Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Life Happenings

Well, I have to admit I haven't been inspired to keep my postings up to date. I'm not sure what it is that has kept me away from even reading my "blogs to read" buddies. My Mardi Gras Marathon training is going well. I still have a job. A wonderful family. I haven't created any new enemies lately (I don't think). Maybe I've been distracted with the latest world situations and the scary times ahead. For some reason I don't have the feeling of security that we had/have in our country and for me to think of my little athletic endeavors is insignificant to the bigger picture. I'm hoping this is all just in my head and that my worries will disappear. I should not let fear overcome my true blessings that I have today. I am so thankful for my health and strength. And the love I can share with my family and friends. I want to give myself more to those around me and to be a support to them.

Life and Blessings for a new year.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Post triathlon Racing Season

After my last and most difficult triathlon or endurance race ever, I was ready to toss my goggles, bike and running shoes out in the trash. I was totally spent on the sport of endurance and was ready do some other sport to keep me in physical shape.

Well, I am glad to say I didn't toss anything away because after a week of resting and looking back I began a training program for the Mardi Gras Marathon on Februrary 1, 2009. I am using the Hal Higdon's Advanced-II 18 week marathon training guide. I am in week 7 and I have been able to maintain a consistent schedule and meet the paces in my training.

According to the McMillanrunning.com web site my training paces were calculated on my recent 5K in August. And if training goes well I should have a sub 3 hour marathon which will be a personal best.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Deer Creek Toyota Challenge - Winds from Ike!

I'm exhausted mentally and physically! It took all my will power and physical strength to finish yesterdays gruelling race. This was the hardest triathlon race I've ever done. Even one of the top finishers said that. I'll blame it on the weather. The temperatures rose into the high 80's to low 90's. The sun brightly shining to fry any exposed skin. And then the winds were blowing. It seemed to grow stronger by the hour and we felt it.

By the time the start of my half ironman race began the calm waters had turn quite choppy. The first lap of the .6 of a mile loop seem to go well but during the 2nd lap we were swimming against the choppy waves and when you would lift your head to spot the buoys you'd get smacked in the face with the lake. As I was nearing the last set of turn buoys I noticed one was missing. I made the last turn and had the waves bring me to the swim exit. Later I heard from someone that one of the turn buoys had blown away.

I made it in and out of transition without messing around. For the bike portion we had 3 loops of an 18.65 mile route. The first loop I felt good and averaged 20 miles an hour. The 2nd loop was when I really noticed the winds picking up and that brought my average down to the 18's. The 3rd loop I had thoughts of not running the 13.1 miles. The winds were so strong that so much energy was exerted just to maintain a speed from getting blown off my bike. I heard someone did get blown off their bike.

I'm not sure what motivated me to even attempt the run other than the realization that people were out running the 6.55 mile loop 2 times. I figured I'd take it one loop at a time and see if I could survive. The winds were the most vicious across the dam. Going out over the dam was OK because we had the winds to our backs but coming back the winds put a stop to many runners. Some of us had to lean into the winds or get knocked over. After a little over 5 hours of getting whipped around from the winds I was ready to call it a day at the turnaround point. I think the mental battle was telling me to finish the last loop no matter what. As long as people were still out there, male and female, young and old, I had to go on.

I am happy to have finished and glad I didn't throw in the towel. I know if I'd quit I'd be kicking myself today. I didn't have any fueling problems or cramps but just over all exhaustion. A little rest and I'll be OK.

This week I hope not to swim, bike, or run. I don't know what kind of exercises I want to do but if I do something it'll have to be easy and different from what I normally do.

Some stats from the Race Results:
184 entered the race but only 144 finished.
I finished 74th overall - middle of the pack.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

OROC 5K Run was a rockin' n rollin'

A very good race for a very good cause! The night before the race as I lay in bed thinking how I haven't run much or had any quality runs lately and the scary feeling of how was I going to run 18 minutes for the 5K but then a thought came to me, "why don't I just run the race for the very reason the race was put on in the first place"?

From the race ad, "OROC is dedicated to creating an active community of hope and empowerment for those touched by ovarian cancer through awareness, education and early detection". I said to myself, "this is a race that I will run strong and in support of those who were touched by ovarian cancer". After I said my little prayer for those touched by ovarian cancer and of thanks and appreciation my mind was at rest and I was out like a light.

On race morning, down at the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, at the registration area I met a fellow co-worker, who was the one who told me about the race, and her son. They were volunteering for the race. We did some chit chatting and they wished me luck in the race.

I thought the course would be and easy one to run but we had hills to run up and down, head winds coming off the lake, the bright sun shining in our face and heat and humidity, all to keep the pace under control. I was able to settle in my pace after the first mile and was able to hold my overall 5th place. Along the course we had a High School marching band, a man playing the bagpipe, and 3 or 4 Rock Bands to entertain the runners and walkers.

The finish area was one big party area with food, giveaways, live music and dancing. At the awards ceremony I won first place in my age (45-49) finishing in the time of 17:44. They gave me a ribbon and a 50 dollar gift card for Dicks Sporting Goods. Yes!

It's good to remember why we do the things we do and in particular how we are here for one another. This race reminded me of just that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Roscoe Ramle the long route.

I considered this organized biking event as my "epic weekend of biking". The event was a 2 day bike tour of a 110 or 150 mile route to choose from. I chose the 150 mile route because I planned on putting in good effort on both days as part of my training for my half ironman triathlon in September. You couldn't ask for better weather. The sun shone both days with temperatures in the mid 70's.

Saturdays ride started at Northwest High School, between Clinton and Canal Fulton. We made our way south to Coshocton and camped at Lake Park campgrounds. I saw more Amish buggies on the roads Saturday then I ever saw in one day. I got to race buggies up and down the hills of Amish country and even passed a few of them too. Some of the roads were pretty beat up from the wear and tear of those horse and buggies. Lunch was hosted by an Amish family farm and it was the best. They have been hosting lunch for a number of years for the Ramblers. We had garden fresh fruits and veggies, baked goodies, various cheeses and trail bologna and turkey ham sandwiches. Saturdays ride totals were 78.39 miles in 4:51:37. Max speed 40.1 mph and average speed was 16.1 mph. After the ride the only thing I needed more than a good meal was a neck and shoulder message. I got a good meal that was hosted by a church in Coshocton for all the riders but no message. After dinner I walked around downtown Coshocton and watched a live band play Elvis tributes. I could only take so much of, "I'm all shook up" and made my way back to my camp site. It was around 8:30 and I was ready to hit the hay.

