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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Retro grip tape - 80's throw back

My grip tape was starting to wear in a couple of areas. I bought a roll of grip tape on sale. I’m a little bit behind the times and I am certainly not a pro but I picked the white tape. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago during a Wednesday Night Ride. One of the guys, Ty asked me if I was going all eighties and if I was going to get my ear pierced again.

Before - plain Jane black grip tape.

I have done this a time or two - remember that, when looking from the left side of the bike that the tape wraps counter clockwise.  Do as I say, not as I do - the above is incorrect.

Still wrong.  Why, because you have a natural tendency to grip the tape and push it forward.  This will prevent the tape from unrolling prematurely.  When doing the right side, stand on the right side of the bike and wrap it clockwise.

I actually like the yin yang / black white look - kind of anyway.

Finished product.  I think it turned out well on a black and white bike.

However, the question is if I will like dingy, dirty white on a black and white bike?

I did not know that the white tape was that retro – but, I am probably not going to get the ear pieced (again?)but I might rock the neon or maybe a Frankie Says shirt – Do you kids even remember those?

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Crit

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming – I do like the title Running from Demons and Overtraining – but I will keep the normal title for now.

I certainly have kept busy the last couple of weeks. That happens this time of year. Single days turn into two-a-days and two-a-days turn into three-a-days. Maladaptive? Definitely but it works for me. Maybe I am justify but running 12 I the morning and then biking 50 in the afternoon just sounds like normal everyday ironman training and it sure beats climbing into a bottle. But I digress.

I took these pictures during some of the other races.

Last weekend I did my first every road bike race. There was a crit and a road race up in Meridian. I decided to do the crit at the last minute. I had several people encouraging me to take the leap. I had a lot of fear. You here about all of the crashes and wrecks and – well they look very dangerous. Now, I am not really scared or afraid of crashing or anything. I mean, I don’t want it to happen but I am afraid of the lingering injuries. I have a very real fear of hurting myself and my lifestyle having to be altered. I use my exercise for far more than fitness. Exercise is my escape and I am not sure I want to have to come up with an alternative.

The winner of the cat 4 race.  I like the guy in the background.

Anyway, I rode up with Raland Saturday afternoon and we linked up with the R2W cycling team. They are primarily mountain bike racers but they are trying to broaden their scope. This would be the first crit for many of them as well. We set up camp at the finish line and watched the juniors and women divisions. It felt very strange getting ready for a race with a 3PM start time. I am usually just waking up and drinking a cup of coffee for the start of most triathlons or running races.

A sprinting crash at the end of a race.

The course was several city blocks in old downtown Meridian. Although there were no steep climbs the entire route was either up or down. The start / finish line was about 400 yards up a slight hill – there was also a head wind for this straight away. My goal for the race was to stay out of trouble. I understand that you will not place very high being so conservative but this would be a learning experience.

90 degree turn.

I had imagined the race starting out at a break neck speed up everyone just kind of clipped in and jumped into the group. It was a little bit unsettling taking 90 degree turns three wide and at speed. This is something that is definitely foreign to a triathlete. There are very few technical triathlon races and no one takes the turns at three wide. The entire group rode together jockeying for position. No one wanted to make a break and the group slinked along. The group was like an accordion. I managed to stay at near the front of the pack. I did get stuck up front for a while but remember that I was not in charge of pulling this group. I slacked off of the pace a little bit and in a minute or two someone else took the lead. The time was flying in the race. It was only to be 30 minutes and then the last lap called. I remember doing 30 minute time trials that have felt like a week. The time trials seem like they will never end and hurt so dang bad. Well, Garmin was just ticking off the minutes. Ten minutes went by – then 20 minutes went by. This race was like out Wednesday night ride. I was hanging on fine and fairly comfortable.

Exciting racing.

And then someone made a break. It was on the top half of the course and they made a break just before a big downhill. It caught me off guard. I had just gotten comfortable enough so that I could grab a quick drink from my water bottle. I had just got a splash and the group surged in response to the attack. I caged the bottle and jumped out of the saddle. Down the hill and banking hard for the 90 degree turn into the straight away. A large gap developed. The leaders were halfway down the start / finish straight away and moving fast. I was alone going up the incline and taking the full brunt of the wind. I was working hard – very hard. I was not making any progress. I was talking to myself saying just 10 more seconds. I had to say it a couple of times. Fortunately the group slower a fraction after the next couple of turns and I was able to bridge the gap. I was on the pack of the lead pack! There were only a couple more laps at this point. They were counting them down each time we crossed the finish line. Being back in the draft my heart rate had come down sufficiently. I was feeling strong.

Carousel horse in the background.

I know from talking with more experienced riders that the strongest does not always win – I’m fact being strong, unless you are substantially strong won’t get you very far. You also have to be smart. Not pulling the group and setting them up.

A breakaway in the Cat 1,2,3 race.

The bell rang with one lap to go. The pace immediately picked up again. I was in the middle of the lead pack and just moving along. The leaders made another attack just before the downhill section immediately preceding the finish line straight away. In retrospect, the set the sprint up in the downhill so that they were in position to have the best line on the straight away. I was left at the back of the lead pack when this happened. I was not prepared for break although, once again, in retrospect it was obvious. I did try to out sprint the cyclists closest to me but it was to no avail. However, I also did not get out sprinted by anyone. We all just accelerated as hard as we could but none of us could make any ground on each other.

Hot pursuit.

All in all I had a very good outing. First, there were no crashes in our race. That was fortunate. Second, I was able to finish with the lead pack. This was quite an accomplishment in and of itself. And third, I think I now have a little more confidence for the next bicycle race that I do.

The main pack.

Friday, August 27, 2010

5 years continued - Thank you all so much.

The comments, emails and phone calls have been overwhelming. Thank you so much. I would not be where I am today without the love and support of so many people like you.

Your words are inspirational! – I have to share. 

I also stuck all of these commentsinto a wordle ( - I don't know - it is just something I do.

You will never know how much I needed to be reminded about what is important with my 17 year old daughter. We have been struggling over some issues, that in the big picture, are not that important. Thank you for putting yourself out there. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am proud of your blog about your family. I knew about your loss but not the details. I have to say I shed some tears in reading your story. They would be so proud of who you are. I have been and will continue to keep you in my prayers. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.

I know many of have told you these same words, but I mean them. I am here and will do anything for you.

I gotta tell you James, from a man to a man, You are a beautiful person!
Thanks for your writing these past few days. I shared your link on my blog, because, I think, people need the perspective of your unimaginable experience. This perspective can only create a better world around those who read your story. As I have taken your wisdom, I am giving you my strength in return, for you to use it at your will.

Hi James, First of all, your daughter is so beautiful and I can tell how proud that you are of her! Secondly, I am in awe of your strength. All of these posts are so lovely and you have touched my heart by sharing something so personal. Thank you:)

Hi James, I found your blog through my friend Ginny. I so sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to you. I could not make it through your post without the tears falling down my cheeks. God bless you.

Again, I am at a loss for words. I read all 3 posts and what I come away with more than anything else is a very powerful lesson - appreciate every moment you have with your loved ones. Don't take anything for granted - which I know I have for sure. Thank you for sharing your story.

