Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm Not a Strong Swimmer

Let me lead off with the positives...I got in a good ride and run last night, managed to mow the lawn, played in the yard with the girls and didn't get to bed too late.  Now for the negative...I suck at swimming.  Yeah, I am just not a strong swimmer, plain and simple, but I will get to that in a minute.

Yesterday was a good day, work flew by, I managed to get a free lunch, and I arrived home to a happy family.  I was hoping that I wouldn't catch too much flack from my wife when I told her I had to do a 30 minute bike ride followed immediately by a 15 minute run (a BRICK workout).  The response was positive so I quickly changed and was on my way.  For the most part ride was uneventful, 15/16 minutes out and then 14/15 minutes back.  I believe I managed 9.15 miles in 30 minutes (a lot of uphill) with my average cadence around 95.  I quickly changed into my running gear and was on my way.  I felt good an was cruising along at 7:40/mile when I realized my heartrate was starting to get way too high.  Despite my desire to always try to run as fast as I feel I can, I tempered my pace and slowed to 8:30/mile, which seemed like a crawl.  I probably ended up running around 1.8 miles in 15 minues with my average heartrate around 152 BPM.

Immediately following the workout I figured I better get out and cut the lawn since we are going to be down the shore for the weekend (actually heading down tonight).  I spend the next 40 minutes, edging and cutting, making our place look beautiful.  I wrapped up the night playing some softball with my oldest and then Trac Ball (thank you for agreeing to play with me family!!!).  FYI, Trac Ball was a game we used to have when I was a kid and I recently found it on-line and I love it!  You use the racquests to throw a plastic ball which if thrown properly, you can make it curve.  It is really an awesome game to play.

The only think that could have made the night better would have been if the girls got to bed a bit earlier which would have allowed me to get to bed earlier.

I was up at 4:35AM, damn you early morning!  It was a swim morning and a straight 2,500M was on the schedule.  I loathe the straight long swim.  Not because of the length of it, no it is because of the boredom that goes with it.  Here is the swim in a nutshell:  get in the pool, hit start on my watch, swim 50 laps hitting the "Lap/Split" button on my watch every two laps (100M) so that I can keep track of how many laps I have swam.  Swim until my watch say I swam 25 splits, thus giving me 2,500M.  Ugh, it was so boring.  The fact that after my first 200M my average pace was a tug boat-esque 2:10/100M (1:50/100yds) made for a very long swim this AM.  Total stats:  2,500M (2,734 yds) in 54:15, average 2:10/100M (1:58/100yds).

So, during my entire swim I was trying all different techniques, hoping to find something that would work a bit better, make me a bit faster.  I made a conscious effort to try and "push" my chest down into the water more, to look at the bottom of the pool, to reach and glide.  I counted my strokes per length (usually 21, but 23 for the slower lengths), I kicked more, I kicked less.  I know that the only way that I can really improve my swim would be to get involved in Master's Swim at my gym/pool, but the cost won't work for me and the times won't either.  I know that once our neighborhood pool opens, I should be able to hit up the swim team coaches for help (they are both swimmers triathletes and our daughters are in the same grade).

One the bright side, Ironman Arizona is still five and a half months off, so I have time to improve.  Also, I suspect that my first two triathlons of the year will probably be wetsuit legal, so I will have that working in my favor as well. 

Time to work hard for the money.  Peace out!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wendy the Bitch and GLEE

It is Wednesday already and I have two full days of work before a nice four day weekend....can I get a WHOO WHOO!  It has been a pretty good week so far and I am feeling good and feeling fresh.  My training for this week is bumping up since last week was my recover week.  Only about another hour more of training overall for the week, but it it will increase each week for the next three weeks.

Ah, blessed REST day....actually, I woke up on Monday feeling pretty good and I was kicking myself for not getting to the pool for a short swim.  I suppose sleeping in until 5:45AM versus 4:30AM probably aided me in my feeling fresh, so I can't complain.  The day wasn't all resting and chilling out.  When I got home from work, my girls went and played with one of their neighborhood friends and I did some work out in the back yard.  I am in the process of leveling out what had been, up until about a month ago, a weed infested, rocky and uneven portion of my yard.  I have killed all of the weeds flattened out the high spots and filled in the low spots to create a level area that is rip for some grass.  All I had to do on Monday was remove the last of the dead weeds/grass, try to get as many rocks up as possible and loosen the soil up.  I can't believe how much better it looks now, and can only imagine what it will look like when we have lawn there.

