Archive for October, 2012

13 days and counting to race day in the big apple. This past weekend turned out very different than planned and for a whole bunch of different reasons. Originally on tap was the last morning long run (roughly 20 miles), a little hunting, projects around the house, and volunteering for Leaf Peeper Half Marathon on Sunday.

Unfortunately, my favorite Aunt had taken a turn for the worse. She had been fighting a long and painful battle with cancer. That news came on Friday. Left work early to take mom to see her, and then that got postponed as I neared Syracuse to pick her up. However, we went Saturday, as the news of my Aunt’s condition had become more dire.  Sadly she passed away on Sunday. The bright side was the long painful battle had come to an end, and that she would finally be at peace. What makes it more emotional aside from being my favorite Aunt, whom I have so many fond memories of,  is the similarities to the way my dad passed away from leukemia. As they say, “cancer sucks.” An emotional rollercoaster as these life events usually are.

My scheduling of the final long run in route to NYC obviously was changed several times, and ended up an evening run instead of a morning run. It does help to do something very physical in stressful times to calm one’s soul, and feel a little grounded. It also helps to have control of something you can come to grips with. I did choose to run the Erie Canal path from Dewitt to Chittenango, and back to get the distance in. My meals earlier in the day were not exactly the best prep for a long run, but I had to roll with it. Along with the emotional undercurrents,  I had been fighting off the flu/cold/bug whatever it is that had been going around at work. I felt it coming on during the past two weeks, and felt achy, but fought it off. Gotta love that Zicam. Needless to say, I was not 100%

Miles and miles of flat running doesn’t thrill me much, but the softer path is very welcomed for a 20 miler.  Most of the run went as planned. I eased into it slowly, keeping heart rate down, and trying not to hit the gas with a full load of powerbars, and GU gels. I mixed lava salts in my drink bottles, and that seems to do the trick. No cramping issues during the run. As advocated by Endurance Nation, I went out the first six miles 30 sec to a minute slower.

Very few people on the canal path. The further I got from Dewitt, the less I was within sight of another person. There were miles along the pathway that was just nature, and myself with my thoughts. Very calming, it brought some solace, and inner peace. With all that was going on, there were thoughts about my father, most certainly of my Aunt Joan.  Funny how I can’t remember a lot of stuff, and then remember things 40-50 some years ago with such clarity. Not only did we like/love Aunt Joan, we hung out alot with her children  (our cousins) Dorthy, Billy and Bobby. The house in Alexandria Bay, the basement with the huge black spiders, the cool rocky ridge behind their house, and  “Wolf,” their german shepard. Lots of fun memories of those times. Aunt Joan would watch me when mom would be at work while dad was at sea in the Navy. Anyways, I’ll stop rambling, you get the picture.

Around mile 11, I could feel I was not at 100%. I was running smooth (as much as I run smooth) and felt no pains or issues. However I could tell that I was working a little harder than I like at marthon/long run pace, and that the latter miles would have me earn them in a big way. Fatigue was coming on way earlier than I would have liked. Before that, I had walked 30-40 steps every mile after mile 5 to race sim the water stops. I did walk 30 steps at mile 2. As I reached mile 17, I knew the last 3 miles were not going to come easy. Referring to a prior blog post, I had my EN kit of tools to draw from. No worry, just work through it, and find what works, what doesn’t, and make the best of it. That I did. I walked more than I liked, walk a tenth of a mile, run 4 or 5 tenths. It got me to the end, and that was the best I could do given how I felt both emotionally and physically.

No excuses, I’ll have what I have come race day. during the taper, there will be some light speed work, a few short runs at goal pace, and time on the bike trainer. I’ll be out there for a long time, but I will be with 45,000-48,000 of my best friends,and I’ll have plenty to think about. Most certainly. I have much to be grateful for.

To those running at NYC marathon, good luck! Say hi if you see me, I’ll be the slow guy in the bright yellow top.

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For all practical purposes, my first season back to the sport of triathlons and as an Endurance Nation Team member has come to a close. Still on the calendar is NYC Marathon, and maybe a club fun run here and there. After NYC Marathon, I’ll be training for the 2013 season, with the ultimate goal of crossing the finish line at Ironman Lake Placid.

Before I dive into it, up front I’ll tell you that I am biased, spoiled in many ways, and of a skewed opinion. Reasons for my perspective:

  • First year back returning to triathlons.
  • Picked great races that were well ran, and quality events.
  • Effectively nipped in the bud- impending health issues.
  • Actually sought real training resources.

Technically, I have been with Team EN for 8 months, but have done a full North East Regional season under their coaching guidance. Granted my goals were not complicated, or too lofty. Train well enough to complete Ironman Syracuse 70.3 and look reasonably well doing it. Gotta look good for the pictures 🙂

I know that people go from zero – 70.3 every year, and finish in impressive times. For me, I felt it was daunting, and felt somewhat scared. I did one 18 years ago, at 155 lbs and 34 years of age. Last October I was 51 years old, and just under 200lbs. Of course I did it back in 1994 by the seat of my pants, and lucky to finish it unscathed. Anyway, my zero to 70.3 endeavor was a big deal for me. Truthfully, it qualifies as a life changing event.

