Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hangin' at the Airport

Today has been an extremely unproductive day.  It was a day that started out with loads of promise, a day which could have been great, a day that would give me everything (a bit of an exageration).  I woke up this morning knowing that I would be saying "Goodbye" to my family for a few days, I was heading out to Chicago today.  The plan was as follows:
  • Let my wife get to work early today
  • Get my oldest on the school bus
  • Drop my youngest off at school
  • Get in a swim at the pool
  • Get to the airport for my 1:25PM flight to Chicago
  • Arrive in Chicago around 2:40PM with time to go to Niketown and a few other stores
  • Go for a run along Lake Michigan
  • Grab dinner at ESPN Zone
  • Get to be reasonably early (to be fresh for my Wednesday morning run and meetings)
Here is how things have gone
  • My wife left a bit later than she wanted, not a big deal
  • Got my oldest on the bus, kissed her and told her I would miss her
  • Dropped my youngest off at school, kissed her told her I would miss her
  • Go in a swim at the pool (2,000M in 40:03....yeah, a good swim!)
  • Got to the airport for my 1:25PM flight
  • Received news that the plane was being taken out of service, ergo flight is cancelled
  • Got put on a flight that leaves at 5:55PM and into Chicago at 7:21PM
  • Will probably get to hotel around 8:15PM or so, then I'll try to get out for a run and then just go to bed.  Of course this means that I will miss LOST tonight as well....DAMN!!!
Enough complaining for now, I just have to make the best of it.  I will try to grab an early dinner here at the airport and be ready to run out the door as soon as I get to the hotel in Chi-town. 

On a side note, I did get on the bike last night, rode for about 45 minutes on my trainer in the basement.  I had my 12-21 cassette on it and boy was it a tougher ride than I am used to, no gaps.

That's it for now, I'm hoping to get my seat assignment soon and then eat as healthy an airport meal as is possible.  Cheers!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Soccer, Running, & the Doctor

Monday morning and the rain is falling, this isn't the best way to start the week.  I shouldn't be so glum so early in my post here.  Let me do a bit of recap of the weekend:

I woke up feeling like crap!  My throat was killing me and I called the doctor to see about getting in for an appointment.  No luck, they only had an opening at 10:30AM...I had to coach my daughters soccer game from 10:00AM  - 11:00AM.  I would have to settle for Monday at 8:45AM.  The triage nurse told me to take some Advil, use some throat lozenges, and if it gets worse to call during the weekend and talk to the doctor who was on-call.  I did some salt water gargling which helped and my wife ran out and picked up Cepacol (which ended up being my life saver). 

I sounded like Harvey Fierstein at the soccer game.  I couldn't raise my voice (AKA yell) at all to try and communicate to the girls on the field, it was tough.  Regardless my girls won their first game of the year (even though we, the coaches don't really keep score, the girls alwasy do) and my daughter played great, I think she had two goals and nearly scored another after dribble through the other team. 

I spent the remainder of the day powerwashing things.  I started with the room of the girls swing set, then did our front steps and front porch, then moved to the east side of our house and blasted the heck out of that.  Everything looked sparkling clean!  Awesome!  Oh, I also did a pretty thorough sanding of the roof as well, it looks great and will look even better when we put a nice, bright red stain on it!

I felt better on Sunday morning, but still not great.  We kicked off the day by heading to church and then getting the girls donuts...I chose not to get any for myself, this was not an easy decision for me since I LOVE donuts!  I give myself a pat on the back for that.

The weather was pretty crappy so it was going to be a "stay inside day" for the most part.  Then again, since I was feeling a bit better I thought I should give running a go.  So, how did it go?  Great, I felt better than I had all week.  I ran seven miles in 56:14 (8:02/mile), with the last four miles all around 7:50/mile (the third mile is all up hill and was really slow).  My legs were no longer heavy, my lungs were fresh, my nose was clearing up, it was all good.  Finally, now I feel like I can get into my Ironman training (which officially kicks off tomorrow) and get ready for the Broad Street Run next Sunday.

The rest of the day was lazy, not much going on except for some games/puzzles with the girls, some unexpected drama from the little ones, and Man-wiches for dinner (yeah!). 

I am working from home because I had a visit with the doctor this morning, just making sure that I am healthy for my trip to Chicago this week.  She told me pretty much what I expected, I am over the worst of whatever I had, but she gave me a prescription for amoxicillin to use if I need it when I am away.  She also mentioned that I should see and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctor about my ears and nose.  My ears have some bumps in them that are probably nothing, but should be checked out.  As for my nose, I had broken it twice when I was younger and ever since the last break my senior year in high school, my allergies have been horrible.  For whatever reason, I haven't ever really made the connection.  I will be making the call later on today.