Oh, I was in bed and asleep by 9:00PM.  Yes, that's right 9:00PM.  I was very proud of myself.

I was up at 4:30AM, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed...maybe not such an accurate description of my appearance, but you get the idea.  I was out of bed, awake and coherent, so score one for me.  I made it to HealthQuest and was swimming my laps by 5:20AM.  I think this was one of my better swims, although I don't know why exactly.  Maybe it was because I did some solid drills (one-armed superman, hypoxic breathing, etc.).  I even ended up swimming an extra 50M, yahoo!!!  I think my totall swim was 2,550M at around 52 minutes.  Again, not blazing, but solid.  My total swim time was impacted by some of the drills which were done at a much slower pace than my standard 2:00/100M.

Work, meeting, work, meeting, work, meeting.  That was the rest of my day.  Just a ton of meetings, and long meetings at that.  I was happy when 3:45PM came and I was able to get out of the office and pick up the girls.  We had a somewhat special night planned, well, it was me really trying to mitigate the possible reactions from my daughters when I told them that we had to do the slightest bit of shopping.  I told them that we could go to Wendy's and get Frosties for dessert, but we had to go to K-Mart first to get a bike rack.  They were all for it....disaster averted.

Good news all around (almost)...K-Mart had the inexpensive bike rack we wanted.  Wendy's put a smile on my girls faces, and we were home by 6:30PM.  The one negative was that I ate my meal at Wendy's also and I was kicking myself for doing so.  I felt like crap afterwards and not I shouldn't be eating fast food.  I know that once in a blue moon won't kill me, but I have been trying to avoid it at all costs.  I will just have to watch what I eat going forward.

The night ended with me going out for my 45 minute run around the neighborhood. I started out pretty strong (7:42 first mile) and gradually slowed the farther I went. I was trying to be cognizant of my heartrate, keeping it in Zone 2, so whenever I felt like I was exerting too much effort I would pull back a bit. The result was a much slower second half of the run, but I think a much smarter run as I am working on my aerobic fitness at this point in my training. Total run: 5.66 miles in 45:01 (7:57/mile).

Oh, one more thing, I was back on the GLEE train last night.  My wife and I watched it and it was a good episode.  I feel like I shouldn't be watching the show, it just isn't what I think I would like, but I get drawn into it and find myself really enjoying it.  So it is out there, I am a GLEE fan. 

Bike/run tonight after work.  Later!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Soccer, Bike, Strawberries, Run

It is Monday and I'm not really all that bummed about it.  Granted I would much rather be home not having to work today, but the weekend was good and I am OK with coming into the office today.  I think that it has something to do with having a short week (I am taking off on Friday) and having a longggg weekend coming up (yes, 4 day weekends deserve a few extra "g's"). 

Recapping the past three days or so, I would say that it was a good weekend, nothing spectacular, but just good.  There were some bright spots (my daughters last soccer game on Saturday) and some not so bright spots (rain, rain, rain).  Here is what went on:

Up early and in the pool by 5:15AM.  I shared a lane with the only guy I have met at the gym thus far, Peter, an uber-good age group triathlete who just won his age group at the Florida 70.3 a week ago.  I had a funky workout on my schedule, 300M warm-up, 8 x 50 drills, 16 x 25M @ 10 sec, 1 x 400M @ 60 sec, 16 x 25M @ 10 sec, 8 x 50 drills, 200M cool down.  I initially thought that having to do 32 25Ms would be tough but they weren't bad.  I actually was able to really keep my form for them and realized that swimming hard doesn't mean swimming fast.  Keeping my body relaxed actually helped me go a bit faster.  A good morning overall.

The rest of the day was work, work, work.  I did manage to get home and get the girls by 4:45PM after a few stops to get prepared for dinner...hamburgers and home made french fries (yes, I own a small unhealthy, but so good!).  I managed to get the lawn cut as well which was a good call on my part because the weekend was supposed to be pretty wet.

I did slack a bit; I was supposed to get on the bike for 30 minutes, but I just couldn't find the time to.  By the time my wife got home, I needed to start making dinner, then after dinner I was in no shape to ride a bike, so I cut the lawn.  Next thing I knew it was 8:30PM and we were getting the girls in bed and I just didn't want to have to swap out the wheels on my bike and then set it up in the basement on the trainer.  I know, such a weak excuse.

