despite the adverse conditions.

I felt strong and confident in maintaining a sub 6 minute per mile pace. And to help boost my confidence I was able to run with the lead woman from the early miles of the race. We traded places to help protect one another from the strong winds at times until it was time to kick it in to the finish.

To see if I was able to nip the win from Allison, who probably is a track or cross country star, to the finish see the results page. I finished first in the male 45-49 division.

One thing I noticed about myself during the race was that I was so focused that I couldn't say, no thank you, to the volunteers handing out water at the aid stations. I didn't have the extra energy to say anything. I did shake Allison's hand and congratulated her at the finish. I also thanked the volunteers in the finishing area.

Some stats:
* Breakfast - about 2.5 hours before the race - Oatmeal cereal with soy milk, banana, and apple sauce.
* Time leading up to the start I drank about 24 ounces of HEED sports drink and 15 minutes before the start I had a PowerBar Gel.
* Ran about 1.5 miles easy jog for warm up before the start including 3 x 100 yard stride outs.
* First place age group finish was good for a 15 dollar gift certificate to Malley's Chocolates.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Start of my Official Triathlon Off-Season training

Today is the start of my 12 week core and indoor bike trainer workout for the off season. I will use the INTERMEDIATE 12 Week Training SYSTEM from Cyclo-Core.

Graeme Street, owner of Cyclo-Core guarantees results or I get my money back. I don't think I'll be asking for my money back because I suspect Graeme's workouts will work if I put in some consistent time. I've been using Core and Zen on and off for over a year and the workouts haven't gotten any easier. Maybe after the 12 week program I'll not only "see" results but the workouts will become bearable.

I am hoping the workouts will make me stronger on the bike, and to improve my overall strength.

I want to complete the 12 week program before the end of February so that I can begin a 12 week running training schedule for the May 18th 2008 Cleveland Rite-Aid 10K. I have unfinished business with that race.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Features added to blog

I have added on the side bar under "More about me" two new links. My training log which you can get more details about my daily workouts, and I've added flickr photos which I will be adding more pictures to including my recent Grand Canyon trip.

I am trying to figure out why every morning I weigh 2 pounds less than the night before. I have heard that it is possible to have your metabolism burning fuel 24/7 and maybe that's what's happening to me by eating the right foods and exercising everyday.

For the past few weeks I have been checking my evening and morning weight and sure enough when I wake in the morning I find I'm 2 pounds less than the night before. I don't think it is just dehydration because I normally have a cup of decaffeinated green or white tea with my wife before we hit the hay.

Last night after we had our cup-a I asked my wife to weigh herself and then first thing in the morning. I was a heavy 146 (it's the off season) but in the morning I was 144. My wife had no weight change.

Whether my Basal Metabolic Rate is high, or I have good Thermic Effect of Food, or lots of planned or unplanned physical activity, something is working in me to burn about 7,000 calories during the night. It takes 3,500 calories to burn off 1 pound. Wow, how this is happening blows me away.

If anyone else experiences this phenomenon let me know.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

On the trainer

Last night was the first night of my off season to ride indoors on my bike trainer. I needed some kind of inspirational workout to help chase away my indoor spinning blues. So I pulled out a DVD and rode with some of the pro cycling team in the Vegas area.

We had a beautiful ride in the Valley of Fire State Park. The DVD plays good pump up music and all I had to do was follow the prompts of when to sit, stand, increase cadence or intensity.

Now I look forward to more indoor spinning and hope to find more inspirational workout DVD's

more info about this dvd and trailer

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rim to Rim

I'm back from 3 days and 3 nights of backpacking the Grand Canyon from the north rim to the south rim. We had great weather and lots of fun.

For most of us this was our first trip from the north rim to the south rim and we were looking forward to seeing the canyon from another view rather than from the south. We did run into a little unknown scenery snag, though. It just so happened the park was performing prescribe burns along the top of the north rim forest and the smoke settled in the canyon. This limited our views of the canyon while we were going down on the first day. But, the smoke was lifting while we were hiking to our first camp site at Cottonwood and the skies were clear for the afternoon and evening.

But when we woke up the next morning our camp site was clouded with smoke and we could hear people coughing from smoke inhalation. I was not bothered by the smoke and just chalked it as a rainy day in the woods.

After breakfast we continued to hike to the Bright Angel campground at the bottom of the Canyon where we did not have any smoke problems. Our entertainment for the evening was listening to a Naturalist talk about bats and the importance of their survival for the benefit of mankind. The naturalist did a good job of educating us, but when she made a comment about, proving scientifically that bats do not have any interest to fly into your hair, she lost our attention. After the show we went to our campsite to enjoy a beautiful clear night with so many stars never to be seen while living in the big city.

The next day we hiked from the bottom up to Indian Gardens. After setting up camp we hiked out to Plateau Point to enjoy great views of the Colorado river snaking through the canyon. On our way back to camp we stopped at a water fall to enjoy a cool refreshing shower. That evening we played a card game called mow mow for the canyon championships. One of the players said, he never laughed so much while playing cards. We were having so much fun teasing and bantering one another in good spirits.

The final day out of the canyon was a 4.5 mile hike to the top. My plan was to march up as fast as I could. I wanted to set a precedence of making good time on hiking to the top from Indian Gardens. I made it to the top in 2 hours and 5 minutes. I was met near the top by my sister-in-law who gave me a banana and an apple. I very much appreciated seeing her and giving me those treats. I dropped my pack off at the van and ran back down about 1 and a quarter miles to meet my wife to take her pack and walk with her to the top.

The time in the canyon goes so fast because we see and do so much. It also helps to share the time with those you love.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Worldwide Half Marathon results.

I ran the beautiful Canal Towpath Trail from Rockside road north to Old Harvard and a loop of the Canal Way Visitor Center Loop then back to Rockside. My brother from Arizona was in town and he was on a bike to assist me with water and encouragement.
Temperatures was around 50 degrees and the skies were cloudy. We were out on the trail by 11 in the morning.

I started the run with rocking tunes on the ipod for half the run. This was my first time running a race with tunes. I decided to give it a try and found it good to listen to but then I got to a point where I needed to finish the run on my own. I wanted to focus on breathing and staying on pace for the last few miles without loud tunes influencing me otherwise. After about 8 miles I took a CLIFF shot and washed it down with water. Because it was so cool I didn't need to drink water as much as I thought I would. I only drank maybe 12 ounces for the total run. I was able to finish the run feeling like I got in a tough workout for the day.

I'd like to thank my brother for being there with me on this race and for the neat pictures he took. Congratulations to all the other runners who completed their half marathon and to those who ran the couch to 5K run.

Here is a list of some numbers from the race.
My heart rate averaged 142 BPM.
Total time for the 13.1 miles was 1:24:57.
Total Ascent 1706
Total Descent 1751

Friday, October 12, 2007

Worldwide Half Marathon on tap.

I will be running this free event to promote the joy of running and to join with over 1,000 runners world wide to run a half marathon this weekend. My training this past week was hampered by an outer ear infection that I may have gotten from too much ipod buds poking in and out of my ear. Anyway, my doctor prescribed antibiotic drops for my swelled up ear and I should be feeling good enough to run the half this Saturday.
My brother from Arizona is in town and he will assist me on his bike while I run. He'll carry the water bottles and cheer me on to help keep me on pace. Although, he said he won't make it easy for me to get the water, that I'll have to catch up to him if I want some water. Big brother's can be such a tease. We'll have fun. Good luck to anyone else running the Worldwide Half Marathon. My entry number is 866 and I'm the only one from Cleveland, Ohio.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Some running updates & things

For the month of October our Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be hosting cross country trail races every Tuesday evenings with a final race on the last Friday at 9:00pm.
I ran this past Tuesday and hope to run them all. But I will have to miss the final race because I'll be backpacking the Grand Canyon then.

