Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 25 and Full Circle...

Log: Alarm was not set correctly this morning. Woke at 5:30AM, missed the swim. Got up and ran a tempo run for 30 minutes increasing to a 1 mile 10K pace. Not pretty. Stretched and iced.

Full circle. 365 days since the beginning of the end.

I started this journey on September 29th, 2009 with the intent of fulfilling my own personal objective of documenting as much as my life that I was willing to share in cyberspace.

My adventure began after a disappointing race at the 70.3 Augusta Half Ironman last year. Since this time another Augusta Half Ironman has taken placed and a number of friends and athletes I know have completed this course in personal best. Throughout this year, I have witnessed a number of athletes triumph in personal accomplishments.

On September 30th, 2009, I promised myself after a few years of training for Ironman and Marathon’s that it was going to be Sarah’s turn to shine. Well, she did. Not only did she meet her goal on the Rocket City Marathon in December, but she qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2011! This was a major achievement with her and I am proud of my wife for her accomplishment.

Over the last year, it did not end for Sarah. She went on 5 month later to qualify for the National Championships in the long distance triathlon. This is a half ironman, which we are technically not supposed to say since it is a trademark infringement. Though this did not pan out for Sarah, I am proud of her and her ability to tackle a challenge head on.

The last 365 days have proven to be good for many people I know. Bob and Jay made it to Boston. My sister, Tracey is also Boston bound on her first full marathon. I have seen Carmen and her husband Sami hit the podium on almost every triathlon they participated in over the last year. I have seen Stacy continually become stronger as an athlete, while Amy gets better and better as time goes on. Seth, Brian and Chris have become stronger triathletes in the Half to Full Ironman category with Chris approaching his first IM in less than two months. Calvin pushes out the miles in his ultra marathon attempt the same weekend as Chicago. Courtney has also become a “ultra” runner hitting the trails day after day in her goal to accomplish a 31 mile trail run in November with her training partner Sue. Wren has a specific goal in mind, which takes place in 11 days. That is all I am saying about her. No bad karma. Jeff will be with us in Chicago on his first marathon even though he has accomplished six Ironman’s. Hokan knocked out his sixth Ironman at Lake Placid this summer as Michelle, the 24 year old, who has more dedication that most people I know is on her final journey heading for Ironman Florida. I know there are ones I am missing, but they know who they are and even if I have not written about our accomplishment, I blame old age for forgetting. Susan, Randy, Rebecca, Tatyana, Steven, Darin, Frank, Melissa, Chris H, etc… Finally yet importantly, because I would never leave her out is Ann Marie. Over the last year, our friendship has grown as strong as her athletic abilities. She qualified for Boston along with Sarah, Jay, Bob and Tracey. Ann Marie has been a constant push for me as an athlete as well. She strives for the best and only the best, no exceptions. Her ability to generate the amount of energy she has for the sport of triathlons and for life is amazing. We have become good friends while I have gotten to know her husband, Dan and son Kyler. Ann Marie, has befriended my family as well by training with Sarah on rides along with our families having “pizza night’s” on occasion when our busy lives can take a break. Her friendship to me and to my family is a gift I am thankful for.

Without the support of family, new friends and old along with the constant support of my strong and determined wife, Sarah the past year would have been a long one. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for this year. My family is healthy, we are doing fine in this economic marsh pit, but to at all of “what we do” as athletes along, it would have been a long and deserted road.
My only regret over the last year was what I stated in my first entry on September 29th, 2009. To hit a sub 3 hour marathon. For me it has not been the age thing. 44 is not old in my book. The drawbacks have been injuries. Not injuries that have sidelined me, but things that have slowed me down. As I write these chronic pains emanate throughout. I have been able to adapt and conquer with hitting the podium, setting personal records and pushing my body faster and further every day.

I am thankful for everything. If you are reading this and know me personally, I thank you. Each one of you has touched my life and will continue to be a part of it for the long haul. If you know me, I am not a “flash in the pan”, friend to all kind of person. If you know me, then you will always know me.

This ends the journey at the beginning. I have more adventures that are ahead of me. The Chicago Marathon is only a few days from now. This will be a physical challenge with what has transpired in the last couple of weeks. I must adjust my goals and look forward to April. April brings the Boston Marathon and to see Sarah and my friends who have not experienced this event before will be an honor for me to participate in with them.

After April will bring many more new adventures and I hope to cross many more paths with all of you have spent the last year reading parts of my life.

Signing off…"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 24

Log: Taper week allows for flexibility in training. After the 13 miles yesterday the body needed rest. I slept in. I will use some of the flexibility in the schedule to be more flexible. Stretching at lunch.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 23

Log: 13 long days and counting. I would not be telling the truth if I said I am ready. Mind and body is beat up. There are days I have thought of bagging the marathon and taking sometime off. 1 marathon a year is enough for me. I have had good races, but these final weeks have been painful and long. I put myself through more pain today. With the weekend full of activities and responsibilities in recruiting runners for the "World's Hoppiest 5K Road Race" the running has suffered. I decided to run at lunch today afte some much needed sleep. Everyday is a struggle in motivation to get out of bed. I ran 13 miles on of all things the treadmill. I did not have the time to plot a course and run. I wanted to beat my mind up a little for the 26.2 miles of pain that I am about to endure. The 13 miles on the treadmill were excruciating and laborious. Every step the pain manifested and radiated through out my mind and body, but I pushed on. Finished the 13 miles in 1:35:00, 45 seconds too slow from race pace. Granted the first mile was at a 8:15...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 18

Log: A number of friends are on the road currently heading to either Huntsville, AL for the Olympic distance triathlon National Championships or Augusta, GA for the Half Ironman 70.3 Event. I wish all athletes the best in their endeavors to be their best.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 17

Log: I have heard from a number of people that I sound tired and sluggish. I must admit that motivation is lacking these days. I go to bed early and just get through the day. I woke this morning at 4:30AM and went to swim. I guess the Group Swim at Johns Creek has disbanded. Second week in a row I have swam solo outside. During the last 10 minutes a two swimmers got in the outdoor pool as I was cooling down. Meeting after work to discuss the World's Hoppiest 5K Road Race. Need to go over budget numbers and make sure things are not falling through the cracks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 16

Log: Slept in. No reason, just felt tired this morning. Will get out at lunch to complete workouts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 15

Log: Taper weeks are ahead of me. Swam this morning at 5AM. 2700M in the outdoor pool, solo. No Master's Swim which I thought was odd. Had to improvise since there wasn't a swim workout. Did 15 minutes on the Elliptical and stretched for 30 minutes after that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 14

Log: Massage this morning at 7:30AM. I went to the gym prior, spun on the bike and stretched. Hip flexors are tight. I have been stretching them everyday for the last 30 days but still can't work out the tightness. Today offically starts taper for Chicago. I have to admit that I am loosing my desire to run this marathon at this point. Though I ran in the half marathon yesterday and was at ease with race conditions, the Chicago Marathon seems like it has been looming for a long time and now that I am in the final weeks, I can't wait to get it over with.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 13

Runners log: Saturday was spent in the pool for 2500M. Helped the girls with projects for school. Went to dinner and movie last night with Sarah. Ran in Half Marathon as part of the training Sunday morning. The top 20 runners (including me) took a wrong turn. The race ended up being 13.35 miles. Patriots are on at 4PM. Planning the rest of the day around this game.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 11

Runner's Log: Rest Day. Heavy mileage over the next couple days then I go into taper. The 5K Event is coming along. The website is up with a few minor tweaks that need to be adjusted, but Lou is on it. He has done a great job in the design and Bob has been the workhorse around this whole event. The website:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 10