We were all up pretty early, everyone except for my little one that is, she slept until 7:45AM (Holy Cow!).  I was my oldests last soccer game of the season and we had to be out of the house by 8:40AM.  It was both a happy and sad day.  Happy because not more Tuesday night practices and Saturday AND Sunday games.  Sad because deep down I really do like coaching the girls and this would be the last time I would see most of them.  The game was a good one, I'm not even sure if we won or lost.  What was so good was that my girls actually PLAYED soccer.  There wasn't a swarm of little seven year old girls chasing after the ball, they we spread out and passing it to one another.  I was really proud of them.  Also, my daughter played phenomenal, she played fearlessly (taking the ball away from the other team), she played smart (passing to her teammates), and scored two goals (almost had two more).  I was definitely the proudest parent there, and not because of the goals. 

After the game my wife game me to "OK" to head home and go for my hour and a half ride (Yahoo!), while she took the girls to Target to use the gift cards my mother had given to them for Easter.  My ride was a good one, not especially fast (a lot of uphills) but definitely satisfying.  I basically rode north from my house all the way up to the southern shore of Lake Nockamixon (well, almost there).  I then turned around and headed home.  I think I managed to hit 40+ MPH a couple times on my ride, along with a few spots where I struggled to stay about 10 MPH.  I just love riding my bike, so much fun!  27 miles in 1:30 (18.0 MPH)

The rest of Saturday was spent doing family things.  First we went strawberry picking up at Hellericks Family Farm, then the rains came....the rest of the day/night was spent in the house.  After dinner and bathes, we all headed down to the basement to watch "Monsters vs. Aliens", where I promptly fell asleep for a solid 20 minutes with my little one lying on top of me.  It was a good way to end the day.

I was really tired and didn't want to do my run early as I had planned.  God bless my wife for giving me a nudge to get me out the doorat 7:45AM  so that I would be done before church, otherwise I wouldn't have done it.  Now, I will say that the first mile I was cursing her for telling me to just get it done.  I felt horrible and my Garmin was showing me how horrible I was feeling...8:50/mile pace.  WTF?  I made the decision to just soldier on and get my hour run done so that I could get home and start the rest of my day. 

Slowly but surely I started to feel better, not great, but better.  My pace increase a bit and I felt like I would be able to make it at a bit faster pace than I initially thought.  My average pace displayed on my Garmin slowly started to drop, whew.  When it was all said and done I ran 7.2 miles in 1:00 (8:20/mile) HR 151 BPM

A quick shower, then off to church, then Dunkin' Donuts for the girls (and me....ah, I know I shouldn't have eaten the Boston Cream, but I love them so much), and then High Road Cycles to look at Oakley Jawbone sunglasses and bike racks.  I just love going to bike shops, I could spend all day in there just looking at bikes and all the things that go along with them.  They had some nice race wheels there and they were only $1,500 apiece....yeah right, "only". 

I could bore you with the rest of the day but nothing really happened except for some yard work, watching the girls play and then...oh yeah, the "LOST" finale, thus why I am tired this morning.  I liked it, although I am still trying to wrap my head around everything that happened. 

Time to get back to work and earn some money.  Rest day today and then back to training tomorrow, my step back week is behind me so it is time to mover forward with some extra training time this week.  Cheers!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Feeling Groovy

What an awesome day it is out there.  Sunny, warm and perfect for a lunch time run, I am excited to out there and do 5 - 6 miles.  Wahoo!  The past few days have been pretty good as well, I've been overcoming some residual soreness, eating well (for the most part) and getting into a groove with my training.  I know that I am still in the honeymoon faze of Ironman training, but I can honestly say that I am chomping at the bit to start doing some longer workouts....I should bide my time and enjoy the shorter less intense stuf right now.

An early morning at the pool, sharing a lane with a girl in her early 20s who is lightning fast.  It made me realize that I still have a lot of room for improvement when comes to swimming.  I believe that my workout was 2,400M (300M warm up, 8 x 50M drills, 3 x 125M @ 20 sec rest, 2 x 175M @ 30 sec rest, 3 x 125M @ 20 sec rest, 8 x 50M drills, and 200M cool down), a bit short of what I thought would be a 2,500M swim.  I considered adding an extra 100M but then realized I needed to get out of the pool and get to work.  The work out took me 50:28, but that includes about three minutes of rest from the make my swim 47:28.  Not too bad for me.

