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June 5, 2009

Tweet up run for National Donut Day

The folks at the Carolina Godiva Track Club created a terrific race format called the "Donut Run" for their Winter Race Series. Kind of last minute, but would anyone be interested in doing a tweet up version of this tonight to celebrate National Doughnut Day?

Donut Run
5-lap event, describe rules by lap;

LAP 1 Team of 3 must stay together. All run as fast as your slow runner.
LAP 2 Same as lap 1.
LAP 3 Shed 1 runner. The shed runner will run lap 5 alone. The remaining 2 runners must stay together.
LAP 4 Shed 1 runner. He/she is done, has completed 3 circuits. The remaining runner pops off his/her best alone. After this lap, 4 completed for that specific individual, done.
LAP 5 The runner shed after lap 2 now has a crack at lap 5 alone, after hand touch.

Team time is then divided by cumulative age, called Donut Index, and rankings are made for event placing.

Lap 1
Runners 1/2/3
Lap 2
Runners 1/2/3
Lap 3
Runners 1/2
Lap 4
Runner 1
Lap 5
Runner 3

If interested, sent me a tweet @metamarshall or leave a comment on this post. If we can't pull it off tonight, maybe tomorrow evening? Donut Run followed by the Run for the Pies the following weekend. SWEET!

May 7, 2009

New swim telemetry device

Not sure I want to know EXACTLY how bad my swim stroke is. . . - Products

Using the same sensor technology found in Apple's iPhone and Nintendo's Wii controller, SwimSense is building the first performance monitor for swimmers.

April 24, 2009

Coach Paul McRae

My running has improved significantly the last several months thanks to the guidance of Coach Paul McRae of Personal Running Solutions. I joke with my friends that he is using Jedi mind tricks, but he really is doing an effective job pushing me to run better. And it isn't just a matter of making me run more, instead he is reviewing my progress and giving me work-outs that will help me achieve my goals.

Today, the plan was a 2-mile time trial at the Metamile since I had to miss last nights 5k. I ran a little over a mile to warm up. Coal Paul asked me what I thought I could do and I responded that I would be happy with 13:00. He told me he had 12:30 in mind. The lump in my throat soon became a sinking feeling of dread in my stomach. We did a few strides and then we were off.

After taking a quick glance at my watch at the first mile split and seeing 6:11, I really thought I was going to die before I completed the second Metamile. He pushed me hard the second mile, literally a couple of times, and I ended up finishing in 12:30. It was painful, but it was good training to run hard while feeling tired.

If you are looking for someone to push you to achieve your personal goals, I highly recommend Coach Paul McRae.

April 17, 2009

Katie Ride for Life

Heading up to Amelia Island at oh-dark-thirty for the Katie Ride for Life. Team Liver Families (sponsored by Jacksonville Running Company) will be heading out at 0700 for the 100k route. After that, a relaxing weekend at the Amelia Island Resort with my wife.

I am looking forward to meeting our team MVP, Andrew Kozlowski. He is 2 and just celebrated his first year anniversary post-liver transplant. While we rode last year, Andrew and his family were in Miami for his transplant. They will be doing the walk associated with the ride this year and we are very pleased to have them join us.

If you would like to donate, please visit our team page.

March 16, 2009

Life imitating art

Who knew Edvard Munch had the Hart Bridge in mind when he painted The Scream?

Hat tip to David Carr for sharing the photo on the left. I hope "Karen" has a sense of humor.

Great River Run

Had a great race this past Saturday, especially considering my training has been seriously hampered the last 2 months because of the broken elbow. Little or no speed work and I still came within 45 seconds of my PR. My finishing time was 1:07:55.

My splits are pretty good. I went out kind of hard to find some room (never really did) and then settled into a nice tempo in San Marco. The splits then went down a bit with the Hart bridge, but nothing dramatic.

There are some folks griping online about the distance measured by their GPS watches. It is not surprising that the watches measured the course long. With so many people on the course, it would be impossible to run the shortest distance. And with so many turns, I can't imagine being on the very inside for every corner. The only folks with a chance to run only 9.3 miles are in the very front and I don't think they wear GPS watches. It was no surprise my Garmin 305 beeped early at the first mile because I had to do a bit of weaving and jockeying to find space. And I was seeded up front. I can't imagine being towards the back and trying to work to the front. Those folks could have run 10 miles!

All in all, a terrific event. Plus a great post-race party thrown by Jacksonville Running Company capped a spectacular day!

March 13, 2009

Gate River Run 15k National Championship

I'm excited about the race tomorrow. I am about pasta dinner'ed out, eating pasta every night for the last 3 days.

The goal is to run the first mile in 7:30 and then turn the screws. Last year I had the same plan and ran the first mile in 7:30, and then subsequent miles right around 7 minute pace until 8 and 9. Those were 7:25 and 7:48. I ended up finishing in 1:08:22, which I wouldn't mind doing tomorrow. I would like to crack 1:08. Although not a PR, with the sporadic nature of my speed training lately, it would be an accomplishment.

This race is huge for Jacksonville, and has been a part of my life for a long time.

Good luck to everyone running tomorrow!

March 2, 2009

Once again, I prove exercise is bad for you

I went for a brainstorming run at lunch. The run went really well until I turned onto my street to head home. A neighbor was walking with her daughter and unleashed dog. I slowed up as I reached the dog, but it didn't matter. The dog snapped at my bootie putting a small hole in my shorts and leaving me with a red welt on my rear end. Thankfully, upon closer review, no blood.

By the way, I did come up with a couple of ideas. We'll see if they are any good.

February 28, 2009

Ortega River Run

No expectations for this race. Since I broke my elbow 6 weeks ago, I've been able to run some but no speed or tempo work. Speed is always the first to go. I have endurance, as evidenced by being able to run the marathon 2 weeks ago after essentially a 4 week taper.

The goal today was to hit the first mile in 7:20 and then crank it down. I'm never one to stick to plans in the heat of a race. My first mile was a little under 7, and the next one was right around 7. The third mile is tough, going over the US 17 bridge. That one was slower, coming in around 7:23. I was hurting, but decided to hang on and tough it out. My fourth mile was 7:09 and then I finished it up with a 7:05 to come under 36 minutes at 35:47.

This was my first race in Mizuno Precisions and I love them. I can't wait to race in them with more speed in my legs. Very light and good feel. Plus, the just look dang fast!

Two more weeks until the Gate River Run. I am optimistic I can add some more speedwork in before then and have a respectable time.

February 23, 2009

Activity report from my run in North Carolina

Here are the details from my quick run yesterday in Raleigh, NC. Would love to go back when I have more time. Greg uses the trails for his 3-hour runs. No doubt why he is a strong runner.

February 19, 2009

Jacksonville Running Company announces group run schedule

Jacksonville Running Company has announced their group running schedule.

Group Run: Easy 3-7 mile Kenyan shuffle.

Track workout at UNF: Bring Your Light Weight Training Shoe! All levels welcome, meet at UNF Trail Head for warmup jog to the track.

Group Run: Easy 3-7 mile Kenyan shuffle.

Trivia Night Group Run: Meet for easy 3-7 miles, then head over to Hooters for Trivia at 8pm

Prediction Run: Bring $5 and leave your watch at home. It's a 5 mile loop, guess your time. Closest time win half the pot. The other half is for pizza and drinks at Hotel Indigo. Anyone can win!

It really is exciting to see alternatives in Jacksonville. I think the entire running community is going to benefit!

UPDATE: It is my understanding that the runs will leave from the store at 9823 Tapestry Park Circle, Suite 4, Jacksonville, Fl 32246. The development is so new, it's not on Google Maps yet, but it is over by Seven Bridges and Merrill Lynch. Give them a call (904.379.7170) if you need directions.

UPDATE 2: They will leave the store at 6:30 pm.

February 18, 2009

Jax MS Mud Run

It really is too bad this race is the same day as the Ortega River Run.

I participated in a tour of the Cecil Commerce Center today and saw the 6-mile course under construction. It really is impressive. A really cool section of the course is up and down over the old weapons bunkers, which rumor has it once held nuclear weapons.

Of course, I couldn't do it this year with the recovering elbow. One bad slip or fall and the recovery process would start all over.

February 13, 2009

Twittering for a cure

This Sunday a group of runners are going to provide live Twitter updates throughout the National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer. Personally, I am doing this in an effort to raise money for the cause. My mother is a breast cancer survivor and the disease has affected too many people that I care about. This seemed like a great opportunity to have fun with Twitter and raise money for a great cause.

Steve Vandergriff and I will be pacing a group of marathoners who are aiming to break 4:30 in the race. The goal is to provide the race updates while making sure our group achieves it's goal. On top of all of this, since my broken elbow has not completely healed from my accident, I'll be twittering and running and trying not to fall.

Here is the map for the race:

That's it for now. Don't forget to track us on Sunday!

February 12, 2009

Bike to Work Day 2009

City preparing for cycling season - Jacksonville's Financial News & Daily Record

"Bike to Work Day 2009" will be held May 15 and Redman said cyclists from all parts of Jacksonville are invited to leave their motor vehicles at home that day.

Mark your calendar. I'll be in LA and I don't think I'll see too many bikes on I-5.

February 2, 2009

Max Jones' marathon prediction formula

I need to give this marathon prediction formula a try.


January 31, 2009

New Perpetuem flavor coming!

Hammer Nutrition is releasing a Caffe Latte flavor for Perpetuem, one of my favorite endurance fuels in February. Plus it includes some caffeine. Sweet!

January 20, 2009

Once a Runner is being re-released

I am very excited Once a Runner is being re-released in April. Up until now, if you wanted a copy, you could expect to shell out over $50. I'll be picking up a copy the day it is released, that is for sure!

January 19, 2009

So what happened?

I am now experiencing less pain in my right arm so I can actually spend a little time typing what happened yesterday afternoon.

I met up with Mike McLamb, Lyndon Box and James Cardozo at the stadium to run the River Run course as a tempo run. We had a good run with some excellent effort in the middle. Then the big finale, the Hart bridge. I'm not a fan of running the bridge when traffic is flying across. It is a harrowing experience to put it mildly.

We ran up the bridge and crested it in single file. On the way down, there is a little more room in the shoulder to spread out. Coming down, I was in the rear and heard someone step on something metallic. It made a clanging noise and I didn't think anything else about it until I heard it again. It's kind of fuzzy, but I think I heard it again, and then went down face first. Hard.

Turns out, it was a metal ring, maybe 15" in diameter. It wrapped around my ankles like a bolo. I was essentially hogtied. My right hand was a bloody pulp, it took the brunt of the fall. Both knees had terrific strawberries. When I got up, my right arm was numb. A driver going up the bridge slowed down to check on me. I gave him the thumbs up. Thanks for checking Mr. Anonymous Green Camaro Driver.

The guys had kept running and eventually turned around and saw me bent over and staggering. They jogged back up to see what was going on. Fortunately, I only had a half mile to jog back to the car.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch taking ibuprofen and icing everything. The right arm is still hurting pretty badly, but I don't think it's broken. It isn't swelling, and I can move it in all directions. Although on a few occasions, bending the arm or my wrist almost brought tears to my eyes.

Today, more ice and ibuprofen. I was considering running 10 at race pace tomorrow morning, but I've changed my mind (OK, Karen changed my mind). I'm glad I am in taper-mode and can afford to take the time off. Although, the taper is a time for your body to heal the effects of training, not stupid accidents on a tempo run.

UPDATE (1/22/2009):
Went to see the doctor today. Fractured the radial crown. No cast, splint or sling. Doctor says I can run the marathon on 2/1, but if I fall the bone will break off and I'll need surgery to have screws inserted. Really bummed, but I'm not going to risk surgery so no race for me. Ultimate irony is I met my friend Owen at lunch to pick up my race shoes.

January 16, 2009

Using the Forerunner to "track write"

Interesting article in Runner's World where a lady used her GPS watch to create a message when overlaid on a map:
Let Her Spell It Out for You

I've thought about "track writing" with my Garmin Forerunner 305. The lady in this article used a 205. A 305 has a much better antenna, so I think the results would be much better.

Here's my example with the 2 devices:

Garmin 201 - Track workout, October 2006
Garmin Forerunner 201

Garmin 305 - Track workout, November 2008
Garmin Forerunner 305

The difference in the new antenna is remarkable.

January 12, 2009

The dawn of a new day for Jacksonville runners

Next Monday, January 19th will be an exciting day for the Jacksonville running community. That's the day Owen and Jo Shott, along with Ted Devos, open the Jacksonville Running Company. Jacksonville is already fortunate to have a great running store with 1st Place Sports. I think the addition of JRC will strengthen the running community, much like the multiple bike stores we have in town.

Good luck guys!

UPDATE: Looks like the opening has been pushed back to January 31.

Directions to JRC...
From I-95 South exit 344/ Butler Blvd. and go east. Travel 2 miles to Southside Blvd./ FL115 North exit. At first traffic light, Gate Parkway, turn right. Turn right at first traffic light, Deer Lake Drive. Second left on Deer Lake Dr. is the entrance to Tapestry Park. Jacksonville Running Co. is located 2nd door from end on right off the main road.

January 8, 2009

Recovery article by Greg McMillan

Just read this good article by Greg McMillan on developing an effective recovery routine. I just started trying out the Hammer Nutrition Recoverite powder. It's a 3:1 carbohydrate to protein powder with some amino acids blended in.

January 6, 2009

17-mile run today

Here is the route. Just an OK run. Humidity was miserable.

Playlist (in no particular order):
Back In Black -- AC/DC
Bad Medicine -- Bon Jovi
Be Still -- Story Side B
Better Days -- Citizen King
Bittersweet Symphony (remix) -- Moby
Bring Me to Life -- Evanescence
Cannonball -- The Breeders
Crank Dat Soulja Boy (Cousin Cole Remix) -- Soulja Boy
Elevation -- U2
Fly Away -- Lenny Kravitz
Glycerine -- Bush
Going Under -- Evanescence
Harley David -- The Bollock Brothers
Here I Go Again -- Whitesnake
Hold Your Head Up -- Argent
Hope To Carry On -- Caedmon's Call
Hurricane Jane (The Cansecos Remix) -- Black Kids
Leech -- Eve 6
Monkey Wrench -- Foo Fighters
My Hero -- Foo Fighters
Never Let Go -- David Crowder Band
Never Let You Go -- Third Eye Blind
Nookie -- Limp Bizkit
Numb -- U2
Plush -- Stone Temple Pilots
Shine -- Newsboys
Take Me Home Tonight (Justin Kase Remix) -- Eddie Money
The Remedy (I Won't Worry) -- Jason Mraz
The Sweet Escape -- Gwen Stefani
The World We Live In -- The Killers
This Is Your Life -- The Killers
Under the Milky Way -- The Church
We Need Each Other -- Sanctus Real
What I Didn't Know -- Athenaeum
Where The Streets Have No Name -- U2

January 1, 2009

Goals for 2009

Here are some stretch training goals for 2009:
Running -- 1500 miles (2008 actual -- 1025 miles)
Cycling -- 3650 miles (2008 actual -- 2784 miles)
Swimming -- 125000 yards (2008 actual -- 96900 yards)

I think in order to achieve these goals, I am going to have to change the way I do some of my training. Translation: I need to stop doing every workout near the top of my aerobic zone and letting the workout bleed into an anaerobic state. Some days need to be easier. I have no problems going hard on the hard days. Every day of training can't be a race.

I also will need to do a better job with recovery. Eating something (healthy!) the first hour after a workout. Doing active recovery workouts the day after a hard workout and not going hard again.

New training goals for 2009 (this is going to be painful):
Pull-ups -- 3650
Sit-ups -- 36500
Push-ups -- 36500

I have neglected working on my core and I will do a better job in 2009.

Race goals:
Half-Ironman -- sub-5:30 (current PR: 5:58)
Olympic -- sub-2:30 (current PR: 2:32)
Marathon -- sub-3:30 (current PR: (3:37)
Half Marathon -- sub-1:33 (current PR: (1:34)
5k -- sub-20:00 (current PR: 20:53)

The half iron and marathon goals look aggressive, but they really aren't. We'll see how close I come to the marathon goal on February 1. With the 70.3, I just need to race smarter and get nutrition right. I also think working on the swim so I get out of the water sooner will have exponential benefits for the entire race.

See you on the road (or in the pool, ugh).

December 31, 2008

41-mile ride with the McLambs

Left from the neighborhood and did the Mandarin loop.  Tough headwind.  Thanks to the abundance of shrapnel on Jacksonville's roads, I had a flat courtesy of a nasty gash in my rear tire.  Overall enjoyable ride.  Now off to the bike shop for a new tire.

UPDATE:  Course map.

December 30, 2008

Useless marathon data

Odds and ends I left out of the race recap.

I took a Hammer Gel every 5 miles. The flavors for the day were Apple Cinnamon, Espresso and Tropical with caffeine (x2). I nursed a bottle of Grape G2 from 6.5 miles to the halfway point. All other water stations I took water, and water and Powerade at the later stops.

Mizuno provided the shoes and singlet (Go Juggernauts!), the RaceReady shorts were subsidized by Hammer Nutrition and socks were from City Cycle. My trusty Garmin 305 was providing the telemetry.

Here is the pace chart with heart rate data overlay:
2008 Jacksonville Marathon

Frequently played tunes on the iPod during training (but not the race!):
I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance (The Twelves Remix) -- Black Kids
Prophecy -- Remy Zero
Somebody Told Me -- The Killers
Real World -- Matchbox Twenty
The Remedy -- Abandoned Pools
Machinehead -- Bush
Summer Rain -- ATB
Take Me Home Tonight (Justin Kase Remix) -- Eddie Money
I should know -- Dirty Vegas
Seven Nation Army -- White Stripes
TMBG Man 2002 Remix -- They Might Be Giants
She Is -- The Fray
Run -- Snow Patrol
Going South -- The Wolfgang Press
Technologic -- Daft Punk
Rich Girls (RAC Mix) -- The Virgins

December 29, 2008

2008 Jacksonville Marathon

Going into marathon training this fall, I was wondering if all of the miles I put in on the bike this summer were going to help my running. They did.

I began training the week of September 22nd, with 13 weeks to get ready. I developed a schedule based on 3 weeks of build followed by stepdown weeks. In the beginning, I did ramp up the mileage fairly quickly, which is not the best, but I backed off on the cycling so I think it balanced out. My running regime was based on the Furman First program, with 3 key workouts (long, track and tempo) plus recovery runs and/or cross-training. I also started getting weekly massages in November. I was able to put in 4 runs of 18 miles or longer, including 2 twenty mile runs. A PR in the Outback Half on Thanksgiving and a strong run nine days later in a warm OUC Half boosted my confidence.

The week before the marathon I was extremely anxious. The weather forecast was not good and it looked like it was going to be hot and humid. I took in a lot of water during the week, so much my wife started making fun of my frequent trips to the restroom. Tapering is not easy because you have trained your body to expect a pattern of work-outs.

The morning of the race was somewhat cool, but it still was not optimal running conditions. The only hope I had was that the skies would be overcast to keep the sun off. I had mentally prepared myself the days leading to the race, envisioning running strong in the heat.

The beginning of the race was comfortable. The goal was to do even 8:00/mile splits. There was a group I was hanging with that was doing 7:50. I decided to remain with them, because I knew in my head that if I dropped back I would find myself pressing to catch them again. Plus, according to McMillan, I was capable of running 7:37 miles for a marathon. I decided that even with the heat, 13 seconds over projected pace would not destroy me. Somewhere along Mandarin Road, between miles 8 and 10, I dropped that group and started passing folks. Running miles 13 through 15 is a blast because of the crowd support. After 15, I was still passing folks. Through 18, my average was a 7:52/mile and on pace for a 3:26 marathon. Unfortunately, this is where the happy part of the race report ends.

Because of the heat and humidity, I was sweating quite a bit. However, for some reason my bladder filled up. I needed to go as soon as mile 6, but could never find a port-o-let that was empty or didn't have someone waiting. Finally, at mile 18 I had my chance. My body felt really good after the pit stop, but I think my legs locked up a bit. After making the turn onto Scott Mill, my body started slowing down. There is less shade on this part of the course, and there were no clouds, so it started to get really warm. At the water stops, I took in a lot of fluid because I knew my body needed it, but it made my stomach gurgly. By the time I got to the next stop, I would be in dire need of fluid again and would feel like I was overindulging. I wish I had a water bottle at this point to sip on.

I continued to slow down and was eventually walking through water stops after mile 21. I saw Rick Patterson at 23.5 and he told me to pour water over my head. That felt good and gave me a boost. I started doing the math in my head to determine what it would take to still finish under 3:30. Once I realized that wasn't happening, I started doing the math to beat my PR. I still had a chance. However, with each passing mile, that goal also became unattainable.

In the end, I finished in 3:39:29, two minutes off of my PR that I ran in my first marathon ever in 2004. The weather in 2004 was absolutely perfect. I consider this year's Jacksonville Marathon to be on par or better than the 2004 because of conditions.

In the past, after a bad marathon I would immediately start looking for another race to redeem myself, but in the end would decide that would be a bad idea. This year is different. I know I am in really good shape and I owe it to myself to find another marathon and hope for good conditions. After talking with numerous folks, I think I am going to do the Tallahassee Marathon February 1 to go for that PR. Traditionally, the weather is very cool for the race and it is a pretty fast track. Apparently, it is even flatter than Jacksonville.

My recovery has been very fast. I ran 3-4 miles 2 days after the race, then did a 30 mile bike ride last Friday. I ran 5 miles Saturday morning, and another 5 miles this morning. Jenny Lindley gave me a great massage this morning and I feel like I am back to pre-race form. I'm shooting for 15 miles this Saturday morning. That will be 4 weeks before the race. A couple more long runs during the first half of January and then a stepdown week followed by a taper week and I should be ready for that PR.

It may sound weird, but my body is now conditioned to expect marathon training every fall. It craves the long workouts. I enjoy the experience, spending time on the road and track with friends. I am also thankful to have the support of my wife and daughters to allow me to be selfish and take the time to do the training (although they are rarely awake when I leave for my runs).

December 17, 2008

Garmin Forerunner 305 screens customized for marathon

Changed the screens around a little for the race. I need to revisit this right after the race to determine how I liked the changes. Here is how I have them set-up:

Main Screen:

This screen is set-up for real-time data. Where am I in the race, what is my pace and HR?

Screen 2:
Current Lap
Lap Pace
Heart Rate

I thought this might be good to do a pace check during the race. Once in a smooth and steady pace, switch over to this screen and confirm the pace.

Screen 3:
Average Pace

Another screen to save me from doing math. Will check this one periodically during the first half to make sure I am not surging. I might switch to this screen late in the race as well when HR may be irrelevant and it's more a matter of running based on how I'm feeling.

These screens may change 10x before Sunday, but this is the current configuration.

December 16, 2008

Marathon Strategy 2008 for MMB

Continue to repeat:

I will run 8:00/mile pace and finish the first half in 1:45:00.
I will run 8:00/mile pace and finish the first half in 1:45:00.
I will run 8:00/mile pace and finish the first half in 1:45:00.
I will run 8:00/mile pace and finish the first half in 1:45:00.
I will run 8:00/mile pace and finish the first half in 1:45:00.
I will run 8:00/mile pace and finish the first half in 1:45:00.
I will run 8:00/mile pace and finish the first half in 1:45:00.
I will run 8:00/mile pace and finish the first half in 1:45:00.
I will run 8:00/mile pace and finish the first half in 1:45:00.
I will run 8:00/mile pace and finish the first half in 1:45:00.

After the first half, depending on what is in the tank, anything goes. If it means I continue to run 8:00/miles, I'll break my PR by 7:30. If I can pick up the pace, gravy!

Of course, weather is the wildcard. However, even with warm weather, I think a sub-3:30 is possible.

December 9, 2008

Unconventional running events

Love this concept: Tweet Up & Run. Reminds me of this one. And of course the series of races I would like to bring to Jacksonville.

Of course, we do have the 8th Annual Christmas Hash Run coming up. Any interest on organizing some others?

December 6, 2008

2008 OUC Half Marathon

2008 OUC Half Marathon

No races as training runs for Marshall.

Tried to reign it in, and I did for the most part, but I still averaged 12 seconds per mile faster than plan. The first 5 miles I started at 7:20 and descended to 7:14. At that point I made a conscious effort to not be an idiot.

I pulled back and ran very consistent and smooth 7:23 splits for the rest of the race except for the 9th mile, which was a slow 7:29. Finishing time was 1:37:18.

It was warmer and more humid than the Outback, but for the most part conditions were very nice.

I don't think I destroyed the legs. Even though the competitive nature of racing made me run harder, I am glad I was able to shut it down and not run as hard as I could have.

So, 2 half marathon in 9 days with a 20-mile training run sandwiched in the middle. I am ready to start tapering and run a strong Jacksonville Marathon!

December 5, 2008

OUC Half Marathon tomorrow

OUC Half Marathon is tomorrow morning in Orlando. I need to keep reminding myself: TRAINING RUN, TRAINING RUN, TRAINING RUN.

I lowered my PR by 94 seconds last week in the Outback. There is no need to destroy the legs to try to lower the time. Anyway, it is unlikely conditions will be as good in Orlando as they were on Thanksgiving Day.

That means I should just focus on running 13.1 miles at my marathon pace and get comfortable with the effort. Save the legs for December 21 and the Jacksonville Marathon.

Always easier said than done.

December 1, 2008

Interesting news about the BFAST series

Just received an e-mail with this:

The 2009 Beaches Fine Arts Series Sprint Triathlons are scheduled for May 16, June 13 and July 11. Races 1 and 3 will have a new venue in Jax Beach and will cross the Butler and Beach Blvd bridges (race 2 will be at Mickler's).

Very interesting. I didn't do any of these races last year, and only one in 2007. A change of venue is a good reason to try the series again in 2009.

November 26, 2008

Picking out gels for tomorrow morning. . .

Love me some Hammer Apple Cinnamon gel. But I also like the Espresso with caffeine. Choices!

November 24, 2008

Getting ready for Thursday

Great massage today by Jenny. She said my muscles were in much better shape this week than they were last week. I guess stretching does that for you. The massage wasn't nearly as painful this week either. I think some of that credit can go to the electric clippers.

Short track workout tomorrow to get the race pace down and the an easy run Wednesday. The weather is shaping up to be perfect Thursday morning. I don't think I have the goods for a PR, but should have a good showing.

The plan after Thursday's race is a 20-miler next Tuesday, the OUC Half in Orlando on December 6th (that one more at marathon race pace or maybe easier if I run with Pete), and then a couple of runs in the 15=17 mile range at race pace the second and third weeks of December. A taper the week before the marathon and then showtime!