That is about it for now.  I am going to try and get out for a quick run at lunch or maybe just get the bike on the trainer and ride a bit in the basement.  I am looking forward to doing some runs along Lake Michigan over the next few days (Tuesday - Thursday).  My wife is going to let me borrow her camera so I should be able to take pictures while I am there!  Adios!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Swing Set

Here are some pictures of the relatively large swing set my wife and I got for my daughters this past weekend.  My father and I disassembled it and then transorted it back to our house on Saturday afternoon.  I spent all Sunday afternoon/evening putting it together with the much needed help of my wife and neighbor.  I took off from work on Monday and powerwashed the whole thing (I really should have powerwashed it and sanded it prior to reassemble).  After looking at the roof last night I realize that I need to take it off and powerwash it while it is on the ground, it is still disgusting!  I still have to sand the entire thing and put a sealant on it, but the girls can play on it in the meantime. 

All I can say is that they better play on this thing until they are in their teens!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Swimming & the "Single Ladies"

I woke up this morning about 45 seconds before my alarm went off.  it was 4:39AM and I was lying there awake, trying to estimate what time it was.  I reached for my watched and it showed I had only seconds until my iPod Touch would be strumming me awake.  I have to assume that this is a good thing, the fact that my body is adjusting to the early morning wake ups.

I laid in bed for another minute debating what I should do.  You see, my throat was killing me, it was so sore.  I think it had to do with my sleeping a bit flat last night and my post-nasal drip really flowing.  I thought about how I really needed to get into the pool, so......I slowly got out of bed, expecting my legs to still be sore.  SURPRISE!  They felt good, no really soreness left.  I couldn't have been happier.

This marks the first time ever that I have arrived at the gym/pool prior to 5:30AM, and the parking lot still have a bunch of cars in it (there are a lot of crazy people just like me).  My swim workout this morning wasn't the best one, in fact it really sucked.  The thing with swimming is if you are not really breathing well, the whole workout is going to be extremely difficult.  The first 100M was rough, I felt like I had something lodged in my throat and I couldn't get it out.  Actually the first 500M was like that, I kept blowing my nose in a towel and trying to clear my throat (cough, cough, cough).  Everything in my throat and nose did eventually clear up, but I never really found my stroke.  I was struggling the whole time, I even considered bailing after about 700M. 

I pressed on and did a very slow 500M warm-up, then 5 x 200, 300M with a pull buoy working on my stroke, bi-lateral breathing, and hypoxic breathing.  I wrapped it all up with two 50s to see how fast I could swim them (not fast at all) and then an easy 100M.  Total of 2,000M in around 43 minutes.  I am aiming to get in the water tomorrow as well, heck it can't hurt right? 

I opted to not run today, but I am considering a 45 ride on the trainer tonight once the girls go to bed.  I would love to get out on the road and ride for a bit but I don't think it is in the cards until this weekend.  Riding on the trainer will give me a chance to try out my new Dura Ace 12-21 cassette, oh so exciting.

Last thing....Dance Rehearsal RecapI spent about a half hour last night at my daughters dance studio; I am taking part in the Daddy Dance portion of her recital in June.  It was me and about 12 other Dad's, all burly, manly-men learning a dance routine.  From what I understand said routine is going to be a mix of a songs, two of which are  "Single Ladies" by Beyonce and "YMCA" by the Village People.  Yeah, it is going to be interesting to say the least.  I will say that we looked damn good though!  SNAP!  Updates will appear weekly.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh So Sore Still

WTF!  Why am I still so sore from my race on Sunday?  I just want to feel better already.  I guess I ran a bit harder than I initially thought.  My left hamstring is still extremely tight, my quads are still a bit achy and even my calves have some lingering effects of my day at Rutgers. 

So, I am not sure if my getting back to running yesterday and today was the smartest decision.  Actually, yesterday I got up well before the crack of dawn and headed to the pool to get my swim on.  My legs were not really cooperating with me so I opted to do about 90% of my swimming with a pull buoy (yes, I am a wuss).  Overall I felt pretty good, not great, but good.  I only had enough time to get in 1,600M (33:31), but I was happy with that.  Things are going to get a lot more difficult next Tuesday when my Ironman training officially kicks off and my training schedule calls for 2,500M at least two days a week.

Running....yeah, I think that is what you could call what I did yesterday.  I think my first mile was around 8:50 and I don't believe that any other mile was faster than 8:20.  a whopping four miles run at an average pace of 8:33.  I thought that getting out with the guys and doing some easy miles would help to loosen up my sore muscles, but it didn't really do the trick.  DAMN!

