"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.