The race is different from what I've ever done. We had no idea what the distance was until we registered and we were given a choice to run 3, 4.5, or 6.4 miles. And we were placed on a team based on the month of our birthday. Our race bibs, with our designated team letter, was on our backs, so that we could see the competition and our team mates to cheer on.

After the last race, awards will be given to the winning teams, my guess, based on overall time and distances. I am just running for the joy of running on the trails and getting in a good tempo run.
According to my Garmin GPS watch I ran the 6.4 miles in 41:28 for a 6:28 overall pace.
Total ascent 1445 and descent 1436.

This week I've been doing more yoga and I actually realized and experienced something while doing the various poses. I started using this new yoga podcast and I found how to use my breathing to flow with the movements and how to release tension that I hold in my jaw, shoulders, and lower back while getting deeper into each pose.

The sessions only last 20 minutes and the instructor explains the poses well. Good stuff.

I'm off to coach my son's soccer game this afternoon. I am trying to teach the kids field position and to stay in their position but they tend to run all over the field. If they can learn positions then maybe we'll win a game.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Pool Workouts

Below is my swim workout for today that I received from I am not used to such detail swim workouts let alone try to keep all the time, distance and amounts in my head without messing up the schedule. To help me swim without too much thinking I printed the workout and tape it to my water bottle and brought the bottle to pool side so that I could follow through the repeats.

Another trick to the workout was learning how to use the pool side clock. When the workout had me leave the wall on a certain time I had to figure out how to read my times and include the rest so that I would leave the wall at the specified times. I manged to figure it out and enjoyed the longer rest if I would swim fast. If I swam slow then my rest would be less. Anyway, I had fun with this workout.

Warm up:
• 4 x 50m Freestyle Swim (even pace), rest 0:15 / 50m

Build up (repeat 4 times):
• 1 x 50m Streamline Kicking, rest 0:15 / 50m
• 1 x 50m Freestyle Push & Glide, rest 0:15 / 50m

• 2 x 200m Freestyle Swim, leave on 05:40 / 200m
• 2 x 100m Freestyle Swim, leave on 02:30 / 100m
• 2 x 200m Freestyle Swim, leave on 05:40 / 200m
• 4 x 50m Freestyle Swim, leave on 01:20 / 50m

Warm down (repeat 2 times):
• 1 x 50m Freestyle Push & Glide, rest 0:15 / 50m
• 1 x 50m Freestyle Easy, rest 0:15 / 50m

Total Swim Distance: 2000 meters
Total Swim Time: 39:40

The nice thing about this program is that I can keep this effort at my current level and increase it when I am ready. I plan on taking a time trial 5 minute swim once a month to gauge my fitness level before I increase my efforts in my swim workouts.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

In transition

It's that time of the year where triathlon race season comes to an end and yet all the wonderful strength and speed I obtained from training and racing can't be given up just quit yet. I am not ready to put away the swim suit or hang up the bike or put away the running shoes. I will continue to swim, bike, run, and whatever else that relates to being active before I pursue my off season training. The "in transition" phase of training will last until mid November followed by 2 weeks of total rest. I'll then start my off season training of building up a base of swimming, biking, running, and strength training.

To help me in my swim schedule during this time I am using for some structured workouts. I am hoping to ride the roads as much as I can and to ride the new mountain bike trail near my home. My wife and I are finding great hiking trails to walk and to get us in Grand Canyon shape. The trails are also looking good to run on. We walked barefoot on the Tree Farm Trail in the valley this past weekend. The trail was soft and smooth. I am planing on running the 2.75 trail barefoot this fall. I signed up for the World Wide Half Marathon which is a free run in October. Since, I plan on running about that distance on the weekends anyway I thought I might as well sign up to make my run more memorable.

Sorry for the mishap on my blog. I registered with a new and easier to remember URL.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My first mountain bike ride

Hats off to CAMBA for collaborating with the Cleveland Metro Parks for building the first and only official mountain biking trail. I found this trail during the week when I was out on my road bike doing hill repeats at the Canal Way visitor center. And today I had the opportunity to check it out. This was my first time, since as a kid, that I rode my bike on dirt trails.
I started from my house and rode to the trail head which was a little over 4 miles from my house. I rode the short beginner loop and enjoyed the ease of the ride. I then took the intermediate loop with caution to get the feel of the difficult rolling terrain. After finishing the first loop I started my watch and rode the loop again to see how fast I could ride the loop. I rode with less stopping and walking the hills and fast enough to get my heart rate up. While maneuvering the switch backs and climbing I could feel my arms getting a good workout. I completed the 2+ mile loop in 15:03. The 15:03 is the bench mark for me to break the next time I come out and ride this fun trail.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I ran with Lance

Today's run workout was an audio download on my ipod from Carmichael Training Systems.
My run began with a 10 minute easy jog to the local college track and then 5 by 20 second stride outs. Coach Chris Carmichael explained the workout and would direct the times of when to speed up and when to jog/walk the recoveries. During coach Carmichael and Lance Armstrong's encouragements, selected music that they chose, played in the background to keep me motivated.

The main set began with a 4 minute run at tempo pace followed by 2 minute recovery jog. The intervals increased by 2 minutes up to 12 minutes yet recovery time remained at 2 minutes. The way I monitored my pace was by keeping my heart rate at 140 beats per minute. I also had my GPS watch to monitor my pace, distance, and laps.
Cool down was an easy 10 minute jog. Total workout time was 1:03:18 for 9.5 miles at a 6:40 pace.

This was a novel run with an ipod coach and soundtrack. I had fun with it and would do it again.

If you want to do the tempo interval workout click on this link to register and download the 2 free workouts.

Next week I'll run with Lance to do the speed workout.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Triathlon Season Finale

The Findlay Lake Sprint triathlon was my final race for the 2007 season. I think it was the most fun I had in doing a triathlon this year. The morning started out with thunderstorms and heavy downpours at times which lasted until 6:45 am. At that time the clouds cleared and we even saw the sun peak through before 8:00 am.

The lake was warm and calm. We started the swim on the other side of the yellow line and we swam to the yellow buoys on our right until we got to the orange buoy where we turned back to swim to shore. The weird thing about the man made lake was when you first got in you felt like you were sinking in some black miry quick sand. This black sooty stuff floated up your legs and turned the area all black. I just made sure not to swallow any water. After we swam out for about 20 feet the water was normal. I felt strong during the swim and I finished the 1/4 miles in 9:38.

As you can see from the photo, by not have much equipment to mess with in transitions both my T1 and T2's were fast. My T1 was 36 seconds. My last post about transitions helped me to focus on keeping it simple in my transitions. I racked my bike on the last rack near the bike exit. This way I didn't have to run far with my bike.
With all the rain we had the roads were wet. I was very careful to take all corners SLOW. We also had 4 rail road crossings and 1 train that I almost got caught by and two gravel patchy areas we had to ride on. I met people that flatted and slid off their bikes due to the conditions but I managed to have fun and push the pace to finish 14.6 miles in 40:56 averaging around 21 miles per hour. My T2 time was a blazing 13 seconds. Ha, Beat that.

