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August 31, 2006

Started wearing contacts today

I've worn glasses off and on for 50% of my life. My eyesight isn't terrible, I just have a stigmatism from staring at a computer screen for too long. A couple of months ago when I visited my opthamologist, I mentioned that I would like to give contacts a try. He campaigned against the decision, saying contacts for stigmatism are tricky, but set up the appointment.

I was fitted for them this morning and wore them for 4 hours before taking them out at lunch for an hour. I just spent the last 10 minutes trying to get the slimy things back in. I like wearing them, but certainly feel weird without the glasses. Hopefully, I'll get better at putting them in and taking them out. My eyes are bloodshot from the learning curve.

August 30, 2006


Today was the last Wednesday speed session before we transition to Thursdays starting next week. We were going to start today, but Tropical Storm Ernesto was going to attend the session so we moved it to Wednesday.

With the HOT behind us, today we started the marathon speed training. Many of us are going to follow the program developed by the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training. I pulled this morning's workout from the article I read on the program in Runner's World. After checking the FIRST website after the workout, I see that the workout in the magazine isn't the same as the current one on the website for marathoners who want to get faster. I'll have to compare the 2 to see what the difference is.

We did 8x400 this morning at 10k pace minus 55-60 seconds with a 90 second rest interval. Jay, Jane, Bill, John and I all started at the Butler Cleaner's parking lot and ran a 1-mile warm-up. When we got to the Lee track, Teresa, Doug and Leah were waiting on us. They had jogged over from the Y.

My goal was to hit 1:30 on the 400s. I did the first one in 1:30 and did the rest under that split, mostly around 1:26 or 1:27. It was pretty dang humid and there was lots of soggy people standing around the parking lot after the workout. We did a 1-mile cool down to wrap up the session.

Good workout! Rest day tomorrow. Yipppeeee.

August 29, 2006

Keeping it consistent

The HOT is an important race on my calendar, but overall, it is a "B" race for me. The Florida Challenge is the "A" race looming in the near future. After that, my next "A" race is the Jacksonville Marathon on December 17th.

In the past, I have taken the 2 weeks after the HOT as recovery/rest weeks. I can't afford to do that this year. So it was back in the pool yesterday morning for a long swim workout (3850 yards). The workout included:

200 swim
400 pull
400 kick
7 x 150 (swim 50 - kick 50 - swim 50)
100 swim
6x50 pull
3x100 pull
300 pull
300 swim
3 x 100 swim
4x50 swim

This morning, the schedule said 10 miles on the road. My legs weren't feeling that frisky. Swimming long soon after the race wasn't too hard, a little sore but manageable. Running long was going to be different. Mike McLamb and I went out and did 5.5 miles at an up-tempo pace. Good enough.

The plan for the rest of the week was to rest tomorrow, track workout on Thursday, swim long on Friday and do the group ride on Saturday. Ernesto is going to change those plans a bit. The track session has been moved to tomorrow (8x400 at 10k pace minus 60 seconds) so that means I'll be sleeping in (I hope) to the sounds of Ernesto as it blows by and dumps a bunch of rain on us.

Next week is vacation in Captiva. I'm going to take my bike in hopes of getting a couple of good bike rides in around the island. Add a couple of runs on the beach and a swim or two in the ocean, and I should stay on track for October 21.

2006 Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon

Raced in the Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon (AKA "The HOT") this past Sunday. It was hot.

The race was held on Camp Blanding, a military base just south of Middleburg. There were a limited number of cottages available to rent, so I reserved one for us so I didn't have to drive 45 minutes the morning of the race. Worked out very well. Emily enjoyed swimming in the lake the day before and it was nice rolling out of bed an hour before the race started.

The swim was pretty good, I felt comfortable. My time was a hair under 35:00. Slower than a rough St. Anthony's this year, but that was a wetsuit race in salt water. Also, I heard a couple of folks saying that the course was a bit over 1500m. Not unusual for this race.

T1 was a quick 1:31, and then off on the bike. The course has a bunch of rolling hills and some false flats. Nothing super steep, but much of it is not very flat. I played a game of cat and mouse with Jay's friend Chris, who has comparable skills to me on the bike. It was fun to have a bit of back and forth to break up the monotony. Chris was nailed for a drafting penalty on the second loop. We finished within seconds of each other, my official time was 1:08:37, my best olympic bike split ever. Going into T2, I had already taken my feet out of my shoes, dismounted and starting to run into transition when a girl cut me off with her bike. Stopping quickly caused me to stub 2 toes and knocked a shoe out of my clips. A volunteer tossed me my shoe and I motored into T2, not looking forward to looking at the toes.

