Friday, June 25, 2010

"Elementary My Dear Watson"

“Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they”
Leonardo da Vinci

Now I know you are thinking, “What? It is 100 degrees in Georgia and you put a quote up on dressing for the cold!”

Read it again…

da Vinci is talking about how to take your time and think things through and you can do no wrong. Thinking before you leap into the cold will save you from the power of the elements that can harm you.

Cold or heat, they are both equally powerful against you if do not prepare to take them on.

Wednesday evening my daughter arrived home from camp. She had spent 9 hours in the blazing Georgia sun that tipped 100 degrees. She was hot, tired and beating by the elements, but in the same context, she had a ton of fun.

She wanted to cool down so, this being a shower night she headed upstairs to rinse the day off and cool herself. About 5 minutes later from heading upstairs, she called down to me, “Dad!” “Dad”, she said. “I must be really hot because the more time I spend up here the hotter I am getting”.

I thought, “the more time upstairs she is getting hotter?” “Oh-oh…” First thing I though as I approached the stairs heading up was the air conditioner had stopped. Before I reached the middle section of the stairs, the air temperature changed 5 degrees and when I crested to the landing, it was almost 10 degrees hotter.

I made a bee-line to the thermostat and it read, 87. The a/c was set at 78. I pulled the thermostat off, changed the batteries and put it back on, no change. Nothing, no power, no sound of the furnace circulating air, no cool noise coming from the vents and no change in the temperature.


The next thing I did was to check the circuit breakers. The basement breakers were not “tripped” and the outside air conditioning breakers were fine as well. The a/c unit “looked” in decent shape, but on the outside looking in with no tools or equipment, of course it would.

At 8:30PM and with the sun hitting the horizon there was little I could do tonight. I headed in and opened all the windows upstairs, turned the fans on high. I turned the a/c on the main floor down a few degrees and reversed the fans to pull the air down in order to pull some of the coolness from the night from outside inside.

By 9:30AM, the air temperature upstairs was 83 degrees. I told the girls, think about it as camping, but only in your own bed tonight. There were a few groans, but in my head I thought, “no big deal”. Besides, I grew up without a/c in my home and I survived, they will survive as well.

As I lay in bed ready for sleep, I thought that we as a society have become weak. We complain when it is cold, we complain when it is hot, we complain it is cloudy and we complain when it is sunny. We go from our a/c houses, to our a/c cars, to our a/c offices, shopping malls, restaurants and back. When one of these cycles are broken, it is like our whole world is falling apart.

As I drifted to sleep the old fashion way, fan and an open window, I said to myself, “I will take care of it in the morning”.

The morning came and you know what? I slept great! Maybe it was the night air, maybe it was the heat, maybe it was both? I was mostly undisturbed the whole 7 hours, which rarely happens.

Thursday, I had already first thing I advised my group via email that I was working from home. Second, I headed off to LTF to swim. Half way to LTF it dawned on me that I forgot my swim suit! There goes swim. No time to go home and get back. I decided to turn around and grab my suit and then swim at the Johns Creek LTF, no biggie.

The outside pool was very warm. I was going to swim inside but the lap pool was a cloudy, milky green color. The same look as the Alpharetta pool had in the winter. Then I realized the Aquatics Director, Dave had moved over to Johns Creek. I guess he brought his “experience” in turning, crystal, clear blue water, murky.

The pool temperature outside was at least 80. I did not complain or think, poor me. I sucked it up and did the workout. It was tough with my heart rate jacked through the roof, but there are worst things in life than a warm lap pool. Besides the pool is outside in 100-degree weather for the last 5 days, it is going to be warm.

After a leg strength-conditioning workout and stretching I headed home to call a service tech to come fix the a/c.

My neighbor had given me the name of his service company and I was about to call them, but I stopped. Do I really want to be raked over the coals for a repair? Heck no!

Let’s use deductive reasoning. Another trait of human society that has almost become extinct. We want instant gratification and if we need to try hard to do something, we put it in our minds to fail.

I am going to tackle this a/c issue on my own. I started at the source, the thermostat. I pulled it off and connected the wires together to see if the unit would turn on. If it did, the thermostat was bad and I would replace it. When I tried to get a spark from the wires and hear the furnace blowers kick on, there was silence. No power.