I've been reading your blog posts, and I can't imagine how difficult it was for you to do that. I had admired your strength and courage the days following and my admiration continues to this day. I had started to write you on several occasions to tell you this, but could never finish out of fear of offending you or seeming self indulgent. To say you "loved your family" or that "they meant the world to you" does NOT do those words justice. What you had was beyond words. I always valued our friendship for the laughs, and the "interesting" topics that always seemed to pop up in our conversations. But mostly, I valued you because you are a good man.

Wow. There are no words... I admire your strength. This is a great reminder to love, hug and kiss those that are important to you each day.

You're a beautiful soul. Thank you.

I don't have words to say. You are a strong person to share such a difficult story. Thank you.

I know your wife and daughter are looking down on you and giving you the strength to share those beautiful thoughts will all of us. Thanks so much for sharing. Take care.

I read your post this morning and find it hard to put in words how it makes me feel. A waterfall of different emotions I guess will have to do. I wanted to send you a note to thank you for having the courage to share your story. It will have an impact on others as it has for me. It may just be small things like, changing my lunch plans today so I can go home and have lunch with my wife and daughter instead of going out with the guys. Or getting back into the habit of putting my kids to bed “twice”. Once, for real where I might read a book and pray with them but then again an hour later when they are fast asleep where I just stare at them, studying every feature of their faces and I ask God to help me be a better Father. Or finding more patience when my Wife interrupts me, again, while I am in the middle of dealing with an issue to tell me something about her day. I can only imagine where you found the strength and courage to do your first bike race this weekend. I know today must be very difficult for you as well. Please find some comfort in knowing that many thoughts and prayers are heading your way.

I am blown away by your strength and courage for sharing your story with us. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful. I hope that your posts have helped you reach the level of acceptance even more.

Just wanted to let you know I read your blog today and I cried like a baby! Lance gave us a heads up on the emotional weight of the post today. I never spoke of the story after you shared it with us on our way to Cheeha last year. I didnt even tell my wife your story but I did start sending her I love you text more!!

I know your wife and daughter are looking down on you and giving you the strength to share those beautiful thoughts will all of us. Thanks so much for sharing.

I can't even begin to imagine what you must have gone through and what you still go through today. This post must have been incredibly difficult to write. I am so sorry for your losses. Take those wonderful memories of your wife and daughter and hold onto them! And, thank you for reminding us of what is truly important.

You are just amazing. Cannot imagine being where you are today after that. Thank you so much for sharing and reminding us of what's important. Wow.

I clicked over to your blog last night and read the first post of "5 years." During this time, my husband came in. He was holding our 8 week old daughter and wanted to know why I was crying. I was so sad for you I couldn't read parts two and three until this morning.

Thank you for sharing. It is so important to not let minutia supersede the important things and moments in life. I'm glad that you already knew this BEFORE. What a terrible way to reaffirm that though.

Ok, you've blown me away here! What an amazingly brave, strong person you are. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Yes, the injection of humor made my smile. Very catchy titles :) I am so glad that sharing your story on paper has shown you how far you have grown.

Love that injection of humor :) the part about "I felt like I was somehow betraying myself - not being able to say things" is really resonating with me today. There are dumb secrets I keep from the world and I definitely haven't felt like myself in a long while. Some days I seem to make progress with it and others... major steps back.

I've read all 3 of these posts and I still have no idea what to say, which is rare. I guess where I get to is that end of it all you took the worst possible situation that could ever happen and dealt with it in such a way that you are where you are today. That is frickin' incredible.

Thank you for finding the strength to share this...there are no words. Yes, I'm crying...they were beautiful.

Heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Your strength and your love come through very clearly in your words. I am deeply saddened by your loss, but equally amazed at how you have come through this experience. I'm not the most emotional person, but the caption from the photo above knocked the wind out of me and left me in tears. Lots of kisses and hugs planned for my daughter tonight. Thank you for sharing.

You should be a proud father. How beautiful! Anyone who reads your posts this week walks away with something more, in some way. I hope you walk forward after this week with a stronger sense of healing. I also hope you know your friends are behind you in your journey forward. I love the last paragraph. This summer my blog should be Run'n & Cry'n but - no more. I'm moving forward too. Cool weather's on the way, getting stronger after each run, & we will be move'n faster this fall. Can't wait to follow your journey to the Mardi Gras marathon and BOSTON. (although it's wrong that you BQ'ed on your 1st try - ha ha - it took me 15 tries - yes, I've been told I'm hard headed)

James, Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. They are very moving and have given me a lot to think about. I enjoy sharing blogs with everyone because I get to learn about ins and outs of nutrition and training, today you have given me much more think about and I will never be able thank you enough for that.

It is sad to me... that I take things for granted every day. What you have written this week has really struck a nerve. Currently in the process of becoming a better person to those around me. It is not until something like this comes out and you know that a friend has gone through this that you have to sit back and re-evaluate your life and your choices. I ask myself, what would I do if Heather was taken from me. I don't think I could function. Unfortunately emotions are not calculated and can never be linear. This is the difference between humanity and science I guess.

Thank you for sharing. It was and continues to be powerful. I just want to say that I'm glad to know you...truly...Strongest person I know.

James, I echo what Becky says. I think you are an angel. Not that I believe in all of that, but I do believe that some things happen, and some people are chosen to be the bearers of stories and experiences that get shared and passed to the benefit of all. Thank you James. P.S. it was great to see you on the Trace the other day! I was in the process of getting my butt was getting kicked by Laura and Jessi.

I hope that you sharing this with us will give you a sense of acceptance for who you are. I understand how you might feel that you were not "yourself" because you had this part of you that we did know. I respect you so much for being open about this. We now know you so much better. There may be some who will be uncomfortable because of the information that you have shared with us. Those people have their own secrets and might not know how to relate to someone who is so open. I hope that when I hugged you last night, I did not hurt your sunburn.

James, I am now your follower. I really like your posts and how you express your feelings. You are an inspiration! You daughter and wife were very beautiful people! I am sure they would be very proud of you for moving on with your life and not getting stuck in steps 1 and 2. You are a brave and very strong man! God is very proud of you! Peace!

I had no idea. Thank you for reminding me to cherish what is most important to me. My boys, including my husband are what matter most and all the trivial stuff seems so insignificant when imagining losing them. I wish you peace and happiness and thank you again for putting yourself out there. I am glad to have seen a part of your super girls in you.

I have just read through your last two posts, with tears in my eyes. You are so amazing and strong to have come through this with such a healthy outlook and lifestyle. What a blessing you had in having loved two such amazing girls. They are absolutely beautiful!! I will make a special effort to hug/kiss/love my three babies (19, 16 and 11) and my husband. All my support to you.

My heart is full and so are my eyes. Your Super Girls are so beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss. This really puts a lot into perspective - as you said, it is so important to live in the now because you never know what will happen tomorrow. Big hugs to you.

I too don't know what to say. How wonderful that the three of you spent so many wonderful moments together and knew that you loved each other with all of your being. I am so sorry for your loss.

It amazes me how strong you are and how you've managed to make so many positives from such a bad moment. Lainie is gorgeous - I am sure she is dancing every night away in that dress! I hope your community is still as strong now as it was 5 yrs ago.

James, I am catching up on your other post and this one. I am so sorry for your loss. What you have done with your life since then has been incredible and I hope you continue with your goals as an athlete. I'm speechless. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing. You strength is amazing.