Work was work, as it always is.  At lunch I headed out into the rain and put in an easy 4.3 miles, 33:30 (7:47/mile) with my heartrate averaging 149 BPM.  I actually enjoyed running in the rain, granted it wasn't a down pour, but just enough to keep me cool and comfortable.

I had a dentist appointment at 8:45AM so I decided that it would be best if I just worked from home, else I probably wouldn't have gotten to work until close to 10:30AM.  It was a good day, I was able to get the girls on the bus and to school which is always fun.  I went to the dentist and everything is A-OK, although I left feeling like I was punched in the mouth....the hygenist was not gentle, not at all.  Then it was home to bang out some marketing plans for my groups recent pending reorganization.

At noon I headed out on my training plan dictated 30 minute ride.  Nothing spectacular, just rode into the heart of Doylestown, which in hindsight probably wasn't too smart because I ended up having to stop at every friggin' traffic light and stop sign.  I was hoping to average over 20 MPH, but it just wasn't going to happen because of route I took.  Final stats:  9.03 miles, 30:02 (18 MPH), a fun ride, but I would have liked to have ridden faster.  From the bike I had to do a quick change and head right out for a 15 minute run.  I was probably out in under three minutes and proceeded to run for 15:10, covering 2.05 miles (7:25/mile pace) with my heartrate averaging 145 BPM.  I was astounded by my running stats following my bike.  I thought for sure I would be struggling to run 8:00/mile pace.  

One thing that my training plan calls for during the first 10 weeks of training is to training HR Zone 2, which for me is under 158 BPM (or so).  I was psyched to see that my heartrate was wll under that for the duration of my run.  In fact, at not time during the run did I feel like I was straining or hurting to keep that pace.  This is a good sign, I feel like I have made some progress in my training.  I have my first triathlon of the season coming up on Sunday, June 20th, the LavaMan down in Lavallette, NJ, and I think I could really do well.  Granted I am still going to be in the "Build" phase of my training, but I should be able to use that race as a barometer for how I am doing.

Things are looking up and I can only hope that my allergies and the hot/humid weather doesn't play havoc on my running.  That's all for now, just waiting to head out for a beautiful lunch time run....oh, then after work for my oldest daughter to have her "Bridging Ceremong" which respresents her transition from Daisy Scouts to Brownies.  Should be a good night, I am very proud of her.  Adios!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sore Weekend

Oh my gosh am I beat today.  Getting out of my car following my 50 minute drive to work was a rough, my legs just didn't want to move in the way that I wanted them to.  I am sitting here thinking that I if I am so sore from the training I did over the past three days, well then I am in in worse shape than I ever could have imagined.  Now as I think back to what encompassed Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there was really a lot more going on than just running and biking.

It is never easy slipping away for 60 minutes of running during the work day, but I had to try and do it.  The weather was sunny, hot and humid, probably around 85F but it felt much worse.  I ended up doing a big loop that incorporated some hills, nothing too daunting, but definitely not flat.  The first three miles were good, smooth sailing, but then things started to get tougher as I began to feel the heat and my breathing started to suffer.  I soldiered on and despite my desires to walk for a bit, I didn't.  I didn't get the full hour of running in, actually 57:30 (give or take).  I managed to keep my overall pace under 8:00/mile and covered around 7.25 miles

My plan for Saturday was to get up early, get my hour and 45 minute ride in, coach my daughters soccer game at 10:00AM, then do whatever chores my lovely wife had planned for me.  It played out a little bit differently however....I awoke at 6:15AM thanks to my 4 (almost 5) year old daughter starting at me from the side of my bed.  I picked her up and plopped her into our bed and then fell back asleep until around 6:45AM.  It was then announced by my wife that she would be going to the food store with my youngest first thing that morning....translation, my ride would have to wait until later on in the day.  On a positive note, my oldest daughter and I got to have breakfast together and then play outside for a bit before the groceries arrived home.

It was then time to get to the soccer game.  It was a tough one, we really out played the other team but the girls just couldn't score a goal.  I felt so bad for them.  What compounded the problems were that by the fourth quarter we only had four girls remaining (we play 4 v 4) which meant no rests.  The girls were toast, totally out of gas.  I wish I could have done something to help them out.  Regardless, they played great and I couldn't have been prouder of them. 

