"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Never, Never, Never Quit.


Countdown to B2B


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Top 5

Before I get to the moment all 3 of you have been waiting for, just an update. 2 7 mile runs this past week went pretty good. Still lacking sort of speed but the knee has bounced back ok each time. A little tender but nothing too awful major. Hope to get 2 more 7s in before the 1st and then a couple 10 milers during January gearing up for Gasparilla. Also, I hope to get in a few 40-50 mile rides during my time off for Christmas.

OK, on to the top 5 races of my illustrious career!!!

5. Gasparilla Marathon, February 2006 - This is the last marathon I've run so far and 1 of the 2 slowest. So, why does it rank at #5 you ask? A couple reasons. First, it was the worst weather I've run in for a marathon. Ever since my first marathon, I've been leery of rain and/or high winds and for the first 13, I had almost perfect weather. But this one started out in pouring rain as an approaching cold front moved through. Temps started at about 70 at the start(6:30 am, delayed 30 minutes due to lightning). The first 10+ miles were in a down pour and heavy winds. Then as it cleared out, the cold air moved in but the winds didn't die down. So the last half was in 45-50 degrees and 20-30 mph winds. On top of that, I was not in shape for a good race and was suffering most the 2nd half. Starting about mile 20 I started walking/running and by about 24 it was pretty much just walking. But as I approached mile 25, reason #2 for this race happened. Beth and the kids were there and Hunter, wearing his baseball uniform for his first AAU game later that day, jumps in with me and says 'lets run dad' and we do, very slowly. We did that for about a 1/4 mile and just him being there running with me gave me enough to run(jog really) to the finish.

4. Venetian 10K - July 1995 - In 16+ years of running and triathlons, I've had exactly 1 DNF. Yet it makes it into my top 4. The race was in St. Joseph MI where I had moved from 2 years earlier and actually had PRd for the 10K in this race(which is still my 10K PR today). But this race was much different. Beth and I ran it together and it was during a heat wave in the midwest. At the start, it was already in the high 80s and humid. We were still living in Michigan at the time so the heat was a big deal then. So race begins and we take off. At this point in time, there I was still much faster than Beth(not the case at all any longer) and not worried about her beating me. But that all changed about the 3 mile mark as I wasn't handling the heat well at all. I'm sure I could have continued on and finished with a somewhat respectable time but I couldn't risk Beth beating me. No, not because of pride but because I planned on asking her to marry me at the finish as she crossed the line!!! Couldn't much let her beat me and still accomplish that.

So I dropped out about the 3 mile mark, which with the route, was only about 1/2 mile from the finish. I walked back to the finish, got the ring from my sister who was with me and waiting at the finish line. As Beth finished, I dropped down on 1 knee and asked her the question women the world over have been hoping I would have asked THEM. Of course she said yes!!! To top it off, we were asked by the local paper to 'reenact' the proposal and made the front page of the paper the next day.

3. Chicago Marathon - October 1997 - My last marathon BK(before kids) and little did I know at the time, the best time to run a PR. The day started out with perfect weather, a little overcast, mid 40s and light wind. I had a rabbit in this race with 3 time Boston Marathon winner Cosmas Ndeti. With him leading me until mile 18 when he dropped out because of my relentless pursuit, I was well on my way to a PR. My friend Rick(1 of 3 people who read this blog) picked me up about the 18 mile mark as we dropped Ndeit like a bad habit. I felt great up till this point and was really running well. But shortly after this, I started slowing a bit. Maybe push Ndeti was finally taking it's toll.

But as we moved toward Lake Shore Drive, Rick wouldn't allow me to let up. By about mile 24 I was past conversation so he just kept talking and encouraging me. He knew I was on pace to PR and was determined to get me there. By the time we hit the final winding chute leading to the finish, a PR was assured if all I did was keep moving, which I did.

With all the changes in my life since this race(kids, moving to Florida, getting older, more focus on tris) I doubt I'll ever beat my PR of 3:51 and change at Chicago in 1997 Thanks Rick, for helping me get there.

2. Muncie Endurathon 1/2 Ironman - July 2002 - I would always see this race advertised during the 1990s when I was running lots of races and marathons and thought if I ever really get into triathlon I would do this race. Funny how I didn't actually do it until I move 1000 miles away. The way it came about was I was training to do St. Anythonys Olympic Distance race that year in April and mentioned to Rick we should do Muncie in 2003. His response was 'let's do it this year'. Nothing ventured, nothing gained I figured. So we signed up.

I was unfamiliar with long course tris when I did Muncie, it made it a perfect race. That and the perfect weather and relatively fast course. I struggled through the swim and went slow but steady on the bike setting myself up for the run. I was still primarily a runner at the time and 1/2 marathon was not a long a run for me as it is now. So I was able to finish the race feeling pretty good, probably the best I've felt after a 1/2 ironman. The feeling crossing the finish line was great and only surpassed so far by #1.