Sunday's ride started out in the fog. Although it wasn't too heavy and after 5 to 8 miles into the ride, with the sun shinning brighter, the fog lifted. I didn't see any buggies on the road on Sunday. And the roads were in much better condition than Saturday. Lunch was host by a church in Beach city. They had fresh fruits and veggies and baked goodies. I wasn't too crazy about my choice of hot dog, chili dog or sloppy joe's. I was hungry and wanted/needed protein so I went with the sloppy joe. Sundays ride totals were 77.30 miles in 4:49:39. Max speed 38.9mph and average speed was 16.0 mph. After the ride I ran 3 miles on the Canal Towpath in 21:50. Then I treated myself to a peaches and cream ice cream cone. On my way home I stopped at the store to buy a bag of ice. As soon as I came home I ripped open the bag and tossed the ice in the bath tub and filled the tub with cold water. I jumped right in and had my burning legs enjoy the cool refreshing feeling.

Epic ride for the weekend was 155.69 miles on the roads of Amish country.

This is me on Saturday at the 68 mile point of the ride.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Greater Cleveland Triathlon debacle

I am so mad that I don't even want to write about my experience of yesterdays triathlon. To get my thoughts together and to write about it is hard. But I'll do my best to put something down. Maybe I'll learn some lessons.

I get to the race, park my car and get out my racing gear. I hear a volunteer shout, "you can keep your wet suit in the car because there will be no swimming today". He said something about the coast guard not setting up buoys, because the early morning thunderstorms brought in high waves (and probably high bacteria levels, which no one ever really mentions) and made for unsafe swimming. I could see the waves crashing on the beach and the high winds blowing sand all over -not to mention the skies looking like a storm would blow in any moment. I could understand the safety concerns and wasn't bother by the swim getting canceled. The volunteer said the swim would be changed to a 1.2 mile run and then the rest of the race would be the same distance you were signed up to do.

I made it over to the registration area and asked for my race packet but the nice volunteer said, "didn't you read on line that there is NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION OR PACKET PICKUP"? My heart sank. I realized I couldn't convince her to give me my packet so I asked her where the race director was and she said "He's somewhere walking around". I found the race director and apologized for my oversight and asked if he could please help me. He told me to hang on while he resolved some other issues on hand. Eventually, he took me back to the registration table and somehow my packet envelope appeared. Thank you Mr. Race Director.

As I look over the packet I noticed they had me in for the sprint distance triathlon. Oh, boy another glitch. The kind volunteer directed me over to the timing truck to have my timing chip registered for the correct distance that I had registered for online. I was supposed to be signed up for the Olympic distance triathlon (it's a 1500 meter Swim, 40 K Bike, and a 10 K Run). I got that fixed and I was on my way to get ready for the race.

The duathlon form of the race suited me well since running is my specialty sport. The gun went off for us to start the run and sure enough I was up there in the lead with the young kids and with no other 45 or older runner around. I didn't have a watch on so I had no idea how fast I ran the 1.2 miles and I made it into T1 with a few other runners. I hopped on my bike and was off with the lead riders. It looked like we had a lead motorcycle to escort us on the course. I saw he had his flashing lights on and I was able to keep him in my sights until about 2.5 miles into the ride where he made a left hand turn at an intersection. A patrol officer was waving us bikers to make the turn. I wondered why we turned when the green arrows were clearly pointing us to go straight. Oh well, maybe something happened the last minute on the course and we had to ride the route backwards. After riding 4 miles we got stopped by a train. No problem. An official was there to record our wait time and would report it to the finish line. It didn't take long for us to figure something was wrong when no other riders were coming in our direction. Then the official tells us we are riding the course backwards and that we need to turn around. How could we turn around and restart our bike split? Some bikers turned around but I chose to continue with some others to ride the course backwards. As we continued on our way race officials told us to turn around because the patrol officers were not directing the traffic for us. What frustrations we felt. It was down to me and another guy who continued the course backwards. I don't know what happened to the rest of the riders. After getting stopped 3 or 4 times I was loosing interest in the race but continued to finish the bike portion of the race. I even considered dropping out and going home, but then I thought I'm out here why not just make the best out of the run. If anything I'd get a good workout for the day.

I started the run feeling strong but with no motive to run fast. After about 2 miles into the run and passing all kinds of people, who were mostly in the sprint distance, I began to run faster. The second half of the run went well for me and I had a strong finish.

In the end I had no heart to collect my 3rd place age group award. I went home feeling like I never want to participate in the Greater Cleveland Triathlon again. I'll see what I think a year from now.

Lessons hopefully learned:
* thou shalt read ALL the race registration info.
* thou shalt not be led astray by lead motor vehicles (yes, I was also led astray in the Cleveland Rite Aid 10k in 2007)
* thou shalt not let negative emotions frustrate a race.

Race Results

Monday, August 04, 2008

Burning River 100 - Pacer

I don't know how they do it. And I don't know how I did it either. But those ultra runners are some amazing people. Those guys and gals are not only tough physically but tough mentally to keep their bodies moving to the finish. I had the joy of running 40.6 miles, in about ten and a half hours, as a pacer for my friend Dustin in the Burning River 100 mile Endurance Run.

Before I met Dustin in the early evening on Saturday I was able to get in a morning bike ride of 36 miles through some of the areas the runners would be making their way through. The race began 5:00am and I was able to cheer some of the runners on at the 30 mile marker. It was exciting to watch them come by.

