Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Am I Back?

I am going to be an optimist today and say that I am back, and by that I mean I am back on the training wagon.  Next stop:  Fast-ville!

I haven't written here in a while (over a week), but that is because I have been so busy with work and family (things are a changing...for the good!).  I have managed to fit in training a bit more frequently over the past week.  A few nights pedalling away on the trainer in the basement and two or three runs out on the roads of Doylestown, PA.

This past Saturday and Sunday were very solid from a training perspective; let me begin with Friday though.  I took the day off because my Kindergartner had her "Spring Sing" concert at school.  She was standing front and center and did absolutely amazing.  We couldn't have been prouder of the job that she did.  Following the concert, we picked up a couple hoagies for the ride to Lavallette, NJ.  We did have a quick stop on the way down....details will be forthcoming in the near future.....before finally arriving at my parents house around 3:00PM.  The rest of the day was spent chilling out and letting my daughters just have fun playing.

Saturday morning I was up and out of bed at 5:10AM and on my bike heading north at 5:30AM.  I rode up to the Manasquan Inlet (on the Point Pleasant side), took a picture of the sunrise and then turned around to face the increasing south wind.  I trekked south past my 'rents house and made my way into Island Beach State Park.  I rode around four miles into it and then turned around and headed back north with a steady wind at my back.  The ride ended up being around 39 miles and I finished it in just under two hours (~19.3 MPH average).  I was pretty happy with it, especially considering it was only my second outdoor ride so far this year.

The rest of Saturday was spent at the beach, freezing for a good portion of it, trying to keep up with my daughters who were having a blast running around in the very low tide.  We also caught up with our "summer" friends who we really missed a lot. 

I was able to sleep in a bit on Sunday, but I did manage to get in a nice seven mile run.  I ran from our house down to Seaside Heights, turning around right at Midway Cheese Steaks (they are so greasy and good/bad).  It was a slow slog as I still don't feel like I have a slightest of fitness.  I trudged and trudged.  Once I got back to the Lavallette boardwalk I kicked it into a higher gear and managed to run the final mile in 7:58.  WOW, finally a sub-8 minute mile. DANG!!!

The rest of the day...you guessed it, up at the beach with the family.  The weather was a bit better, slightly warmer, but still not the advertised 80F.  I still had fun with the girls, playing in the sandbar with them, playing catch and digging a giant hole for them. 

Monday was an early departure from the shore as we had a ton of stuff to take care of, specifically lots of food shopping.  We did manage to head over to our pool for about and hour and a half, thanks to the desperate pleas from my oldest daughter.  I couldn't get over how warm the water was, especially this early in the season.  It will make for easier swim training now that I will be doing it all there at the pool as opposed to my old gym.

Now for why I think I am back in business with regard to my training.  Two things:
  1. I stayed up until 10:00PM last night putting together a training program.  I have printed it out and I will have it next to my bed at home for me to follow!
  2. I dragged my butt out of bed this morning at 5:05AM and went for a run.  It was a slow and short run, but I did manage to get it done.  I got out of bed, got dressed and actually ran.  This was a huge step for me.  So, I am going to say here and now that I am back and ready to start training for the NJ State Triathlon on July 24th. 
Happy training to everyone!  Cheers!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Can't I Get Up?

Quick post this morning.....lots of work to do.  I have one question that I need an answer to, why can I not get myself up and out of bed at 5:00AM to go running or riding?  Why?  Why?  Why?

This morning my alarm went off at 5:00AM and I was just laying there wide awake.  Then it went off again at 5:05AM and I continued to lay there in bed.  I stared at the ceiling contemplating what I should do.  Deep down I knew that I should be getting up and working out, but there was something holding me back.  Is it because I spent a year of waking up at 4:15AM so that I could get to the pool and swim 3,000m+ every other morning and I am burnt out?  Is it because the weather isn't perfect yet (it was raining out this morning)?  Is it because I am so terribly out of shape that I don't enjoy running at at painful 8:15/mile pace?  Whatever the reason I need some inspiration.  I have an Olympic distance triathlon is about 10 weeks and I not even close to being in shape for it.  That should be enough motivation, but it just isn't.  Ugh, I need to figure this out.

I should point out that my training time is short at the moment, I need to leave for work around 6:30AM and usually don't get home until around 6:00PM.  I don't have the ability to run at lunch like I could at my old job, I have a lot to do when I get home from work, usually free to do what I need to do around 8:30PM.  So yeah, my free time is really in the AM right now.