1. Sunburst Marathon - June 1993 - My first marathon. Amazing how much I've learned about running, endurance races and myself since this run, but this is where 'it all began'. Once again, Rick was my partner in crime and agreed to run the race with me. He had done several marathons before this so I was looking forward to his experience during the race.

This was the perfect race, except for miles 24-26. Rick ran with me until mile 24, then figuring I was a cinch for breaking 4 hours(my goal), move ahead to finish. Unfortunately, I was fighting demons those last 2 miles and slowing with each step. By the time I got close to Notre Dame stadium(where we finished on the 50 yard line), I had missed the 4 hour mark. But undeterred, still wanted to finish strong. Once I entered the stadium, I ran on emotion and felt like I was sprinting(which I'm sure was only in my mind). As I approached the throng of 30 people gathered around I felt no pain and like I was running on air. Haven't come close to that feeling since. Not sure I will ever get that feeling again, even when I finish my ironman.

Merry Christmas to each of my readers. May both of you get everything you want for Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Passed another test

Other than my running fitness lacking, the 7 mile run on Saturday went fine. The knee felt good with only a little residual discomfort on Sunday. Got in a 50 mile ride on Sunday in some breezy and warm conditions. We've hit 80+ every day for the past week or so. So much for winter. But it beats scraping ice/snow off the windshield in the morning!!

OK, now for a little something different. With most/all my focus for the next 11 months being on getting ready for my ironman, I thought I'd list my top 10 races up to this point. Each race had a different reason for being top 10, and I'll list those reasons after each.

10. Steelhead 70.3 - August 2007 - My 1/2 ironman PR race. 4th 1/2 ironman for me and a race in St. Joe, a town I lived for 18 months 15 years prior.

9. Great Floridian 1/2 Ironman - October 2003 - My 2nd 1/2 ironman distance race and easily the hardest and slowest. I sustained a 1st degree sprain in my ankle playing basketball 10 days before the race and could barely walk on it. Of course the doctor suggested I skip the race and I probably should have. I figured I could swim and bike and see what happened on the run. The swim was slow, the bike even slower on a hilly course I was unprepared for. Then as I started the run, I fully expected to stop in the 1st mile but unbelievably, never felt any pain in my ankle. But the bike had taken so much out of me, I walked most of the last 6 miles. But I finished and learned just moving forward will get you to the finish line.

8. St. Anthonys Olympic Tri - April 2003 - 2nd Oly distance and 2nd St. Anthonys race. Put together a very solid race and took 12 minutes off my year previous time. PR held up until this past October.

7. Crim 10 mile run - August 1996 - Probably my best overall race, running or tri, ever. Crim is a very challenging and hilly course in Flint Michigan. As the miles went by, I kept clicking off 7:10s and 7:20s thinking I was going to hit a wall soon. But as I approached town again and the course flattened for the last 2 miles and I kept moving along, slowing just a little. I ended up running 1:15.30 on the course, which I haven't approached in any race since. Performance wise, still my all time 'A' race.

6. Detroit Marathon - October 1996 - OK, now they start to get my sentimental. This was Beths first marathon and I was very excited for her. We trained every single training run together getting ready for this, including during our honeymoon. I also didn't have to worry about her beating me back then:) I remember running back down Woodward at about mile 24 as I saw her just starting up Woodward. It was at that point I knew she would finish. We actually kissed at that point and I hurried(as fast as you can after 25+ miles) to get to the finish to cheer her in.

Stay tuned for the TOP 5, coming in my next post!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Knee getting better

So I was able to get in 7 days in a row of biking/running last week with only some minor discomfort in the knee. This week it seems to be doing even better. Stopped taking Feldene on Monday after a 50 mile ride on Sunday and a 5 mile run on Monday. Rode 30 on Tuesday and ran 5 on Wednesday. Woke up this morning with no pain in the knee at all, which was always present since it began hurting, especially the morning after a run.

I did refill my prescription but hopefully won't need anymore. Will ride 30 today and take tomorrow off in preparation for my first 7 mile run in 3+ months on Saturday. Hopefully things go well.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Drugs are amazing!!

So I started taking my Feldene(anti-inflammatory) on Friday. So far no side affects, which is good, since apparently 30% of users have them. I ran 5 miles on Thursday with the same pain/discomfort I've been having in my knee, not terrible but not good either. Took Friday off and my first Feldene. Rode 50 miles on Saturday and never felt the knee, which is a little unusual but it never really hurts on the bike anyway. Ran 5 miles on Sunday and NEVER FELT ANY PAIN!! First time I've run pain free in 6 months. What is even better is I woke up this morning with no pain or stiffness, which I even have after riding or swimming or doing nothing. I rode 3 times and ran 3 times last week, so being pain free Monday morning is huge.