Runner's Log: Swam this morning. Light workout. 2200 meters. Rode the stationary bike for 30 minutes and stretched. Lunchtime was spent on upper strength conditioning. Had to purchase lunch today. We have been eating all the food in the fridge to purge it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 9

Runner's Log: Needed extra sleep. Woke at 6AM, hung out with Ellie. Strength conditioning at lunch. Worked on The World's Hoppiest 5K Road Race. Lou got the link set up:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 8

Runner's log: Tuesday was a swim day. I headed over to John Creek for a 5AM swim. The outside pool was very cold. I noticed a hose in the water along with the level tipping over into the splash gutter. Decided to swim inside. First inside swim since May. Swam 1 hour, then stretched upstairs. This afternoon will be upper strength conditoning along with more stretching.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 7 and the start of Week 4

Runner's Log: Slept in this morning until 6AM. Sleep has been a good way for me to rejuvenate the muscles. Constant perpetual motion of getting up early and going until it is time for bed is wearing on the body. Strength training and stretching at lunch. Saw Michelle on the treadmill and talked to her for a few minutes. She is looking strong and confident. Saw Jay also. He ran the tempo run on the Alpha-GW. This is the time to maintain and not too go crazy with speed. Too many fellow runners have bowed out of Chicago to injuries. Narrow focus on my surroundings while I run is key to getting me over the hump the next 4 weeks.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 5 & 6

Runner' Log: The weekend. Saturday was a to be a 10 mile tempo run at marathon pace. I had decided to run the Atlanta Track Club Singleton 10 Mile Race. The road race was in Tucker. I got there about 6:45AM. Signed in and paid the normal fee of $10.00. Runners started to gather after 7AM for the 7:30AM start. The race was a 5 mile and a 10 mile race.

My goal for this 10 mile training run was to hit marathon race pace.

I did a mile warm-up 10 minutes before the race. Grabbed a drink of water hit the start line and we were off.

The race was very technical with a lot of rollers and turns. There was limited water out on the course so I had to make sure I drank as much as I could at each water stop.

I ended the race 2 minutes ahead of plan. I actually was not feeling the run during the race. Felt sluggish, GI issues and some leg pain.

At the finish I grabbed a bagel and some water. They had just finished up the awards for the 5 mile race. Decided to hang around for the awards. While I was waiting the race director asked that "Corral Petty" come to the awards table. After a few minutes, I decided to go up. I said to the race director that my name gets butchered a lot and asked her is she looking for me. I gave my name and she said, "oh. You are not a woman!" I said, no. She advised me I was the Women's Master Winner. I told her she would not mind, but I am not going to accept that award. She laughed. They changed the standings and put me back in the Male category.

In the end, I was the Male Age Group Winner for the 10 mile race. I accepted the award, a beer mug and headed home.

Runners Log-Sunday: Rest Day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 5

Runner's Log: Non-running day today. Trouble getting out of bed this morning. Very tired. Starting at 4:45AM I keep looking at the clock every couple of minutes as I faded in and out. By 5:18AM, it was futile that I was going to get anymore sleep. Got up and headed for the gym.

Swam a mere 2,400 meters. Only one in the pool from the start to the finish. This makes even a short workout in the water long. Stretched the foot out in the hot tub and headed to work.

Picking up a pair of running shorts this weekend that I will use for the next month and then on race day. Looking at a new pair of running shoes as well. Decided to go for last year's model of Nimbus again. The Nimbus 12's are not rated well. Have had my eye on the Brooks Ghost 3, but the price is a little steep.

Running the Singleton 10 mile event put on by the Atlanta Track Club in the morning. Race simulation and a good way to test my patience for maintaining the recommended pace on this training run.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 4

Runner's log. The last month going into an endurance race I find to be the most challenging. You are starting to peak which means you feel really good and you also feel really bad. Your energy levels fluctuate from highs and lows at any given time. Any endurance athlete can attest to these challenges during training.

Over the next couple weeks I will be logging my training.

Thursday morning: Was feeling very tired upon arriving home last night. Struggled to stay awake through dinner. I was in bed by 8:30PM and lights out by 9pm.

I woke at 5AM. Felt 100% better than 8 hours prior. Got ready to run track and headed over to the gym.

I was the only runner on the track at 6:10AM. The humidity has returned and the football stadium was solemnly quiet in the dark morning.

Workout was 3 X 1600M. Legs were still stiff from Monday and I knew the pace was going to be off. Felt that it is better to run off pace then not to run at all. I was 9-10 seconds off pace for each 1600M. Even with the legs tight and tired, aerobically I felt good.

Headed back to the gym to stretch. Will continue to focus on stretching as I have seen a few friends become injured over the last couple weeks. Lunchtime will consist on stretching and core.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Week 5

The start of this training week I pushed the envelop, just a tad. I had won an entry to the U.S. 10K Classic for September 6th. I had decided to run this race to make up for my poor showing on the course last year. Not to make excuses, but 3 days prior to the race, I gave blood. I had no idea that it would effect me a few days later like it did. So, this year I needed a little payback to myself.

The race was to start at 7:45AM for the runners/walkers. I arrived at the Cobb Galleria about 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to the race. At that point I felt good, so I decided to make this 10K race into my 15 mile training run.

I started a 3 mile pre-run 25 minutes prior to the start of the race. I ran out 13 minutes and back for a little less than 12. Arriving at the start line there was less than 1 minute to go before they began the race.

I jocked myself about a quarter the way in from the front. I did not want to be in the front because if I was the pace out would be fast.

I hung back a little in the pack, but noticed a huge group of similar white shirts taking up most of the road holding hands. By the size of the participants I knew they were walkers, so I quickly got in front of them right as the gun went off.

My goal was to push a 7:10 pace out and then grab a drink and turnaround and head back in the opposite direction. 12.4 miles was the goal.

The first mile was fast at 6:44. I slowed the pace and had to continue to think about the return journey. Runners of all shapes and sizes passed me while I was cruising along at a 7+ pace. I kept thinking in my head, "how can this dude that is overweight be passing me"? But, I had to remember that he might only be training for this race, or he is a short distance runner. I had to think about this a lot as women, men and kids passed by. Now, don't get me wrong, I passed more runners than passed me, but it does mess with the brain, especially when you know you could take them any day of the week. Stick to the plan.

The hills on this course are brutal. They go, up, up, up, then a sharp steep drop down then right back up. The inclines are not short. Each one is 1/4 to 3/4 of a mile long upwards. I held pace on most of the hills except for the monster on mile 4. It is long and steep. I dropped pace a little to conserve energy. A few runners passed, but I said to myself that they are not running back to the start so let them go!

At about 4.5 miles into the race, a female runner in her late 20's came up on my left. We had just started a decline and she floated down the hill as I felt heavy and awkward.

Right after the decline the road rose upwards again. This time it was I that floated up while she labored. Back and forth this went, she took the downs and I took the ups. On the very brief flats I was a little faster but only by a step. I decided to dial in behind her to mimic her pace for the last mile.

The uphill I moved ahead. The downhill she took the lead. Once we passed the KFC Chicken on the right, I noticed her pace increase. With the finish (for her) in sight I increased my pace and took the uphill fast. A downhill followed as she was right on the left side of me. With around 600 meters to go, the track instincts took over and I bolted ahead. Out of the corner of my eye I saw another runner gaining ground on me from the right. I was at a sub 6 pace at this time and had to hold back as I let him go. When I hit the line I said, 6.2 more to go.