Okay, no power means that the furnace or the a/c unit will kick on. Circuit breakers? I went to the basement. None of the breakers were kicked off. I had a power meter and there was power in all the breakers. So this is not the issue of lack of energy. I headed for the attic. I opened the furnace cover and found the black and white power wires leading to the circuit panel that regulates the power to the blowers and ignition. I hooked the power meter up, no power? Power was coming from the breaker but not going into the circuit panel???

I found the shut off switch to the furnace. All gas furnaces have a shut off switch just in gas the ignition light goes out. Stops all power just in case gas is present. There was power to the switch? So, power to the switch but no power to the furnace? What about the power after the switch to the furnace? I hooked the power meter up, no power! With power in but no power out of the switch, the switch must be bad.

I took the switch off and headed to Home Depot. I picked up an industrial heavy-duty switch and installed it. As soon as I put the cover back on the furnace there was a humming sound from the blowers kicking on. A minute later the cool air started to flow.

1 hour of deductive reasoning and a $4.98 switch from Home Depot, saved me over $500 for a service call and probably unnecessary parts. "Cha-ching!"

Needless to say, with a little patience I was able to protect my bank account from any unwanted wrongs. Thanks Leonardo.

Friday is a semi off day. I get to run 15 miles tomorrow as part of my training plan. I had not run since Wednesday so today was a light, short run. I was fortunate have the opportunity to run with Michelle this morning. Michelle “got” to run a short 3.6 miles at an 8:15 pace. Perfect. It was a nice run with a nice youngster. While most 24 years old were probably on their way to bed at the time she was getting up, she is very dedicated in her training regiment for Ironman Florida, in November.

Thanks for the short run, great conversation and companionship. I enjoy the company on the run when our running schedules allow it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Test Thyself

“He who would leap far must first take a long run”
Danish Proverb

In all our lives, we are tested and when the test is not given to us, we go to out to test ourselves.

My life is no different from anyone else who inhabits this World. I breath, I eat, I laugh, cry, sleep and (you fill in the blank).

The slight difference I have noticed over the years is that when a challenge is not offered, I go out and seek one out. My thing is physical challenges. Ironman, marathons, Century rides, 10k’s, Half Marathon’s, 5K’s anything to get the heart pumping, push myself and see what I can do. Lately though, my challenging nature is subdued next to the circle of friends I encompass.

If it is from, qualifying for Ironman Kona, running a sub 3 marathon, biking 150 miles, achieving a Age Group podium win in a major triathlon, cracking a sub 18 minute 5k and even qualifying for the Half Iron Distance Nationals. These people I am proud to say, “that is my friend” or “that is my wife”. For every undertaking I attempt, I am outdone by one’s friend.

This only does one thing to me; it tests me and my abilities even further.

The test of one’s character or abilities is the greatest gift of oneself who is forged from the same mold as the people who surround me.

Tuesday night, after a long, challenging swim developed by Coach Mike which Chris and I pushed ourselves with:

150M Warm Up
150M Kick
100M Catch-up
100M Fist
100M Swim
5 X 200M on the 4’s
8 X 25M with RI of :10
100M Swim
8 X 25M with RI of :10
3 X 600M on the 11’s

then a full day of work and strength training Sarah, Grace, Ellie and I headed down to Emory University to watch one of our friends test his physical ability in a 200 meter track event.

The Atlanta Track Club was hosting an “open meet” for anyone who wanted to participate. Our friend, from no idea from me, decided to run the 200 meter event. He has run track many times but he has never “ran track” before. In his mid-40’s this was a first.

I was able to procure a set of track spikes from a Master’s track national ranked runner and gave them to him to us during the heat. I thought Asics Nimbus 11’s, though good for long runs would not cut it on the track.

Last night was a hot and humid night while 100’s of “used to be” track & field athletes gathered to rekindle the past glory days of the oval.

We witnessed the men’s 800 meters with a finishing time of 0:01:58, women’s 400 meters at times of :0:58:09 and the main event of the 200 meters which our friend was going to run.

During his time on the track, he befriended a number of sprinters to get tips and suggestions on how to tear it up on 200 meters of track. Sprinters helped him with his stance, his take off, navigating the curve, hitting the last stretch and most of all form and technique.

While I listened to all of this, my head started to spin. I was having a hard time keeping it all in and I was not even running. Our friend soaked it all in and practiced everything he had learned.

The nerves started to show as the time approached. He was sprinting and jumping all over the track as the other 200 meter competitors just stood around and did a few stretches.