The run was a beautiful wet and muddy undulating trail. I loved running fast on muddy trails slipping and almost falling all over the place. I finished the trail run in 20:58 with an overall time of 1:12:55 and placing 6th out of 111 and 1st in the 45-49 age group. See race results link.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bacpacking Tracy Ridge

Labor Day weekend my wife and I took my son, grandson and his cousin backpacking in the Allegheny's on a 9 mile hike of the Tracy Ridge Trail. We arrived at the trail head around 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday and began hiking around 2:45. The hike was an easy down hill and we made it to our camp site around 4:30 pm. We had plenty of time for the boys to set up the tents, play in the reservoir, and gather wood for a nice camp fire.

On Monday we had to hike 6 miles back to the car. We took our time and let the boys set the pace. The trail would lead us back down to the reservoir after about 3 miles walking and it was the perfect time for the boys to take the plunge and get refreshed. The challenge was still ahead of us because we had to hike 3 miles back up the trail to our car. The boys led the pace and we took plenty of stops along the way.

I really was impressed with the boys because this was a physical challenge that they have never done before and they enjoyed it. The closest thing to complaining was when they would ask how much time it would take us to the next trail marker.

After a great time we had backpacking the boys got to eat a big meal from the only half way decent restaurant we found in Warren PA called Perkins. These 9 year old boys had steak, buffalo chicken wraps, quesadilla's and other treats. They got in the car well feed and for most of the 4 hour ride home they slept like a log.

We plan on coming back maybe in the fall to hike more of this trail.

Triathlon Transition Movie

Follow this link to download a great movie clip on a through study of improving your transition times. It is from the author of Tri-Talk Podcast shows.

Training has been going at a relaxed pace. Our rec center at the university is open for guest to come in for free during the first 2 weeks of the start of the semester to try it out. I have been taking advantage of the spin classes, beginner and intermediate yoga classes, power abs class, and all the fancy weight machines. I thought I'd be the only male in the yoga class but found there to be a good mix of male and females taking the class. I was the only male in the power abs class but I didn't mind because those women sure know how to work those abs. Mine were sore the next day. I noticed the power sculpt class had only women in it but they looked like they were having fun with the stepper and weights. If my schedule works out this week I'll take the class and be the only guy in there.

We went backpacking over the Labor Day weekend and I will write and include pictures about our trip in a day or so.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Have some fun.

I celebrated this past week from my half ironman race by not doing any running or biking. I did get in a little 1500 meter swim in though. I am at a point in my training and racing where I've accomplished what I wanted and now I can "play" with no set schedule.

I am going to try and have some fun by mixing my workouts as much as possible like short sessions of run, bike, stepper, bike, or spin class, run, swim. The point will be not to do too many long sessions of an individual sport.

This coming fall season we are planning on backpacking in the Alleghenies and the Grand Canyon where we will hike from the north rim to the south rim. If I have any training schedule it will be to walk and hike with my wife as much as we can. I need to help her get in shape for our Grand Canyon trip at the end of October.

Any other racing for this year that looks good I'll be ready to do on the spur of the moment.

The year 2008 will be my recovery year where I will build my endurance base of swimming, biking, and running and will race at the Olympic distance triathlons before I attempt another half ironman in 2009.

I'd like to thank everyone for their kind words of compliments sent to me on finishing my first half ironman.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Great Buckeye Half Ironman.

I am happy to say I've completed my first half ironman race this past weekend.

The race was held at Caesar Creek State Park about a 3 hour drive from my home. I drove down Saturday afternoon listening to the new Harry Potter book on tape, and not knowing where I would spend the night. I first stopped at the race expo to pick up my race packet and then I drove the bike course in my car. I had a good idea of the terrain because I biked part of the course back in July but this time I was able to follow the freshly marked 28 mile loop course.

I then drove to the nearest Holiday Inn and inquired about a room but when I heard 98 dollars I said, "no thank you" and walked next door to Max & Erma's for a Tuscan Chicken pasta dinner. I enjoyed the meal and then drove across the street to a Budget Inn and got a room for 48 dollars. I think I was the only one from the race that stayed there because I didn't see any other triathletes around. I spent the evening cleaning my bike and oiling the chain. By 7 PM I was snuggled in bed reading Fantastic Voyage for about an hour before my eyes got too heavy to keep open.

For race morning I woke up at 5am to overcast clouds and comfortable temperatures. I ate a banana, a Cliff Bar, and drank a sports bottle of HEED.

The swim consisted of 2 loops in a rectangle formation. I wore my wet suit and enjoyed that little extra buoyancy which I think helped my swim time. I swam steady with some efforts while getting out of the way of some people that were swimming too close to me. I have to say I had a good 1.2 mile swim.

The bike portion was my favorite. We had overcast clouds most of the time. The course was rolling. I found myself passing all kinds of people but no one in my age group. I couldn't have finished the swim ahead of every one in my wave and I knew for sure I wasn't the last one out of the water. It turned out 3 guys did get ahead of me on the bike and the rest were behind. I rode with my bike computer displaying my average speed. My goal pace was to average 20 miles per hour which I was comfortable doing and managed to finish with an average 20.1 mph for 56 miles.

My first 2 miles of the 13.1 mile run I averaged a 6:40 pace and realized after 3 miles I was pushing the pace too hard. The sun was out and I was getting hot. I think around 4 miles my legs felt heavy and stiff as a board which reduced me to lots of walking. I was wondering if I depleted my electrolytes and by mile 6 I took a electrolyte pill and wondered if and when it would ever kick in. By mile 10 my legs felt revived and I was able to run strong the last 3 miles without any walking.

Even though this was my first half ironman triathlon I was happy to complete it in 5:07:06 I know what to expect in the run and I'll remember to take some electrolytes and to not push the pace early in the run.

A link to the race results.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What it takes.

For me to prepare to race this coming weekend in my first Half Ironman Challenge took:

A heart's desire and a life of passion.

18 weeks of: 31 hours of Swimming, 79.5 hours of Biking, and 106 hours of Running.

And many hours of Strength Training, Walking, Hiking, and Yoga.

Confidence in my training schedule and believe that I have trained enough to perform well.

Confidence in my nutrition plan for race day.

Mental exercises of simulating each event of the triathlon race.

And if something unexpected happens I'll deal with it to the best of my abilities while remaining level headed.

I believe this is what it'll take for me to have fun swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and running 13.1 miles.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Pacing for the Burning River 100

I had the honor and privilege to have run as a pacer in the Burning River 100 mile foot race this past weekend. I had no idea how much I would run of the 100 mile race. But I was to show up at the 65.7 mile aid station and just run however far I wanted to. When my runner (Dustin) came to the aid station around 9:20pm I was there and ready to run with him.

The race began 5:00am in the morning and Dustin wasn't sure how he would hold up for this run because he ran the Mohican 100 about 7 weeks before this race. He said his legs still didn't feel quite recovered from that race so he was going to run 50 miles and see how the legs felt.

I have to say when he came into the 65.7 mile aid station he looked strong. Compared to some of the other runners coming into the area he did not limp or have any noticeable pain. I was glad for him and told him that I would run with him all the way to the end.

I was so excited to be part of this race and to help pace him. I think the first 10 miles flew by and while we chatted up a storm we passed at least 10 people. When I started with him I think he was around 45th place overall. Every time we caught a runner we would say hello and encourage them to continue on strong. We were having fun.

The race course was mostly on hiking trails all through the Cuyahoga Valley. There were many miles of trails we ran on that I've never been on. Even though it was dark, while we ran into the wee hours of the night, I enjoyed the beautiful scenery. We each had head lamps on and carried flash lights so the trail was well lit enough to keep us from tripping over roots or rocks.

The volunteer support was the best. As we came to an aid station they would ask us if we needed anything, fill our water bottles, and then show us the great food they had for us to eat. They would speak encouraging words to us and wished us the best to complete the run.