James, I'm sorry. How terribly tragic and heart wrenching. Sharla and Lainie are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

My heart is so full right now. I just thank you for opening up and sharing. I feel your strength. I love the last paragraph. Thanks again.

I had to read this twice to kind of comprehend what I was reading. I am so sorry for your loss and the strength it took to share this story is beyond any words I can think of. And thank you for the reminder that we shouldn’t worry about the little things; it’s the things that bring us happiness and joy what is important.

Wow. You are more than an Ironman... Praying for your successful AFTER.

I can't even tell you how sorry I am!!!! You are a VERY strong person.

James, I've read this twice now and am sitting here with tears streaming down my face...I am inspired by how you've chosen to live your life! (before and after)...when you said "The house was a mess. The chores were not done. And we did not care." it's true, no one will ever regret not cleaning the house, but they will regret not spending enough time with their loved ones. You are a very brave person. Thank you for the reminder to tell our loved ones that we care about them.

You are an inspiration, James. I am still in tears. This is so hard to bear. You are a very strong person. Thank you for sharing this with us. I don't know if I would make it. I feel like giving you a big hug...but if I do, I will break down in tears. God bless you, man!

You wife and daughter will live on in the man that you have become. You reflect the love that you shared with them. I am honored that you are willing to share this with us.

I read yesterday's post and then had no idea how to even respond, but I was certainly in tears. I'm sure the pain will always be there but I hope writing about this has been cathartic. It certainly makes me realize how things can change in the blink of an eye.

I seriously cannot fathom... I mean, you hear about this happening to people, but you never understand it and you can never put this into perspective. In tears again reading this. I mean, I just hurt for you. Your daughter's smile shows how truly happy she was. I do not blame you for backing up your memories and sending them to different people so you will always have them. I would have done the same thing.

You made me CRY! I just keep putting myself in your position and I know I wouldn't be able to recover.

James, that was very courageous to post and I am so sorry for your loss. Your strength and perspective is very inspiring!

I love you.

Thank you for sharing this with us. I had no idea you had been through this and it's the ultimate reminder to embrace life and the people we love. You are incredible for having such positive perspective and cherishing the memories.

I think this goes down as my favorite post. It's gut-level honest. And endearing. And heart wrenching. And brave beyond belief.

What a courageous and strong person you are. Thank you for sharing your story.

James - thanks so much for sharing such an important part of your life. Thanks also for reminding us that today is really important. I so enjoyed running with you on Sunday, of course, I didn't know at the time how important that day was for you.

Wow. This was an incredibly moving post. I read it and re-read it. I'm blown away with what you went through. As soon as I finished, I sent my wife a quick, "Love you" text message. It took two seconds - peanuts in the grand scheme of things. I got an "I love you too :)" message back. You said it best, "That was a gift." Thank you so much for sharing!

I am so very very sorry for your loss. Thank you for your sharing your story with us all. Big hugs to you.

You truly are a remarkable person. Thanks for sharing this. I have to agree with Jennifer - honored to be your friend.

James, I am so sorry for your loss. This is a heartbreaking story. Oh my goodness. You are so brave. I am so blown away. I am in tears. This is beyond what I could ever imagine. God bless you!

I too am blown away. Thank you for sharing it. It must have taken everything you got to write all that down. I hope it was therapeutic to get that out. I hope that if I was face with that type of adversity I would be half as inspirational as you. Kudos to you for your valiant spirit. I am so sorry for your losses.

You never knew how strong you were until being strong was the only choice you had. (my favorite quote) When I lost my mom my dad told me life is for living. It is the best way to celebrate the blessing of life. Thank you for sharing something that is beyond what I could imagine!!!!

James, I am so sorry. This is incredibly heart-breaking to read, let alone be in your shoes. Thank you, for being brave enough to share. I know it's not easy to talk about. You are very fortunate to have had great "last" memories with them and not a silly argument. I am glad you've picked up your pieces and are trying to move forward each day. We may be strangers, but know you always have the support of your running/tri-ing blog friends should you ever need anything.

Twenty two years ago my oldest sister died in a car wreck. Now that I am a parent, I can't imagine the heartache of losing a child. I am glad to see you were able to pick yourself up and carry on.

I am in tears reading this. I am sorry for your loss, this is something so big that I know I could never handle it or deal with it or accept it. I can only imagine what it took for you to compose this post but in all honesty the memories are what is important, and for you to cherish them and have them is what matters. I thank God for allowing you to experience that perfect day with your family.

James, I am blown away. I have known you for a couple of years now and this is such an amazing story in so many ways. Thank you for sharing. I can tell it has been good for you to do this. I am honored to be your friend. Once again I wanted to tell you how much you touched me know my oldest just turned 19 and I can relate to where you were at that point in your life... I have read it 4 times today.....I think you made the right decision by keeping this close to your heart for so long. I also know how many people you touched today by sharing your story....

5-years-feels-like-blink-of-eye - part 1

5-years-continued - part 2


5-years-continued-thank-you-all-so-much - part 4

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

5 years continued - part 3

Thank you all so much for the kind comments and emails. They have been very up lifting and appreciated. I have been touched. Writing about my experiences has been cathartic. These posts are definitely for me - they are tough but ...

So there I was sitting on the front porch of my house. The sun had just come up. I could not understand how cars could still drive down the street or how the sun could still shine or the wind blow. It was not making a whole lot of sense to me. The world should have stopped. I mean, this was the end.

Well, I wrote about four more pages. It was just a lot of pain and suffering and rambling. If you have ever read anything in this blog it should come across that I am very task and goal oriented. That is how I confronted this – I read the books about the all of the stages in the grief process (depending on the book there can be 5, 7 and even 10 steps) and made objectives and timelines. You know, I do love the self help section at the library. Well, I learned a lot – the grieving process is not linear. There is ebb and flow – one day you might be on step 4 and then slide back to step 2 for months.

1. Denial and Isolation.
At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.

2. Anger.
The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.

3. Bargaining.
Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"

4. Depression.
The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.

5. Acceptance.
This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.
However, just because you write down what needs to be done and you do it – and this is the kicker – it does not mean you were successful. You have to really experience the steps, feel the steps, and understand what you are going through. It is not black and white. I hate to say it but you must embace the grief – let the pain wash over you. I have met so many people that have never been able to made peace. They are stuck in steps one or two for decades. They never make it out. They become ruined. I could not let that happen to me. I could not betray my wife and daughter.

So, I used to fall down a lot. In fact I fell down all of the time. And when I fell I stayed down for a long time. As time went on I fell less often and got up quicker. It was funny the things that would knock you down. I could prepare for the big dates. I would plan ahead and brace for them. But it was the little things that hurt the worst. You would catch a faint smell or see a favorite color or a voice. That is when you would just lose it. You would fall down into that pit of despair. That was the worst place. Most of the time I just felt empty but that despair - that one was tough.

Anyway, while I can’t say I am never down - it is few and far between and it is on my terms. I also love the line “You can’t knock me down – I’m either up or in the process of getting up!” I truly believe that I am at step 5 which is Acceptance (sometimes I can and will slide back). I am at peace and I am thankful of the time that I had with these wonderful people.

Opening up about this has been on my to-do-list for the last couple of years. But like I said - just because I have completed the task does not mean I was successful. I had a good friend email this question – “Does it feel better or worse or the same after writing and sharing with the world?”