The 200 meter men’s event was popular. They ran 5 heats with almost 8 in each. His heat was third as the first two winners of their heats ripped off a 28.9 and a 26.7 for the “Over 50” sprinters!

In the 3rd heat we heard his name being called to line up in Lane 7. The next thing we know the gun goes off and we see him hugging the first curve of the track in good position. A few seconds later he is crowning the oval and then heading for the end of the turn. He was in excellent position out of the curve as he pushed hard with the other 7 sprinters down the straight away to the finish. The group broke up on the final 60 meters as we cheered and screamed as he cruised by while the winner came in at 23.9 and Lane 7 finished in 25.9.

Not a place finish but for the first time against a heat of college track and field athletes, it was a great time.

Our friend had tested his abilities at an event that he had no experience in and came out a winner.

Testing oneself can push you further than your mind thought it was possible. And who, knows during that journey you may inspire another to challenge themselves.

Wednesday was earmarked for the tempo run that was scheduled. Getting out of bed and recapping last night I was ready to go to knock this workout out. I was scheduled to run: 2 miles EZ, 2 miles at Short Tempo and 2 miles EZ. The test for me on the run was not the endurance but what my injuries could sustain as I increased the pace by 1 1/2 minutes per mile. Ankles, Achilles and shoulder shouted back but in time they subsided and I cruised the run in.

I took the test and I would say I “Aced it”. What is your next test of thyself?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blast Off!

Well, actually the lift off started on Saturday. I had an opportunity to run with the Totally Running Group on Saturday morning. The scheduled run on the docket was 13 miles.

This group was running 11 at 7AM. I decided to head over the big Creek Greenway as Sarah headed to Lake Lanier to ride with Stacey, Josephina, Raquel and Susan. They wanted to get familiar with the bike course in preparation for next Sunday’s Iron Girl race.

I made my way over to the Greenway early to get in 2 miles prior to the 11-mile start.
The parking lot had only 6 cars at 6:30AM. The sun was breaking through the trees and each minute that went by you could feel the temperature increasing.

I headed down the trail, which is marked every tenth of a mile. The first 2 tenths both Achilles’ were tight. I kept the pace at a crawl knowing that it would take a few minutes to loosen up.

Almost instantly from the get go the sweat started to pour and I could feel the legs warming up. I maintained an 8:20 pace for the first mile and on the way back picked it up a few a 8 minute pace.

Arriving back at the parking lot the amount of cars had doubled with a few more pulling in every couple of minutes.

I noticed a small group of runners gathering about 20 feet from the entrance to the trail. I went over to the Jeep to retrieve my water bottle and made my way to the group.
The group was a mix of women and men totaling 9 runners. Collin was the organizer of the run and told everyone that this weeks run was 11 miles. I asked the pace and he said we will see how many run and then decide.

Ironically, the women broke off into one pack as I heard a few state that Collin is going to be running fast, as the men of 4 moved off towards Collin.

We headed out about 7:04AM at a quick but manageable pace. As we hit the first mile mark the pace increased fast and one of the runners started to fade as we made our way down the path. About mile 3.5 I asked what pace we were trying to hold, that is when Collin looked at his watch and stated we are averaging 7:05’s currently.

I rolled my eyes as I heard the voices of all my cohorts in crime say, “Too fast Corey!” as I had done many times in the past to them.

The legs felt okay, not great, the breathing was fine, I did not feel overworked so I settled in behind Collin’s left shoulder and held pace while I mimicked his stride. By mile 4 another runner had dropped off and it was Collin, Brandon and myself as we hit the hill (not really a hill as it is an incline) up to the intersection of HWY 9.

This is where Collin stated we would be dialing it back to a sub 8 pace for the remainder. Sub 8? Good that will even my average out to the pace I needed to accomplish today.

The rest of the run out and heading back was me just focusing on my form, gait and breathing. We talked about races and Boston. Both runners thought I was in my mid 30’s on the posting time for Boston in April. I had to correct them that I was 10 years older than them as they both jerked their necks to get another look at grampa keeping stride with them.

As we neared the 1 mile marker and the end of the run I looked at my stopwatch and had over 9 minutes left on my total goal time. I told Collin that I was easing off and taking the last mile as a warm down even though we were all soaked to the bone with sweat from the amount of humidity.