Flash forward to today, I thought about getting up early and getting on the trainer for 30 - 45 minutes this morning but that idea was very short lived.  I really needed my sleep, so I did just that and slept in until around 6:45AM (a solid 7.5 hours!).  At some point during the night, my four year old daughter snuck into our bed and I didn't notice until around 5:30AM.  Sneaky little critter she is. 

This afternoon I debated the pro's and con's of going for a run at lunch with Bill.  In the end I thought that another easy 4 miles would do me good.  In hindsight I am not sure that it was such a good idea.  My legs still felt like absolute garbage and on top of that I just felt really run down (4.3 miles in 36:36 - 8:30/mile).  I think tomorrow is going to be a swim-only day, maybe I'll throw in a little time on the bike if I feel better.

I would like to get on the bike tonight but I don't think that's going to happen.  I should mention that I do have dance class tonight....yes, that's right dance classMy seven year old daughter is in hip/hop dance and they asked for some fathers to take part in the end of the year dance recital.  Well, my little one asked me numerous times to take part (and my wife gave me a nudge or two as well), so I gave in.  Now every Wednesday night starting tonight through mid-June, I have dance calls from 8:15PM - 8:45PM.  It should be interesting to say the very least.

That is about it for now.  I hope to post some pictures up here in the next day or two (swing set, etc.).  I hope that I remember.  Ciao!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

UNITE Half Marathon Race Report

The past two weeks or so have not been ideal when it comes to preparing for a race, whether it be a 5K, half marathon, triathlon, etc.  I had two stretches where I didn't have a running work out for fiver or six days straight, only supplementing my relative inactivity with some swimming.  Add to that the fact that I somehow committed to picking up a rather large swing set (or swing fortress) for my daughter on Saturday afternoon...and well, yeah I am not the brightest of the bright.  The UNITE Half Marathon was going to be an interesting race.

Race Day Eve
I awoke Saturday morning feeling great.  The two visits to my sports doc on Wednesday and Friday seemed to have done the trick.  My back was good to go and I was anxious to start the day....and a busy day at that.  First up was my daughters soccer game (I am the coach or her team) and it was a tough one.  Plain and simple, the girls just aren't all that good right now; we have four or five girls that have never played before and it is tough to explain to them what to do (7 year olds are like that).  They played hard and had fun and by the end of the game we actually were playing a lot better.  I was very proud of them and I think they are improving. 

Immediately following the game it was back home for a quick lunch, then off (with my father) to disassemble the GIANT swing set and transport it back to our house (only about a mile away).  It tooks us about four hours of hard work before it was resting in pieces in my backyard.  Both my father and I were exhausted.  I don't know how I would have done it without his help (THANK YOU DAD!!!).  Honestly I would probably still be over there doing it if it wasn't for him.  Me, my wife and daughters then ran out to pick up a few things for the swing set (additional wood, sand paper, etc.) and grab dinner (ugh...Wendy's, definitely not the best pre-race meal).  Once home I was up until around 8:30PM working on the swing set.  I think got to bed around 11:00PM that night, again not early enough but it ended up being OK.

Race Morning
My alarm went off at 5:45AM and I crawled out of bed.  Got in my car and made it to the College Avenue Gym parking lot by 7:00AM where I waited from my friend Chris to arrive....he overslept and showed up around 7:40AM (pretty typical for him).  While waiting I downed one and half packages of strawberry Pop-Tarts and around 20 oz. of G2.  The trip to the race start was only a short bus trip, very well organized.  After a 20 minute wait for a port-a-pottie, Chris and I did a brief warm-up run and then made our way to the start line.

The Race
The gun went off and I felt good. Chris and I ran the first three miles together and I felt pretty solid, but then either he started to speed up or I started to slow down (I suspect a little of both).  The next six miles were all at a bit slower pace than the first three, right at 7:30 pace, slower than I wanted to be but I felt like I could hold that pace for the duration.  One thing that I did notice some where before mile nine was that my left hamstring wasn't completely "right".  It didn't hurt, it just felt a bit tight.  I tried not to think about it too much though, much easier said than done.  