I responded, “I was hoping for a weight to be lifted off of my shoulders. Well, that did not happen but I hope that I can now be myself. I felt like I was somehow betraying myself – not being able to say things. Just having to be guarded all of the time. At least I should be able to get over that – if I can figure out who I really am.

We will just have to see. Right now I just feel so very vulnerable. It is like I have a really bad sunburn. I am walking around trying not to touch the walls and hoping someone does not slap me on the back.

In the grand scheme of things I truly believe that it will be positive but here and now in the short term it is a risk. It was very cathartic to get it down on paper. I can see how I have grown in the last couple of years.”

Don’t worry, we will get back to regularly scheduled programming soon (Running from Demons and Overtraining). After all, this blog is not called Grief 101, or Tri’n for grief, or even Tri’n and Cry’n (although that is a good one).

I’m still a proud father – I’m just showing off now –

5-years-feels-like-blink-of-eye - part 1

5-years-continued - part 2


5-years-continued-thank-you-all-so-much - part 4

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

5 years continued

Thank you all so much for the kind comments and emails. They have been very up lifting and appreciated. I have been touched. Writing about my experiences has been cathartic. These posts are definitely for me - they are tough but ...

I’m a story teller at heart and I have now been allowed to open my entire back catalog. I could easily write volumes about how hard life got after that day. I believe that there are defining moments in life. I have a couple of them – they are not all tragic. However, with this date my mind is still divided. I now see things differently. I see dates, events and even philosophies as BEFORE and AFTER. On all of my photographs and documents I immediately created a new folder called BEFORE and placed everything in it. Everything from that date forward was in an AFTER folder. I have since let the AFTER folder become current –but the BEFORE still remains.

So I dug into the BEFORE folder last week and looked over some of the documents. The tears still flow, however there are smiles and laughs present. My sister related a story to me years ago. Just after this had happened she was talking with an old man – he was in his 80’s or 90’s. He told her how he had lost a child like 60 years ago. She said his eyes welled up and he just started balling. I can understand.

Anyway, I cannot even attempt to tell you how special these people were to me – I’m not that good of a story teller. Sharla had been involved in so many organizations and had touched so many people. Hundreds and hundreds of people came to me and told me just how special they were. I wrote this to thank the community that I lived in – the outpouring was wonderful.
My name is James Daniel and I have experienced a tragic loss this week. I have lost my beautiful wife Sharla and wonderful daughter Lainie. Those who know me know that we were inseparable and that my family was my everything – they were my ‘Super Girls’. Her sisters, Suzie and Shannon, brother Shane, mother Marcia, and father Phil and their families are also struggling.

I would like to show my appreciation to this community for their compassion, sympathy and generosity in my time of need. My neighborhood has come out in full force. They have laughed and cried with me. Held me in the darkest hours and helped me with this loss. I would like to especially thank Caroline and Elaine, the Moore's: Ruth, Frank, Cat, Mouse, Frankie and John. These people have always been more than neighbors. These are special people.

The community services that my family has been involved with have also been very generous: The American Cancer Society, The Hyte Community Center and the Light House mission. I have worked with each of these organizations with my wife and daughter and have seen the differences they make in peoples lives. These organizations do powerful work each and every day. I encourage you to donate your extra time and monies to help better your fellow citizen. I will give more of myself.

My daughter’s school, Honey Creek Middle School is a special place. My daughter truly enjoyed her time there. The staff and children have been wonderful and they will continue to remember Lainie like I do – full of life and always smiling. I miss my parenting rolls already: going over homework, worrying about tests and packing school lunches. I enjoyed evenings with my daughter and discussing what she had learned that day. The children that I have seen this week, really just babies, have touched my heart. I hated to see them grieve and I know that they have had to grow up this week. Some innocence has been lost. Children have the ability to see the fun times without the sadness. This is what I strive for. A close friend of mine, Charles Joenathan, imagined what it would be like to be able to do this – to live more like children. These are profound words.

My B1027 Radio Station extended family has also been very supportive. I do not know many of these individuals as well as my wife or even my daughter but they have helped immensely. I appreciate them and look forward to developing these relationships.

My wife and daughter have taught me many lessons over the years. They have made me a better person. I hope that your home can be like mine – where everyone knows that you love them but you still tell them all the time. Please do not let the petty, insignificant trials of our every day lives come between you and the ones you love. The time spent on this earth is precious. Try to live in the ‘now’. Although the sun also rises - tomorrow may never come. Please enjoy the moments that you have and kiss your babies at every opportunity.
Thank you

Lainie was so proud of this dress.  She had saved and purchased it with her own money for the upcoming 'Snow Ball' dance.  She never got to wear it.  I buried her in it.

5-years-feels-like-blink-of-eye - part 1

5-years-continued - part 2


5-years-continued-thank-you-all-so-much - part 4

Monday, August 23, 2010

5 years feels like a blink of the eye.

Well, it has been five years. I am an open person but I have kept some things close to my heart. I really wanted to post this last year but I couldn’t. I tried to but I got caught up in a lot self imposed perfectionism – I put pressure on myself and I simply could not overcome. I have only shared with 5 people in Mississippi.  I have regretted this. So even though it is difficult I am going to tell some of my story.

In retrospect, it is ironic that I now live in Mississippi. Mississippi is coming up on the 5 year anniversary of hurricane Katrina. I have no recollection of Katrina. I did not even know it was going on – I was oblivious to worldly events. Let me explain.

August 21, 2005 was the best day of my life. It was a Sunday morning and the Indiana summer was coming to an end. The whole day was in front of us. We were full of life and loving it. There were not many weekends spent at home. We willingly traded the day to day tasks for adventure. The house was a mess. The chores were not done. And we did not care.

Sharla (she went by Charlie to her friends) was the ring leader - the instigator. She was always the life of the party. All rooms brighten with her presence. For 15 years I had enjoyed being caught in her wake. She pulled me along. She made fun easy.

We were outdoorsy people. As I stated, the chores could wait another day. We loaded up the ‘war hammer’ which was our camping vehicle. It was an old beat up 4x4. You could remove the top and have some fun in the sun. The truck was loaded up with snacks and lunch and the dog and all of the stuff need for some fun in the Indiana back woods. We left early Sunday morning to the ‘largest waterfalls’ in Indiana. We hiked and swam and climbed trees all day long. Everything was done right. I know this seems farfetched but it was a perfect day. I knew at the time. I still know it today. There were no worries or the trials of everyday life. Believe me when I tell you – none of that stuff happened on this day.

I had a fairly new camera that still had my attention. I literally took hundreds of photographs that day. What a gift. (You cannot understand the value of this. I have backed up these digital memories so many times and mailed them to so many people for safe keeping. I have extra DVD’s and hard drives all over the place. I have them in fire safes. I have them backed up with on-line storage. I don’t think I can convey how important these are to me.) These are my most valuable possessions yet I do not share them.

One of my favorite pictures - I love the way my wife is looking at my daughter.

I still lived a healthy life style back then. That was not always easy with a teenager in the house. We tried to instill good practices. On the drive home from the adventure Lainie said that she was hungry. Once again, we do not eat fast food. However, for the first time probably in years I decided to stop. Lainie ordered whatever it is kids order from those places – a hamburger or chicken nuggets – whatever. Sharla and I would eat later at the house. Lainie was so happy for the treat. It only took a minute but what a gift. I am so fortunate that I don’t have one of those ‘come on dad – please’ memories. I only have the joy. That was gift.