I grabbed a few drinks, downed one Gatorade, got my shirt and hat and headed back towards the finish. I secured all my prizes from the 6.2 mile race and headed back out on the course on the opposite side to complete my 15 mile run.

About a 1/4 mile from the finish I heard a familiar voice, Ann Marie was barreling down the hill behind all things a stroller. She said, "Hey Corey" as I waved and chuckled, thinking this is going to be a good story about the kid in the stroller.

Making my way back to the start, I was amazed at the amount of runners I saw running the race. As far as the eye could see up and down the hills were bodies in motion heading towards their final destination. I ended up seeing the last runner/walker at the 2 Mile marker heading out (Mile 4.2 for me) at about 1 hour and 20 minutes. All I could think of was that this is going to be a long day. 1.25 hours to travel 2 miles puts their race north of 3.75 hours for a 10K.

It made my trip back not so painful as I made my way over the very steep hills that were my downhills just an hour earlier.

I was glad that I am able to adjust my patterns in a moments notice when I decided to make this a 15 mile run. It also gave me the ability to fatigue the legs and grind through the last 6 miles just like in a marathon. The race doesn't start until mile 20 on a marathon and I felt that on Monday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Taste of Fall

The air was cool and crisp. The runners gathered in the lobby to make the weekly trek to the Oval. Small talk was heard as the feet of the runners glided along the concrete to the destination.

The crisp air was accompanied by the ever longer night skies. Silhouettes moved in between the lights on the sidewalk around the back end of the track field. Darkness engulfed the track and the runners reaching the gates to the Oval.

We all gathered at the start to drop our bottles, remove shirts and take the scouting run around the track. The darkness was so dominate that I thought runners were following me around for the 400 meters to clear the track, but no one was there.

Arriving back from once I came, the area was abandon. No runners. They had started the workouts.

I set my watch and headed out on the first session of a 1K, 2K, 1K, 1K workout.

During the sets I passed runners and the shorter distance workout runners passed me. Nearing the end of the session, the sky turned from midnight blue to an amber horizon as the sun started its daily routine of buring off the night.

In the end, the runners headed back to go our seperate ways in the life of a runner.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Week 6

Another week of training has ended while another begins. Time continues to slip away from me in my writings. Work, family, friends, travel and training have all taken priority of my thoughts lately.

This is not a bad thing. The reason for the blog was to establish a place for me to put my thoughts down. Recently, my thoughts have not had to be placed in cyber space. I have been able to share them face-to-face with the people in my life and that by far is more important and interesting than this avenue.

Lately, I have been thinking about the way we communicate with other human beings. It seems "The Art" of conversation has changed over the last couple of years. First there was cell phones. I will skip the whole LAN telephone era since it was not a means for people to escape from face-to-face communications. But cell phones, email, communicators and even Facebook seem to have taken a form of society and placed in a microchip.

When our cell phones ring and we see it is someone we know, we can easily avoid them by not answering. This happens even on our house phones as well. I will call someone and get their voicemail. Then 1 minute later they are calling me back after they listen to the message. Now, I know they may have been busy but I see a pattern in a number of people. I find it rude that they do not want to talk with you until they listen to what you have to say first. For this reason I don't have call waiting and answer my cell phone when able.

As for emails and now Facebook. The further technology progresses it seems our social skills are digressing at the same or even faster rate. When we don't want to talk to someone, we text them. When we don't want to tell someone bad news or that we cannot meet them when we said we would we email them. This stream of communication has eliminated the confrontation of disappointment and repercussions or our actions. I am guilty of this as well, but I am making an effort to either call or tell some face-to-face either bad or dissappointing news.

Now we have Facebook. This vehicle of communication is leading us down a path of social destruction. We no longer have to talk to anyone! We can plaster anything and everything on a "Wall", "Having a cup of coffee", "Going to walk the dog", "I am now in a relationship". FB is also being used to be upset at someone, "Blank, stood me up for our date last night" or even to be mean at someone. (You get the point).

I understand Facebook is also used to celebrate accomplishments, birthday's, someone running 10 miles or biking 100 miles. I get it. But, why? Why do we need to know every little thing that goes on in every "Friends" life all the time? Where is the interest then? Where is the mystery in finding out about a person over a beer after work? The way we are heading, the social interaction of humanity is slowly being typed away on Facebook.

I imagine there are plenty of articles out there pushing Facebook and degrading Facebook. Personaly, I have decided to limit my exposure to Facebook. It maybe good for some and I will not talk down about their decisions to be apart of the Facebook society, but for me, it is not a vehicle I particularly would like to use anymore.

I see my daughters drifting towards this vehicle of communication and I do not want to see talking with another human face-to-face to be a lost art form.

With that, if you by chance receive a letter from me or even a birthday card in the mail, don't think that I have been castaway to some "internet void". I am making the time to put a personal touch on our relationship instead of telling 500,000 million Facebook users, "your status".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Week's Past

A week has flown by. I went on to write about the day so far and could not believe that the last entry was last Wednesday.

With work, training, kid's heading back to school, home projects there has been little to no time for a report.

To summarize the last 7 days:

  • Anniversary was last Friday. Sarah and I went to the Vortex in Five Points. It was a given. Friday the 13th, were else do you spend your anniversary. We pigged out on winds, fries, burgers and beers. It was an awesome time with my lovely wife. I felt no guilt eating this tye of food. Ran 18 mile that morning and lost 6 pounds on one run!
  • The weekend. Finishing up home projects and did grocery and the Wal-Mart run. Spent way too much cash on junk. Sarah and I took the girls on Sunday after the 42 mile LTF bike ride to Amicalola Falls. We hiked up all the way to the top. It was good to get out of the house.
  • Monday was a tempo run. 1 EZ, 4 @ 6:41's, 1 EZ.
  • Tuesday: Swam for an hour. I got a lot of crap from other swimmers. Near the end I was the only one in the lane. "Too Fast" they said. All I could think was, "Suck it up". I kept the trap shut and just swam. Ran 5+ miles with Hokan and Ann Marie after the hour swim. Ann Marie kept looking at her Garmin which told her the pace and she would say, "too fast!". After a couple of times I decided that every time Ann Marie looked at the Garmin and said, "too fast" I would increase the pace. I think I did that 6 times on that run. I was just messing with her, it was good to run with her and Hokan though there was a lot of huffing and puffing going on?
  • Wednesday: This brings me to today. Track again. 1 Mile, 2 Miles, 2 X 800M's. Jay, Ann Marie, Darin, Stacy, Amy, Shane & Rebbecca made it out this morning. We met Ken at the track. The mile and 2 mile were tough, but got through them. I trailed Ann Marie and Ken around for their last 1200 and one 400 on my 800 meters. I was glad they were over when they were. The humidity was intense!

Planning a trip for next week. I am running the 20 mile run on Saturday with Jay. I need to plot the course.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


A few days ago I wrote about friendship. My opinion has not changed as to what I wrote, it has just been more solidified. I am finding out that a few people in my life are moving deeper to the true friend status. People I know care for me as I do for them. I have also laid witness to people who have been malicious to others who call them their friends. Their words have been less than kind not only hurting another, but driving others, including myself away from them.

Life is too short to waste time on certain types of people. That is why I don't.

This morning was track. We had a good group of runners out there this morning. Amy (coming back from vacation and looking for some punishment), Ann Marie, Stacy, Bob, Darin, Phil and of course Mr. Speed, Ken. All I can say about Ken is, "when I grow up I want to run as fast as him".