After them game it was off to pick up some landscaping supplies....translation, my ride would have to wait until later on in the day.  Sixteen bags of mulch were PACKED into my wife's Pacifica.  I then made an executive decision that we would be having lunch at "Five Guys".  I justified my eating this for lunch by the simple assumption that I would be burning 2,700+ calories on my ride later.  It was really good!!!

From 1:00PM to around 4:30PM it was all yard work.  Mulching all of our beds in the front of our house, around all of the flowers in the back of the house, digging, raking, just working and getting dirty.  It was around 4:45PM that I finally got the OK to go for my ride (yeah!). 

Long story short about the ride....I was beat, thanks to all of the activities that I had participated in throughout the day but I was happy.  I was happy to be outside on my bike, riding through the beautiful Pennsylvania and New Jersey countryside.  I would love to write more about my ride, but simply saying it was fun is enough.  I ended up riding around 31.75 miles in 1:47, only about 17.5 MPH.  I'm not all that concerned about my average speed, especially considering the day I had leading up to it and the terrain on which I rode.

I was fortunate in being able to get out relatively early for my run (8:15AM)....the price being an early morning bagel run for the family.  I wish that I could say some positive things about my run, but frankly it really sucked.  One hour running exactly, around 7.4 miles, equaling around an 8:10/mile pace.  I was tired and just wanted it to be over, I actually stopped about 2.25 miles in to reset, I was a bit dizzy and didn't feel right.  The only real positive from the outing was that I ran the last mile and a half at 7:40 pace, the sole purpose being that I would be home sooner.

After the run it was time for some more yard work while my wife took my oldest daughter to her dress rehearsal for dance (and pictures), leaving me and the little on to tackle the chores.  It was all about digging up bushes, transplanting bushes and then planting new bushes.  I will spare everyone the details.  Oh, I can't forget that I had a dress rehearsal for dance at 2:45PM as well.  I had the opportunity to do a full run though of our dance on the actual stage we will be performing, with a spattering of little girls and Mom's watching us.  Yeah, we are going to look like a bunch of total asses.

After dance, it was back home to finish up the planting before dinner (and watching a bit of the NCAA Lacrosse Tournament....Army beat Syracuse!!!  I hate Syracuse lacrosse!).  Such a good dinner, whole wheat pasta with meatballs.  It might just have been that fact that I didn't eat much all day, but that food tasted so good!

So it is now Monday morning and I am glad that I have a rest day today, much needed after the busy weekend.  Tomorrow back in the pool for 2,500M and then an afternoon run.  Ciao!

Friday, May 14, 2010

I haven't written much lately, the result of being invovled in all day meetings at work that have bled into late dinners and other things.  It has been a bit difficult to schedule my training but I have been doing a fairly good job none-the-less.  I guess I should go all the way back to Sunday and make a path to today.

Sunday (Mother's Day)
Windy - I still down in Lavallette with my girls at my parents house.  In order to maximize my day and time, I opted to head out at 7:30 for my hour run while my 'rents watched the girls.  The run was a bear, not because I was tired or the temps were outlandish.  No, it was the wind, 30 MPH steady wind.  I ran south from my parents via the Lavallette, Ortley Beach and Seaside Heights boardwalks until I hit 30 minutes (3.7 miles) and then turned around and headed home.  Even though it was a bit cold and the wind was howling, it was still a beautiful morning and running along the ocean is always enjoyable.  I finished up my 7.43 mile run in 1:00 (8:05/mile), a good effort.

I spend the next few hours hanging out with my girls, even heading up to the beach with them for an hour or so.  We had a blast.  We had dinner with my 'rents and my grandmother before heading up to Newark Airport to pick up my wife who was returning from Naples, FL.  We were all excited to see her and to get home to celebrate our Mother's Day with her.

Rest - I didn't really need rest, but I will take it when the training schedule says to take it.

HVAC - I was working from home on Tuesday because we were having our new HVAC system installed and I needed to be there.  I worked a lot in the early AM until they arrived and then headed off to do a straight 2,500M swim (54:00) down at Newtown Athletic.  Whew, it was a long boring swim; there were not intervals or drills mixed in to break up the monotony.  I did get it done though and then enjoyed an awesome shower (they have the best showers there).

After getting home I did some more work until the HVAC guys headed home for the day.  Then I threw on my running gear and went for a 45 minute run.  I felt great running and coupled with the fact that I wanted to make sure I made it home for my daughter, my pace was pretty solid.  I ended up running 6.3 miles in 47.38 (7:33/mile), really happy with it.