Any advice from anyone is welcome and appreciated.  Peace out!

Monday, May 16, 2011

From Chaos to Chaos

Whew, it has been a very busy week since I last posted here.  Between work and home, I have no time to myself.  Actually, I have been able to carve out some bits and pieces along the way, but I have had to be very creative with it.  Let me recap:

Tuesday, May 10th
I was in NYC for a Sales Conference, so from 8:00AM to 11:00PM I was either in meetings or socializing with my new co-workers.  Knowing this, I was up at 6:00AM and out the door by 6:15AM for a run along the southern tip of Manhattan.  It felt great to be out running so early in the morning, in a place I have never run before.  I think I ran about 5 miles but it didn't feel like it.  I was also able to see a cruise ship heading north up the Hudson to port.  It was HUGE!   Awesome!

Wednesday, May 11th
I was up early again, and I put in a nice 6+ mile run.  It was a gorgeous morning, lots of people were out running, biking, roller-blading, etc.  I had such a good time running; I am starting to feel like I am getting back into shape.  The rest of the day was meetings, meetings, meetings.  I think I finally headed back to my tiny hotel room around 11:00PM.

Thursday, May 12th
My last early morning run, and it didn't disappoint.  I put in around 5 miles, starting by running cross town via Wall Street, and over past where the World Trade Towers once stood.   I went right when I hit the river and ran north for a ways.  Another beautiful morning, another good start to the day.  Meetings until around 2:45PM and then a ferry trip back to Jersey City to get my car.  I was home to my wife and daughters by 5:15PM.  I really missed them!

Friday, May 13th
Back to the office and no time to work out, run or bike.  My daughter had her last night of travel soccer team try-outs from 6PM - 8PM, so I got to spend the night watching her play soccer (and worrying about her) and talking with all of the other soccer mom's and dad's.  After she was done, she and I went and got dinner together.  We had a good night.

Saturday, May 14th
Oh what a busy day, kicking off with my oldest daughters first ever race, well distance race that is.  It was a 3K for only elementary school kids.  Despite being totally wiped out from soccer the night before, she ran hard and did great.  My wife and I were so proud of her.  We had the added bonus of having my mother and father there to cheer her on as well.  After that we all went and got breakfast....because we had to fuel up for her lacrosse games which were at 1:00PM.  Lacrosse went well, our girls played the best they have all year.  My daughter managed to score a couple goals which is tremendous for a 2nd Grader.  After that we headed back home for a late lunch and some "chilling out" time.  I managed to take my first nap in a long, long time.

I finished up the night by getting on my bike for an hour while watching Black Swan....really good movie!  I think I finally hit the hay around 11:00PM.

Sunday, May 15
This was the busiest day I have had in a very long time.  Here it is in bullet form:
  • 7:00AM - Woken up by daughters
  • 8:00AM - Eat breakfast (three eggs and whole wheat bagel) & make breakfast for the family
  • 9:00AM - Start cleaning bathrooms, including scrubbing of grout.
  • 10:30AM - Finish cleaning bathrooms
  • 11:00AM - Sit down for 45 minutes to watch 1st half of Liverpool v. Tottenham
  • 12:00PM - Coach daughters soccer game (we won big, my daughter dominated, dribbled circles around the other team, scored 4 goals).
  • 1:20PM - Arrive home and proceed to vacuum the entire house
  • 2:00PM - Talk to my wife about the rest of the day/night
  • 3:15PM - Go for a 6.7 mile run....oh, so very slow.  I was hurting really bad and I don't know why
  • 4:30PM - Get dressed in jacket and tie.
  • 5:15PM - Take my youngest daughter out for dinner (she missed the Father/Daughter dance a few weeks back b/c she was sick)
  • 6:15PM - Stop by Chubby's on the way home for ice cream...AWESOME!!!
  • 7:15PM - Arrive home and get the girls ready for bed.
  • 8:15PM - Go to the food store
  • 9:15PM - Return from food store
  • 10:30PM - Go to bed....finally.
So that was the last few days.  I have yet to put together a training program yet for my Olympic Distance triathlon in late July, which is not a good thing.  Maybe tomorrow if I have some time.  I am hoping to get up around 5:00AM tomorrow and put in 45 minutes on the bike in the basement....we'll see if it happens.  I have to start doing something before work because there is not time left at the end of the day. 

Time for bed!  Peace out!

Monday, May 9, 2011

So FAT!!!