In the afternoon I was a volunteer at the half way point of the race. We treated those runners like kings and queens providing food, drinks, and first aid. I would watch the runners come in to the aid station and look and listen to what the runner needed and or asked for. I would fill ball caps with ice for them to put on their heads, sponge off dirt and clean wounds from trail spills, and guide them in the direction for them to keep running.

Some runners didn't waste much time. When the lead runner came in he was not only met by us but by his support team who provided him food, drink and supplements. He stuffed his mouth, with food falling out, he mumbled thanks and took off running.

Third place runner who came to us was a women. I was amazed how strong she looked. She wanted to know how second place looked and I told her if she took care of herself she could catch him. She must have listened because she was second overall. Congratulations Connie!

I stayed helping out until 4:45 and then drove home expecting to eat dinner and take a nap before I'd get the call that my runner would be ready for me at the 60.6 mile point. But his wife called me at 5:00pm to tell me Dustin was ahead of schedule and would be ready for me by 5:30. I had no time for dinner or nap so I grabbed my running gear and drove back to the course to meet Dustin by 5:41. He came in at the 60.6 mile mark in 31st place. His goal was to finish in 24 hours or better. My goal was to make sure he would break 24 hours. We ran either side by side or with me in front. The highlight of our conversations was family, church, and God. I would also try to speak words of encouragement at the right moments. He asked at one point if I was in pain and at that time I had no pain but just tired legs. I guess I wasn't thinking about my pain but was focused on bringing Dustin home to the finish. During an ultra run I don't think runners think too much about the distance but rather getting through to the next 4 to 6 mile aid station. It's refreshing to have helpful people feeding you and cheering you on.

Dustin finished in 23:17. And went from 31st place at the 60 mile mark down to 20th place overall. Congratulations Dustin!

I'm on the left ready to help the lead runner at the 50.6 mile mark.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Looking across the lake.

What do you see when you look across a lake?
My wife and I were out on a morning bike ride around Deer Creek lake and we stopped by this grassy point over looking the lake and after awhile of enjoying the view I asked her what she saw out there. She said she was wondering what the land looked like before the lake was formed from the dam. She was trying to figure out what the land was before the flood. I on the other hand, was wondering how long it would take me to swim across that smooth lake. I was thinking about, my what a good workout I could get in on that beautiful lake. We laughed at our romantic ideas and got back on our bikes and continued our ride.

Later that afternoon I was able to get a nice open water swim across the lake. The swim felt so good that I didn't want the swim to end.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Running is out of the question.

It was a beautiful day and I felt good to be out running in the park, enjoying the scenery and sweating, but the run lasted for only 15 minutes. My bum knee cut my planned 30 minute run short. The knee got banged up from a little bike spill I had almost 2 weeks ago. I also found out today that my right wrist does have a broken carpal bone in it. I guess no serious training and racing is on the calendar for the month of July.

I've been swimming everyday this week and that seems to be OK except when I push off the wall after a flip turn I get knee pain and when I try to pull myself out of the pool I get pain in my wrist. The pain isn't too bad, though.

Biking is OK, but it takes me about 5 miles into the ride before my knee feels good. I just can't stand or climb hills too much.

My training for this week has been a swim focus, where I swim every day and alternate hard and long day workouts. Next week will be a bike focus. I'm hoping to get back into running after next week.

Saturday we leave for Deer Creek State Park for a week long of family reunion time. We are looking forward to having a relaxed fun time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Tri before a Ride.

It has been a wonderful week of riding the back roads of Ohio with over 2500 other riders. Before the ride started last Sunday I did an Olympic distance triathlon out in Findlay, Ohio. My goal was to complete the race in 2:25:00 and I am happy to say I complete it in 2:21:23. I almost wished I didn't check the race results because of my seemingly poor swim results. I question if some people completed the required 2 laps of the 1500 meter swim. The guy who placed 40th did 1500 meters in 11:21? I doubt it. The overall race results seemed foggy too because the overall winner Martin Mason, who I enjoyed meeting after the race, was shocked to hear he got the overall win, even though, I passed him in the run with over 1 mile to the finish. Other than the 2 hour wait for the awards ceremony, for a dog tag for my 2nd place age group finish, I enjoyed a fast race on beautiful country roads.

GOBA (Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure) was an adventure. To summarize in one sentence of my experience of camping and biking for the week would be: Meeting so many people from all over the country with a common interest in sharing the joy of riding the country roads of Ohio and having a freedom from our normal day to day life was a blessing experienced by us all.

During the week we had 2 lay over days where we have optional riding routes or we could relax and enjoy the hosting town by sight seeing. Our first lay over day we spent at a water park. The second lay over day my family did another water park but I used a loaner bike from one of the bike vendors to get in a 42 mile ride in. The ride was a beautiful country hill buster and I pushed a hard effort while trying to hold off a guy that was drafting off me for a few miles. After about 10 miles I left him in the dust.

And on the last day after 25 miles into the ride we hit a dirt rutted access road and my son & I did a spill while trying to avoid a deep rut. I banged my right knee and right wrist. My son got the wind knocked out of him and banged his right pinkie. Roadside emergency crew was there to help us within minutes. We brushed off the dirt and told them we were planing on eating at Bob Evan's and that at the next rest stop we'll check in with them. At the rest stop they cleaned our wounds and bandaged us. We rode another 25 miles to the finish.

Total riding miles 260, plus the 42 miles I did on my own.

These are just some of the pictures taken.

Friday, June 13, 2008

GOBA here we come.

It's been a few months now that my wife, son and I have been focusing on getting ready for GOBA by riding our bikes as much as possible. We leave for GOBAville this Saturday afternoon. But before we set out on our adventure I'll do an Olympic triathlon in Findlay, Ohio Saturday morning. I think I'm more over whelmed with the thought of getting all things packed for the triathlon and GOBA today than our build up of biking for the trip or my training for the race.