I'm hoping this is actually healing my knee and not just masking the pain. I'm hoping to try to get a 7 mile run in next week, so we'll see how it goes. I'll continue to to only run 2-3 times a week for another 2 weeks and go from there. At least I can actually start look at some goals for early in the new year, including a sprint tri in February, a duathlon and the 15K Gasparilla race.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Good news....I think

So I had my appt with the ortho yesterday and the good news is there is no structural damage to the knee. He said everything looked good. His diagnosis? Patella tendinitis . He's a little concerned with the flexibility of my hamstrings and thinks this is contributing to it. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory for 40 days and said to cut back a little on the running(cut back?? I'm already cutting back to 2 days/10 miles a week!!) He doesn't think I need to cut out running completely. He also wants me to be diligent about stretching the hamstrings and to keep icing after working out but add heat at night.

So, I'll keep this up until the end of the year and hopefully I'll make some headway on this. There have been times the knee has felt very good so hopefully this will heal it completely.

As far as workouts, I was able to get in a 50 mile ride this past weekend and hope to get in 150 miles this week with a couple days off for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ortho appt

So I finally was able to get an appt with the ortho. It's next Tuesday, the 20th. I've been able to run up to 3 times in a week lately but after hard efforts, the knee is very sore still. Hopefully they'll figure this out and get me back by shortly after the new year.

Been biking and running enough to stay in shape but nothing more.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Century ride

Everything seemed to come together for the century ride yesterday, until I woke up feeling like dog ass. The weather had cooled off, the humidity dropped and wind dropped below the 20-30 mph winds we had most of the week.

It was a cool morning and seemed perfect, especially with the time change giving me an extra hour. But Beth has been sick since Wednesday and I think I picked it up. Woke up congested and feeling tired. After an easy week of just a couple rides and 1 run, I should have felt great, but I didn't. By the 35 mile mark(where the 100 mile and 100K rides split) I decided to cut it short as I wasn't feeling very good. Finished the 62 miles, grabbed some food and headed home. Overall it was a pretty good ride but not a lot of riders so I rode most of the last 30+ miles alone.

As far as the knee goes, it's been feeling much better until this week. Ran a hard 5 miles on Tuesday and it was really hurting for a couple days. But it felt fine on the ride yesterday. Going to call the Ortho today or tomorrow and hopefully get in before Thanksgiving.

Nothing planned for the rest of the year but with cooler weather finally hear, hoping I can get back to running soon.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Longleaf Race Report

Longleaf was the race Steelhead should have been. I'm even more convinced I went into Steelhead worn out from not tapering enough after this race.

I went into the Olympic distance race yesterday hoping to post a good bike after an average swim and then limp through the run. Breaking 3 hours was the best I could expect. I knew it was a fast course but never believed I could break my PR of 2:52:07. Especially after having a tough time at the Sharks Oly distance in May.

I get to the race early(about 6:30) to check in. The line is short and I get into transition by 7:15. I get transition setup and out by 7:35 and head to the swim start. The swim start was across a large field with weeds blocking the view from transition. As I get around the weeds, I realize it's going to be about a 1/4 mile run from the water to transition through high grass/weeds. So much for cutting time on T1. The race is supposed to begin at 8 but they decide to do a time trial start, with swimmers lining up by number and leaving every 5 seconds. There is a sprint distance race going on too and they go first so we don't even line up until 8:15. By about 8:30 I'm in the water, and by water, I mean a large retention pond!! They had the water tested early in the week and it came back clean but still....I prefer swimming in chlorine when my swim is man made. Anyway, the swim is an 2 loop square swim with the swimmers exiting and re-entering after the fist loop. I'm feeling good on the swim and since the body of water is slim, I don't got off course like I usually do. I'm hoping to break 16 minutes on the first loop, figuring I'll slow on the 2nd. I come out of the water after the 1st loop and check my watch. It's 13 minutes and change!! I've never broken 35 minutes on 1500 meter open water swim so I'm immediately thinking this course is short or I'm really going to slow down on the 2nd loop. I'm out and back in the water quickly and still feeling good. Just concentrate and swimming straight and not making the course longer than it is. When I exit the 2nd time I look at my watch and see 28:38!!!! I have crushed my PR and think the swim has to be short. But I'm not complaining as I know I've got a haul to T1 to make up for it. I was a little worried about my knee without shoes and through uneven terrain getting to T1 but it held up just fine. I get through T1 in 4:28 and off on the bike.