November 20, 2008

Garmin Rocks Part II

I've mentioned it before, but Garmin customer service is some of the best in the business. And I'm not saying that because they took care of me again. They have developed a loyalty from me that will extend to any GPS device I ever need to buy.

My 305 battery is no longer holding a charge for more than 3 or 4 hours. Yesterday's zen run prompted today's call to Garmin. They issued me a RMA number to send it back for a battery replacement. I'm going to put up with the inconvenience until after the Jacksonville Marathon. Then I will be able to be without it for 2-3 weeks.

If there was a viable next step in the Forerunner family, I probably would go ahead and upgrade. I'm just not sold on the 405, and the 305 meets all of my needs. The GPS is super accurate, the heart rate functionality works great, and I love the cadence sensor on my bike. The only downside is the Training Center PC software Garmin provides. No worries though, I use/love SportTracks.

November 19, 2008

20-mile zen run this morning

I was having a hard time getting motivated for today's run to begin with. The temperature this morning was supposed to be in the high 20s. The prospect of heading out at 0500 to spend almost 3 hours in those conditions was not appealing. I soldiered on, took a hit of Hammer Gel out of a flask in the kitchen and walked out my front door.

Even if it's frigid outside (it was), I usually sit on my front steps to put on my shoes while waiting for my Garmin Forerunner 305
to lock in the satellites. This morning, the minute I turned it on, I got a low battery warning. I thought it would be no big deal, if it died on the run, at least I could get some pacing and heart rate data. Then the screen went blank. It wasn't low, it was dead.

Of course, the first thought was to go back in, crawl in bed and get another hour or two of warm sleep. But then I thought this would be a good mind over matter exercise. So I headed out on a 20-mile run with no way of knowing heart rate, pace, time elapsed, distance or anything.

The first 5 miles were fine. I did the Ortega River Run course so I could swing back by and down a gel and some water. From there I was going to run to St. Vincent's Hospital and back for another 5, grab a gel and water and then repeat the two loops again. As I was heading out for the second 5-mile loop, I decided that was going to be too boring, so I headed for downtown to do the bridge loops. I had a gel, so I stopped at the YMCA for water along the way. This loop added a little under 12. One more stop at the house for water and gel and then to Ortega Point for the last 3 miles.

Running without a watch was weird. I kept wanting to look at it, and when I stopped for water I would reach for my wrist as thought I was going to pause the watch. The GPS watch
is usually a helpful limiter to slow me down early on, and without it I know I was doing sub-race pace miles early on. The last few miles were a bit difficult.

I synched up the iPod and looked at the songs I listened to this morning. Based on that, I was able to calculate my run took about 2:43:00, including water breaks. Not bad, but faster than It should have been.

The run was a challenge from a pyschological standpoint. I am so accustomed to having access to data for even 3 mile runs. Going 20 without it was extremely tough, but a good test.

I am a little worried about the watch, because the battery hasn't been holding a charge as long as it formerly did. I need to call Garmin and see if it needs to be replaced.

November 11, 2008

Training update

Good 19-mile run this morning. The weather was awesome. Six weeks out from the marathon. Training for next week includes a long run of 20 miles next week and then a step-down week (with the Outback 1/2 Marathon on Thanksgiving Day). The first two weeks of December will be hard and focused on longer race pace runs and then a one week taper. I promised Pete I would run the OUC Half with him the first weekend in December. Not sure if that will be a race pace practice run, or a long tempo run.

I'm feeling a little fatigued, but strong. Need to do better on diet and hide the kid's Halloween candy.

October 30, 2008

Training confidence

Marathon training seems to be going well. For the month of October I have run the second highest number of miles for a month ever. In November of 2004 I ran 145. So far this month I've run 140. The running totals for the previous three months are 55, 37, and 65. The huge ramp-up could be cause for concern, but cycling miles are drastically down, so effort that traditionally went to riding is now being spent on running.

While this week is technically a step-back week for me, this morning's track session was the toughest one of the year. John, JJ and I ran 1600, 3200 and 2x800. It's a good thing my long run for the week was only 10 miles. I beat my split for the 1600 by 3 seconds, missed the 3200 by 1 second, missed the first 800 by 2 seconds and nailed my last 800. The net of all the intervals? I hit the splits required for someone looking to finish the marathon in 3:30.

Now I need to continue working on the aerobic engine with slower (not slow) long runs, aiming for somewhere around 8:30 m/m splits. I have a hard time with this part of the training, and I ran my 17 mile run last week at 8:20 pace. My race pace will be 8:00, so I'm almost not training but racing the long runs. I need more discipline!

October 12, 2008

Amazing performance at yesterday's Ironman World Championship

Sure, Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington won in Kona yesterday, but Sean Swarner, a two-time cancer survivor with one lung, crossed the line at 11:44:15.


October 10, 2008

Ramping ip the mileage too quick?

Focusing more on the bike, I only ran 156 miles in July, August and September. In the first 10 days of October I have run 50. Worried that I might be escalating the mileage a little too quick. Last week I ran 24. This week I ran 31, a 20% jump. I know the rule of thumb is to increase by no more than 10% a week, so I broke that rule. The difference is I've cut the bike mileage by 40%, so my legs aren't hurting too bad.

Maybe I'll run another 31 next week to offset this weeks big jump, and then go to 35 the following week before an easier back down week.

September 28, 2008

Good 55-mile ride, until. . .

I looked down at my cyclometer at mile 35 and drifted off of the trail. Barreling into soft sand at 22 mph and then over the handlebars headfirst into scrub brush filled with thorns is not fun. I remember stopping and thinking I had broken my neck. Fortunately, I didn't plow into a pine tree. My helmet was intact, but full of dirt and I was covered head to toe in thorny vines. Thankfully, the bike was OK. I gathered my senses and got back on the bike to head home.

A couple of miles down the trail, I saw what looked like a water moccasin just sunning himself on the side of the path. I'm glad he wasn't waiting for me in the brush.

Overall, it was a good ride. I rode from home to Bryceville, then over to Baldwin where I picked up the rail trail. Then it was back home. I listened to the Jaguar game for the first half and was glad they pulled out the victory.

Right now, other than the scrapes and scratches, I just have a sore neck. I promised Karen I would go to the chiropractor tomorrow to check it out.

September 26, 2008

Run to live longer

The next time someone tells you to stop running because of Jim Fixx, tell them to read this.
Running slows the aging clock, Stanford researchers find

Regular running slows the effects of aging, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine that has tracked 500 older runners for more than 20 years. Elderly runners have fewer disabilities, a longer span of active life and are half as likely as aging nonrunners to die early deaths, the research found.

September 25, 2008

Great track workout this morning

I am so glad the fall weather has returned. It certainly made this morning's 5x1000 workout bearable. Unfortunately, for me it was only 4x1000. The guys had already started the first interval when I arrived at the track, so I missed the first one. I did run the last 400 with JJ, so that counts for something.

My goal for the workout was negative splits, and I accomplished that goal, lowering each successive interval by 4 seconds.

Speedwork is great, but I still have some work to do on the base.

A long bike ride and a long run over the next 3 days and this will be a successful training week. It would be REALLY successful if I could get in the pool one of these days.

September 24, 2008

New endurance event to be held in Jacksonville

We get our own version of the Empire State Building Run Up on Saturday, February 7, 2009 when the American Lung Association organizes Climb Jacksonville, a race up the Bank of America Tower. Only 42 floors. Or 838 steps.

Anyone want to organize a team?

September 22, 2008

Cyclists riding across the country for charity hit in NE Florida, 15 miles from finish

This is really sad. However, it won't come as any surprise to anyone who rides in NE Florida.

Charity Cyclists Ending Cross-Country Trek Hit By Truck

After riding their bikes from California to Florida to benefit special needs children, two men were hit by a truck just miles from their final destination.

Stan Bippus, 68, had been on the ride of a lifetime with his nephew, 29-year-old Jeremy Winkelman, by his side when tragedy struck.

Winkelman has cerebral palsy and was the inspiration behind the ride. He told an Indiana TV station that he wanted to show the world that people with special needs can do anything. Earlier this year, the pair set out on a cross-country bike ride from San Diego to St. Augustine to raise money for charity and prove doubters wrong.

The two detailed their trip daily with updates on their blog, and from the looks of things they were loving the trip.

However, on Wednesday, with the finish line less than 25 miles away and six months of travel behind them, Bippus and Winkelman were hit by a truck near Green Cove Springs.

September 16, 2008

Training update

Put in a good effort on Saturday with the Open Road group ride. Group ride dynamics are always interesting. Traditionally, the group has a fast acceleration once we turn onto Beauclerc from San Jose. There was a mini acceleration, but then it was almost like we were continuing the warm-up. The sustained fast riding didn't begin until Scott Mill. There was a stretch that was a real ripper, and looking back at the data we were doing 32 mph for the stretch past the 295 overpass. The pace from that point on averaged 27 mph until the short loop riders turned off. I stayed near the front for much of the ride and worked with a couple of folks to bridge a gap with a breakaway. There was one fellow on a tri bike that put in a huge effort. Total mileage for the day was a respectable 53 miles.

After taking a lazy, hot Sunday off, I put in a good effort in the pool yesterday (perfecting the flip turn!) and a muggy 8-mile run this morning. This oppressive heat is the pits!

Forty mile tempo ride early tomorrow morning to be followed by track work on Thursday.

September 12, 2008

Bad training week

Too bad airplanes don't have treadmills or spin bikes. An Endless Pool would be nice as well, especially simulating rough open water swims with turbulence.

No chance to train on Monday since I spent it in airports and airplanes. Tuesday I was able to get in a run and a quick swim at the hotel pool. It was actually 25-yards and had a swim lane roped off. Very nice.

Wednesday was another travel day.

Yesterday, I did hit the track with the gang and ran some 800s. Did pretty well despite my lack of running recently. This morning I had an early conference call, so instead of risking being rushed by going to the pool, I stayed in the neighborhood and went for a run on the Ortega River Run course.

I might be able to sneak off a swim this evening, but the yard also needs cutting. Responsibilities!

Tomorrow I'm hoping for a 60+ bike ride, with maybe a run off the bike. Be the brick!

August 19, 2008

Flip turns now a part of my swim workout

Towards the end of yesterday's swim, I was ticked that I'm 4 years into swimming, and still not flip turning. Based on their progress, my 7-year-old and 5-year-old will be flip turning before me.

So I decided to do a 500 yard swim with the pull buoy and do flip turns the entire distance. Mission accomplished. Now that wasn't so bad. Admittedly, I probably was flailing my arms on a couple and ended up going too deep on some others, but I did it.

Next step, no pull buoy. I did 200 without my crutch and did pretty well. Towards the end I was really pushing off of the wall and getting some distance. Sweet!

Now to stay strong and not regress. I do worry about folks sharing a lane with me while I improve.

August 15, 2008

Solid training week

Good swim and run on Monday, miserable long run on Tuesday, and challenging ride with Mike on Wednesday evening at the Trail with high winds, pelting rain, and shrapnel all over the path. At least I kept the rubber side down. There was a pine tree that had fallen and blocked the entire trail. Glad I wasn't around when it came down.

Yesterday morning was an OK track work-out. I was just glad to get back on the track with Jay and John. I did the alternating speed workout, with a 400 at 5k pace, and then a 400 at marathon pace. Since my running has not been great of late, I did 800, 1600, 1600. Usually I do 2x5000 with this work out. Need to run more!

I'll swim today and do a long ride tomorrow. I'm still debating whether to do the Open Road group ride or a solo effort.

August 12, 2008

Miserable run this morning

With the recent vacation (recap coming soon), I've been neglecting the run. Yesterday morning I ran for the first time in 2 weeks after my swim. It was a short 3 mile run, but at least I was running. This morning I ran 10 miles. Coupled with the heat and humidity, it was pretty yucky.

Tomorrow morning I have a 40-mile bike ride on schedule. It is now pretty dark at 0600, so I need to put the light on the handlebars for tomorrow morning.

Still not sure about the HOT in 2 weeks.

August 1, 2008

Southside-based running club

Next Level Running Club

July 24, 2008

Yasso 800s will begin on October 16

Yasso 800s

You can predict your marathon time based on how long it takes you to run 800 meters. Don't believe it? The secret lies in Yasso 800s.

Training YTD

Run - 519 miles
Swim - 74750 yards
Bike - 1854 miles

Here are the extrapolated out for the year:
Run - 916 miles
Swim - 134404 yards
Bike - 3358 miles

Run mileage will probably top 1000 since it will ramp up at the end of the year in marathon training. Consistency on the bike is paying dividends.

Need to remember that for the swim. Consistency. Repetition. Get in the #@$! pool!

July 9, 2008

Yeah! Motionbased is moving to Firefox as the preferred browser

I might sign up for a subscription if they do. And maybe they will add cool extensions?

MotionBased TrailNetwork Map Player

Firefox will eventually be our recommended browser.

July 8, 2008

Team Garmin is posting Tour data on Motionbased

Garmin-Chipolte is posting the information for one rider daily on the Motionbased website. Here is David Millar's data for yesterday. Would be really cool to see his information for today's time trial.

The other cool thing the team is doing is sending Twitter SMS updates during the stages. I think Jonathan Vaughters, team CEO and race director, is sending out most of the updates. The funniest one was today:

Ooops... I just dropped the F-Bomb on Versus, live. Sorry to all the parents out there. It was just really intense today... JV

July 2, 2008

Hot run yesterday afternoon, good bike ride this morning

Ran for an hour yesterday afternoon, leaving the house at 4:30. Legs felt springy at first, but then the heat starting bearing down and turned them to lead. I forgot to take my endurolyte caps before I left and was only drinking water. Probably wouldn't have been as bad if I had taken them.

Turned around early this morning and rode 36 miles. Was worried that my legs would not have recovered. Surprisingly, they felt pretty good. My heart rate stayed within a comfortable range. Only one incident of road rage. Some redneck punk pulled up right behind me on Old Plank and laid on the horn and then passed me. Guess he was showing off for his sister/girlfriend in the passenger seat.

June 23, 2008

Marineland Olympic Triathlon

Participated in the Marineland International Distance Triathlon yesterday.

Kevin Cofran, Jay Strates, Steve Matson, Clay Bruce, Lacey, Peter King and I left the condos a little before 0700 for the 0800 race start. This is a fairly small race, and transition was completely open. You could rack your bike wherever you wanted. Besides the International distance, there was a sprint tri, a sprint du, and an international du.

Everyone made their way to the beach for the start. A few pre-race instructions and then the national anthem. The national anthem CD skipped so badly, it must've been gouged with some deep cuts. This would prove to be a creepy omen. . .

As sprint folks lined up near the waters edge for their start, the fellow operating the inflatable boat being used to monitor the swim course hit a wave and was tossed out. Because he didn't have the kill switch attached to his life vest, the boat started doing doughnuts in the water at full speed. Right in the middle of the swim course. You just can't make this stuff up. But it gets worse.

A couple of folks decided to wade towards the boat to stop it. They were soon talked out of making such a foolish decision by lifeguards on long boards who were nearby. The boat was at full throttle and bucking like a mustang. At this point, a race participant decided he could no longer be inconvenienced by this delay started wading out to the boat armed with a life vest. In waist deep water. He got close enough to hit the steering wheel with the vest but missed the throttle. The boat spit the vest back at him. He must have been encouraged by his near success so he went in closer. Folks were either yelling at him to get away, or turning around to avoid witnessing the macabre inevitability. Like I said, you just can't make this stuff up.

The boat lunged at him and he disappeared. Then the boat slowed down considerably. After that, we saw someone in the water begin yelling and dragging a body through the surf towards the beach. Folks with medical backgrounds ran towards the victim with first aid equipment and calls were made to 911. The tension on the beach was overwhelming. We were told by a friend who is a physician that the outboard's prop had ripped through his thigh and almost severed his manhood. He was stable and talking, but in pretty bad shape. The ambulance arrived and I saw him as he was loaded in. He had gouges all over his legs, chest and back.

By this point, the out-of-control boat was heading north with the current and out of the way of the swim course. We were told the race would now start at 0900.

A couple of minutes after 0900 the race did indeed start, with the sprint wave. Two minutes later we were off with the international wave. The swim course was a 2-loop course, meaning we would be swimming with the current and against the current. New rules were also in place that were a deviation from the swim course used in April and May. In the past, once you swam around the northernmost buoy of the three buoys, you could immediately head for shore and run to transition. This time around, you had to swim back to the middle buoy and head for shore. Now I understand why the swim splits were so fast for previous races.

The swim was OK. I've never done a 1500 meter swim in the open ocean. Without a wetsuit, I knew my split was going to be in the high 30s and I didn't disappoint. Swim time was 38 minutes.

The run to T1 requires you to run up a sand dune and then through a parking lot. Once at my bike, I tried to pull my jersey on. I forgot my race belt, so I pinned my number to the jersey. Unfortunately, I pinned number without much give and had a time getting the jersey on. I ended up ripping the bottom of the number as I pulled it down. I had my shoes clipped in and ran out of transition. They didn't have a mount line marked so I wasn't sure where to hop on. I ended up jumping on in the middle of A1A. As I put my left foot down, my shoe immediately unclipped. Grrr. I finally was able to start pedaling and get my feet in. Surprisingly, T1 only took a mniute and 48 seconds.

The bike course was a 2-loop out and back. Based on conventional wisdom, I assumed we would have tailwinds one way and headwinds the other. Nope. The wind seemed to be more of a cross-wind, and occasionally in front or behind us. I immediately cranked it up to 22 and tried to maintain a cadence of 85-95. I was never passed on the bike. My heart rate stayed in the 150-160 range, although at one point it dropped down into the 140s. I immediately cranked it back up to the 150s. There was a considerable amount of roadkill up and down the course, so we were frequently treated to the stench of rotting flesh.

I passed Jay on the way down on the first loop. I saw Steve, Peter and Clay heading the opposite way on both loops, but was never able to catch them. I saw Kevin behind me for both loops. I was waiting for him to overtake me near the end of the bike leg but he never did.

T2 was a bit faster. I was in and out in 64 seconds.

The run course was another 2-loop out and back on a sidewalk running alongside A1A. There was a water station at each end of the course offering only water. It appears all of the sprint participants used up all of the Gatorade. It could have been worse, I heard a lady say that when she reached the far point of the course for her second loop, they were out of water. I remember getting my water at that point and thinking there would be nothing more for me until the end of the race. I can't imagine not getting that last sip of water.

My pace was stuck between 8:00 and 8:15. I wanted to run 7:45 splits but it wasn't happening. The run course, like the bike course, had zero shade. I only stopped for a couple of steps at each water station to make sure I got my water, but ran the entire course very consistently. I was picking people off at a pretty good clip. I passed Clay on the leg back of the first loop. He mentioned how ugly my Tri-Gator race suit was. On the last leg back, I could see Steve in front of me. I could tell on each leg of the run that I was gaining on him. With a mile to go he was maybe 200 meters in front of me. Every time he passed a road sign, I picked up the pace until I got to the same sign. I was really gaining on him and was planning on hanging back and pouncing right at the finish because I knew I had little left for a kick. He heard the footsteps and turned around and saw me with about 200 meters to go. He yelled at me "Oh no you don't" and kicked. I tried to hang on but was spent. He opened another gap on me that I couldn't make up. I finished 9 seconds behind him. Turns out we were racing for 2nd place in our age group. I'm disappointed my tactics didn't work, but still ended up with a third place finish.

According to the results, I ran a 49:06 for a 7:54 pace. However, I think the run course was short (my Garmin agrees) and when I calculate the pace for only 6 miles, it turns out to be an 8:11 pace. That's more like it.

Kevin was with Steve's wife near the finish cheering for us. He dropped out after the bike. We all congregated near the finish and cheered as Peter and Jay finished.

Like the run course, the sprint participants ravaged the post-race goodies. I was able to snag one of the last 2 cokes to replenish some energy. The oranges were gone and the remaining bananas were all green.

I am satisfied with my bike and run. I just need to work on the swim. Sounds like a broken record.

And what an interesting day it was.

From the St. Augustine Record:

Stephen Denny, 47, of Jupiter, was participating in the event and saw Rodriguez's boat circling in the ocean with no apparent driver. Denny swam over to try to stop the vessel, but the boat's Yamaha motor propeller cut both of Denny's legs and his chest, Hill said.

He was taken to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona and remained in satisfactory condition Sunday evening, a hospital spokeswoman said.

June 2, 2008

Very tempting

Peter wanted to know what I'm back in the groove training for. For the short-term, I am looking towards a good race at the Marineland Olympic. Looking long-term, DRC Sports just announced a new half ironman in Amelia Island that will be held the first weekend in October. I could certainly see myself entering that race.

May 29, 2008

Back in the groove

Good week of training so far. Monday was a bit of a disappointment because my 50-mile ride was shortened to 15 because of a flat tire. New tires and rim tape will make sure that doesn't happen again for a while.

Tuesday morning Mike and I ran 7.5 miles. Felt strong and comfortable during the run. This might be the last week of reasonable morning temperatures. Yesterday, Mike and I rode 38-miles doing 5x8 minute intervals with 3-minute rests. I let the heart rate sneak up near threshold, but never felt really bad. This morning, John and I ran a couple of bridge loops downtown. The humidity was nasty, but the temperature was bearable.

Not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow. I leave for Seattle early Saturday morning. I have a couple of running routes picked out for while there. Green Lake seems to be a popular spot. There is also a nice park with trails near downtown. There is also some paths along the water downtown.

May 22, 2008

2008 Florida 70.3 Race recap

Sunday morning at 0530 Kevin, Steve, Tony, Clay, Jay and I were shuttled to the transition area by Clay's girlfriend and Rob. Around 0615, after body-marking and setting up transition, everyone headed to the swim start. Everyone except for Kevin and me. Our waves didn't start until after 0700. Instead of waiting in line for nasty toilets, we decided to catch the bus and retreat to nicer potties, namely the ones in our cabins. A much more pleasant experience, although Karen and Julie probably would have preferred to not have their sleep interrupted. A quick bus ride back (folks were looking at us like we were nuts. . ."Shouldn't you be at the race start?") and we still had to wait 20-30 minutes for our waves. Of course, I had been pounding water, so my nervous bladder forced me to use a stinky port-o-let at the start.

Once my race did start, sometime late Sunday morning, the swim felt comfortable. In my mind, I was making adequate progress. I checked the watch several times during the swim and felt good. The water was warm and didn't taste or smell of diesel nearly as bad as I remembered it last year. And just as sure as I though to myself on the way back to shore that the jostling was at a minimum, it seems like everyone wanted to be where I was swimming. As I neared shore and looked at my watch, I realized that my swim was going to be a bit slower than last year. In training, I didn't do enough interval workouts and it was showing. The swim was ultimately around 47 minutes, 2 and a half minutes slower than last year.

The run to transition is a little bit of a haul. Much of it is carpeted but the last bit is through mulch and mud. My feet were pretty nasty by the time I got to the bike and I didn't leave a water bottle to rinse them. I ended up using the towel I had everything laid out on. I did put on socks, which last year I didn't do until before the run. I'm glad I did because it rained on transition while I was on the bike and trying to get wet socks on later would have been a chore. Another longish run to the bike mount line and I was off. T1 was just under 5 minutes, a full minute slower than last year.

At the start of the bike I took a hit of Hammer gel out of my flask and washed it down with water. For the bike, I determined that I was going to keep the HR at 150 as much as possible to save my legs for the run. Even with the lower cap, I was passing lots of people (good swimmers but poor cyclists?). My speed fluctuated between 20 and 21 mph. We had some favorable tailwinds in spots and some nasty headwinds as we headed west on 192. Much of the bike was under overcast skies, and when we took a 5-mile spur on Porter Road the rain came. I found myself out of the aero position a bit to maintain control. At one point, I thought I was having some GI issues and stopped taking my Perpetuem. I had mixed up a 3-hour bottle and was nursing it with water out of my aero-bottle. Turns out, my race belt was a little too tight and was squeezing my gut. By the way, I hate having to wear the race number while on the bike. I guess having my race number on both arms, on my helmet and on my seat post just isn't enough? I moved the belt down around my hips and immediately felt better. Unfortunately, I had backed off nutrition for a while so I was a bit worried.

Surprisingly, on the bike course, I didn't see any crashes, but did see a number of flat tires. There was one little stretch as we left 535 to go to Overstreet Road where there was construction and we had to ride single file in a no passing zone on a temporary sidewalk made out of plywood. Some chick up front thought 10 mph was the prudent thing to do. That sucked. Then a little later there was a clown in a mini-van that decided to be part of the race and not give any room and DRIVE THROUGH THE AID STATION. All in all, the ride felt very comfortable. My Garmin did show the bike course to be 57 miles, and this was confirmed by several others. My bike split was 7:33 slower than last year, but this was part of the plan. My average heart rate was 148.

Back to T2, I found my wet shoes and cap. I guess I wasn't sweating fast enough and had to make a quick pitstop at the port-a-potty in transition. Transitions took a bit longer this year, and I think I just was a little too lackadaisical in my approach to transitions. T2 cost me an extra 2:22 this year, taking four and a half minutes.

2008FloridaHalf_RunHROut of T2 and into the run, I didn't feel I had the same stomach issues I had last year. The only nutrition I carried with me was a gel flask. I tried to slow down the run but still chalked up the first one in a little over 8 minutes. I saw Karen and the girls for the first time during the first mile. Feeling good. I did start to slow down, but even with walking through aid stations to take ice and water my pace was ~9:00/mile through the first 6 miles. Then the wheels fell off. The overcast skies were gone and it was clear and sunny. And folks started baking. I kept trotting along, but was getting slower and slower. Then a tactical mistake. At the last 2 aid stations I chugged some flat Coke. Oh sweet nectar! I was hoping the sugar and caffeine was the jolt I needed to finish this run. After the race I saw the Coke again. Yecch. Never again. I finished the run a little over 2 hours and 18 minutes. Almost 8 minutes faster than last year. Unfortunately, that only compensated for the extra time on the bike. The longer swim and transitions resulted in me finishing almost 6 minutes slower than last year. My finishing time was 6:03:49.

08FloridaHalf_runpaceI remember at parts of the run calculating that I could still beat my time from last year. And then that goal slowly slipped away. And then I just wanted to break 6 hours. And although the bike course was an extra mile long, that only accounts for 3 minutes.

