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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wet Nasty Billboards

I’m still riding the trainer every morning and getting into the groove. I have ridden the trainer more minutes this month than I think all last year!

I have also continued to increase my running mileage during this holiday. The day after the 15 miles I met Charles and Jim on the trace to mark out the Steam Whistle 12k (about 7.45 miles) route. I did an easy warm-up from my house to Jackson Station (1.4 miles) and met Charles. A few minutes later Jim arrived. It was a beautiful day with the temperature in the 50’s. We marked the start / finish lines and headed west. Charles and I had reconfigured our GPS watches to read kilometers. Charles seems to start a little fast and Jim and I jumped in line behind him.

We ran past Lake Thoreau Drive and then past even Clyde Depot. The turnaround for the route would be just past the ‘Christmas Tree’ about a quarter of a mile west of the depot. Charles stopped and got a drink of water and said to not wait up for him. Jim and I ran and pushed each other with several surges between marking the course – I still had to stop every kilometer.

Once we past Lake Thoreau again we were at the home stretch. I was thinking how this would feel on race day. It is a pretty good ways to the finish – about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles). This will be a HARD home stretch. Jim and I finished up. We crossed paths with Charles as he was running back into Jackson Station. I had invited Jim and Charles over for a beer after the run. Charles said he was going to drive because he did not think he would want to run the 1.4 miles back to his car after the beer. Charles would beat Jim and me to my house.

We had a beer and talked about more running plans. I had already filled out the First Light Half Marathon race registration and gave it to Jim. I told him to decide if we wanted to drive down the day of the race (Jan 10 – we will have to leave town at about 4:00AM to do the race). We all also committed to running the Billboards the following day. I ended up with just over 10 miles for the day.

On Wednesday I did the bike trainer again. I had some breakfast and headed to Jim’s house to run the Billboards. Charles had called me and said that he would meet us at the Billboards in case the weather turned nasty. And nasty it did turn. As I drove to Jim’s house the rain had started to pick up. It went from a drizzle to steady state. We were committed.

I got to Jim’s house and changed clothes. I had brought a wind breaker type cycling jacket and I put on a short sleeved shirt on underneath. I had planned ahead and had a change of shoes. I knew it was going to be wet and I was running in the same shoes from the Powerlines.

It was 1.6 miles from Jim’s house to the Billboards. We met Charles right when we turned off of the road. The temperature had dropped and it was wet and muddy. We hit the hills. I had never run the Billboards.

The Billboards are a red clay packed earthen road that parallels a major highway. It is rolling hills. It was also muddy but nothing like the Powerlines from the week before. We did 4 lengths of the Billboards - a length being one way so 2 laps – to use swimming terms. It was a good challenging work out. I only got 7.8 miles for this day. But, that was 7.8 miles that I would not have normally gotten.

We all commented that the weather was so nasty that NONE of us would have ran if we had not made the commitment. That is called being accountable. This accountability will allow each of us to achieve our goals at the Mardi Gras Marathon!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Running Long

After the breakthrough tempo run I took the next day off of running. I did ride the bike trainer. I have been doing well on the bike trainer – having ridden for 45 minutes 5 out of the past 6 days.

So after I rode the trainer I ate some breakfast and got a little stir crazy. I had planned on going to the track in the early evening and doing some intervals. I actually hate to train in the evening. That is the time that excuses creep into my mind. I thought that if I waited until later then there might be a chance that it would not happen. I had also been neglecting the long run.

So, even though the temperature was in the 30’s I hit the trail so to speak. That race in Baton Rouge was at 32 degrees and although I was cold at the start and finish – in retrospect the conditions were just about perfect. I knew that I would not be running at that intensity so I put just a little bit more clothing on. Actually, I wore just about the same outfit. I ran in triathlon shorts, a base layer and a thick performance light weight pull over. And of course gloves.

I headed out with the latest running / fitness / triathlon podcasts loaded up. I also had two gels stuffed in pockets. This would be an easy run and I was going to keep my heart rate in the 140’s. I also ran along the trace in the soft pine straw. This was not a hard or fast run but I was determined to get a little distance. I took a gel at Epley Station (about 6.25 miles into the run – 50 minutes) and then I jumped off of the trace and ran along the undulating horse trail. It was a nice change of pace. I had thoughts of running further and further out but I have a better understanding of my limitations. A year ago I got into some trouble when I just felt invincible. I had turned an 8 – 10 mile run into something like 16 miles – on and off the trace – and I paid the price. It was too much too soon and my body responded. My Achilles started to really hurt. I called for an EVAC (first and only time – I was embarrassed) and limped to Clyde Station. I had to get a ride home. I was lucky because I never run with a cell phone.

I would play it smart this time (no cell phone – anyway). At 7.5 miles I turned around and headed home. Back at Epley Station I took another gel and continued. My pace stayed consistent throughout the run and I was not hurting. It did get a little harder as I wrapped up but nothing that would cause me to slow down or walk or anything. Towards the end of the run I was listening to an interview with an ultra marathoner / ultra marathoner coach. They were asking him how you train for a 50 mile race. Do you just run progressively longer – like a 40 mile training run? He said no – You will not be able to recover very well with that kind of mileage but that you work up to running 20 miles back-to-back (like on a Saturday and then again on a Sunday). He said “You learn to run on tired legs.”

I finished up with 15 miles at 8:34 pace. I need to be almost exactly 1 minute per mile faster and for the full marathon to Boston Qualify. This is going to be tough

I am meeting Charles to map out the Stream Whistle 12k - link to pdf registration (New Year’s Day) route today – so with running from my house I should get over 10 miles – I guess that will be running on tired legs!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mental BREAKTHROUGH - tempo run

I took Christmas day off from the run and just rode the trainer. I have been trying to build my cycling base up – this has been a lot of steady state riding at moderately / low intensity. I also rode the trainer the day after Christmas but I was ready to hit the pavement. I am trying to make most of my running miles count – no garbage miles. Having read a number of books they always seem to state that there are really only three runs that push improvement.

  1. Hard Intervals at or above VO2MAX – example Yasso 800’s or ¼ miles or mile repeats.
  2. Tempo runs at LT (lactate threshold / anaerobic threshold – your maximum intensity that you can hold for about an hour).
  3. Distance runs – long runs at a steady pace
Everything else is supposed to be extraneous – although if you talk to anyone that is fast they will tell you that there is no substitute for mileage. Go figure.

Anyway that being said I was going to go for a tempo run at just above what I believe to be my LT – which is in the mid 170’s by heart rate. This is a hard area to run – a hard area for me to sustain. It is easy for me to let my mind wander and slow down a bit. It is easy for me to think about the discomfort and want to slow down a bit. It is easy to want to stop.

Last Tuesday (Monday was an off running day following the half marathon PR on Sunday) I tried to see how I would have felt / faired if I would have raced at my own pace (instead of following a faster runner and blowing up and suffering through 11.5 miles of the race). I set the ‘virtual trainer’ on the GPS watch for 5 miles at a 7 minute pace. I could not do it. I gave in to the voices – my legs were dead and I was hurting. I turned around at 1.5 miles and slowed way down.

Well, yesterday I decided to not look at the pace (much) and I wanted to do a mile warm up and then push the pace at LT for 4 miles. Then follow up with a mile cool down. The temperature was only in the 50’s but I was looking for excuses and felt cold. I warmed up a little during the ‘warm up’ but my heart rate seemed a little high for the pace I was running. My feet were hurting and I stopped to adjust the laces. I picked the pace up at the one mile mark and it was hard. I already doubted myself. I pushed on and it was still hard – but I was not going to be defeated this time. I had a real mental toughness BREAKTHROUGH with this run. No – I never fell into some kind of bliss zone – it was hard the entire time but I did not stop and I did not slow down (well the first mile was a little fast). I passed a guy and his daughter who were riding bikes – yes they were riding slow – but the guy said that he had never been passed by a jogger before. We were going close to the same pace and I could not slow down – not even just a little bit. I HAD to keep it up!

I got a huge amount of satisfaction from this run! Tempo runs are always hard for me – especially when I run them alone. It is much easier for me to run hard during a race or with someone who is a little faster than me. Others really push me and allow for me to excel. When out there by myself it is a different story.

Miles –

WU – 1 mile
1. 6:21 HR AVE 168
2. 6:40 HR AVE 175
3. 6:39 HR AVE 177
4. 6:40 HR AVE 178
CD – 1 mile

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas - Off Day

On Christmas Eve I went for another 10 mile run. I was not planning for anything fast and the weather was cool. It was perfect conditions. I have been really surprised with myself regarding recovery. I have run 10 + miles each of the last 3 days (if I include the race last Saturday then about 44 miles in 5 days). I would not have been able to do that last year. In addition, I have completed 3 half marathons since Halloween – 2 being in December and only 2 weeks apart. Last year when I raced my first half marathon it took me nearly 2 weeks to recover!

But for this Christmas Eve run, at about 5 miles I started to fatigue. Nothing was hurting I was just tired. I started to do a run walk (I never do these in training and I have only raced it once – during the ironman). But again, the difference it makes. I had been running along at about an 8:10 – 8:15 minute pace. Then I started to walk one minute at each mile. My times slowed to between 8:45 – 9:00 minutes per mile but these miles were so much easier. I am sure that I could have pushed on and finished the 10 miles without walking but I still got the miles in (I did have to get home after all).

On Christmas day I took it easy and rode the trainer for 45 minutes.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yasso 800's and the Powerlines

The weather was beautiful after the race. There was a pancake machine – one of those round automated contractions that you see at Kiwanis Clubs and Rotary Clubs when they have the all you can eat pancake breakfasts. They also had krispy crème donuts and the other usual fare. I was good – no donuts – but I did have a large stack of pancakes. There was also the beer truck. A lot of Louisiana races have Abita beer but this was Budweiser. I had a small cup of the new Bud ‘Golden Wheat’ – it is okay.