The hat says "boys = losers"  - just too funny.

Later that night Lainie was in bed and I was bed. Sharla was working on something for work the next day. For as long as I can remember Lainie had always wanted to sleep in our room. We had perpetuated the ‘family bed.’ We were close that way. Lainie was a snuggle muffin and a hot potato. When she was younger it was much more often. She would be so embarrassed right now but even as she had gotten older she still wanted to sleep with us. We were starting to discourage this as she became a teenager. However, this night, she came into our bedroom and asked if you could cuddle for a little while and sleep in our room. I thought about it. I just did not want the day to end. I whispered to her that if mom asked she would have to say that I was already asleep. I did not want to get in trouble. I went to sleep with my daughters head on my shoulder. That was gift.

A few quick pictures and then I jumpd in.

Sharla and I woke up early the next morning and did our normal five mile run together. I have always been able to run just about anyone’s pace. I always used this time to just talk and reflect on the previous day or sometimes we would talk about the coming events. This was ‘our’ time together. We ran through the park and through the university and hit some of downtown. We were always amazed how small the town got when you started running. When you get in the car you get removed from the actual distance.

I had to work a little late that night. Working in computer you sometimes have to do maintenance in off peak hours. It was not often. In fact this was the first time that I had to work late in at least a year. No big deal. Since I had to work late I was not going into work until after lunch.

I did not always take my daughter to school in the mornings. Many times that was Sharla’s task. However I had some time this morning. Lainie went to school across town. This gave us the opportunity to talk about being an 8th grader and all of the new and exciting times at school. I don’t remember much of the conversation but when we arrived at school Lainie reached across and kiss me goodbye. She said, “Yesterday was the best day ever! I love you dad.” Let me tell you. Kisses from a teenage daughter and words like that were special. Yes, they are just as special when your kids are younger but they are just so much more common. All strife that can come with being a teenager – well, you start to cherish these moments. That was a gift.

I got home from taking Lainie to school and needed to do some of the chores that were missed over the weekend. We had an old house with a little yard. I don’t remember the reasons anymore but I had gotten rid of the gas powered mower and had bought a reel mower the year before. I guess I bought it because of some thought about functional strength. Why exercise and workout if you are not going to use your strength. Anyway, what used to take me 30 minutes now took about an hour and I had to cut the grass twice as often. I had my shirt off and was hot and sweaty when I finished the front yard. This was work but I did not smell like petrol fumes. I walked into the house and Sharla was in the kitchen making some lunch. We almost never saw each other during the day. I came home almost every day for lunch and worked out but she was always with clients or on location – that is what you get when you are a radio DJ – always selling ads and stuff. This lunch was a treat. It was something unexpected. I don’t remember the details. She told me about her day. She and Lainie were talking one of the radio interns out for dinner and then going to Sharla’s sister’s house. She knew I was working late but asked if I could join them. I told her I would try.

I went to work and did my thing. I got a call from Sharla around 7 o’clock asking if I was able to get away for dinner. I told her that I was just wrapping up but I probably would not be able to make. I could have wrapped it up but I was tired. I was ready to get home. I got home at about 8:30. I had a quick bit to eat and then went to bed. I was beat. Even back then I went to bed early. I was out like a light by 9.

My cell phone rang at 9:17PM. I hate cell phones. My cell phone was for work and only rang when bad things happened. The chime of the damn thing would always startle me. It was Suzie, Sharla’s sister on the phone. I was confused. Why was she calling me? She said I needed to get to the hospital. I asked her what happened but she did not have details.

I got dressed. I was grumpy. I was thinking about money. Was the car torn up? What went wrong?

The hospital was only a short drive for the house. We had run by it that morning. After college I had worked at a hospital as a physical therapy tech. I hate hospitals! You would work with an older patient for weeks and then they were gone. You could always tell the turning point. The patient would have the best session ever and then. And then they would either turn the corner and get better or be gone the next day. The emotional cost was too high for me. I hate hospitals!

I got to the hospital and checked in at the emergency room. They shuffled papers and typed on their computer and told me to take seat while they looked into it. Someone came out and took me to a small room. They told me to wait for the doctor. A minute later a young doctor with a thick accent came in with an older nurse. He started telling me that it was very bad and started to list things that were broken on Sharla. Swollen this and punctured that. I told him to stop. I was not processing his words. I did not want to hear him. He kept telling me of Sharla’s condition. I told him to stop. Finally the nurse shut him up. I asked about my daughter. They looked at me like I was on another planet. This time they did not understand. I told them that Lainie was with my wife. They did not know what I was talking about but kept pressing that Sharla need to be flown to another hospital and that I could see her before the chopper left. I agreed to this. Sharla was still beautiful but she was terribly damaged. Her body was black and blue. I wanted to hold her but at the same time I did not want to hurt her further. I lightly put my arms around her and gave her a kiss on her swollen cheek. They prompt me to let her go so that they could fly her away. They told me I needed to find transportation to Indianapolis. I asked, “How can leave without my daughter?” They said they would call the other hospital again. I walked back into the lobby and Suzie was there. The radio crew that Sharla worked with was there – they are always monitoring the news.

So, here I needed to get to Indianapolis for my wife but I did not know where my daughter was. I was shutting down. My mind was full of worms. It was surreal. Suzie was hysterical. The radio people were trying to be helpful. They were asking me what they could do. How should I know? My phone rang again. I was not startled. The phone indicated that Sharla was calling me. A million impossibilities entered my mind. How? What? I answered the phone. It was not Sharla of course. It was a lady that said she had witnessed the accident. She just so happened to be the coroner’s wife in small town Illinois (where the accident took place). She said she had some stuff from the scene for me. She was very nice and consoling but I was not understanding what she was saying. I asked about Lainie. She said that Lainie was with them. That she did not make it. That she had died on the scene. She said that she was beautiful and she did not think that she had suffered.

I knew, deep in my core – with every fiber of me that Sharla would not make it. She would not be able to live without Lainie. I would not want to see Sharla suffer without her baby. I could not bear the thought of this destroying Sharla.

I would end up calling this coroner lady many times, sometimes in the middle of the night to ask about Lainie’s eyes. I used to have nightmares all the time about the accident. I would reconstruct it in my mind. I always would ask this lady if Lainie’s eyes were open. I would ask her if my baby was scared. I wish she would have lied to me. She just said that she did not know. She thought that she closed Lainie’s eyes.

Well, now I knew that I just needed to get to the other hospital. One of the radio crew offered to drive us to Indianapolis in their suburban. It was late now – maybe 11 o’clock. I sat in the back of the SUV and called my sister in Texas. I woke her up and said that there had been an accident. I remember crying into the phone watching the street lights intermitly light of the vehicle. She asked what was going on. I said that I was going to the hospital, that Sharla was in a helicopter and that Lainie was dead. She burst into tears.

We arrived in Indianapolis but Sharla did not. She had died in flight. Soon all of Sharla’s family would start to arrive. They had a much further drive than I had. I remember talking to a priest and – well, whatever priests talk about. About not understanding and all of that stuff. He asked if I wanted to see Sharla one last time. I went and held Sharla some more. I did not want to talk with anyone. I walked out of the hospital and bummed a cigarette from one of Sharla’s relatives. I had not smoked in years. He gave me a lighter and the pack. I sat down next to the building and chain smoked until they were gone. There were worms in my mind. I could not think.