Joining Endurance Nation was a key decision for my season. Very economical in an online group coaching environment, as opposed to one on one coaching. I was looking for general guidance, and once in awhile specific answers to things that cropped up. The online team forum was also very helpful and friendly. The closest way to describe it: cloud team coaching. It is overwhelming at first with the volume of information and resources they offer. Once you get past the first few weeks absorbing the training approach, it quickly starts to make sense. The results show quickly.

The team is very big on return of investment, and that all this stuff should be fun. Best viewed as a game we all enjoy to play. It is clear as you dig deeper, that these guys are in for the long haul, and wants it’s members to stay in the sport, not burn out and flame out in a season or two. Coach Rich & Patrick lead by example, and the training plans constantly evolve as things are learned and fed back by the team itself.

As to my results, I went from running some, to in a single year: 1-half Ironman, 4- half marathons, 2 sprint tris, 1-olympic tri, a bunch of club events, a pile of shorter road races, and soon to finish a marathon in two weeks. My weight bottomed out with a 54 lb loss (over two years), about 15 lbs of it with EN. My running VDOT went from 32 to 41.

Aside from the big jump back in, the biggest gain from all this is from the improved head space. Hence my previous comments on being biased, spoiled, etc. Seriously, much of the credit for this comes from being on Team EN. I became empowered by the resources and training methods that the team promotes. This is profound in the fact that here I am 18 years later, much slower, but enjoying it oh so much more, not loathing the slower paces, or dreading the longer times out on the race courses. Will get even better as I feel better, lose more weight, and get faster.

As I run , bike or swim, I have in the back of my head, a basket full of tools to deal with whatever comes up during the race. Things to try, or choices to make to better improved either my race execution or at least my race experience. “Conductor/engineer of your own train” is the best way I can describe it.

There are the performance tangibles to look at as well. I expect the upcoming season to see more weight loss, improved paces, power output, etc. Next July is the big brass ring. I have to say, that it is every bit as daunting and scary as it was last fall, jumping back into the sport and going big. I’ll have a full 40 weeks of guidance getting to Lake Placid, with a complete season plan that will drop into the final 20 weeks of the Ironman distance plan. I’ll blog soon about the new Master Season plan, which I will be partaking in. It is comforting that Team Endurance Nation, and Coaches Rich & Patrick will have my back on this one.

Getting down to the last two weeks before taking on the big city. Since my run volume has not been huge post Ironman Syracuse, I am choosing to do a two week taper instead of a three week taper. This works for me, as I start to ache and have problems pushing mileage into the 30+ miles a week territory.

Looking at a 19 -21 mile run depending on how it goes. I would like to do it Sunday, but I’ll be out volunteering at the Leaf Peeper Half Marathon doing set up, and calling out the half way time splits. Ruling out doing it later in the day, as I want to have all the energy I can muster to get through 3-4 hours of training. I had thought about expanding my recent 17 mile long run route, and push it out through the town of Homer, pushing on towards the town of Preble. Especially liked logging the first third of the run in the dark before daylight. Just seems to make it go by faster. Watching the sun come up is a bonus. Not totally decided, but leaning towards making the trip up to Syracuse, and running the Erie Canal path. Even though it is very flat (boring to someone who is use to running hills), it is on a softer surface, and something one appreciates when running that far/long. I may leave the house very early, and still execute a good portion of the run before day break. Most certainly the run will be scenic, and peaceful.

I’ll likely do the short walk breaks each mile as part of race rehearsal. My long run pace will be slower than marathon pace. Only doing it this way due to discipline. Not expecting to get up to my pace early on race day due to the huge mass of runners at the event. Let’s face it, you generally don’t run the NYC marathon for time, unless you are way up front. Not expecting anything other than to enjoy it, and not walk too much.

Any reason to take a trip to Syracuse is a good one. After the run, I’ll stop by and visit my mother for a bit. The expo for Empire Marathon will be going on, may check that out. Looking at doing Empire Marathon for a full marathon in the fall of 2013. When all done with that, I’ll stop by Fleet Feet to see if the new  Nike Structure Triax + 16 running shoes are in.  Been running in the Nike Structure Triax shoes for the past 20 years.

I will report after the weekend on how it all went. To all those competing at Empire or Leaf Peeper, good luck, and may the wind be at your back.

Wow, debate is over, and true to my previous blog post, my legs are toast! Every pile of BS, every lie, just made me push harder and harder on the bike. The wheels did stay on. Totally drenching zone 4/5 workout.

Honestly, I can’t stand these debates. Nothing but posturing, and BS. Twisting details, numbers, facts (sorta, who do get to fact check the fact checkers) to look whatever way that is desired. Meanwhile, you and I, have to deal with the reality of what decisions are made. Never-the-less, I love my country, and the fact I can pursue my dreams. Some days are harder than others.  As I have mentioned elsewhere, I am spoiled, much to the point I can bitch and worry about every so serious stuff like GU gels, powerbars, and the every so important split times.

Seriously, I am very grateful for the life I have.

So in the end of my little rant today, I did in fact make a negative into a positive, and I turned my frustration with the “mean season” of politics into a motivated training session!