The main group of these runners mesh well together. Every Wednesday we each have our own workout, but we respect the other runners on the track and rarely do we get into each others way. There is constant encouragement and of course friendly banter. When you get a bunch of hyped up middle age athletes on the track we need that extra, smack talking to motivate us.

It is all in fun.

With everyone doing "their thing" one thing I kept my sights on was Bob & my track workout. This morning brought, 2 X (6 X 400's) with an RI of 1:30. Bob's goal was 1:28 (which he never saw, fast, fast, fast...X 4) and I got to run 1:24's. Not to be a hypocrite in this case I was fast on 11 out of 12 400's.

Ann Marie has 8 X 400's and her and Phil settled in between Bob and I at each start. Ann Marie was easily hitting the mark and then some on her 400's. I kept taunting her that I was going to tell Ken (her tri-coach) that he needs to up her workouts. All I get is the "grin", meaning, "you keep your mouth shut". All in fun, all in fun.

During the workout the 400's felt controlled and even the whole time. Phil comment that we were fast. I chuckle at this because in running circles Bob and I hover in, we are by far not fast, but middle of the road. I said, thanks thinking in 5 years will someone say that too me?

At the end of the 400's with 1 to go, of course Bob and I had to light it up a little at the 200 meter mark, as Bob cruised in at 1:16 and I finished at 1:14. It may not sound fast to some, but for the 12th-400 for two 45 year old dudes, we'll take it.

On the way back Bob mentioned he wants to test himself to see it he can hit a 1:07 on a 400M. He did this 5 years ago and wants to attempt it again. Re-living his glory days. Before this training is over, we will go knock 1 and only 1, 400 meter out for time.

We all hit the upstairs stretching area, talked for a bit and went our separate ways. I have said this in the past, but Track with company even if you are not hitting your times is a whole heck of a lot nicer than running this workout in the middle of February in the sleet. Been there and will probably be there again.

Thanks runners for being there for me, even if you did not even know it. I enjoyed sprending time with you this morning.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Week 9

I have been lax in writing about my training for the reason that it has been hum-drum. Nothing exciting, nothing interesting. A number of athletes are training for various races coming up and at this point is seems everyone is in their own "zone" to get through the last couple of months before the season is over.

I do have to report though that I believe I am breaking out of the funk. The workouts are getting easier and I feel as if I am getting stronger. Last week, I eased off the tempo run and ran at a lighter pace and then picked up another 5 miler the next day at a very easy pace. This seem to keep my muscles groomed for track as I hit every 800 at pace or a little better.

The momentum carried me into Friday's 13 mile run. I met Bob and Wren at the Big Creek Greenway. Though Wren was on a different run, I think she felt safe running at dawn with Bob in front of her and me trailing behind a couple minutes later.

I had given Bob a 3 minute head start on the 13 mile run on Friday. Since the paces were different I was to catch him about mile 10. Bob took off at 6:15AM, Wren about 20 seconds later. I waited until 6:18:30 then proceeded in the dark down the Greenway.

I caught Wren about Mile 3, but by this time the sun was over the horizon and we both felt comfortable she would be alright for the rest of the run.

About a half a mile later I saw Bob! I was not supposed to see him until the turn and catch him about mile 10, but I had realized from faults of my own that I was way ahead of pace. I dialed back as we hit the mile 4 marker. I looked back and saw Wren about a quarter mile behind. She was turning at mile 4 to head back. I waved, she waved and I knew that she would be fine heading back on the trail.

I forged ahead trying to slow the pace down to 7:41's but my breathing was labored, the legs were tired and I did not want to come up on Bob this early.

I kept him in my sights but did not pass. When he hit the 6.5 mile marker and the turn I was 20 seconds behind. I knew at the turn I planned on negative splitting this run. I increased pace and as I came up on Bob I told him his pace was fine. I advised him that I was the one that was off. I said, "maintain your goal" as I went by him.

The increase in pace actually leveled out my breathing and the legs just turned over with no fatigue. I kept clicking the miles off, drinking, taking gels and focusing on my form the whole way back.

At the last mile I increased the speed even more to finish strong. Bob was a few minutes behind me with the same thoughts as he motored to the end to complete the same 13.1 miles as I. We hit the tenth of mile at the end just for the sake to knock out a Half Marathon for training.

The pace for Bob was 7:43's while my pace ended the half marathon distance at 7:20's.

Both were too fast, but for both of us we needed it.

This brings us to Week 9. Monday is the tempo run. I decided to run this at lunch. The girls started school today and I wanted to be there for them to help make breakfast, make their lunches and see them off.

Another school year is upon us and I know this is going to be a good year. We sailed into the first day with positive attitudes. This is a goal of mine to continue to remain positive and supportive of my children in their endeavors over this next school year.

After they set off on their first day I headed to work. About 10AM I received an email from Bob about the tempo run. Both the Wonder Twins were running their runs at 11:30AM and asked if I wanted to join.

That is a slam dunk in my book. To run a fast, grueling, hot, pounding run to nowhere and suffer with others? I was in.

I met them at 11:30AM, we climbed aboard the mills and started into the run. 2 miles, easy. Easy would not be a word to describe the start of the run. The legs were tight, maybe from the ride yesterday or just sitting at my desk for 4 hours before. Whatever the case, they hurt.

When I neared the end of the 2 mile warm up I was to crank the mill up to 9.1 miles per hour or 6:35's for 3 miles. After the first mile I noticed the time and miles did not add up right. I did some quick calculating in my head and up the speed to 9.2 miles/hour. Again, at the end of the second tempo mile, it was still a little off (by a tenth of a mile), so I increased the speed one more time to 9.3 miles/hour or 6:21 pace. This evened out my time and distance as I huff and puffed while mumbling my "special word" to get me through the last portion of the run.

A few runners that came in behind the three of us as we cruised along at fast speeds during the run to see how fast we were going. I could see them out of the corner of my eye while this pushed me to finish with their curiosity.

In the end we all hit our individual goals for the training session.

61 days, 18 hours and 39 minutes to go.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


It must be the heat. Over the last couple of weeks, I have not had one decent thought cross my mind to put into words. With work, projects, training and just stuff, I have been in a dead zone in creativity.

One thing recently has made me think. Relationships. We all in one way or another have some kind of bond or desire to be a part of something. When I speak of relationships, I don’t mean finding a soul mate or a spouse or even a significant other. When I think of relationships, family and friends come to mind.

The family relationship is quite simplistic. You cannot pick your blood relatives, so there is no reason to waste energy on thinking anything else. You deal with their ups and downs. You are part of that dichotomy and as the old saying goes, “you can pick your nose and you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family”. They are as much a part of you as you are a part of them. If you think otherwise, you’re kidding yourself.

Picking your friends though is one thing you can do. We all have different reasons for gravitating towards someone. Common interest, their energy they give off, how they make you feel, selfish motivation or even to make another jealous are just a few. These reasons are all over the place and there are hundreds more reasons, which only you know why you are friends with certain individuals who share this round ball we call Earth with.

The definition of “friend” is:


1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter: friends of the Boston Symphony.
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?
4. a member of the same nation, party, etc.
5. ( initial capital letter ) a member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.