As I look back at the race, I made a few observations. First, I always dismiss the effect of my poor swimming ability on my race. Just get through the swim and then hammer the bike and run. I'm a terrible swimmer and that isn't changing. But in retrospect, if I want to avoid the heat of the run later in the day, those 10 minutes less I spend in the water sure would help. Second, focus should always be maintained in transition. I got a little too comfortable and wasted time. Third, I remember during the run thinking to myself that I would never do another half. Well, a couple of hours after the race that mandate was forgotten.

Of course, my daughters had a great time at the race and at Disney. Emily suggested we come down for the race with our friends again next year even if I don't do the race. I told her I would be doing the race again and she looked at me like I was crazy.

At least my 7-year-old has sense.

April 29, 2008

Sounds like as much fun as a root canal

I get beat up enough trying to survive the swim in triathlon. This is not the sport for me.
A Bruising New Olympic Sport - Long Distance Open Water Swimming

March 4, 2008

Toenail came off last night

It was the little piggy on my left foot that didn't get any roast beef. One of the victims of the marathon. Emily and Maggie thought it was pretty gross. I asked them if I could put it under my pillow for the 'Toenail Fairy.' They thought it might be worth a shot. The only problem is if the 'other' TF pays up, I might catch my girls slamming their toes with a hammer for an easy payday.

March 3, 2008


So much for my excuse that most of the folks who die in these races are out of shape when my mother brings up stories like this to discourage me from running. This guy ran a 3:02:26 and was 13th overall and dropped dead at the finish line. The Ryan Shay story didn't help, and now this. I guess it just proves that when it's your time, time's up!

February 23, 2008

2008 Ortega River Run

Here is a quick overview of the race. Complete race report after I finish up my Breast Cancer Marathon Report. . .

February 1, 2008

20-mile run tomorrow

Weather forecast at the beach is **AWESOME**. It'll be 45 at 0700, warming to 54 by 1000, with a slight breeze from the NNE. One last chance to run the course and then begin the taper.

January 21, 2008

18-mile training run on the Breast Cancer race course

Ran 18 miles of the Breast Cancer Marathon course on Saturday morning in the rain and cold. James and I did everything except for the first and last 4 miles of the course, which is mostly on JTB. We met up with Josh and Erin after 3.5 miles and ran with them for a while. This is a step-down week for them, so they turned around after running with us for about 10 miles. They live around the 11 mile mark for the race, 7 mile mark for our run Saturday. We were able to stop, grab some water and use the bathroom. Could be convenient on race day!

Here is an overview of our run on Google maps.

Felt pretty strong on the run. The 2.25 mile section on the beach is going to be tough. For the most part, the course is flat. I'm still worried about those doggone bridges on JTB, especially coming home.

The run capped a good week of training. My legs were a bit tired for the long run because I decided to do my annual brickfest last week. A brick a day, with a minimum of 30 minutes. The bricks didn't have to be done consecutively, just 2 disciplines a day. It mostly boiled down to training runs, 3 trips to the pool, and a daily 30-minute session on the trainer, which was really good for recovery.

This week is a down week for me. I might do the Matanzas 5k on Saturday in St. Augustine and ride my bike back. Next week is a big week capped with a 20-miler. Then a 2 week taper. I'm also contemplating the Winter Beaches Run 10-miler the Sunday before the marathon. If I do it, it'll strictly be at race pace.

September 24, 2007

Traveling woes

Tonight, somewhere between the hotel and the restaurant, the right rear tire of my car picked up a huge rusty bolt. As I pulled into the parking lot it was thumping so loudly I thought it was already flat. Nope. Just a giant bolt sticking out. Hertz sent out roadside assistance to change the tire. Now I have to have the tire repaired tomorrow after my meetings before I head back to Detroit. As my boss would say, just part of life's rich pageant. Grrrrr.

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.

July 31, 2007

The weather is winning

Went out for a run this morning. Days like today make me wish I was in the pool instead. By the end of the run, it looked like I had been in the pool. With the Tour de Pain this weekend, I skipped the long run in favor of a run just under 6 miles. Friday night is the 4-mile race on the beach. Saturday morning is the 5k on a pretty flat, fast course. Saturday afternoon is the mile sizzler downtown, which last year was a mile steamer instead.

July 25, 2007

Bike intervals on the trail

Met up with Mike and Peter at the trail this afternoon. After a brief warm-up I did 2 x 10 miles at race pace plus a little. Haven't downloaded the data from the Forerunner yet, but I'm pretty sure I averaged over 24 mph for both intervals. HR was a bit high, but it was pretty hot out there as well, The effort didn't seem too unbearable. For the Hammerhead Triathlon at the end of August I would like to average 22.5 on the bike and still have plenty in the tank for the run.

Speed, HR data.


July 23, 2007

Resource for training on the road

Found a new website that lists gyms that are located within airports or within a short drive of an airport.

Joe Reger ran the Vermont 100

Pretty awesome accomplishment. I've considered training for a 50-mile ultra, but running 100 through mountains? Wow.

July 20, 2007

Running in Birmingham ain't like running in Jacksonville

Ran a little over 5 miles with Mark Robertson this week while in Birmingham. It was really interesting to look at the elevation data at MapMyRun for that run.

July 17, 2007

This sounds like fun

On July 28, from noon to 4:00 pm, Velocity Multisport Coaching is sponsoring a contest to see who can hold the highest power on the bike for 5 mins at the Trek Store in Mandarin. They will use the power numbers from the Tour, and set up your bike on a computrainer and see who has the best power-to-weight ratio for men and women. The time trial and the food (from Native Sun) are free!

July 12, 2007

Sorry knee = no track for me

Decided against doing speedwork this morning. My right knee was sore yesterday from Tuesday's long run. Decided hard running on the track would not be a good idea. Maybe a swim or easy spin this evening.

July 10, 2007

Tough run this morning

I wanted to do an 11-12 mile run today. Met up with Mike and headed for StV, where we met James. We ran together to 5 Points and Mike, looking to do 6-7 miles, turned around to head back home. James and I ran to downtown and did a bridge loop. It was hot and humid. According to the weather alert on my phone when I woke up, it was 79 degrees at 5 am.

I ran with a bottle of HEED, and took a gel around 45 minutes. The gel certainly put some bounce in my legs, if only for what seemed like 10 minutes. James dropped off at StV, and I headed home. According to the Garmin, it was 11.3 miles, but it took 1:35:00. A lot slower than I would like, but I did keep the HR in the 150s. I checked my running log, and last year I ran 11 on the same date, but it only took 1:27:00. Not only that, but I wasn't working hard last year, as my average HR was 149. Very depressing, until I looked back in my blog for an entry regarding that work-out. Suddenly, a smile appeared when I found this entry and these two words: unseasonably cool. Today was seasonably hot, so maybe my running fitness isn't as bad as I thought.

July 6, 2007



On Tuesday morning, I set out for an 11-mile run. About 3 miles into it, I just wasn't feeling it and headed home. Although it was hot and humid, if I could've found a bathroom I may have been able to continue. Was feeling a little heavy, you know? Total mileage for the morning was 6 miles.

Tuesday afternoon, the plan was to do a 5-mile run (Ortega River Run course) to get my mileage in for the day. I started off feeling pretty good, and was maintaining an 8:00/mile pace, but going over the US 17 bridge was a real booger. A thunderstorm was rolling in and the wind was blowing me sideways. Looking at the HR chart, I maxed out at 165, so nothing too terrible. But for some reason, once I got on McGirts, the HR spiked. Way up there. I couldn't muster energy to save my life. I was carrying a bottle of Heed and started hitting it pretty good, but still no luck. The last 3 miles were miserable. There are a couple of dips in the chart, and that is where I slowed down and walked for a little bit.

Still not sure what happened on Tuesday. I didn't do anything on Sunday, and only swam 3000 yards on Monday. I took Wednesday off. Yesterday I swam 3000 and did a 25-mile bike ride. I felt fine. Today is another swim and then another 60-mile long loop ride tomorrow.

July 1, 2007

Rode the long loop yesterday

Did the Open Road 40-mile ride yesterday. Including the ride to and from the shop, it was just under 60 miles. Was a little apprehensive before the ride, but confidence from last month's ride made it easier.

HR Data:

June 28, 2007

Drip, drip, drip

By the end of today's track workout John, Mike and I looked like Frosty the Snowman when Professor Hinkle locked him in the greenhouse. After the cooldown when we were standing in the parking lot, it was funny to watch the puddles around our feet grow.

Here's the comparison:.






















The numbers are off again, but as I look back at my logs, at this point last year I had run 77 more miles. The other wildcard is how poor my speed sessions have been the first half of this year as I battled the hip issues. The key is to consistently do the speed sessions.

June 25, 2007

Summer goal

The goal for this summer is to train hard (and not over train!) and break 2:30:00 in the Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon. My Oly tri PR was set at St. Anthony's last year with a time of 2:32:28

Here are the finishing times for past HOTs:
2004 -- 2:50:51
2005 -- 2:49:39
2006 -- 2:37:59

Here are the HOT splits from last year:
Swim -- 34:50
T1 -- 1:31
Bike -- 1:08:37
T2 -- 0:54
Run -- 52:09

The HOT is not the ideal race to target for a PR. The swim is notoriously always long. The bike is pretty flat. In the past, the run included an annoying hill around the 4-mile mark. This year, they have made the run an out and back, and eliminated the first spur. That will put the hill around the 2-mile mark.

As long as the swim isn't crazy long, I think I can break 30:00 this year. Assuming the transitions are the same, that means I need to find a little over 3 mniutes in the bike and the run. Improving the bike average from 21.8 mph to 22.5 mph will save me 2 minutes. All that's left for me to hit the goal is a 51 minute 10k.

So, I need to maintain my bike fitness, start doing intervals in the pool to sharpen the speed now that endurance isn't an issue, and build the running fitness back up now that the hip issues are gone.

It's good to have goals.

June 21, 2007

Another track comparison

Here is another comparison of track work-outs. We ran in a light mist this morning, and it was very humid. John and I were discussing how it always seems like we have a headwind on the back straightaway, but never a tailwind on the front straightaway.





























The difference in running fitness from last year to this year are even more obvious in today's workout. The good news is, it seems like most of the hip pain is now gone, so I'll be able to slowly ramp up the running mileage. Then again, 11.5 miles on Tuesday wasn't exactly a slow progression.

Next week we do 4400 again with a little more emphasis on the long stuff, and then some short stuff. The plan is 1600, 1200, and then 4x400. I only have last year's data for next week's track session.

June 19, 2007

11.5 mile run this morning

Ran to downtown, across the bridges and back. James joined me at St. Vincent's. Very humid. I lost about 5.5 pounds. Maintainedan 8:00/mile pace, but the HR crept up toward the end. Went without fluids, so it was probably dehydration.

Arlington is not a place for cycling

For the second week in a row I have ridden my bike to Arlington to visit family. Last week I rode to Hope and Jesse's house off of Atlantic. This past Sunday I rode to Karen's parent's house off of Kernan. The first trip I went straight up Atlantic, and through the Regency. The area around Regency Mall is not the place to be on a bike. This past trip, instead of going all the way down Atlantic, I turned left on University, went down to Ft. Caroline, and came in the back way. University had nice shoulders to ride on after you cross the Arlington Expressway, and Ft. Caroline has a bike path that goes for a couple of miles. However, once off the bike path on Ft. Caroline, there is no shoulder. Once Ft. Caroline merges with Merrill, there is nasty construction and no where to hide. The same goes for McCormick and Kernan. I'll keep looking for safe roads in Arlington.
Training - Oleander to Sites 6-10-2007       Training - Oleander to Lazy Meadow 6-17-2007

June 15, 2007

The Summer Beaches Run is

The Summer Beaches Run is one of the few local classics that I've never raced. Looks like this year will be no exception. I'll be in Gainesville. . .

June 14, 2007

Comparing track work-out benchmarks

I've done the same track work-out in the middle of June for the last three years. Last year I was in great running shape and had set a series of PRs. Looking at today's work-out, I don't think I'm too far off, which is encouraging since I haven't done much speed work the last couple of months. If I can put in some quality speed sessions throughout the summer, I might do well in some of the late summer races.

























June 12, 2007


First nasty, steamy, hot run of the year. Haven't had a run like this since last year. Went out for an hour, and it was a struggle. I don't think I was dehydrated, but maintaining a pace faster than 8:00/mile seemed impossible. Hopefully the body will acclimate soon.

June 8, 2007

2007 BFAST #2 tomorrow

Last week, I wasn't sure if I was going to do the race. Then I was recruited to do the swim and bike leg for one of the corporate sponsors. Today at packet pick-up, I was asked if I wanted to do the entire race because they still needed a runner for one of the relays. So tomorrow morning, I will be doing the entire race as a relay team for free. Sweet!

Last month, a 1:01:44 won the relay division. Granted, there was no swim and it started with a 1-mile run. I wonder if I can break an hour tomorrow. The swim is 400 yards. The bike is 10.5 miles, a mile shorter than past years. The run is a long 5k.

Let's see:
Swim -- 9:00
T1 -- 1:30
Bike -- 27:00
T2 -- 1:00
Run -- 21:30

I guess it's possible, but that bike split is going to have to be a little faster for me to have a chance.

June 2, 2007

Where to run in Minneapolis

From what I hear, there is a terrific trail system in Minneapolis. Here is a map of some of the trails with distances marked. I also found a website for the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway.

There are quite a few activities on the MotionBased website.

Lots of options!

June 1, 2007

Florida 70.3 photos

Photos from the race have now been uploaded by ASI.

May 30, 2007

Google Maps now has street view

Pretty neat stuff. In Google Maps, you can now zoom in to street-level imagery in the following areas:
* Denver
* Las Vegas
* Miami
* New York City
* San Francisco Bay Area

I wanted to check out Lombard Street in San Francisco. Thought it would be neat to see the curvy road again. I zoomed in and found terrorists taking photos ! Just kidding, but could see where this could cause some privacy concerns.

Getting back in the groove

Did a 5-mile easy run with Mike McLamb on Sunday, followed by a good 45-mile group ride Monday morning.

The group was harassed by one of JSO's finest on Beaver Street in Baldwin because we were in the road. Hmmm. Thought we had a murder problem in Jacksonville. I was wrong, we have a FITNESS PROBLEM. After taking the time to rush in front of us, jump out of the car, and yell at us to get out of the road, he then followed the group (he said we were blocking traffic?) until we turned north onto 121. I respect police officers, but this guy was bored. We had been passed by maybe one or two cars on Beaver Street until he had the epiphany to protect us from ourselves.

Yesterday I took the day off since it was Karen's birthday. This morning, back in the pool.

Tomorrow it's back on the track and then another swim on Friday morning. Saturday morning I'll do the short loop with the Open Road group and hope there aren't any bored cops in Mandarin.

May 21, 2007

Race recap

Thanks to everyone who has called or e-mailed!

I promise a more thorough race recap, but life is stressful right now. quick summary, I got a call at 2 AM the morning of the race to tell me my Dad had a heart attack. No one in my family has ever had a heart attack. From 2 until 4 AM I was waiting to hear the results of the catheter to see if he was going to need open heart surgery. At 4:30 I found out that they had stabilized him and inserted a stint. I was told to do my race and then come home. Needless to say, it was a very stressful race and I had a lot on my mind. Totally screwed nutrition up going into the run and didn't take in ANY fuel for the run other than nursing a bottle of HEED. B-O-N-K!

Heart rate graphs and GPS maps (the one for the swim is funny):

May 18, 2007

It's time

Can't believe it is here. We are getting ready to head down to Disney for the Florida 70.3 on Sunday. If you watch Ironman Live on Sunday, look for racer 1787.

Thanks to everyone who has offered advice and encouragement. I really appreciate the support I have received as I prepare for my first Half Ironman.

10:30 AM: Weather is looking real nice for the race!

May 16, 2007

Hopefully this won't happen

Got a call from Drew at City Cycle. He said that if I flat this weekend, my race is over. Apparently he had a difficult time putting the new tires on the rims. I immediately think of the stories I heard about the Disney 70.3 last year when lots of folks had flats in one stretch of the road. I also remember Peter King telling me about the popping sounds coming from the transition area the morning of the race. Overinflated tires expanding in the heat is a scary thought.

Since the tires are new, the prospect of them getting cut is low. However, the possibility of a pinch flat still remains. Mike has let me race on these wheels many, many times and they have always performed flawlessly. I remain optimistic. I certainly will be waiting until Sunday morning to pump them up, and even then will stay well within the limits.

May 15, 2007

New bike course for the BFAST series

No more Palm Valley Road. And it is a mile shorter. Here are the details from the website:

Bike (new course for 2007) The 2007 Lifestyles Realtors Beaches Fine Arts Sprint Triathlon Series will be using a new bike course this season. As in the past, the race will start and finish at Micklers Landing in Ponte Vedra Beach. For the biking leg, athletes will head north along Florida A1A from Mickler Road to Solana Road and return south along Ponte Vedra Boulevard. The new bike course is 10.5 miles. As always, St. John's County Sheriff's Office deputies and race officials, organizers and volunteers will be monitoring the course and directing athletes along the new route.

That's an easy way to lop a couple of minutes off of a PR.

Race week preparations

My bike is up at World Famous City Cycle for a pre-race tune-up. New bar tape, chain, tires and moving the mount for the Garmin Forerunner 305 are also on the list. I finally got the bike-to-wrist mount. It's pretty neat. It comes with the mount for the bike, and then a velcro strap with a similar mount. In T2, you pop it off the bike and click it onto your wrist.

I need to figure out how I am going to secure my Garmin under the swimcap. I also need to replace my shoelaces with Yankz. I'm going to use an older pair of shoes that still have life in them. Since the run course includes a lot of grass (packed dirt), I hear shoes get trashed. The Wave Riders I wore in the River Run should be perfect.

May 13, 2007

Still thinking strategy

I have limited HR data from past long endurance events to analyze. Before the 2006 Jacksonville Marathon, I used a barebones Polar S150 to track HR data. I could look at average and max HR information, but not in a graphical format like I can with the Garmin Forerunner 305. I am still trying to decide how fast I can go in the Florida 70.3.

I went back and looked at the '06 Jax Marathon, and my average HR was 165 and I kept the HR north of 160 for the entire race, 3:42:00. I know HR max for running and cycling can be very different. I'm wondering if I could maintain a 150. Or maybe do 140 for the first hour or so, see how I'm feeling, and then start ratcheting it up. The other wildcard is my inability to stick to a pre-race strategy once I get caught up in the heat of competition. However, I do want to be very methodical this coming Sunday and race smart.

Weather looks favorable. There is a front coming through and there will be isolated T-storms through Saturday. The high for Sunday is going to be 83. Project for the wind is out of the NE at 15 mph. That might make the first half of the bike challenging, but we'll have a tailwind coming home. Maybe another reason to start at 140 bpm.

May 11, 2007

Starting to think about goals for Florida 70.3

Here is the current thinking:






















Stretch is a S T R E T C H.

May 9, 2007

Peter King is an Ironman

My neighbor Peter King finished his first Ironman race on April 15th in Arizona. Congratulations Peter!

Here's his race recap.

We will be racing together down in Disney at the Florida 70.3 a week from Sunday. Last year's Florida 70.3 was Peter's first half-Ironman. Not sure if I am going to bite off the full iron distance within the next year.

May 7, 2007

Forerunner scare

Just had a bit of a scare with my Forerunner 305. I tried to synch it with the PC, and the Forerunner was dead. Nothing. Took it out of the cradle, tried to turn it on, nothing. Unplugged the cradle from the USB and plugged it into the power cord, nothing.

Called Garmin support, they suggested a hard reset, although I would lose all of my data. No problem. To do a hard reset, hold down the mode and reset buttons for 5 seconds and then press power. It worked! And as a bonus, I didn't lose any data. Sweet!

Not sure what happened, but it freaked me out. My Forerunner is my favorite training tool and I'm glad to know I won't have to spend time without it.

By the way, Amazon has the Forerunner 305 for $206 after $50 mail-in rebate. A great deal. Click the link above to check it out.

Long loop thoughts

I feel like I dodged a bullet doing the long loop this past weekend. A lot of the fast riders were out of town at a race. I also benefitted from a higher than average number of red lights, or so I was told. Nonetheless, I put the date as a goal in my calendar at the start of the year, trained pretty hard on the bike to prepare, and achieved the goal on the date I had set.

The ride over was uneventful. I have done the short loop many times, and I have never needed to go before a ride. Maybe it was the nerves, or maybe it was all of the fluid I took in in anticipation of the ride, but I was in dire need of a restroom. I found a secluded spot behind the shopping center and felt much better. The group left the parking lot and began the warm-up. Unbelievably, I found myself needing to urinate again right before the hard part of the ride began. Nothing I could do but ignore it.

As the group turns off of San Jose onto Beauclerc, there is a quick acceleration. Nothing major, but you do have to put it in the big ring and get out of the saddle. Then it is a steady tempo ride down Beauclerc until we turn left on Scott Mill. Another acceleration, but again, nothing remarkable. Shortly before the 295 overpass there was a massive surge. I had to shift up a couple of gears and get on the rivet when I saw Mike take off. I was on the edge of the road and I had to get over to the far left and pass the folks in front of me because they weren't going. I caught the breakaway and rode a couple of wheels behind Mike. Because of construction on Scott Mill, we had to take the detour right after the overpass to San Jose and then resume the course at Mandarin Road. Riding along San Jose was a steady tempo, not much faster than the warm-up. But the minute we turned onto Mandarin Road, it was hammer time.

The pace was brisk, but the group had to slow down for a pick-up pulling a trailer down the narrow part of Mandarin Road. Seeing a pack of rabid cyclists in his rearview, the driver was kind enough to pull over onto the shoulder and let us pass. The pace had dropped to 10-15 MPH at that point, and after the pass it was another acceleration. Around Mandarin Road was a hard, steady effort. I maintained my position in the middle of the pack.

We approached Flynn Road. This is where the long loop and short loop diverge. Time to put up or shut up. I made the right turn with the long loopers, and the pace eased up a bit as we headed for San Jose again. I knew after we turned right onto San Jose there would be another massive acceleration over the bridge into Fruit Cove. No problems getting across the bridge, and I worked my way forward as we approached the right turn onto Fruit Cove Road. Again, another acceleration, but I stayed with the pack. There seemed to be a bit of yoyo-ing in this stretch, and I found myself feathering the brakes a couple of times. I hate doing that. We worked our way through a neighborhood, and it was back onto SR 13.

Here is a tricky part, because we have to turn left into the Julington Creek subdivision. We didn't get the green arrow and a couple of cars going in the opposite direction went through the intersection. There was a gap, and a couple of guys hit it and made it through. Then the cars coming at us stopped, even though they had green, and allowed us to go. Through the Julington Creek subdivision, there were some good accelerations and I think we lost a fair number of folks. I'm not sure because I didn't want any part of hanging around the tail. We crossed Racetrack Road and began hammering on Bishop Estates. At this point, I must have become complacent, because Mike pulled up next to me and told me to look back. There wasn't anyone there! Crickey! I started working a little harder and worked my way up the group. Then I heard the group groan.

Yikes! Someone hit a squirrel. His twitching body lay in the middle of the road as I zoomed by. There is a quick right-right combination that the ride makes to get back to SR 13 and head back to the start. The second right is challenging because it is at a high rate of speed, and if you swing too far, you might end up like the squirrel. I swung a little too far, and almost ended up smacking a white minivan in the lane next to the bike lane. I can remember looking in the passenger window at the driver and the passenger. Not sure who was freaking out more. The good news is I didn't get killed and was in position for the next acceleration over the bridge. Once over the bridge, the group needed to cross traffic again. Again, this was a very risky proposition, and despite all of my griping about cars in Jacksonville, I was amazed at the courtesy we were given. I think it is the bait fish mentality. When you are in a pack, you are much safer. Cars stopped in both directions and let us cross.

At this point, we pretty much retraced our path out. On Mandarin Road, I stayed near the front of the pack, and found myself pulling through on a couple of occasions. On Plummer Cove Road, the fellow referred to as Canada tried to roll off the front. James was going to let him go, but then a Velobrew rider chased and James chased after him. I jumped as well, and we reeled in the runaway. James rode Canada's wheel and apparently made him give up trying to get away. The final sprint happened on Beauclerc and then the hard part was over. From that point home, it is more or less a social event. I was at the front again and didn't pay attention and started riding 21-23 MPH back to the bike shop. I looked over my shoulder and there was no one. I waited for a little while just past the shop and a pack of 3 came through. Then came Mike followed by James. The 6 of us rode back to Avondale together.

Once home, I grabbed my running shoes and did a 2 mile run. I felt like I was slow as molasses, but I was running at a 7:30 or 7:45 pace. I tried to slow down, but I finished the 2 miles averaging 7:48. In the race, if I run 9:00/miles I will be estatic.

Overall, it was a good training day, and I was happy not to get dropped. I will ride the long loop again, but I know the chances I will get dropped are still high. The interesting thing is it took 15 minutes less to complete the same distance in the TDForts the Sunday before, so I know I can hang on for steady riding. It's the jumps and wild accelerations that many of riders that were missing contribute that will make the ride tougher in the future. Then again, I will maintain my training, to minimize the chance that I can't hang on.

May 5, 2007

Long loop completed!

Here is a map with the bike ride, as well as the 2-mile run off the bike to complete the Cinco de Mayo birthday brick. I'll post my thoughts of the ride in a recap later. Bottom line: Completing the long loop was a big accomplishment, and a major psychological hurdle is now behind me.

UPDATE: Link above is the KML file to view with Google Earth. To view in a browser, here is the map in Google Maps.

May 4, 2007

Long loop tomorrow

I have done the Open Road Saturday morning short loop many times. For the first time, I will attempt to do the entire long loop tomorrow. I agreed to this at the beginning of the year, because I knew that my cycling fitness for Florida 70.3 had better be strong enough that I could do the long loop 2 weeks prior. This will be a terrific test. Last week's Tour de Forts also provided a good test. In the long loop, it is about an hour and ten minutes of high speed tempo with several big jumps tossed in. That is about how long I hung on last week in the TDForts. Last week's speed was a little slower, but hopefully I'll find a strong wheel and hang on. I also need to ride smart and stay fueled.

The long loop is about 40 miles, and from my house it is a 10 mile warm-up ride to the start, and then a 10 mile cool down ride home for a total of 60 miles.

We'll see how strong I am.

April 30, 2007

Running in Des Moines

10 Miles in Des MoinesWhile in Des Moines on business last week, I was able to get in a long run. It wasn't easy to do because the weather didn't want to cooperate and many of the paths that make up Des Moines great network of trails were underwater. I was finally able to run on Friday morning along the river to the north. I did encounter a few sections of underwater paths, but for the most part it was a very nice run. It would be fantastic if Jacksonville would commit to a series of trails like many other urban areas have developed. Here is a map of my run with splits.