My wife was able to get in the required training of riding 350 miles to help ensure success in completing the week long event of riding over 200 miles. We also conquered the 1/2 mile 7% grade of Warner road hill. She's been putting off riding up that hill in fear of the pain and agony of defeat but she survived and now has more confidence she'll be able to enjoy GOBA. I also wanted to ride up the hill on the tandem with my son and we experienced it was easier than we feared. We're all physically and mentally ready for the challenge and look forward to a week long adventure of biking and camping.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Morgana Run 5K Race & the kettlebell

What does winning a 5K race and a kettlebell workout have in common? They are both hard yet rewarding experiences to be had. I'll start with the kettlebell. I've heard of these "iron balls" in the past but thought they were too dangerous to mess with. But I recently listened to a certified trainer give a talk on the kettlebell and how the benefits through proper use can give great results from a strength and conditioning aspect. I did some youtude perusing and was impressed so I went to Dicks Sporting Goods and bought a 20lb kettlebell. I got home from the store and watched the video that came with the KB and did about 7 sets of the various exercises. I tried to take it slow and make sure I had proper form yet I still managed to put up a sweat and get my heart rate pumping. Two days later DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) set in on my shoulders and ham string muscles. Just what I needed in time for my local 5K race. Not.

The video displays a kettlebell swing. Watch Annie as she swings her way up from 16kg to 32kg. Very impressive.

I will use the DVD's that came with the kettlebell for a 3 month, 2 to 3 workouts per week, to see what kind of results I get.

Back to the race. I chose this local race because it's a few miles down the street from my home. I think it's encouraging to see what the Slavic Village Development is doing to improve the community. The race was the 2nd annual event and I thought it was well organized including a hip band at the finish and pierogies, sausages and bananas for us to enjoy. I checked out last years results to find that the overall winner was in 18:32. I was pumped and knew I could smash that time.

My race prep included a bowl of oatmeal with a squirt of Hammer gel and sips of HEED leading up to the race. I ran an easy 2 mile warm up, did some stretching, and 4 x 100 yard stride outs. I was ready to run.

The bell went off and I immediately took lead and heard someones feet behind me for the first mile. The first mile was in 5:05. That was fast. I was then working hard to maintain an even pace for the rest of the race. No one ever came up behind me to push me even more into oxygen debt. Good thing, because I was spent, winning the overall race.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Backpacking Racoon Creek State Park, PA

Oh, the joys of backpacking! But before I get into explaining how enjoyable backpacking was this past weekend for my family and I at Raccoon Creek State, PA, I have to speak of some of the preparations involved in getting ready for the trip.

Planning begins with laying out a route that 10 year old boys can hike without feeling like a death march. There should be enough miles to hike in 2 days and still have plenty of time to stop, jump in the creeks, or swing on the vines. What "kid food" to buy and to bring that will feed their appetite. Make sure all hiking and camping equipment is in good shape. The kids have boots and a backpack. Make reservations for the camp site in early May. Pack clothes and equipment the night before and the food in the morning. The list goes on but after you survive the 2 hour drive in the car with silly boys punching each other and you set foot on the trail and soak in all the sights and sounds of nature you remember why we came out into the woods.

Before we start to hike the boys find a stream and begin "fishing around" and get their shoes and pants wet. If that's what they want to do to have fun then they are free to be boys and explorer the great outdoors.

We hiked 3 miles in about 2 hours the first day and 5.5 miles in 5 hours the second day. Backpackers typically hike 2 miles per hour which includes a 10 minute rest every 50 minutes but with little hikers there is no set pace. It's not about the hike but the experiences along the way that the boys love to enjoy.

Our campsite had Adirondack Shelters for us to sleep in, rest rooms near by, a well water pump and a bear bag pole. By the pole was a sign explaining how important it is in not "entertaining" the bears with food left in the campsite but to use the pole to string up your food and to get it out of reach from the critters. I had them read the sign so that they can learn some "best camp practices". I think it may have put some scary thoughts in their heads as the sun went down and it was time to go to sleep. We had to speak reassuring words that bears are shy and are not looking to bother us. Besides we cleaned up camp and left no trace of food for bears or critters to find.

We all slept fine.

Yes, there is a lot to get ready for a backpacking trip but where else can boys throw knives, wade in a creek digging up cray fish, swing on vines, and build fires? And that's why we'll be out in the woods again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tandem Practice Ride

GOBA is a week long camping and biking adventure in the Ohio area. And my family and I signed up to ride it this year on June 14th, with a group of 11 other riders. I rode GOBA back in 2004 with about 12 other friends and I had a great time. I had hoped to one day do GOBA again and to ride it with my wife and son. But, in order to do the average 50 mile daily ride I had to find a way for them to survive without too much discomfort. First, we had to do something about getting a decent bike for my wife. She would not be able to ride her mountain bike for the trip so we began to shop around for a road bike. We found one at our local bike shop where she was fitted nicely onto a women's specific Cannondale bike. She has taken the bike out for a couple spins around the neighborhood and park and appreciates the comfort factor being so much better compared to the men's mountain bike that she rode with.

The next challenge for me was to borrow a tandem bike from a friend and begin practice riding it with my 10 year son. I had to buy extender cranks for him to reach the pedals. I adjusted the seat all the way down and positioned the handle bars so that he felt comfortable on the bike.

We have been riding the tandem for about 2 weeks now and we are loving it every time we go out. Our longest ride was 2 hours this past Saturday (before Sunday's Cleveland 10K race). We are working on building up to 4 hours of riding up and down hills. We hope to accomplish that by the first weekend in June. This should give us all the confidence we need in order to survive a week long of biking.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cleveland 10K

This year we had no wrong turns on the 10K course. All went well for my long awaited 10K race. I could complain about pulling a muscle in my chest yesterday when I twisted and turned my body while lifting my tandem bike out of the trunk. But then, if it's not one thing it's another on race day. We still did our family long bike ride of 21 miles. The pain was noticeable every time I would turn my head and torso to look behind. And if I took deep breaths I could feel the pain. I was hoping a good soak in Epsom salt bath and good nights sleep would help ease some pain, which it did.

Race morning was a cool 55 degrees and some light rain at the start. The first mile went by fast and easy with a time of 5:40. I was happy with that time. I then focused on maintaining a steady strong pace while getting hit from winds in all directions. The last mile I ran with Scott S. which helped me to finish strong otherwise, I may have fallen apart with no one to push me.