We sat around on the tuff in the infield of the track stadium and swapped race stories. The camaraderie was great. After the race Terry and Eric were going their separate ways. Charles, Jim and I made it back to the house to shower up and then it was lunch time. We met Jim’s wife at the ‘New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood something or other’ and I had a shrimp po-boy. They also had the best soft serve ice cream that I have had in forever. I caught a lot of jabs from the crew as I went back for seconds.

Charles, Scott (Charles’s step son) and I made it down to the French Quarter. We checked into the hotel and Charles and I took a nap – yes we are old -while Scott went out to the quarter. I did not get too much of a nap – maybe an hour – but I felt so much better. I made my way to the quarter and found Scott at a club on Bourbon Street. There was so much Black and Gold. The Saints had lost on Saturday night and Southern Miss was playing in just a few hours. Charles met up with Scott and me about an hour later. We had a couple of drinks but nothing major.

We did the Bourbon Street thing for a few hours including dinner.

I took Monday as an entire day off for recovery. My legs were tired and my feet and Achilles tendon was sore – nothing major but I took the day off. On Tuesday I tried to run a fast 5 miler. I really wanted to see what my heart rate and perceived exertion would have been like if I would have followed my game plan on race day. I set the virtual training partner for 7 minute miles and I hit the trace with zero warm-up. The conditions were just about the same as race day and I pushed the pace. I only lasted one and a half miles at that pace and I cut the run short. I slowed and even walked for a few feet. There was no way that I could hold the 7 minute pace. I was amazed at what a difference a race makes. I can push myself so much harder on race day – but during training I just gave up – I threw in the towel. I clocked only 3 miles in somewhere around 24 minutes. I was a little frustrated but I knew that my legs were just tired. They hurt! They hurt in my calves and the bottom of my feet. My calves are almost never sore…

Being off from work I showered up and took a short nap during the afternoon. I got a text from Jim saying that he and Charles were going to meet up at the track just after 5 PM. I was feeling a bit more rested and decided to get a few miles in – I did not have a plan.

When I got to the track I saw Jim and Steve (the postman – he just finished up IM Arizona) running easily around the track. I joined them and they joked that they were not sure who I was and they were not going to let me run with them - Ironmen only – but then they saw it was me. Ha-ha. So us ironmen ran slow around the track devising our track workout. Charles showed up soon enough. I mentioned that many of the training plans that I have looked at call for Yasso 800’s. Last year I had also talked to Robin (the track coach) about these. Yasso 800’s are ½ mile repeats at your estimated marathon time – for example I would like to qualify for Boston with a 3:15. That would mean that I need to run the ½ mile repeats at 3 minutes and 15 seconds (a 6:30 minute pace). Jim said we need to work up to 10 repeats with a quarter mile easy lap in between. 10 repeats were not going to happen tonight but we gave it a shot.

Jim and I cranked out 3 good sets and then Jim had to leave. I got one more on my own. Jim said that we should be able to work down to 2:5X in just a few weeks – we will have to see about that! With the warm up and cool down I ended up with 7.75 miles (Charles’s knee was hurting him so we nixed the last lap) plus the 3 miles earlier in the day I got a total of 10.75 miles.

Lots of WU / CD with 4 x 800

1. 3:12

2. 3:08

3. 3:07

4. 3:11

On Wednesday I jumped on the bike trainer. I did not have any DVD’s but I was able to watch some television on the internet. This was more base building at a moderate pace – 45 minutes later I was covered in sweat. Not too much of a work out but I was meeting Jim later in the day for a run.

I arrived at Jim’s house and we had a choice of running the Billboards or the Power lines. Both of these are trail runs that are very hilly. I have not run either of these so we picked the Power lines – not because they are easier but because they are closer. We ran along the streets for just under a mile before we tackled the trail.

The Power lines are a swath of clear cut land next to the highway – obviously this was cut for the large telephone and power lines running north and south. Unfortunately this has become somewhat of a dumping ground and it was littered with all kinds of trash. It was not so much that you had to run on it or around it – it was just an eye sore. We started off and immediately had to secure our footing. The undulating hills were a challenge – both going up and down. And the down parts were criss crossed with streams of mud. Most of the crossings were hard packed sand and did not pose much of a problem. I soon found out that the ugly gray / black soil was the most hard packed and I started to pick these places for footing. However, there was one area that this was deceptive. I leaped a small stream and my right foot sank until about mid-calf – the other foot had no place to go and also went in deep. I managed to power myself out of the mud suck but I was now wearing black shoes and socks. It took us 30 minutes to complete the first 3 mile loop. This was challenging!

Jim and I completed one additional 3 mile loop – we were careful to avoid the known pitfalls. I still almost lost my shoes again but we wrapped up the hilly trail workout with 8 miles under our belts. I had actually run / walked 2 miles earlier in the day so I ended up with exactly 10 miles.

My next race is on New Year’s Day – the Steam Whistle 12k and it is right outside my back door!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ole Man River Half Marathon Race Report

I rode down with Charles to New Orleans Saturday afternoon. Scott, Charles’s step son went with us – he is 27 and came along for the ride – more interested in New Orleans than a race. We met up with Jim and his wife. We stayed in a house that is for sale down in New Orleans so we all brought air mattresses. The Saints were playing Saturday night and USM was playing Sunday night – both games would be in the Superdome.

We went to a sports bar not far from the house. Jim’s wife would be doing some Christmas shopping. I was preparing for a PR race and only drank diet coke – all night – about 20 of them. From the kickoff the Saints were in trouble. Jim was sure that Charles had brought bad mojo down to Nawlins – and this would be proven correct. The sports bar was packed and the negative vibe was locked in – we had a good time but the game was rough.

I woke up early to a flat air mattress – yes it leaked – and took a shower and grabbed a small bite – I had a granola bar in my race bag. We stopped for coffee on the way to the race. Eric and Terry had gotten to the race venue early – real early and had great parking spots – we had to walk a little ways.

Race packet pick up went quick and we ditched our outer layers in Eric’s car. The weather was perfect. I wore shorts, a short sleeved shirt, some old tube socks that I cut the end out off (temporary – disposable arm skins if you will) and white compression socks. Gloves would not be needed. This was just about perfect. I was not shivering or shaking like in Baton Rouge two weeks ago.

I had a lot more nervious tension for this race. I knew I could get a PR. I knew that I needed to execute well. I set the ‘virtual trainer’ on the GPS for 7 minute miles. This would be a challenge. As we started to gather for the race start I saw a few more local runner friends. Neil was there with a couple of other guys. I had used Neil to pace off of at a couple of 5K’s last year. I asked him what pace he would be running – he said 7 minute miles. Neil’s half PR was a 1:33 something. I decided to try and follow Neil – big mistake.

There was a lot of congestion at the race start and although the race is chip timed it is gun started. It took a few seconds to get going. I was standing next to Terry and Neil at the start but Terry just simply disappeared. I was able to follow Neil even though he was weaving in and out of traffic like a race car driver. I was about 3 strides behind Neil and hurting when we passed the first mile marker – 6:37. Damn, I was not running my own race. I was going out too hard. My heart rate was sky high but I tried to keep the pace up – I was a 400 feet in front of my ‘virtual trainer’ on the watch – I was going to just try and hold this number steady. I backed off of the pace and watched Neil power on.

However, I was not able to hold that 7 minute pace. The 400 feet dropped to 300 feet in the next mile. I was running this half marathon like a 5k – out of the gate too fast and just trying to hold on. That can work for a 5K but trying to hold on for 11.5 mile – this was hurting. I had to slow down but I still NEEDED a PR. I was not going to let up but at the same time I just could not hold the pace. I would be demoralized if I did not beat my last half marathon time – considering those conditions. I just kept at it.

Mile 1 – 6:37 - Ave HR 172 – Max HR 184
Mile 2 – 6:55 - Ave HR 179 – Max HR 180
Mile 3 – 7:09 - Ave HR 176 – Max HR 179

I had slowed considerably by this time – there was no way to hold 7 minutes a mile and I had already pushed into my red zone - HARD. Once your heart rate is up there – you do not get that back – it is just spent and there is not much recovery that will take place without slowing to a crawl. I had blown up in the first mile and a half! I hunkered down – it was tough being passed and watching people pull away. That does not normally happen in these races. I usually am able to pick a pace and hold it for most of the race and then put together a hard kick at the end. But people were passing me and there was nothing I could do – I definitely was not chatting during this race. My breathing was labored and I was in pain. These next few miles were the slowest of the race. I was burning up and I ditched the sock arm warmers at mile six. I was determined to try to keep up a respectable pace.

Mile 4 – 7:20 - Ave HR 175 – Max HR 178
Mile 5 – 7:24 - Ave HR 173 – Max HR 174
Mile 6 – 7:20 - Ave HR 174 – Max HR 175

I had recovered from the initial shock and was actually starting to be able to push a little bit and race MY race. I passed a couple of guys but it was not with any kind of authority. One of these guys came with me. I could hear him right behind me and we ended up racing side by side for a lot of the race. It was at this point that I passed the guy running backwards. He was trying to set a Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest half marathon time running backwards. He had two spotters with him on either side and a guy filming the race on a tricycle. I was just relieved that I was not going to be beat by the backwards guy. In hind sight he must have been given a head start – Terry was flying on the course and did not pass backwards guy until several mile into the race and I am sure this guy was not running anywhere close to 6 minute miles. I was still pushing hard but feeling better – I was just getting to the half way point.