2007 Tour de Forts

Mike McLamb and I rode the Tour de Forts yesterday. Fortunately, much of the smoke from the south Georgia wildfires had not yet started blowing in the area we were riding. Later on in the day, the sky was filled with smoke and would have made the ride very difficult. More difficult than it already was. We rode in the lead pack from the start, until I missed a jump at the 27th mile just north of Big Talbot Island as we rode across a causeway bridge. Up to that point, I had held my own and kept up with all of the accelerations, but the speed coupled with the incline were too much. I pretty much popped and couldn't bridge the gap. Mike was hanging off the back of the lead pack hoping I could make it, but when he realized I wouldn't, he dropped and waited for me. We forgot to agree ahead of the ride what we would do in that scenario. I should've told him to ride on without me. We ended up in a pack of 6 guys that were all doing the 61-mile route. The other guys in the pack were all very strong and we were able to work together and still finish the loop in 2:40. Here is the Tour de Forts map with splits.

Fun ride, and a good warm-up for my inaugural long loop ride this Saturday.

April 22, 2007

Snake day at the Baldwin Rail Trail

Coral snake on the bike trailOn Thursday, I did the 40-mile loop out at the trail. The scariest part of the ride is usually sharing the road on Otis Road, US 301, and county roads 121 and 119. This past week, the most danger I saw was after I got off the roads and on the trail. The first snake I saw was a harmless racer, but then I came up on a water moccasin that was lying across the trail. I aimed for the tail end and hammered past, not wanting to slow down for a second look. A litle farther down the trail, I encountered this booger. As I went past, I thought it was a king snake. I decided to circle around for another look. Coral snakes are pretty rare. To my surprise it really was a coral snake. He was a little guy, and much like the description I have heard. He was kind of floundering around on the trail, not sure where to go. He wasn't fast, and didn't appear able to see very well. I was able to get close for a photo, something I wasn't willing to do with the cottonmouth. The coral snake was the last snake I saw on the trail that day. Despite stopping for the snake, it was a fairly fast training ride, finishing the 41-mile loop in 2:01.

Weekly training recap

Good week of training, despite being out of town for 3 days. Was able to get some swimming in while in Birmingham. There is a really nice YMCA on Lakeshore Blvd. that I use whenever in Birmingham. Totals for th week are:

Run 18.20 miles
Swim 6600 yards
Bike 84.5 miles

Total time was a little over 9 hours. The plan called for 10, but I finished a couple of workouts faster than I planned. Next week I'm looking at an 11 hour week, then a 12 hour week the first week of May. Then a 2-week taper and the race. Wow, four weeks to go.

April 16, 2007

I would be interested to know if Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press has ever run a marathon

Because, if you aren't an elite and you are running the Boston Marathon, you are an "also-ran" according to an article I read this morning regarding the conditions of today's Boston marathon.

A slow pace usually leads to a more tactical - and more exciting - race up front. More of a concern for organizers is how the weather will affect the 20,000 also-rans, who will be out longer and more likely to need medical care.

Wow. There were 432,000 marathon finishers last year in the United States. That's approximately .14% of the US population. And that doesn't factor in people who finished more than one marathon last year, which would make the percentage of actual participants even lower. And the majority of marathon finishers can only dream about qualifying for the Boston Marathon (including me, the closest I've come is a 3:37 when I need a 3:15).

The bottom line is I don't think "also-ran" is a very good word to describe the people who have the ability (and the nerve) to toe the line in Hopkinton.

April 15, 2007

Quality brick yesterday to wrap up rest week

I was happy to round out my sub-par week of training with a good brick yesterday. I didn't think being on the road was going to disrupt the training much, since I planned on running the boardwalk while in Atlantic City. Unfortunately, I was only able to do one run of 4 miles and my 11-miler was cancelled because of atrocious weather. Thursday morning the weather was rainy, 38-degrees, and 20 mph gusts. My swim on Friday was replaced with a long run on Friday and a quality brick yesterday.

I met up with the Open Road group ride yesterday morning at 7:30 and while it was a small group, the effort was pretty good. There were some good jumps and I was able to work with the lead group until the turn-off for the short loop. Heading home, I met a guy named Mark and we put in some strong efforts to break from the rest of the group. We maintained a good tempo of 25-26 mph and never saw the rest of the group. Total mileage was around 44 miles. Once home, I put on the running shoes and ran 2 miles. This is the first good run off the bike I've done this year and my legs were feeling sluggish. It's funny how your legs can feel that way, even though you are going faster than you think. I was sure I was running north of 8:00/miles, but the splits were in the 7:45 range. For the Disney Half, I want to run between 1:45 and 2:00, so that is a confidence builder.

The coming week will include some more travel, but here's the plan:
M - Run 12
T - Swim 2000 (might get moved to Thursday)
W - Swim 3500
R - Bike 40 (tempo and drills including time in the aero position)
F - Swim 3000
Sa - Bike 50, Run 2 off the bike
Su - Run 5 (tempo)

IM Arizona is on

IM Arizona has started and the pros have just come through T1. The age groupers will come through shortly. My neighbor Peter King is racing, so I'll keep an eye open for him. I have the athlete tracker page fired up. Lyndon Box and his wife Lesleigh are also in Tempe racing. I think the Box-man is looking to qualify for Kona and break the 10 hour barrier.

In other racing news, James did the TriAmerica distance triathlon down in Clermont this morning. The distances are 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) for the swim, 60 kilometers (37.3 miles) for the bike and 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) for the run. Anxious to hear how the race went. He was going to leave Jacksonville this morning around 4 or 4:30 and said he was going to be ticked if they cancelled the swim because of the weather. I think they replace the swim with a 5k run if the weather prevents the swim.

Regarding the weather here in Jacksonville, it is rainy and yucky. With the girls sick all week we decided to stay home from church.

UPDATE 1: Lyndon just finished the swim in 1:05:24.

April 9, 2007

Consistency pays

I'm taking tomorrow off. I will be unable to do any training, and it will be good for my body (so I'm told). I might be able to get some stretching in (another thing that I've been told is good for me).

The last couple of days I have put in some quality training. I had a good, but short 2000 yard swim today. Felt comfortable the entire time. I did 3x400 (swim, kick pull), followed by 300 swim, 200 kick, 100 drills. Then I did a 300 swim cool-down.

Yesterday was a 5-mile tempo run. I did the Ortega River Run course and I must've had a massive tailwind going down McGirts because I was cooking at 6:50 pace. Got the heart rate up, but not too high. Maybe around 165 or so for the hard effort.

Saturday was my longest ride of the year. I rode from the house to the rail trail and did the 48-mile loop that includes Plummer Road, 301, CR 119 and 121. Total distance was about 64 miles. But they were tough miles with a nasty headwind coming out of the northwest. Gusts up to 20 mph I think. It's demoralizing when you are cranking as hard as you can and you look down and you're only going 16 mph.

The rest of last week included:

M - 1500 yard swim. Cut short because the Y pool had been emptied and refilled, and when the refilled it, I swear it was 50% water, 50% chlorine.
T - 10 mile run. Longest run since the River Run. Hip felt good and I maintained a 7:51 pace.
W - 3000 yard swim.
R - 29 mile bike ride with Mike and Lori.
F - 3000 yard swim.

Good volume with some good, hard efforts tossed in. This week will be a down week, and then a 3 week build up. After that, a 2 week taper and then the race.

April 5, 2007

Comparing March 2007 with March 2006

With the commitment to lay off the run after the River Run, running mileage is down 50%. Swim volume is 23% greater and bike volume is a whopping 122% greater. Still need to do more work in the pool. Overall fitness is pretty good with all of the cycling miles.
















April 3, 2007

Good run this morning

First long run since the River Run over 3 weeks ago. Trying to give my hip a chance to heal. The therapy seems to be working as well. This morning I ran 10 miles at a 7:51 clip. Not too bad, and I felt good during the run. When I returned home, I worked on stretching out the gluteus medius (sp?) and the lower back, areas that seem to have been giving me trouble. Heart rate was a little high for some sections, but nothing terrible.

I also ran 6.5 this past Sunday and couldn't get the heart rate below 160, although I was only running an easy 8:00/mile pace. I think I was dehydrated.

March 26, 2007

Breakthrough swim sessions

Friday's 20x100 on the 2:00 did a lot for my confidence. Today's 3800 yards was a breakthrough in terms of distance. My longest swim so far this year had been 2700 yards. Today's swim workout was:

2x(300 swim, 200 kick, 100 drill)
2x1000 pull
5x100 kick
100 swim

Even though I was using a pull buoy, the two 1000 yard sets were very helpful in terms of establishing a rhythmn.

March 23, 2007

The legs are race ready

The person who cuts my hair let me borrow an old pair of clippers to take a hack at the winter growth. She asked that I clean off the blood before returning. Glad to report there was no need.

And boy was I feeling fast in the water today! It's so funny how that makes a difference psychologically. Now I'm looking to be fast in tomorrow's group ride. This will be the first time this year I've done the complete short loop with the group. With the nice weather, I bet the pace will be brisk. On the rivet!

Discombobulated training week

Sometimes my business travel can screw up a training week. I still get it done, just not in typical fashion because of the added dynamics of being on the road. This week, traveling to Madison, WI definitely got my out of rhythmn, but I should end up with everything I wanted to do accomplished. That being said, I need to do the 50-mile group ride on Saturday and do a one hour bike drill session on Sunday afternoon.

Here is my training for the week so far:
M - 2000 yard swim, 45 minutes on the spin bike
T - 45 minutes on the spin bike doing intervals
W - Did not go to the gym so I could be home when the girls woke up. They were asleep when I came home Tuesday night.
R - Swim 2800 yards. Track session with Mike. Lots of stretching between 400s. Total distance around 3 miles.
F - Swim 2000 yards. Done as 20x100 on the 2:00. For me, this was huge.

Total volume for the week will be around 8 hours. Up to 9 next week and 10 the following week. Then back down to 8 hours before my last big push of high volume before the race.

March 11, 2007

2007 River Run: It was ugly

Greetings from the hurt cellar. Actually, I am no longer in the hurt cellar, but I spent 70 minutes there yesterday. Seventy freakin' minutes. Two minutes and 54 seconds longer than last year. It was bad. It was ugly. It was no fun.

The morning was uneventful. Mike and Lori picked up Pete and me around 7:15. Once at the race Pete and I headed over to the Team Gate hospitality area, got ready, checked our bags and used the potty. It was around 8:15 at that point and I wanted to get to the start area before they dropped the rope to let everyone move up. Slight problem at this point. . . I didn't do any kind of warm-up. Not sure if that matters. Met up with Erin and Josh in the starting area. The gun sounded and off we go.




Erin and I passed the first mile marker with a 7:12 split. Pretty good. The goal was 7:10, right on target. However, I didn't feel good, but attributed that to the lack of warm-up. The second split was 7:13. Still felt like there was no need to panic, but I still didn't feel comfortable. Maybe it was just the exertion from the Main Street Bridge. Unfortunately, Mile 3 wasn't any better, clocking in at 7:19. At this point, we were back in the neighborhoods of San Marco and I was hoping the shade would help speedup the pace. Last year it was warm and humid, but we had cloud cover to prevent the sun from beating down on us. No cloud cover this year, and even the tree cover of San Marco could help. The split for mile 4 was 7:30. This race was going downhill in a big way. Somewhere in the fifth mile, I started to feel a little better. Maybe it was a short-lived adrenaline rush. Then Bill Rodgers passed me before we turned off of Belote onto Atlantic. He didn't pass me last year until the downslope of the Hart Bridge. Icontemplated taking a gel at mile 5, but held off until mile 6. It didn't help much. The slowdown continued through the neighborhoods of St. Nicholas. Erin and I stayed together until mile 7. Not sure if she picked up the pace or maintained her pace and I slowed down even more. Running up the bridge was as tough as always. The weird thing is usually the wind is really blowing on top of the bridge. This year, it seemed very still. A stiff breeze would have been welcomed to help cool things off. Running down thebridge allowed me to clock my fastest split since mile 3. The last three tenths took 12 seconds longer this year. Doesn't seem like much, but from a pace perspective that amounts to 40 seconds over a mile. Sheesh! I was crawling to the finish.








Trying to look back and analyze the difference between 2006 and 2007 is difficult. It was hot, but I took water at every station. Unbelievably, my hip really didn't bother me. It just seemed like I didn't have it in the tank. Looking back at the training log, I'm only 29 miles behind last year. Not sure if I did more long runs last year, but endurance shouldn't be a factor based on the additional cycling mileage I've logged this year. The chart to the left shows the aggregate loss of time during the course ofthe race. A little over a minute for the first 5k, a little under a minute for the second 5k, and then another minute for the last 5k. Maybe I just chalk it up to a bad race day.

Hats off to Erin (Liger!) for smoking me in the last 2 miles. However, I think we can both agree that our performances were well below our expectations. Jay missed his goal of 60 minutes by 77 seconds. Mike McLamb was two minutes off of his goal and Pete was several minutes off of his goal. James was actually 9 seconds below his goal, but he's a sick puppy and actually likes the weather we had yesterday. Josh was about 4 minutes behind his expectations and John Womack was 81 secondsslower than his goal.

Meb won his 6th River Run title, but couldn't catch Deena Kastor for the equalizer bonus. The elite women started 5 minutes ahead of the rest of the pack and she finished 80 seconds ahead of Meb. She missed breaking her American record by 4 seconds.

As for me, it is now time to back off running for a couple of weeks to see if I can get the hip to heal. I will ramp up the cycling volume and ease back into the running after a couple of weeks. I might even go see a doctor or a therapist.

UPDATE: Google Earth file

UPDATE 2: HR data.
Race - River Run 3-10-2007, Heart rate - Distance

March 10, 2007

River Run race day!

Excited and nervous. Seems like this race, because of it's size, gets the heart going more than the smaller races.

March 8, 2007

River Run Pasta Dinner

MMB and Meb KeflezighiKaren and I went to the Team Gate pre-race pasta dinner tonight at the River Club. We sat down at one of the tables and the guy next to me asked if I was one of the invited runners. Heh! I guess I should be happy that I could be mistaken for an elite.

John Gaughan from Channel 4 said that there are 3 weather patterns they are looking at. One is dry, one has a few sprinkles, and the third has 2 inches of rain. Thankfully, John and George Winterling are leaning towards the drier model. He said it should be around 58 degrees at race start and be in the mid-60s by 10 am. Another incentive to finish quickly.

Meb Keflezighi was the keynote speaker. He talked about the River Run and how important it has been in his career. He mentioned that his success in the River Run figured in to his decision to run the Olympic marathon. He finished second in that race, and then finished second in the New York City Marathon 70 days later. Talk about showing the world that American running is on the rise! After dinner, for good luck in the race on Saturday, he let me touch the silver medal. That was the first Olympic medal I think I've ever seen in person and it was gorgeous. I wished him a good race and he told me good luck in my race as well. And then he said "I really mean it, I hope you have a great race." Look out Liger!

Seems like yesterday

I was reviewing some old training logs looking for River Run splits and found something funny in the 2004 file. I started swimming in June of that year to prepare for my first sprint triathlon. I had never done any swimming for fitness, and certainly never swum laps. The first week I told myself I was going to get in the pool everyday to ramp up the training. I remember the first day in the pool was a nightmare, I didn't even use goggles. Well, I was in the pool 5 days that week and racked up a total of . . . 1400 yards. Haha.

March 7, 2007

Tapping into the winning Gator karma

For Christmas, Karen ordered me a Tri-Gator racing set. I just found out that the uniforms are set to arrive March 23rd. Sweet! I have always enjoyed seeing the Tri-Gator uniforms at the races, and although my college days are long behind me, it's pretty neat I can join in on the fun.

Go Gators!

March 6, 2007

Do not try this at home, or the Y for that matter

I saw this in the current issue of Runners World and thought it was pretty nifty.

Who says the treadmill is boring? Not the members of OK Go, whose music video "Here It Goes Again" features the foursome dancing across treadmills set at two miles per hour... After eight days and 20 takes, the three-minute-long video was perfected, and the musicians felt as sore as marathoners.

Fun run with two past champs

Marshall and Emily run with Bill Rodgers and Todd WilliamsEmily and I participated in the fun run last night with Bill Rodgers and Todd Williams. So, when you think about it, the folks in the picture to the right have 6 River Run titles, the American record for the 15k (42:22), 4 Boston Marathon wins, 4 New York City marathon wins, 3 Olympic appearances and a 2nd place in the 30-39 age group at the 2004 Spring Jubilee 5K. Pretty impressive stuff, eh?

UPDATE: I found Todd Williams' splits for his American record 15k on his website:
1 mile - 4:23
2 mile - 8:46 (4:23)
3 mile - 13:15 (4:29)
4 mile - 17:46 (4:31)
5 mile - 22:24 (4:38)
6 mile - 27:04 (4:40)
7 mile - 31:50 (4:46)
8 mile - 36:21 (4:31)
9 mile - 40:58 (4:37)
15k - 42:22 (1:24, 4:40/mi pace)

His splits were slowing until he hit the Hart Bridge and he dropped 15 seconds from the previous split going up that beast.

March 4, 2007

River Run week!

Race - Retro River Run 3-3-2007River Run week got off to a fun start last night with the Retro Ruver Run 5k. Tube socks and afros everywhere. The race started on Coastline Drive and meandered through dowtown, then over the Main Street Bridge, back over the Acosta Bridge and finishing on Hogan Street. I didn’t start my watch until we turned left on Market. The track on the map is very wobbly because James and I started near the back of over 2,000 runners and had to zig-zag considerably. He was pushing Maddy in the jogging stroller, so ft was easier for me to weave through traffic.

I decided to pick up the pace on Hogan just before Monroe. I had a blast looking at all of the great costumes and catching up with friends. On the bridges, I would run as hard as I could until I reached a wall of runners. I would slow down until there was a break and pick up the pace again. I ran pretty hard down the Acosta.

Other things to look forward to include a fun run with Bill Rogers and Todd Williams on Monday evening at Epping Forest. The Pasta Dinner at the River Club is on Thursday night. Meb Keflezighi, Bill Rodgers, Hal Higdon, Todd Williams, and other running luminaries will be there. The Expo and packet pick-up are on Thursday and Friday and the big race in on Saturday.

This will be my 7th River Run, and 5th consecutive. I also ran the race in 1986 and 1987. I remember the finish of the 1987 race being less than spectacular. Along the race course, a group had set up an unofficial water station. But instead of water, they served that super sweet citrus concoction known as Sunny Delight. It was a warm day, I was running hard and undertrained. As I crossed the finish line, I puked Sunny Delight all over the street. Nice memory, eh? Maybe that's why I went on a 16-year hiatus from the race.

March 2, 2007

Lunchtime swim

Was able to eventually jump in the pool today despite the foul weather.

3x400 warm-up (400 kick, 400 pull, 400 swim)
4x(5x50) (5x50 1:05, 5x50 1:00, 5x50 :55, 5x50 1:10).
4x100 (100 easy, 50 easy/50 hard, 50 easy/50 hard, 100 hard)

I wanted to up the volume a bit. I've been doing 2000 yards per workout. I added an extra 600 today. Baby steps.

No swim this morning

Woke up at 5:30 to go swim. Saw flashes of light and heard thunder. No swimming for me this morning. Grrrrr.

March 1, 2007

Joe Reger's Sufferfest

Joe and a bunch of his peeps in Atlanta put together a cycling Sufferfest in an effort to kickstart early season cycling training.

Here are the recaps:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

A total of 360 miles in 4 days. Very impressive.

Comparing February 2007 with February 2006

Running mileage looks similar, despite the hip issues. Swim volume is 35% greater and bike volume is 30% greater. Need to do more work in the pool, really get those numbers up. Bike volume should continue to trend up.
















Last hard track workout before the River Run

2-22-2007, 5x800On the rivet one last time at the Lee track with Jay, John and Mike. Jay and John ran 10 x 400 at mile pace. Mike and I opted for some longer intervals so we did 2 x 1000 a little slower than 5k pace, 2 x 800 at 5k pace and 3 x 400 at mile pace.

Like Tuesday, it was a bit muggy out there. The hip was a bit sore in the 1-mile warm-up, but didn't feel terribly bad during the intervals. Looking at the chart, the recovery period between the first and second 1000 was about 25 seconds shorter than the recovery period between the second 1000 and the first 800. As a result, my heart rate only dropped to around 140 before it was time to go again. It didn't really affect performance, because the second 1000 was 2 seconds faster than the first. Recovery between thesecond 800 and the first 400 was a full 1:30, which allowed my heart rate to recover to almost 120, but then recoveries between the first and second 400 and the second and third 400s were 1:14 and 1:21 respectively, so you can see the dips trend up.

I think doing the workouts with the shorter recovery periods are good for teaching the body to push through the lactic buildup and acclimate itself to staying in the anaerobic zone. However, I don't think shorter recoveries are beneficial for all track workouts, but perhaps just those right before a big race when you are sharpening up for peak performance.

February 27, 2007

Test ride a $5,000 Cannondale

CityCycle is sponsoring a ride for free weekend. Drew Johnson has invited the Cannondale Demo truck to Jacksonville for the weekend. The Cannondale Demo Truck will be at City Cycle on Friday March 2nd to answer questions and tech help.

Saturday morning, March 3rd, they are doing a ride at the Baldwin Rail Trail at 8:00 am. You will be able to take a bike and do the entire 30-mile ride.

Eric Saletel, the Cannondale factory representative, has a truck load of new System Six and Synapse Carbon bikes for people to ride. Helmet and I.D. are required. Get there before 7:30 if you want to ride a $5,000 15-pound Cannondale!

Tough run this morning

Oleander to Bridges 2-27-2007, Heart rate - DistanceLong run on the schedule for this morning. Met up with Mike and left the neighborhood at 5:50. James joined us at St. Vincent's, just past the 2-mile mark. Headed for downtown to run a bridge loop. I haven't been doing a lot of running (other than races and speedwork) at sub-8:00 pace. That, plus the humidity made for a pretty tough run. Total mileage was about 10.75 miles. I lost 3 or 4 pounds on the run despite consuming a full water bottle of Heed and a water bottle of Endurox after the run. As the day has progressed, it doesn't seem as humid as it was this morning. Maybe it was all in my mind. Makes me nervous about the River Run.

New running group at the beach

A new group run has started at the 1st Place Sports Jacksonville Beach Store. The runs will start at approx. 6pm (just after the store closes and the workers get changed) on Mon. Wed. and Fri. evenings. The route is approx. 5 miles with varying paces depending on who shows up to run. If you have any questions for them, please call at 270-2221.

February 26, 2007

Ortega River Run 2007

Saturday was the perfect day for a race abd a race party. Nice and cool at the start. Beautiful sunny sky, no chance for showers. Folks starting arriving at the house a little before 8. We jogged easy over to the start and enjoyed running with some of the kids in the 1 mile fun run. Stood around and talked for 10 minutes and then hopped into the throng of 2000 for the start. I was standing in a sea of red as I was surrounded by the famous El Guapo Running Club. Really nice people.

Every year I tell myself I am going to start closer to the front for the Ortega River Run. This year it didn't seem so bad dodging folks. It also helped prevent me from starting way too fast. Ran the first mile with Erin and we clocked it a little under 7. She told me she had run the race a couple of years ago and averaged 7:15s. She said she would like to do that again. Little did I know she was sandbagging. Heh.

Ortega River Run 2-24-2007, Heart rate - PaceI was very proud of Woodmere. Lots of folks out, lots of Corrigan signs, and my cheering section at the end of Oleander. Gave Emily and Karen a high five on my way to a quick second mile split of 6:45. I was still running with Erin at this point and I made the decision to slow down and maintain a 7:00 pace. She maintained the faster pace and put some time on me. Running up the 17 bridge was a little tough. I had to keep reminding my self to lean forward. I would find my self running upright and would immediately look down at my shoes to force myself to lean into the incline. I cruised down the bridge, passing the 3-mile mark on the way. My third mile was a 7:15. Yikes.

The momentum from the bridge helped me cruise McGirts at a comfortable clip. I was maintaining the pace going up the little inclines and running down them hard. As usual, there was a terrific group of kids yelling on the last incline before the 4-mile mark. Like last year, they really helped me get up that last little climb. Mile 4 was somewhere around 6:50. I felt like I had a bit still in the tank and my hip wasn't hurting too terribly bad. Erin had about 100 meters on me and there was no catching her. She was running a great race. I kept pushing and when I hit the flashing lights at the Grand Avenue curve I knew I had a quarter-mile to go. I increased the leg turnover but kept it under control. I crossed the finish line in 34:49, my last mile was around 6:52. My finishing time was only 10 seconds slower than last year, even with the problems I have had with my hip and reduced mileage on the road.

Everyone met up near the finish line and we started a slow jog back to the house for our reward. Once we were home, there were lots of breakfast goodies and I think everyone had a terrific time. I really appreciate the work Karen put into hosting the party. I jokingly refer to the annual Ortega River Run party as my birthday party since I would rather celebrate a great race with friends than I would my birthday.

Finishing times of party attendees:
James Cardozo -- 30:37
Jay Millson -- 31:34 (PR!)
Josh Allen -- 32:26
Mike McLamb -- 34:15
Erin Moore -- 34:25
Greg Umberger -- 34:31
Leah Pust -- 37:36
Lori McLamb -- 40:08 (I think this is a PR)
Jane Mondadori -- 42:10
Marla Stearman -- 56:49 (running for two, no less)

A special bonus at the party was an appearance by Rodney Brown. Rodney and Kelly didn't run the race, they ran on their own earlier, but he still dropped in to visit. Rodney works for the Department of Justice and he returned from Baghdad this past Thursday. He assisted the Iraqi government in the trial of Saddam Hussein, as well as others. He was in the courtroom when Saddam was convicted. Rodney found himself looking Saddam face to face as Saddam left the courtroom. Wow! Rodney also ran the Baghdad Marathon and had his second best marathon ever, despite coming under small arms fire at mile 5. Amazing! It was great to see him at the party.

Now we have 2 weeks until the grand-daddy road race of them all in Jacksonville, the Gate River Run. Looking forward to a good race in the 15k.

February 23, 2007

Ortega River Run tomorrow

ORR07One of my favorite races of the year is tomorrow.  I consider my home course since I run the route on average at least once a week.  Since our house is located just past the 1 mile mark, we host a post-race party every year.  Last year I set a 5–mile PR of 34:39 that lasted a little over 3 months before I broke it in Boston running the Harpoon 5–Miler in 34:09.