I made my way over a bridge to Johnson Park and right around the middle of mile nine that I could tell the wheels were about to fall off.  My left hamstring was considerably tighter and I was doing everything feasible to keep it from cramping up.  I hit the ten mile mark in 1:14:30 (7:27/mile average pace) and I knew that the last 5K was going to be a struggle.  As I approached the Landing Lane bridge over the Raritan River I stopped for only a second or two to stretch out my hamstring, which did absolutely nothing.  I continued to run.  Once over the bridge and about mile 10.5 it happened, my hamstring cramped up on me and I had to stop for about 20 seconds to stretch it out.  I was pissed!  As I was stretching, a girl ran by me and gave me a few words of encouragement, which me being uber-competitive somehow turned it into a challenge and thus got me really pissed off.  I started to run again and up the hill into the Buccleuch Park...I was never so happy to have an uphill (this seemed to help my ailing hamstring).  Mile 11 was a rough 8:05 and Mile 12 was an equally sad 8:00, both the result of my trying to get my crap back together. 

I had 1.1 miles left and I was determined to finish strong, so I put my head down and did my best to tough out that last stretch .  I made it without any more leg cramps, finishing in 1:38:38 (see mile splits below). 

1 - 7:26 - 0:07:26 - A little crowded but not bad
2 - 7:17 - 0:14:43 - Feeling good
3 - 7:02 - 0:21:46 - Downhill, it's all good
4 - 7:30 - 0:29:16 - Back to reality for next six miles
5 - 7:33 - 0:36:50
6 - 7:30 - 0:44:20

7 - 7:33 - 0:51:53
8 - 7:29 - 0:59:23
9 - 7:27 - 1:06:51
10 - 7:38 - 1:14:30 - hamstring starting to bother me
11 - 8:05 - 1:22:35 - Ouch!  Leg cramp
12 - 8:00 - 1:30:35 - Recovering from cramp, uphill
13 - 7:17 - 1:37:52 - Trying to finish strong
13.10 - 0:45 - 1:38:38

Post Race
Chris was waiting for me at the finish line, having run it in 1:32:50 (awesome race for him).  We hobbled back to our cars to get some money for a post-race meal, along the way I saw Yasi coming down the home stretch with a smile on her face and gave her a shout.  Chris and I finished the day by getting some cheese steaks with egg from the grease trucks....oh so good!

Post Race Analysis
Overall I am happy with my race, especially considering the events that led up to it, e.g. back spasms, swing set, etc.  I felt good early on and I think I would have run it a minimum of two minutes faster had I not lost all of those training days.  I don't know that I could have kept up with Chris, but I think a sub-1:35 was doable.  Next up is the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia on May 2nd, a fast 10 miler that I think I can get close to 1:10 (7:00/mile)...well, maybe 1:12:30 (7:15/mile).

Work time!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Race Day Eve

Quick post because I need to get to bed ASAP.  My back is feeling so much better, unfortunately I haven't run since Monday and only gotten a few swims in since then.  I am holding out hope that I will be able to hold a steady 7:30/mile pace and possibly pick it up a bit at the end.  If I am not feeling it, I will just cruise in and enjoy the run.  I hope that there are a lot of people out spectating.

I fill you all in tomorrow.  Peace out!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Back to the Back

I am tentatively feeling "OK" today.  I still feel the slightest twinge in on the left side of my mid-back.  I went in to see Dr. Derek this morning at 7:00AM and he worked on my back pretty good and followed it up with some electric stim and heat.  I was a bit sore when I left his office but feel better now, aside from that twinge.  I am optimistic about this coming Sunday, but still fear that I am my back is going to lock up on me during the race.  I have put in all of 16 miles running since Monday April 5th which definitely scares me a bit.

On a positive note, I did make it to the gym last night and managed to get my swim on, although not for as long as I had hoped.  Let me preface my swim report by stating that I did some abdominal work in the gym first, then took a ten minute HOT shower during which I stretched the heck out of my back.  I then followed that up with a 10 minute session in the sauna (only because the pool was littered with 3 - 12 year olds there for swim lessons and swim team practice). 

Once most of the munchins cleared out, I hopped in and felt awesome in the water, like really, really good.  My first 100M was absolutely lightening for me.....1:47 (translates to a 1:38/100 yd).  I followed that up with an additional 400M where I didn't so much as peek over 2:00.  I was absolutely stoked.  I then did 3 x 250M and averaged about 5 minutes for each interval.  This was by far the best and fastest that I have swam in a very long time.  It got me thinking that maybe I am better off swimming in the afternoon or evenings rather than in the early AM.  Of course I don't have the luxury in my schedule to be able to do this, but it was a nice thought none-the-less.  At least it gives me thought that my swimming is a bit better than I think.

I opted to end my swim after only 1,250M because I could feel it a bit in my back and I didn't want to risk putting it into a full spasm again.  Plus, I figured I should head home and spend some time with my ladies before bedtime.