One of the radio people drove me home. She told me how special Sharla and Lainie had been. She told me of all of the times Lainie had been at the radio station with Sharla and lots of fun stories. I was not listening. She apologize that she had to stop for gas. I bought a pack of cigarettes and gave her $20.

I got home at about 6AM. I sat on my front porch and looked out at the world. It looked the same but everything had changed. I walked across the street to a close friend’s house. I called Lainie’s best friends dad. I called the emergency insurance hotline number and set up an appointment with a psychologist. I knew that I would need help getting through this – I knew that choices that I made right now would determine my path. I accepted the cigarettes as a temporary necessity but I did not want to look back 5 years from now and see the husk of a man. I did not want to see an alcoholic. I did not want to see someone who took the easy way out.

For a long time I thought that I had woken up in a nightmare. I mean, it seemed like everything was wonderful and then it disappeared. The greatest gift is the gift of a child. But the greatest heartbreak is losing a child. It took a long time but now I realize that I am not living a nightmare. What I had was the dream. It was wonderful. Nothing is wrong in my life –it is not a nightmare. I am happy. I just woke up to everyday life. I am at the point that I can honestly say that I cherish the memories. Even knowing the tragedy I would not trade it. The joy and happiness that I had with Sharla and Lainie are a gift.

Make sure you tell your loved ones that you care about them. Tell them every day. The last time I saw both my wife and daughter we told each other how much how special we were. That is the greatest gift I have ever received.

5-years-feels-like-blink-of-eye - part 1

5-years-continued - part 2


5-years-continued-thank-you-all-so-much - part 4

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wednesday Night Race - BREAKING AWAY

After Tuesday Night’s Trek the Trace I had another early morning with the Master’s Swim. Now I am an early riser. I am almost always awake around 5AM; however, I am rarely out the door at 5AM. This is an adjustment.

Master’s Swim was more drills focusing on balance, form and general mechanics. Coach Steve says that once you have the dynamics of swimming down pat then adding speed is the easy part. I could not agree more. Swimming is not like running! If I want to run faster I just run harder. In swimming this just makes you tired quicker – there is no speed gained.

At lunch I was back on the treadmill – massive rain outside. I got another 6 miles in at an 8 minute pace. I have been loving me some treadmill.

I had planned on riding to work and I even put my fancy light on the bike. However, because of the rain I had had to drive into work. That meant I had to drive home and hop on my bike. I got to the ride just in time. There would only be 5 of us for tonight’s ride. I would definitely be sucking a wheel. My legs were tired and all of the others are strong riders. We have started riding a loop out in the countryside. It has a little bit of everything. A couple of hills, some perfect pavement and some crap. The loop takes about 12 – 15 minutes to complete. At the start of the second loop there was a two person breakaway. Matt and Raland were out front and pulling away. Butch told us to let them hang out in the wind for a while. The three of us, Butch, Ty and me just paced them. After the first loop Raland was blowing up and drifting back. Matt continued to put time into all of us.
Our little pace line of three absorbed Raland but Matt continued to stay out front. At the start of another lap we picked up the pace. We were gaining on Matt but it was slow. I felt like I was blowing up even on a wheel. I have never seen Matt that strong. At the end of the second lap we catch up to Matt and turned towards home. The ride was challenging and we still kept the pace high. There were attaches and sprints all the home.
Good times were had by all. Matt kept us honest and made us work our butts off. The R2W guys plus Raland and Keith have a road race this weekend. That should be exciting!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trek the Trace 2010 - WEEK 2

The second Trek the Trace took place on Tuesday night. The weather was a little cooler but the competition was much hotter. If you remember the challenge of the Trek the Trace is to project your 2 mile run time. I am horrible at pacing! Last week I guessed 15:00 minutes since my legs were lead and I wanted an easy run. I did run the first ¾ of a mile comfortably but I then picked up the pace. I don’t know why, it is just what I do. I finished the run last week in 13:19 or something like that – an eternity regarding my pacing.

This week Robin brought the high school track team. There are some blazing fast kids. Once again my legs were dead from the EPIC trainer ride that morning and the recovery run at lunch. I had told myself that I was going to run easy but I knew that I was lying to myself. Robin put down a time of 12:30 and I talked myself into pacing off him. There were a ton of people at this event. I staged myself near the front but there were so many people in front of me. We started off but I did not know where Robin was. It was a full quarter mile before I saw him running with one of the fast high school kids. He was about 20 feet in front of me at this point but there were about 8 kids right in front of me. I was running my own race and not jockey for position. The kids in front of me started to fade. I could hear their hard breathing becoming labored. They had gone out too fast and were blowing up! Maybe a little bit of experience would prevail. I swung around them and slowly paced all of them. There were still 3 or 4 people in front of me – Robin, Chad (who projected 11:30) and the high school phenom. We rounded the turn around – this is the hardest that I have ran in a long time.

Robin was leading Chad and I could not see the high school phenom. I continued to tough it out on the run. Since this is an out and back I got some encouragement from some of my friends as we turned home. They yelled encouragement like, “he is stalking you” and “don’t let the kid pass you." I heard these words as don’t punk out. I could hear someone closing. I picked the pace up and ran even harder. There was just 1200 more meters to go – In other words a lifetime of pain in front of me. One of the boys came up beside me and I increased my pace. I did not want him to pass me. We ran neck and neck forever, maybe 20 or 30 feet and I let him go. This was one of the kids that I had passed earlier. Running side by side I was blowing up. I still had a half mile to go. Unfortunately this was not the only kid who passed me. There were two more that powered through me. That is the gift of youth. These kids had un-blown-up. I can’t do that. If I tip my toe into the red zone too far there is no coming back – especially in a two mile all out run. But these kids can do it – they can un-blow-up. Wow.

When I crossed the finish line I was told that my time was 13:58 – WTF!!! @$#%$%$#. I had run twice as hard and finished 30 seconds slower than last week. Impossible! I may not pace well but I know what a 7 minute mile feels like and it is not this hard. The consensus of the finishers was that the time was wrong. It is not a big deal but I was a little bit disappointed. The timekeepers determined that the timing was off by two minutes. This put me at 11:58 for the two miles. That is a really good run for me – and on tired legs that is probably a little too good for. I talked with some of my friends and with the timing adjustment they all had significant PR’s. It was a good night – a little too good to be true. I think the adjustment was more between 1 minute and 1 and a half minutes. Next week we will do it all again and see where we really stand.

I was a little distraught after the race and ate a cookie. I still avoided all of the other food. It was a solid day. I had a great trainer ride in the AM. A 4 mile run plus some weight training at lunch. And then the Trek the Trace during the evening.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back on the TRAINER.

It seems like our morning sunlight is wasting away. I have not been taking advantage of it. I have missed the Tuesday / Thursday morning ride for the past week and a half. It was light at 5:45AM and that drifted to 6:00AM. Now, it has been dark and rainy in the morning.

However, I have not been missing my rides. I have been on the trainer each of those mornings. I have missed the camaraderie but the workouts have been solid. In fact, this morning was my BEST TRAINER WORKOUT EVER! You see, I have a love hate relationship with the trainer.