Excluding Number 5 for most of us, I believe we can look at our circle and categorize each one of our friends into these definitions. I know throughout my life I have had people that fit into 1 through 4. There are people who that are in my life that have been in my life for quite some time fall into #1. There are people who have recently moved into this category and will stay there. There are people who have come and gone when I have supported a cause as they have and that relationship is based off the “act” than the affection for that such person. There are people who continually weave in and out of my life currently for years that are not my enemy and I wish them no harm, but my wife or another friend may have a relationship that fits into their #1 category but never mine. Moreover, the last one, we all should share a bound with is the people who share our ideologies, religious beliefs or political affiliation. That is why most politicians or preachers start their speeches with, “My Friends…”

Let’s talk about #1 & #2. I believe throughout our adolescents and adulthood these are the “friends” we come in contact most often. We have good times with them and we have bad times with them. We sometimes confuse the two definitions and try to pull one into the other. Which is a natural progression of life, to want friends, to want to be wanted and liked. Nevertheless, once one friend moves into another category we find out that they are not exactly the person who we knew.

The “friend” is not as friendly or in some cases too friendly or “needy” for our tastes. There are times when the friends that are in one category, #1, change or we realize after sometime that they are not the type of person we want in #1 or should never have been there. They belong more in #3. You find out that they are not a true friend. A friend who likes you, sticks up for you, doesn’t hurt you, is there for you and is not there for you when you need them most. Friends who don’t judge you, or continually break their word to you. They are not “hostile” towards you and you like them as a friend, but a true friend? It is hard to move them because in their mind you are their category 1 friend. There are even friends who are in category 3 who try to wedge themselves in between you and your category 1 friends. It may be because they want everyone to be happy or they do not. Category 1 friends have strong bounds and even “the Wedge” cannot split the connection you have or are developing.

A true friend does not “want” your friendship and does not take for granted your friendship. A true friend wants nothing from you, except for you to be you. That is why you are their friend.

As I age and become wiser with this age, I know a true friend when I see it. I do not believe you measure the amount of friends by your status number of friends on Facebook. I do not see the reason to have “tons of friends” in your #1 category. You don’t have tons of dogs or cats either, do you? Well..? If you think about it a person with tons of anything, cats for instance, what do you call them? Are having that many friends like having a hoard of cats any different? It seems like we gather “tons” of stuff in our lives if they are friends, pets, clothes, shoes, whatever, to what? Make us happy? If that is true then why do we only have one spouse? Why not tons of spouses? In this theory it would make us all happier, right?

I may be off and I am not trying to offend anyone, especially my friends. However, for me, having a few select individuals that I can continuously count on through the good times and more importantly the bad times is all I need. What is this number? There is not one, but when I cannot be there for my friend who needs me because I am stretched thin, then I have too many.

I enjoy the company of all people who fit into Webster definition of “friend”. This is how as a human we thrive and makes us better people. A better person breeds better people. When there are, better people in this World we live in then one of them may just become a friend who fits into category #1 in your life.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Going out for # 2. Run that is…

Friday started for me on Wednesday morning. While I struggled on an 800 meter sprint around the track, my body and soul decided to bring me to a screeching haul. The workout was 2 X 1200’s and then 4 X 800’s. The 1200’s were on the mark, but on the first 800, the week had caught up with me and I pooped out. I had nothing in me. So, I stopped. I grabbed my bottle and shirt and advised Amy who was drinking between her intervals that I was done and I was heading back.

There are days you have it and there are days you don’t. Wednesday was a don’t day. The run on Saturday of 18, though it was completed took a lot out of me. I ran a tempo tread mill run with Ann Marie on Monday which was hard, but not a problem. Then Monday arriving at work until 6:15AM on Wednesday morning while I stood out on the track with no mojo in me, it was a whirlwind trip.

Work stress, home project stress, hard swim on Tuesday and though it was not stress, my parents came in for a visit. Just adding everything together put me in a funk.

It happens, the funk that is. You cannot control everything in your life, but manage it the best you can. My parents visit was nice. They are excited about their next journey in purchasing a new home. It was good to see the excitement on them about the area, the home and what they are going to do once they buy. Work, is work. You have good days and not so good days. This week, not so good, but next week is another week. The home project that I thought would take a week will not be finished in time for when the girls get home from Boston. Two weeks of stripping tiles, Wonder Board, paint and applying all new tiles, Wonder Board and paint. The tile design I wanted to match the Mud Room was discontinued. This meant searching for almost a week for new tile. Painting bathroom vanities sounds like a good and cheap job, but man, is it time consuming. Layer after layer of paint to insure curing is correct. Next time, I buy a new vanity. Tiling a small floor seems easy. I have tiled 5 rooms in our home so far, but this one is tough. A small space to work in which means only a few rows of tiles can be laid down and cured before you can start again. The room is uneven, so the calculations of the tile cutting has to be precise or the lines will slant. The tub is angled from back to front adding more calculations.
It will get done, but not as fast as I wanted.

Work, the home project and actually taking care of a full house even when no one is home is a full-time job as well. I drive home at lunch to let the dog out, eat lunch, drive back to work. At the end of the day, I am back home working on the project, cleaning, cooking and managing the house. With my family gone I can appreciate how much it takes to run a home. Not as I don’t do my fair share, but things run smoother with 4 than with 1.

Wednesday at 8:15AM, I made a conscious effort to start to prepare for Friday. Friday is the long run of 20 miles. I needed to wrap my head around this run so I would not have a dud of a run like the one I had out on the track.

The rest of Wednesday was dedicated to eating and drinking. I usually do right on these two accounts, but I focused more on it for Friday. Wednesday night, I was in bed by 9PM. I wanted to ride the Reality Ride on Wednesday night, but work prohibited for it. Right now, I can say, I am glad I was stuck at work.

Thursday brought on an easy 3 mile run and a half and hour of stretching. More fluids, I ate lightly every 2-3 hours and by the time dinner came, I was not starving. I ate dinner after working on the project for 2.5 hours and then headed up to bed. 8PM.

On a 20 mile run, you need to treat it as race day. You prepare for it 36-48 hours before with fluids and nutrition and set out all your gear the night before.

Friday at 3:50AM. I am standing in the kitchen eating a PBJ sandwich, sipping Gatorade and plotting what I need to do on this run. 4:15AM, out the door. I headed over to the McFarland Parking lot of the Big Creek Greenway to drop a gallon of Gatorade before heading to LTF. This gallon was at mile 11. With the humidity and heat even this early in the morning, the Gatorade at this point was needed.

I met Bob, Jay, Todd and Evan in the parking lot at 4:50AM. The goal was to run the 15 mile loop I had designed. Bob, Jay and Evan were running at 8:23’s and Todd and I at 8:11’s. The 3 8:23’s left 3 minutes before Todd and I with the perceived notion that we would meet up with them at the end. Then Bob and I would refuel after the 15 and finish up the 5 through the streets of Alpharetta.

Time is a constraint today, so the rest I will give the Cliff Notes to you:

Todd and I for some reason caught the Bob, Jay and Evan 2 miles into the run. Too fast. We eased off and let them stay ahead of us. The run was good. Todd and I kept a nice pace throughout the hills and flats. Bob was having my track day so he peeled off early. Jay and Evan motored on with Todd and I 20 clicks behind.

We hit the refueling station, filled up and needed to take off to keep the time. Ronald Regan was easy out and on the way back up hill was an ease again. This is where Todd and I moved ahead of Jay & Evan to hold our pace.

All the way back was trying to hit the marks in time. The mind plays games and for a couple miles I thought we were off pace even when the pace was faster? Figured out that the course on the way back was shorter. We hit the lot at 2:00:19 for a little less than 15 miles.