Mile 7 – 7:15 - Ave HR 173 – Max HR 176
Mile 8 – 7:15 - Ave HR 173 – Max HR 177
Mile 9 – 7:15 - Ave HR 175 – Max HR 177

At this point I was running with two guys – not talking just putting out some consistent miles – working hard but running well – then we heard someone coming up. We were getting passed by a couple of boys. This was the back portion of the out and back course and the people still going out were shutting encouragement to the kids. The boys looked like they were about 8 years old! (In reality they were 13 – they were running strong. I could not hang with them - my mind wandered at this point and I was thinking that I was getting my race handed to me my some little kids – but if I pushed on and tried to out kick them then I would be the jerk - …

At mile ten the pace picked up a little and one of the guys that was running with me fell off – the other guy - well, I just tried to keep his shoulder. He was pushing hard and struggling. I was doing the same. One of the little kids started to crash a little bit and was fading. I passed him up at about mile 11. The other kid was also starting to fade now but was still strong. I also ended up passing this kid at about mile 11.5. And then there was another kid – this one was maybe 16 years old and caught up with the one kid and really started to lift him up. It was pretty awesome! These kids, the 13 and 16 year old ended up passing me in the last half mile or so – I was just done. I even had to stop at the last water station – just for a freaking break – I was so gone. This was the hardest race that I have done!

Mile 10 – 7:06 - Ave HR 177 – Max HR 179
Mile 11 – 7:05 - Ave HR 180 – Max HR 184
Mile 12 – 7:07 - Ave HR 181 – Max HR 184
Mile 13 – 7:00 - Ave HR 183 – Max HR 186
Mile 13.15 – 6:46 – Ave HR – 183 – Max HR 184

I did get my PR by over 3 minutes and I learned a LOT about racing and myself. This was not a smart race but I did push myself HARD – and I did not give up. I will count this as a major BREAKTHROUGH training session!

Terry ended up with a HUGE PR - 1:23:XX and won his age group (15th overall). Neil PR’d with a 1:29:59 and won his age group. I ended up with 3rd in my age group (by 40 seconds – 7:09 pace) with a 1:33:53 but the awards are only 2 deep – oh well.

I had wanted to push hard in this race and I did that - I just pushed too hard at the beginning (my average heart rate was 8 beats higher than Baton Rouge) . I believe that with a smarter race I can bring this time down a little more.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Planning for a PR - Ole Man River...

I was looking at my heart rate information from the Baton Rouge Beach Half Marathon from two weeks ago. Don’t get me wrong – I had a good race – a PR after all – but I know that I can pick up the pace. My heart rate zones are not set in stone – they are in fact pretty generic, but I would like to see a lot more time in ZONE 4 SUB-THRESHOLD. For me that calculates to between 168 – 174 beats per minute. This is where I would like to see all of my time – with the exception of giving everything at the end of the race.

Also, I tried out the ‘virtual partner’ on the Garmin this morning for the first time. I tend to do pretty well in races if I have someone to pace off of – and I am afraid I might be caught in the middle tomorrow. Between Terry who is just too fast for me and Jim who is treating this race like training run. So I just might be able to make this little digital figure on the watch my nemesis for this race. It would also be the first time that I have actually raced by pace. I almost always race short stuff by feel – all out and just try to hold on - and longer stuff strictly by heart rate – never letting myself get too high and blowing up. (Blowing up is a huge fear of mine – it really has not happened BAD yet – I should probably just go out sometime and see what happens – but I really do not want to blow up and FAIL in one of these races).

The weather looks perfect for the race – about 40 degrees and sunny. In addition, this is New Orleans so it should be flat and fast. On top of all of that I am reworking my pre-race routine – this should be a much better race than two weeks ago. I am planning for success!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Half Marathon race plans

I played a little racquetball at lunch on Thursday. After work I jumped back on the trainer and got another 30 minutes. Easy peasy – no sweat (not really – this is the trainer after all).
It was only 30 minutes because I was meeting a group of guys at a local sports bar to discuss this weekend’s race. There are a bunch of us going down to New Orleans for the Ole Man River half on Sunday. There were 5 of us at the table and Charles orders a ‘goal post’ – this is a 120 oz (10 beers) pitcher with a spigot. We had a fun time talking about the upcoming weekend and watching the Colts play. I got some razzing but I did not have a single beer. I did however have a nice grilled chicken salad. Look at me – I’m being good!

After discussions, we unfortunately determined that we are taking about 4 vehicles to the coast (it is only 90 miles – but…). Some are going down on race morning but most are going down the day before. I will be going down the day before. We are staying in a vacant house that is for sale – it has power and water but no furnishings. I am packing an air mattress, blankets, towels, etc.

There is also Saints game on Saturday and we are planning on watching the game in New Orleans – that should be fun. Jim wants to go to the post game radio show – I think I will pass – it will be a late night anyway. For Sunday, there are several heading back but I might just stay one more night and play in the French Quarter. Charles has already got a room near the quarter for him and his step son – Charles said I was welcome – and since I am home alone right now I just might.

I was talking with fast guy Terry during the outing and trying to gauge whether I could hang with him – he said he would be running between 1:25 and 1:30 for the half – (6:30 – 6:51 pace). That is a little too fast for me – however – I have set the bar pretty damn high after my last race. I PR’d with a 1:37:xx under less than ideal conditions. If I do not SMASH that time then … I am working on my game plan.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I hate tempo runs!

I was not able to get a trainer ride in on Wednesday morning and I even skipped the STADIUMS at lunch. I was planning for a ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ running session. I was not sure if this would be mile repeats or a hard tempo run pushing my anaerobic threshold. Either of these are hard runs.

I decided on the tempo run on the treadmill. The treadmills are getting a little bit old at the gym. I always use the same one but it was occupied. It took me a total of three attempts to get a treadmill that would 1. Turn on and 2. Let me set the incline (I always set the incline to 1).

I was all set to go and I thought that I could do a 4 mile tempo run at the pace that I last did mile repeats. I ran 3 x 1 mile @ 6:30 with a quarter mile recovery in between on Saturday. I remember this being challenging but achievable. Last spring I PR’d in the 5K with a 19:09 which equates to a 6:09 pace. That was really fast for me – obviously it was fast for me - it was a PR. But it was fast for me because I was pacing off of someone that I knew and I used them to get that PR. This just does not happen in training. In addition, I feel a bit slower than last year after training so much for ironman. Anyway, I thought that 4 miles at a 6:30 pace would be hard but achievable. I was wrong! I was wrong on a couple of levels. I was not willing to get into the RED zone – the deep RED zone anyway. I wanted to stay at or just barely above my anaerobic threshold. I know that I can average in the low 170’s while running hard for 30 minutes and averaging my heart rate for the last 20 minutes. In the last half marathon I ran (2 weeks ago) with an average heart rate of 168 (with a max at the end of the race at 186). This means that much of that run was in the mid 160’s and the level of exertion was picked up at the end (at mile 11 to be exact). A heart rate in the 160’s is a comfortably hard level for me.

For this tempo run I tried to keep my heart rate between 172 – 175. This is obviously just a little too high for me right now – I can hold it there for a while in a race but not on a treadmill in the middle of the day. I think that I need to back off of the speed in the tempo run and bring it up slowly (last Friday morning after warm up I ran 4 miles at an average pace of 6:52 with an average heart rate of 178 – and a MAX at 185). As much as I hate to say it - This week’s run was just a little too much too soon.

A little frustrated having only run 2 miles at the pace that I wanted I decided to ride the trainer after work. I geared up and set the trainer up for a steady zone 2 ride for 45 minutes. The DVD was on and I was ready. I made it about 5 minutes and then I aborted. My legs were burning at what should have been a pretty easy steady state ride. I gave myself a break and would let the legs have a rest.

I got up this morning and tried the same trainer workout again with much better success. While it was not SUPER easy - all cylinders were firing as they should be. I clocked off the 45 minutes. A good night’s rest makes a huge difference.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Power test - FAILED - NO PR

I took the day off on Monday. My legs were tired and the Sunday Run was harder than expected – I had not taken a day off since the last half marathon. Granted, all of the workouts were not “breakthrough” but my legs were tired none the less.

We had our work holiday on Tuesday so I only got a short bike ride on the trainer. I did a quick 15 minute warm up and then tried to do a 6 minute all out POWER test on the trainer. I have my numbers from the previous run and I try to best it each and every time. This time I met with disappointment. I thought with the previous day completely off I would be able to put together a good run. It did not happen. You would think that 6 minutes all out would not be that tough. But when you know the numbers you want to produce and it is a really hard effort to maintain them – it is painful. The last time I did this run was just before Thanksgiving. I remember that I was grunting and groaning on the trainer and when I got off my legs were burning so bad. I just sat down in an office chair and hurt for a few seconds. Surprisingly, the recovery is really quick and everything was just fine in a couple of minutes.

This time I was just not able to bring the numbers. I brought the power up to just over what I needed to hold and after only 2 ½ minutes I was done. I did another 15 minutes on the trainer – and feeling good I made one more attempt at the 6 minute MAX POWER run. I had the same results.

Today, Wednesday should be STADIUMS but I might have to skip them to get in a “breakthrough” run. I have not decided on that breakthrough – it will either be a hard tempo or mile repeats. Hard stuff none the less.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bike trainer and long run fun.

Having ran a pretty good tempo run on Friday morning I just did some easy reading on the exerbike at the gym for lunch. I needed to finish up a Lance Armstrong book – Lance: The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion. I did not really care for the book. As with all of the Lance books they are completely one sided. You have books like this one by John Wilcockson, who has been following and interviewing Lance for almost his entire career who really thinks that Lance can do no wrong. In the other camp is David Walsh, L. A. Confidentiel and From Lance to Landis, who presents circumstantial evidence and then draws conclusions. I actually like the latter books a bit better but, to be fair, I am not the biggest Lance Armstrong fan. Anyway, I had an easy spin on Friday afternoon – I was planning a long run on Saturday morning.