That is about all for now; I am just hoping that my back will return to normal by Sunday so that I can run fast and strong.  Cheers!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

On The Road To Recovery

I just watched a video of Chris McCormack (Macca Takes Miami).  It was short and sweet, but really got me anxious to get back to real training and racing.  I am a big fan of his and although I don't foresee me every reaching the heights that he has reached in the sport of triathlon (unless I quit my job, train 40 hours a week, oh and lose about 40 lbs), I still think I can do some good things within my age group over the next few years if I train hard.

That brings me to where I am today....my back is still not so great.  I went to my sports doctor, Advanced Sports Chiropractic, yesterday and had some heat and electric stim, then stretched and rubbed down, followed by an ice pack.  I was told by Dr. Derek that it is definitely back spasms and just my muscles that are acting up (nothing with my joints which is a good thing).  I told him about my race this Sunday and he explained to me that I will probably not be setting a PR.  He thinks I will be able to run and do an OK job, but based on my lack of running over the past two weeks, I shouldn't expect to run anywhere near where I wanted to run.  I have another appointment with him on Friday morning so that he can stretch me out for the weekend.  I am going to keep an open mind for Sunday and take what my body, the course and the weather give me.  If I feel good at the start I will push the pace and see if I can hold it.  If I feel like crap, I'll just make it a nice up-tempo training run. 

As for training, I am going to try and get in the pool tonight after work and try to swim 2,000M (or more), of course depending on how my back feels.  Other than that I have been taking it easy since Tuesday night, when my back started to flare up again.  I really should have taken it easy on Sunday and Monday, but the weather was so nice I just wanted to be outside enjoying it on my bike and running.  Lesson learned I guess, I have to listen to my body a bit better and not be greedy.

The rest of my week is a pretty busy one:

  • 7:00AM - Doctor
  • 12:00PM - Pick-up race packet in Piscataway for the Unite Half Marathon
  • 4:30PM - Pick-up girls from school
  • 7:00PM - 9:30PM - Father/Daughter dance with my 7 year old
  • 11:00AM - Soccer Game (I am coaching my 7 year olds team)
  • 1:00PM till dark - Dismantle and transport a "new" swing set to our house (then figure out where to put it)
  • 6:00AM - Get up and out of the house and make my way to Rutgers
  • 8:30AM - Run the Unite Half Marathon, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
  • 2:00PM - 3:00PM - Soccer Game - yes another game to coach
  • 4:00PM till dark - Work on the yard and swing set.
That's it.  There will be a lot of dancing, running around, coaching and physical labor over the next three to four days.  I hope that my body holds up.  Enjoy the weather today, I hear it is going to get cold and wet here in the tri-state area over the next four days.  Ciao!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Still with the Sore Back

Today is a bit of a rough day to judge.  I woke up with my back feeling a bit sore and not really "right".  I think it has to do with my short and slow run yesterday (4.3 miles in 36:00).  It probably would have been wise of me to not run, especially considering my recent bout with back spasms.  I did do my best to get to bed early last night...I actually think I was asleep by 9:45PM!  I wish I could say that I slept the whole night through, but I can not.  I had at least three dreams last night that I can recall pretty accurately.  One which involved me playing soccer must have been pretty intense because my wife woke me up with a "COME ON!"....apparently I was kicking my legs like crazy.  I must have been really tired to have been dreaming so vividly.

So this morning, despite my desires to stay in bed and log another two hours of sleep, I hopped up out of bed at 4:50AM and made my way to the pool to get in some much needed laps.  I felt pretty good and swam 2,000M (500M wu, 2 x 200M, 300 w/pb & hypoxith breathing, and the last 200M easy) in about 42 minutes.  At no time throughout my swim did my back feel really good though, still a bit too tight.

I am thinking that with my half marathon coming up on Friday that I am going to take it easy the rest of today and not run or bike.  I will see how I feel tomorrow morning and determine if I am going to get on the bike in the early morning or late evening, and possibly get in a lunchtime run.  I am going to err on the side of caution this week since I don't want to suffer through 13.1 miles on Sunday.  Oh yeah, I also want to be at my Fred Astaire-best for my Friday night Father/Daughter dance with my oldest daughter.

Short one today, I hope I feel better tomorrow so that I can get back to training.  Adios!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Glorious Monday

First and foremost I must proclaim that.....MY BACK SPASMS ARE GONE!  I woke up on Friday morning and felt a lot better, but still wasn't right.  I ended up going to my sports doc and was told to just keep doing what I was doing, applying heat to loosen up the area, take Advil as needed (if needed), and try running on Saturday for no longer than an hour.  Sounded like a plan to me, so I went home and worked the rest of the day from there and was quite productive.