The wind was breezy all morning, out of the east. We knew it was going to be a fast return since the bike was a square loop heading north and then east, with the final 10 or so miles on fresh asphalt with the wind at our backs. I started out feeling really good on the bike for the 4 miles north before heading onto the Starky trail for 6.5 miles through the park. This was where I knew I needed to push the speed to give myself a chance to PR. I wanted to keep my average speed at 17.5 before heading back south and east. The wind was terrible but it was persistent at about 10-12 MPH. The trees provided some relief at times not much. I was able to push through those miles and came out of the park averaging 17.6,. Perfect. Now we were on the Suncoast trail and with the wind at our side. I pushed the pace for 4 miles adding to my average. Then we hit highway 54. They had blocked off an entire lane plus the shoulder of newly laid asphalt. The wind was still pushing 10+ MPH but now it was at my back!!! I was feeling very strong and pushing hard. The last ~10 miles flew by and I was back at T2 in record time, 1:11:58, another PR, this time by over 6 minutes. My bike computer confirmed the course was accurate, so I'm thinking ok, breaking 3 hours should be easy but still wasn't thinking a PR was at all possible.

I'm in and out of T2 in 1:55. My knee is feeling tight and a little painful but nothing bad at all. I haven't done any bricks since Steelhead so I don't know how my knee will respond after riding and riding hard. Turns out, it felt great. Actually felt better as I went along the run. The run was an out and back on an asphalt trail. Even though we've had record heat and it was still warm today(78 at start, 88 at finish), it was cloudy and didn't really get warm until last 2 miles. As I start the run I check my watch. I'm sitting at 1:52 and change!!! All I have to do is break an hour in the 10K run and I PR. Even with my lack of running the last 2 months and a bum knee, I know this is very possible. I'm feeling good and hit the first mile. 9:28. OK, I was hoping for a faster 1st mile but the 1st mile is always slower for me switching to running legs. Even still, I've put 30 seconds in the bank on the hour run for PR. Mile 2 is better at 8:55. I feel great and think I can go faster but I haven't run more than 5 miles in 2 months and I'm still leery about my knee. So I keep the pace steady and come through mile 3 in 8:58 and mile 4 in 9:25. I'm starting to feel my lack of running as my leg turnover is slowing but I'm still feeling pretty good. Mile 5 goes by in 9:26 and I know I'm going to PR. As I look at the total time, I realize I have a great chance to break 2:45. I pick up the pace(I thought) but come through mile 6 in 9:42. .2 to go, which I do in 1:02. Turns out the 6 mile marker was place long. Either way, I finish the run in 57:01. Not close to my Oly run PR of 51:57 but all things considered, very happy with it. Race time is 2:43:57!!!! Not only did I break 2:45 but I brokd 2:44.

Because of the huge swim PR, I was very skeptical of the distance. I asked 3-4 people if they thought the swim was short and each of them said no. I checked some results online and compared them to other races they did and the times was similar. The only think I can point to is the course was very easy to stay straight, which I've always found difficult in open water, ocean/bay swims.

Obviously a great way(and surprising) to end the season. Now I'll look at some long rides and the century on the 4th and getting the knee issue worked out before starting the long, big build for Ironman starting in January.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Last race of season

The Longleaf Olympic distance is this weekend, which will be the last of the year for me. I'm signed up for a century in Sarasota on Nov. 4th but no tris. After this race I'll be getting an appt for my knee. I have been able to run 4 times in 10 days without any major pain, but it's definitely there and not getting better.

The weather still hasn't cooled off. Sunday(race day) should be 78 at the start and 88 at the finish. Just looking to PR the bike and have fun. Looks like a decent course. I will report back next week how it went.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Still Hot!!

OK, so maybe the appearance of love bugs hasn't quite meant cooler weather yet. We've been setting records for heat the last week, heard on the news last night it was the hottest 1st week of October on record. Usually when it's this hot at least we can count on calm weather but the wind has really picked up lately also, which has made for some tough rides.

Still keeping the biking miles at about 150/week and continuing with 2 runs per week but I'm really losing running fitness. Ran 5 miles twice last week and struggled with each of them. My knee seems to be doing a little better with only a couple runs but still doesn't seem to be getter healed.

2 more weeks until the Longleaf Olympic distance. Right now I only have 2 goals for it.....PR the bike and finish. Looks like we might get the first cold(cool?) front of the fall this weekend so that should help.

The NC Ironman race has finally posted a website. Not much yet available but it should be filling in the coming weeks/months. www.beach2battleship.com

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Love bugs are back!!