That Saturday run just did not happen – no fault of my own mind you. The temperature was in the low forties and the rain was pounding. It was miserable conditions here in Southern Mississippi. With it raining outside I jumped on my bike trainer and put on a DVD. Forty five minutes later I was drenched. With school being officially out the gym has restricted hours. I arrived just after 2PM. I hopped on the treadmill with no real workout in mind – I just knew that this was not going to be the 12 – 15 mile run that I wanted – I can’t do that on the treadmill. I warmed up slow for about ¾ of a mile and then I decided to run mile repeats followed by ¼ mile recovery runs – not sure why but I guess to make the best use of the available time. I ended up with 5 miles at just less than 40 minutes. Three of those miles were at 6:30 pace.

The holiday / December running club meeting was at my house on Saturday night. Most of the usuals showed up and we did our officer elections. I scored big with the Dirty Santa by procuring a set of Yanks, running gloves, sunglasses and a couple of gels – not too shabby. However, there was way too much food and drink (actually I drank very little and I did not over indulge too badly on the food). But, the next day my weight was up by over 5 pounds. It tends to do that! – I know that it is water weight from salty food – but still.

The weather had changed by Sunday. Still some rain but much warmer. I got up and did the bike trainer again. I have been enjoying the trainer more than I ever have. I have been doing pretty easy base work but the computer will record all of my stats. I like to compare workout to workout and see my heart rate average, cadence and power averages for the sessions. The computer then spits put a ‘performance’ number. It is average watts compared to average heart rate. The number is not perfect but comparing the same workouts session is fun.

I met up with Charles on the trace on Sunday afternoon. We would try to put together a good long run. I ran 3 miles to meet him just past Clyde station. I ran those miles between 8:15 – 8:30 pace. Charles was running fast also – about his half marathon race pace – 9 minute miles. I slowed to his pace and he never let up. He stung together between 13 – 15 miles at right at 9 minutes per mile. He killed it.

I got about 13 miles at just over 2 hours – there were a couple of long breaks – I got to chew the fat and congratulate Steve (the postman) on his Ironman Arizona. I finished the last two miles of my run at a 7:30 minute pace. It was tough but not race tough. My legs were a little sore after the run – not race sore but…– so I took it easy the rest of the day. I actually skipped the December Beer Club meeting. I really was not in the mood for winter warmers with the outside being 68 degrees – in addition, I did not want to hamper my recovery.

The coming weekend is another half marathon in New Orleans – The Old Man River. The race is on Sunday with the Saints playing the Cowboys on Saturday night. New Orleans will be on fire.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Marathon Training - throwing down the gauntlet

After last weekend’s PR half marathon run on less than idea training and race conditions I have decide to try and put together a fast half and full marathon run. Maybe I can actually run a full-all-out half run this next weekend – I have signed up for the Ole Man River Half in New Orleans. This race is Sunday, December 20th. That is only two weeks since the last half in Baton Rouge and I do not expect to make great gains in running speed but I have more speed in me. I only hope to be able to run the entire race with race intensity (not lollygag and talk and stuff) and see where the time falls. Looking at the race calculators, according to my fastest ever 5K time I should be running these half’s nearly 10 minutes faster than I am. I think that calculator is pushing it but I would like to see how close I can get.

So the goals for the first quarter of the year are set – they will be running goals with cycling base building in between. Yes I still want to push the pace on the bike. I have read many articles that state a fall marathon will not help an ironman time. And I can only image that a spring marathon will in no way whatsoever help sprint and Olympic triathlons. That being said I am finally pumped about my training!

Jim and I met up at campus on Wednesday morning for mile repeats. The weather was warm and humid. We did a campus run with a 1 mile warm-up and cool down with the 4 one mile runs in the middle. We were not killing ourselves but clicked off the following – the rest interval was 3 minutes:

1. 6:42
2. 6:54
3. 7:05
4. 6:52

This was a good effort but the times will be dropping in the coming weeks. At lunch I did the STADIUMS. It was getting cooler and there was a strong wind. Having done the mile repeats I decided to be a follower and just kind of go through the motions. I still felt strong and performed well but I was not giving it everything I had. We pulled up short on the STADIUMS (10 X on 1:45) because I had a new challenge in mind. There is a LARGE staircase on the back of the Thad Cochran building. No one uses this stair case – it is like 3-4 flights of stairs – this is longer than the STADIUMS. So after 10 sets of STADIUMS we went to the back of the Coch. I had wanted to try out 5 sets on 2 minutes. The first set took 22 seconds up and a full 40 seconds to run down/recover. This was a damn hard workout – at the bottom we rested 1 minute. Vic and Richard were with me for the next two but were sucking wind at that point. I did just one more set at intensity and called it a day with 4 x the back of the Coch. This is tough stuff - when the heat hits it will be EPIC.

I had an exam on Thursday morning so I studied instead of exercising. I would have rather rode the trainer and watch a movie but… priorities. At lunch I played around in the racquetball courts to let the legs rest a bit. But after work it was back on the bike trainer. I got a good 45 minutes in a sweat-fest.

On Friday morning Jim was supposed to meet me at the campus for a tempo run. Something came up and I ran alone. It was a good run in the cold. It showed that I am not in position to meet my running goals at this point. I am going to need some solid training to run the paces that I want. I love a challenge.

TEMPO run:

1. 8:29 Warm up
2. 6:41
3. 7:02
4. 6:51
5. 6:57
6. 7:48 Cool down

I have been working on which races I will do next year and I have put together a list.  This is not set in stone (except for the races up to the Mardi Gras Marathon).
Tentative Race Schedule (first half of 2010):

12/20-Ole Man River Half – New Orleans
01/01-Stream Whistle 12k – Hattiesburg (on the trace)
01/17-Louisiana State 25K Championship – New Orleans
01/31-"The WALL" Louisiana State 30K Championship – New Orleans
02/XX-Run for Love 5K
02/28-Mardi Gras Marathon – New Orleans
03/19-St Thomas 5K
04/18-Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
06/05-Heatwave Classic Triathlon
07/XX-Sunfish Summer Triathlon
07/24-Heart O’Dixie Triathlon

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Setting new goals

So after the race Charles and I went to his parent’s house. He had warned me in advance about the soup. Now the soup is delicious and did warm us up – but it is a vegetable cream cheese soup. I believe the vegetables were in the soup to thin it out. Melted cream cheese. Nothing wrong with that. They seem like very nice people. I guess Charles did not far too far from the tree.

We met up with Eric at the Abita Brew Pub Restaurant in Abita Springs. I had actually wanted to go there for some time. The brew pub has all of Abita’s beers on tap as well as a specialty beer from another brewer – they had Arrogant Bastard - wow. Eric and Charles both had draft Andy Gator’s while I drained several Diet Cokes.

I went for a group bike on Sunday and got to congratulate John “the legend” for his successful completion of his second Ironman in 2009. That is a true accomplishment. On Monday I was undecided what to do at lunch and Jim gives me a call and says “Let’s go for a run.” The legs were a little sore and it was chilling outside – it started to rain on us to boot. Jim has been looking for a challenge as well and we may put together a real marathon run. So, both Jim and Charles are doing the Ole Man River ½ marathon in two weeks (12/20) and have talked me into it. See – and I thought Charles would never invite me to another race again. This half marathon will be a real test - a true PR run.  On a side note - I ended up 4th in my age group for the Baton Rouge Half Marathon...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Baton Rouge Half Marathon

There were five of us planning to run the Baton Rouge Beach half Marathon this past Saturday. Only three of us made it – Me, Charles and Eric. Terry was sick and had a house of sick kids. He had been training and I am sure that he was upset that he missed out on the race. Jim – not sure – I think the weather played a big part in him skipping the race.

I drove over to Charles’s house Friday afternoon. The sky was bright blue but there was a chill in the air. As we neared Baton Rouge the sky turned gray and it started to rain. The rain turned to a rain / snow – or as we called it in the Midwest – a wintery mix. It was cold and nasty.

We met up with Eric in the hosting hotel but we were a little bit early. The registration had not yet opened so we went and had a drink at the bar. This would foreshadow the rest of the event.

The Baton Rouge Beach race is pretty special in that it has a pre-race dinner and post race food – both of which are fantastic. We are talking jambalaya, seafood pasta, alligator – all really good stuff. Oh yeah, and beer.

I got my fill of all of the good food and my share of the beer. After talking with many of the other participates Charles and I parted ways with Eric. Eric was staying at a friend’s house while Charles and I were staying at another hotel that Terry had reserved. Charles and I checked in just in time to enjoy the last 30 minutes of happy hour. I made a grave mistake and switched to run and diet coke – fewer calories. With just a few minutes left in happy hour the barkeep came by and suggested that we double up while the drinks were free - ouch. Charles and I went up to the room as happy hour ended but we needed to procure something to eat prior to the race.

We went back downstairs and talked the barkeep into finding us some cereal or whatnot. She was very accommodating. So, this is not my pre-race routine – you know – tying one on. Charles said that he heard me exercising my demons in the bathroom at about 3 in the morning. I am sure that all of these shenanigans did not bode well for his race either. Many apologies.

I awoke feeling like death warmed over. It was about 32 degrees outside and I was hurting. Eric met us at our hotel and we drove to the race site. I was resting my head against the head rest in the back seat of the truck. We all got out and wished each other well as we froze in the race starting line.

The race is chip timed but there is not a race mat at the start. The race start is gun timed. We never heard the gun but the crowd of close to 1000 started to move. I ran a little ahead of Eric and Charles and just tried to fall into a groove. Mile one came up extremely slow – and quick – at the same time (7:08 – by my watch). I thought about pulling up for a minute or so and waiting for Eric or Charles and just taking this race easy. But like a hair shirt I needed to pay for the nights transgressions. I kept the pace up. The miles slowly clicked off on the light rolling course through the LSU campus and along a lake (hence the Beach portion of the race name). The mile markers were each manned by different groups of volunteers that were competing for a best water stop station prize. That was a lot of fun. There were people in costumes and many a girl scantily clad – they traditionally win the prize I later heard. It did not hurt that the temperature was in the lower 30’s – at least there was no rain for these troopers.