Some of the things I learned from this magnitude of long running was that a runner benefits by having someone to pace with and that he needs to have a support crew. I'm sure many runners go without these but running 100 miles with a pacer and a crew makes for a more pleasant experience.

I would run behind Dustin for most of the time but I would also go up front at times leading him up some hills. I did not want to push him too much from behind or from the front because I did not want to burn him out either.

His wife was the support crew and I would communicate with her via cell phone letting her know our condition and whether we needed anything at an aid station that she would be waiting for us at. At one point after 80 some miles we were running with our bellies full and our legs moving fine we told her not to meet us at the 91.3 mile aid station but to get some rest and meet us at the finish line. I told her to get the camera ready and to take some good pictures of us sprinting to the finish with big smiles. We finished before 7:30am.

Congratulations Dustin on your 26:22:20 finish time! I am in awe of all those runners who completed the 100 mile race. This was a monumental task for me to run all through the night and to cover 35 miles with you. I will treasure the experience of running with you forever.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Let's get ready to rumble.

Now I can start my 2 week taper for the Great Buckeye Challenge Half Ironman.

I've been through 16 weeks of hard training and now I'm ready to take the challenge of my first Half Ironman race.

Today's 50 mile (2:55:49) bike ride was in the Cuyahoga Valley National Parkway. I felt quite comfortable for the ride and for the last 15 miles I was able to push the pace to average 20 miles per hour. I had no gels but only 2 water bottles filled with Hammer Heed in 1 and Hammer Perpetuem (with 1 added scoop of organic soybean powder) in the other. During the ride I had no sense or feeling of thirst or hunger. At least for today that was all the food I needed for the ride because I felt good.

Today's picture perfect moment of the ride was when I noticed in an open field sun rays shining down on an angle with the morning dew rising over some old farm equipment. I wish I had a camera to capture that moment.

Another highlight of the ride was when I passed the lead runner of the inaugural Burning River 100 mile foot race. I applauded and encouraged him and continued on my ride. It was a cool feeling to see the lead runner. He look quite strong and relaxed.

I was looking forward to seeing more ultra marathoners later in the day because I would be pacing a friend for the run. I originally signed up to volunteer to help man the 91.3 mile aid station but found that they had enough help and was encourage by the aid station coordinator to just go and help pace with my friend. My friend (Dustin) wanted me to meet him at the 65 mile aid station and to hopefully, run to the finish, depending on how I feel. His wife would be his support crew and would call me when he was about an hour from the aid station so that I would have plenty of time to make the check in and be ready to run with Dustin.

I'll report on the run in a day or two.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Sweet Corn Chellenge

Today's bike ride I did with about 2,000 other riders where we participated in the Sweet Corn Challenge in Richfield, Ohio. The bike route meandered in and out of the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley.

I signed up for the 50 mile route. The highlight of the ride was the 3 optional challenging hills. I decided before the ride that I would do all three. The first 2 were early in the ride and only a few people riding near me took the challenge. The last challenge was near the 40 mile point and I noticed no one came with me to take the hill. After climbing up the hill I realized why. It was the toughest and made the ride to extend an additional 6.5 miles. All I could say while climbing up the hill was, "this is for the half ironman race on August 19th". I enjoy those little extra efforts put forth in training to help boost my confidence needed for race day.

I used my GPS to record my ride.
My max downhill speed was 42 mph.
Total Ascent 4,757 and Total Descent 4,815.
Total ride time 3:24:34 for 56.5 miles

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Huntington Sprint Triathlon

This short and fast race was not my A race but I did manage to push myself enough to win my age group division and place 15th overall.

At the start of the swim I spotted my age group competitor and tried to stick with him for the swim but that only lasted about 20 yards. It was kind of hard to concentrate on my swim while trying to follow another swimmer. I decided to just do my swim and to give it my best effort. When I finally could touch the bottom of the lake with my hand, I stood up and began to run out of the lake and found that, "my friend" was right in front of me about 10 yards. I followed him into transition and together we were out on our bikes but he took advantage of the early down hill and put a good lead on me. I was able to keep him in view for about 3 to 4 miles but he kept putting distance on me. He made it back a little over 1 minute into transition. But then came the run...

I don't think he knew I was stalking him the whole race but I wasn't about to let him get away from me on the run. I was a man on a mission. I think I caught up to him about a mile into the run. I told him he was doing great and I ran past him. He didn't put up a fight.

At the finish area I made it a point to introduce myself to "my friend" and to congratulate him on a well run race. Nice to meet you, John. I'm sure we'll have more fun out there on another race course.

Follow this link to see the exciting finish between my 15th place and my friends' close 16th place race results.

For the cool down I ran the 3 mile course at an easy pace. I had fun chatting and encouraging the other runners to finish strong.

I have 2 weeks left of speed and focused quality workouts, and then it's 2 weeks of tapering for my first half ironman race. That'll be my A race.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fun in the sun.

We had a wonderful time with the family during our stay at the Deer Creek State Park resort. There was on average 30 of us together every day for the week. And to quote my youngest son, "I loved every minute with our family at Deer Creek".

Not only was it a perfect week of fun in the sun but the training for my half ironman was the perfect getaway place to train.

Grandma enjoying her 5 generation heritage.

My in-laws with the grand kids, including my 4 kids.

Biking on the country roads.

Swimming in Deer Creek Lake.

Saddled up to ride off into the sunset.

I now am in my final 6 weeks of training for the half ironman triathlon which is 4 weeks of speed/quality phase and then 2 weeks of taper. The schedule is not a very heavy load but it sure feels like it at the home front. My wife expresses with emotion that she is not happy with all "my time" of training and that it is all about ME. Boy, do I have to be careful when choosing the right time to take off for a 2 to 3 hour workout. I am including the family to bike along while I run my long runs, and we all have a great time.
The next 4 weeks look like I'll be swimming about 1000 meters and running 12 miles on Saturdays. On Sundays I need to bike 50 miles then go for a 20 to 30 minute run. If I can survive these next 4 weeks I'll be ready for that half ironman.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Help! I can't swim!

It's lunch time and I'm in the pool doing my laps and feeling fast and strong. I think my swimming has improved in the last 4 to 5 weeks, probably because of the added mileage I've been putting in the pool, that is, until the life guard waves me over to the first lane so that he could tell me something about my swimming style.

He tells me that when I lift my head to breathe the rest of my body does a fish tailing dance. He also points out that my right hand crosses over the center of my body and as a result I don't get a good catch of the water. He tells me between the fish tailing and improper catch I waste too much energy.

He tries to show me what to do and I think I understand what he's trying to show me but when I put it into practice I still feel like I'm fish tailing and don't quite have the proper catch.

I found on where it states: "Crossover: When your hand enters the water at the beginning of each stroke, you must ensure it doesn't cross your body's imaginary mid-line running from head to toe. Crossing over puts a tremendous amount of strain on the shoulder joint and makes your body fishtail or swing from side to side, increasing drag.
Prescription: Single-arm and catch-up drills. Exaggerate the width of your entry point. At first it may feel as though you are entering far too wide, but this is simply because relative to where you were entering, it feels wide. Video analysis is usually necessary to monitor progress.

Now I need to figure out how to do the single-arm and catch-up drills.

I've got to find a swim coach to help fix my problems.

Next week I take the family to Deer Creek State Park for a week long family reunion. I'll not only enjoy time with the family but I get to enjoy swimming in a big lake, biking country roads, and running around the park.
Everyone enjoy time with your family & friends during this 4th of July.
Life is good!