Yesterday during my ride, I ran into several love bugs. This is good news as they appear twice a year. Once in the spring just before the real heat of summer begins and again, in smaller numbers, at the end of summer just before the first cold front cuts across Florida. Shouldn't be too long and the heat will finally break. Looking forward to some cooler weather

Biking is still accounting for most of my workouts. I've put in 300 miles the last 2 weeks with some really good rides. Yesterday I rode in 20+ mph winds but since my bike computer broke, I didn't have to worry about how slow I was!! Ran today(4 miles) for the first time in a week. My knee doesn't seem to be getting worse but it also doesn't seem to be getting any better. My plan now is to limp through the next month, do the Longleaf Olympic distance on Oct. 21st and assess where my knee is. If it's still hurting, I'll go see the Ortho.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Random things

Well, I ran 4 easy miles yesterday, which was my first run in 11 days. My knee was hurting very bad, so much I could barely run. It would get worse as I ran, which is not a good thing. I've had tendinitis before but my knee would always warm up and feel better. It did feel better yesterday but not 100%. It didn't hurt this morning so I'm hopeful it's on it's way to being healed. I'll continue to take it easy on running the next couple weeks and hope it responds well.

I have been able to bike and swim so I've been doing quite a bit of both. Biked 150 miles last week and swam 4000 yards.

So summer is drawing to a close. Pretty soon we might even see the high 60s for a low!!! I'm always amazed in September that I ever run/bike without being able to wring sweat from my gloves/socks. It's been 4-5 months since I had a run or bike without drenching everything I was wearing, it's hard to remember getting home not dripping. Come April, I will have forgotten how hot it can actually get. I go through this cycle every year, you would think I would remember the seasons after living here for almost 10 years.

Today is September 11th. One of those life changing days for just about every American. I still remember that day in 2001 as if it were yesterday. I remember turning on the TV shortly after it the first plane struck and not moving until that evening. I didn't even go on my lunch time run because I was too stunned and scared to leave the house. I remember seeing on the TV there was a plane in Pennsylvania believed to be headed to the White House and I stood up, with no one else in the house, tears streaming down my face and screaming "Shoot the damn things down!!" I remember waking up to the local news station on the radio every day for months afterwards afraid to hear something else had happened. I remember September 11th, 2001, the day America lost her innocence.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Getting old?

It's been 3+ weeks since Steelhead, and I've yet to recover fully. I've biked and swam just fine but I've run 5 or 6 times and still haven't had a decent run. Don't know if it's because I'm getting old or what. My bike and swim have actually improved since the race so I don't know what to think. Hopefully it will just take a little more time.

I haven't been do any major workouts but have been getting in rides between 30-50 miles and several 2000 yard swims. Was able to get in a 7 mile run last weekend but not a very good one.

Just biding my time until the weather breaks in another month or so and then hoping to PR at the Longleaf Olympic distance tri on 10/21. Also hoping to get in 2-3 1/2 marathons over the next 3-4 months before starting the long ramp up for Ironman. At this point, I'm looking at doing Ironman Florida, if I can get in. If not, there is a new Iron distance race in North Carolina next November I'm thinking of doing. We'll know the beginning of November if I get in IMFL.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Good news/bad news. I PR'd but did not quite get my goal of 6:15. Here's how it went:

Went to bed early but was not able to sleep for more than 30 minutes for some reason. Got up at 3:10 local time(4:10 race time), got dressed and everything together and hit the road from my parents for the 40 minute drive to Benton Harbor.

Got to the race site with no problems only to find cars backed up for a mile into the parking area. It went relatively quickly and I parked, grabbed my stuff and hopped on the shuttle for a short ride to transition.

Arrived at transition with plenty of time since I was in the 14th wave at 7:48. Setup my transition area, filled my tires, finished my breakfast of Luna bars and bananas, double checked everything one last time and went to stand in line for porta johns.

Started the 1.2 mile walk down the beach to the swim start and about 1/2 way saw the elite wave heading out. The lake was calm and the temps a little chilly at 58 degrees. It had been months since I had seen the 50s. The weather actually turned out to be near perfect. Highs hit the low 80s with low humidity and only a stiff breeze at the end of the bike.

Got to the swim start when the 3rd wave was heading into the water, lots of time to get ready. So I zipped up my wetsuit and went into the water for a warmup in the 76 degree water. Made sure my wetsuit wasn't rubbing on my neck and swam a couple hundred yards just to warm up. Spent the rest of the time watching the waves going off and talking to guys in my wave.

Finally wave 13 took off and we were up next. We had to start on dry land so I set myself up back and to the right since I didn't expect to be anywhere near the lead of my wave. The horn went off and we were in the water. Waded in about 30 yards until I was able to start swimming. Despite 200 in my wave, the entire swim was clean and smooth. Without a doubt, the best swim I've had in any race. Maybe not time wise but I never once struggled. The buoys went by pretty quickly and then we were turning toward shore. As I got close enough to run out of the water I looked down and was at 43:40, a PR!!! I dropped into the water at the shore to get my wetsuit off and had a little trouble with one of the legs which hurt my time. Then it was up the beach quite a bit to transition. The timing mat was placed a good ways up the beach so my official swim time was just over 46, which is deceiving.