In races of this distance my mind tends to wander and I rarely am able to stay on task. This is a mental problem for me. It is hard for me to maintain that hard line between racing hard and blowing up – I almost always tend to back off a little bit. When I do this I get chatty and look for anyone to talk with. I found a couple of guys with the New Orleans ½ Iron race shirt on and struck up a conversation. This was the middle portion of the race and my mile times slowed. I was still pushing hard – just not race hard. I missed the mile marker at mile 12 and told the guy I was talking to that I needed to pick it up and finish strong. I sprinted hard the last ¾ of a mile and finished the race in a low 1:37 – just about even for my ½ marathon PR – I’m not sure of my official time yet. Eric took a spill during the race and still ended up with a PR – 1:48 and Charles finished just behind Eric well under his goal time of less than 2 hours. All things considered we all raced well.

I really want to actually prepare for a ½ marathon and push hard the entire race and see just where I might end up. I was disappointed and encouraged at the same time. I have only run about 20 miles per MONTH for the past 2 months and my longest run by far (at least double) was the last ½ marathon that I ran at Halloween.

I am going to put together a few weeks of REAL training – throw in a taper and give it everything. Depending on the results I just might try a Boston Qualifying run at the Mardi Gras Marathon in February.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

STADIUMS - cancelled...

Cool weather and wet eliminated the STADIUMS for the week. That was probably a good thing. It has been about a month since I tackled that obstacle. I am sure that my legs would be sore for several days after another EPIC day at the STADIUM. So this brought us indoors to the coliseum. This is the basketball arena. Since the staircases are shorter this is much easier. We alternated doing single steps and double steps on 1 minute. Doing the single steps takes less than 15 seconds and doing the doubles takes just under 10 seconds. Then you run back down the stairs and recover for about 30 seconds. We got 40 sets in 40 minutes. This was a good work out but not like the STADIUMS. We were wondering with the much cooler weather if even the STADIUMS are not the STADIUMS any more. We will have to see next week.  We did about 15 minutes of abs after the stair climbing.

On the bike front - it has been cool/cold and raining this week.  So, I have been riding the trainer at home. My father upgraded and gave me his old 32 inch CRT (big and heavy) television. I brought it back home from the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I hooked this up in front of my trainer. I have been watching a lot of television on DVD. I read a book recently about cycling base building and I am trying to put some of this to practice. I have been riding a lot of steady state workouts – mostly about 45 minutes long (an hour of television on DVD just happens to be 42 minutes). My trainer hooks up to the computer and I have been setting a constant workout by time and watts. It has been interesting to compare the different workouts – it records watts (constant) and heart rate, cadence, etc. This week I have logged over 3 hours on the trainer. That is more than I have used it for the last 6 months. Granted I ride a lot more outside in the summer but I think that this is a good start.

I am heading to Baton Rouge for the ½ marathon on Friday for a fun race weekend.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Post - Thanksgiving

So I have been AWOL for the past week or so … I had a very nice Thanksgiving holiday. I went to Texas and visited with my father and my sister and her family. The diet was blown a few times (Thanksgiving) and the exercise dropped of f some. I did get a ride in on the trainer before leaving town on Wednesday (a big warm up and then an all out 6 minute maximum exertion interval). 6 minutes does not seem like much but when you are trying with everything you have to beat your prior best – let’s just say I wanted to throw up went I was done. I also got a 4 mile run in before driving back from Texas – and another 45 minute trainer ride when I got home.

While in Austin I had the change to visit Mellow Johnnies – Lance Armstrong’s bike shop in the downtown area. What a neat shop. It had yellow jerseys from all of his winning tour and many race bikes. They also had a huge sale. Most everything was discounted but I gravitated towards the clearance racks. Everything on the racks was $20. I picked up 2 pairs of Castelli bibs, a Zoot tri jersey, a Sugio wind vest and a Castelli jersey – all for $100 plus tax. That is half the price of one pair of the bibs. It was a huge score. I have always wanted to have a pair of bibs and now I have two!

Back in town I have decided to redouble my diet efforts. I have calculated my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and I have charted out several meal plans. I will eat about 1750 calories everyday – and this is where I hope I am getting a little smarter – I will add about 500 calories for each hour of exercise. I hope that this will allow me to eat a healthy diet without getting all bonky and bingie.

I have a half marathon this weekend in Baton Rouge that I am looking forward to even though I have not been working a training plan. This race is just for fun.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cheaha - pronounced YeeHa

I know that I have been AWOL from the blog-o-sphere for a little while. I guess that I am languishing a little bit without a clear cut plan in place. I really need that framework to help guide my training. I enjoy looking at the program and knowing what I need to do tomorrow. Without out this framework I have been just going through the paces with no objectives. Now, I have been having a lot of fun but without that direction I believe that it is hard to see real progress. My fitness is being maintained but all of the principles of periodization and progressive overload have been thrown out the window.

Cycling: Having a good time is the name of the game. A group of guys went to Cheaha State Park in Alabama last weekend. This is the highest point in Alabama. We stayed in a swanky cabin on a lake. There were challenges everywhere – the cabin had a pool table, ping pong table and foosball table. The mountain was also quite a challenge. We all had doubts on whether we would complete the climbs. We attached the peak from the east. This is by far the steepest climb – only lasting about 3 and a half miles. We are talking low –low gear and spinning along at 5 -6 MPH. Tough stuff. We then rode down the south side of the peak and gained speeds approaching 50 MPH (my highest speed recorded was 48.6 MPH). This road going south comes to an end (end of pavement that is) at Adam’s Gap. We turned around and tackled the peak once again. This was more of a gradual accent. We also got another ride in the next day. On yeah, I took my wetsuit and did a cold 20 – 30 second swim. It took longer to get the wetsuit on than the actual swim. It was hard to swim in the cold water after a hard ride – especially while all of your friends are on the dock having a post ride adult beverage or two.

We raced to the top of the climbs so that we could take pictures of the back of the pack.  All in good fun.

Running: Two weeks ago I ran a half marathon (ran not raced) on about 5 miles of running per week. It was a fun race. I found some guys to chat with and had a fun time. I finished 3 minutes slower than my PR (but to be fair this last half marathon was a little short – by two tenths of a mile). Well, I have another half marathon in two weeks and I have only run twice since the last half marathon. I am going to do this half marathon with another bunch of guys – we might run a 5K the night before. I am sure that we will all have a good time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dixie group ride


My friend Ren competed in Ironman Florida this past weekend and finished with a fantastic time of 12:13:47 -  Way to go Ren!

My legs were tired this week. I did the P90X Plyometrics and STADIUMS on Wednesday, a spirited group ride on Thursday morning and then the P90X Legs and back program on Friday. So the Saturday morning group ride would take place on tired legs.

Dan and I arrived at Keith’s house at 6:30 on Saturday morning. It was brisk morning and I thought that I might be over dressed. I had a base layer shirt, jersey, arm and leg warmers as well as full neoprene booties. It turned out that this was just about right.

We headed south of town in what is known as the Dixie area. I have never ridden in this part of town and the hills were welcomed. However, from the get go the pace was challenging for me. I was struggling to keep from getting spit off of the back. And there was one occasion that Keith and Dan did need to slow up for bit to keep me in the pack. This was a tough ride for me. This was a lot of fun and we only stopped on two occasions – one when Dan, who was leading by a good way missed a turn and then once again when Dan had a client malfunction and fell at an intersection. No harm, no foul but his cleat got turned around.

Sunday I did a P90X Chest and Back and then played on the trainer for just a few minutes. 15 minutes at an easy pace and the 6 minutes at a hard effort. I am trying to devise a base training plan for this winter. I have been playing with some of the intensities.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Morning ride returns with the time change - Plus STADIUMS

I have been in autopilot mode lately but I thought that I would provide an update. I did a quick 20 mile bike ride with the group on Sunday. I had just arrived back in town from New Orleans and caught up with the group as they went by my stretch of the trace. It was a good time – I had a couple of hard pulls. The pulls really put the burn in the legs – there was some fatigue from the weekend’s ½ marathon.

That fatigue was even more evident at lunch on Monday. We went out for an easy 4 mile run and the legs were just hurting. We started slow and the pace crept up a little but not much. We averaged 8:30 minutes per mile for the run but it felt like it should have been so much faster.

Tuesday got me back into the P90X groove again with the Chest and Back DVD. This is still a solid workout and I have seen some progress. In the later pull up sets I am getting a few more reps – I don’t think that my total number of pull ups in 1 set has increased much but my endurance is a little better. At lunch we hit the pool for some easy 100 yard sets – I got a total of about 1500 yards. After the swim we went upstairs to do our regular chest workout. Damn, I felt weak after the P90X and the swim. My lifts were off.

My chest and upper body was lit up on Wednesday after the chest workouts from the previous day. I would give the upper body a break. I did the Plyometrics P90X workout (jump training) in the morning. For what it is worth I am definitely getting better at jumping around. And then there were the STADIUMS.

We had a good turnout – 8 people came out for the STADIUMS! This session would be a 15 second working set (I can’t really get much faster running up the stairs) but the rest interval was cut down to 1:15. This would be a total set time of 1:30. To fill the 30 minutes we would to 20 reps. This is what we started at a month ago and FAILED – I did all of the set in the prescribed time but many of my working sets suffered – it got hard. Although the weather is cooler this would still be a challenging workout. There was quite a bit of trepidation from some of the group but we all persevered. By the end of the session only Chad and I completed the session in the designated time. Chad said that a couple of his work sessions ended up being a little too long – but he was right there with me for the duration. Much of the group had to take a few breaks and such – yes – this workout is that challenging. That being said, I cannot cut the working set down by much and the rest is getting pretty low. I may simply have to start increasing the reps. I will have to evaluate the workout for next week. I did analyze my heart rate following the completion of this workout and it did take a significant jump over the previous week. It was hard. After the STADIUMS I took off my shoes and ran around the football field on the turf. I just wanted to get a feel for this bare foot running that the internet is chatting about. Since I am already a fore-foot runner I really did not fell anything different – My feet felt pretty good on the turf.