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Where have you been my sweet-hearts? I didn't realize what I've been missing until I recently found you. I have turned into a podcast junkie after having you on my runs. I can finally get caught up listening to my back logs of Phedippidations, Tri-Talk Triathlon, and Zen and the Art of Triathlon and other pod cast shows. You've made my runs more enjoyable.

And you my new Garmin Forerunner 205 how I enjoy going out on a run with no planned course but free to run anywhere I like and you will keep track of my pace, distance, and mileage. You have a boat load of other information for me to use but I'll need to learn how to utilize all the features you offer. You guys are more than welcomed to keep pace with me on my runs.

My sandals wore out and it was time for me to replace them but rather than buy new sandals I spotted these "babies" at the LL Bean store while visiting in Maine. I tried on several sizes including the velcro style and decided to buy these. I have been eyeing these vibram five fingers for about a year but didn't want to buy them online without trying them on first. I'm glad I waited. I've worn them while hiking in the woods, around the neighborhood, and even on a 2 mile run. I was surprised after running on asphalt my feet felt quite comfortable. I could see myself using these more for my short runs and even do some speed work on the track with them.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Maumee Bay Tri

What a beautiful day to do a triathlon. Today was my first triathlon race for this summer season. I raced the Maumee Bay Triathlon international distance which was a 1500 meter swim, 40K bike, and a 10K run.

The swim was in a man made lake with water temperatures warm enough for me to swim in with no wet suit. We swam 2 loops in a calm lake. It was a typical swim with slapping and bumping into each other but I managed to enjoy a steady hard pace with no problems. My swim time was 32:18. Now I need to work on breaking 30 minutes for a 1500 meter swim. It may take a year before that happens but I plan to work on it.

T1 was about throwing my swim cap and goggles into my bag, slip on a jersey with race number already pined to it, put on sun glasses, helmet, un-rack bike and run with bike. My shoes were already clipped onto the pedals. T1 time 56 seconds.

The bike ride was on country roads with no hills to climb or go down. We did have some tail winds to push me at plus 22 miles per hour average but the head winds held me at 18 miles per hour average. Bike time 1:12:02.

Before T2 I slipped my feet out from my shoes and rode with them on top of the shoes for about 200 yards to the dismount line. I hopped off and ran with my bike to the racking area and racked my bike, threw my helmet into my bag, slipped on running shoes and I began to run the 10K. T2 time 49 seconds.

The run was a flat out and back course with very little shade to cover us from the brutal, blazing sun which was wearing down the runners. I was able to average a 6:30 per mile pace but felt the heat sap my strength and energy the last 2 miles. My fluid and gel intake I felt was adequate until I came to the last drink station and was disappointed that they had no water but only Exceed. I decided against drinking Exceed but later realized I should have taken at least a sip to help me mentally make it through the last mile to the finish. Run time was 41:44.

My goal with this race was to race hard and to have fun starting my triathlon season. I was hoping to finish in under 2:30:00 and managed to finish with a time of 2:27:49. I was very please with the how the race organizers put on a top quality race and would like to thank them and all the volunteers for a great season opener for me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Miss a turn and lose a race.

Today I ran a 5 mile race representing my son on his Naval base. The race had about 30 runners toe the line. I met some of the officers who pointed out the guy that has been winning all the races on base this year.
My only concern was not to get lost while running the race. My plan was to run with the current champion and not to get lost.

At the start of the race the race director told us that there would be blue flag posts at every corner to help direct our run. I was comforted to hear there were some markers on the course and took off running in the lead from the start. Everything was going well until after the turnaround. I hit the 2.52 mile turnaround in 14:47. I drank some water and headed back the way I came. Running back I passed the 2nd place guy who was maybe a minute behind.

At the 3 mile marker I noticed my new Garmin 205 was stopped. I apparently hit the stop button at the turnaround instead of the lap button.

I continued to push the pace knowing that I'd be done in less than 12 minutes. I like to think of how much time I have left rather than distance. I can think of suffering through a certain amount of time much easier than toughing it out through mile after mile.

Following the blue markers along the run course was easy enough except when it came for the last turn to the finish. I missed the turn and continued on before my son pulled up next to me in his car and told me which way I needed to go. I ran an additional .8 of a mile and came in 3rd overall with a time of 33:30.

As you can guess I was mad for missing the turn and not breaking the winning tape. Oh well, everyone else knew I won or would have won the race.

After more runners came in the finishing area I met more Navy officers and I had an appreciation of meeting and running with our service men serving our country.

On our way home we drove back to the point of where I missed the turn and saw the reason why I missed the turn. The blue flag marker was maybe 50 feet from the corner behind a utility box and close to a telephone pole.

I normally have time for a warm up run before a race and I would jog the last finishing miles to familiarize myself of what the finish line looks like and to visualize me crossing the finish line in style. My mistake for not warming up. I'll learn from this one.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Last fling in Maine

We are spending this week up in Maine to visit my son and his wife. This will most likely be our last trip to Maine because my son is getting new orders from the Navy for him to move to New Orleans.
During our time up here we will take a trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire for some hiking and site seeing.
I will also run a 5 mile race to represent my son's squadron on the Navy base.

Here we are climbing one of the trails in the White mountains. Beautiful scenery! If I ever come back here it would be to run the annual foot race or the bike race they have going up Mount Washington.

My little backpack. He thought it would be good training to hike up the mountain with a 54 pound sack on my back. I wasn't smiling too much so I dropped the sack in no time.

No biking this week. The only run I'll do is the race on Thursday. I did manage to swim 2000 yards at the YMCA. I'm hoping to swim again early Thursday morning before the 5 mile race.

I'll be back in Ohio to start my summer season of triathlons for this weekend's triathlon in Toledo, Ohio.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Training updates

I'm in my 8th of 18 week training for the Buckeye Challenge Half Ironman. There are 4 more weeks left of base training to build up strength and endurance. During this build up phase I am focusing on not missing any of the bike rides. And up to now I have been able to keep on track by not missing any of the long rides. Although, finding the time and place to ride becomes a challenge. I have to be creative with my time and route.

I ran 20 miles this past Sunday to begin the counterpulsation tests for this week. This is part two of a test that began at the end of March. At that time I was training for the Boston marathon and had run my last 20 miler before tapering for Boston. Results from that test showed that after the 20 mile run and under normal recovery my blood levels went back to normal after 5 days. This time I ran 20 miles, only 2 minutes slower (2:26:14), and I felt little discomfort or soreness. The blood test after 2 days so far indicate a faster recovery compared to the previous test. The faster recovery is what the lab techs were expecting, due to the counterpulsation test.

The counterpulsation consists of laying flat on your back with these cuffs wrapped around each leg completely and air is force into the cuffs to compress the legs so that the blood is forced back up into the heart during the resting phase of the heart beat. The lab techs monitor the blood pressure to make sure the lower number of my blood pressure does not exceed 1.4 times higher than the upper number of my blood pressure. For example if my blood pressure is 114/80 then when the machine is pumping air, in rhythm of my heart beat, the blood pressure may read 114/114. Anyway by using this method it is supposed that muscle recovery is enhanced by 2 to 3 days. The only discomfort I have is when the cuffs compress my legs it feels like someone is constantly punching them all over. I have to lay for 1 hour for 5 days. Three more days of speedy recovery. Oh, boy!

If I had to pay for this speedy recovery I'd say no thank you. But rather they are paying me $500.00 for this fancy test. I'm a triathlete so I put up with the little discomfort and enjoy the cash.

With the $500.00 I will buy a Garmin Forerunner 205 Wrist-Mounted GPS Navigator and Personal Training Device, and a weekend backpack for my lovely wife.