I simply cannot ride the dang thing for much more than an hour. So, I have to make each workout quality. I have been doing tempo intervals at pace the past couple of weeks. And they hurt. Now, these numbers are only relevant to me and my trainer but I have worked up to 4 x 6 minutes at 250 watts. Like I said, I have no idea if those 250 watts is the same as your 250 watts or how it relates to actual speed. But what I do know is that it hurts. I know that my heart rate starts in the lower zone 4 and climbs to the top in those 6 minutes. I know that the first minute is not bad at all but by the time the second minute complete it seems like it will be impossible to go for another 4 minutes. I also know that each time I complete one of these 6 minutes intervals I feel like I have slain a dragon or stormed a castle. I taste the success! But it is bitter sweet because I also dread the next interval. I watch the 3 minute recovery tick down like a time bomb. It is me that will explode.

I have a love hate relationship with the trainer but it makes me better.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Master's Swim - First session


Some people in our little blog-o-sphere have been talking about not having flats HERE. And then someone else started talking about that someone not having flats - HERE. And then that first person replied about the not having flats - HERE.

Well, it just happens that I have not had a flat in a frick’n year!!! That is thousands of miles spread out over a road bike, a triathlon bike and a newly acquired mountain bike. But once the bad mojo starts flowing – well – I had a flat on Sunday leaving my house. Actually it must have been a very slow leak so I was able to turn around quickly and change out the tube at home and still make the ride. Then I ran into Raland, Ben and Steve going to the ride. Raland had just had a blow out – he had to boot the tire with a power bar wrapper and Steve had also flatted. Long story short -if you are lucky enough to roll for thousands of miles without an incident then keep it to yourself.

And regarding the mojo - it is like Fight Club - KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.

Oh and by the way - in my fight club, the First Rule of Fight Club is - you had better bring refreshments.


Master’s Swim kicked off great on Monday morning. There were 10 of us bright eyed and bushy tailed. There was Chris, Raland and Butch who I ride with and Susan and Laura who I run with and a couple of other people that I kind of know. Coach Steve took us back to basics and left nothing for granted. We did a lot of drills involving position and stroke mechanics. I was very pleased to see that Coach Steve’s philosophy is very close to mine. It is the shape, form and hydrodynamics that make the swimmer. Once you have those components down then it is easy to apply the speed. Much like all coaching, just having someone watch and tell you when you are doing something wrong is so valuable. Not to mention them telling you when you are doing something right. So, I have been practice many of the techniques that we went over in the session but without the feedback my progress has been so very slow. I am now excited about getting back into the pool and making some REAL progress.

If this sounds exciting to you there are still spaces left on the Master’s Swim squad at USM. We are meeting Monday / Wednesday / Friday from 5:30AM – 7:00AM. For more information contact the Aquatics Coordinator Jessi Hobart at - Jessica dot Hobart AT usm dot edu . If you are human you should be able to figure that out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Contest 02: GU Sampler Giveaway WINNER

Last Monday I had a poker game at my house. Just a couple of guys from the running club. Nothing high stakes or anything. But I was left with a lot more quarters at the end of the night than what I had started with. So, having all of this extra currency sitting around got me to thinking of a creative way to pick the winner of the Potted Plant O’GU. I saw that I had 23 comments on the post and I used a sharpie marker to tag 23 quarters. Now, there were a lot more than 23 quarters to select from (I mean a whole lot more – a special thank you to Jim and Charles for making the selection process possible). Not to beat a dead horse but there could have been so many more entries – I had the quarters!

Potted Plant o'GU

I wrote a number on the head side of the 23 quarters and then threw them into a pan. If the quarter landed head side up you went to the next round. If tail you were eliminated. During the process I realized that there could easily be a tie. So I decided that in the event of a tie the last throw would be repeated. Just for the record there were no ties.
23 marked quarters

1st toss

2nd toss

3rd toss

We have a WINNER - NUMBER 17

Now, I hope that I don’t catch grief for this but the winning number (quarter) was 17. And quarters do not lie.  But, that just happens to be one on my riding buddies – Raland. If you follow the blog you will noticed that I have mentioned him before. Most recently while riding Red Bluff and he was combating some kind of Montezuma's revenge – the real kind Mexico. Well, dehydration, hills and 100 degree heat index don’t mix. Raland found out the hard way.

It will be Raland's responcibility to determine just what flavor this GU is:

New flavor?

Now on to the Master’s Swim front. Honestly, I have some anxiety. The pool has been closed for the last week so I did not even get a chance to brush up on my lack of swim fitness. I have been calling this the clean the house up before the maid comes over plan. And I have been unsuccessful. Going from zero to Master’s Swim ( 1.5 hours x 3 times per week) will be an eye opener. Like I said, there is some anxiety but I am also excited. I will let you know how it goes.

Also, I have really enjoyed the new blogs that I have found.  Everyone that has a blog and commented on the post - I have read your blog and probably started following you!  I had a lot of good reads this weekend while it was raining.  Thanks!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Picture(s) of the Week

When we went to Red Bluff last week there were quite a few of us. In fact there was a mountain bike race team that showed up – R2W (Ride Race Work). I have ridden with most of these guys on group rides in and around Hattiesburg.

Well, after the ride I was asked to take some photographs of the team. I used to really enjoy photography and I understand the art and skill that goes into a good portrait. I also believe that the more photographs that you take the better chance that you have at least few turn out. So here is a couple that did turn out -

There was a storm moving in rather quick.

I think this was one of the first pace line shots - nice formation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Marathon Goals

I have been planning out my goals. If you have been reading the blog for any length of time you will already be familiar with my goal setting process here and here.

So my long term goals are to run a sub-3 hour marathon at the 2011 Mardi Gras Marathon. I ran this race earlier this year (my first stand alone marathon) in 3:08:44. Cutting 8 minutes and 44 seconds of my marathon PR will be difficult. That means dropping 20 seconds per mile off of my pace. If you have been running for a while then you realize that this will not be a walk in the park. For these paces to work out that means I need to run a 1:25:20 half marathon (about 4 minutes faster than my PR and an 18:28 minute 5k (40 seconds faster than my PR).

So, how do I plan on achieving this goal?

There is a lot of work to be done – that is why I am starting now. First, over the course of the next couple of months I am going to build my running mileage up to 45 – 50 miles a week. Most of these miles will be at 20 – 25 percent slower than marathon race pace. I will run a half marathon at the end of October to gauge my conditioning. Then I am going to slack off for a couple of weeks. I have already bought my ticket and I will be spending November in Sydney, Australia visiting my sister and her family. I will still be running a lot but I will also be relaxing and vacationing.

Once I return that is when the real volume and work begins. I would like to build up to 70 miles per week over the next couple of months and test myself regularly with increasingly longer races. I will probably run the Baton Rouge Beach Half Marathon (first of December), the Ole Man River Half Marathon (December 19), the Steam Whistle 12K (Jan 1), the First Light Half Marathon (January 9), the Annual Larry Fuselier State Championship Race 25K (mid January) and the "The Wall" Louisiana Long Distance Championship Race 30K (end of January). I ran all of these races last year and they helped me with racing – both with strategy and pacing. It seems like a lot of racing, and it is, but I have found that races are the best way for me to put together a solid HARD distance run. Every one of these races was a solid effort and led to a PR. I hope to duplicate those results.