I refueled and took off at 2:00:48, 12 seconds ahead of plan. I cruised down Morris, no dogs in sight, onto North Point, then onto Windward. I heard a “cat call” and honking from a car merging onto 400 North. Ann Marie was giving me a little motivation, which helped. Thanks.
I cruised up Windward, left on HWY 9. Little tougher on that corner to hold pace, but I eased off and regrouped knowing that Henderson and Westside were places to make up time. I hit Henderson, took a gel and drank while I sped down the first portion. The rollers were no issues as my only thought at this point was to finish! Cumming street, then Westside straight down. When I hit Westside, the pain was there, the sweat was pouring, the heart was pounding and the breathing was erratic. Little more than 1 mile. I took off and made the turn onto Webb Bridge over 400 then onto Morris.

I had plotted that I needed to hit the fire hydrant on Morris right before the hill for 20. When I hit the hydrant the watch read 2:40:33 for the full 20 miles. I pushed a negative pace on the last 5 miles.

I was done. I cooled down by jogging up Morris to the entrance of LTF. I met Jay and Todd, talked to them for a minute and then saw Bob. I gave Bob some encouragement well knowing he is in a funk on the long runs like I am on the track. Bob can do this training and the long runs, he just needs to prepare.

Heading in I saw Evan. That run was the longest run he had ever done. Coming in on Todd and my heals, the boy is going to be a dangerous runner.

Number 2 is in the books. This ends another week of training and the last day my family will be away. Friday has turned out to be a good day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


With the family being out of town in Boston for 2 weeks I thought the weeks would drag on.

The first couple of days I lived like a hermit in a cave. Did my own thing, hardly went out except to train and repeated the same process. As the first week was ending, the days continually got busier. I had decided after 10 years of hating the White Tile in the main floor bathroom to rip it out and replace it. The process has been time consuming with tearing out the old tile, removing the Wonder Board, replacing the Wonder Board and prepping it for a layer of tile. I went to Home Depot to find out that they discontinued the style of tile I wanted to lay down. The tile was to be consistent with the tile in the Mud Room. Plans changed. Now, I had to search for a tile similar to the discontinued tile.

I made the decision as well to paint the bathroom vanity instead of replacing the sink. The sole purpose for this endeavor was to save money. The sink, though a cream color works fine, so why get rid of it? But the process of painting a vanity is again time consuming. Sanding, priming and painting layer after layer of paint after a sanding to even out the paint is hard. The project has begun and now there is no turning back.

In addition to tiling and painting the vanity, the walls are being painted. Who knew a 7 X 6 foot bathroom would take 5 hours to trim and paint? I guess, not me.

In between this renovation I have worked every day, trained every day and maintained the house in working order. Yes, a single human in a home does make a mess. Cooking, washing dishes, washing clothes, feeding animals, doing yard work and getting ready for the next day east up a lot of time.

The training has not suffered through all of the household items being completed, except for strength training. I usually hit the weights at lunch but I have had to head home to let the dog out after being couped up for 6-7 hours. No biggie, I will resume weight next week.

I have hit all my runs even the 18 mile heat fest on Saturday. To summarize since I don't have a lot of time, it was hot, it was hard and I got heat stroke. Magic potion of an Ice Cold Coke and a dip in the cold Chattahoochee gave me the ability to drive home. Well, to Home Depot in Sandy Springs. I found some tile there and picked up 3 boxes. After the hot 18 mile run, each of those boxes felt as if they weighed a ton.

The family will be home on Saturday.

This does not give me a lot of time to complete the bathroom. Painting, tiling, switching out facets and hardware and clean-up. I am going to attempt to get it done by Friday night come heck or high water.

Busy is an understatement, but since it has been started, it must be completed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Busy Wednesday, No Hermit Day

My head hit the pillow at 11:20PM last night. 1 hour 20 minutes later than normal for me.
The day I had was lined with activities, meeting and food. Wednesday was one of the days, though I am groggy and a little out of step was all-in-all a good day.

It all started with the typical schedule for a Wednesday, track. Bob was in Florida, Jay is in Utah on this day, but the rest of the running clan were waiting in the lobby to jog down to the track. It has been known that during this training session the track is my least favorite workout. I despise it actually. I have no desire or motivation for it. I continue to motivate myself for the tempo runs and long runs but if it were not for the following runners out there, I would bag it: Rebecca, Stacey, Ann Marie, Amy, Shane, Ken, Darin, Ken B, Jay and Bob. Wren and Ed decided to show up for a speed session as well. It was good to see Wren and “check out” her running form. Strong as always.

The track was a little congested with all of these runners, which is not a complaint at all. The environment that was set on the Oval was good for me. Fast runners, motivated runners and me.

My workout was 3 X 1600 meters at 6:12’s. The first 1600 was timed at 6:10. The second at 6:12 and the third…6:12. I could say it was easy, but from above you get the jest.

After each 1600 the R.I. was 1 minute. During that one minute the air was thick, stale and heavy. No coolness, no wind, nothing, just humidity and dampness. I took 2 minutes just to catch my breath.

After I was done, Rebecca finished her set which mirrored mine. We watched as the rest of the group ran and ran and ran. When they hit the line everyone had the same look of pain and anguish on their faces. Rebecca and I chuckled and comment on why do we do this to our bodies…Do I need to answer? One runner that is very impressive on the track is Amy. Amy continues to show consistency in her pace, her form and being as efficient as possible. Modeling after her anyone would become a better runner.

Rebecca and I also discussed her training, though it is going well for Chicago, she is treating the long runs in a negative way. She wants them over with. To accomplish this Rebecca is increaing her pace to finish quicker. We discussed that this process is counterproductive. We can run the 20 miles, but it pacing yourself over the last 6.2 of a marathon where it counts. More runners fail within that last 10K of the race I think than anywhere else on a course.

I will follow up with her on Friday to make sure she remembers, pace.

After the track, we all headed our separate ways by car or by foot back to LTF. I hope Wren and Ed decide to hit the track with us more. It is good for the psyche to run with other runners who are faster and even slower than yourself. 6 days, 19.5 hours until I have to torture myself again.

The day was busy. With the family out of town, I have the responsibility of caring for the dog. This means daily treks home at around lunch to let her out and then head back. I eat lunch while she is doing her stuff in the yard and then I head back to the office.

In the late afternoon, I had a conference call that was to last 1.5 hours from 1:00PM to 2:30PM. I thought this was aggressive after reviewing the schedule and items up for discussion. Needless to say at 4:34PM, I had to cut the meeting off and suggest we pick up the rest at another time. 3.5 hours was enough for any human to endure a conference call. However, I have to say I would rather do that then run around a Oval leading nowhere 4 times!

The next portion of my day was the Reality Ride. This is where I had some real tangible motivation. Not only was I riding with a group of “super fast” riders, but after the ride Reality was sponsoring an Italian Dinner for everyone hosted by Pinarello, an Italian bike manufacturer that Reality has teamed up with. The first thing that motivated me getting back to the “super fast riders” was the group I rode with. I left Reality at 5:30PM on the wheels of Ann Marie, Amy, Ken, Randy, Susan and Yenke’. Thought out the ride I kept hearing, “this is a recovery ride” as the group continued to pull ahead of me until they were out of sight. Now, it is not that I could not crank up the speed and jack my heart rate up to hang with them. I wanted this to be an EZ ride. The temperature was 96 degrees. I ran track this morning and have an 18 mile run on Saturday and a 63 mile bike on Sunday. The last thing I was looking for was a crank fest.
I let them go and soon enough caught up with them. This group of riders (especially the women) set that blinding pace. During the back end of the ride heading down a long slight grade I hit something in the road going almost 30 miles and hour and blew out my tire. I was thankful that the group waited for me as I would have waited for anyone of them any day and on any ride.
We completed another sweat pouring ride and headed to Reality’s bike shop for some food. A lot of riders and their families showed up for the dinner. The food awesome. The beer was ice cold and the conversation was continuous. I hung out with a number of friends and riders I have rode with on the B rides. We talked and laughed until I realized the time had slipped away as Todd, the owner, returned after a beer run. 9:10PM. Late for me. I started to say my good-byes to a number of people ending with Ann Marie. We chatted for a few minutes. Got our schedule together set for Friday’s swim and I took off for home.