With the time change the sun is out earlier than it has been. The morning cycling group met up at 6AM at Jackson Station. There were the usual guys – Lance, Keith, Dan and I. From the get go Keith was pushing the pace and Dan was chopping at the bit. They really pushed the pace. I had thought I was doing well with pulls in the 21’s and 22’s and then one of these guys would put the hammer down and start killing 23’s and 24’s. It was all I had to just hang on during some of the pulls. Lance and I had enough and let them go down the hill to Sumrall by themselves. We regrouped and had a good out of the saddle climb towards Epley Road. This was a fun spirited ride. I got 30 miles in an hour and half. My legs were toast after the ride.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jazz half marathon - no banana

Well, for the first time I was able to run a race for fun! And I had a great time. The first annual Jazz half marathon kicked off this past Saturday. The run started just west of the French Quarter near the convention center and headed west through the garden district and circled back through city park. A very pretty course that was completely closed to traffic.

There were 2,000 registered participates with nearly 1,400 finishers. I had wanted to run in costume since this run was in New Orleans and it was on Halloween. However, a cool front with a lot of rain moved in Friday night. It was still raining just before the race started. I really only needed a slight excuse to back down and there it was. In retrospect, there really were not very many people in costume and the few that were dressed up were simply in small devils horns or very race friendly outfits – like girl scouts or lederhosen.

I started way back at the start (you had timing chips so starting did not matter) and went out slow. There were a ton of people to pass in the first mile – I mean a ton. It took a long time to weave in and out but I was not really trying to make up time – just to warm up and get through. A little bit after the first mile marker I caught up with a guy named Jeff and we chatted for the next five miles. I was running at a comfortable pace and just enjoying the morning. We were clicking off just over 8 minute miles when we started running together. By mile six the pace was at 8 minutes flat. Jeff needed to drop off a little bit and he needed to hit a porta-loo. I kept at it and Mike jumped into stride next to me – he had overheard some of the conversation with Jeff and said that he had been at IM Louisville also. Small world – Mike and I discussed all of the aspects of the ironman for the next 4 miles – how the race went for each of us – if we were going to do another – how much running (or lack thereof) we have been doing in the last 2 months, etc. I really enjoyed talking with Mike and was disappointed when his pace started to slip. We had been running about 7:30 minutes per mile and this also seemed comfortable to me. It was pushing Mike a little too hard and at mile 10 he dropped off. I had planned on running hard this last 5k of the race and I picked it up to a pace where it would be difficult to talk. At mile 11 I passed a couple of guys and once again started to make some small talk – I was basically told that I was running a good pace and I needed to STFU and just finish the damn race. You know what – they were right. I needed to just finish the race – I had had enough of the messing around. I took the last couple of miles at a hard effort and finished the race in 1:40:04 (98 / 1379). Not a PR by any means but a fun race. On a side note I think the race was a little bit short but it does not matter – I had fun and I do not feel disappointed not running my best ever.

I have signed up for another ½ marathon the first week of December in Baton Rouge. This will be a real race for me – I have 1 month to prepare and see if I can reach my goal times. There will be several people from the running club and I hope that I can hang with Terry L. for the race. Terry is a good deal faster than me and he might just be the inspiration that I need to have a breakthrough race!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Track on Tap - Peanut Butter Jelly Time Remix

I did the legs and back P90X DVD on Thursday morning and I am glad I got it done. Many people talk about not liking to exercise in the morning but I have to disagree. I make my exercise a priority and I generally schedule more than one session a day – but sometimes things just come up. Yesterday was one of those days – my schedule got way off – for good reason – but I missed the gym at lunch. I was glad that I had already done a good session.

But Thursday night was the Halloween Edition of Track on Tap and we had a great time. We had a good turnout and our first stop was the Keg and Barrel. I saw a lot of friends from the Beer Club (remember – I am a member of both the beer club and the running club – the only difference is that beer club don’t run).

We stopped and chatted for a while and then split for downtown. Lots of cars were honking and waving at us. We hit Brownstones and stopped for bit. This was a pretty warm and humid night here and Mississippi and really felt like I needed to peel some clothes off. We were all sweating pretty good. We attempted to go to the Bottling Company but they had some kind of MTV’s the Real World casting call promotion – and cover charge… So we headed back around the corner to the Wine Bar and sat outside. Since the last two trips were short we were starting to cool off a bit.

We headed back to the Keg and Barrel but Jodie and I were feeling a little ripe and headed home early. Total – 3 drinks – 3 – 4 miles. A good time for all.

This was a good test for running in costume for the 1/2 marathon on Saturday. I think I can do the banana as long as it is not raining. If so, I think I can get a guaranteed PR for running as a banana - although the mustache would not make it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

STADIUMS - faster, stronger, better

The STADIUMS returned again this week. I am not sure if it is the cooler weather or adaptations but we are continuing to have success. I dropped the recovery interval by another 10 seconds this week. If you remember, about a month ago we mixed it up and decided to do the STADIUMS more like hill repeats and intervals instead of just running up and down them. The fatigue factor of just running up and down was just that – only producing fatigue. In an attempt to help increase strength and possibly VO2MAX I decided to make every working set ALL OUT. I set my GPS wrist computer to 15 second intervals followed by an appropriate rest interval. The first attempt was for a total set (working + recovery) at 2 minutes. After the first set or two, Chad and Richard decided that the rest interval was just too long – they wanted to go faster. So, against my better judgment we cut 30 seconds off the rest – 90 seconds total for the set. After about 10 sets we all started to get sloppy – the work set was not as fast anymore. In fact, Chad and Richard had to change the workout up – they were failing. I completed the workout but my last few sets were slow.

I did not like that workout – it was unattainable. So the next time we did STADIUMS I stuck to the original game plan. 2 minutes total – 15 seconds working set followed my 1:45 rest. We had success. The next time we cut 10 seconds off of the rest. I was still able to maintain the intensity of the working set just with less recovery. So this week another 10 seconds was chopped of the recovery – and guess what – success again. I am excited about taking 10 more seconds off and trying the 1:30 total set again. That would SHOW progress! (Although to be fair the temperature has turned cooler).

Looking at the chart below would indicate that the heart rate ramps up quicker with less rest but I am able to maintain the same level of exertions without blowing up! The chart shows my max heart rate recorded for each interval – notice with faster intervals we do more sets – the total workout is 30 minutes regardless of number of reps.

On another success front – I have noticed that I can do more reps of various types of chin ups with doing the P90X sessions. The first few times that I did the sessions, towards the end of the workout there just would not be much left. Now I am able to perform a few more reps = still hard – still tired – but more reps!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A little bit of swimming

I am getting better at jumping around thanks to the Plyometrics P90X session. This session is fun and it makes you work pretty hard. I have started to skip a lot of the breaks and even some of the ‘slower’ 60 second routines. The session is set up in a way that you do 3 intense exercises and then you slow it down a bit and do another exercise for 60 seconds. These longer exercises, although you are still moving and stuff, are not as strenuous as some of the other more ballistic exercises. So, sometimes I hit the skip button and get right back in the action. However, I am sure to make up for the missed exercise by repeating some of the more dynamic exercises – the really jumping around exercises. The first time I did this session the soles of my feet were really burning – you spend a lot of time on the balls of your feet. That burning sensation is starting to go away – maybe my feet are getting used to it or they are adapting.

At lunch I hit the pool for the first time in a couple of weeks. It was an easy workout – probably too easy. I think I did 12 x 100 yards on 120 – that gave me a lot of rest. I was swimming easy and finishing the 100’s right about 1:35 – 6. I really was just going through the motions. After the swim I hit the weight bench. Boy, the bench press is weak after swimming even if it was just easy swimming.

I fell of the diet a little bit last night with a little bit of cookies and beer – both at my weaknesses.
Cals: 2,936 Fat: 21% Carbs: 42% Protein: 20% Alcohol: 17% Fiber: 51.0 grams

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Diet and P90X - about a month so far.

Well, back on the diet front – Monday’s are long days for me – I have a lab after work that lasts from 6:30PM – 9PM (although it usually finishes early). That means it is fairly easy for me to continue my scheduled diet for the entire day. Therefore, yesterday was pretty easy with a total of 1,594 calories. The lab instructor was very excited about McRib being back at McDonalds- wow – what a contrast. Also, on Monday’s I have been taking the morning off from exercise so I have not been expending as many calories. My total workout for Monday was a 6 mile run at lunch. The weather was perfect and I am glad that I got it in – it is raining now.

The eating plan consisted of:
2 x peanut butter jelly sandwiches
2 x peaches
1 x kiwi
20 x cherry tomatoes (approximate)
½ cup oatmeal
1 x Whey protein
1 cup cottage cheese
1.5 cups soy milk
½ cup bran buds cereal

Cals: 1,594 Fat: 26% Carbs: 50% Protein: 24% Fiber: 46.8 grams

I have also continued the P90X program. I had heard that many people are sore all of the time and it is super hard, etc. While I admit it is a very good workout and it is quite challenging I think that I brought a base fitness into the plan that was above what was required. I have been a little sore in places that I normally do not work out (like the butt – there are a lot of squats in some of these workouts). I also do not know if I will have the dramatic results that some people have. Now the workouts are indeed getting easier – I have increased my reps on the pull ups and increased the weight on many of the exercises. Also, on some of the sessions I have started to skip the rest breaks. However, we will just have to wait and see if doing these sessions just makes me better at doing P90X or if it will translate to better all around fitness. All in all they have kept me motivated in the off-season and I am enjoying them! So to me, P90X has been a success thus far.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Adventure training - TRAINED!