When arrived at the end of the trail I hit the watch and was 53 seconds faster than the goal time. In a sense, I was even faster because the run ended up being 13.3 miles. The average pace for the 13.3 miles was…Uh, I think I better not say so I don’t get yelled at.
At the end, we chatted for a few more and I made a tentative commitment to run the length of the trail 13+ miles next Saturday.

The rest of the weekend was great. I mowed the lawn on Saturday, made Buffalo Wraps for dinner and we watched Sherlock Holmes. Sarah and Ellie went to Alpine Bakery and picked up a plate full of Italian pastries. We ended up gorging ourselves on awesome pastries that night.

Sunday was a relaxing day. I started the construction on a PiƱata` Dragon from scratch. A lot of paper ripping and Paper Mache` mixing. I finally finished the last of the application of Paper Mache` 7 hours later, but not all the time was spent on the Dragon.
Ellie and I went to the pool to swim while Sarah went grocery shopping and Grace hung out with a friend. Sarah met up at the pool around 4:30PM as we hung out for another hour.

Father’s Day dinner was a Rib-Eye as big as your face, potatoes, salad and a bottle of wine. Now that is a good end to a great weekend.

This morning was the start of speed again. It has been 68 days from the last speed workout I had accomplished. I knew this was not going to be pretty but had to do my best.

All I am going to say about the speed workout is that I made the distance I had to run. The pace? I need some work on that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Fun is good
Dr. Seuss

With 4 days, left in the countdown there will be a readjustment to my training for Chicago. Fun. Go out and run and enjoy running. Fun. Think of each run as not that I have to do it, but think about it as I “get” to do it.

We do the things we do outside the normal structure of our lives to survive because we like to do it. No one is telling us to train for an event. If we do not train we will not be out on the streets homeless. If we do not push ourselves to our greatest potentials because we “have” to, we do it because we “want” to.

Fun. We all say, “when it is not fun anymore, I will stop”. But do you say, "man, that ride in 95 degree heat was fun?" Maybe you should…

The last couple of days I have been trying to get my running mojo back. It is still dormant at this stage. But, you know what? Who cares? I will manage the pain as I always have since I picked up endurance sports. Pain is part of it and if I cannot handle the pain, then it is time to be miserable.

Miserable to me is being sedimentary. Eating, going to work, eating, going home, eating, watching T.V., going to bed, start the same day over the next day. Now that is real pain.

I saw a colleague in the hall yesterday. He was on crutches. Of course, I had to ask, “What the heck happened?” A little background on him first. He played running back in college, was a Nationally ranked Track & Field Sprinter, is currently on the Atlanta Track & Field Team and places top 5 in the country in the 100 meters and 200 meters events. He is fast.

His reply to me was, “Softball”. He was rounding first heading to second and twisted his ankle in a hole! The interesting thing is he has chronic ankle problems and arthritis. Now, if he did not have these issues and was not wearing his brace that day he would of snapped his ankle in two. Sounds like someone else I know that had a “Softball” mishap…

We started talking about all of our injuries: bum ankle, Achilles’ issues, Sciatica, pulled hamstring. When we were done, I asked him, “Are you going to give Track and Field up now?” His quick response back (which I knew what it was going to be) was, “Never”. “The day I stop is the day they carry me off the field in a body bag”. “If it was not for what I do, life would not be as fun”, He quoted to me.

We were bred from the same mold. As are most: my wife, friends and family were forged from.

His lost due to the injury is my gain. He gave me two Peachtree Numbers for the 10K on the 4th. Not seeded well (he is a sprinter not a runner), but I invited Todd to run with me, so we are going out and run it and have...

Fun. Fun was riding last night on the Reality Ride last night while the temperatures hit 95+ degrees. I rode with Sarah and Lou, along with 30+ other riders here and there. It was hot, humid, buggy, huge lightening strikes in the background and it poured on us the last quarter mile of the ride. I had equipped Sarah's road bike with aero bars and a new seat post. As usual she left me in the dust as every week she gets stronger and stronger. Would I have rather stayed home and watched re-runs than to spend time with the oppressive weather with Sarah and Lou?

Do I need to answer that?

This morning at 4:30AM was a run date. I woke at 4AM after getting home at 8PM with Sarah. We ate a late dinner, I made my bag of food for breakfast, lunch and snacks for today, showered, got my work clothes ironed and packed the gym bag before climbing into bed at 10PM.