Saturday I was up at 7:00AM and found my running things laid out on the floor beside me.  Yes, I was eaget to get out and run since it had been a full week since I last ran.  Out I went for a six mile run, where I really didn't care, I would just figure it out as I went.  It was an amazing start of the day, 46F and sunny skies.  I felt a bit odd at first, quick on my feet but just a bit off.  I pushed on and with each step I felt a bit more comfortable...funny what a week off from running will do to you.   All in all it was a good one and I finished the 6.04 miles (somewhat hilly course) in just about 48 minutes flat (7:58/mile).

From there it was off to coach my daughters soccer game, which was starting at 10AM.  I will say this much about the game, they girls all had fun, at least that is what they told me.  We didn't score a lot of goals (actually only one) and quite a few found their way into our net (too many to count), but all of the girls kept their head up and we made the best of it.  About half of the girls haven't played soccer yet, so it is a bit tough, not just for me but also for my daughter who knows what the other girls should be doing but they just aren't.  We will get better as the season progresses.

The rest of Saturday I spent outside, mostly with my youngest daughter.  After I took care of some bike issues, we just played in our yard, drawing with chalk on the driveway, throwing a lacrosse ball around, playing catch with a big red ball and just laying in the grass wrestling.  We had such a good time.

Sunday was another great day and I was up and out the door by 7:30AM for my run (another six miles).  I was a little tired but made the best of it, finished the six in just under 48 minutes again (7:48/mile).  I think I have said it before that I am not a morning runner, I would much rather head out after a bagel and some Gatorade or juice.  However, my Saturday and Sunday runs were simply great.  I didn't run really fast and I didn't feel great at the start of either run, but the weather was perfect and everyone that I passed had a smile on their face and was eager to say "Hello". 

The rest of the day was pretty busy, me and the family all went to church, then it was home to change out of our "church" clothes and into our "have fun on Sunday" clothes.  My wife took the girls with her to go shopping while I gave my car a much needed washing.  Then around 1:30PM, I had to run out with the family to do a few errands.  Then when we got back, all of the neighbors were out, so it was playtime for all of the kids (while I washed my wifes' car). 

Then around 4:00PM I put on my cycling clothes and headed out for a long over due ride.  Oh how I miss riding my bike outside, this being only my second outdoor ride since the end of 2009.  I rode down to the river and over to New Jersey.  From there I headed up, up, up for about three miles for the sole purpose of being able to descend Federal Twist, one of the steepest roads in the area. 

Here I am about half a mile from where the road drops off (yes, I have my game face on, I am not messing around).  To cut to the chase, I started down and I glanced at my Garmin every few secons to read my speed...35MPH...39 MPH...42MPH...45 MPH...47MPH!!!  Wow, I was flying, that is until a deer started to limp across the road, its front right leg looking injured.  Immediately I tensed up and applied the brakes hoping that I wouldn't come remotely close to it.  I ended up easily missing the deer (by about a good 30 feet), but the thought of me plowing into a deer while riding 45PMH+ was really disturbing and my neck and shoulders were all achy and sore from tensing up when I initially saw the deer.

I continued on the remainer of the descent and then made my way back to and over the river via the walking bridge (see me and my unusually large-looking nose on the right...I probably should have taken the helmet off for that picture), then the 6 mile gradual climb back home.  Those last two miles were tough miles for me, I was just exhausted.  Probably from my morning run, coupled with all of the outside activity I had engaged in earlier on in the day and the run in with the deer.  I finished the 21.4 mile ride in around 1:16, 16.9MPH average (a bit misleading because of a combined 1/2 mile where I had to walk my bike over the PA/NJ walking bridge).  Regardless of my time and speed, I had a great time just riding my bike outside and not in my basement.

I was all but useless for the rest of the night.  My wife and I got the girls into bed at 8:00PM (they were asleep by 8:30PM) and then we putzed around for far too long before I think I fell asleep just short of 10:30PM.

Today:  I was up at 4:45AM this morning and in the pool by 5:45AM.  I put in 1,800M in 36:54 (~2:03/100M), give or take a few seconds.  For not having been in the pool in a week I felt really good.  I did my best to relax and swim as such. 

Phew, that seems like a lot of writing for a few days.  There has been some other things going on that I just don't have time to write in detail right now.  Here are the shopping highlights:

Should be a relatively easy week of running this week, Unite Half Marathon is on Sunday and I am hoping to kick ass and set a PR.  Peace out!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

DOH.....Back Spasm!