Meetings - I woke up early and got on the trainer for a 30 minute ride that was to be followed immediately by 15 minutes of running.  Well, the ride wasn't a problem, but when it came time to do the run, it just wasn't happening.  I tried getting on our treadmill but I just couldn't run on it.  Maybe I am too heavy or I just can run on our treadmilll, but the belt was slipping a bit and I just couldn't get going on it.  I ended up running about 5 mintues and them when and got ready for work.

I was in meetings for the rest of the day (8:30AM - 6:00PM) as my department is looking to do a reorg and are looking to the leaders to define it.  That meant sitting in a training room all day talking about our business and how to run it more efficiently.  Following the meetings it was off to dinner at 7:00PM....a long day/night.  I ate well, I ate smart and finally got home around 10:15PM.  Ugh, I had to get up at 5:15AM on Thursday.

Return - I didn't have any issues getting up and actually made it to the pool by 6:00AM.  I had a really good swim, covering the 2,500M (300 WU, 8 x 50 Drills, 12 x 100s, 8 x 50 Drills, 200 CD) in around 48 minutes.  I was extremely consistent with my 100s (all under 2:00, most around 1:55...WAHOO!).

After the swim it was in to work and more meetings until 3:30PM.  I ate a lot of cookies during those meeting, my biggest problem with the meetings I would say.  No worries, I would have 45 minutes on the trainer riding at 100+ RPMs to burn them off when I got home.  And that is exactly what I did....when I got home I got the blessing from my wife to do my ride while they ate dinner (thank you honey!!!).  I averaged 100RPMs for the entire 45 minutes and was able to catch up on "Modern Family" (great show) and "How I Met Your Mother "(another good one).  Dinner after that was pizza and that is about it.

It has been a busy few days and I need to get a good nights sleep.  Hopefully tonight I can get to bee at a reasonable hour and get a solid eight hours.  The weekend is going to be a busy one.  Here is what is on tap for the next few days:
  • Friday - 1:00 (one hour) run (hopefully at lunch)
  • Saturday - One hour, 45 minute ride, then daughters soccer game at 10:00AM, then work on swing set (sanding, etc.)
  • Sunday - One hour run (I think, might be 1:15), soccer game at 1:00PM soccer game, 2:45PM dress rehearsal (dance), then yard work.
I am sure that there are going to be other things mixed in there as well, like putting down mulch, staining the roof of the swing set, etc.  My wife will keep us all busy, just hope she plans a hearty dinner!  Work time, ciao!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Two Girls and a Lavallette Weekend

I am sitting on my parents deck down in Lavallette, NJ.  "This is Me" by Demi Lovato (Camp Rock soundtrack) is playing loudly as my two daughters sing and dance...actually I have to admit that I do sing the Joe Jonas part of the song despite the protests from the girls.  The only thing missing is my lovely wife who has run off to Naples, FL for a girls weekend, sunning it up and staying out later partying (actually heard that their latest night has been 10:00PM). 

I got up and out of the house this morning around 7:00AM to get in my 1:30 ride, from my 'rents down to the end of Island Beach State Park (around 29 miles).  The first half of the ride was a little slow since there was a south wind, not really strong, but enough to keep my average speed around 17 MPH.  The ride is a nice one, very little traffic, surrounded by sand, grass, some trees and the occassion bit of wild life.  Yeah, it is straight as an hour for six miles, but it could be a lot worse.

I couldn't wait for the turnaround after riding into the wind for 18 miles or so.  Once I got the end, I ate a Pop-Tart, drank some Gatorade, and headed back. 

The difference going north was signicant as my average speed was an easy 24 MPH and I was flying.  I was so happy that I went south first into the wind and could then reap the benefits of the wind on the way back.  All in all the ride was a success and when I got back to my 'rents, my little one was there with a big smile on her face (my girls are great!!!).

As for the past few days, it has been a great week of training for me.  By Wednesday I was feeling better following the tough day on Broad Street.  I got up early, put in 30 minutes on the trainer in the basement (watching last weeks Modern Family) then ran four miles or so at work at lunch.