The goal for tomorrow is to go sub-35 again.  A large part of meeting that goal will be contingent on my hip cooperating.  The weather is going to be perfect.  In the low to mid-50’s and sunny at the start of the race.

Looking forward to a great race tomorrow.

February 22, 2007

River Run numbers

Looked up the race numbers for the River Run.  I’ll be number 507.  Emily is excited to be getting her first race number ever.  She will be number 15191 and representing John Stockton Elementary in the Junior River Run. 

Rock and Roll Emily!

February 21, 2007

Is BFAST draft legal now?

Just took a look at BFAST’s nice new website to see what the dates are for this year’s races.  They have posted some images from past events (and deleted past results, Boo!).  Click the link above, then click the triathlon images tab and go to image number 10.  Looks like it was taken from the draft fest that was race #3 last year.  By posting it on the website are they condoning it?

February 20, 2007

Medium ride Saturday, medium run Sunday using new fuel

HammergelMy shipment of fuel arrived last week from Hammer Nutrition.  I have used Hammer Gels in the past, and even used a sample of Heed once, but had never tried Perpetuem.  Now is the time to start experimenting with nutrition for May’s race.  I have heard lots of good things about Perpetuem and I enjoyed my sample of Heed, so I ordered a supply of both.

A couple of hours after ordering, I received a phone call from Whitefish, MT.  The folks at Hammer Nutrition call first time buyers to see if they have any questions.  Very cool.  As you chat with them, they also toss in other freebies like gel flasks, gel samples, and samples of their other nutrition products.  I discussed my training with Katey, who made several recommendations regarding product usage.  If you ever have a question, they have a support line to answer any product questions.

Saturday was supposed to be a 50–60 mile ride.  The weather got in the way and we only did a 40 mile ride.  I mixed up a 3–hour supply of Perpetuem in one bottle, and carried an extra bottle of water to drink after every hit of Perpetuem.  The resulting liquid from mixing up 4 scoops of Perpetuem in a single bottle wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  For longer rides, you can create a thick paste in a bottle so you can be self-sufficient for a very long effort as long as you can replenish your water supply.  The dreamsicle flavor was a very subtle and not too sweet.  In the past for a 3–hour ride, I usually take a gel after an hour and a Clif Bar after 2 hours, and Gatorade throughout.  On Saturday’s ride I never felt like I was running out of fuel.  I also like the idea of using complex carbohydrates to fuel a longer effort.  Very cool. 

After the ride, I mixed up a bottle of Hammer’s recovery drink Recoverite (one of the free samples).  It had a light citrus flavor and was pretty tasty.  Recoverite competes with Endurox, and can also be used as a meal replacement.  I have a jug of Endurox to finish and will have to decide what product to use then.  I do like the lighter flavor of Recoverite as opposed to the very sweet taste of orange Endurox.  Maybe I need to try the chocolate Endurox like Jay suggested.

On Sunday, I mixed up a bottle of Heed and went for a one hour run.  Again, the drink has a very light flavor and uses complex carbohydrates instead of simple sugars to keep you going.

I plan on testing some other products, like Cytomax and Accelerade to see how they work.  And while it is convenient to go with all liquid fuel, I enjoy eating a Clif Bar on a long ride because it is a change of pace from gels and liquids.  I have three months until the race, so there is ample time to see what combination works best.  Hammer Nutrition will be tough to beat though.

Hammer Nutrition makes it easy (and economical) to try out because they give all first time customers a 15% discount.  Plus the benefit of a courtesy call and lots of free goodies in your first order. 

February 16, 2007

Might need to add this race to the schedule


After all, this is the year of the Gator.  I guess you would classify this as a super sprint.  The distances are 250 meter swim in the O dome pool with a time trial start, 4 mile bike and a 1.5 mile run.

Erin has invited us all to come down for the race.  I bet we could even get Mike McLamb to race in this one (despite his contempt for the Gators).

Maybe we could even talk the wives into letting us ride our bikes home from the race. . .

February 15, 2007

Good advice

“Remember: eat, hydrate, stretch and recover.  That is how you get faster and stronger--with good recovery; not being on the rivet every session.”

Thanks Mike.  Now, if only I can follow it. . .

February 14, 2007

Every Street 2007 update

It’s been 2 weeks since my last Every Street update.  I have now started to add old Ortega to the grid.  I still have some clean-up to do in Avondale, and I need to add the area bordered by Post, King, Park and McDuff.  That is the neighborhood I lived in the first 10 years of my life.  I grew up on the corner of Cherry and Forbes.  Here is the latest Every Street 2007 map.

It’s funny how sterile and clean the streets and neighborhoods look on the map.  I immediately look at the grid-pattern of streets on the map I haven’t been to and think about adding them.  Then I think about the neighborhoods represented by those streets and think again.  Maybe during daylight hours.  With a bunch of people.  And a police escort.

February 12, 2007

Swim workout cut short this morning

One of the early morning lifeguards is pregnant.  She is only 5 months pregnant, but was experiencing what she thought was labor pains this morning.  Apparently, she had hot wings for dinner last night that made her dehydrated and that caused the false labor.  Emergency services were called and everyone had to get out of the pool at 6:30 because two lifeguards have to be on duty.  I received an e-mail from the Executive Director of the YMCA around lunch and he said she is going to take a couple of days off but will be fine.

Emily and Daddy running

When I returned from my run yesterday afternoon, Emily wanted to go for a run. She is registered for the Junior River Run being held in 4 weeks. She took off fast, but when we reached the corner she needed a quick rest and some water. From that point on she listened to me and ran at a steady pace. We ran around the block, which is a little over half a mile. I think it was her best run ever around the block. After the first stop, she didn't stop again and was very consistent. Yeah Emily!

This is a picture she drew of us later on last night of her running with her Daddy.  The pink thing in my hand is her water bottle.

February 6, 2007

Joe Reger has some good

Joe Reger has some good tips for Dressing for Cold-Weather Training.

February 5, 2007

Winter Beaches Run 2007

Wbr07What’s a gel worth?  A couple of minutes at the end of a 10–mile run?  That’s what I have to wonder as I look back at yesterday’s Winter Beaches Run. 

The goal was to run 7:30 splits, nice and steady.  Last year I shot out running 7:00 – 7:15 splits, only to explode and finish at a 7:36 average pace.  The first mile, as always, I got caught in the surge and ran a little faster than I wanted.  After passing the first marker in 7:10, I slowed it down a bit and did the next mile in 7:36.  Closer to the goal.  I stayed on pace until the 7th mile.  Then the slowdown began.  I have to believe if I had taken a gel atthe halfway point, I could’ve finished stronger.  My hip started to nag me as well, but I’m not sure if that was enough to sabotage my race.  I tried 15–second surges on the minute during mile 9 to try to reel some folks in, but couldn’t sustain the effort.  I finished in 1:16:33, 36 seconds slower than last year’s 1:15:57. 

I did run a much smarter race this year, but in the end, I think nutrition was the difference.  Aside from not using a gel, the only meals I had prior to the race included Grape Nuts for breakfast and a Clif Bar an hour before the race.  Although Karen and I had to keep nursery at church yesterday morning, I still thought I would have a chance to eat lunch.  I also thought the race started at 3 pm.  Nope, 2 pm start.

Next year I will have a gel and I will know what time the race starts!

February 2, 2007

Comparing Januarys

 Comparing January for 2005, 2006, and 2007, I would say I am almost a week ahead of the past 2 years in terms of training.  Certainly a week ahead in swimming and cycling, but the hip injury has lowered the number of miles running.  No worries.  The strategy for preparing for the 1/2 IM has been to focus on the bike and the swim for strength and fitness, and maintain the run.  One month in and everything looks on (ahead of) schedule.

            2007            2006           2005       Var 2006     Var 2005
Run 74 105 91 (31.80) (17.50)
Swim 13450 3650 2500 9800.00 10950.00
Bike 329 176 221 153.10 108.10

January 30, 2007

Latest Every Street 2007 update

Here is the latest view of my Every Street 2007 project. Next step is to add the streets bordered by McDuff, College, I-95 and the St. Johns River, while tying up some loose ends in Avondale.

The El Guapo running club

I just recently learned of El Guapo and his running club. Apparently, these folks run through Riverside, Avondale and Ortega, and do weekly speed sessions at the Lee Track on Tuesday mornings. Might need to run with them one of these days.  Sounds like a fun group.

January 29, 2007

No speed in the 5k, nice ride home

MMB -- Matanzas 5000 1-27-2007, Heart rate - DistanceRan the Matanzas 5000 on Saturday.  I was a bit cynical going into the race because I have been more focused on long, slow, endurance-building running workouts.  The race didn’t disappoint.  I ran the first mile in 6:40, and then promptly laid down consecutive 7:00 splits.  Final kick was OK, but man was I gassed.  Looking at the HR data, i jumped straight to the low Matanzas 5000 1-27-2007170s and stayed there for the entire race.  Also painfully apparent is my inability to start slow and run negative splits.  The race was fairly large with around 1400 runners.  I ended up finishing in the top 150.  James beat Josh by 45 seconds (but finished behind Mills, yikes!) and Mike McLamb ran 20 minutes flat.

After the race, we took the kids to the carousel and park to play for a while before heading home.  Karen and Molly took the girls home and Josh, James, Erin and I hopped on our bikes for the 50–mile ride home.  Riding along US 1 can be hairy, but for the most part cars gave us plenty of room.  The 1st Place Sports van and trailer heading back from the race actually gave us the closest drive-by.  Not a very nice way to treat customers!  From US 1 we went to Racetrack Road in St. Johns county, and then to Bishop Estates where we encountered another cyclist-hating rube. 

Bike ride from StA 1-27-2007No traffic at all on the road.  This guy pulls up behind us, honks his horn at us, and then guns his engine and flies past us.  Just so he could pull into his driveway a quarter mile down the road.  Josh pulled up to the gate of his house and yelled for himto come out of his garage.  Wasn’t happening.  So we continued on.  Then 5 minutes later, he comes up behind us again and pulls the same stunt.  You really shouldn’t pull that garbage when you have a vanity tag and you let people know where you live.  Harry Madden, who lives at 3345 Bishop Estates Road Jacksonville, FL 32259 is a creep and needs someone to tell him about the recently passed Florida law

The rest of the ride was uneventful.  My back tire went flat with a mile to go.  I rode it in. 

Fun day of racing and training.

January 26, 2007

Matanzas 5000 tomorrow morning

Matanzas07The Matanzas 5000 is the fastest 5k in the area.  The weather should be perfect. . .nice and cold.  I am anxious to see how I do.  My hip is still bugging me, and my long runs aren’t as fast as they used to be.  This is mainly because I am following a training plan by Joe Friel that forces me to keep my heart rate low on long runs to build aerobic endurance.  I am still doing speed work once a week, but with the really slow long runs, I’m a bit cynical.  After the race James and I (and possibly Josh and Erin) are going to ride our bikes home.  Should be about a 50–mile ride. 

Long bike ride last Saturday

Mike McLamb, Peter King, and I had a good 48 mile ride last Saturday on and off the Baldwin Trail.  Dang cold!

Training - Baldwin Trail 1-20-2007

January 22, 2007

Brickfest completed

Wrapped up Brickfest 2007 yesterday. Here is a recap of the rest of the week:

Picked up Mike M. and met Jay and John for our weekly track session. One mile warm-up followed by 2x(3x400). Then did a little over a mile cooldown. When I returned to the car, I promptly realized that instead of taking my car key off of my key ring and putting it in my shorts, I had taken my house key. My car key was locked in the car. Hello AAA! After watching someone break into my car in less than 60 seconds, I went home and rode the trainer for 30 minutes.

1800 yards in the pool and then some weights. Did a 30 minute run later that evening.

Fifty mile ride through North Jacksonville and Nassau county. Finished on the rail trail. Luckily, no one smashed our car windows at the Imeson trailhead, although evidence covered the ground that many crimes have been committed by the crackheads recently. While it doesn't officially count in the brickfest, I spent 2.5 hours with 15 5 and 6 year-olds at Emily's Adventure Landing birthday party. But since that doesn't count, I had to drag myself onto the treadmill when I got home to do a quick 30-minutes.

Last day, woo-hoo! Went ona 30-minute ride through Riverside, adding some streets to my Every Street 2007 project. See latest progress here. Then a 40-minute run, again adding streets to the map.

Totals for the week:
Swim: 5150 yards
Run: 28.7 miles
Bike: 92.3 miles

When you add in 2 weightlifting sessions, it adds up to a little over 12 hours for the week.

Time to start a new week. . . .

January 17, 2007

Brickfest Day 3

I started Brickfest 2007 this past Monday. Annually, to help folks kick start the training year, the Hammerhead Triathlon Club sponsors a brickfest. The rules are:

1. You must do seven days of seven bricks.
2. They must be running (could be done on treadmill), swimming and/or biking (can be a spin class or done on a trainer).
3. You must do a minimum of 30 minutes each event, for a minimum of one hour per day.
4. Events do NOT need to be done right after the other.
5. Events must be two different types (you can't run on the treadmill for 30 mins then run on the road for 30 mins).
6. If you miss a workout, you must start over.

Here is the summary of my Brickfest so far:
Swim 1700 at the Yates YMCA
Run 4 miles at lunch

Run 9.5 miles
Spin for 45 minutes on the trainer doing Isolated Leg Training

Ride bike to the Yates YMCA
Swim 1650
Ride bike home (total distance on the bike was about 10 miles)

Tomorrow is a track work-out and a bike ride later on in the day. It might end up being a spin on the trainer in front of the TV if the weather doesn't cooperate. Friday will be a swim work-out and strides at the track. Saturday is a 50 mile bike ride and a run sometime later in the day. Sunday is a run and a bike ride, not sure when or where.

All of this for a t-shirt. . .although it is a very special t-shirt.

James is also campaigning for an Epic Weekend the first weekend of February. He got the idea from Gordo's Epic Camps . The idea here is you get 4 points for each running mile, 1 point for each biking mile, and 1 point for every 100 meters in the pool. We set an arbitrary goal to accumulate 100 points per day for a weekend. Of course, we would start the weekend on Friday.

Epic Weekend is shorter than Brickfest, but definitely more intense. And no t-shirt!

January 15, 2007

Running on the road in 2006

Was looking at my training log for 2006 and noticed I did a fair amount of running while traveling this year. All told, it adds up to 8 different states and quite a few different places around the state of Florida.

Disney World -- blog entry
Kansas City, MO -- blog entry
St. Petersburg, FL -- blog entry

Pembroke Pines, FL -- blog entry
Orlando, FL
St. Augustine Beach, FL

Boston, MA -- blog entry
Boston, MA (Charles River) -- blog entry
Hingham, MA (Bare Cove Park)

Birmingham, AL -- blog entry

Chicago, IL -- blog entry
Milwaukee, WI -- blog entry

Myrtle Beach, SC -- blog entry
Chapel Hill, NC -- blog entry

Captiva/Sanibel, FL -- blog entry
Madison, WI -- blog entry

Durham, NC -- blog entry

January 11, 2007

Training update

Eleven days into 2007 and training is going well. I am following a half ironman triathlon training plan developed by Joe Friel. So far so good.

To make 2007 training interesting, I have decided that I am going to try to run or bike down every street in my neighborhood using my new Forerunner 305. Because a lot of my runs in this training plan call for me to keep my heartrate in a certain zone for a certain duration, distance is inconsequential, so I don't need to worry about courses that I have measured and know the splits. I have done 2 runs so far with this specifically in mind. Here is an aerial view of my progress so far.

Today Mike, Jay and I did 2x(3x400) with a 400 recovery run between sets. I hit all of my splits but it wasn't easy. A weekly speed session is my only deviation from the Friel plan. With his plan, I was supposed to do some strides and hop on each leg 30 times between intervals. I don't think I'm sabotaging the plan too much with this modification.

December 22, 2006

Sad news from the Jacksonville Marathon Georgia man dies after half-marathon run

Ronald Ray and his wife, Maritza, began running six years ago as a way to help them overcome the death of their 2-year old daughter. The couple ran 13 marathons and dozens of half marathons, 5K and 10K races.

Last Sunday, Ronald Ray, 49, collapsed and died after finishing the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon.

"We warmed up together. He gave me a kiss before we started, and then we ran together for the first two miles," Maritza Ray said. "I started to speed up, [and] he said, 'You're gonna do great.' I turned to wave to him, and that's the last time I saw him."

I heard about this later Sunday afternoon after the race. I hate hearing these stories. This is the fifth race in the last 2 years that I have participated in where this has happened. The others were:

2004 Gasparilla
2005 River Run
2005 St. Anthony's
2005 BFAST

Mike McLamb forwarded a New York Times article to me a couple of weeks ago regarding folks having heart attacks in running races. Mike included a note for me to ignore the chest pains at mile 15. I had shared with him a blog in the past that discussed the same topic.

When you think about the number of people participating in races, it becomes easier to understand that it is just a matter of statistics. Non-runners (particularly my mother) like to point out that running is the root cause and inherently dangerous. They point to Jim Fixx as the conclusive evidence. But Jim Fixx's father died of a heart attack at the age of 42. Running probably prolonged Fixx's life, even though he only lived to be 52. One of the articles included a quote by a doctor saying "You can't outrun your genes."

Sometimes there are warning signs such as family history, but sometimes it is just your time. Many of the runners I have spoken to this week regarding Sunday's death have said that there are probably worse ways to go than dying doing something you enjoy. It still is tough for the ones you leave behind.

On the results page for the race, the folks from 1st Place Sports included this information:

Ron Ray, age 49, passed away at the finish of the Jacksonville Bank 1/2 Marathon on Sunday. He leaves behind his wife Maritza and 5 children ages 8 to 20. Two are in college. The family has set up a fund to help provide for the children's college. If you would like to contribute the fund is:

Ray's Children College Fund
c/o Cresent Bank
PO Box 688
Jasper, GA 30143

My prayers go out to the Ray family during this difficult time.

December 17, 2006

Another marathon in the books

I've now run three marathons, and I still can't beat my time in the first one I did. Granted, the weather was perfect in 2004 and I finished in 3:37:30. Last year I blew up at the halfway point and crawled home in 3:50:10.

This year the weather was fairly nice for the first half. Then the fog burned off and the sun started to bear down on us. It was pretty warm 2 hours into the race. I started out just like I planned. Very conservatively. My hip has been causing me problems the last month and I wanted to shoot for even 8:00/mi. splits. Earlier in the fall the plan was for me to run 7:40/mi. splits, but the hip forced me to revise the goal. I was golden for the first 15 miles, averaging somewhere around 8:00. The fastest mile I had was on;y 7:51. I was very happy with my self-control.

But then the wheels fell off. After the race, Rick Patterson told me when the marathon is on your back, there is nothing you can do to recover. He is right.

I started clicking off laps north of 8:10/mi. By mile 21 splits were over 9:00/mi. My finishing time was 3:42:00.

While it is easy to attribute most of the problems on the weather, I think the hip caused me to falter in terms of endurance. I was unable to finish a couple of longer runs over the past month, and I think that had a lot to do with it as well.

Race - Jacksonville Marathon 12-17-2006I was happy to see Karen and the girls, along with Beppy and Nunu at the 13 and 14 mile marks, as well as around mile 23, and finally at the finish. They were holding up signs and cheering for me. After mile 14, I was on the same side of the road as them so I was able to stop and give Emily and Maggie what they call "sweaty, runner kisses" on their foreheads.

Unfortunately, John Womack was hoping to qualify for Boston in this race. He has been running great and looking strong at the track. He needed a 3:15 and I think he finished somewhere around 3:22. Still a great race given the conditions.

The plan is to now take a couple of weeks off and go to a spin class here or there and maybe jump back in the pool.

Then, starting 1/1/2007 it is time to start training for my first half-Ironman!

UPDATE: Race photos have been uploaded.

UPDATE 2: Google Earth file (also viewable at Google Maps).

December 14, 2006

New Forerunner 305

My parents bought me a Forerunner 305 for Christmas. Since I'm running the Jacksonville Marathon this Sunday, I was allowed to have it early. I am very excited I won't have to run with my Polar HR monitor on my left wrist and my Forerunner 201 on my left wrist. Everything is now in one nice package. I'm still hoping for the cadence sensor, so I may have all of my training data needs handled by a single source in time to begin triathlon training next year.

I had heard that the GPS antenna in the 305 was really good. I had no idea how much better it was until I used it for the first time this morning on the track. The 2 photos below tell the story.

Forerunner 201

Forerunner 305

The accuracy of the new unit is incredible. I knew that the tight turns of a track were hard for a GPS to track, but that seems to be a non-issue with the 305.

I can't wait to use it in the marathon!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention, that one line that looks like I ran across the field is not an error. I hit the stop button instead of the lap button at the end of an interval and didn't realize the watch wasn't running until I was halfway around the track.

November 28, 2006

I'm registered for the 2007 Florida 70.3

My first race at that distance. Better start working on a training plan. . .

November 14, 2006

Long run this morning

061114_10_mile_runWas supposed to do 15 at PMP plus 10 seconds. Ended up doing 10 miles at PMP before my hip and leg started really hurting. Came inside and stretched.

Might try to get back out tonight to do the other 5 miles. The weather was perfect this morning for running. I hate being injured!

Not sure what's going to happen in the Outback 1/2 Marathon next Thursday.

November 7, 2006

Another long run in the books

Another long run in the books

Wasn't sure how this was going to fell. Last long run over 15 miles was almost a month ago when I ran 20 on October 10th. I ran 13.5 a week later on the 17th, and since then everything has been much shorter because of the injury.

Woke up and took 600 mg of Motrin. There is a 50% chance of rain today so it was dang muggy. I think it was 70 degrees when I left at 5:00 am. First mile was a little tough, my left hip was definitely sore. As I warmed up I got into a rhythmn and felt pretty good.

Headed downtown, then over to San Marco. I went back over the river to downtown and headed for Alltel Stadium. The fair is in town, so as I ran past the Maxwell House plant right by the fairgrounds I experienced the odd sensation of roasting coffee and greasy funnel cakes. Reminded me of Cafe Du Monde.

Stopped at the Y to refill the water bottle and then it was time to head for home.

Overall, the run felt fine. I took 2 gels, one at 45 minutes the other at 1:30. Probably should have taken one at 2:15, but I didn't want to take a gel for 15 minutes of running.

While the goal for today was 20, I felt pretty confident that 18 would suffice. I have a 15 mile run on the schedule for next Tuesday at marathon pace plus 10 seconds. Then I have another 20 mile run the next week at marathon pace plus 30 seconds. I think I'm going to change that to a 3 hour run just for the sake of spending that amount of time on my feet. I think based on that pace it will end up being a 22 mile run. I might tone the pace down a little.

November 5, 2006

PR in the 10k

Still recovering from the back issues, which have now become left hip issues. The back is fine, but I think I strained muscles in the left hip compensating for the recnt back problems. Went to the chiropractor on Friday and got some electrical stimulation, as well as some adjusting. Wasn't sure how I'd feel on race morning.

Race morning I woke up and took 600 mg of Motrin. Rode over to the race with James, Josh and Mike. Ran a short warm-up and did a little stretching. Doing 7 minute splits was the goal. Here are the splits:

Mile Split AvgHR LapHR
1      6:45 159    170
2      6:51 170    171
3      6:59 170    171
4      7:08 169    171
5      7:17 170    170
6      7:03 171    173
6.2   1:25 174     175

Went out a bit too fast. Backed it off a bit for mile 2 and 3. My hip and back felt fine, but during mile 4 I developed a stitch in my right side. I had to slow down a little to work it out. Picked it up again in mile 6 when I saw I was really falling off of the pace. Finished in 43:28, a new PR for me. Mike was right behind me, finishing in 43:37. I was his rabbit. I figured he was back there somewhere.

James finished in 39:33. Josh did 39:47. James was a bit disappointed with his time and vowed it was time to get serious about running. He has been spending lots of time in the pool.

View the race course and splits with Google Maps.

November 2, 2006

Training again

Did 4.5 miles yesterday at a 7:40 pace. Felt pretty good, but the tightness in my lower back seemed to be preventing me from going any faster. Will need to stretch it out good before Saturday's race.

Did 2x1600 on the track today. First one was an easy one at 7:20, then I picked up the speed a little and did the second in 6:55. Again, I need to get rid of this tightness. Might see if I can get a massage tonight.

The weather is going to be nice Saturday morning. Might be a little breezy. I'm anxious to see how my back is feeling.

October 31, 2006

Pumpkin Run misery

Tested out the back Saturday morning with an easy 2-mile run. Sharp pains the rest of the day. Karen didn't want me to leave the house Sunday morning with my running clothes because she was afraid I would do something dumb.

I ended up getting out of the house with my running stuff, but was reminded to "make good choices." I saw a bunch of my friends before the race and wished them all well. Once the race started, I decided I was going to only do the 5k as promised and not be tempted to do the 10-mile race. I caught up with Erin just before the one mile mark and ran with her. She was doing the entire race and shooting for 8:00 splits. We hit them all pretty close. At the 5k point I headed for the finish line and she kept going. Honestly, it was very tough not to do the entire race. But then I thought about the big picture.

After I finished, I grabbed a bagel and some Gatorade and found a spot to watch the rest of the 2-loop race. I cheered on a bunch of friends through the first loop and then when the leaders came by on the second loop I went to the finish line to see the finish.

Everyone I talked to had a great race. Conditions were perfect. I ran my 3rd slowest 5k ever and ended up with an age group award for 3rd place. Ha.

I haven't run since the race, but I think I'm going to be able to start training again tomorrow. The back is feeling much better.

Big picture, remember the big picture. . .

October 20, 2006

80 minute swim

Did not want to get out of bed this morning. Took a while to wake up. Energy levels feeling low and the temperatures are still high.

700 (75 swim, 25 kick)
500-400-300-200-100 pull
25-50-75-100-125-150-175-200 kick
200 swim

Total yardage around 3300. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

October 19, 2006

Track workout completed

Is it really October? It was pretty warm this morning, but the humidity was incredible. I don't think any of us sweat like that all summer. The fog was rolling in halfway through the session and it felt more like swimming than running.

Today's workout was 2x(6x400) at 5k minus 40 seconds with a 90 second rest between the intervals and a 2:30 rest between the sets. Here are my splits and heartrate at the end of the interval.

400 -- 1:31 166
400 -- 1:31 169
400 -- 1:29 171
400 -- 1:28 172
400 -- 1:30 172
400 -- 1:31 173
400 -- 1:33 171
400 -- 1:32 173
400 -- 1:32 172
400 -- 1:31 174
400 -- 1:29 175
400 -- 1:29 176

We did the normal 1-mile warm-up before and after the session. The total distance was the same as last week (6x800), but doing so many intervals seemed pretty tough.