I have not been recording my workouts like I normally do. When I am not working activity towards a goal it is hard to care what exercises I am doing. With that said I have been doing the P90X (5x per week) on a regular basis as well as some other fun stuff. Fun stuff like the STADIUMS, Tabata intervals and I have recently starting doing the rowing machine. I have never played with the rowing machine – but – it is the real deal. 10 minutes on that device and you are exhausted. Arms, legs, back – you name it. It also has a nice little graphing feature that I can totally buy into – marks me work harder.

On the diet front I did not have any alcohol or sweets this weekend. But I still did not stay on track as good as I could have. I have a weakness for cereal and I dipped into the box a little too much. My weight is up a little.

I finished up my ‘Adventure Training’ class this weekend with the ‘high ropes’. These are like jungle gyms for adults. I really got into it. There was one task where you climbed a telephone pole and then had to stand up on top of it – that got the adrenaline pumping. Once standing there was a trapeze that you tried to catch. I did not make the catch but the task was super cool. There were several other tasks – like walking horizontally across a telephone pole 40 feet off the ground, a team climbing challenge, etc. It was a fun day out in the woods. Oh yeah, there was also a zip line about 60 feet off the ground – pretty cool stuff – and college credit!

I’m going to be in New Orleans this weekend for Halloween and I am still thinking about running in costume. I will get to have a trial run on Thursday nights Track-on-Tap. I will have to see if I am able to run a couple of miles much less 13.1. After this weekend's race I think I might gear up for a 1/2 marathon PR attempt in early December.

I’m still going to track my food this week but it will be tough – Thursday there is a Halloween party at work and then that night is the track on tap…

Friday, October 23, 2009

Diet, P90X -

The diet is still being track – you can view it here on fitday. My weight is holding steady although I did have a few run and diet cokes last night at a little get together. The positive of this is I did not snack any at all. This is a big improvement for me (to be fair, snacks were not readily available – but still – I could have ordered something). My calories, even with the drinks can to 1,776 with a calorie distribution as follows:

Fat: 17% Carbs: 33% Protein: 28% - and oops Alcohol: 22%

I did the legs and back P90X session again – this was the third time that I had done the session. It is getting easier. Not easier due to some physiological adaptations but I think more from familiarity with the routine. Maybe a little better coordinated. Of course, I am like everyone else, I get better with practice. The session is still very demanding and I think that you can add even more challenging aspects – jump a little higher, squat a little lower, do more chin ups / pull ups, etc. The workout is solid. I just need to keep bringing my A game and rinse and repeat about a dozen more times!

I should have jumped in the pool for lunch but I have been slack in this area. I have talked about joining masters swim for about a month now but I have not taken any action. I know that this is the appropriate action I just have not taken it yet – I really don’t want to drive across town in the morning and all of that jazz – these are only excuses. I need to get off of the fence.

I played racquet ball at lunch for a little less than an hour. It was a good time and I enjoyed the camaraderie but I did not feel it progressed towards a goal. It was just activity – not that there is anything wrong with that – but …

I realized yesterday that I have a ½ marathon in 9 days – I have not even run this week. I will not have any problems completing said ½ marathon but I won’t be able to perform at my best. I’m not sure how this will make me feel. As a backup plan I may just wear a costume since this race is on Halloween!

I guess, prep for next weekends race I did run into work this morning (Friday) - I did an easy 6 miles at about 8 minutes per mile pace. I think that I will be lucky to hold that - much less in costume!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I was able to stick to the diet on Tuesday! I logged 1,746 calories for the day with distribution as follows:

Fat: 26% Carbs: 45% Protein: 29%

I’m still trying to work out the best distribution for me and trying to work more raw fruits and vegetables into my diet. I only ate ½ pound of carrots yesterday and one peach. If I have them around I eat them but the bulk of my diet is breads and grains. I’m looking for substitutions.

On the exercise front I did the P90X arms and shoulders DVD before work. This is a good workout but once again, due to the smaller muscle groups it is easier. I started to do some drop sets during the session. Starting with a weight that I can only complete 8 – 10 reps and then immediately selecting a lighter weight and finishing the set. This is challenging but once again I walk away from this workout not completely soaked with sweat (the other sessions I am SOAKED).

Lunch brought the STADIUMS again. It has been two weeks since the last session – last week was the coliseum which brought its own challenges but not like the STADIUMS. Having been successful on our last outing with 15 seconds working set followed by 1 minute 45 seconds recovery (this includes the down portion of the stadiums) it was time to up the ante. Since the working portion of the set is already ALL-OUT I could only cut some time off of the recovery. I loped 10 seconds off for a recovery of 1 minute 35 seconds. The total set would now be 1 minute 50 seconds. The previous successful session fit nicely with 15 reps in 30 minutes. This time it would be 17 reps in 31:10. Several people dropped off of the challenge this week due to various reasons – ill, forgot their workout shoes, scared, weak, etc. But for the ones that took on the challenge there was victory. We were able to successfully achieve our goals. All of my working sets were within the allotted 15 seconds – some were close but all were successful and the recovery proved manageable. Now, I am not one to believe that all of this success comes from cardio or strength gains – but more of the success is due to the change in weather. It was a beautiful day on Tuesday and, like the arms and shoulders session of the morning, I was not as soaked in sweat as I can be. However, all said and done my heart rate average for the session was nearly 10 percent higher than 2 weeks ago. The 10 seconds less recovery time equates to 9 percent less recovery – a little bit less time for the heart rate to drop. It is hard to qualify with the available data but my heart rate dropped about 2 beats more per rep with the additional 10 seconds of recovery. I am not a statistician but I do find it interesting. I can’t wait until next week to carve a little bit more time off.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Diet tracking Day 2 - OOPS

Well, day two of the diet was not as promising. Left to my own devices I probably will. Jodie was commissioned to make another cake – it kicked ass as usually – had a big dragon and stuff. But she had to deliver it last night. There was a mixing bowl left on the counter. The bowl had been scrapped but there was some residue. I hit this pretty had. Oh well – mistakes were made. I really did not have enough calories yesterday and fell into the same predicament. I got into too much of a deficient and cheated. This is a lesson that I seem to repeat over and over. Total calories for the day were 2,047. About the amount that I think that I need but I would like the foods to be more nutrient dense.

Exercise yesterday was the P90X plyometrics (jump training) program. This one is a hard cardio workout but I have started to skip most of the breaks. There are a few exercises mixed in that let you rest. I find that the arches of my feet start to hurt a little bit – but it is getting better. At lunch I did the rowing machine for the first time. Now this is a workout – that machine uses everything. After the only 10 minutes of rowing (damn hard workout) I did some strength training and called it a day. My weight is down a little bit – I am actually in my normal range. I am going to fine tune my diet and try to find an acceptable balance.
Someone asked me if my legs were sore from the P90X videos. Not really. The leg exercises are all or mostly body weight. In the past when I have done strength training with my legs I was always sore. It did not seem to matter how slow I started. I would be sore for several days – I mean like not walk down stairs sore. In fact when I started up the STADIUMS again I was sore for about 4 days – it did not stop me from running or cycling but the workouts were not quality. I think the body weight exercises with the STADIUMS are a pretty good compromise right now. I know that I will not gain any size in my legs (not my goal) but I think that I will gain some strength.

ALSO - My good friend Tony is SOLO biking the "Devil's Backbone" along the Natchez Trace - you can follow him here - Riding the "Devil's Backbone"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Working the plan - the diet plan...

Well, I started tracking my caloric intake yesterday – it is time to get back on track. And I scripted the plan yesterday morning my food that I had on hand at work. Monday’s are a long day for me since I have class after work – on Monday’s I am at work from about 7:30 AM until 8:30 + PM so I gather up quite a bit of food. I think that I might not be getting enough calories on a daily basis and this throws the whole diet into shambles whenever I get out of my norm. I’m thinking that I probably need somewhere around 2000 calories for subsistence and then I need to alter that amount depending on my activity level. So I am a little low right now.

On Monday’s I have decided to sleep in a little and skip the morning workout. So at lunch I simply did my Tabata intervals on the treadmill (8 X 20 seconds with 10 seconds recovery). I have been successful with 11 MPH and 12 MPH so today I decided to try 13 MPH. After my warm up I was pleased to find out that the treadmills at the gym top out at 12.5 MPH – this was a good thing. I was able to complete the session but it was a little bit reckless. At one point when I jumped off of the treadmill for the recovery I accidently hit the emergency stop button on the treadmills rail. This set me back a little bit since I had to get the treadmill back up to speed. After the 24 minutes of running (10 minutes warm up / 4 minute working set / 10 minutes cool down) I did a little bit of strength training (back and abs). This was an easy day – also not that many calories were burned. But I was happy to see that my weight has come down – yes – I lost 5.6 pounds in the last day. So at this rate I will hit my goal weight, well, by tomorrow. I am pretty excited. I mean it was hard to stay on track for an entire day but the results were worth it!

Of course I am joking, my weight can easily fluctuate 10 plus pounds in a weekend (especially after hard training days – that was always a disappointment). I am going to stick with a weight plan and follow it - the general trend is a lower body fat percentage. Now I just need to fine tune the plan and work it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back to the diet -

Wow – It has been a little while. I guess that I am experiencing a little but of the post-ironman blues. Fall is not my thing anyway and I guess coming off of a high – well, I have been having fun exercising but fun without direction. I need the structure.