I will post more test results and numbers when I complete the test.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

10K+ photo finish

From the photo, guess which one is running at a sub 6 minute mile pace to the finish line at the Cleveland Rite Aid (suppose to be 10K) race. Two guys are finishing at an 8 minute mile pace.
The problem was that I was with a group of lead runners and was directed off course early in the race and did not get back on the correct course until the 5 mile mark. I was then blowing by all kinds of runners who were trying to finish in 48 minutes for 6.2 miles. My finish time was also 48 minutes but I had to run an additional 2.7 miles.

The race directors are doing their best to resolve the error and will let us know what they will do about it on June 6th.

Here is an update from an email I received today from the Cleveland Rite Aid race director.

Dear 10K runner, We now have sent either an email or letter to every registered 10K runner asking anyone who ran off course to let us know, and emails and phone calls continue to trickle into our office. At this time we have had 78 runners contact us. To bring this to a conclusion, we are setting a deadline of June 6 for any runner who went off course to contact us.
We have spoken to USATF as well as several marathon race directors about the mishap, and we've received plenty of advice from them as well as our runners. Shortly after the June 6 deadline, we will notify you of our decisions regarding this year's race as well as changes planned for next year. Our goal is to minimize the likelihood that this can happen again. "Minimize" is key, because we have learned that Cleveland was not the first race where groups of runners went off course. We just want to make sure it doesn't happen again in Cleveland.
Thank you for your patience. For those of you who offered advice, know that we are listening. We will contact you again shortly after June 6.
Sincerely, Ralph A Staph Race Director

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Backpacking Minister Creek Hiking Trail

My wife and I were driving to Allegheny National Forest this past weekend, with three 9 year old boys in the car, and when they were acting like silly little crazy boys, we looked at each other and asked, 'and why are we doing this'? We were taking them on their first backpacking experience for the weekend. If we had our druthers we would have been doing our own little weekend getaway trip, but this time was for us to have fun with the boys.

We chose to backpack the Minister Creek Hiking Trail which is considered a family friendly hiking trial. The trail is a 7.3 mile loop. We hiked about 2 hours on Saturday from the trail head to our camp site.

I let the boys lead the pace and if they wanted to stop and pick up hiking sticks, pick up a newt, climb huge tree roots that were growing on the side of a cliff, or jump in the creek it was all up to them and about having fun. I also wanted to teach them some backpacking skills. The first skill I wanted to show them was how to use a water purifier to pump out water from the creek. The only problem was I forgot to bring the filter cartridge. oops. The lesson learned was you almost always forget something on a backpacking trip. We had enough water for Saturday and for Sunday's breakfast but then we had to divided the remaining water among us for the hike out on Sunday. We only had about 4 ounces each with about 3 hours left to hike. I knew we would have to do something to survive the hike. Another lesson I taught them was to be friendly with other hikers especially if you notice a family out backpacking. We did find a father and his son at a camp site and we began to talk with them. We mentioned our water dilemma to them and they were more than willing to let us use their water pump so that we could fill up our water bottles. We were all elated that we had water to enjoy from the mountain stream. And the boys got to see how to purify water from the stream.

We were able to finish the hike with plenty of water and time to enjoy the scenery and the boys got one last time to jump in the stream to cool off and have some fun.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Letter from Race Director.

I received this email this morning from the race director.

Thank you very much for responding to our email. Let us tell you what we know so far, and what we are doing.
We have heard from about 65 runners who went off course, and many have different reasons for taking a wrong turn. We know that elite runners were led off course by the lead vehicle, and it looks like it snowballed from there. Those in sight of the elite runners followed, and then well-meaning bystanders, volunteers and police misdirected others. We learned of the problem from a race official as it happened, and we were able to get it corrected as quickly as possible. This is no excuse, and we sincerely apologize.
We are talking to USATF, the governing body of road racing, to help us determine the correct course of action. This may take a few days, so please be patient with us. We will do what is right, and we will make whatever changes are necessary to ensure that this never happens again. Under consideration already are a course change and greater separation in the start time between the marathon and 10K.
We appreciate your comments - even the harshest and most critical. We are listening, and we will make changes to make our race better for you, our runners. Many of the people who put this race together are runners, too, so please know that we feel your pain and we care.
Again, thank for responding and sharing your experience with us. We will be back in touch with you as soon as we have a decision about the best course of action we can take.

Ralph A Staph Race Director

I'll post any new information I get from the race director as soon I get them.

I guess the Marathon director is receiving all kinds of complaints from not only the 10K runners but also the marathoners as well. Runners were directed to run on the sidewalks after 5 hours on the course and after 6 hours aid stations were gone, police support gone, and race cones gone but according to race information, quote "Official times of the 26.2-mile competitive foot race are maintained for 8 hours". People will be calling this 30th anniversary of the Cleveland Rite Aid Marathon & 10K race as the "marathon mistake on the lake" for sure.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Cleveland "not a" 10K Race report.

I have a reoccurring nightmare where I am running effortlessly with my feet hovering off the ground and I'm passing all kinds of people, but the only problem is that I don't know where I am running. I am lost. I would always wake up from my dream race experience extremely agitated and frustrated. My dream or rather my nightmare came true today.
This morning at the Cleveland Rite Aid 10k, for some unknown reason, the lead vehicle led us astray. The runners all followed the vehicle the WRONG way and some were exchanging expletives unsure of what to do anyway. I figured if we are all being led down into the flats, then no big deal, we'll all run the same distance and get our respective times at the finish. I thought lets make the best of it and continue to the finish. The 2 mile marker was the last one we saw until we were directed back onto the original course at the five mile maker.
Between the 2 and 5 mile maker we had, no crowd support, no aid stations, and no police support. And we managed to run probably an additional 2 + miles. Sometime during the race the officials realized the error and made the correction and had the rest of the runners diverted back onto the correct course. But the damage was done and some of the runners were so mad that they didn't finish. My focus was to continue to run tough and stay with one of the lead Kenyan women (Leah Kiprono) who was running a sub 6 minute mile pace. But while I was chasing her, people driving in their cars were beeping and yelling at us to get off the road. They were probably wondering why this old white man was chasing a young pretty black girl. I wasn't going to hurt her. really. She was my inspiration to the finish. Her stride was poetry in motion. I thanked her and shook her hand at the finish for a run well done. I did manage to finish ahead of Leah by 17 seconds. I was happy.
I emailed the race director to let him know how upset I was and requested a refund. We'll see what they say.
If anyone ran the misdirected 10K run and was wearing a GPS and knows the correct distance please let me know. I think my next watch will be a Garmin 205. Anyone have one on sale?

Friday, May 11, 2007

What's your style?

We all have our own unique style of running. Some runners glide effortlessly across the ground as poetry in motion and others move in a suffering waddling way. Over the years of running I am amused that I can spot someone running in my direction, who may be several hundred yards away, by their particular movements as a male or female, a friend, or someone else I recognize.

I have heard of different methods of running by using the Pose or ChiRunning methods. I have tried some of the techniques they teach but eventually I revert back to my particular way of running where I feel comfortable with. Maybe if there were some mechanical issues with my legs and I incurred injuries regularly then I would have to learn some new form of running. But thankfully, I have been injury free for the past 21 years and I think I can run fast so there is no need for me to change my running style. Though, I do enjoy reading and learning about things I can do to improve my running I sometimes give them a try. I realize there is always room for improvement when it comes to running. Knowledge and experience come to a runner over the years of training and racing which is why we keep running.