One of the best things about running this big race is the crowd support along the course. And I would have to give the best cheering award to E and Solar Squirrel from our Running Club. They really put on a great cheering performance. They spotted me way before I even could see them. I could hear them but didn't see where they were until I came closer to them. Thanks gals, your cheering took me through to the next mile.

After the race I ate a banana, Stony Farm yogurt and then put on some warm dry clothes. I made my way to the marathon course and met Brian. We had agreed that I would help bring him in the last 4 miles of his marathon race. I did my best to speak words of encouragement along the way. We had a good time.

Link to 10K Results for a 22nd overall finish.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Sunny Side of Training.

My training for the May 18, Cleveland 10K is going well. Last week we visited our daughter in sunny Florida. She recently had a baby girl and we got to spend time with her and her family. During our visit we spent a day at Epcot, went to the beach a couple of times, and hugged and kissed the baby the rest of the time.

I did my runs in the mornings when the temps were in the mid 80's and humidty at 80 percent. A 6 mile mid tempo run in 38:26 (6:24 pace) was bearable but the 8 mile long tempo in 53:19 (6:40 pace) was a cooker. I needed to drink some water after 40 minutes sooo bad. I was tempted to plop myself into one of the many ponds I ran by but after seeing 2 alligators already that morning I realized you don't go swimming in just any pond you see in Florida.

Today's track workout was a good indicator for me to prove the kind of shape I am in for a good 10K race. The main set was 3 X 1 mile (at 5:38 pace) with only 1 minute rest between. And if we have 80+ temps with high humidity on race morning I hope my mind and body remembers the tough run I did in Florida.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Legs at the Hinckley Duathlon

This is a profile graph of the Hinckley Buzzard Duathlon race.

The course is a 3 mile loop around Hinckley lake.
As you can see from the graph it is HILLY.

My plan for the race was to run the first 3 miles easy in around 18 minutes, bike the 5 laps averaging 20 miles and then to finish the last 3 miles faster than the first loop.

For the warm up I biked the 3 mile loop at an easy pace. I used my Garmin to get the elevation chart. After the ride I did some light stretching and then ran an easy 1.5 miles.

The race began with a 3 mile run. I felt strong while trying to keep my pace under control.

The bike portion was the same loop but we had to ride it 5 times. I was able to maintain a steady pace but I felt my legs didn't have the strength to push through the hills.

I was in awe as I watched some of the stronger cyclist whoosh by me. Some of the things I noticed was, the aero position they were in, what gear they were in, and the powerful looking cycling legs they had.

What I enjoyed the most during the final run portion, was passing the same guys that I envied. It was my running legs that smoked a few of those sexy cycling legs, that made me think if it is possible, one day I will have both running and cycling legs.

Male results of the Duathlon Race

Monday, April 14, 2008

Comfort, Power and Speed.

I have to say my swim, bike, and run training during this off season is proving to be a success.

One of the most challenging swim drills for me is the freestyle kick without a board. It is done with arms held out front in a streamlined position with fingers overlap and one thumb lightly gripping the opposite hand. You lift your chin above the water to breath without turning your head. When I first did this I was not comfortable holding my hands together because of the sinking feeling and lack of air to breathe. By the end of winter swimming, the fear has gone away and I can hold my hands in a streamline position and kick in a 50 meter pool. It's hard to do 4 sets of 50 meter repeats but I'm enjoying the benefits.

During the winter months I did a "club challenge" on improving power on the bike. I did a 2 x 20 minute functional threshold test about 2 months ago and received all kinds of data to indicate my strength on the bike. For the last 2 months I did many workouts on the bike trainer to help increase my aerobic capacity. After 2 months of hard work I took the same test and my coach was very impressed with the results. I had a 33% increase in average output power on the bike. I surprised myself.

I am in my 8th week training for the Cleveland 10K Run and I have noticed my track and long run times are coming down. The short fast track intervals are the hardest to keep pace but I did manage to pull off 10 x 400 averaging 1:15 and 6 x 800 averaging 2:45 recently.

I guess if you put the comfort gained in the water, power gained on the bike, and speed gained on the run I should have enough confidence to race well this coming summer.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Queen City Chess Tournament

Nate riding the Queen.

The chess tournament was a blast. It was a big chess party fest. I should have taken pictures of the lobby area where there were chess paraphernalia and food strewn all over the place.

This was a chess tournament for school age kids who were from all over Ohio and Kentucky. My son played 5 games in the 4th grade section and finished with a score of 3 wins and 2 losses. He was a half point away from winning a trophy.

After each game my wife and I would watch Nate as he walked down the hall and we would try to read his expressions and guess whether he won or lost a game. With some kids it was obvious whether they won or lost but with Nate he had a cool calm look about him and we couldn't tell if he won or lost until he came up to us and say, "I won", or "I lost". He'd then go horse around with other kids playing the big floor chess set or at a table with the Indian kids. He commented that, those little Indian kids are fast and good. I was impressed with his attitude of good sportsmanship and having fun.

PapaLouie versus International Master Irina Krush!

While the kids played, the parents were entertained by Master chess players commenting on the top rated games being projected on monitors in the lobby area. Some masters would play 5 minute games with kids or parents. Here I took the challenge to play International Master Irina Krush. I knew I wouldn't even come close to possible pulling off a win but I asked her if she would comment on the game so that I could learn something. After my 5 minute melee she went through the whole game move by move to point out the various alternative moves that I could have done. I was impress she remembered every move and was able to offer suggestions. She did this for anyone who wanted to play a game with her. No wonder she is America's top rated female chess master.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Soccer champs & Chess weekend.

The indoor soccer team that I coach won the minor division championship. We had to win our last game, which was last night, in order to make first place overall. We faced a tough team and after the first half the score was 3-3. During half time I reminded the kids to stay cool, calm and to focus on controlling the ball as much as possible. They played very strong and was able to pull the victory with a 5-3 score. All the parents and kids were cheering and applauding our first place finish. It was an exciting evening.