060827_HOT 030One was a bloody pulp. I remember thinking as I put on my running shoes that this was going to be a lot of fun. I had to get it out of my mind and just run. T2 took 54 seconds.

The first couple of miles felt pretty good. I was passing quite a few people, but soon after the 3rd mile, the wheels starting falling off. The fourth mile takes you up a pretty good hill and then you turn around and go back down. My stomach started rumbling and gurgling, and I couldn't tell if it was because it needed liquid or if it had too much. I hadn't taken on a lot of liquid, just a full Aero Bottle on the bike and a little out of another water bottle to wash down a gel. I wasn't taking in a bunch at the water stations, just a little at every one.

The last 2 miles seemed like a death march and I was passed by a few people. The last mile has some rolly hills that were no fun. Just before the turn to the finish line I saw Karen and Emily with Pete and Amy with their boys, and Mike and Susan.

After crossing the finish line, it took me forever to recover and "get it back together." It seemed like all of my body's energy was focused on my somach. I alternated squatting, walking, sitting, standing under the rain tent, drinking water, Gatorade and Coke. Finally, I pulled it together. I only used 2 gels in the race, one at the beggining of the bike and the 2nd halfway through the bike. Did my body not process those? I'm not sure what happened, but the run ended up taking 52:09.

All three splits were my fastest ever for the course, and my finishing time of 2:37:59 was my best in the race by about 12 minutes. I'm still disappointed with the explosion in the run, and wish I could pinpoint the root cause. The other variable was obviously the weather, but we had cloud cover and while it was hot and humid, we did have the searing heat beating down on us like last year. During the run I remember thinking "And I want to do a half ironman in October?" I guess the difference is pacing and not hammering the bike leg. Eight weeks until the Florida Challenge. . .

UPDATE: Race results

August 24, 2006

Goodbye Edgar Martin

I attended Edgar Martin's memorial service yesterday. I met Edgar 4 years ago when I joined the West Jax Rotary. How fortunate I am to have gotten to meet someone like Edgar. When he spoke, everyone stopped and listened. At the memorial, his son told how his father died while Edgar was at the University of Florida. Edgar had to come home and operate the family business. However, his thirst for knowledge never ended. Edgar became a literary scholar and always had a quote for every occasion.

Then there was the comedic side of Edgar. My first real impression of Edgar was his winning performance at a Rotary joke off my first year in the club. Member after member went to the podium to tell thier best joke. I remember giving it my best shot telling a joke that made fun of consultants. Edgar wrapped up the contest with a very simple joke.

An old man and woman were on their front porch one evening watching the sunset.

The old man looked over at his wife and said, "Ma, whatever happened to our sexual relations?"

The old lady thought about this for a second, and responded, "You know Pa, I don't know. I don't even think we got a Christmas card from them last year."

Nothing fancy, but it brought the house down.

Edgar was a writer and a poet. Much of the memorial service was written by Edgar. The front cover of the program included a piece written by Edgar as an affirmation of I Corinthians 13:1-12:

As Thou hast shown us that love is kind,
So shall we be kind to one another.
As Thou hast shown us that love
Believes, and hopes and endures:
So shall our love endure in hope
And faith and mutual trust.
As Thou hast taught us that love
Should not be easily provoked,
So shall we bear and forbear,
Overlooking small shortcomings,
But dwelling in truth
Which sees beyond the frailties of the moment.

Here is Edgar's obituary:

Edgar A. Martin, age 92 died on August 19, 2006. He was born in Jacksonville in 1914. He attended local schools and the University of Florida as well as Oxford University. He was a Presbyterian Elder, serving over 40 years as a church school teacher at Lakewood Presbyterian Church. More recently he became a member of Riverside Presbyterian Church which he had attended in his youth. A member emeritus of the Rotary Club of West Jacksonville and a Paul Harris Fellow, he was awarded the J.J. McCranie Award for outstanding civic service which included service at Sulzbacher Center, St. Johns River Cleanup, Children's Reading Program and Adult Guidance at Paxon High School and other programs of Rotary. He was an honorary life member of the Florida Yacht Club, past member of the Revelers, the Friars, the Seminole Club, Ponte Vedra Club and past president of the Jacksonville Alumni Association of SAE. He was past president of the English Speaking Union and was awarded the merit of honor award from the national office of E-SU. In his early civic life he was twice named man of the month by the Jacksonville Junior Chamber of Commerce, where he served on the board of governors and was twice luncheon club chairman. He was president of E.A. Martin Seed Company and Martin's Garden Stores, which merged with Wilson and Toomer Company, where he was a sales manager. Later he became president of Agrisales, Inc. where he served until age 75. He was past president of the Florida Seed Association, the Southern Seedsmen's Association, and served on the board of the American Seed Trade Association. He was an honorary life member of the Federated Garden Circles of Jacksonville. He is survived by his sons Edgar A. Martin, III, Lawrence D. Martin, Roy Eric Martin (Elizabeth), and his daughter Hedvig, Vera Lavorgna (Anthony), his granddaughters Shannon, Janeice and Sarah, and great granddaughter Kaitlyn and his beloved Anne.