If I did change my running form then you might not recognize me when we cross each other on the trails. I want you to remember me by my style. See you out on the roads.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Vo2 Max & Fitness test

A definition of cardiovascular fitness can be explained as the ability of the heart, lungs and circulatory system to supply oxygen and nutrients to working muscles efficiently, and allows activities that involve large muscle groups (walking, running, swimming, biking, etc.) to be performed over long periods of time. From a health standpoint, cardiovascular or aerobic fitness is generally considered to be the most important of the fitness components.

I had the opportunity to get a fitness test and my maximum oxygen consumption (Max VO2) measured last Friday at the Human Performance lab here at CSU. A fitness test along with a Max VO2 test is part of the fitness for life class that students take at the end of the semester.
My fitness test results included the measurements of:
**Blood Chemistry's - Total Cholesterol -203 mg/dl, HDL - 65 mg/dl, LDL - 120 mg/dl, Triglycerides - 86 mg/dl, and Glucose - 95mg/dl,
**Muscular Strength Assessment - Grip (L) 53 kg, and Grip (R) 49 kg
**Flexibility Assessment - Sit & Reach - 9.3 in
**Body Composition - Body weight 144lbs, Lean Body Mass 134.5 lbs, Fat Mass 9.5 lbs, Basal Metabolic Rate 1915, Body fat percentage 6.6%.
My Body Age is 39 compared to my chronological age of 47. I finally caught up with my father who still claims to be 39. Now I can say, 'I'm turdee-nine too (said with a Hungarian accent).

The Max VO2 test was performed on a treadmill. I started with a warm-up run at a 7:30 pace for 10 minutes and the incline set to zero. After the warm-up a head piece with a mouth piece connected to hoses and a nose clip were put on and I was hooked up to the machine to begin the test. The test began with me running at the 7:30 pace and the incline increased to 3 percent every 3 minutes. I hit my max of 60.8 ml/kg-min ten minutes into the test and the incline was set to 9 percent. At eleven minutes the effort began to wane and my VO2 went down to 58.6 which meant I wouldn't get any better than 60.8 and the test was completed. I think I might have done better if the nose clip didn't keep flying off my sweaty nose and the head piece would have stayed on better. I was a bit distracted with those issues and lost my concentration to push it a little harder. Overall I was please with the results which indicated my cardiovascular fitness to be in the 99th percentile and the Elite classification.

I have been in the program for the past 6 years and have been tested every year. I find it interesting to review the results and compare it with pervious years.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Weekend get away.

Friday evening, I took the family, including the grand kids, out for a weekend getaway at a church retreat home to enjoy some rest and relaxation. We stayed in a log cabin home with 6 other couples. The home is located in a rural area of Ashland, Ohio.

Saturday I got up early, but not early enough to watch the sunrise, to run 8 miles. I had mapped out an 8 mile loop on country roads. The skies were overcast and the temps were around 50 degrees. The route was fairly flat and the only encounters I had that morning was 1 car, 1 horse & buggy, and 1 loose dog to chase me. I love running, or riding, on country roads and not have a car or dog scare me off the road. A dog, I can yell at to, 'go home', but a car is too big for me to mess with.

Sunday afternoon the weather was beautiful with lots of sunshine which was perfect for a bike ride. I was able to get out and ride an easy 30 miles.

I'm enjoying the easy pace and efforts of running and biking during the build up phase of my half irnoman training. Most of my training efforts is in the 110-120 bpm heart rate range which comes out to be about 17mph on the bike and 7:45 per mile on the run.

This Friday I will participate in a Maximal Oxygen Consumption Test (VO2max) and will get some real data to help determine my correct levels of heart rate for running easy or hard.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Wasting no time.

I'd like to thank my family, friends, and including those I've never physically met here in blogger land, for all your encouraging words sent to me for running the Boston Marathon. I am motivated to train and race well, in part, because of all your kind words.

To recover from the Monday marathon on Tuesday I walked 30 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon. Wednesday was a day of rest. On Thursday I swam for an easy 1000 meters. The soreness in my legs lasted for a good 3 days and by Friday I felt no pain walking up or down the stairs. Friday was another day of total rest.

On Saturday I ran an easy 5 miles with my son along side me on his scooter. He thanked me more than once for the good time we had enjoying the park scenery while chit-chatting.

On Sunday I rode my bike outside, for the second time this year, for a nice 24 mile ride.

This week I start an 18 week training program for a Half Ironman triathlon. I will use the tri-newbies program to help keep me focused and on track for the August 19th event.

The first 12 weeks is a base build up of mileage. Weeks 13-16 consists of speed/quality workouts followed by weeks 17 and 18 to taper. If I can keep most of this schedule I should be confident and happy to compete in my first Half Ironman Triathlon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The excitement in Boston.

Weather forecasters called it, "Nasty in New England", or "Monsoon Monday", to describe the kind of day it was in the Boston area. Needless to say, the weather conditions did not favor the marathon runners. I did not want the talk of the crummy weather from the dramatized weather reports, and even from fellow runners to scare me or deter my plans of running well. Running well was what I trained for. As someone once quoted, "I bring the weather with me", and that was my motto for the weekend.

...This sculpture is a dedication to the spirit of everyone young at heart.

The crazy weather didn't hamper my fun or excitement of running the world renowned marathon. There was 20-30 mile per hour wind gusts, and downpours during the run. I remember having to tuck in behind runners when the winds would try to push us backward. And the rains were on and off in the early miles of the run. It didn't matter what the weather was doing, it was the crowds along the course who were cheering for the runners that made for all the fun of running the marathon.

The Wellesley girls got high fives from me but my family got hugs and kisses from me.

The most excitement came from the college girls of Wellesley. As we were approaching the half way point of the race you could hear the cheers and roars of the girls, even though you couldn't see them. I was awestruck by the sound. I remember looking over to another runner and was about to say something but he was plugged into his ipod. I thought how could you listen to that thing and miss the great sound of 'many waters'. The girls were all that they were promised to be, including giving out kisses to some of the runners. I gave as many high fives to as many girls I could while passing them at a 6:40 pace. But the highlight after the girls was meeting my family where I stopped to give them hugs and kisses. They were surprised I stopped to show my affection and appreciation.

I continued to run well, feeling confident of maintaining, what I thought, was a comfortable pace but something began to happen after 30 Kilometers. It may have been the cold, windy, rainy weather, or the majority down hill running, followed by hill climbs between 16 to 21 miles, whatever it was my mind was telling me I could still finish the last 12 K fast enough to come in under 3 hours. But my legs couldn't keep up with my mind. I had to find a way to survive and push to the end. The last few miles the crowds were really cheering the hurting runners on to, 'keep up the pace' and that, 'you're almost done you can do it'. You almost feel not to let the crowds down by walking because of the well wishes and encouraging words. It's OK to walk the aid stations which I did from the very beginning of the race. I just had to walk a lot slower near the end of the race and somehow get my legs moving to run to the next aid station. And then to the finish line.

I would have liked to run 13 minutes faster but so would have a lot of other people, so I will not let it bother me and remember the enjoyable time I had with my wife, son, his wife, and the crowds along the Boston marathon course.

Results can be views here by entering my bib number 3160.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Why not PR at Boston?

I believe runners are hopeful people. We hope to run and race well even when adverse conditions such as, bad weather, injuries, poor diet, or any other unplanned events try to dash our hopes of obtaining a PR. We are blessed with the gift of good health and should perform to the best of our ability. It is hope that carries us beyond pain and all adversities.

Our hope is based on:
The consistent hours of running, strength training, and cross-training.
The new physique, after shedding a few extra pounds, and having more muscle tone.
The faster times of intervals, tempos, and long runs during training.
The encouragement given to us by our family and friends, telling us, we can do it.

It is through experience that our hope is confirmed.
It is through experience we gain confidence and are determined to meet our goal of setting a PR.