I told the guys I'm going to roll out my favorite marathon track session in a couple of weeks. The alternating pace 10,000. Alternating laps between 5k pace and marathon pace for 25 laps. Are we having fun yet?

October 17, 2006

4 years ago today

I ran the first race of the modern Marshall Butler endurance era. It was the Corporate Cup 5k and I hadn't run a race since I participated in cross country meets in high school. I finished in 28:11. I was happy to have finished after training for a mere 4 weeks. I remember being unable to run around the block twice (it was a big block!) the first week of training.

Crazy to think how far I've come in 4 years.

Long run this morning shortened

061017 -- 13 mile runNot sure what it was this morning, but I just didn't feel that great. Maybe lingering effects of this cold. Maybe the warmer temperatures and sticky humidity. It was MUCH warmer this morning than yesterday morning.

I was supposed to do 18 miles at an 8:10 pace. I started out a little after 5 AM to run 6 miles, and then meet up with Mike McLamb. We ran 7.5 miles, but I just couldn't get the pace under 8:15. When we got back to the neighborhood to drop him off, I decided I wasn't going to kill myself for the next 4.5 miles.

This is a small setback, but nothing monumental. There are still plenty of long runs left over the next 9 weeks. Of course, these long runs right now are primarily to build endurance. In the future long runs, I will need to pick up the speed to make sure my body is comfortable going long and fast. The other thing I need to consider is rest and recovery day. This plan was designed to include 3 quality runs and 2 cross training days. I need to decide if I want to do the Masters group swim those 2 days a week and cut out the group bike ride on Saturdays so I can reduce some of the stress on my body. I also need to make sure I'm not going too hard in the swim sessions. Those need to be non-impact, aerobic, active recovery sessions.

October 2, 2006

Back on track

I had to put this past weekend behind me and start the week off on a good foot. Was on time picking up James to go to our swim workout.

As James and I were walking up the pool deck, Mitch asked me if that was me running with Lyndon and Lesleigh Box yesterday. Not me, I'm lazy. Lyndon and Lesleigh walked up right behind us. Turns out it was Danny Domingo running with the Box's. Haha. I should've gone home right then with that compliment. I was confused for a pro triathlete by my swimming coach. He must've assumed that my swim is so bad, I must be a really good runner. Not that good.

This morning's warm-up was a pedestrian 500 warm-up. I got a late start and only put in 300.

Then it was time for 20x50 broken into 4 groups of 5x50. I started the 1st group on the 1:05, went to 1:00 and tried to do the third set pn the :55. I only did 1 in the last group before it was on to the next set, so I ended up with 16x50.

The next set was 2000 pull as 20x100, again broken into 4 groups. The 1st and 3rd were to be tempo swims with 10 seconds rest between 100s, the 3rd and 4th were to focus on speed with 20 seconds rest between 100s. I used paddles for the 2nd group and felt like I was flying. I tried to work on my flip turns as well, but as usual they were a disaster. I ended up in another lane on one occassion. I need to practice those some more.

We wrapped up practice with 20x50 kick on the 1:00. Kick is feeling strong, I just need to use it more while swimming.

Total yardage was 3900 yards. Good start to the week that is going to culminate with the Marine Corps 1/2 Marathon on Saturday morning.

Lazy weekend

Weekend started out with a lazy attitude when I was late getting to James' house to meet up with him to ride over to the bike shop for the group ride. I did make an effort to see if I could catch up with him, but when I got to Riverside Avenue and couldn't see him down the road decided to bag it and go home and read the newspaper and drink coffee.

Went down to Gainesville to see the Gators beat Alabama. Even though it was a 3:30 game, by the time we stopped for dinner, picked up the girls at my parents and got home, it was late and I was worn out. The theory was to wake up before church for the tempo run (easy 2, 3 at 10k pace, easy 1), but the urge to sleep in was too great. We had to take the girls to a birthday party after church (where we had to keep the 3-year olds during the service -- TIRING!), and then the Jags game started at 4:15 and went to OT. At 7 pm I was debating whether or not to do the tempo run, and decided against it.

So there it is, no discipline and a lazy weekend results. Boo Marshall!

September 29, 2006

Morning swim

Funny how I dread these early morning swim sessions, but actually end up glad I do them. Today there was a lot more room in the pool because the high schoolers have a swim meet tomorrow.

We started out with a 600, alternating swim and kick.

Then it was time for the tough set of the day. Mitch wanted us to do 20x50 on the 1:00 while decreasing our stroke count. I tried like mad to get the count down, but I just couldn't. I focused on really reaching my arm out, rotating the body and kicking. Maybe it was just fatigue. Towards the end, I was just looking forward to ending the set.

We then had 3x600, with the 600 broken down to 300 pull and 300 kick. The kick was further broken down so that the first set was 3x100, then 6x50 and finally 12x25. Thirty seconds between 300s, and 10 seconds between the 100 kick sets. We had 5 seconds rest between the 50 and 25 kicks, increasing the intensity as the sets were shorter.

I wrapped up with a 100 yard cool down for a total of 3,500 yards.

It was cool when we started and the air certainly felt cooler as the practice went on. Glad to see the cooler weather, and as Greg Umberger said, "It is starting to make the pool feel a lot warmer."

They aren't getting easier

I was hoping the relatively cooler weather was going to make yesterday's track session easier. Wrong.

John and Jay met me at the Butler Cleaners parking lot. We dis a 1-mile warm-up and then headed for the track. The schedule called for 3x1600 at 5k minus 15 seconds. I'm not sure if traveling and poor diet the days before are to blame, but I didn't hit a single split. I know it's early in the training plan, but I should have speed left over from the summer's shorter races. Then again, I'm not sure if I tried to hit splits as aggressive as what this schedule is calling for. I was close on the first 2, the last one was terrible.

But I'm not going to be discouraged. I did the session as hard as possible, and that's all I can ask for. I hven't missed a run yet, although I have trimmed a couple of long ones. I have been consistent with the cross-training. Onward and upward!

September 25, 2006

Swim workout

Skipped the swim workout last Friday. Had a late business dinner and ate some seriously rich foods that would have made the workout miserable. My first missed workout in two weeks, I think I can justify it.

Back in the pool this morning for the first time in a week. Was dreading it, but ended up enjoying the workout. We started with a 3x400 warm-up (400 swim, 400 kick, 300 pull). Ran out of time on the last 400.

The second set was 20x50 broken up into 4 sets of 5x50. The first three were descending, and then the last we were able to provide extra rest (5x50 1:05, 5x50 1:00, 5x50 :55, 5x50 1:10). Then onto the kicking. We did 8x100 kick broken up into 2 sets of 4x100 (100 easy, 50 easy/50 hard, 50 easy/50 hard, 100 hard).

The last set was 3x400 lungbusters, breathing on the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th stroke. Who needs oxygen? I used paddles for the first time with this set. Very interesting the way they make you stroke cleanly and efficiently. I ended up completing 2x400 before I ran out of time.

Total yardage for the session was 3700. Not too bad.

September 21, 2006

Another tough track workout

As usual, the track workout was tough. However, as a teaser to what is coming, the weather was beautiful this morning. It was clear and in the low 60s. Awesome.

Unfortunately, even with the cooler temperatures, I missed all of my splits in my 5x1000 workout. The target was 5k pace minus 27 seconds, so somewhere around a 6:16 pace for me. Here are my splits and heartrate at the end of each interval:

1000 -- 4:03 167 (missed by 8 seconds)
1000 -- 4:00 172 (missed by 5 seconds)
1000 -- 4:04 172 (missed by 9 seconds)
1000 -- 4:03 173 (missed by 8 seconds)
1000 -- 3:58 175 (missed by 3 seconds)

Missed splits aside, when looking back at my training for last year, I am well ahead. About a month ahead.

Last year on this day I did 6x800 (4800m) in an aggregate time of 20:11. The aggregate for today's 5000m was 20:08. Sweet!
Caveat: Not sure what the weather was like last year, maybe it was warmer.

Next week is 3x1600 at 5k minus 15 seconds. Hopefully the weather will be nice.

September 15, 2006

HARD swim workout

This morning's swim workout was tough. Well, at least one set in the workout was REALLY tough. Typical warm-ups recently have been 3x300 (swim, kick, pull). Today it was 5x300 as follows:
2x300 (alt. swim 25, kick 25)
3x300 swim descending

After that we did some serious kicking:
600 kick (alt. easy 25, hard 25)
450 kick (alt. hard 50, easy 25 )

But then came the butt-kicking. Mitch said there is a thousand different ways to accomplish the same result. I'm not sure if the intended result for this set was to help increase speed or to guarantee puking at the end of it. The set was 6x150 swimming hard for 75, taking a ten second break, then swimming a harder 50 followed by another ten second break, and then swimming all out for 25. These were to be done on the 4. I ended up doing 5x150, with a 50 sprinkled in the middle when I had to take a bathroom break. Would be interesting to see what my heart rate was during that bathroom break because it came after the 3rd 150. I was breathing hard.

I cooled down with a quick 100 yard swim.

Total yardage was about 3450.

I appreciate doing the fast stuff, but towards the end of those sets, I wonder how much good is being done. My form tends to fly out the window and I'm just doing whatever I can to do the set. I try to focus on lengthening the stroke and kicking harder, but that lasts only so long. Then come the doubts and me wondering what the heck i'm doing to myself.

Overall, it was a good workout. In order to improve, I will need to push myself. Swimming in a group with a coach ensures that I will push myself.

September 14, 2006

Track workout this morning

The track workouts associated with this fall's marathon training plan are no cakewalk. These are actually tougher than many of the track sessions we did this summer to prepare for shorter races. John Womack and Bill Bishop joined me in this morning's sufferfest.

The workout called for a 10 minute warm-up and then:

1200 at 5K pace -25 seconds per mile
1000 at 5K pace -27 seconds per mile
800 at 5K pace -30 seconds per mile
600 at 5K pace -35 seconds per mile
400 at 5K pace -40 seconds per mile
200 at 5K pace -45 seconds per mile

Here are my splts, with the heart rate and the end of each interval:
1200 -- 4:49 172 (target was 4:44)
1000 -- 4:01 172 (target was 3:55)
800 -- 3:12 172 (target was 3:07)
600 -- 2:21 175 (target was 2:18)
400 -- 1:28 173 (target was 1:31)
200 -- :33 170 (target was :45)

I made only 2 of the 6 targets. Ouch. We wrapped up the workout with a 1-mile cooldown.

I'm not sure how doing track 2 days after a long run will work in this schedule, but we'll see. At least there is a rest day sandwiched in the middle. The other glimmer of hope is the cooler temperatures in the fall will make these easier.

Next week calls for 5x1000 after a 20-mile run two days before. Looking forward to that. . .

UPDATE: I forgot to provide the nifty wristband generator I created to help keep track of the splits. Figuring out the various paces and slits at 6AM were not my idea of a good time. Be sure to laminate both sides of the paper with scotch tape.

September 12, 2006

14 mile run this morning

Still suffering a little from the sinus cold I picked up last week while on vacation. Was supposed to do 17, but cut it short. Tomorrow is a rest day, but I might head to the pool for some active recovery. Did 4000 yards in the pool yesterday and it felt very good.

September 5, 2006

15-mile vacation run

The marathon schedule called for a 15-mile run today. I guess it didn't care I am on vacation in Captiva.

I started out at 6:30 this morning on the beach. The beaches here aren't wide and flat like they were in Myrtle Beach a couple of weeks ago. Last year, these beaches were built up in a renourishment project to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Charley in 2004. The resulting beach is low and narrow by the water with a second wider level higher above. Unfortunately, the upper level is very soft sand. I'm not quite in shape to trudge 15-miles through powder.

Overall, the run was fine. I used my iPod Nano with the new Nike+ module. It didn't quite synch up with the distances being displayed on my Garmin, but that might be a result of having a hard time getting a satellite lock this morning. It was fun having the music levels lowered and a voice saying "You have gone x miles" or "You have X miles to go."

The heart rate remained comfortably low for the entire effort, averaging 152 for the run. Next on tap is a long bike ride tomorrow.

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 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 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 4, 2006

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.

July 28, 2006

Running in Milwaukee, Chicago

Running in Milwaukee
Running in Chicago

Was on the road in the Midwest this past week. Training was severely hampered. Early morning meetings and small pools at the hotels limited my activities to running. And usually, the hotels were not in the most scenic locations. It has been over a week since the last time I was in a pool. I am going to try to get some laps in later today.

Nutrition on the road also affected my training. On the one hand it is good to let the body recover. However, the best thing for the body while recovering is good food. A bratwurst at Miller Park and deep dish pizza at Gino's East in Chicago, while tasty, is not the best fuel for the body.

July 22, 2006

Training in Birmingham, AL

Run in Birmingham, AL

Business trip to Birmingham, AL this week. Lucky for me my hotel was right next to a YMCA so I was able to do some swimming and running while out of town. Nice running trail along Lakeshore Drive. Lots of people out running before 7 am. I wanted to do a run through the Mountain Brook area on Friday, but wasn't able. Maybe next time.

July 17, 2006

Testing the limits


The Butler's and Cardozo's went down to St. Augustine last Friday for a weekend getaway. Really, it was an excuse for James and me to get in some training fun.

We stayed in the Edgewater Inn, which is at the base of the Bridge of Lions. The reason for staying here is it is at the 1/2 mile mark of the Bridge of Lions 5k. The race starts at the fort and ends in a neighborhood on the other side of the intracoastal.

My 5k wasn't great. It was really hot and humid, and I finished in 21:28. James finished somewhere around 18:50. Slow races for both of us.

Afterwards we packed up the family and went to the World Famous Oasis for breakfast. I love a big breakfast, and the Oasis doesn't disappoint.

With our stomachs full we headed for the beach. We spent about three hours on the beach playing in the sand, body surfing and losing my brand new Rudy Project sunglasses with prescription inserts. Grrrrrr. That really sucked.

A little after 2 pm, the girls were ready to head home. James and I changed into our cycling gear and it was time to make the 60 mile bike ride home. On the hottest day of the year so far. We rode up A1A from St. Augustine Beach, went through St. Augustine and hopped on US 1. We took US1 to Racetrack Road and cut across into Julington Creek. From there it was around Mandarin Road to Scott Mill, then onto San Jose for the ride into downtown. At first we took turns doing 3 minute pulls, but after a while this Tour wanna be cracked. James was an animal pulling my butt down the road.

We stopped twice to refill liquids and comment on how salty, crusty we were. The ride was completely uneventful which is a very good thing.

Overall, a good training day in very bad conditions.

UPDATE: Bridge of Lions results.

July 13, 2006

Good week so far

Good training this week. This morning there was alnost a kink in the armor, but I overcame the temptation to hit the snooze button again (or turn off the alarm altogether).

Here is a rundown for the week so far:
Monday -- 11 mile run
Tuesday -- Spin class, 2000 yards in the pool.
Wednesday -- Track session (1600 at 5k pace, 4x400 at mile pace, 4x200 at sub-mile pace). 2000 yards in the pool.
Today -- Ride bike to Y. 2000 yards in pool. 2 bridge loops on bike and ride back home.

The weather has been interesting this week. Monday morning was unseasonably cool. Yesterday we ran in the rain on the track. Today was just hot and humid.

July 10, 2006

BFAST #3 turned into BFASD #1

No triathlon, but a duathlon instead. Really rough ocean conditions forced the race organizers to ditch the swim on Saturday. I didn't go down to the beach, but apparently the strong winds from the northeast were really churning the water. When this happens, we typically start the race with a 1-mile beach run. Not this time. The tide was so high from the strong winds, there was no place to run on the beach except for the really soft sand near the dunes. Instead of turning the race into a miserable sufferfest, Charlie O'Brien mercifully had us run a mile on the same road used for the run portion of the race.

My wave started second, and I decided there was no need to wear out my legs at the beginning of the race. According to the results, my mile split was 7:18. I don't think the run through the parking lot to transition 1 was taken into account, making the mile a bit long. I yanked my shoes off and was getting ready to take off on the bike when I noticed that my inserts were bunched from taking the shoes off. I quickly straightened them out so I wouldn't have to do it in T2. Now or later, it was going to have to be done. T1 took 57 seconds.

Having a run at the beginning of a race instead of a swim appears to cause some bunching. A huge mass of guys were all leaving T1 at the same time. Most of those guys decided it would be a good idea to stick together for the entire 11.5 miles. It was like a stinkin' peloton. I passed a bunch in the first 2 miles and then came up on the pack of offenders. I muscled around them but couldn't maintain enough speed to stay in front. They all passed me again. I decided I would ride 3 lengths off the back on this stretch of the course that heads north into a headwind.

As we approached the right hand turn for the 2 block section that takes you back towards the ocean I jumped in front again. As I was making the turn, another rider passed me and was actually griping at me about the pack. "You know you have a ton of guys behind you?!?" Like it's my fault. He then griped at the volunteer waving the flag at the last right hand turn before the home stretch. Like he can do anything either. I was disappointed I didn't see ANY race officials on the course. With a tailwind at my back, I was able to get up to 30 mph while just spinning. It was awesome. Unfortunately, I didn't get enough of a lead and a small group passed me again. The packs were nuts. The didn't just pass on the left. There were some yahoos passing on the right as well. What a @#$%! goat rodeo.

I saw my friend Jay Millson up ahead and tried to surge to catch him but couldn't. Needless to say there was another lovely pack of guys all trying to get into T2 at the same time, and one guy wiped out. My bike split was 27:07 for an average speed of 25.4. Very happy with that. T2 took 48 seconds and it was off on the run.

Grabbed a water on the way out and tried to pick up speed. My legs were cursing me. Jay was just ahead of me, as was another friend of mine, JB Long. The bike had taken it's toll and I didn't have much left for the run. I finally got into a rhythmn just before the half mile mark. Running into the headwind was tough, and the group slowly pulled away. I passed Tony Boselli at the turnaround and with the tailwind, was able to start picking up some more speed. I passed a fair number of people, but none from my age group until a half mile before the finish. I thought about blowing past him, but wasn't sure if I could hold him off if he did have something left. I hung on behind for a while, but it meant I had to slow down. I did this for about 50 meters and then I decided I had to pass him. As I did, I started to pour it on, and as I was making the left hand turn into the final stretch, I began my kick. The announcer at the finish commented that #82 was finishing strong and didn't mention anyone else. I ended up beating the other fellow by 3 seconds. That was good for a single digit place in my age group, lucky number 9.

Finishing time was 59 minutes and 8 seconds. I did the 5k in a pitiful 22:59.

While this race can't be used for apples to apples comparisons with my other races, I was very happy with the performance. I finished 50th out of 442 participants.

After the race, chatted with a bunch of friends and even won a jug of Hammer Gel in the drawing. James won our age group and Josh finished third in his. Josh beat James by 6 seconds, abit of vindication after losing to James by 38 seconds in the last race.

Good race, fun series.

July 7, 2006

Woo-hoo! Cars now have to give cyclists 3 feet when passing.

Bicycle lanes safer for motorists, too: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Effective Oct. 1, a new Florida law will go into effect protecting bicyclists. HB 7079, recently signed by Gov. Jeb Bush, will require that "the driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle."

Now let's make sure it's enforced.

Coasting in to tomorrow's sprint tri

For the most part, I've taken it easy this week after three hard weeks. A short 20-mile ride on Monday, an easy 45-mile ride on Tuesday, an easy interval session on Wednesday, and 2000y in the pool yesterday. I'll go for a run or maybe a swim later on today.

Tomorrow is the last race in the three race BFAST series. At the beginning of the year, one of my goals was breaking 1:05:00 in a BFAST race. I achieved that goal in each of the first two races, with a 1:03:39 and a 1:04:44. Of course, the goal for tomorrow is to break 1:05:00 again and the stretch goal is to break the PR set in the first race.

That being said, here is how I see tomorrow unfolding:

Swim (1/4 mi)




Bike (11.5 mi)




Run (3 mi)




That would be a happy medium between the first two races. The wildcards for the race include rough water and hot and humid conditions. When we went to the beach this past Sunday, the ocean was pretty rough. With the storms rolling through, I'm sure they will be less than ideal tomorrow. The positive is the temperatures may be down, but I'm sure the humidity will be stifling.

Whatever happens tomorrow, I am very happy with my race series so far.

Looking forward, next week will be the beginning of a new four week cycle that will feature a lot of time on the bike as I continue to prepare for the HOT at the end of August and the Florida Challenge the end of October.

UPDATE: Rumor has it we may have a duathlon tomorrow. Blah!

July 1, 2006

Saturday long ride


Rode 47 miles this morning with Mike McLamb, Kevin Cofran, Erik Carlson, and Tony Maniatis. Lots of traffic on the roads. Must be holiday traffic. Slowed us down a bit, but overall a very good ride.

June 30, 2006

Back in the pool

I was unable to get in the pool the last 2 days because of a very busy schedule. I did do my speedwork on Wednesday and a 19-mile active recovery ride with Mike McLamb yesterday morning.

This morning I wanted to sleep in, but went down to the Y for Del's 6 am spin class. After that I jumped in the pool for 2000 yards. I can't believe I actually missed not being in the pool. Spending a lot of time in the pool has made me much more comfortable swimming. Maybe oneday it will make me fast. . .

June 28, 2006

Track workout

Steamy session this morning. The parking lot at Butler Cleaners was full!

Bill, Doug, Leah, John and I did a one mile warm-up and then met James at the track. Today's session was:

1 x 1600 at 8k pace
1 x 1200 at 5k pace
4 x 400 at 1 mile pace

Those 400s were tough! I nailed all of my splits, so I might need to consider dropping my targets.

Or maybe not, until I actually hit those targets in a race.

June 27, 2006

Weekly mini-tri

DId the weekly mini-tri this morning. In the pool shortly after 5, swam 1400 yards. Then up to the spin studio for Jane's class. After class jump on the treadmill for a quick mile. Then back down to the pool for a 600 yard cool down. Good workout today.

June 26, 2006

10-mile sufferfest

10-mile sufferfest

Zoinks! It was humid out there this morning. Ran with Mike McLamb down to St. Vincent's. Met up with James and we headed back towards the neighborhood. Back at the neighborhood Mike dropped off and James and I did the Ortega River Run course. The shoes were squishy towards the end. We stopped for water at the house on McGirts that Nunu is going to rent. Will be a good spot for a water bottle drop. These summer long runs aren't much fun, but I know they are necessary for endurance, physically and mentally.

June 22, 2006

Bike ride with Mike McLamb

Bike ride with Mike McLamb

Early bike ride this morning with Mike McLamb. Nothing out of the ordinary. Steady pace of 20 mph. No drivers displaying road rage. I'm still having some problems with the chain bouncing around. I'll probably stop by the bike shop later today to see if they can adjust it.

June 21, 2006

It's dang hot out there

Track workout today. Big crowd at the Lee track. Jay, John, Bill, Teresa, Leah, Jane, Jen and Julie. When we got to the track Owen Shott and Paul McRae were also there doing intervals.

The guys started by doing a one mile warm-up around Willowbranch Park. Half of the ladies ran from the Y as their warm-up, the other half had gotten there a little earlier and had already warmed up. We then started the intervals. Today it was:

2 x 1000 at 8k pace
2 x 800 at 5k pace
2 x 400 at mile pace

After that, we did a one mile cool down around Willowbranch Park. This was Bill's first workout since his accident and surgery on his thumb. He has been out of action for a couple of weeks and the layoff plus the humidity wore him out. However, I was very impressed he was able to do all of the intervals except for a 400. He is doing the first race inthe Jax Tri series this Sunday. He isn't optimistic on his chances, but I think if he approaches it as a training race, he'll do fine. The swim might be interesting. . .

Overall, a good session of hard running. Looking at my splits for a similar workout last summer, I am much faster this year. Woo-hoo!

June 19, 2006

Run for the Pies after a BUSY Saturday

The Run for the Pies was Saturday night. It's described as a 5k block party. The race starts in front of the Jacksonville Landing, goes down to Alltel Stadium and then back to the Landing. Guys finishing under 20:00 and girls finishing under 24:00 get a pie in the finish chutes. No pie for MB. Breaking 20:00 in a 5k will be a stupendous achievement for me. It's just a little ways off. I ended up finishing in 21:11. About 18 seconds off of my PR for a 5k, but still my fastest time ever for this race course. Some folks that I should have beaten finished ahead of me in the race. However, based on everything I did Saturday it was a good effort.

First was doing the Open Road group ride that morning. After 45 miles of high intensity bike riding, I came home to get ready for Maggie's 3rd birthday party. Running errands, setting up tables, painting crocodiles and creating Dora the Explorer maps. The party was a big hit, but very hot. I manned the sno cone machine and was very busy. After the party it was time to clean up and get ready for the race. By race time, I was feeling whipped and the legs were heavy.

The first mile of the race was tough because we were running along the river into a headwind. I reached mile 1 in 6:35. Mile 2 included the turnaround, but it didn't seem like the tailwind was helping much. Instead, things started to heat up because of the lack of a breeze. Mile 2 was a disappointing 6:58. Mile 3 was more of the same, with a short dogleg that featured some headwind. Again, another 6:58 lap. The last 1/10 was :40, or a 6:40 pace. Not much of a kick. I ended up in 14th out of 73 in my age group. Overall, I was 178th out of 877 folks. That includes the folks that ran in the elite race that preceded the open race I ran in.

In the elite race, we got to watch 21 women who had run a sub-20 5k and 43 guys who had run sub-17 in the past year participate in a special race. It was a 5 lap race, with the women starting 2 minutes ahead of the men. The first person across the line received $100. The first man and woman also received $200 each, and there were several lap bonuses of $50. The first person across the line was a guy who finished in 14:42. Smoking!

After the races, there was a big party with lots of giveaways. Unfortunately, the Butler and Cardozo families were wiped out and headed home. Fun day. Busy day!

June 14, 2006

Track workout this morning

Good workout this morning at the Lee track. Met Jay Millson and John Womack in the Butler Cleaners parking lot at 6 am. We did a one mile warm up run around Willowbranch Park and then headed to the track for a tough workout. We did:

2 x 1200 at 8k pace
2 x 800 at 5k pace
400 at mile pace

It was very humid, but fortunately not raining or too windy. Afterwards, we did a one mile cool down. Total for the session is around 4.75 miles.

There is nothing quite like speedwork to help you race faster. Good workout!