Oh yeah, and then there is Boston six weeks after the Mardi Gras Marathon (I am already qualified).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trek the Trace 2010 - WEEK 1

Note: GU GIVEAWAY - You can leave a comment on THIS POST up until Saturday, August 14th at midnight.

Tuesday nights in August mean Trek the Trace. This is a series of predicted 2 mile runs. You have to ‘guess’ what you will run. No watches, MP3 players, heart rate monitors. This is tough for me. I am horrible at pacing. I have to use the devices to keep me in check.

In past years I have simply ‘guesses’ the fastest time that I cam possible run and then race the dang thing. That can get me pretty close. I had some times in the low twelve’s last year. However, last year was ironman taper time – lower volume while keeping the intensity. This year is a lot different. I have been running a lot of 8 minute miles and this has been a solid effort in the heat – nothing TOO hard but still challenging. So I ran 6 in the heat on Monday and then ran 3 in the gym during lunch. I predicted my time to be just a little bit faster. I was NOT going to run all out or anything. Also, in the past I would pace off of someone that is faster than me and then just fade. The fast guys were not present. I would be out alone.

My friend Jason and I put down the same time – 15 minutes for two miles. I told him that this would be conversational pace for the entire run. We would just cruise the run. And I did not disappoint for the first half mile. I think I talked his ear off. I was running well and feeling good. I was not near any danger zones and I just kept the pace up. I might have actually pushed it a little bit. There is something about running with a group – even if it is not a race. I was all alone at the front of this ‘trek’ and I knew that I was too fast. But what are you going to do? If I slowed down I would have no idea of the speed of my effort. I need this baseline for next week. So I just kept up the comfortably hard effort.

I finished first but nowhere near my projected time. I had predicted 15:00 minutes and crossed the tape in 13:19. That is how good I pace. Knowing where I stand I might be able to do better next week. Maybe push the pace a little harder and at least get close to my time.

The best part was they had pizza, pasta salad, cookies and all sorts of stuff. I saw one of my friends and he was choking down two pieces of pizza at once. I just thought, I did not run that far or that fast. I just had some honeydew and cantaloupe. I was proud of myself.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Red Bluff Ride

Note:  I forgot to indicate when the GU giveaway would end.  I will announce the winner on Monday, August 16th.  You can leave a comment on THE POST up until Saturday, August 14th at midnight.

This past weekend we went west. We drove west to Morgantown, MS to ride ‘the bluffs’. This area is known as Red Bluff but White Bluff is actually steeper. Now, these are not ‘grand tour’ mountains. The can best be described as large hills. But to flat landers like us, flat landers who happen to live on a rails to trails, these hills were substantial.

Getting ready for the ride

Getting more ready for the ride

It kind of a last moment ride and I was surprised at the number of people that turned up. I think we had a good dozen or so riders from Hattiesburg and the coast. We had planned on doing two 30 mile loops. There was a little posturing as we headed out. People were trying to calculate if we should break into two groups or wait for each other at turns and all of that jazz. We decided to just to the first loop at a comfortable pace and wait at the turns.

Waiting at the turn at the bottom of White Bluff

As soon as the hill started and it started about a quarter mile into the ride the group started to get splintered. We rode had and the pace line would bunch up and then get pulled tight like a piece of twine. After cresting the first of the large hills and seeing how spread the group was I knew that a second loop was highly unlikely. Don’t get me wrong. All of these riders are tough and fast, we just don’t know hills.

A fine example of erosion

Raland, who is generally towards the front and very fast on the flats, was off the back quick. Come to find out he had just returned from 8 days in Mexico and was suffering from all that Mexico entails. He was in bad shape and turned around at the bottom of the second hill.

I was wishing we had a zip line

Towards the end of the loop there was a breakaway that developed. This group consisted of Chris, Ron, Butch, Andrew and I. It was a strong pace and we started to splinter. First off the back was Andrew and then me and finally Butch was gapped by a few lengths. The ride was so much fun that we have decided to put this on our monthly calendar.

I guess this is whu they call it Red Bluff

After the loop we cooled down for a few minutes and drank some ice cold water. It felt wonderful in the heat of the Mississippi summer.

Actually very pretty except for all the trash

A heck of a drop off

Monday, August 9, 2010

Contest 02: GU Sampler Giveaway

I did some more running in the heat to compare my heart rates. I also travelled with a group of cyclist to Red Bluff to tackle some hills. And I have a couple of other posts in the works, but first …

It is time to get your GU on. I have recently received a large sampling of GU products that I would like to pass along to a lucky individual. I am a tried and true GU product user. While I was training for my ironman I received was 2 cases of GU gels. This was one of the best gifts ever. So to win the following ‘potted plant O’ GU’ all you have to do is comment and tell me your favorite flavor. One comment = one entry. Max number of entries is 1. Maybe after you win the shipment you will have a new favorite flavor!

My favorite GU is Espresso Love – I like the name, I like the coffee taste and I like the extra caffeine!

15 various GU gels and 4 GU Brew recovery drinks!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Flat Belly Diet for Men - 1 month recap

I thought that I would check in on the diet program front. If you will remember I have been following the Flat Belly Diet for Men for the month (I also now have the Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook to give me few more meal ideas). How has it gone?

Well, for the most part it fits in with my lifestyle, my routines and my habits. I have been trying to have portion control with frequent small meals. Let me review for just a second – the diet, it is basically five 400 calorie meals no more than 4 hours apart and with a MUFA (monounsaturated fat). That is it – nothing more to it. Oh yeah, there are a lot of recipes in the books that make it pretty easy to have a variety of meals. But I am a creature of habit and I tend to eat the same things over and over. I have starting doing this on this program as well – however, I am getting more variety than I have in the past.

Flat Belly Diet! Family CookbookI mean, if I follow the plan I really am not hungry and I am satisfied most of the day. However, I still get into trouble when I get into a huge calorie deficit. This happens a lot because of the exercise. The 2000 calories are fine to survive, maybe even a little bit more than I absolutely have to live. But when you add in a couple of hours of exercise each day, well, that is where the cravings start. I have tried to offset this with eating additional calories for each exercise session but invariably I don’t eat enough. And then by Wednesday or Thursday I am ravenous. At home during the evening I start to grab anything I can get my hands on – it is fortunate that there is no bad food in the house. But you can make bad stuff – cheesy bread, peanut butter (mixed with sugar), lots of almonds.

I have decided that I need more than five 400 calorie meals at my activity level. I think I need closer to seven 400 calorie meals (7 x 400 = 2800 calories). Now eating that much health food really is difficult! This is not even considering the timing. I am awake around 17 hours a day. I get up at 5AM and drink some coffee and then do some form of exercise (run / bike / swim). I do not eat breakfast until 8AM. Then I am in bed by 10PM. So that gives me 14 hours to eat 7 meals. I guess that means I need to start eating every 2 hours. I just worked that out in my head. I think I will try that next week.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not like I have packed on a ton of weight in the last month. In fact, I think I may have lost some body fat but I need to follow the diet more closely and eliminate these unaccounted for calories.

The new game plan: The Seven 400 calorie meals every 2 hours Program.

I need to come up with a better name for this ‘new’ diet plan.

What are some of your diets / programs that have been working you you?