I have been training a lot with Ann Marie lately in the swim, bike and ride. She continues to amaze me and the rest of us with her dedication and speed. Strong biker (I can’t keep up with her. Yes, I know I need a more aggressive cassette!) and a super fast runner. I feed off her energy to keep me motivated and also it allows me to keep my eye on her so I know exactly how fast she is becoming! I do the same with my Sarah on her rides. Sarah continues to progress forward on the bike sticking to her “plan”. I am learning on Sarah’s plan from Ken that a workout on the bike does not mean a ”crank fest”. Under the controlled plan, you build speed and strength without going all out all the time. I applied this on the ride last night as well. The heat was a factor, but I was not spent.

I left Reality and call Sarah from the road up in Boston. She had called the house and got no answer assuming that I was already asleep. She knows me too well. Therefore, it was a surprise when I told her that I was on my way home at 9:40PM from Reality. I told her about the ride, the dinner, who I talked to and I also told her I wish she was there with me.

Turning into the driveway, we said out goodnights as I headed into the house to prep for the next day. I had burned off the dinner from the ride so I grabbed a snack, made my lunch, coffee, fed the dog and then headed up to do my stuff for Thursday.

The head hit the pillow after coming down from the day as I set the alarm for 6AM. Rest day after a good day was the order of business for tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Hermit

“Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.”
Albert Einstein

Einstein does have a point and he also solidified that I am not mature yet. Thanks Albert.

My wife and two daughters left for Boston on Saturday evening. Since then they have traveled to New Hampshire, dropped Grace and her cousin, Jen off at a weeklong camp. Then Sarah, Ellie and 5 other relatives cruised across the “Live Free or Die” state to “Story Land”. They have been swimming, hitting the amusement park, eating and just having fun.

Me on the other hand, life has not changed. I get up, workout, go to work, come home, make dinner, get ready for the next day, repeat. Actually, there has been a slight change in my schedule. I am traveling home at lunch to let the dog out and with no one being in the house to deter me from my regiment, I am done and ready for bed by 8PM.

I have always enjoyed the comforts of solitude on occasion. With no one in the house I am able to get some “projects” done. Painting trim, working on bathrooms, fixing odds and ends. These things do get accomplished with my family in the house, it just takes longer. After a day of work you usually want to hang with the family and have dinner and talk about the day.

Alone, this time is decreased 5 fold with no conversation and dinner has become a vehicle for just refueling your body.

I had some social interaction this morning in the pool. When I reach the home front for the next 11 hours the only one, I see and talk to has been the dog and she is not too receptive.

Coach Mike has had us knocking out 100’s this morning.

150M EZ
200M Side Kick
10 X 25 Power Kicks underwater
4 X 50M reducing stroke every 50
3 X 100M’s on the 1:50
3 X’s 4 X 100M’s
3 on the 1:50’s
1 on the 2:10
200M for time
10 X 25 Up and Out’s
100M EZ

I think I am missing a set in this workout, but it is close.

I swam with Melissa and Jerry this morning. Both of these strong swimmers keep my honest in the lane. When I lose concentration I am getting a slap on the feet from Jerry. Having Jerry in the lane has helped him as well. He stated he has not hit these times on the 100’s or even the 200 ever. He is getting faster.

Next week, Michelle is taking over the swim workouts while Mike is on vacation. I told Mike that I would be transferring to Johns Creek for the week. He got the roundabout compliment and made it known to me that he got it. Just keep the workouts interesting Mike by mixing up short interval and long stuff and we will all be happy.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Negative Guys and Man Deemed a Runner

The title is misleading and not “negative” at all. It is a statement. It is what happened to Bob & I and what we were after our first 20-mile training run.

We met Calvin and Evan at 5:00AM in front of LTF. We headed out down Morris and up Westside Parkway. Conversation was light. We talked about races and rivals. We discussed other training partners and their training regiments. And we found out by the slip of the tongue Evan’s nickname in college, Joe Pesci. This is because in college Evan who is 5 foot 6??? was over 185 pounds. There was some more stuff he said, but as soon as he told the 3 old dudes he was running with that are relentless, it was over. He is forever deem, “Little Joey P” in our book.

The mile clicked by. At mile 5 we saw a familiar runner heading towards us. Amy was on her 12 mile run and was using the 10 mile (opposite) as part of the 12. She cruised by as we hooted and said hello as we all made our way back into the dark of the morning. We stayed on pace for the almost 9 miles then at the end we kicked it up North Point from Old Milton to give a little cushion to refuel at the LTF parking lot.

I made a snafu by saying that if the second 10 were like the first, this was going to be an easy run. This was after we easily made it up North Point.

Little Joey P had peeled off after 10. Calvin was in for 15 miles and standing waiting our arrival was or next running stud, Hokan. He saw Bob and I come in shirtless and immediately ripped his shirt off and ditched it. His wife, Andrea had said that “real runners” run shirtless. Well, My friend, “you are a real runner”.

The next 10 miles was the exact opposite of the first 10 mile loop. I designed it this way for the mental aspect of running 20 miles. The endurance part on the body is not the issue, it is who the mind screws with you and tells you things that are not true. The mind wants you to stop. It hurts, but you need to be strong and focused to be able to overcome this and push through, as you will see.

The 4 runners, yes Hokan, runners, headed down North Point towards Old Milton. The conversation was lively with a fresh runner in the mix. Hokan told us a story of a frog, his wife and two wasp. Let’s just say it was humorous (the frog part, not the wasp) and would help me about mile 17. The pace was right on, not fast, not slow and not sporadic. We rounded onto Old Milton headed towards Alpharetta center. Bob was on my right shoulder (nice Bob) as Calvin and Hokan took up the rear. The conversation died at this point because ahead we could see the long gradual hill of Old Milton that lay before us. I believe we all saw what lie ahead and as any runner (Hokan you are included) would do we assessed the hills to find where we could attack to hold pace and where the natural forces of gravity would pull us forward with less effort. We became silent.

Hitting mile 12 at the front corner of the abandon mall on the right of Old Milton the long climb to Wills Road 2.1 miles in front of us began.

I shortened my stride and increased cadence as I leaned into the hill with Bob on my right shoulder. The climb was more mental than physical pulling up towards a crest that was nowhere in sight. At the corner of Westside Parkway, Calvin, said his goodbyes as he hooked right onto the blocked off road back to LTF to complete his 15 miles.

The three runners continued on, upward hitting mile 13, the funeral parlor (ironic) the sound of heavy breathing was heard almost drowning out the daily car commuters. Fatigue was setting in. Bob grabbed a Gatorade bottle stashed in the brush at Haynes Bridge as Hokan and I slowed the pace to allow him to drink and regain the pace we had established.

Nearing mile 14, Bob announced that he was done…Done? What? I told him to hang on and get through another mile that would level out and head downhill. I increased the pace to push Bob a bit and to also give him some cushion since we were on the decline near Wills Road.