Anyway, last Wednesday the storms moved in and the STADIUMS had to be relocated. We went and did the coliseum – the basketball courts. This is still a challenging workout but it is not the STADIUMS. For one thing – it is air conditioned. Another is that at full speed it only takes about 8 seconds to reach the top. The first two climbs we used to figure out the rest intervals. They went from a 1:15 RI to 1:00 total for the working set with the rest. Then we started to alternate between doing double steps and single steps. Some people like the singles some people liked the doubles. The singles took about 5 or 6 seconds longer going up. It was a good compromise to alternate them. Total up and down for the singles took about 31 seconds while the doubles took about 25 seconds. I pushed the pace to set benchmarks and I was about to get the singles down to 27 seconds and the doubles down to 22 seconds. The intensity was still high but the shorter working sets made the session much easier. We ended up doing 40 repeats. It was a good workout.

I have kept up with the P90X for two whole weeks now. I have altered the plan to fir my multi-sport lifestyle. I am really only doing the DVD’s 4 times a week and I have not done all of the sessions. I did the Kenpo (TYBO thing) only once and I have not done the yoga-X session at all. The DVD’s that I have done are the Chest & Back, Plyometrics, Legs & Back and Shoulders & Arms. I believe that each of these DVD’s are really good. I feel spent when I complete them but I will have to wait and see about results. I am going to keep up with this altered version of the P90X program.

With the weather turning cool again I had to pull out my arm skins for the Sunday group ride. I should have also pulled out leg skins and maybe even my shoe covers. I only rode 30 miles but my feet were cold the entire ride. This cold front came over night and again I was not able to acclimate quickly enough. These 50 – 60 degree afternoons will just fine in about a week (actually in about it week the temps will probably be back in the 80’s again).

Now onto the diet. For about a week and a half after I completed Ironman Louisville I actually lost weight while exercising less and eating more. This is no longer the case. My weight has crept up this past month and I am at an uncomfortable level right now. I have said this for years but it is really easy for me to follow a plan but I have never created a real eating / diet plan. I am going to do this right now. I am eating the same meals over and over without any problems but I am an opportunistic eater. I can’t go to all you can eat type restaurants or holiday get togethers and stay on track. I always over indulge. This was very evident this past weekend. I went to essentially 3 of these type events – 3 outdoor BBQ outings. There was really good (bad for you) grilled wares as well as a huge selection of desserts. I probably sampled everything. Starting tomorrow, it won’t be interesting reading, but I am going to start posting my food journal on this blog – you can skip right over it but I think the accountability would do me well. Feel free to comment on the selections and amounts (no pop tarts I promise).

I know that it will not be perfect but it is a start.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Adventure training

I got back into the pool on Monday and took an easy 2000 yard swim. I am trying not to drop the swim habit and this swim session was a success. I enjoyed the swim. I warmed up and cooled down with 500 yards each and did 10 x 100 yards for the working set. These were done on 1:45 – it was not overly challenging but it was a good workout. This 1:45 gave me about 10 seconds of recovery. I could have pushed hard but that was just not in the plan. I am still going to join the Master’s swim team but I have definitely been dragging my feet. I need to prioritize!

Tuesday was another P90X session – Arms and Shoulders. This is a good workout but being smaller muscles (arms and shoulders) I can exhaust them pretty easily. This makes this a great workout but I think that it is a little bit isolated. Sure, my arms and shoulders are cooked and I am sweating big time – but there are lots of larger muscles that have not been touched. I think more of a full body workout would be a better use of time. The good thing is that I can bounce back from these workouts rather quickly.

Okay – now this class that I am taking on Saturday’s (it is just 3 Saturday’s but it is all day). The description was for land and water orienteering and team problem solving. That sounded right up my alley. I would really like to get into adventure racing and maybe Xterra or something. However, the class is more about team work – like from a corporate retreat point of view. There were 10 on us taking the class and the ages ranged from 18 years and one month to me – nearly twenty years older. There were several trust exercises – they started off with just leaning forward and backward 10 to 20 degrees and depending on the other person to catch you. I was teamed with a couple of girls (no offense) and I guess that I was a little bit heavy – she tried really hard but – yeah – I hit the ground. No harm / no foul but it was kind of funny. At the end of the day we did another trust fall – this time it was from about 5 feet off of the ground and all the class members had their arms interlocked. That was fun – And I did not hit the ground. The class is not what I was looking for but I think that I will enjoy it – I did however, miss the only local triathlon because of class.

I am looking forward to the STADIUMS again this week – if the rain holds off!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Solid running, P90X and adventure training

At lunch on Friday Jim was fishing for someone to run with – So I obliged. Jim is a little bit listless following the ironman also. We don’t seem to have a whole lot of direction right now. Don’t get me wrong – I am still exercising and maintaining / improving my fitness but without clearly defined goals I am not focused. Jim mentioned Boston Qualifying again – he ran Boston a few years ago – he said he did not have a good race – the goal had been just to qualify. He also mentioned maybe trying for a 2:59 marathon – now that is a lofty goal. During the summer we do our cycling time trials – staggered start – set course – always trying to PR. Jim and I tossed around the idea of starting an evening running time trial. Something like a 5K or maybe a 4 or 5 mile run. Get a group of people to meet after work one night a week and lay it on the line. This would be our speed work and camaraderie all wrapped into one. Seems like a good idea even if it is only Jim and I that show up!

On Saturday I had class – Adventure Training – so I got up early per normal to get some exercise in. I had skipped the Kento P90X DVD earlier in the week so I thought that I would make it up. Although I was sweating profusely the work out just was not very intense! At this point I simply do not have the balance and coordination to do this work out all out. Watching the people on the DVD they are using their entire core and twisting with their legs to deliver what looks like powerful kicks and punches. Try as I might the most that I could incorporate was my upper torso and shoulders for the punches. I am really going to have to work on this part of the DVD’s. Funny story - When I was an out of shape chubby little kid – 5th or 6th grade I begged my mom to let me take karate. This was a big step for me – I was completely unfit – very little exercise and no diet what so ever. For the karate classes you had to commit to 30 days and had to buy a karate suit and stuff. My mom made me promise to stick with it. I was scared and excited about the class. During the first class they had us do all of the respect stuff when entering the ‘dojo’ or whatever and then had us practice some punches and what not. It was fun. I was having a good time. Then the instructor was going to do a little bit of a demonstration – show us some of the moves connected together. He was kicking and punching and we, the kids, were all lined up watching him. It was impressive. I was kind of day dreaming about being some kind of karate kid. Then the instructor started to a lot of punches and was kind of dancing around us – the line of kids. On one of his punches, and these were real punches – during the back stroke his elbow connected solidly with my eye socket. I went down like a sack of potatoes. I was dizzy and dazed and confused. Looking back I think that I may have had a mild concussion. The instructor felt horrible and helped me up. I sat out the remainder of the class. I was frightened at this point and was never to return to karate.

So, a little bit defeated by the Kento DVD and not feeling completely spent I put the pylometrics DVD in – this is the dynamic jumping around DVD. I was able to keep up the intensity on this one – in fact I skipped most of the water breaks and just fast forwarded the DVD. This, on top of the previous DVD was exhausting. I really laid it all on the line. Then it was off to class.

My adventure training class was described as land / water orienteering and team problem solving. That is not was the class was about. I will follow up on this a little later in the week.

After class Jodie and I went to gather out supplies for Halloween. The one prerequisite is that you have to be able to run in the costume. The track-on-tap Halloween addition is slated for Thursday, October 29. Jodie and I will also be in New Orleans on Halloween for a ½ marathon and I am considering, since I have not trained at all for a ½ marathon to run the race in full costume. This will definitely not be a PR but I bet it could be fun. We are also going to stay the night in New Orleans and do all of the Haunted Tours and what not.

Sunday is the first day of the week for me regarding the P90X series so I popped in the Chest and Back DVD. Last week this was very challenging – lots of pull-ups and push-ups. I brought the same amount of intensity as before and I had a great workout. Using a chair I was able to complete a lot more pull-ups and keep the intensity up. I took all of the water breaks and really tried to push myself. I am not used to the circuit training intensity of these routines. I think they will be good for me. I was dripping wet, a little nauseous and had a splitting head ache when I finished. Good stuff.

A couple of us from the running club were going to get together and run the Hobble then Gobble Thanksgiving day race course. The race directors wanted to make a slight revision to the course. I was not sure if I was going to be able to make it – the time might conflict with Beer Club. So I was sitting around the house eating candy (we were decorating Halloween cupcakes for Beer Club) and a little bit stir crazy. The weather was cool outside and there was a slight drizzle. I decided to go for a little run – no real direction – maybe 3 miles or something. I headed out at a very easy pace and I felt good. I just trucked along in the rain. I was soaked but I was enjoying the run. I would not be making the Sunday group ride today – I would so much rather run in the rain than ride in the rain. Before I knew it I was coming up on the Beaver Pond – this is 4.5 miles from home. I turned around and Charles (ultra runner / solid cyclist guy) came up from behind. I did not want to slow him down too much so I really picked up the pace – miles 6 and 7 were a couple of minutes per mile faster. I was glad he came up because it allowed me to get some real striders in during this run. These couple of miles really dropped my pace average for the run. After talking with Charles I dropped the intensity down a little bit – still higher than what I was running and finished up with 9 miles for the run. A good solid run.

I took in some nutrition at home and the phone rang. It was Charles from the running club and he said we were getting together to run the 5 mile hobble then gobble course in about an hour and a half. So, why not, I would get a few more miles. The rain had let up for the most part when I got to the race site. Audrey, Charles wife, wanted to run Buccaneer – this is a very hilly route. I discovered it during a long, hard brick last summer – it ate my lunch. I had joked about changing the hobble then gobble course to include Buccaneer but we would lose so many participants the following year. We have also batted around the idea of having ‘The hardest 5K in the Hub City’ race on this road. Anyway, Audrey and I decided to run the hills. My legs were a little tired and we pushed each other. It was challenging. Towards the end we both picked up the pace and finished the 5 miles with an average pace of about 8:10. This was faster than my ‘easy’ run earlier. So all in all I got 14 miles for the day – about 7 easy and about 7 hard.