I met Ann Marie at LTF for a, so-called, recovery run. 45 minutes at 8:30 pace. I was tired, sore from the ride and stiff in the ankles. The run started out slow with us both shuffling along from the ride last night (AM rode at 5PM with Amy and Ken). After the first couple minutes the pace smoothed out or should I say, “picked up”.

During the run we talked about stuff in our lives, training, people, AM’s vacation, etc…which made the time go by a lot quicker. Running alone does have its upsides and downsides, but this morning at 4:30AM getting to run with a friend who you respect as an athlete and a person, was fun.

As I write, the emails are flying between Bob, Lou, Jeff and me. We are planning a 5K Race in October based on our two passions: Running and Beer. Yes, October. The same month as Chicago, but not on the same day. Why you asked? “Why when you are training for a marathon, have jobs, family and other responsibilities?” Why? Well, because we can…More to come on the race.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


“The road to success is always under construction”
Lily Tomlin

As I continue down the path to the final countdown before another Marathon season, the quote above has a lot of meaning to me.

I do not know nay individuals within my circle that accomplish what they set out to do without first designing and building their infrastructure to achieve success.

Working long hours to build a career, putting time and energy into a relationship to make it a solid foundation or even setting goals and honing the body through countless hours of training to achieve a personal goal.

We are always under construction and when we are not, we break down and fail. To take for granted the very fabric of our being will almost always lead to our destruction.
I have seen the circle of friends in my life achieve sports greatness over the last year. From my wife, Sarah, Ann Marie, Bob, Jay and my sister, Tracey, focus and build their endurance to capture the ultimate goal of qualifying for Boston. Then to see Sarah 5 months later guarantee herself a spot in the Half Iron Distance National Championships. I have witnessed a husband and wife team in Sami and Carmen reach the podium on almost every triathlon race they participated in this year.

The list is endless of personal achievements among great people in the circles I travel in.
In order for me to wallow in the mist of these great people I must too always think that I am under construction. Building, strengthening, developing and pursuing the best that I can be not only in my athlete abilities but also as a human being on this Earth.

We all can construct ourselves for greatness in a specific sport, but the true great ones do it in life.

Monday evening I played email tag with Ann Marie. She was looking to establish a time to run in the morning before swim. Facebook was acting up and not sending messages and by the time, I got her responses I was sound asleep. Next time we “talk” on the phone then we both would not have ran solo this morning.

4:40AM Ann Marie was knocking out her run while I was still asleep. By 5AM I was up and heading out the door. A 5-mile run was on the bill for this morning. I hit the gym, got ready and made a bee line for the door. The humidity was high. I was sweating driving over to the gym (yes, no A/C). I wanted to get out and back before the sun added more heat and stickiness to the day.

The run was again a struggle. The first couple steps were as if I had ski boots tightened up. The ankles were stiff, the Achilles’ screamed a little for being disturbed and the legs felt wobbly from a strength conditioning workout yesterday.

I have to start somewhere, I thought, and what better place then right here and now.
The first mile was awkward. I was swaying all over the road to warm up the muscles and tendons. By the time I hit WW I was feeling better. I set myself in “cruise” mode and set the sights on HWY 9 around 2 miles up the road.

The traffic was light this morning, as I was not beamed in the eyes by early morning commuters on their way to brave 400.

Turning left on HWY 9 and heading to Henderson PKWY I felt good. I held back thinking at Henderson I would open it up a little and push myself. Henderson came; I turned left and increased the pace. The rollers felt good as I was able to increase and decrease cadence as I made my way down to Cumming St. Still pushing the envelope I turned onto Cumming kicked it bit more and cruised onto Westside PKWY. Westside was easy since it is downhill. I focused on form, gait and pace while I made it to Academy. Turned left on Academy and pushing just a bit more until I hit the traffic light at Morris. From Morris back to LTF I slowed and again focused on form.

The pace was unknown, the time was unknown. The only thing that was known was it was humid and it was a 5 mile run.

When you build or construct there is always a plan, but sometimes you need to use your instincts and just go with what is right. This morning it was just about the run and nothing else. I will always be under construction.

Monday, June 14, 2010


7 days before the start of Chicago Training. I wish I could say that I am ready. But in honesty I am far from it.

This week will be spent on focusing on the run. EZ runs, a short tempo run, drills, more EZ runs and then end the week with a 11 miler. A lot of stretching and another killer massage during the week to get me prepared for the the start of FURMAN again.

The weekend was great. Now, we did not do a lot of "stuff", or go out of town, but just hung around the homestead.