Wills Road was a gradual incline again, but Bob hung 10 steps behind the whole way rounding onto Milton. Milton started downhill to give a little reprieve but then sharply turned to an incline towards the intersection of Milton and Canton. Bob said needed to run into “The Corner Deli” to grab a Coke to help him make it. Hokan and I decreased pace as Bob was in and out in 15 seconds??? Fast! He drank as he made some ground to get back to us. I looked at my watch as we hit mile 16 and we were 20 seconds off pace! I said to Hokan we will give Bob a few more steps to catch up. Bob, never did. He seemed to fade just slightly. I knew he was struggling, but I also knew that he would had felt bad if we slowed further for him losing our pace.

With Bob knowing the course, the sun being up…The sun was up?! I had not even noticed…Bob would want us to continue. I told Hokan to pick it up as he did at a hard, fast pace as we turned onto Vaughn heading right for HWY 9. Vaughn was my demise as well. Until that point the legs were strong, the mind was sound, but within 3 minutes heading up Vaughn it all went down the toilet.

I focused on Hokan’s shoes and his repetitive stride. He crested Vaughn almost turning left on HWY 9 when like a true, good guy he asked what he could do for me. Talk? Shut up? Increase pace? What? I told him whatever in a less than cordial voice. The demons had set in at that point. We hit mile 17 and all I wanted to do was to stop. My mind said, “let him go, this is a bunch of junk!” But, as Hokan hit mile 17 and made his way up, yes up again, HWY 9 I figured I only have less than 3 miles. 3 freaking mile left! After cresting this one hill I knew it was downhill and flats for over a mile. I knew I could recoup and get my mojo back. Then the mind said, “no way! You are mine!” I pushed through as we turned right onto Windward Parkway passing another runner looking more confused than me. I knew that I had until the turn to get my facilities back for the last 2 miles to make up…23 seconds! Crap!

I dug deep pushing the pain and the thoughts my mind was telling me to do aside and just cranked it up. Hokan still was ahead of me by a step as we hit Westside Parkway with a little up then a huge, long downhill. I leaned into the decline and turned it up. Sensing a surge from behind, Hokan kicked it as well. At the end of mile 18 we hit a 7:40 pace. That made up the deficit and then some. I attempted to calculate how much time left and rounded to 9. 9 minutes for the last mile of 20. I eased up, gathered myself and prepared for the .85 mile hill to the finish. Running Morris, I took the inside corner to make ground on Hokan and to stay even with him. We rounded the corner of Morris and went straight up. The first part was a hill then plateau’d for brief second as it winded up to our final destination.

With less than a quarter mile to go, my track experience kicked in and I was off. I passed Hokan and tore up the hill and rounded the 25 meters to the end.

A few minutes after Hokan and I finished Bob came in looking strong. HE stopped and collapsed on the sidewalk. He told us of his adventures of getting water at the BP and stopping at Holiday Inn Express for some mango/orange juice before meeting up with us.

Now, I don’t know how long he was in these two establishments, but to come in a few minutes behind, if he had carried a bottle with him, we would have been trailing Bob.

The run ended for Bob and I, though at different times at a negative split. The first half was slower (by design) that the second half. A true runner wants this and rarely can accomplish it.
Ending this 20 mile run, I mentioned about a frog, Hokan’s wife and two wasps. The story is funny and painful, but at certain points on the edge of the abyss from mile 17 to 19.7, the story, though funny in some areas clouded my mind over the doubts.

I am grateful for Hokan's companionship on the last 10 miles. I wish him strength and enjoyment as he and his family venture to Lake Placid, New York as he participates in my favorite Ironman Race.

I am finding that readjusting my goals for Chicago so far it is turning out to be a good decision. As for the number of injuries that are plaguing me? No change. Pain Management…

And Bob, good job.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Realizing Defeat and Moving On

After posting yesterday my father sent me this qoute:

"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats."
In order for me to triumph I must get past my defeat....
Thanks Dad.
I have decided to backdown on the Chicago Marathon in my training. I hate to use this, but "one man's misfortune is another man's gain."
With one of the Wonder Twins being out for the past week with an illness, I have picked up a running partner for the interm. I am planning runs with Bob. I will be running the 20 miler with him based off the 3:15:00 plan. If that is too aggressive for both, we will scale back to the 3:20:00. If this is the case and Todd decideds to run Chicago, I may be able to run with him to get him across the Finish Line in 3:20:00.
It is not fun being injured, but I have accepted that I am so that is how I will be until I can rid my body of this plague.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Internal Crossroads

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.”
Frank A. Clark

After a good bike ride on Saturday with Sarah I started to really think about the Chicago Marathon. I continue to struggle with my desire to be my best and achieve goals that I set out for myself. I push my body and mind to places I never thought were possible to be faster and stronger. I stick to my plans (most of the time) and as Sarah points out, I am regimented in my life. I wake up at a certain time (mostly without the alarm), I at certain times eat, I drink when I am supposed to drink, I workout at the same times, I get to work at the same time, I get home on time, get ready for the next day and start it all over again with very little deviation. Note: this is Monday through Friday.

When deviations to my schedule do happen, I adapt make changes and move on, even though I may not like it. I have a goal and must achieve that which makes me who I am as a human. Human…that is what I am. Not immortal, not a machine and not a super hero. Just a human, with doubts, feelings, guilt and failure.

I have this quote above on my board in my office. I placed it above my phone on June 21, 20102 so every day I reminded that life is a journey and no journey is easy.

Over the weekend, I will tell you that I was not in the best of moods. No external factor put me in a cauldron of despair of a bad attitude. It has been the last 21 days of internalizing my failures and doubts. My failures of being able to achieve a realistic goal I set out for myself. I have failed myself in the ability to train for the Chicago Marathon and achieve the training schedule that I have set for myself over the last 16 weeks.

I have internalized my failure of myself and have doubts that I will be able to complete my own objective of a PR time at Chicago.

The continued presence of my own injuries has left me beaten. Icing, stretching, weights, rest, ibuprofen, repeat twice a day sometimes three times a day are wearing on me. Nevertheless, I am stubborn and do not like defeat. So I continue on.

Running had become fluid for me over the last couple of years. I need no music to push me up a hill, no GPS system to tell what my pace is or how far I have gone and no heart rate monitor to warn me that I am out of my Zone. I eagerly plot a course and run with hitting my times and distance with only the help of a $30 Timex watch. It felt good.

Lately this fluidness is a struggle. Warm ups are like fingers on a chalk board, the serenity of the sound of my shoes clicking along are overwhelmed with negative thoughts of doubts if I am even going to finish the run.

Burned out? No! I have taken time off, I still do. I am only on the roads 3 times a week and have my off time. There are glimpses of the feeling that are smoldering in my core and I have ignited bursts of “the feeling” and in an instant I am Zen running again, but then the reminders of injury creep back to me.

Well, “you should stop, take some time off”, I have been told. I don’t reply or comment, because it comes from my friends that are forged from the same mold as I. They are stubborn, determined, strong willed individuals that if I told them the same thing they would react in the same manner.

This is my burden that I carry and will continue to internalize. I confide in Sarah, because she is the one person in my life that truly understands what I go through. I am not weak. I don’t complain. I don’t say poor me. I push through it. I refuse to believe I am defeated. I have not reached my potential yet, even at my age of what I can do. Sarah understands this because she’ forged from the same cast and I appreciate her understanding while I deal with these demons.

The quote above places me at a crossroads. Do I back down the pace for Chicago that leads me where? Alternatively, do I keep pushing through my internal obstacles towards my goals?

I know the answer, I just cannot accept it.