T1 was pretty uneventful other than the long run up the beach to reach it. Got to transition and went about getting socks, shoes, gloves, helmet, glasses and racebelt on. Grabbed my bike and I was off. The breeze was supposed to be out of the Northeast but turned out to be out of the East. Since the loop took us first North and then East, it played a part in slowing me down a little, I think. The reason I think is once I mounted my bike and went to turn on my computer, it would not turn on!! No idea on my speed or my average or my cadence. Luckily I did have my heartrate on my watch so I could make sure I wasn't redlining. Anyway, the ride started out going up an incline for about a mile. Then the course moderated a bit with rollers for the next 15 miles or so. Once we hit the furthest most point of the loop, about 25 miles, things seems to level out for a while, and with the breeze at my back, started to feel much stronger. The roads themselves with mostly chipseal and in some spots pretty rough. I've never seen so many bikes with flats and so many bottles, CO2s, bottle cages, etc on the road. Luckily I was spared any of that. At about mile 40, my left hamstring really started to bother me. This has been happening on most of my long rides but during those I would stop for something to drink and stretch it out which always helped. Since I wasn't about to stop today I just had to push through it. It wasn't horrible and it kept coming and going but it did affect me. Finally I hit mile 50 and started descending toward the finish. I was feeling taxed but happy to be getting off the bike and starting the run. Got to T2 a lot slower than I wanted. Just under 3:17. I was hoping for 3:10. Part of the problem were some of the hills and also holding back a little not knowing how fast I was going. I was afraid to got too hard not knowing how fast I was going and then crash on the run.

In and out of transition in about 2 minutes. Shoes and hat and on the road. About a quarter mile of flat until we start a very steep, short uphill, which many people were already walking. I was feeling pretty good both physically and mentally and started out slow and steady just to get some miles under me. My goal was to average 10 minute miles and run most of the way. In my past 1/2s I've had to walk too much. I figured if I could run most of the way, even slowly, my time would benefit. This worked for the most part until late in the run. I was able to put the miles behind mile just maintaining a slow pace. Got to mile 4.5 and saw Beth, the kids and my mom. It was great to see them and I decided I would try to continue to run until I saw them again on the 2nd loop between mile 8 and 9. I did walk a couple of the water stops but for the most part kept running. When I got back to about 8.5 I stopped and walked and talked to my family. They were going to head down to the finish to catch me finish. Once I left them, things got tougher. Checking my watch, I knew I wasn't going to get 6:15 but I also knew I had a very good shot at PRing if I just kept moving. There could be very little walking. So I began to run 1/4 mile and walk 10 steps or so. This lasted until mile 11 when the walk breaks lasted longer. By mile 12 and the short, steep decline, I was well within time of PRing and decided it hurt just as much to walk as it did to run so I might as well run. As I got closer to finish I couldn't hear the announcer or the crowd, which seemed strange since I knew it was close. But finally I turned to last corner, between 2 big sand dunes and the sound erupted. Apparently the sand dunes had muffled the sound but once between them it was very loud. I ran as hard as I could(not very at this point) to finish. Crossed the line in just over 2:24 for the run and 6:35:25 for the race.

Overall I'm happy with the race since I PR'd but still disappointed because I really thought my training had set me up for a better race. But you have to take what the day gives you.

Now it's time for a little rest and maintenance. It will be nice to not have to ride and run long every weekend. I'll still get some long runs and rides in in the coming weeks, just not back to back and not every weekend!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And the taper begins!!!

Finally!!! Did my last hard workout tonight with 6 miles in the hills with 92 degrees and 80% humidity. Good last week+ including 8 miles in the hills last week and a 70 mile ride, 11 mile run and 2500 meter swim this weekend. Now I take off 2 days to drive up north. I'll get in a couple runs(easy) and rides as well as a couple open water swims with wetsuit before the race on the 4th. Nothing strenuous at all. I'm more than ready for a some easy, hopefully cooler workouts.

As they say, the hay is in the barn, I just hope I put enough hay in there. Not much more I could have done. Easily the most time/distance I've put in for a 1/2 before. I'm just going to plan on having fun and hoping all the training pays off.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Almost to taper

One more big week and I'll be about ready for the 10 day taper before Steelhead. Some strong workouts last week despite the heat cutting a couple a little short. Wanted to do 8 miles in the hills but could only do 6 during a noon time run. Also, wanted to do 6 on the track but stopped after 5. The heat/humidity is causes my recovery time to increase and the only way to manage it is to cut some workouts short.

Still got some decent distances in with 4000 meters swimming(including a 2500 meter swim), 110 on the bike(including a 50 miler) and 26 running(including an 11 mile run the morning after the 50 bike). Took yesterday off for my first off day in 3 weeks and to prepare for a last, long, strong week. Hoping to do 8 in the hills this evening, 70 on the bike Friday evening or Saturday morning and 11 running on Sunday.