We'll miss Edgar.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.
William Shakespeare

August 21, 2006

Long swim workout

Another hour and a half in the Episcopal pool this morning. Unfortunately, no long course this morning, just a whole bunch of 25-yard lanes. James tagged along and went to the workout with me today.

Good workout:
600 swim
300 pull
300 kick
14x50 on the 1:00 ( Should have been 16x50, I missed the last 2)
5x300 pull :30 rest between sets
450 kick (Started too late to do the full 800)

Mitch said that my stroke is improving, I just need to continue focusing on lengthening it.

August 19, 2006

On the road this week

On Tuesday I drove to Chapel Hill, NC for a meeting first thing Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon I played at the TPC golf course outside of Raleigh, NC and then drove to Myrtle Beach, SC for a conference. Thursday morning the conference started and I participated in the golf tournament that afternoon. Thank goodness it was Captain's Choice. Friday the conference wrapped up and I drove home.

I was able to get in some good runs while on the road. Nice hills in Chapel Hill on Wednesday and nice runs on the beach in Myrtle Beach on Thursday and Friday.

August 14, 2006

Longest swim workout ever this morning

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Hammerhead Triathlon Club meeting to hear Mitch Ivey speak. He is a former Olympian (silver in 1968, bronze in 1972) and was the SEC Swimming Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1993 at Florida. He is now coaching a masters swim group at Episcopal High School.

Mitch gave a terrific talk about his experience in swimming and several stroke tips. He left before I got a chance to talk to him after the meeting, but I did stick around for about 30 minutes talking to other Hammerheads about their experience in the program. Needless to say, it was all very positive.

Last week I couldn't get the nerve up to go try it out. Waking up at 5 am is no big deal. But talking to the folks, I learned they do 3000 - 4000 meters a session. My longest workouts in the pool are 2000 yards. In a 25 yard pool. Swimming twice that in a 50 meter pool seemed daunting.

I finally decided to go try it out over the weekend. Last night, I did not sleep well. I was very apprehensive about going to the practice. I made it to the pool 20 minutes before practice started at 5:30. I had a chance to talk to Mitch, and he told me not to worry about a thing. He said everyone is there to get better and there are all abilities represented. I saw a few faces I knew and met some new folks. Then it was into the pool.

We started by doing a 500 meter warm-up. After my first 100, Mitch told me to start breathing bilaterally and finish my stroke by brushing my thigh with my thumb. He also told me to slow down and relax. I guess my Human Windmill imitation was scaring the others. He told me to breathe on my left twice, my right twice and then take three strokes. It was difficult at first, but I was able to work it into a rhythmn towards the end of the session. With the stops for coaching, I was only able to do a 400 warm-up.

For the first set, we did 3 x 400 by alternating swimming the first 50 then kicking the second 50 without a board. We did get to use fins. I made it through that set successfully.

The next set was 20 x 50 broken up into 4 250s. The splits for the 250s would decrease until the fifth subset, which would be done with more rest. The lane I was in (which turned out to be one of the fastest lanes so I hung off the back) did the first 250 as 5 x 50 on the 1:00, then :55, then :50. The last 250 was done as 5 x 50 on the 1:10. Needless to say, I was hitting those splits, and let the other guys pass me a couple of times. I ended up doing 16 x 50. Not bad.

Then we had to do it again. With fins and hand paddles if we wanted. I chose to do it with a pull buoy. Not sure if I was supposed to, but the fins I wore in the 3 x 400 were too small and left terrific blisters on my toes (I promptly ordered my own set of fins when I got home this morning).

Then it was time for a cooldown. Total workout for me was 3300 meters. More importantly, since I am used to yards, that works out to 3600 yards.

Afterwards, a bunch of folks asked me how it went and Mitch came over and told me that we were going to continue to work on my stroke. I am glad I was able to get over the nervousness to attend. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it to the Wednesday or Friday session, but I will certainly be there next week.