I would like to wish great success to all those running the Boston Marathon with me this coming Monday.

My goal will be to break 3 hours, which will be a PR.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Week leading up to the "great BM"!

I guess it takes all kinds of roads that lead to Boston, including heavy, wet snow covered roads. I managed to run 10 miles in our winter wonderland on the all purpose trails. The trails must have had 12 inches of snow on them, which made for a great cushioned surface to run on. I had fun making fresh foot print tracks in the snow. I didn't even mind my feet getting wet and cold. Besides I was enjoying the beautiful scenery in the park.

This week workouts include:
Monday - 30 minute Power Yoga with Graeme Street's Cyclo-Zen DVD
Tuesday - Kalahari Water Park with the cub scouts. I promise not to go crazy on the slides. If I get home early I'll do some 1/4 mile repeats on the treadmill.
Wednesday - swim 1000 meters and spin on the bike for an hour.
Thursday - 3 mile run at marathon pace.
Friday - swim 1000 meters and more Yoga with Graeme
Saturday - fly me to Boston
Sunday - 2 mile run on the Boston course or on the treadmill.
Monday - Run the great Boston Marathon (BM)

If anyone wants to track me online my race bib number is 3160. Click on the link and track me on race day.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bloody stuff.

Here are the week long blood test results taken after running a 20 miler. The test was to analyze the normal recovery rate from a 20 mile run.

Blood Inflammation:
C Reactive Protein (CRP) - Used to measure muscle tissue damage.
Normal: 0–1.0 mg/dL or less than 10 mg/L (SI units)

Pre-20 mile run - .72
Post 20 mile run - .96
Day 1 - 3.49
Day 2 - 1.97
Day 3 - 1.33
Day 4 - 1.20
Day 5 - 1.16

Blood Enzymes:
Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) - Used to measure tissue damage. Also called lactic acid dehydrogenase. For adults, in most laboratories, the range can be up to approximately 200 units/L, but is usually found within 45-90 U/L.

Pre-20 mile run - 150
Post 20 mile run - 195
Day 1 - 156
Day 2 - 152
Day 3 - 152
Day 4 - 159
Day 5 - 155

Creatinine Kinase (CK) - is an enzyme found primarily in the heart and skeletal muscles, and to a lesser extent in the brain. Significant injury to any of these structures will lead to a measurable increase in CK levels. The primary damage in my case was to the skeletal muscle system.
Normal Range: Male-15-160U/L Female-15-130U/L

Pre-20 mile run - 96
Post 20 mile run - 176
Day 1 - 524
Day 2 - 263
Day 3 - 137
Day 4 - 135
Day 5 - 98

As you can see from the results it wasn't until after the 5th day that the levels went back down to the pre-20 mile run. After the 3rd day I felt no soreness in my legs yet the test results indicated I still had inflammation. The levels may have gone down sooner if I didn't swim, bike, or run during the 5 day test period. It looks like it takes 6 to 7 days before I would be fully recovered from the 20 mile run. I think this is good proof to me that the 3 weeks needed for tapering before a marathon is very important in order to perform well on race day.

I'm sure the results have more meaning but this is all I could gather for now. I'll have to wait for the professors and the graduate student to write their report on us and hope they give us a copy.

The next test will be on the effects of counterpulsation to improve recovery from a 20 mile run, will take place in early May.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Boston Taper Week 1 of 3

Every workout I do during this week will have to be repeated when I take the second half of the counterpulsation on delayed onset muscle soreness test at the end of April. With that consideration in mind I'm trying to keep the intensities of this weeks workouts to a minimum. But...

Monday I swam a steady 1000 meters in the long course pool for a nice recovery day. That was good.

Tuesday was my first 15 mile bike ride outdoors for the 2007 calendar year. What a thrill to be outside riding the bike in the park and up and down the hills.

Wednesday I did 8 x 800 repeats on the track with only 1:30 rest between repeats. I wanted to do each repeat at a comfortable 2:55 pace so that I would be able to repeat them again after Boston and the DOMS test. But then I also wanted to push the pace a little to help boost the confidence meter and I managed to average all 8 repeats at a 2:48 pace. Confidence meter went up 2 points from 6 to 8.

Today I swam 500 meters at an easy pace and then 1000 meters with hand paddles and alternating with fast/slow laps. In the evening I did 18 miles on the bike trainer with an average speed of 18.4mph.

I have been getting blood tests everyday this week and the results are showing a slow recovery from the damage done from the 20 mile run this past Sunday. I'm hoping by Friday all repair is done and I'll be able to run 13 miles this Sunday. I'll post the numbers and types of tests after I get them from the lab.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

20 mile run, Tests, now Taper for Boston!

For the last 2 weeks I was looking forward to running my final 20 miler before the Boston Marathon. I found online that a local running store was hosting a fully aided 20 mile Boston prep run and I decided to sign up and enjoy the camaraderie within the beautiful and scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
But then, earlier this week I was asked by one of the professors in the Sports Science department here at CSU to participate in a study on the effects of counterpulsation on delayed onset of muscle soreness. I guess they use this treatment on heart patients to help relieve chest pain and other symptoms of angina and to relieve the symptoms of heart failure which include trouble breathing and feeling very tired even after a small amount of effort.
The test would be in 2 parts and both require the subjects to run 20 miles at 70% of maximum heart rate. The first test would measure and compare blood test results of before and after the run and to determine the inflammation rates of soreness up to 5 days.
The second part of the test we run 20 miles under same conditions and after the run we get strapped in a bed, for about an hour, into what looks like inflatable cuff pads to compress the legs to force blood flow back up into the heart. The professor said it will feel like a good but tough message of the legs. And that he suspects the healing and soreness would be greatly reduced as compared to normal recovery time.
Today's Stats:
weight before the run 139 lbs.
after the run 135 lbs. (I need to drink more during the run)
C-Reactive Protein (is measure of inflammation in the body) before the run .72 mg/L
C-Reactive Protein after the run .96 mg/L (both results were in normal range)
Drank 24 ounces of apple cider vinegar & honey water mixture. (works better than Gatorade)
Average heart rate 130 BPM (75% max HR)
Run time 2:23:54
Urine specific gravity 1.016 UG. (after run and results in normal range)
There was other blood tests but I don't have the results yet. I'll post them later.
I won't be able to get the second treatment until after Boston. I'll recover 2-3 weeks before I run 20 and then get cuffed. Interesting test results to follow.
And now I will enjoy some rest from intense training and begin to mentally prepare for the 111th running of the Boston Marathon.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Timing my run.

Timing my 15 mile run on St. Patty's Day couldn't have been any better. The morning came with gray clouds and with snow blanketing the ground. Hoping the weather would clear up later in the morning, I choose to run some time after lunch. After lunch I drove my family downtown to watch about an hour's worth of Cleveland's St. Patrick's Day Parade. It's my youngest son's favorite day of the year so we had to see the parade and because it's his birthday.

The sun came out and dried the ground and I was ready for my run. Before we went downtown I mapped a course out of running from the parade to my home and figured it out to be 15 miles.

The route was to take me from where I work (CSU) and snake my way into the Cleveland Steel Mill area, up to the metro parks, and then up some major hills to my house.

Funny, later that early evening the skies turned gray, the winds picked up, and light snow was blowing in, but that was OK because I was out with my family enjoying my son's birthday at a Mexican restaurant. And sure glad I planned my run at the right time of the day.

Supplies on the run: 4 - 6oz. of water, 2 packets of Cliff shot gels.
Time to run 15 miles: 1:48:50 (or 7:16 pace per mile).