Saturday started with a 41 mile ride with the group. Sarah, Stacey, Melissa, Raquel, Lou, Troy, Jay, Jeff and I had a good ride. Sarah was to hit 2 hours on her training program. We broke off into two groups while Jay (of course) lead out the first group. I stayed back and hung with the second group. Since I am not training for a triathlon this year riding for me has changed. I am enjoying the pure pleasure of just riding. Hitting it hard when I want and easing off when I want.

The ride ended around 9:30AM and Sarah and I headed home, but first we stopped at Starbucks for a celebratory cup of Joe.

The rest of the day was of course, chores. Lawn cutting, home cleaning and just straighting up the house. After 2 weeks of being out of town and having guest the house needed a good cleaning.

Later in the day I spent some time changing up Sarah's bike. Profile Aero bars and a new Profile Carbon Seat post to pull her closer to the bars. We adjusted the settings on the trainer and she was good to go.

Saturday night we broke up into two groups again. Ellie wanted to see Shrek so I decided to take her. Sarah and Grace did not want to see Shrek so they went to see "Letters to Julia".

We both headed in different directions down Rt 141. Ellie and I headed north to The Avenue, while Sarah and Grace went south to Regal Cinemas at Medlock.

We both got home about the same time, but Ellie and I took a detour. We headed over to VS to buy Sarah a set of new summer PJ's which she was in need of. Ellie and I picked out a nice matching pair and Ellie gave the PJ's to Sarah when we got home.

Sunday was a lazy day for some and a workout for others. I took the lazy day, while Sarah ran 5 miles in the morning and biked 1.5 hours on the trainer in the evening. Sarah had some good TV to watch during the trainer ride. The Ironman 70.3 Championships were on so she had a good viewing to take her mind off of the ride to nowhere.

During the middle of the day, Sarah, Ellie and I headed to the pool to do something that very rarely happens in our household, relax. Grace decided to stay back at home, while the three of us packed a lunch and snacks and headed to the pool. Ellie and I swam and played while Sarah read. We ended up staying at the pool for about three hours. Nice to just hang without having an agenda.

Dinner was Mexican and for dessert we had Lime and Pineapple Sherbet which ended the weekend on a high note.

Monday morning came hard. Sleep for me was erratic. I drifted in and out for 7 hours with not getting more than an hour at a time. This has become the norm lately and it continues to wear on the body and mind. I am thinking that once training starts and I am in a regular routine, the sleep with become more consistent.

I ran 3.2 miles this morning at a EZ pace. No stop watch, did not see when I left or when I finished. No music either. I just ran. I am trying to find my Zen of running I once had. Being able to run fluid and not be concerned with my surroundings. Needless to say, I am not there.

It was tough and hot. I know I have not been consistent in running over the last 2 months and with time and patients it will return.

But, in seven days, reality is going to happen and I need to prepare myself for the hurt.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 10 -"The Test"

With starting the Chicago Training in just 10 days I needed to test the body. I have started a mini plan to get some mileage in (not speed, not yet) to see how the Achilles' can handle the increase in running.

So far this week I have logged 20.5 miles of running. The Achilles' though not back to their normal state are not in the tremendous pain they were in over the last month. I have not "hit" running hard, but have been easing into it with a few pick up here and there just to see...

This morning I had 8 miles pegged. I wanted to run a mixture of uphills, downhills, rollers and flats. I picked the LTF to Webb Bridge Park route. This would show me where I am as a runner and to see if the FURMAN program is going to work for me this go around.

After the run, I am still not sure what direction to head in.

The run took me out behind the gym which was downhill. I like warming up on downhills so not to increase the heart rate through the roof in the first 10 minutes. I crossed North Point and headed down the hill on Webb Bridge. By the time I passed the school the road was blocked & closed for construction. I decided to venture in and see if I could navigate the road if it was tore up. By the time I hit the construction sight it was very manageable to get around as I headed up Webb Bridge.

The next 2 miles are uphill. Not steep, but not easy. I focused on form and stride to insure I was striking evenly on both sides as I ascended up Webb towards the park.

I noticed as I progressed forward that my breathing and heart rate felt labored. The legs started to bark hitting the hill in front of me. I adjusted my strided and shortened the steps to save energy, but the breathing continued as the valves were opened and the sweat poured off of me.