This weekend we drive down to Cincinnati for my son to play in a scholastic chess tournament, where there should be well over 1,000 kids playing. It should be an exciting time watching all the kids and meeting some of the world grand masters at the event. My son will play 5 games in the 4th grade category. He has to win 3.5 games in order to get a trophy. He feels confident he can pull it off. I'll be biting my nails the whole time.

When I come back on Sunday I'll run 8 miles at a 6:40 pace and do some yoga to round off a fun filled weekend.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Multi-tasking while Freestyling

I find it amazing how much my mind and body are so active during my freestyle workouts in the pool. The structure of my workout is a Warm up, Build up (Drills), Core (main set), then Warm down. During the workout I am focusing on so many things to help me become a more efficient swimmer.

I am thinking about having proper:
arm catch and high elbows,
having a strong flutter like kick moving from the hips,
breathing bilaterally,
stream line body position so that I am as slippery in the water as possible,
and becoming like a fish with shoulder and hip rotating as one.
Not to mention I'm trying to keep track of the 10 x 100 yard repeats in my head while swimming in a 25 yard pool.

Oh, did I just finish my 6th set or 7th set? I was chatting too long with the guy in the lane next to me and now I lost track. Anyway, I go with 6 and continue focusing on having proper bio-mechanical positioning in the water but then I'm thinking, oh no, I have to go pee...

If you like multi-tasking like I do then you'll find swimming is so much fun.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Windy Track Workout & Cookies.

I was able to run my 4 x 1000 meter repeats on the track this week and on one hand I was happy to be outside on the track rather than on the treadmill but the winds were so strong that I felt I was pushed from all sides and could not maintain my projected pace. I chalked it up as a strength training workout. I kept telling myself, "each 1000 I complete will make me stronger". After completing the windy workout I went home and checked the current weather conditions and sure enough winds were 30 mph and gusting to 40 mph. I'll have to somehow figure out how the winds effect my times.

A friend thought I might want to try this cookie recipe so I whipped up a batch and I couldn't stop eating them.
These are banana cookies that have no eggs, flour, sugar, or salt.
Here is how I made them.
I mashed 3 medium bananas in a bowl and
mixed in 1/3 cup ev-olive oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons of milled flax seed, and 1/4 cup raisins. I dropped tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet and pressed then down lightly with fork and placed in the oven at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. I made 2 dozen, ate 5 cookies and put the rest a in freezer bag and placed it in the freezer.
I'll be snacking on these things all week.

Friday, March 21, 2008

An athlete.

Iron G in 2015 posted a pop quiz for us runners to answer and I thought I'd put my thoughts down here to share with everyone.

1. How long have you been running or tri-training?
I have been running and road racing from the mile to the marathon for 18 years. This summer will be my 5th year of Triathlon racing.

2. Why did you start running or tri-training?
I started to run after I gained 15 pounds between 19 and 26 years old and I decided I needed an easy exercise program that would get me back to my boxing weight and shape.
I think tri-training is something most of us did as kids, but we didn't call it training, we called it play. We swam, we biked, and we ran around all day. It seemed natural that one day I decided to try a triathlon race and to do it with the intent of having FUN. After 5 years of triathlon training and racing I'm still having fun.

3. What's your most memorable race?
Running the Hope Memorial Mile in 4:29

4. What's your favorite race to run (distance and/or specific event)?
The Cleveland 10K because of the quality of the field and to be part of the excitement among thousands of runners.

5. What's the best advice you have ever received?
Learn to incorporate cross training like, swim, bike, run, lift weights, yoga, pilates, you name it, into your running program.

6. What's the best advice you never followed (that you should have)?
Don't eat before training or racing in the morning.

7. Where do you train?
In the evenings at home in the basement on the treadmill and bike trainer. On the weekends in Garfield Park and Mill Creek Trail and the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park. During lunch time in CSU Pool and running in and around the downtown area
8. What are your long-term goals?
Run the marathon under 3 hours (2008 or 2009). Complete a Half Ironman under 5 hours (2009). Bike a century as fast as I can (2008).

9. What's your favorite pre-race meal?
Oatmeal, banana, and green tea

10. What's your favorite post-race, PR or goal-meeting reward?
A hot shower and an afternoon nap in the recliner while reading The Art of Learning

Saturday, March 15, 2008

St. Malachi Race

I went from a 5 mile race to coaching my indoor soccer team Saturday morning. The race was hard but the game was exciting. We played against the first place team and managed to pull off a tie with them. We have 2 more games and if all goes well, we could be 1st place champions in this inaugural fustal season and my first time coaching.

According to my training schedule I needed to run 8 miles at a 6:43 per mile pace but I figured if I ran 2 miles as a warm up before the 5 mile race I would be close enough to the scheduled distance. My thoughts for the race was that I'd run at a 6:00 per mile pace and finish around 30 minutes but then I also had a feeling I'd finish around 29:00.

The course had enough ups and downs to make the run tough. I felt I ran at a good hard effort the whole race but I had a little mental struggle after about 3.5 miles. I had to keep telling myself to push through the pain because the first place women was gaining on me. So many people would yell out, "1st place women". It felt like it was me against her.

I couldn't stay for the awards so I grabbed a banana and a bottle of water and drove to the soccer game. I did slip on my running pants and coaching shirt so that no one could tell I came from a 5 mile race.

First place in 45-49 age group Race results.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mind games on the treadmill

The anxiety of running fast on the treadmill today was driving me crazy. According to my schedule I needed to run two 1 mile repeats and a 1/2 mile at a 5:38 pace with a 1/2 mile recovery between sets. This type of workout was to be done on the track but with a slushy snow covered track there was no way I would be able to run fast on it. With the crummy conditions I resorted to doing the workout on the treadmill later in the evening. Although, throughout the day I was thinking how was I going to run the fast set of intervals on the treadmill.

The top speed of my treadmill goes from 10 mph (6:00 pace per mile) to 11 mph (5:30 pace per mile)to 12 mph (5:00 pace per mile)and I only needed to run at a 5:38 pace per mile. Do I run at 10 mph with a 3 to 4 percent incline? Do I run at 5:30 mph with no incline? I had to get on the treadmill to find out what I could do.