I can hop in the pool and swim a mile and a half without too much of a problem.  I can get on my trainer and pedal away for an hour and a half and feel no ill effects.  I can go out and run 12+ miles and still run around with my girls at the park.  All of the previous are no match for me, I am an athlete, a fine tuned machine ready for action.  So, if everything I have stated above is accurate, then how in the hell do I manage to hurt myself reaching for a brush? 

I was sitting down on a stool in my daughters bathroom, I had to get her ready for school and thus needed a brush to take care of her hair.  So I reached underneath the sink and BANG!...I get a twinge in my lower back.  I knew immediately that it wasn't a good thing.  Then slowly but surely over the next 30 seconds my whole lower back began to cramp up on me.  I don't know why it happened but it did, my lower back went into spasms and today, 24 hours later it still is hurting. 

It blows my mind how I can beat the crap out my body day in and day out, then I tweak my back doing an everyday task.  Maybe it is my body's way of telling me that I need to rest for a day or two.

The past few days have been pretty difficult to get any real training in, but I did manage to have fun with my girls.  Tuesday I took the day off to spend with my daughters because my oldest didn't have school.  Aside from a dentist visit in the morning it the day was to do with as we wanted.  First things first, we had pancakes for breakfast, always a good way to start the day.  Then it was to the dentist, where we were happy to find out that K's teeth were in great shape.  After the teeth cleaning it was off to play some miniature golf.  We all had a good time running around the empty mini-golf course.  Somehow we managed to lose a ball in a pond (yeah, don't ask), saw three little frogs sitting my said pond (big highlight), and learn a little about putting.  After that is was off to grab lunch at Wendy's....I really didn't want to get fast food, but it was a treat for the girls and they do have Frosties.  Right from lunch we headed over to the "Green Park" to just run around and have fun.  It was packed and my oldest knew one or two girls, so she had a blast playing with them.  This brought us to around 3:30PM and it was time to get home and chill before soccer practice (6:00PM that night).

Tuesday night I hopped on the bike for about an hour and watched "LOST".  I was supposed to do a speed work out (running), but I didn't have the time during the day to do it, and just didn't feel like going outside to do it in the dark.  It was still productive and I felt really good afterwards.

Yesterday morning is when I acquired the back injury, so there was no chance of me going for a run or a ride.  Sucked!

Today, I wanted to get in the pool, but it just wasn't going to happen.  My back feels a little better, but still not good enough to do anything that requires any type of core stabilization (translation:  swimming, running and biking will all cause major uncomfortability).  I am taking some muscle relaxants from a previous back injury in hopes that it will eliminate the spasms sooner than later.  Truth is I know that the only thing I can really do is rest and relax and let nature take its course.  Although, I am thinking about heading to my sports doc to see if he can accelerate the healing.

That is it for now.  I hope that these few days off don't hurt my chance for a PR at the UNITE Half Marathon next week!.  Ciao!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Random Words

A couple words that come to mind as I sit here and type this:  sunrise, tired, warm, District 9, five, wet.

Sunrise - Saturday morning I knew that I needed to get up early and get my run in because my parents were going to be coming up around noon to visit with us.  I really needed to be back at the house by 8:30AM so that I could get food in the overn for lunch.  So at 6:05AM I was up and out of bed and on the road by 6:35AM to begin my 12 mile run.  What an amazing morning.  The sun was just rising as I began my run and with each mile I ran it crept a bit higher into the sky.  I ran a big look that was gradual uphill for the first four miles, then a much more dramatic down hill for the next four, and finished up with a slow rise back to my house.  There were so many good things about this run, the temperature was perfect, the sky was a bright blue, I ran along a swollen creek for a good portion, I encountered a bunch of wild life (three wild turkeys, a deer, a possum, and three woodpeckers going to town on an old tree) and I was running pretty well considering I am not a good early morning runner.  I ended up running about 12.3 miles in about 1:40 (8:15/mile), with the last 2.3 miles run at 7:45/mile pace.

Tired - I am tired, so very, very tired.  Yesterday was a long day, starting with my youngest coming into the bedroom at 5:00AM and ending after a late spin on the trainer at 11:30PM.  The day didn't really get started until my oldest awoke at 6:30AM and was all fired up to see what the Easter bunny had left at our house.  After a bit of drama we were up and at 'em, the girls (my niece included) running around looking for their Easter eggs in our Family room and then their Easter baskets.  I think the fun was over by 7:30AM or 8:00AM. 