Arriving at the park I took my running shirt off (which I threw away after the run, the smell was not human) as I entered the park. I thought I would cool down a little and my breathing would regulate. After about 5 minutes and 3 miles into the run, the engine started to run smooth.

I ran the first loop of the park with little effort and rounded the second time in the same fashion. I stopped at the fountain to get a drink of water before heading back out of the park towards the gym.

On my way out I heard the Twins talking as the rounded a bend off a trail. Bob stopped and turned direction to run with me, but I politely told Bob that I did not them running with me as I picked it up and headed into the darkness.

I wanted to run alone for a reason. This was a long run for me and I advised them yesterday that I needed to iron out the issues. I have always enjoyed the company of other runners but this was an exception.

I exited the park and picked the pace up a little on the flats. The rest of the run in the opposite direction was fast and effortless as I descended down Webb Bridge.

Hitting the bottom before the biggest hill of the run, I took a deep breath, focused on my form and slowly eased my way up to the end of the run. The uphills are the killer on the Achilles' but as this point with only 1 mile to go the pain was minimal.

The whole 8.2 miles felt labored. I was breathing hard, sweating, legs felt sluggish and I felt like a jerk for rejecting my friends. I just happened to glance at my watch (When I left it was 5:13AM and I returned at 6:15AM) to see what time it was. Doing a quick calculation, I thought the pace was wrong. I felt as if I was at a snail's pace of 9's but it ended being 7:40's on average.

Too fast and I know that I have not only lost endurance fitness but I have lost the feeling of pacing.

Back to plotting and timing...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

12 Days

“You can't tell how deep a puddle is until you step into it”

I took the plunge this morning. I am determined to test my boundaries of running after sitting on the side lines. With Achilles’ issues the three things, they (meaning the experts) say: Reduce Mileage, No Hills and No Speed. I have done all three for over 50 days.

Today was the day I get back into the saddle and forge ahead. I had run 4 miles on Saturday, 3 miles on Monday, swam and focused on strength conditioning yesterday, it was time to step up the mileage, just a hair, of course outside. I have done all my “small”, pedestrian pace runs on the dreadmill at a 0% grade so far.

To coin a phrase, “I am done”. I needed to get out on the open road, feel the heaviness of the humidity on me, car headlights piercing my retina’s and negotiating the curb to asphalt to feel free of cheesy gym music and CBS This Morning overhead.

I arrived at the gym 20 past the hour of 5 in the morning. The first sight I saw was Michelle with a serious face knocking out nowhere miles on the treadmill above. I tried to get her attention but the concentration was so focused that there was no attempt to break it.

Upon leaving the dungeon of the gym for the freedom of the open sky, I had decided to, “just run this one”. No watch, no set course, nobody to run with and no music. I wanted to feel the run and work on form and execution of my stride.

My preconceived goal was to run around 5 miles. I headed for the side of the LTF and around the back end of the building. The first 4/10ths of a mile are downhill. A good warm up to loosen the rigimortus that has settled in both Achilles.

The first mile was hard. It felt like I was running in ski boots as my ankle turnover did not kick in. When I hit an intersection I had to decide, Left? Right? Straight? I made the choice to turn right. With this decision I could easily loop around back to the gym if the legs were not feeling it.
The right took me up a long, low grade hill. My pace after the rigimortus broke apart increased as I controlled my breathing, focused on pace and stride up the hill. I felt good nearing the top and decided to hang a left on the road named after a town.

The grade of the hill double instantly as I leaned into the hill (a little flat footed to take pressure of the Achilles’) and glided up to my next decision. Right or Straight? Straight takes me into the bowels of Alpharetta where I could run a long downhill, but I decided to wade further into the run and took the first right.

The windy, curvy road was filled with rollers. It gave me an opportunity to test the legs some more and see how my endurance was after 50 days of basically doing nothing.

The road was forgiving to me, but after cresting the top and the end of the road, the Achilles on the left leg was just a little tender. I could feel the heat being generated from the heal up about 3 inches. I adjusted my gait again to strike further back towards the heal to relieve the uncomfortable feeling. I know now, most of it was my mind worrying but better to play on the side of caution early in the game.

At the crest the only decision to make since I wanted to be around 5 miles was right. I headed down the street towards the empty local watering hole where a few weeks ago I attended a friends graduation. Passing the establishment the ominous dark of the windows made his accomplishment seem from another life.