Thursday was a funky day in that my wife left that house around 4:00AM for the airport, and I had morning duty with the girls.  Everything went as smoothly as I could have hoped, I got them dressed, hair done, fed them breakfast and to their respective schools all in record time.  From there it was to the pool to swim 2,500M (51 minutes or so) and then home to get some work done before the girls got home from school.  After dinner I was able to get on the trainer for 30 minutes while the girls played on the computer, they were so great to give me the time to get my training in.  They really are great kids, my wife and I are so lucky.

Friday was a work from home day before heading to the shore.  A pretty uneventful day aside from a 5+ mile run along the beach and bay.  It is such a nice change of pace to run down here, flat, cooler, change of scenery, just nice.  My run was good in that I started out around 7:57/mile and I did negative splits, finishing my last mile at 7:33 pace. 

That's about it for now.  I am off to the beach with the girls.  No, it isn't going to be a sit on the beach with beach chairs and get tan, more like bring fleeces and just run around and have some fun before heading back for lunch.  I will be bring the camera with me to take some pictures of the girls and our dog Willie.  Peace out!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Broad Street Run Race Report

The first word that comes to mind is HOT. Sunday’s Broad Street Run was simply that….HOT. When I woke up at 4:50AM on Sunday morning it was HOT. When I got into my car it was HOT. On my walk from my car to the SEPTA train it was HOT. The ride up to the start was, well, that was COOL….but when I got off the train it was HOT. Perhaps I am exaggerating just a bit, but it is important to set a tone and that tone is HOT.

I hopped in my car at 5:15AM and made my way down to Lincoln Financial Field; I arrived around 6:00AM, much earlier than I expected but that was OK. On the way down I started to drink my Gatorade G2 and at my Pop-Tarts (I should have had another pair with me). I found my way to the SEPTA train and I was on my way to the start. I was a bit tired from my lack of quality sleep the night before and I managed to sleep for about 20 minutes on the train which is unusual for me. I was at the start by 6:45AM and now had an hour and 45 minutes to kill, if only I had remembered a newspaper or something to read and pass the time.

I did all the things that one would normally do before a race (that is enough of that without getting the slightest bit graphic), and just tried to stay off my feet. So for the next hour I just laid around and people watched. Of course around 7:55AM I got in line to use the port-a-pottie for the last time and the line was so long. I checked my watch every 30 seconds and stressed about whether I would make it to the start line in time. At precisely 8:20AM I made it in and didn’t have a lot of time to spare. I went quickly and then hustled to the start corral only to find that it was packed and I would have to sneak in somehow.

I managed to inch my way into the purple corral and waited for the air horn to start us off….it was time, whether I was ready or not. The horn went off and I was on my way, my end point ten miles away. My plan was to run at 7:15/mile, see how I felt after two or three miles, then make the determination as to whether or not I could pick up the pace and try to get close to a 1:10 finish. The first mile was much tougher than it should have been, but I was running at a decent clip based on the crowd (7:12). Mile two was a bit flatter than the first and my legs just weren’t feeling as fresh as I had hoped they would, I slowed a bit (7:18), but I was still at 7:15/mile average. The next mile everything started to slow and I knew it wasn’t going to be my day. It was a slow 7:27 (overall pace to 7:18/mile). No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get my feet to move any faster and I was just soaked with sweat…thank God for all of the fire hydrants that were spraying water on the runners! Mile 4 was the same as the previous (7:26) and Mile 5 got a bit slower (7:33), the wheels were coming off and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. Not even the Gu Chomps I ate at mile three helped me. Halfway (5 miles) time: 36:56

The next three miles were all over the place, I just couldn’t get into a rhythm: Mile 6 – 7:23; Mile 7 – 7:36; Mile 8 – 7:45. I was hot, sweaty, wet (not necessarily a bad thing, much the result of multiple fire hydrant showers), and just not happy. I wanted to get done with the friggin’ race so badly. Mile 9 I picked up the pace a bit and ran it in 7:38 (hardly killing it) in hopes that it would all be over soon. The last mile, wasn’t bad, there were crowds cheering and I knew that in only a little over seven minutes it would all be over. I did my best to run hard, but I couldn’t get my legs going fast enough. I was determined to finish in under 1:15 though, maintaining an overall pace under 7:30. I ran that last mile in 7:19 [NOTE: When I stopped my Garmin 305 at the finish it showed an extra 214 ft run at 6:34/mile for a total of 16 seconds.]. My finish time was 1:14:51, not the 1:10 stretch goal, but under the 1:15 that I was my achievable goal.