Had a very strange experience on my 50 mile bike ride Saturday morning. It's not unusual to see strange things on the side of the road during rides. But Saturday morning, about mile 22 near Wimauma, I see a large 'bundle' on the opposite side of the road. As I get closer, I realize it's a man in a very awkward position, with his arms/hands over his head in the road. From his position and having his arms/hands in the road, I'm thinking he's injured or dead. I stop and ride over to him and loudly ask if he's alright. He immediately jumps up startled. He only spoke Spanish so I'm not sure what he said exactly but he appeared to be fine. Not sure why he was where he was but if a car came along without looking very well they would have run over his arms.

Monday, July 9, 2007

4 weeks until Steelhead

So I've got about 2 more weeks of serious training and then begin my taper for Steelhead. Since we're heading up on the 26th, it will all work out. The drive will force some downtime. Right now, I'm looking forward to the taper but the next 2 weeks are going to be tough.

Last week I put in my longest ride and run of the year. Got out early on the 4th for 70 mile bike. All in all it went well but did get caught in a downpour for about 25 miles of it. Then finished up the week on Sunday with an 11 mile run. Really felt good the first 6 miles then the sun came up and I struggled the last 5. But came away from it feeling pretty good.

The numbers for the week: 2000 meters swimming(need to get this up in the coming weeks), 140 on the bike and 24 running.

Going over my training log, I found I've had 3 days completely off in the past 9 weeks. Granted, some days I've only lifted or swam, neither of which I consider too strenuous all things considered. But still, it will be nice to spend some days off in August after Steelhead. But soon after that the kids and Beth are back in school and baseball begins again, which means things get crazy. The last 4 months of the year will be mostly maintenance mode as far as training, with only an Olympic distance race planned in late October and a century ride in Novemeber.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Another week done

Took Monday off for my first off day in 3 weeks and needed it as the week went along. Did 7 miles in the hills on Tuesday and that wore me out for the week. Ended up with 80 miles on the bike, 2000 meters swimming and 26 miles running. Both the 50 mile ride on Saturday and the 10 mile run on Sunday were done in extreme heat and humidity. Can't wait for Steelhead and the mild temps.

Also, got down to my 'goal' weight this morning. Now it's just a matter of keeping it there until Aug. 4th.

I'm always a little leery of putting goals out there for races, and I'm not going to put a toal time down. But, I've done 3 1/2 Ironman races now so finishing doesn't hold much appeal anymore. I have 2 main goals. The first is a stretch and will require all to go well race day. The second is to PR in all 3 disciplines. At Steelhead, they set the swim on race morning to go with the current, so with the lifting I've been doing and the current, I should be able to PR in the swim(44:55 at Muncie). Knowing the bike isn't very hilly and hoping for light winds and cooler temps, along with my increased bike training, I'm most confident in PRing on the bike(3:15.24 at Disney). The run will be the deciding factor on if I reach my big goal. I have yet to put together a strong run I know I'm capable of in a 1/2. Again, being stronger on the bike should hopefully bring me to the run in better shape than in the past. Temps again will have a big impact on my time but I'm still confident I can be my PR in the run(2:24:32 at Muncie).

I'm in about the best shape of my life right now. I've been much fast on the run before and maybe a little faster in the swim but my bike is the strongest it's been. So if I can just keep up the training levels for the next 3-4 weeks I should be able to have a race that reflects my training, which is all I ask for at this race.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The week, the race and the brick

The week was made up of 3 parts....Monday-Friday was an average training week, Saturday I did the Crazy Dicks sprint triathlon in Siesta Key and Sunday I did a 50 mile bike/4 mile run brick.

It was a 10.5 hour training week with 93 miles riding, 2400 meters swimming and 25 miles running. The race on Saturday was 1/4 mile swim, 13 mile bike and 3 mile run. The gulf was choppy and as we were about the start the swim, the first of 3 buoys was blown off course about 10-15 meters, potentially making the swim short. Unfortunately, the third(and last) buoy was blown off course even more making the swim a little longer. The bike was flat and very fast. I averaged 19.6 mph on the bike which is the fastest I've ever averaged in a race. The entire 3 mile run was on the beach so it was a little slow but overall I ran pretty good. Was a fun race.

Got up early Sunday and rode 50 miles and followed that up with a 4 mile run immediately after. Felt good on the bike and the run. Drank a little more than normal and it paid off on the run. Taking my first day off in 3 weeks and hopefully will bounce back with some strong workouts this week.