During the warm up I focused on being relaxed and told myself that I could run at the 5:30 pace, even if I had to hold on the bars or if I puked, I was going to run it. After 20 minutes of easy running I hit the first set of 1 miles at a 5:30 pace with the incline set not at ZERO but at TWO percent. Yes, I went for the gutsy workout. And, I survived two 1 mile repeats and a half mile feeling great because I conquered the mind battle over the treadmill.

This weekend I am looking forward to running a 5 mile race (St. Malachi).

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Baby and all

Last week we drove to Baltimore to visit my son and his wife to celebrate the birth of our grand daughter, Arianna.
She is a bundle of sweet joy with an inquisitive mind of interest in all her surroundings.

My off-season Core training workouts finally paid off this past weekend. We had record snow fall and I was left to shovel my way out of my drive and then a couple of other neighbor drives. I didn't get sore from all the shoveling but I did get mentally whipped and I didn't have the strength to run my scheduled 7 mile tempo run for today. I was able to take an afternoon nap in the recliner while reading and all I could see when I closed my eyes was me lifting shovel after shovel of heavy snow and yet I wasn't making any progress in clearing a path. How frustrating was that.

I am looking forward to running my 3 key training runs outside rather than on the treadmill. The temperatures are suppose to reach in the high 40's by Thursday and maybe by then the track and trails will be clear of ice and snow. Running on the treadmill has been easy for me to hit my target times but I think running outside will be different. I can't wait to test my progress on the track soon.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Week One Day 1

My 12 week training schedule begins this week for the Cleveland 10K in May.
The workout I am using has 3 key workouts. Tuesday is track day where I run intervals of :
400's @ 1:18 pace,
600's @ 1:57 pace,
800's @ 2:41 pace,
1000's @ 3:23 pace,
1200's @ 4:12 pace,
1600's @ 5:38 pace.

Thursday is tempo runs of short (@ 6:13) and mid (@ 6:28) running paces for 3 to 6 miles.

Saturday is long tempo pace @ 6:43 for 6 to 10 miles.

These paces were calculated based on my recent 5K race. Next time I won't race as hard so that my training paces won't be at a blusterous pace. I'm hoping to survive these 12 weeks somehow.

So, on Tuesday, we had a beautiful snow storm blow through the Cleveland area and that left me to move my run onto the treadmill. With over a foot of snow on the track there was no way I could knock out 8 X 400's at a 1:18 pace. My treadmill can reach a max speed of 12 miles an hour (5 minute mile pace) so after a 15 minute warm up I ran 8 x 1:30 @ 12 miles an hour with 1:30 rest between reps. It was a good workout and it didn't beat me up so bad. So far, so good.

OK, and I was tagged by trainingtotri to list 7 weird/random things about me so here are 7 random things I could think of.

1. My perfect Winter snowy day would be me out cross country skiing in the park enjoying a decent workout with beautiful scenery.

2. My perfect sunny Summer lazy day would be me laying down under a big oak tree in the park reading an inspirational novel about swimming, biking, or running for half a day. Then I would get up and go to a park table and play chess with the old timers for the rest of the day.

3. My perfect cool Autumn day is my wife and I backpacking in the mountains enjoying the serenity of a bright and colorful forest.

4. My perfect sunny Spring day is my first day out on a long bike ride along country roads.

5. My perfect rainy day is me in my pajamas sitting around the fireplace drinking green tea and reading.

6. My dream is to go back to Hungary and spend a month there learning about my family history and enjoying the culture.

7. My dream is to live to 100 years old and be active in sports, family, and community.

I'll volunteer to be the last one tagged.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Train like a runner.

It was a cold 19 degrees downtown but we had lots of sunshine. The roads were dry and with the sun shinning I was in a good mood for a race. The undulating course was a challenge for us runners and was not a course for a PR.

My goal for todays 5K race was to run it hard and use the finish time to calculate my training paces for the Cleveland 10K in May. I will use the famous F.I.R.S.T 12 week schedule to train for the race.

Now that I have a 5K race result I can start to train like a runner.

Race results: Chili Bowl Classic 5K

Oh, and I did try the veggie chili after the race. It was spicy with peppers and not bad tasting.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A taste of Power.

I had my eyes opened to the effectiveness of training with power on a CompuTrainer last night. A good friend from my triathlon club offered his coaching skills along with his CompuTrainer to put me through a time trial test. The focus of the workout was to montitor power, heart rate and cadence, in two 20 minute intervals. For the 2 sets I needed to ride at a hard effort and yet complete them in +/- 5% of each other.

The results will be compared in 6 weeks with another test. Since I do not have a CompuTrainer or some other power measuring device I will use my heart rate monitor to train with. In early April I will go back to my friends house to do another test on his CompuTrainer and see what results I get.

Dave, thanks for showing me the way to "Power". I think it's exciting stuff and will translate to improving my biking times.

Test 1 Results:
average speed: 18.3 mph
average watts: 147 watts
maximum speed: 19.6 mph
maximum watts: 183 watts
time: 20 minutes
distance: 6.14 miles
average heartrate: 116 bpm
maximum heartrate: 125 bpm
average cadence: 91
maximum cadence 97

Test 2 Results:
average speed: 18.9 mph
average watts: 158 watts
maximum speed: 22.2 mph
maximum watts: 246 watts
time: 20 minutes
distance 6.30 miles
average heartrate: 124
maximum heartrate: 139 bpm
average cadence: 93
maximum cadence: 110

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thoughts on swimming.

For the past 3 months I have been using a program from Swimplan for all my swim workouts. What's nice about this program is that the workouts are personalized based on time trials, how much time you want to swim, intensity level, and what equipment you want to use. What makes it even better is that it's a free service.

Using this program has kept me motivated to swim consistently through the winter months. Before I head to the pool I print out a new program and tape it to my water bottle. I don't know how other people manage their swims, as fas as, how to remember time and sets of lengths but what helps me is to bring the printed workout to the pool so that I can enjoy my swim and not get confused with lap counting or distance.