Post Race
As was the case with my last race, I didn’t prepare adequately for this race, specifically I did way too much the day before (lots of yard work, didn’t take in enough fluids, went to bed too late, etc.). The fact that the temperatures were around 80F at the start and close to 90F at the finish didn’t make things any easier. I actually just looked back at my splits from the half-marathon I did on April 18th and I did the first ten miles (1:14:40, 7:27/mile pace) faster during that race than I did at Broad Street. All in all I am happy with my time given the circumstances, I set a PR for the distance, I finished in the top 6% of all finishers (1,306 out of 26,200), the top 9% of all males (1,065 out of 11,854), and the top 9% of my age group (153 out of 1,734).

It’s now time to focus on triathlon training and getting my swimming (swam 2,500M this morning) and biking up to speed. Of course saying that, my next races are a 5K (Wednesday, May 18th, Johnny King-Marino presents The Sertoma 5k) and a 5 miler (Saturday, May 29th, Spring Lake 5). Stay cool out there!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Seven Day Recap

First and foremost, I did make it to Chicago last week....YEAH!  After hanging out at Philadelphia International Airport for the better part of seven hours I was on a plane to the Windy City and arrived without incident.  I arrived at my hotel around 8:00PM and promptly threw on my running gear and headed out for five mile run through the city and then along Lake Michigan.  It felt great to get out and stretch my legs, especially after the frustrating travel day I had just endured.  One thing about running in a city with a Garmin (or any GPS watch), you really never know how far you have run or the pace your are running because the signal gets bounced all over the place thanks to the tall buildings.  At one point I think I was running at 5:30/mile pace and then a few minutes later I was going at 12:00/mile.  It wasn't until I downloaded all of my run info on to my computer at home that I was able to looked at the map of my "run".  It looked like I was running circles all over the city.

A relatively uneventful day, 4 mile run in the early morning, then meetings all day.  The run was great, I just love running along the lake as the sun is rising, even if it was 30F and I was wearing a pair of socks on my hands because I forgot gloves.  After my meetings I was able to make it up to Niketown...oh how I love Niketown!  I bought a pair of Portugal soccer shorts (I only run in Nike soccer shorts, they are little longer than traditional running shorts), a pair of blue running sockes and a LiveStorng rubber bracelet (my last on broke a few months ago).  I was in heaven.  After all of that it was dinner time with my co-workers and I pretty much pigged out (Tavern at the Park), duck egg rolls, crusted meatballs, garlic crusted filet mignon, onion was all so good and so wrong.

I woke up early and headed out for a 6.5 mile run and brought my wife's camera with me (of course I don't have the pictures right now, but I will upload them tonight).  I ran about three miles up the shores of Lake Michigan to this beach club, then back down along the running path. 

I continuted down to Millenium Park where I ran past the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Cloud Gate on the AT&T Plaza, basically a giant silver bean. 
If you look really closely, you can see my reflextion in the middle of the bean.

What was great about this run was that I actually stopped a few times to take pictures and really soaked in the city as opposed to getting glances of it like I normally do.  Just a great time.

My meetings wrapped up around 11:00AM and then me and my co-workers headed up to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs geat beat 13 - 5 (courtesy of the Arizona Diamondbacks).  Our seats were literally the last row behind home plate. 
Here's me walking front of the legendary Wrigley Field, the second game I have seen there.

It was a good time!  Following the game we grabbed dinner at the Twin Anchors and had ribs (they are somewhat famous for their ribs) and then hung out at a bar.

My 9:35AM flight home went off without a hitch (YEA!) and we actually landed early.  I hustled over to Lincoln Financial Field to pick up my race number for Sunday's Broad Street Run, then sped home so that I could be there when my daughter got off of the bus.  Picked up my youngest daughter from school soon after then waited for my wife to get home from work.  It was great to be home!

Yeah, Saturday was all about yard work...after my oldest daughters soccer game.  I spent pretty much the whole day leveling our back yard, digging up trees and bushes, and just trying to beautify the back part of our yard (in preparation for some lawn making).  Of course this was probably the worst thing I could have done the day before a race....I was out in the hot sun all day, temps were around 90F and I was doing hard labor.  I would pay for this on race day.

I will add my Broad Street Run race recap tonight or tomorrow.  Just know that it was a hot and hellish day.  I ran OK, but not nearly as well as I had hoped to run.  Ciao!