This was the last scheduled face before Steelhead on Aug. 4th. In a great position to build for the next 4 weeks before starting a taper for St. Joe.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Another good week

Thought it was going to be a shorter, easy week but felt good and made it another really good week. Able to get in 2800 yards swimming, 23 miles running and 90 biking. Highlight of the week was the sprint aquathon on Friday night at Pass A Grille beach. The whole family went and met my sister Jen and niece Olivia. Kids had a great time playing in the Gulf and I had fun running 2 miles on the beach followed by a 1/2 mile swim in some brutal surf followed by a 1 mile run to finish it off. Nothing like red lining it for 40+ minutes but overall a lot of fun. Did another 50 mile bike and 10 mile run on the weekend to top it off. Next up is another building week with a sprint tri at Crazy Dicks in Siesta Key on a Saturday and a 60 mile bike on Sunday.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Long week............heat is here

Longest training week I've ever had. 12.5 hours of swimming, biking, running and lifting. Did a 2000 meter swim and felt very good but need to add at least a 2nd weekly swim. Ran 30 miles and biked 110. 2 lifting sessions. This week will be a bit of a recovery week and I'll need it. The heat/humidity arrived with a vengeance this week. During my 10 mile run on Sunday I drank 16 oz before the run of Cattapult, 40 oz of Cytomax during the run and 30 oz of H20 and still ran out. Drank another 32 oz of Recoverite when I finished which helped me bounce back. According to the weather station down the street, it hit 81 degrees dew point during my run. Temp hit 88.

Like with my first 1/2 Ironman race, Muncie in 2002, I will not have to worry about the temps at Steelhead. After spending 2+ months training in 92+ degrees and high dew points, Michigan weather will seem cool no matter the temps.

Have the Sunset race(2 mile run, 1/2 mile swim, 1 mile run) this Friday night. Looking forward to it as it should be fun. No real goals but would like to break 8 min pace on the runs and 16 minutes on the swim. Not knowing how much of the runs are in the sand it's hard to know how realistic that is. Plus, I also plan on riding 30 miles at lunch that day so we'll see how it goes.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Here comes June

Been a tough week so far, not so much from the distances or intensity but from little down time. May went by with 2 days I didn't swim, bike, run, or lift, often doing 2 of them. Hopefully this will start to produce some results in upcoming races, most importantly my 1/2 Iron race in August. Have a 10 mile run scheduled for tomorrow morning and then will take a full day off. Well, kind of. We'll spend Saturday and Sunday walking around MGM and Epcot. So much for a day off.

People often ask why I want to do an Ironman. There is no easy or short answer. But I read this quote recently which kind of sums it up:

The Ironman is extremely demanding--It will be a supreme challenge mentally, physically, emotionally and even spiritually. At times, if you don't pay attention, it can be dangerous. Simply put...the Ironman by its very nature will test every fiber of your being. For many people, that is exactly what intrigues them, what calls to them. When you finish this journey, you will know more about yourself, and what you are capable of, then you ever thought possible.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Good week!!

Had a very good week last week, training and otherwise. Summer officially began as the kids and Beths school year came to a close Friday. Thursday night, Hunters little league team won the league tourney with him getting MVP and was the winning pitcher.

So, with baseball and school over for the summer, time to turn up the training!! Ended the week with 2000 meters swimming, 140 miles biking and 22 miles running, including a long weekend of training. Rode 30 on Saturday, ran 10 Sunday and rode 50 on Monday. Also got in my first double of the year with a 30 mile ride, 5 mile run last Tuesday. With a little more free time now, the bricks and 2 a days should start to increase, as should the swimming.

Monday, April 23, 2007

And so it begins...................

I have decided to create my first blog to allow friends and family to follow my quest to complete my first Ironman race!!! I use the term race liberally, for me it will be a day of survival.

It's kind of funny I'm even starting this now since I still don't know which race I'll do. I want to do one in the fall of 2008 to celebrate my 40th birthday(October 7th) but a couple things will dictate which race I select. Currently there are 2 strong contenders and 1 dark horse. The 2 contenders are Ironman Florida in November and Ironman Louisville in August. The dark horse is the Great Floridian in October. A couple things will dictate which race I do. Louisville will require a I do the brunt of my training during the hot months of summer. Of course this would also be a benefit since the kids won't be in school and I wouldn't have to worry about taking/picking them up. Florida would provide training during the somewhat cooler months at the end but still a lot of the training would occur during the summer.Great Floridian would come into play if I can't get into either of the other two(they fill up within a day of registration opening a year in advance). At this point I'm leaning on doing Florida.

So, what do I do between now and then? The short answer is a lot of swimming, biking and running. A little background. I have been running since 1991 and have completed 14 marathons(26.2 miles) and dozens of shorter running races. I have also done several sprint and Olympic distance triathlons and 3 1/2 Ironman races(1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) since starting to train for triathlons in 2001. I have several races planned between now and my Ironman, including a 1/2 Ironman at Steelhead in St. Joe Michigan on August 4th. I will also be doing several shorter races this summer and will be updating my blog as those come up. Also, I will update this blog with my training as the weeks go by.

Please feel free to comment!!