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.