Warm - The rest of the day is kind of a blur, a warm and summer-like blur, but I do know that we did go to church at 9:30AM (it was PACKED!), my brother-in-law and I came home early to hide eggs outside, and everyone else got back around 11:00AM.  it was at this point that I realized that I hadn't eaten anything yet and I was feeling really light headed and out of it.  In between cooking up pork roll and English muffins for my family (in-laws included), I was able to throw down a bagel and some OJ.  Then it was the outdoor Easter egg hunt, playing outside, five minute nap, awoken by my neighbor looking for a post hole digger, nap for five minutes, awoken by neighbor returning the post hole digger, went to the park with the kids, nature walk and then back for dinner.  We actually ate dinner outside on our back deck, it was just beautiful!

District 9 - I didn't have a chance to get in my planned six mile run + 6 x 100 strides yesterday, there just wasn't time for me to slip away for an hour to get my training in.  I opted to fit it in when everyone left, which was around 8:30PM last night.  Instead of running I thought it would be better to just head down to the basement and ride for an hour or so.  9:30PM I started my ride, all the while watching District 9.  What a good movie, so good that my hour spent on the trainer just flew by, faster than any other ride I have done on it.  Problem was that I should have just stayed riding for the entire movie.  Instead I got off and watched the rest of it while I was sitting on my floor....I ended up staying up way too late.

Five - As a result of last nigths ride, I only got about five hours of sleep and my eyes are burning (I don't think it is from the chlorine in the pool this morning either).  I really need to start managing my sleep a bit better.  I am going to bed too late, and yes 10PM is too late when you are training and getting up at 4:45AM (soon to be 4:30AM) in the morning.

Wet - Lastly, I was back in the pool this morning and I was beat.  I had hoped to get in at least 2,000M, but I got there later than normal and only had time for 1,800M.  At least it was slightly over a mile in the water, eh?  It felt good to be swimming, especially since I hadn't been swimming since last Thursday.

That is about it for now.  I have a ton of work to do and not a lot of time to do it (I am off tomorrow and Wednesday....just me and the girls).  Ciao!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Home with My Big Little Girl

Today is Good Friday...actually it is a good Friday as well.  I am working from home because my oldest daughter doesn't have school today.  Also, the fact that my office is closing at 2:00PM didn't give me a lot of reasons to head in.  I have been pounding on my keyboard, getting some work done, but thought I would take a few minutes to write in here.

Yesterday was a good day on the training front, I managed to get in 2,500 meters in the pool, 600M warm up, then 2 x 750M, capped off with a 400M cool down.  I think the whole swim took me a little over 53 minutes.  I think the last time I swam that far was a year and a half ago when I was training for my half Iron distance tri.  Wahoo, good for me.

Then came the dreaded Thursday afternoon speed workout.  I have a love/hate relationship with Thursday speed workouts.  On paper they don't look that bad, but when I actually start doing them....holy crap they suck!  Yesterday was 4 miles at half marathon pace, then and 800M recovery, followed by 800M at 5K pace, then a 400M recovery, toppped off with two miles at half marathon pace.  Because of time constraints and my desire to run part of it with Chris and Bill, I did the first two miles somewhat easy (7:45/mile).  Then they peeled off and headed back, leaving me alone to finish up the run.  I did my best to keep a steady pace but my Garmin was a little funky (I may have to reset it today and get it back to normal), I think I did manage to get somewhat close to my HM pace (7:20/mile).  Overall I was happy with my workout, and the fact that I was soaking wet and felt like vomitting is probably a good sign, eh?

When I got home from work my wife wanted to go out to dinner (she had a rough day), so we went into Doylestown and ate at Cafe Alessio, a nice little Italian restaurant.  I had a pepperoni roll which was really good, but I managed to not shove the whole thing down my gullett, opting instead to not eat too much, which I have a tendency to do.  We walked around town a bit, the girls grabbing ice cream (I passed) and my wife and I just laughing at the two of them.  Then it was time to head home and put the little ones to bed.

The gets me to today, I am home with my seven year old and we are just chilling.  Actually she is watching a little TV before we have to head out to go to the butcher shop to pick up some ribs for tomorrow.  Then at 2:30PM she has a play date with her friend...they are going to be here and it is going to be crazy.  The two of them together is like trying to bottle complete and utter chaos.  I would love to get out for a bike ride today but I don't think it is going to happen, too much going on.

Tomorrow I am going to head out and do a 12 - 13 mile run in the morning, it should be awesome out judging by the forecast.  Then on Sunday (Easter), I am going to have to get up early and get on my bike for an hour and a half before the kiddies wake up. 

Have a good Friday everyone, get out and enjoy the beautiful weather!  Later.