Having this program has also taken my mind off the frustrations of improving my swim technique. I've given up on trying to be a perfectionist. I'd love to have a swim stroke like some great olympic swimmer. I realize I should just focus on having a good time and enjoy where I'm at in my abilities. And as long as I can get through a swim during a triathlon and have enough energy to power through the rest of the race, I'm happy!

Here is todays workout in detail format from swimplan.com:

45-60 mins
Pool length

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

Freestyle swim at a steady pace.
Build up
• 8 x 50yd Single Arm with Zoomers (arm out front) 6 x left, 6 x right, 6 x full stroke, rest 0:15 / 50yd

Freestyle using one arm at a time, focusing on shoulder and hip rotation. Complete 6 arm strokes with the left arm then 6 strokes with the right arm, followed by 6 strokes using both arms. The non-stroking arm is held out front in a streamlined position.

• 8 x 50yd Freestyle Swim, leave on 01:10 / 50yd

Freestyle swim, starting every 50yd set on the defined time period. The departure time combines your swimming target time and rest time, so the faster you go the more rest you will have. Conversely, the slower you swim, the less rest time you will have.
• 2 x 100yd Freestyle Pull with a pull buoy, rest 0:20 / 100yd
• 8 x 50yd Freestyle Swim, leave on 01:04 / 50yd

Freestyle swim, starting every 50yd set on the defined time period. The departure time combines your swimming target time and rest time, so the faster you go the more rest you will have. Conversely, the slower you swim, the less rest time you will have.
• 1 x 200yd Freestyle Swim, rest 0:30 / 200yd

Warm down
• 8 x 25yd Easy, rest 0:10 / 25yd

This is the swim without the descriptions and is what I taped to my water bottle:

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

Build up
• 8 x 50yd Single Arm with Zoomers (arm out front) 6 x left, 6 x right, 6 x full stroke, rest 0:15 / 50yd

• 8 x 50yd Freestyle Swim, leave on 01:10 / 50yd
• 2 x 100yd Freestyle Pull with a pull buoy, rest 0:20 / 100yd
• 8 x 50yd Freestyle Swim, leave on 01:04 / 50yd
• 1 x 200yd Freestyle Swim, rest 0:30 / 200yd

Warm down
• 8 x 25yd Easy, rest 0:10 / 25yd

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hill Running.

Today, I ran the same hill workout that I did 2 weeks ago. This time I did not run the recoveries down the hill backwards. It took a good week before my calf muscles were healed from the soreness I got from that workout. Lesson learned from that was not to over do the workout while trying something new. I think backward running is good for strengthening different muscles but next time I'll just run a few backwards for fun and not for a complete serious workout.

Weather conditions was about the same as last time but the temperatures was about 5 degrees colder today. I ran by the south Marginal road, near Lake Erie, where there were some strong winds coming off the lake. It was cold. But, what's important is that my legs felt good and I was able to run the hills a little faster.
A few more hill workouts and I'll be ready to hit the track for some fast intervals at the end of February.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Running with pain.

It's Sunday morning and with outside temperatures hovering around 7 degrees forced me to get my hill workout onto the treadmill. My creative workout on the treadmill included 2 x with 3% incline at 6:24 pace for 2 minutes, 2 x 5% incline 6:24 for 90 seconds, 1 x 7% incline 6:24 for 30 seconds and then finish with 1 at 7% incline 6:24 for 3:30 minutes. I felt good, even though, my gastrocnemius muscle in both legs has suffered damage from Wednesday's hill workout. They are so-o-o-o sore like never before. Even a gentle rub brings shooting pain. Usually, soreness lasts a couple days but this one may take 4 or 5 days before the pain goes away.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Up and Down the Hill

Today I had some fun running hill repeats. The hill is on E. 40th Street off the North Marginal. It rises 60 feet in .10 of a mile for a 6 percent grade.

I began the workout with a 1.5 mile easy run from work to the top of the hill. At the top of the hill I turned around and ran down backwards. At the bottom I sprinted back to the top. I repeated this sprinting up and backward jogging for a total of 9 sets. I could feel my calf muscles getting tight after 6 or 7 repeats. I do hope the calves aren't too sore for tomorrows bike workout.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Winter Sunshine

It could be 37 degrees outside but as long as the sun is shinning it's a beautiful day to be out enjoying the sunshine. After dropping off one of my families old clunker at the junk yard I rode back home on my commuter bike and managed to get 19 miles of riding on this fine sunny winter day. I don't mind the winter months but I do miss the sunshine. Sunshine sure helps with the winter time blues.

I still want to get out on my cross country skis this winter. I missed a couple opportunities we already had but, even if I have to make a "sick day", I've got to get out and enjoy the snow. Having the skis gives me a good reason to get out and enjoy the snow.

Starting Monday I begin week 9 of my 12 week off season cycling and core strengthening workout routine. I think being consistent is important in improving ones knowledge and overall health and strength. That's why I like having schedules. Give me 12 or 18 weeks of specific training and I'm all over it. I don't need motivation to get out and swim, bike, run, or do core training because I have a set time and it'll be over before I know it and hopefully, during that time, I learn something. Then I can move on to something else.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Challenges ahead!

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Here is a list of things I must "look fear in the face" and overcome:
* Run a sub 3 hour marathon - deciding what Fall marathon to do this in.
* Complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon in a time of 2 hours 20 minutes or less - This is the only distance I will race this summer.
* Complete a Half Ironman Triathlon in under 5 hours - Summer of 09 but training began since my first attempt last year and will continue all through this year.

To kick off the new year I will race a 5K in February to help gauge my training plan for a sub 36 minute 10K in May. The highlight in April will be a Duathlon. May will be the Cleveland 10K where I have unfinished business because of the mishap at last years race. June will start with triathlon racing season and will go through September. Then a sub 3 hour marathon in October or November is in the plans. Additional training and racing plans will be announced soon.

Happy New to all my friends and family!