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.