June 13, 2006

Rainy, gusty Tuesday

Got up as normal for a Tuesday morning at 4:30 am. Lots of rain was coming down. Thought I saw some light across the bedroom from lightning. As I got ready to leave, Karen confirmed that she had heard some lightning. Man, would I be mad if I arrived at the Y at 5 am and the pool was closed because of the weather, Rain is one thing, but no swimming when there is a hint of lightning. I decided to crawl back in bed and get an extra 30 minutes of sleep and then head up to the Y for Jane's 6 o'clock spin class. Smart move.

When I arrived, the pool was closed. Not because of weather, but because the lifeguards had overslept. I was very satisfied in my decision to catch some extra shuteye.

Jane's spin class wasn't packed as usual. I'm sure the sound of rain outside caused more than one person to hit the snooze button a couple of times. It was really coming down this morning. James popped in midway through spin. Since he couldn't swim, he decided he would spin until the pool opened. After spin, I went down to get in the pool, and now it was closed because of weather. I asked Darrell at the front desk when it would open and he said 7. Excellent.

When the pool finally opened, everyone had their own lane. I did my 2000 and headed home.

Good workout today and extra sleep. Bonus!

June 12, 2006

A race entry without a PR

The streak was bound to end. After the breakthrough I have been experiencing the last several months, eventually there would be a race without a new best.

This past Saturday was the second race in the BFAST series. On May 6, I had set a PR by almost 10 minutes in the first BFAST. Since I had been on the road for much of the previous week, and with the hotter temperatures, I wasn't sure what to expect. Ironically, my race number for this week was the same number I had the previous week at the Harpoon 5-miler, I was number 213 again. Weird.

I picked up James and Josh at 5:50 am for the drive out to Mickler's. I checked in, got marked, and set up in transition. Time to make a quick stop at the potty and head for the beach. Maybe not. The line at the port-o-lets was pretty long, and the line at the permanent facilities (2 bathrooms) was also long. At the permanent facilities, the ones I usually frequent, folks had created a line for the guys and a line for the girls. All of the guys in front of me had yellow caps, meaning their waves would start 5 minutes after mine, and it was getting close to my wave start. There was even a guy in front of me that was only doing the bike leg of the race. To make matters worse, the relays are the last wave to start, but he must've had to go that very instant. Arrgh. This is always a frustrating game of chicken. Do I really need to go, or is it a mental thing? Well, let's put it this way, I started the race a little heavier than I wanted to. But, if I hadn't left when I did, I would've missed my wave start.

The ocean was a little rougher for this race, but not terrible. Just some little swells to get through. I didn't have a good swim, coming into T1 around 11:03. That's 2:07 slower than the last race, then again, I wore a wetsuit in the last race. Still, not the end of the world. I decided I would focus on picking up time in other parts of the race. The first place to pick up time was in T1. Last race it took me 2 minutes to get through T1. This race it took 1:19. Woo-hoo! Like the last race, I saw my friend Sheri as I ran through transition.

For the bike, I knew there was time to be saved. I was racing on my friend Mike McLamb's fancy HED aero-wheels. Always good for speed. Immediately after crossing A1A after coming out of transition, I couldn't believe my eyes. A guy was driving down the middle of our lane in a pick-up towing a giant trailer. It held up a couple of the other bikers, but I was a bit more brazen in riding down the middle of the double yellow strips with a car coming in the opposite direction. Where are the cops that are supposed to be controlling traffic? How did this guy get past the 3-4 cops at the A1A intersection? Once past him, I launched into the big ring and starting spinning at about 95 rpm. I was passed by a couple of guys, the second one wearing an aero helmet. Whatever. I then proceeded to watch the guy with the aero helmet ride the other guys wheel the ENTIRE course. When we popped back onto A1A, an official came up on a motorcycle. I though for sure the cheater was going to get nailed. He didn't. I ended up finishing the bike in 28:42, an improvement of :18 over my assumed finishing time of 29:00 at the last race. I took my feet out of my shoes as I approached transition. This week, no problems finding my rack. I made it through T2 in :42, an improvement of :50 over the last race (again, I'm assuming since my bike and T2 times were messed up in the last race).

I now head into the run, 17 seconds behind last year. As I head out of the parking lot, I hear Guy Cuddihee yell "Marshall Butler you run boy!" Then as I run onto Ponte Vedra Boulevard, I hear someone yell "Go Marshall!" I didn't recognize the person in the crowd. My friend Kevin Wallquist was directing the cyclists into T2 and gives me a high 5. Time to push. @#$%! This hurts. And man is it hot. I pushed as hard as I could, but was running alone for much of the run. I kept the drafter cheater in my sights, but he was running at a wicked pace. Of course, he had fresh legs. Josh passed me a little before the 1 mile mark and told me to make it hurt. He was in 3rd place for the first wave. At the 1 mile mark there was a nasty dead racoon on the side of the road. Stinky! A little while later, I saw James running hard heading home. I made the turnaround and started giving it everything. Not much in the tank. Maybe I should have taken a gel. By this time, there were lots of people on the run course heading for the turnaround. As I approached the curve to the finish line, I gave it everything, but I ended up with 1:04:44. The run took 23:00, :50 slower than the last race.

I grabbed a cup of Gatorade, and the mystery cheerleader appeared. It was Bill Bishop, in a sling. He had messed up his thumb last week, and had to have surgery last Friday. He tried to convince the surgeon to let him race first, but the surgeon didn't go for it. Nice try Bill. I found James and Josh. James had finished 8th overall and Josh had snagged 14th. Good race guys!

While disappointed that I didn't get a PR, I am satisfied that I broke my 2005 goal of going under 1:05:00 in the sprint for a second time. Of course, going into the race, my mindset was to break 1:02:00. I also heard rumbling from folks that the swim might have been a little longer this time. You often hear that, but the swim times were slower for most folks. Overall, I am pretty happy with the race.

Running along the Charles River

060605_charles_riverThis is one of my absolute favorite runs. Running along the Charles River in Boston. When I first started in running in late 2002, I traveled to Boston every couple of months for business. Running along the Charles River is probably one of the reasons why I stayed with the program. There are 17 miles of sidewalks along the river, starting at the Science Museum and going up the river to Watertown. At one point or another, I have run the entire stretch, except for the 3.1 mile loop between the North Beacon bridge and the Mt. Auburn bridge. Last Monday I was able to run from the Central Y in downtown Boston across the Harvard Bridge and up to the Harvard campus and back across the Anderson Footbridge. What a treat!

Distance map of the Charles River running route.

June 9, 2006

Harpoon 5-Miler

Beginning blog entries with personal best finishing times is becoming so cliche' on this website. Oh well. . .


I ran the Harpoon Brewery 5-Miler on June 3. It was rainy. It was cold. It was nasty. And I still dropped my 5-mile PR by 30 seconds. The race organizers tried to delay the start several times, but the rain wouldn't let up, and everyone was soaked hanging out by the starting line anyway.

I registered for the race in early May when I found out it was capped at 1,500 entries. Good thing since the race was full by the end of the month. And how many of the original 1,500 were crazy enough to run in the rain? Over 1,200.

Fun race in BostonIt was a neat race, starting at the brewery near the harbor and just south of the airport. From there, we made our way down to Castle Island, a local recreation area that featured a neat causeway that looped around a bay and is home to a civil war fort, Fort Independence. Then it was back to the brewery. Some parts of the sidewalk near the fort were underwater. Like 2 or 3 inches. The first time I encountered this, I ran through the grass. The water was just as deep there. The next couple of times, I just ran right throught the water. Almost felt like a steeplechase.

Pacing was pretty consistent, the slowest mile being the one where we ran along the harbor. There was no protection from the wind, and that is also where the steeplechase part of the course was located. I felt pretty strong the last mile and picked a couple of people off in the last 1/4 mile.

My goal was to place in the top 50 men. I did that, coming in 44th. Overall, I came in 51st out of 1,217 runners. Complete results are online.

My friend Trevor was at the finish line. We headed over to the post-race party tent. Apparently, this race is the beginning of a huge party weekend called Harpoonfest. However, the only thing I wanted was to get warm and dry. It's also important to note that the Harpoon Brewery makes some dang tasty root beer!

I'm glad I did the race. I met lots of nice people and had a very good time.

May 31, 2006

Track workout, swim

Getting back in the groove.

After my 46 mile bike ride Saturday, I did a 4-mile run on Crescent Beach with James later that afternoon. Unfortunately, I didn't do anything Sunday or Monday. Sunday was a planned rest day, with a remote possibility of doing a swim. Monday was Karen's birthday and I hoped to do something, but instead did my husbandly/fatherly duties by helping the girls fix breakfast in bed for Mommy. The rest of the day we hung out at my parent's pool and I couldn't break away for a run or ride. No biggie. Tuesday morning I'll get back in the groove.

Nope. Karen was up all Monday night with food poisoning. It had to be, since no one else had any problems. She started feeling the symptoms about 6 hours after we ate lunch at Chick-Fil-A. No one wanted to hear Chick-Fil-A and food poisoning in the same sentence, but we can't identify any other cause. So needless to say, my usual Tuesday morning swim and spin was replaced by caring for Karen and keeping the girls out of her hair so she could rest. By yesterday afternoon, I was going nuts. No exercise since Saturday evening. I was able to break away later in the evening for a 2000y swim. Amazing how you can condition your body (or your mind) to crave exercise. I felt much better after the swim.

This morning, I met Jay, Doug, Bill, Julie and Teresa at the cleaners for a track session. We did a 1-mile warm-up and then did 800, 4x400, 4x200. I felt really good throughout. We did a 1-mile cool down, and then I headed to the Y for a swim. Was only able to get 1850y in before I started feeling the stares in the back of the head of the folks who coordinate the aqua-aerobics class. Probably could have finished, but decided I wouldn't push my luck.

Three good workouts in the last 16 hours. Yeah!

May 27, 2006

Bike ride with Mike McLamb and Kevin Cofran

Bike ride with Mike M and Kevin

Good ride this morning with Mike McLamb and Kevin Cofran. We left the neighborhood around 7 am and headed for the Baldwin Trail. When we got there, we took turns doing 1/2 mile pulls to the end of the trail. We got to the end, turned around and headed back.

Six miles from the end of the trail, we had to stop at an intersection. We looked behind us and there was a group ride bearing down on us, about 200 meters back. We decided if they wanted to catch us, they would have to work for it. We all put the chain on the big ring and started putting in monster efforts, still at 1/2 mile intervals. Finally, when we were 1/2 mile from the end, we looked back and the group was splintered and most had exploded. The three of us averaged around 26 to 27 mph for that stretch, and by the time the group got themselves organized, they would have had to do 30 mph to catch us. Stuff like that makes training fun.

My legs felt pretty good. I did a short track workout last night with James, Josh and Mike Maddox. We did a 1.5 mile warm-up, then 6x200 at faster than mile pace, and then a 1 mile cool down. Getting lots of high intensity training done to help with the sprint and olympic triathlons. I will miss these workouts when it is time to really start focusing on the half IM and working on sheer endurance.

May 25, 2006

Bike-Swim-Bike brick

Bike-Swim-Bike brick

Woke up early and rode my bike to the Y. Swam 2000y. Hopped back on the bike and rode over the Acosta Bridge and then home for a total of 11 miles on the bike.

May 24, 2006

Track workout this morning

I have led interval workouts on Wednesday mornings for a couple of months now with folks from the Yates Y. In the past, we would meet up at Memorial Park shortly after 6 am to run laps around the park. Memorial Park is a mile from the Y, so it was convenient and allowed for a nice warm-up and cool-down. Running around the park wasn't the greatest though. The lap around the park was a little under 400m, so I had to provide decoder spreadsheets to determine actual pace. Because it was short and pacing was hard to nail, I also never included workouts that were longer than approximately 800m. Plus, the lighting was terrible, and the concrete surface was uneven and unforgiving to the legs.

Today was different. Jay and I convinced everyone to meet us at the Lee High School track, about 2.5 miles from the Y. We were able to park in the parking lot of my parent's dry cleaners, 3 doors down from the school. Everyone met up shortly after 6 am and did a couple of warm-up laps around the track. Then it was time for a good interval session.

First we did a 1600 at 8k pace, followed by an 800 at 5k pace, and then wrapped it up with a 600-400-200 at mile pace. A solid effort was exerted by everyone. Jay sandbagged and said his legs were feeling heavy. Well, they were heavy fast legs. He was moving pretty good. After the intervals, Jay and I ran a cool down mile around Willowbranch Park.

Doing the speed session at Lee was great. It was dark when we arrived, but became lighter as the session progressed. There was quite a bit of humidity, but the temperature was actually pretty mild. I had a good session, doing the mile in 6:37. That's a little faster than I want to do the Harpoon Brewery 5-miler, but it didn't feel super hard. I did the 800 in 3:09, and then did the 600 at a 6:00/mile pace. I picked up the pace incrementally for the 400 and 200. I did the 400 at 5:44 pace and the 200 at 4:40. Yeah, I'd be able to sustain that for a mile. Sha-right.

Good session. Thanks to everyone for coming out. Wednesday morning sessions on a real track will be terrific.

May 23, 2006

Grumpy morning

As usual, woke up at 4:30 for my Tuesday morning swim/spin/swim brick. Sometimes it's a swim/spin/run/swim brick. Today it was a wait for lifeguard/spin/finally get to swim brick. At 5:10, after setting up my bike in the spin studio, I headed for the pool. Nice big empty pool all for me. The one lifeguard who was there told me I couldn't get in until the other one showed up. She was noticeably uncomfortable, I'm sure she was aware of the wrath she was going to incur until the other lifeguard arrived. So I sat on the bench and tried to stay awake. Leah and Dave came down and waited for a while as well. Finally at 5:30, we decided even if we did get in, we wouldn't accomplish much so everyone went their separate ways to do something productive before spin class.

I went to the stretching room to do some easy leg and hip stretches. After that, I went to the spin studio to do some extra warm-up. Jane put together a great class, as usual.

Back to the pool. There were now 3 lifeguards present. The 2 that are supposed to be there, and their boss. Doubt he was very happy to get called in. Not sure what time the tardy lifeguard arrived, but when I jumped into a lane with James in the now full pool, he told me that when he arrived at the Y around 6 am, Dr. Wells was leaving and not very happy. James said he came to the pool and there was still only 1 lifeguard, so he went and shaved and came back to find enough lifeguards to satisfy the insurance company.

I ended up only doing 1600 yards. In a work-out on Sunday, Josh told me that I wasn't sticking my head far enough in the water and I was dragging my rear (Jay told me the same thing months ago, guess I'm a slow learner). And I have no length to my stroke. I am now working on putting my head way under and swimming downhill, pushing the T, whatever. In the short-term, it will make it more difficult to breathe, but in the long-term it will make me more efficient and give my stroke greater length. Josh told me to concentrate on my head for now, and the next piece to correct is the body roll. I appreciate the coaching. Things can only get better.

The good news is this is the first time this year I have had a swim work-out delayed at the Y. Last year, tardy lifeguards and faulty pool equipment frequently interurban the swim schedule. Because of that, one delay in the first 5 months is not that big of a deal.

May 19, 2006

Running in Pembroke Pines


I was in Pembroke Pines yesterday for a meeting. Stayed at the Grand Palms Resort.

Word of advice#1: Never stay at the Grand Palms Resort. Yecch.

Word of advice #2: When selling real estate, hire the marketing person responsible for the Grand Palms Resort website. Reminds me of the old Mad magazine section "What they say/What they mean." I was afraid to walk on the carpet in my 'luxurious' room without shoes on, and there is no way I was swimming laps in the 'Olympic pool.' There was so much trash floating in that pool, I could've skipped breakfast after taking in a couple of mouthfuls of water.

My run yesterday morning was pleasant enough however. The community the resort is in has some nicely paved paths alongside the road. Was able to do a pretty good 4-mile tempo run, alternating the pace. It felt like I was going slower than I was, maybe an effect of this pesky cold. The heart rate never got out of control either, which is a good thing. Actually, looking down at the HRM a couple of times, my heartrate was in the low 150s, when I was sure it was going to be in the 160s. Weird.

May 12, 2006

Race tomorrow

Thinking about the race tomorrow. My best BFAST triathlon ever was my first one in July of 2004. I finished in 1:13:33. I had a 1:12:21 in the June race last year, but it was a run-bike-run due to ocean conditions. The other two times I have done the race include last year's May edition where I did the running leg for a relay, and last year's July edition where the swim in the ocean was insane and very LONG due to incredibly windy conditions and a moving buoy.

That being said, I think I have a good chance of breaking 1:10:00 tomorrow. The stretch goal is 1:05:00, but I doubt that is in the cards for tomorrow's race. Maybe in June. Here is the prediction breakdown:

Swim (1/4 mi)




Bike (11.5 mi)




Run (3 mi)




I think the bike prediction is a stretch. Also, according to the website, this year's run is 3 miles. It has been a 5k in the past, so it will be interesting to see if they have shortened the course. Of course, their 5k course in the past always felt long (and measured long according to the Garmin).

The water is supposed to be cool tomorrow as well (70 degrees). I'm still debating whether it will be worth it to wear a wetsuit for such a short distance. Their is a bit of a run from the swim finish to the transition area, so I could certainly be halfway out of the wetsuit by the time I get to the bike. It will probably be a racetime decision. If the water is rough, I will certainly wear it.

Good luck to everyone who is racing tomorrow (including those racing in the GC Half!).

May 10, 2006

Actually did what I was supposed to do today

On the training schedule for today was speedwork and swimming.

Speedwork? Check. Meet up with Bill Bishop at the Y at 6 am and ran down to Memorial Park. Nothing too strenuous today, 3 days before the race. We did 4x400 at mile pace. Wanted to get the legs moving fast. Was pretty consistent hitting the laps at a 5:30/mi pace. Not sure I could keep up that pace for a mile though. Ran back to the Y for a total of 3 miles.

Swimming? Check. Did 2000y, alternating 400 yard sets with and without the pull buoys. Starting to feel pretty comfortable in the pool. I think a lesson or two might be in order now that I'm not obsessed with survival and doing the windmill stroke. I was consciously working on the pull through the water, making sure I wasn't going too deep or crossing the midline.

Yeah! Back on track! Tomorrow morning will be an easy recovery run or bike ride.

COMING SOON: Epic weekend

James proposed we do the Epic Weekend this past weekend. Coming off the race, and trying to fend off a cold, I declined. He went for it anyway and while he only hit 100 points on Saturday, his totals for Friday and Sunday were both north of 70. I can't remember the exact numbers. I do know the weekend included 130 miles on the bike and 8000y in the pool. Go James!

What is the Epic Weekend?
James got the idea from Gordo's Epic Camps . The idea is you get 4 points for each running mile, 1 point for each biking mile, and 1 point for every 100 meters in the pool. We set an arbitrary goal to accumulate 100 points per day for a weekend (or for the real masochists, try it over a 3-day holiday weekend).

I haven't completed a full Epic Weekend yet, but when looking at the calendar the next couple of months, there are a few that might work. The first is Memorial Day weekend, but Karen's birthday is on Memorial Day, and I'm not sure she'll think that's the best way to celebrate her birthday. The other is the weekend before July 4. That is also the weekend before the last sprint tri. August looks wide open right now, but I don't want to wait that long.

Anyone else up for the challenge?

May 9, 2006

Motivation levels still low

@#$%! cold! Almost over it, but I still have some congestion that hasn't completely worked itself through my system.

Joe Reger is also still sick, and he is racing in the Gulf Coast Triathlon on Saturday. Good luck and feel better Joe!

Intentionally took it easy last week. This week, I wanted to start ramping up the training again. Off to a less than spectacular start.

Yesterday, I wanted to run 10 with 10-12 100m strides at the end. I did 5 miles.

Tuesdays are always a hard day. Usually 2000y in the pool, Jane's spin class, and a 2-mile fast run on the treadmill off of the bike. Today, it was a 1300y swim, the spin class, and a 1-mile run that wasn't especially fast. However, I did do something that will now be a priority in my training regime. I stretched for about 15 minutes after running. I really worked on the hips, the hamstrings and the lower back. Something that I need to focus more on according to several massage professionals. I ordered a book yesterday to help me identify the stretches I need to do and allow me to incorporate more of them into my daily routine. Today I stuck with a few of the more common stretches that I already know.

I'll still be OK even if this week ends up being a light week. The sprint tri Saturday morning will be a good baseline to see where I'm at in terms of faster, shorter stuff and it should prove to be the motivation I need to work towards my goal of breaking 1:05:00. I don't think I'll be breaking it this week. I'll put together a prediction before the end of the week.

May 7, 2006

45.5 mile Saturday morning group ride

May 6, 2006 group ride

Did the full short loop for the first time in a while. Definitely gets the heart racing when you are doing 28 - 30 mph in a pack of 30+ riders. I found myself near the front of the pack a couple of times and even pulled through once. I pulled through right before a little hill and I was losing gas quickly. The next person to the front of the main line didn't peel away, so I was still pulling the line on the left. Fortunately, James was right behind me and jumped in front of me so I could grab his wheel and avoid dropping to the back like an anchor. Mike McLamb made a couple of spectacular attacks on the ride home, but was caught both times. Riding over the Acosta Bridge 5 miles from home really showed me how much I need to work on inclines if I want to do the Florida Challenge in October. Overall average for the ride including the warm up and cool down was just below 20 mph.

Yates Tri Club featured in Y Life magazine

Yates Tri Club featured in Y Life magazine

The tri club we started this spring at the YMCA is featured in the current edition of Y Life. The photo they selected is pretty funny. They asked us to stagger swimming down the lanes. Reminded me of that cell phone commercial where you always get 'more bars.' This photo was taken at about 5:15 am. I'm the second swimmer from the bottom. They also took some photos of us in the spin studio right before the 6 am class. I guess they were afraid to show our faces at that time of the morning.

I have one quote in the article, where I refer to sharing 'nuggets of information.' Pretty funny. Kelly Brown and Greg Yarborough can tell you that many of the nuggets shared during the warm-up for spin class aren't always tri-related, but they are entertaining.

My wife wants to know what's up with the term 'nugget.' The day after this issue of Y Life was delivered, we received a fancy engraved invitation from our bank inviting us to a special luncheon where a local historian will share 'interesting nuggets from Jacksonville's past.' She just didn't know that my vocabulary is so trendy.

Back to the article. . .

I was really impressed to read about Dave Pierson's lifestyle changes. He is an inspiration to many folks. I often see him in the pool working on his stroke, I always see him in spin class, and I know he is doing a lot of running. He isn't doing the sprint tri this weekend, but is aiming to do the second or third one in the series. He said he still needs to get more comfortable in the water before he tackles his first race open water ocean swim. He did say he's gone out to the beach a couple of times to practice. The man is on a mission! I can't wait to watch him finish his first race. Go Dave!

Go Yates YMCA Tri Club!

May 5, 2006

Racing in Boston

It's not THE race, but it does look like fun. I'll be in Boston on business the first part of June, and was looking for a race to do that Saturday morning. The Harpoon Brewey Five Miler raises money for The Angel Fund. I'm trying to convince my friend Trevor to run the race with me. He is recovering from an injury and is unsure if he will be able to run.

Based on the 2005 results, in order to crack the Top 50 Men, I would need to break the 5-mile PR I set in the Ortega Run a couple of months ago by a couple of seconds. In any event, it looks like it will be a good time.

May 1, 2006

2006 St. Anthony's Triathlon


What a race! The conditions were not as good as last year and I STILL destroyed my Olympic Tri PR by 14 minutes. All of the yardage in the pool paid off. I dropped 7 minutes off of my swim time in rough conditions. Add in incrementally faster transitions, and 2 minute improvements over last year in both the bike and the run, and you get a 9% improvement in performance.

We left the hotel at 5:30 am and walked over to Vinoy Park. I got body marked and went into the transition area to organize my things. On the way out, I spotted fellow blogger and triathlete Joe Reger. I have read Joe's blog for a while, and it was cool to get to meet him. On a funny note, I finally remembered how I found Joe's blog later yesterday afternoon. In a past sprint triathlon, the goodie bag included a sample of Nair for Men. I did a Google search to see what other triathletes had to say about this goop and found an entry on Joe's blog. Joe's Nair entry is the 3rd result on Google for the search "Nair triathlon."

Karen and I then casually walked over to Spa Beach and waited for the start. No lines for the potties so I took care of business and put on the wetsuit. Next thing you know, I'm swimming. For the first time ever, I didn't freak out 200 meters into the swim. I was confident in my ability and knew I belonged there. Speed of course is a different story. With this confidence, I didn't worry about swimming wide. I stayed right in the middle of the pack and got into a rhythmn. I did get off course a couple of times with the rough seas, but for the most part I didn't stray too far. The only blunder was forgetting to start my watch. I remembered about 3 minutes into the swim, but didn't know for sure what the difference was between my watch and the race clock until I asked a guy on the run.

Climbing up the stairs at the seawall wasn't as difficult as last year. There were volunteers pulling folks up onto the stairs, and I didn't see anyone fighting to get on the right side of the railings. Swim time was 31:13, as opposed to 38:17 in 2005. I heard Karen yell at me as I ran into T1. Yikes! Lots of bikes missing from my rack. The wetsuit came off very quickly, shoes and helmet on, and I'm ready for the bike leg. For some reason, the rest of my body had not yet caught up with my head. I couldn't get my shoes to click in to save my life. Finally, they did and I was rolling. I saw Karen on the left after the first turn and yelled at her. She wasn't expecting me to be off so quickly. T1 time was a snappy 2:13, 2 minutes faster than last year.

060430_StAThe bike portion featured some wind, but it seemed like I really hammered on the sections where I had a tailwind and just kept it steady when I had a headwind. I know I had some serious adrenaline flowing because I never felt like I was getting tired. The only downside is I forgot to bring a Gu. I had placed one in my bike shoe so I wouldn't forget. In the future I am taping a gel to my bike. Having the aero bottle also helped. It didn't affect bike handling and I was able to stay hydrated without reaching down. My cadence was very consistent and it seemed like the bike portion flew by. I knew I was doing well when I heard the Garmin beep for mile 22 and the timer was at an even 60 minutes. The goal was to average 21.5 mph and I was at 22 mph with just 3 miles left. I had a duel going with a guy on a Cervelo P3. Seemed like we passed each other a dozen times. I also need to remember to time passes better back in the area around the golf course. A couple of my passes included fun rides over the speed bumps.

The only other notable things to happen on the bike course was a SOB in a big Cadillac who decided he needed to back out of his driveway in front of me. To his credit, he punched the gas to back out, but I still had to slow down a bit because I didn't want to get creamed. Fellow Hammerheader and future pro Will Pearce passed me at mile 16 of the bike. Finally, a squirrel with a death wish darted in front of me right before the turn at the airport. If he had been a step slower, we would've both been toast. Even with these adventures, bike time was 1:09:19, another improvement of 2 minutes.