August 8, 2006

Emily starts kindergarten

FirstDaySchool 017

Yesterday was Emily's first day of school. Boy, do I feel old. She absolutely loves school and when Karen picked her up yesterday, Emily asked if she could sign up for extended session.

We were wondering how a full day of school would affect her energy levels. Based on yesterday and today, she hasn't missed a beat. We'll see how she does Friday. Going from a 3-day a week, 4-hour a day preschool to 5 days a week and 6.5 hours a day is quite a jump.

We are so proud of our little girl.

August 4, 2006

Four generations

DiamondD 130

We took the girls to Diamond D ranch yesterday to visit my Dad's horse Poteet. She is an unbelievable 36 years old, the same age as me. I'm not sure when my grandfather purchased Poteet, but it was sometime in the 70's. My Dad took me the barn as a youngster to ride horses. That was fun until he started letting me take the dirt bike to the barn. Poteet is a very gentle horse and my Dad has taken terrific care of her. He wanted to make sure we took pictures of my daughters with her, the fourth generation of Butlers to ride her.

Tour de Pain begins tonight

The Tour de Pain starts tonight with a 4-mile run on the beach at 7:30. Tomorrow morning at 7:30, we will run a 5k at the 1st Place Sports store in Baymeadows. The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 with a 1-mile sizzler at the Jacksonville Landing. I've been drinking water all day to prepare myself for the hot conditions.

UPDATE: Finished the 4-mile run in 29:10. Very disappointed with my time. Wasn't as hot, but it was very gusty. Thunderstorms were rolling in and the wind was swirling. Although it was an out and back course, it felt like we had a tailwind for a brief time after the turnaround. The rest of the time it was either in our face or blowing from the side.

UPDATE 2: I broke the 21-minute barrier for the second time ever in a 5k with a time of 20:56. Folks have said the course is pretty fast. I have to agree. Splits were 6:34, 6:48, 6:57, and :37. My aggregate so far is 50:06. I would like to finish under 56 minutes, so I need to rip off a 5:54 mile tonight. Possible? I suppose. Likely? Unsure.

UPDATE 3: Sub-six wasn't happening yesterday afternoon. My legs were aching, and in a pre-race jog, we discovered how nasty the course was. The first quarter mile of the out and back course was a gentle decline. The second quarter featured a flat section and then a short gentle incline. Turn around and now you have a short decline, a flat section, and then a quarter mile running gently up to the finish. It starting raining lightly just before the start. After a couple of false readys, it was time to go. Our heat (men 39 and under) took off like a rocket because of the pent up anxiety waiting at the start. Just before the quarter mile mark, we came out of the shade of the buildings and you could feel the steam rising from below. The first quarter took 1:17. Way too fast. I turned around at the halfway point somewhere around 2:45. I was losing gas fast, and the guy I had a one second advantage over in my age group went past. I tried to hang on, but he surged and left me in the dust. I tried to dig deep, but there wasn't much there. I ended up finishing in 6:18. I finished 10th in the age group for the series. James won our age group and Josh took 4th in the 30-34 age group.

August 2, 2006

Tycho Brahe wanna-be

My face got fried this weekend. Now I'm worried about a little bump that I've noticed on my nose recently. It bugs me so much, I've made an appointment with the dermatologist next week. I'm not screwing around with skin cancer. Two guys I played softball with in the early 90's turned their wives into widows because they didn't take it seriously.

Having this bump on my nose reminded me of my astronomy class in college. Tycho Brahe was an astronomer who developed the Tychonic system, a theory that said the Sun revolved around the Earth, and the other planets revolved around the Sun. He knew that effective research could not be done without systematic and detailed observations. According to Wikipedia, "Tycho's naked eye measurements of planetary parallax were accurate to the arcminute." Not bad for not using a telescope!

So why did the bump remind me of Tycho Brahe? Well, he lost part of his nose in a duel and created a replacement out of gold and silver.

Besides the bling nose, Brahe was quite a character and apparently died as a result of a burst bladder. Wikipedia says "It had been said that to leave the banquet before it concluded would be the height of bad manners, and so he remained. His bladder, stretched to its limit, exploded. He died after eleven agonizing days." I remember my professor telling us Brahe had a bladder stone and the only way he could relieve himself was by standing on his head to dislodge the stone. Apparently, he didn't want to be seen at the banquest standing on his head and peeing.

It has also been suggested that he died of mercury poisoning, either intentionally by his wife or his apprentice. When I did a Google search for Brahe, an interesting book popped up from Amazon. I might need to pick up a copy of Heavenly Intrigue: Johannes Kepler, Tycho Brahe, and the Murder Behind One of History's Greatest Scientific Discoveries.