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August 30, 2007

We think Maggie will be a criminal defense lawyer

The first indication came after watching the first two Harry Potter movies when she said she like Malfoy, even though she knew he was bad. It became painfully obvious when, after watching Snow White earlier this week, she declared she liked Snow White's evil step-mother. Perhaps she is picking up some weird vibes from our neighbor who lives behind us. . .

Blimp over Butler Cleaners

Blimp over Butler Cleaners

August 28, 2007

Go Gators!

Gator Track & Field News @

Former University of Florida star Kerron Clement became just the fourth Gator male to win a world track & field championship on Tuesday morning, as he claimed gold in the 400mH at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan.

August 27, 2007

What the heck happened?

Going into yesterday's HOT, I had a high degree of confidence that I would be able to improve on last year's effort. My swimming felt stronger. My bike fitness is the strongest it has ever been. The run is suspect, but because of the bike fitness, I should have a strong steady run. So how'd I do?

Well, I did have some personal bests. My transition times yesterday were my fastest ever for the HOT. I also received my first penalty ever. How's that for a stellar performance?

However, on the 3 most important parts of the race, namely the swim, bike and run, I lagged behind last year's performance. Add a 2:00 penalty and you've got yourself an absolute waste of a registration fee.

The start of the race was delayed 30 minutes because thick fog had settled on the lake overnight and the race director was concerned about participant safety. Once in the water, I felt like I was swimming well. I did find myself off-course quite a bit, and worked on sighting every 10th stroke. At the first buoy I was passed by the leaders of the wave 3 minutes behind us, then midway through I was passed by the first women who started 6 minutes after my wave. In the homestretch, I was passed by a few folks who started in the last wave, 9 minutes after my wave. Stinkin' fish!

Out of the water in 35:14, I was 24 seconds off of last year. There is always talk about this swim course being long, but I should have still been closer to 30 minutes this year.

Transition to the bike was speedy. My rack was the second from the bike out opening, so I put on my shoes and clipped in at the mounting line. T1 was 1:30.

Even though the swim was 5 minutes slower than the goal, I wasn't panicking. I knew I couldn't make up all of that time on the bike, but I could get a steady tempo going and nail my goal of 1:06:00, or maybe a little better. As I pedaled the first several miles, the panicking began. It was taking considerable effort to maintain a pace in the low 20s. In training, I could ride 22.5 - 23, with a HR around 150. My HR was in the 160s. The other challenge was there was a group of racers with similar ability on the course, and we all kept hanging together. I remember trying to stay clear of them, but we always clumped together. On one occasion, the USAT official came by on the back of the motorcycle when I was stuck in the group. Not wanting a drafting penalty, I jumped into a big gear and sprinted out front. Unfortunately, one of the members of the pack must've already passed my front wheel and I didn't drop back out of the pass zone for 15 seconds, so I was nailed with an Overtaken penalty. In my mind, that penalty is bogus. If you are being overtaken by a pack that is drafting, I think it is a crime that you have to let all of them pass you. I hope some of the folks in that group were at least nailed for drafting. The goal was to complete the two loop bike course with equal 33 minute splits. Looking at the splits, the first loop was completed in a little over 34 minutes, and the second was over 35 minutes.

T2 was uneventful. In and out in 46 seconds.

The goal for 2007 well beyond reach, the new goal was to beat last year's time of 2:37:59. To achieve that, I would need to complete the run in 50 minutes. I thought I could maintain an 8:00/mile pace. The first 3 miles gave me a reason to believe I could do it. I reached the 5k split in 25:28. A little slower, but maybe I could kick it out. Nope. The second half, which includes that nasty hill up to mile 4, took a miserable 28 minutes. Yuck.

To make matters worse after the race, I check the results and see the stupid penalty. Official time of 2:42:47. Just not my day.

Photos from the race.

HOT bike data:

HOT run data:

August 23, 2007

Myrtle Beach, SC

It's now easier to embed Google Maps into a blog. Dang those folks in Mountain View are smart.

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August 22, 2007

No wonder there is a dearth of ideas

According to an AP poll, one in four Americans read no books last year. And, in an effort to politicize the statistic, former Colorado Congresswoman Pat Schroeder said that liberals read more and conservatives want sound bites.

With thanks to Schroeder for providing that bit of sound-bite analysis, I guess that means I'm a flaming liberal.

What am I currently reading? The Chilling Stars: The New Theory of Climate Change It was a bit harder to find than a certain former VP's book on climate change, but so far it's an interesting read.

August 21, 2007

2008 Presidential election is anybody's game

Congress Approval Rating Matches Historical Low

The decline in congressional job approval could merely reflect the cessation of any public good will it engendered when the new leadership arrived in January, since the current 18% rating is similar to what it was in December 2006 (21%).

But, it could also reflect disappointment with the new Congress' performance (especially among Democrats) and economic unease.

Hmmm, the Dems were certainly smug after their midterm elections, and now they find themselves 14 percentage points lower than the POTA in approval ratings. Apparently, the majority party in this country can't stand success. All anyone is capable of is mean-spirited rhetoric with no concrete ideas on how to fix anything. Sounds like the theme of the current Presidential campaign.