Hopping of the bike at T2 was an adventure. Putting your foot down on the bricks is like stepping on ice. I thought about sliding my feet out while rolling, but again, I didn't want to wipe out on the pave'. Run in, rack the bike and slide the shoes on. My insole slid when I put my left shoe on, so I had to take it off and put it on again. I made sure I grabbed a gel, my race belt and off to the run. T2 was a respectable 1:26.

The first mile featured a nasty headwind. I saw the lead women heading for the finish. At the first aid station, I took the gel with some Gatorade. I think my first split was around 7:36. Not bad considering the headwind. My pace remained even until about mile 4. I could sense my body slowing down. It was around mile 2 when I had a chance to ask a guy who was my age what his watch said. I determined my watch was off by 3 minutes. It was good that I now had that information because it allowed my brain to focus on splits and calculating what I needed to do to hit my goal and my stretch goal instead of how my calves were feeling. At the 5 mile mark I knew that 2:30 wasn't going to be possible, but I could still beat 2:35. What a sense of excitement knowing that I was obliterating my PR. Of course, I kept wondering if my calculations were wrong and it wasn't as good as I thought. Or maybe I wasn't 3 lengths back somewhere on the bike course and got a penalty. None of that panned out and I crossed the finish line with thumbs up for my girls in a time of 2:32:28. I finished the run in 48:18, a full 2 minutes faster than last year. Karen forgot about the 15 minute delay in start time and wasn't sure I was happy with my time until I explained to her how the time is calculated in a triathlon.

Race day was a very pleasant experience. Staying downtown made a world of difference, as did leaving Emily and Maggie with my parents. Karen was now able to concentrate on helping me get ready for the race and actually watching the race. Afterwards, she was very excited to tell me about everything she saw. Describing how fast the pros are, telling me about the bike wipe outs on the bricks, and actually getting to see her husband 5 different times during the race.

The good news is I get to mark off another goal from my list for 2006. The goal was to break 2:35:00 in the Olympic distance. Based on the confidence I have right now, I might get to check another goal off in 2 weeks and go under 1:05:00 in my first sprint of the year.

Hmmmm, and there is also that lofty goal of completing my first half Ironman.

Google Earth file now available.

Forgot to upload my heart rate statistics. My average heart rate for the race was 158 bpm. The highest it ever got was 171 bpm. I haven't modified my zones since I had to reset the watch a couple of months ago, so my default Zone 1 is still 80 - 160 bpm. I was in that zone for 1:38:33. I was above 160 bpm for 53:44, and below the zone for :11. The only place I can imagine having time to allow my HR to drop below 80 would be in one of the transitions. Might just be an anomaly. I think I might need to invest in the new Forerunner 305 with built-in HRM so I can actually see my HR as it relates to where I'm at. ;)

April 29, 2006



Good news: The swim will most likely be wetsuit legal.

Bad news: We'll be swimming in a washing machine.

Less than 24 hours to go

Karen and I made it to St. Pete safely yesterday. Took us a little longer than it should have, because 3 miles after we got on 275, all traffic was at a complete standstill. Lots of emergency vehicles on the northbound lanes. Next thing you know, here comes Lifeflight. An Explorer wiped out and rolled through the median. Everyone was out of their cars walking around and watching the rescue. After Lifeflight took off, southbound traffic started moving again. Folks in the northbound lanes were backed up for miles.

We checked into our hotel. We had heard very good things about The Pier Hotel. It really is a charming 'historic' place. Nice breakfast spread in the morning and a happy hour in the evening, plus free high-speed Internet. It's about a mile away from the race venue, so very convienent.

After settling in and checking on the girls, we walked down to the Pier for dinner. VERY windy outside. The sun had set and the water was dark and choppy. Oh boy. I don't need to be psyching myself out. Especially with the rumor that wetsuits won't be needed. Sunday, I just need to remember to get in a rhythmn and stay steady in the swim and let it rip on the bike and the run.

Today, we slept in, grabbed some breakfast downstairs, and walked over to the race expo. Lots of folks running and biking, and saw some that had just gotten out of the water. It is still very windy, and the water is really choppy. Bought some fancy new sunglasses for the race tomorrow and won a drawing for a Zoot cap. Good thing, because Karen's hair was blowing in her face and she was commenting that she needed one. Also stopped by the massage tent for a quick lower back massage. I woke up this morning with some soreness down there. Not sure if it was the hotel bed or not. I was told that I have a lot of tightness around my hips and down into my IT band. I need to stretch more! I know I do, I just never do it. Need to add that as a bigger part of my training regime.

Back to the hotel for some final bike tweaking and then back to the venue for registration and bike check-in. Karen is going to grab a nap.

Almost time!

April 24, 2006

St. Anthony's: The Plan

Here is a breakdown of my race last year:













So, what are my thoughts for this year? Well, I would like to chop 6 minutes off of the swim. That puts me in T1 at 32 minutes. I think there is at least 1 minute of time that can be eliminated from T1, so let's call that 3 minutes. Not sure how much time can be shaved from the bike. Last year I rode the old Trek. This year I have the Kestrel. I will be riding with Mike's fancy wheels again, but my training mileage has been down. I'll be conservative and shoot for 70 minutes. With my new easy off Tri bike shoes, I should save 30 seconds in T2. Finally, I hope there is enough gas in the tank to run the 10k in 48 minutes. So what does that make the goal? Somewhere around 2 hours, 34 minutes and 30 seconds. That would be right in line with my 2006 goal of doing an Olympic Tri under 2:35:00.

James is betting on 2:32:00. I think he is basing that on quicker transitions and a faster run.

I hope at least one of us is right.

T-time: Less than one week

St. Anthony's is six days away and my tapering has begun.

Here is a comparison of 2005 v. 2006 training:


2006 YTD














Bike mileage is down, but swim yardage is WAY up and so is run mileage. The swim is where I have the most time to gain, so I hope the training pays off. I heard a rumor that the swim MAY not be wetsuit-legal, but I hope that's just a rumor. The extra swim mileage should also pay dividends on my aerobic capacity, so that should help the bike and run as well.

The only other wildcard is the weather. Last year, the weather was beautiful. For some reason, I remember the run was actually almost cool.

I plan on doing the Open Road group ride this afternoon, spin class tomorrow (with an easy 1000y swim), and then some speedwork on Wednesday. Maybe an easy jog or swim on Thursday and Friday. I'll make a visit to the chiropractor over the next couple of days and get a massage on Thursday. Then it'll be time to RACE!

April 21, 2006

My first River Run

My first River Run

Mom and Dad had this photo up at the cleaners. I figured I should scan it in for posterity. It's funny when I think of the amount of training I did back then. Not a whole lot. I wish I had trained more. I think my longest runs were usually in the neighborhood of 6 or 7 miles. I would have to get my Dad to drive the streets I ran to get the mileage. Too bad there was no GPS back then.

I usually ran at night, after the sun went down. Every now and then I would run before school. I can't remember ever being accosted. Sometimes Pete would ride his bike alongside. If anything, the only things in danger were the neighborhood garbage cans.

My route was typically to run down Belvedere or Avondale Avenue (depending on if Pete was accompanying me). From there I would turn left on St. Johns Avenue and run to St. Vincent's. I would turn around and run back down St. Johns cutting back through side streets after I crossed Fishweir Creek. Ultimately, I would run around the old Roosevelt Mall and then head home. I remember I would always run the last half mile home down Belvedere from Pete's house very hard.

Of course, at this time the Walkman ruled and there was no iPod. My Walkman (cassette with auto-reverse!) was a bit unwieldy to run with, so I would use my sister's little AM/FM portable stereo. Listening to the radio was OK, but I would think about how motivating it would be if I could run to a playlist I compiled. I once fantasized how cool it would be to have the local DJ play that custom playlist during the River Run. Now with iPods, the ability for every runner to be his own DJ is taken for granted. Funny thing is, I now rarely run with my iPod.

Glad I found the photo. Brings back a lot of old memories of training as a spry teenager.

April 20, 2006

Training in Kansas City


Here is the aerial view of my run last Wednesday in Kansas City. Reminds me of the Absolut vodka ads. It was dang hot in KC. They hit a record high of 92 while we were there. There were also a couple of inclines, while not super steep, they did wear you down. Nothing really notable about the run. I did run around the park that surrounds the Liberty War Memorial. Also ran past the corporate headquarters of Hallmark. I did a shorter 3-mile version of the run on Friday morning before I left to come home. The hotel we stayed in also had a pool with a couple of lanes roped off, so I was able to do laps on Thursday morning. Didn't accomplish as much training as I would have at home, but it wasn't a complete loss of 3 training days.

April 11, 2006

Gotta wear a shirt in St. Anthony's

From an e-mail sent by the StA Race Director:

No Bare Torso Rule: (From USAT Website) Among the competitive rules targeted for special emphasis during 2006, USA Triathlon reminds athletes that torso (upper body) clothing is required during the cycling and running disciplines, and that chin straps must be fastened while wearing helmets. This clothing change will not affect female competitors. Male competitors will be required to wear a race top for the bike and run portions covering the area from the top of the sternum to the bottom of the sternum (xiphoid process).
Use of torso-covering clothing is an important rule that ensures male and females compete by the same standards. While cycling, light-colored, tight clothing is more aerodynamic than skin pores and helps minimize abrasions in the event of a crash. It also reflects ultraviolet rays from the sun, enabling better regulation of body temperature. The same is true for running, although loose fitting; light-colored clothing is more appropriate for that discipline (tight fitting clothing is an aerodynamic consideration related to cycling, but not the slower speeds of running).

Haha. This rule doesn't affect female competitors. I bet there would've been a lot more spectators in the past had this rule affected them for the first time this year.

I wonder if BFAST and HOT will enforce this rule this year? I wore a Tri-tank in last year's StA because I thought they always enforced the rule. Other than that, I can think of only one other triathlon where I wore a top.

Morning triathlon

Did the Tuesday Triathlon today. I might start calling it a double brick.

I started a little after 5 am in the pool. I swam for 30 minutes and then up to the spin room for Jane's class. We did intervals in class today. Really good class. Once it was time for everyone to cool down, I put on the running shoes and hit the treadmill for 2 miles. One mile at 7:30, then a half mile at 7:00, and the last half mile at 6:40. Then back to the pool for a 15 minute cool down.

As I was headed back to the locker room after the cool down, Jay was giving me a hard time for getting back in the pool. Doug saw me and asked me if I was starting all over and heading back to the spin room for another class. I guess they think I'm nuts.

April 10, 2006

40-mile ride on/off the Baldwin Trail


Good ride with Mike McLamb yesterday. About half of the ride was up-tempo speed stuff, taking turns pulling. Didn't know we came so close to the Georgia border until I looked at the map. Encountered only one road rage idiot who felt compelled to honk at us as we were on a short stretch of 301. The middle stretch of SR 121 was miserable. The road has been scraped in preparation for resurfacing. There wasn't a smooth place to ride at all. Hopefully, they will be done soon.

April 6, 2006

Asics photo shoot

Jacksonville's Financial News and Daily Record

Znequet McGee wasn't running up and down Forsyth Street over and over and over Tuesday as part of some odd, new training regimen. She was taking part in a commercial photo shoot for Asics Footwear and Apparel's spring catalog.

Good thing she stayed on the sidewalk.

April 3, 2006

Running at Disney

Caution: If you ever stay at the Pop Century Resort at Disney World and want to do a long run, be careful. There is not very many good places to run directly from your hotel room unless you like doing laps in a parking lot or want to take your life in your own hands. Apparently, every minivan and SUV driver from the Midwest received the memo that you defend your lane at all costs. I always try to run facing traffic so I can see what's about to hit me. All I ask is for the foot and a half on the side of the road between the white line and the curb. I think these jokers would come zooming past me trying to see how close they could get. Usually, they would have a full empty lane to the left of them. It must be a matter of pride, honor or something that prevents them from relinquishing one inch of their lane. If there was a pack of cars coming, I would hop in the grass and run there, because I understand they might not have anywhere to go. Other than the folks who feel like they should drive like Mario Andretti at 6:00 am, the run was pretty boring. Not much to look at, save a couple of bunny rabbits and an armadillo. The air was thick but cool.

March 31, 2006

Spin class, 2 miles on treadmill, 1200 in pool

I pretty much did the equivalent of a sprint triathlon this morning, not necessarily in the correct order.

Arrived at spin class at 5:55, just in time to get the last bike. Usually, there are plenty of bikes, but the MS 150 is in a couple of weeks and I think more folks are coming to spin class to get ready. ET was on my bike, so I took the Kelly Brown bike. My usual bike in the corner definitely has more resistance to it and the bike I was on this morning had an annoying wobbly seat. Del put together a good class, albeit tough. Once he told everyone to cool down, I jumped off the bike, put on my shoes and hopped on a treadmill.

I did 2 miles, starting at a 7:30/mile pace and ratcheting it down once I hit the first mile mark. I ended doing the last quarter at a mile at a 6:30/mile pace. While running, I was overlooking the pool, and there was no one in it. I was afraid something had happened and they had closed it. Finally, at the end of the run, I saw someone get in one of the far lanes.

Down to the locker room, grab the goggles and pull buoy and off to the pool. While in the locker room, I heard Del reminiscing about Donyell Marshall and his team losing to Florida in 1994. Apparently, Del is a UConn fan. He thought the Gators beat UConn to go to the Final Four. I corrected him and told him that was an Elite Eight game, and the Gators beat Boston College to go to the Final Four. Jay and Doug thought it was hilarious that I was busting Del's chops on sports trivia.

Once in the pool, I could feel myself running out of gas. This was going to be a tough workout. ET was in the pool, and I complimented him on his stroke and speed. He told me that I do way too much work with my stroke, and I should be zipping through the water. He told me that I need to keep my midsection still and not sway from side to side. This will result in additional torque and therefore power. Especially if I rotate my body more. He also told me that mud isn't much thicker than water, so instead of thinking about pushing water with my hands, think about grabbing a handful of it and pulling my body through it. I tried to work on this, but frankly was just pooped. I ended up only doing 1200 yards.

Overall, it was a good work-out. I wish I hadn't been so rushed before spin class and had a chance to eat a Clif Bar.

March 30, 2006

10 mile run this morning

Training - StV, ORR 3-30-2006

Ran the Ortega River Run course and to St. Vincent's and back with James this morning.

We did what James calls "Kenyan Training" for my 7th mile (9th mile for James, since he starts by StV and meets up with me in my neighborhood). I was able to do the mile in 6:50. I can definitely tell I've missed speed training the last 2 weeks. Legs didn't feel as quick as normal. Then again, it is a challenging stretch of road with some inclines, and jumping on and off the sidewalk. Plus the sidewalks in that stretch aren't in the best shape.

I was going to do a 30-mile bike ride at lunch, but will probably skip that. I'll try to jump in the pool later today for 2000.

Since St. Anthony's is 4 weeks from Sunday, James recommends I ratchet it up the next 3 weeks. Increase swimming from 6000 to 8000 to 10000. Increase biking from 80 miles to 100 miles to 120 miles. Keep running around 20-25 miles a week. Then take it easy the week before the race.

Gulp! Sounds like. . .fun?!?

March 29, 2006

Recovery run, swim 2100

Wednesday morning's are speed workouts for the Y Tri Club. Only Bill was at the Y at 6 am. Everyone else went for a run over to San Marco (I later found out that Leah was going to meet us at Memorial Park at 6. Oops.). Bill did the Red Hills Triathlon this past Saturday, so instead of speed, we did a bridge loop. After one loop, Bill said he just didn't have it in him today, so we ran back to the Y. I wanted to go a little longer, so I ran up to the top of the Acosta bridge one more time. On the way up, I passed Del, Doug, Teresa, Jenny, Jane and Marla coming back from San Marco. At the top I turned around and went back to the Y. Ended up being right on target, 35 minutes at 153 bpm.

Chatted with the gang in the parking lot for a little while, then went inside. Saw Teresa Rogers, Senior VP for the First Coast Y and she said she heard I might be joining the Board of Directors for the Yates Y. I told her that's what I had heard as well. Todd Rosenbaum, Executive Director at Yates told me last week someone would be calling me. Teresa introduced me to Penny Zuber, CFO for the First Coast Y. They were heading out for a run.

No more procrastinating, time to get in the pool.

Wasn't sure what to do in terms of a work-out, so I tried the one someone posted on the whiteboard:

200 swim
200 pull

6 x (75 swim, 25 kick -- no board), :10 rest

4 x (150 pull, 50 swim), :30 rest

8x25 (sprint every other lap)

Cool down:
100 swim

The hardest part was the kick laps without a board. Trying to catch a breath by just tilting my head was a challenge. Breathing is certainly something I need to work on.

Pretty good work-out today. I have 4100 yards in the pool so far this week. Very happy with that. Now I need to get on the bike!

March 28, 2006

Swim 2000, spin

Woke up this morning at o-dark-thirty. Turned off the alarm, closed my eyes, and promptly jumped out of bed 15 minutes later when my Treo alarm went off. That's the project manager in me coming out, you have to have a contingency plan.

Jumped into a chilly pool at 5:10. After reading Bill Bishop's race recap, I felt like a wuss for griping about the water temperature. I did 1200, then jumped out and went up to Jane's spin class. Today was race day, so we had a lot of high energy stuff to keep the cadence up. The Riverdance stuff made me laugh, because I was imagining racing my bike along a road lined with folks from Lord of the Dance. Quite a mental image of all of these folks interlocking arms, wearing tights, and jumping around watching a triathlon.

After spin, it was back down to the pool for a quick 800. Not many folks in the pool at that point.

Two days into my toughest week of training this year. In retrospect, I should have done more than 800 when I hopped back into the pool. I'm back-end loading a bunch of training into the latter part of this week. The plan is a speed workout tomorrow morning followed by another 2000 swim. I might add a little more to the swim.

March 27, 2006

5 mile run this morning

Ran the Ortega River Run course this morning. It was chilly outside. I was able to maintain a fast tempo for the entire run while keeping the heart rate under 160.

I was also supposed to swim 2000 sometime today, but I don't think that's going to happen. The plan for tomorrow is to swim 1000, do Jane's spin class, and then swim another 1000.

The goals for the week are:








This is going to be a loooong week.

March 24, 2006

Training update

So far this year, training is going very well. I have been able to remain healthy and be very consistent. The results prove this. In 2006, I have PR'ed the 5k, the 5 mile, and the 15k. The only race I didn't PR was the Winter Beaches Run. That would've been quite a feat to PR in that race. Here is a comparison of 2005 v. 2006 training:


2006 YTD














I will be over last years bike total after tomorrow morning's ride. Based on this, it is safe to say that I am 2-3 weeks ahead of my training last year. I do need to put in some more time on the bike.

March 16, 2006

Predicting race pace

When we do intervals, we often base the pace for the interval on the pace you would use in various races. For example, yesterday morning we did 1200-800-400, where the 1200 was at 10k pace, the 800 was at 5k pace and the 400 was at mile pace.

During the run work-out, there was a question about knowing what pace to use for various races. If you haven't raced a lot, this could be confusing. There are formulas that you can use based on one distance that estimates a finishing time for another distance. The one I often use is:

T2 = T1 x (D2/D1)^1.06

Based on my Ortega River Run time on 2/25, it came within 16 seconds of correctly estimating my River Run time on 3/11.

Of course, it isn't all pure science. There are other factors that the formula doesn't take into account like 90% humidity.

There is a really cool web application on the Running for Fitness website that uses the above formula, and some others to generate the estimated pace for a variety of distances.

Now can someone help me figure out my NCAA Tournament bracket?

March 12, 2006

River Run 2006

Woo-hoo! New PR for the 15k in the River Run! I finished in 1:07:10, shaving a minute and 31 seconds off of my PR.

Towards the latter part of the week, all the talk was about the weather forecast. Come racetime, the thermometer wasn't the killer, it was the humidity. The sky was overcast at the start, and not just a little. It was filled with heavy cloud cover. I guess that was a good thing to keep the sun from bearing down on us, but at the same time, the air was thick. I think I heard 90% relative humidity. I can believe it, my singlet and shorts were soaked by mile 3.

I never felt comfortable during the race. I hit the 1 mile mark around 6:45, about 15 seconds faster than I wanted to. Mile 2 was 6:53, still faster than the 7:00 to 7:10 pace I was aiming for. Finally, miles 3, 4, and 5 were in that range, ranging from 7:02 to 7:13. The heart rate was pegged at 171, not bad. Mile 5 down Atlantic Blvd. seemed a bit slow, there was a light wind in my face. Miles 6 and 7 with all of their turns were not fast, coming in at 7:21 and 7:25. Grrrr, I was giving some of my banked time away! No matter, whatever banked time I had left, it was all gone going up the bridge. The snowman, not just a familiar sight to my golf game, appeared on my watch. Mile 8 took 8:05. Coming down the bridge, I opened my stride a bit, but never really felt like I was doing as much as I could. The nagging reminder that there is still 3/10 of a mile of work to do once you hit the bottom still held me back. Mile 9 was clocked at 7:00, and I did the finally 3/10 in 2:15 (7:30/pace). Finishing time was 1:07:10. I really wanted to come in under 1:07:00 so I could use the time for a seeding in next year's race. Oh well, that will come in a race later this year. I did get a Top 10% cap. Turns out, I finished somewhere around 425 out of over 9,000 participants (can't call them all runners).

I did have a funny moment coming down the bridge. Thursday night at dinner, Gil Weise, one of the River Run streakers, told the story of the time he was coming down the Hart Bridge at the end of the race and heard footsteps behind him. He looked back, and it was Bill Rodgers. Gil was amazed that he was leading the original River Run champ and 4-time Boston Marathon winner 8 miles into the race. He looked over and told Bill that he couldn't believe he was ahead of him. Bill fired back, "This is my second lap!" Well, coming down the bridge yesterday, I look over my shoulder, and there is Bill Rodgers! I asked him if this was his second lap and he said "Nope, it's my third!" I continued to run with him as long as I could, and Bill commented that they certainly don't have bridges like this in Boston. He was still running smoothly, and I has doing my best to keep up. I wanted to cross the finish line next to Bill. Unfortunately, Bill had a stronger kick and finished 6 seconds ahead of me. It was funny shadowing him that last part of the race and looking at the spectator's faces as he came by. There were the "Hey Bill!" shouts and others murmuring to each other as he went by. Many knew he was someone famous, but not completely sure.

Overall, I can't complain about a PR. I think I could've done a little better, and I'm certain I could've done a lot better of the weather was cooler. I also scored well for the River Club in the Gate Governor's Cup competition. I was the first finisher from the River Club. Does that mean I'm club champion? I finished ahead of some folks from the other clubs that our club had tried to recruit runners that could beat them, but never succeeded.

Race - River Run 3-11-2006.jpg
Associated files:
Race results
Google Earth file: 060311_riverrun.kml

March 9, 2006

River Run Pasta Dinner at the River Club

Karen and I joined the River Club last year. One of the benefits of being a member is you get to participate in the Gate Governor's Challenge in the Gate River Run. Teams from Epping Forest, the Lodge, Ponte Vedra Inn and Club amd the River Club all compete to have the lowest aggregate time for the first 5 finishers from their clubs. Another perk is a nice carbo-loading pasta dinner before the race. Karen and I had a great time. I got to talk to Bill Rodgers (American running legend and winner of the first River Run 28 years ago) again. I met Bill the first time in 2003 when I stopped by his store in Boston to buy some shoes. Really nice guy who loves to talk about running. Also met Hal Higdon, who's training schedules I used when I started running again 3 years ago. Todd Williams was also there but I didn't get a chance to meet him. Todd has won the River Run 5 times and holds the River Run course and American record in the 15k. He ran the River Run in 42:22, that's all. Wowzers!

"If you want to win a race you have to go a little berserk." -- Bill Rodgers

March 8, 2006

Speed workout this morning

Small group today for the last speed workout before the River Run. After a 1-mile warm-up, we did 3 x 800 at projected race pace. I was running the intervals a little too quick, so I need to go run one more time before the race to dial in the race pace. Finished up with a 1-mile cool down back to the Y. Good work-out with Bill, Doug and Leah. Looking forward to the race!

March 6, 2006

Long run this morning

060306_Oleander_downtownRan a little over 11 this morning, going from my house to downtown and back.  Wanted to do the Acosta and Main Street bridges in the middle to simulate the fatigue I will be feeling Saturday morning in the River Run when I get to the Hart Bridge.  Did the bridges with some intensity.  Overall, the run felt sluggish.  I think the Chinese dinner feast I had last night was not the best fuel for a long run.  General Tso must not have fed his men chicken the night before a long march.  The good news is the heart rate was down (156 bpm average) and the pace wasn’t terrible (~7:44/mile).  The legs did feel dead.  I might need to do low intensity stuff the rest of the week and take Friday off.

Google Earth kml file (39 KB)

March 3, 2006

Spin class, 30 minute swim

Jay substituted for Del this morning. Great spin class with good music and lots of high intensity stuff. Climbs and sprints in and out of the saddle. As a bonus, looks like they fixed the flywheel on my bike. Now I can actually warm up and not have to start class on the freakin' Alpe D'Huez. After class I headed down to the pool for a quick swim. Jay decided to join me for his first swim in forever. I can keep up with Jay on the bike and the run (at least in the past, he is wicked fast right now getting ready for River Run). But the problem is he beats me out of the water by 10 minutes after 1500 meters. He gave me a couple of pointers, the most important one being to stick my head in the water. He said my head is sticking out of the water too much and creating too much drag. Along those lines, he also commented that I tend to windmill and not rotate and glide, which also creates more of a barge/plow effect, rather than skimming through the water. I really appreciate the feedback. He was hesitant to provide the coaching, likening it to the way people constantly feel compelled to provide tips when playing golf. The difference is I asked for it and really appreciate the extra sets of eyes looking at my stroke. Thanks Jay!

BTW, this is my first post using w.Bloggar. I have also been playing around with BlogJet. Not sure which one I like the best. Need to do some more testing.

March 2, 2006

5 mile run

Ran the Ortega River Run course with James this morning. Staying out late last night definitely made me feel sluggish.

We have often talked about stopping at Chick-Fil-A for chicken minis. James usually runs 10 on Thursdays, so that is approximately the halfway point for him. For me, it's just 1.5 miles into the run. So today, we finally tried out chicken minis on the run. Not too bad on the stomach, and man were they tasty. The lady at Chick-Fil-A recognized us (though out of context and in different clothes than she is accustomed to). Instead of a 3-pack, she gave us the bonus 4-pack so we could each have 2. Next time we will get a water to wash them down. Good run!