It is Monday morning and I need a good kick in the ass.  I am having the most difficult time getting into a routine, a training routine that is.  Last week was pretty solid, I managed three run days and two bike days; five days in a row and I was looking to make it six until I neglected to do anything yesterday.  I do have an excuse though, it was Mother's Day and it would have been suicide to try and sneak out for a run or a ride.  Here is the problem though, I still haven't put together a training program and I am just kind of going through the motions, doing what I think I should do, but probably not what I should be doing.  Ugh, I need to get back on track and soon.

A quick note about Saturday, I had to get out for a run before my daughters soccer game at 9:00AM (which was followed by an all day lacrosse tournament).  So I was up and out of the house by 7:15AM for what I planned to be a 7 - 8 mile run.  Whew, that was not going to happen...I was so slow and tired.  I mean ridiculously slow and tired.  I was struggling to keep my pace below a 9:00/min mile.  That was unheard of months ago.  I think I finished my 6.1 mile run at 8:50/mile pace (the last mile helped bring it down a bit).  There are a few things that I can attribute this to, but the primary one is my weight.  I am up about 20 lbs from November and I still haven't lost anything yet....not that I have been really trying all that hard.  FOCUS!!!

Alright, this week I should be able to get into a running groove at least.  I am going into NYC for a sales conference which means I will be able to get up and go running every morning that I am there.  It is probably going to mean that I have to get up by 6:00AM, but heck it is better than the 4:15AM I was doing last year....I shouldn't complain about 6:00AM.  So I am looking at three mornings of running around lower Manhattan, it should be good.

I think I am about two and a half months out from my next race, the NJ State Triathlon (Olympic) and I am not even close to being in "race" shape.  I need to get my plan ready and start to execute it.  I have never been this disorganized in all of my life.  Ugh!

Time to get back to work.  Peace out!

Friday, May 6, 2011

TGIF....or Maybe Not

It is Friday and I am ready for the weekend to start.  However, now that I have said that, I suspect that this weekend will be busier than I am during the week.  Heck, I don't know what I want.  I feel as though I have absolutely no time anymore, at least no time for me.  I must admit though, when I was training last year I was getting up before 5:00AM every morning and getting a good chunk of my training done before most of the world was awake.  That was my "ME" time.  Now I am sleeping in until 5:45AM, and leaving for work by 6:30AM and hoping to fit in a workout before I go to bed, usually finishing up around 10:30AM.  I have to figure this all out and soon.

So this week has been a pretty good one with regards to training:
  • Monday I took off from any exercise because I was pretty sore from the Broad Street Run. 
  • Tuesday I put in a mellow 45 minute spin on my bike (trainer). 
  • Wednesday I managed to get in a 3.5 mile run, which included a lot of hills. 
  • Thursday I did a very solid hour on the bike (trainer). 
  • Today I am going to do a 5 mile run when I get home from work before I mow the lawn.
  • Saturday I am going to try and do a 8 mile run before my daughters soccer game at 9:00AM.
  • Sunday, phew...not sure about Sunday since it is Mother's Day.  If anything I might be able to get a ride in later on in the day provided I am given the OK from my better half.
I still haven't put together a training plan which is pretty sad.  It looks like I am going to have to put off joining a gym with a pool until after the summer, which means I will be doing all of my swim training at our local outdoor swim club (Fanny Chapman Pool).  That means there will be a lot of very cold water swims to start the season.  BRRRRRR!!!!!!!!

I mentioned a busy weekend, in fact it is really Saturday that is what is going to be busy.  9:00AM I have my daughters soccer game.  9:30AM my wife will be taking my youngest to her dance class.  We will all get home from these activities around 10:40AM.  We will then have a little bit of down time before we hop into the family car and head down to Abington, PA for a lacrosse festival for my oldest daughter (I am coaching her team).  We need to be there by 12:15PM, which means we need to be in the car driving by 11:45AM.  The lacrosse fest will go until around 4:45PM at which time I imagine we are going to have to stop on the way home to get something for dinner.  I figure we will probably be home around 6:30PM or thereabouts.  It is going to be a long day, but hopefully a fun one.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

RR: Broad Street Run

The Lead Up
I hadn't run at all in the week leading up to the Broad Street Run (10 mile race down Broad Street in Philadelphia, PA).  I had managed two bike sessions on my trainer on Tuesday and Wednesday but hadn't been able to fit in a run.  Friday after work I explained to my loving, wonderful wife that I needed to get in a run considering I had a long race on Sunday.  So I headed out for a quick 4 mile run, the goal to see how I felt with my face under 8:00/mile.