Back to school

0708_SchoolStart 010Emily started first grade yesterday, and Maggie started pre-K4 today. I think they were a bit sad to see the summer end.

Looking back at Emily's list of things to do this summer, we accomplished 12 of the 14 items. It was too hot to go to the castle park or the zoo. We will do those things this fall. Other things she did that weren't on her list include finishing her first triathlon, going to see a few movies in the theatre, and going to a couple of Suns baseball games. She also accomplished the stretch goal Karen and I set for her by reading 100 books. We are now waiting for a pink iPod shuffle to be delivered as a reward for that goal.

Overall, I think the girls had a pretty good summer, and I'm looking forward to them having another successful school year.

August 11, 2007

Bike ride, 2 mile run

Rode the Westside loop with Mike McLamb, Peter King and Kevin Cofran this morning. I took a turn pulling down Old Plank Road at race pace. Didn't feel super comfortable, but the legs are a bit tired. Looking forward to a day off tomorrow. Once home, I did a 2-mile run off the bike and was cooked. If the conditions are hotter than this for the race, it might just be unsafe.

August 9, 2007

Just over two weeks until HOT

Training is going pretty well. The races this past weekend were helpful in terms of running fast, since I've missed track session sthe last several weeks. I wasn't as fast as I would have liked in the races, but that's OK. This morning John Womack and I did a quick track session consisting of a 1 mile warm-up, followed by 1200-1000-800 at 5k pace, with the last 400 of every interval broken down as 200 jog and 200 hard. We finished with a 1 mile cool-down.

Last night, Mike McLamb and I rode in the awful heat on the Baldwin Trail. After a 6 mile warm-up, I rode 3x17 minutes at 40k pace with 3 minute recoveries between sets. After a 3 mile cool-down, I put on the shoes and ran 2 miles at about 7:30 pace. Did I mention it was hot?

Tomorrow I'll swim, and then do the Open Road short loop Saturday followed by a run. I'm thinking I might increase the run on the brick up to 4 miles and maybe work on the nutrition strategy.

I feel like I'm sharpening up for the HOT. I can't imagine the conditions being any hotter than they have been the last couple of days.

August 6, 2007

2007 Tour de Pain

Low expectations. That's what I had going into this year's race. Looking at my logbook, my running mileage is down 100 miles from last year, and I haven't run nearly as many races. I have spent a lot of time working on the bike and swim, and really have neglected the run. A lot also has to do with the hip problems I had earlier this year.

With that caveat out of the way, I really was surprised with my overall performance. The format for the race is a series of 3 different races within 24 hours. First up is the 4-mile run on the beach Friday night, followed by a 5k road race Saturday morning, and finishing up with a 1-mile out and back sprint in downtown Jacksonville Saturday afternoon.

Combined, I only lost 4 seconds in the 4-mile and mile races. Last year, my 4-mile time was 29:10, this year it was 29:11. Last year's mile was a slow 6:18, this year was a bit slower at 6:21. The 5k is where the destruction occurred. I lost 41 seconds over last year. This year I finished in 21:39. Yecch. Overall time was 57:11, 45 seconds slower than last year.

Still,with the emphasis on things other than running, I can't be too disappointed. Hopefully, I will still be faster on the run at the HOT if I pace myself correctly on the bike and have fresher legs for the run. I should be able to go a bit faster on the bike and still accomplish that goal.

The other thing that bugs me year over year is my dismal mile performance. I was once fast at short distances, but it seems that is history. I lost two places this year because the guys 4 and 9 seconds behind me going into the last race creamed me. Both went under 6 minutes. Might need to rethink some of my track workouts.

Here are the HR graphs for the first 2 races:

2007 Tour de Pain 4 miler
2007 Tour de Pain 4 miler

2007 Tour de Pain 5k
2007 Tour de Pain 5k

James ended up on the podium after a heated battle in the mile. He was tied for 3rd going into the race and shadowed his competition to the 1/2 mile mark and then turned the screws of pain. According to the official results, he tied Chris Brock in the mile as well, but the race was that close at the finish.

Mike had a very strong performance in his first TDP, finishing 7th in our age group. He turned in a blistering 5:40 in the mile.

Erin and Josh ran the 4-mile race bandit, and Josh also ran the 5k (actually, he started the 5k and took a shortcut to the finish).

Looking forward to 2 hard weeks and then a one week taper to prep for the HOT.

August 3, 2007

New Jax Marathon course?

Looks like Doug Alred was contemplating a new course for the Jacksonville Marathon last year that would have come down Woodmere through my neighborhood.

Turning off of Herschel onto Woodmere would be the halfway point. After a trip over to Ortega (all the way to FYC) we would come back up Herschel and hit the 20-mile wall at Hungry Howie's before finishing at the stadium.

The first couple of miles would be fast (out of pure necessity) as we run through some (ahem) redeveloping areas of Springfield, almost to 8th Street. Pack yer heat!

I like the idea of a course that would start and finish downtown. Perhaps Doug is looking to make this race larger on the national scene now that it has local competition from Donna Hicken's marathon in February.