At a cross roads, the 4-way stop, again the choice was made, right. The road flattens out for 2 miles as I made the conscious decision to “open er’ up” to see what she’s got. I increased speed and cadence as I cruised down the road towards the highway. The increase in speed was laboring to me, but I focused more on form and the goal of reaching the next intersection where I needed to turn.

The 2 miles of increased pace felt, okay. Not great, not good, not bad, just okay. As I hit the intersection and turned right, another drill was ready to take action. As I ran the next mile I ran on the solid double yellow line. Since I was tired and form is effected, I ran the line to maintain my gait and stride in a forward motion. I focused on foot strike and not “leaning” left or right increasing pressure to either side of my body.

I ended the longest run in 50 days at the entrance of the gym. All-in-all, it was not a bad run.
Entering the lobby, I looked up and saw Michelle forging ahead to “Nowheresville” as this time her concentration was not as focused and she saw me? I gave her a body gesture, as to say, “Why aren’t you outside?” as I made my through the lobby. I am glad I went outside.

I am also glad that I decided to jump in for a little longer run, with hills and asphalt to take the step to recovery and to be back on track.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

13 Days

Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
Marcus Aurelius

Over the last 50 days this type of thought process eluded me. When and injury plagues you constantly doubts creep in to mind and overtake your sense of logic.

The feeling of not being able to perform at the level you just were at haunts you. I can understand how age can affect you because that is a given that all of us have to come to grips with. The older you get, the more changes you need to make in order to sustain what you enjoy to do.

With an injury it is just, unfair. You do everything by the book to prevent such a catastrophe from happening, but it still happens.

I will be honest, I have my doubts on where I am heading. I have adjusted my training to give myself two additional weeks of recovery. I am stretching, icing, wearing “the boot” at night, massages and while I type away, I am rolling a golf ball along the bottom of my foot to loosen up the tightness.

Though the cloud of doubt is over me, I am starting to see a ray of sunshine attempting to slice the cover. The Achilles’, though stiff are not in chronic 24-7 mind numbing pain this week, like they have been a constant 45 days.

With a continual diligence on my part and another massage next week, I may just be a ready to take this training session on.

Swim this morning:
150 Warm up
100 side kick
100 single arm
100 fist
50 Smooth
5 X 100M on the 2:05 (too EZ, but the group I swam with was on this mark)
4 X 100M on the 2's. (same too EZ)
100M at a sub 1:45.

My lunchtime routine has adapted into more flex and polymeric strength training. I am focusing on strength exercises that deal with standing up and core, just like when you run. Sitting or laying down are not part of running so all leg and upper body routines will be done on the feet. I am banking that this will continually increase my core and stability for the long haul during training. In addition, I need to find the time to fit in at least 3 of these sessions a week on top of riding with Sarah.

I will be stronger for it or die trying…

Monday, June 7, 2010


2 weeks, 14 days, 336 hours until the start of Marathon training, again.

I had every intension of knocking out another PR at the Chicago Marathon in October, but with the slow recovery from the Achilles' injury I have had to readjust my training and goals.

On a positive note, my readjustment to the training will give me the opportunity to help Sarah out with her Half Ironman National Championship training that starts today. With going back to the FURMAN program I will be able to bike along with her on the weekends when she does her long rides.

We had decided that I would not be her coach for this training and she has hired Ken Brown to be her coach. We both think this was a smart move so now all I need to do is support her, which is something I do not mind at all.

Trading one goal and helping my wife with her goal is a good thing for both of us.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Run? I Will Get to It.

“Neglect will sooner kill an injury than revenge”

We are back into the groove after coming back from NYC. It was Grace’s 13th birthday on Saturday, May 29th and we jetted off to NYC to hit the town.

After 5 days hitting the sites, eating the town and visiting friends it is good to be back.
The Achilles’ on both legs are still plaguing me. I have neglected the run for the last 30 days.

The pain was intense 24-7 for 3 weeks. Very little sleep and a lot of pain at home and at work. But, after being on my feet for the last 5 days in NYC the Achilles’ are about 30% better…

Visited the foot doctor yesterday afternoon. Pebbles stated he cannot find anything wrong with the feet except for the injury, which is just a “slow healer”. I was fitted with a boot to ease the pain from sleeping. I wore it for the last time during the night for only 5 hours then I could not stand it anymore. Tonight will be longer.

I have 2 more weeks to get back to normal before training starts.

A few more weeks of neglect should put me back on the straight and narrow.

I miss the run…