Not the first idea that comes into an endurance athlete’s brain. I had vowed not to watch tonight’s scheduled presidential debate for reasons I’ll expand on, but had a change of heart today. Before I veer off the reservation on my usual triathlon something blog, I’ll lay out a few points to base my reference, and also my respect of the other side politically.

  • First I am of a conservative mindset. Not unusual given my vocation as an engineer. In the world of stereotypes, no surprises At times I could be consider a neo-conservative or hardline right winger. On some issues, not so much. This is a true concept even for some on the hard left.
  • Before I rant on my motivation which prompts the topic of this blog, I am fully aware that I pal around and have wonderful friendships with those that have different views, even polar opposite opinions. This is America, not land of the absolute.
  • With that said, no screaming , name calling, you’re wrong, I’m right, or anything along those lines. This blog is not the place for it, and I will be first to agree to disagree. I value my friendships above any of this. Not here to dive into a huge debate, or political discussion
  • Should you be of the opposite mindset you could literally take my slant on things, and just use “insert here” with the appropriate liberal mantra, Mitt sucks, whatever. You’ll understand as you read further.
  • I make no excuses, nor do I apologize should you be offended. I do not expect you to apologize for your views. We are who we are. However, I could entertain a friendly wager at the next race, especially if you spot me time like a handicap in golf 🙂

My plan for this morning was to jump on the bike trainer to put in a solid hour to 90 minute workout. I just wasn’t feeling it this morning. With a planning meeting this evening for Leaf Peeper Half Marathon, my workout will be a late one. That means trying to muster up some motivation very late in the day.

Source of motivation: turning a negative into a positive. A frown into a smile if you will. Personally I cannot stomach listening to our current president speak. It bothers me to feel this way, as I was brought up by my parents to respect people in general, our military, officers of the law, and those that are suppose to lead our country. Maybe he is nice enough in person, I don’t know, never met him. However I cannot agree on his his stated views, policy’s or agenda. I hate the current direction of our country. Enough said. Now you know what I have for fuel for tonight’s workout. I’ll watch the debate while on the bike trainer, and hope I don’t spin the wheels off the bike. I could be injured 🙂 I’ll be sure to tighten down the wheel skewers, and be sure that the bike is firmly mounted on the trainer.

I have no doubt I’ll be fired up as soon as it starts, and it will end up a zone 4-5 workout for the duration. Probably will need a training rest day tomorrow 🙂

What’s your motivation for today’s workout?

That’s my rant for today!

With Ironman Syracuse well behind me, as well as a summer full of memorable events, I am in a great headspace at the moment! Currently the immediate race focus is NYC marathon just 29 days away. Bucket list item, run it, cross the finish line, and enjoy it. No lofty time goal to fret over. Trust me, Ironman Lake Placid is enough to fret over, and is always in the background.

Even though all that I do or don’t do contributes to the big dance next July, I can enjoy a temporary reprieve of the high intensity focus of ironman training. No doubt I am improving upon my running and overall fitness. For the early fall it’s marathon training with time on the bike trainer, stretching, and hiking while hunting turkey & whitetail deer. I’ll blog later on the planning in route to Lake Placid, and what I may do at Ironman Syracuse 70,3 (leaning towards doing the swim or bike on a relay team)

Ran my second to last long run yesterday morning before work. One of the last few remaining critical workouts done, in the books. Dropped off my truck the evening before at work in Homer, NY. I would run a 17 mile route from our home just north of McGraw. Big hill first mile then a long set of downhills into the town of McGraw would constitute the first third of the route.

The chosen route then headed west to Polkville, then south to Blodgett Mills. From there I would head back north to the city of Cortland. I would pass miles 10-11-12 coming back to the city. Head due west again to Cortland State college, and then north again zig-zagging the city neighborhoods towards Homer.

Leaving the house at 5am that morning, it was quiet and peaceful. No wind, a balmy 51F, and a clear moonlit sky. No flashlight required. My goals: run easy, run long, and run smooth. I really enjoyed the tranquility of the early miles. First car went by around mile 5. Watching the sun come up was an added bonus. Even though it is hard sometimes to put in the hours needed for the last few long runs, this time was not so bad to get through it mentally.

The miles clicked off without incident, issues or problems, simply just doing work. My wife Lee drove by to check on me on her way to work. That was around 9.5 miles. Heading north out of Blodgett Mills, I heard a hen turkey yelping on the roost. The bird stopped yelping when I closed within 100 yards or so. Really enjoyed that.

For most of the run, everything felt fluid, in working order. I walked briefly after each mile (race rehearsal at water stops). For nutrition I slammed a GU gel at miles 4-9-13. I found myself to not be that hungry, but I did feel noticeably better each time I took a Gel. I ran with three water bottles with 250mg sodium (lava tabs) in each. No cramps or GI issues. Whoo-hoo on that!

I finished just outside of work and felt decent considering what I did for the prior 3+ hours. Took a hot shower at work, and on with the day.

Very happy with no aches or pains, or any of the little worries that always seem to crop up. One more 20ish mile long run left to do as a critical workout.

Looking forward to running in the big apple!