Well, I managed the four miles in under 32 minutes, but I was by no means just cruising along.  Yeah, I am not even close to the shape I was in last December.  Regardless, I still felt like going sub 1:20:00 on race day was a possibility.

I was up at 5:00AM, rearing to go.  Actually, I had to drag my ass out of bed and then forced myself to eat some Pop-Tarts.  I left the house around 5:30AM so that I could get down to the Wells Fargo Center parking lot at 6:45AM where I was to meet my friend Bill.  No problems at all, Bill pulled in right around 6:45AM and we were on our way to the start around 7:00AM.

The start area of the Broad Street Run is chaos.  You have 30,000 people all in a two or three block area, all with no where to go until the race starts.  Bill and my first stop was the porta-potties, and as we soon found out we would only have one chance to take care of business on this morning; the lines were epic.  Again, no issues, we were in and out with out incidence thank goodness.

Around 8:10AM we made out way to our corral, the PURPLE CORRAL.  This were good, we were just chilling out...oh yeah, we were also trying to find a friend of Bill's who was going to run as well.  By a stroke of amazing luck, we found him about 8 minutes before the start.  Things were going very smoothly.

The Race
BANG!  The gun went off and so did we.  I had told Bill that I was targeting 1:20:00 as my finish time, considering my lack of training.  He thought that was realistic for him as well, but if he felt good toward the second half he was going to push it.  Mile 1 came and went quickly as is the case with most races, 8:04, right around on target considering the still somewhat thick crowd.  I could tell that I was going to be struggling a bit though as my heart rate was in Zone 4 and didn't show signs of dropping.

I think it was around mile 4 that I finally started to drop back from Bill and his friend Colin.  I just didn't have it in me to go any faster than I was already.  Miles 2 - 4 were all at 8:03 pace and I was struggling to maintain that.  I silently let them drift off ahead of me and just concentrated on maintaining my pace.  I also popped in three Clif Shot Bloxs with had an immediate affect on me (all positive).

Just before mile 6 the course goes around Philadelphia City Hall and the crowds get quite large.  It was exactly what I needed!  I got a nice adrenaline rush which allowed me to pick up my pace for the next mile or so.  By the time I got to mile 7 I knew that I was going to have to speed up a bit if I wanted to get under an hour and 20 minutes.  I was running a steady 8:04 pace but with each passing mile that left me with additional seconds that I was going to have to make up with fewer miles remaining.

Mile 8 was a bit faster with mile 9 faster yet (around 7:45).  The crowds that had dwindles a bit after City Hall started to build up again and I could feel my energy levels rise again.  At that point I knew that the faster I ran, the faster I would be done.  One mile remaining then I could stop running and down some bad post-race food.  There was a girl running in front of me, she was wearing an orange tank and orange compression socks.  She was running faster than me and I decided that she is the one I would follow to the finish line.

I moved my legs faster; my watch said 7:25 pace.  All I wanted was to be done.  Finally I could see the finish line and I ran a little faster.  I checked my watch and was almost certain that I was going to meet my goal.  DONE!  Stop my watch.  Immediately check the time.....1:19:43.  I managed to get under 1:20:00 and I felt good.  Tired, but good.

I found Bill and Colin about two minutes later, just passed the medal folks.  Bill looked completely spent, this was the longest race he had ever run and he did it in just over 1:17:00.  He ran negative splits for the entire race I think; just a stellar job by he and Colin.  I grabbed a banana, some water and we made out way out.  I would have liked to of hung out for a bit longer, but I had my daughters soccer game to coach at 12:00PM.  No worries though, I was soaking wet with sweat, smelled awful and needed to sit down.  The drive home in the car would do me right.

Final Thoughts
I went into this race more under-prepared than any other race I have ever done.  With that said, I had pretty high expectations for myself (sub-8:00/mile pace for a 10-mile race).  I am very happy that I was able to meet my goal and realized that I still have a bit of residual fitness remaining from IM Arizona.  I have also learned that even if I can't get out for a run, it is a good idea to at least get on my bike and put in 45 - 60 minutes of riding.  It isn't running, but it is exercise and that is better than nothing.

I know I have said this before, but it starts today.  I have about 12 - 13 weeks until the New Jersey State Triathlon (Olympic Distance) and I have to start my training for that.  I have got to get my training schedule set so that I have something to work off of, a reason to get up at 4:30 or 5:00AM.  This past Sunday was a wake up call and I am ready to start working again!!!