Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mile 10 - It happened...

I didn't realize until today that I have been silent for so long on my musings as I continue down my journey of personal improvement. It has been two years since my last post and that was following my last triathlon and that was a event that I didn't realize had been so long ago as well. Wow how time flies when you invest yourself in other things.

So here it is two years later and I have run races, trained hard, trained lazily, not trained and changed training. I have for almost a year now been working out with a great coach and friend his name is Tim and he owns Bodyworx Studio. I have been working with him on increasing what is called my functional fitness. I can tell you truly that I am probably stronger now then I have been in a very long time and I have probably increased my endurance 10 fold from where I was two years ago.

Being stronger and having greater endurance and trusting my own self-proclaimed readiness I embarked on a half-marathon over the weekend. It was a good day for a race in south Georgia. I had run this event in the past and I enjoy that it helps to raise money for a small private school here in the Golden Isles and I enjoy even more that this run takes place on Jekyll Island and there is plenty of running by the beaches and marshes that make this part of the world so special. All these things mixed for a great event. The weather was nice and cool in the morning and a good breeze blowing in off the beaches, the sun was rising over the rim of the world. Wow it was going to be a good run.

I started out at a good pace and was remembering to keep my form straight and strong. I was focusing on the way my hips and arms moved forward and back not side to side. I kept my ankles in line with my knees and my hips over shoulders no slouching.  These were all things I have been learning from Tim and these small changes in my technique has helped me to grow as a recreational athlete.

So taking all this with me I head out to run my half (I did mention I've done this before and I learned a lot about fitness and nutrition right?) and what a start it was. I was using the Galloway method for my pacing and I did the right thing - I started at the beginning and not two or three miles in as I am accustomed. I was keeping a good pace at mile 1 and was running at a 10:42 pace. Not bad for working through the starting gate clog that happens at every race.

I keep going and I feel god about where I am and what's happening. I remind my self to keep my pace under control. I didn't want to burn out to fast I had a long race to go and despite my best efforts at restraint the fun of the race kept getting to me. Mile 2 I dropped 19 sec, mile 3 dropped 5 seconds, and on and on.  I was keeping pace at around 10:18 - 10:22 for miles 6-9 and I was on pace for my best half in years. Then it began about mile 10...

I hit mile 10 and got through the water stop and then it hit me. I couldn't get enough water I had begun to sweat less then I should...yep that is what you think it is dehydration had taken over. The temps had begun to climb, I wasn't drinking enough nor sweating enough. This was not going to go well for me, but hey I can do anything for three miles right? Just change up my run/walk pace and I can go farther I can keep a good pace right? I can just grab two waters next time time and I can push on right? That small pulsing feeling in both my calves can be just muscle fatigue and again increasing my run/walk pace will give me the break I need to recover right?

Nope - all wrong!

My split dropped to 11:48! That was OK I could make it up on mile 11 after the water stop...mile 11 dropped to 13:17 - yes you saw that correct I dropped 2:48 in two miles and while I did get the two waters and had a bit of a Clifbar I was going to make a go for the last two miles. I can pull this out, maybe not my best but I can still pull out a good time... my legs were still cramping, but I knew I could do this and I put forth the effort and mile 12 shaved off almost a minute I was going to do this I just had 1.11 miles to go!! I can make this happen!!!

Nope... I has all played out by mile 13 I had gained another minute and a half. Looking forward to that last .11 miles was going to be too much. I wasn't going to get that last .11 miles if I kept running I had to walk it out. So finished my half marathon at 2:26:24. I really was going to do around 2:20 and for me that was huge. Now that was the end of my half marathon, but the race wasn't over... what how can that be?

Well, my GPS read 13.11 and I called it a race. I had about half-mile to go for the actual race finish line. I had given it all I had and I fought against heat related muscle cramps every other step in that last half-mile and that time was an embarrassing 15:53. The race was now officially over and so was I. It was hot and I found a tall bottle of water and a shady spot to recover and that only took a minute or two, but they were the worst two minutes for me. I kept wishing the cramps away and eventually they did go away and I felt good enough to move around the crowd.

I saw some friends and chatted for a while, but as I began to internally critique what didn't go right I cam back to one of the most important conclusions I failed to hydrate properly or bring any with me. I got cocky and and felt I could just jump out there with a little bit of water and small food. I was so wrong. I know better, I have done better, and I am just lucky that I wasn't taken out by the heat. I have walked away from this event with new resolve to go back to basics with hydration and nutrition. I lost sight of the very basic fact that running is a basic human function so I need to drop all the over thinking and just do the basics.

Eat well, drink well and run! Drink really well and run really well!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I am weak...cycling is hard!

Hello everyone,

I have come to a rough conclusion over the last several days and that is I am weak! I want to be a really good triathlon racer and to do that I need to get my legs stronger. I thought they were strong, but they obviously need some development. That's how I came to understand that cycling is hard. I have taken to looking toward spring for new triathlons to take my fitness to the next level. To that end I have been doing some group training with friends and learning how to ride a bicycle. Yes you heard me right I am having to relearn how to ride a bicycle.

Sure, I learned how to ride when I was a kid, who didn't, and sure I had a ten speed when I was younger, but this... this... this... racing stuff is an absolute mystery to me. The aggressive posture, the tiny wheels, the quick movements of the bike, not knowing my pace or cadence, all foreign and truthfully a little scary. I know I need to do more miles to get myself set up on a riding style that works for me individually, before I go back to any group rides.

I tend to train alone for most of my races and when it comes to running I am good at knowing my pace, tempo, when to kick, when to hold back, it is in many ways my element. I may not be the fastest runner, OK I know I'm not the fastest runner, but that will come and after Disney in January I think I have to take a hard look at my training regimen to go to the next level of speed and endurance.
That is for another day, today however I am weak and a bad cyclist. No its true, I have calf muscles to spare and I can run for days, but when it comes to cycling my quads are pitiful. As I've said I have been doing a couple of group rides and I even borrowed an upgraded bike this past weekend and I manged to go about 3 miles faster on the group ride and it was killing me. Around my area I was getting an average of 15 miles an hour, I was cooking, but I feel apart on this group ride.

I think there are several factors impacting my group rides. The first is it could be mental, I know everyone else is very good and I also know that I hold them back because they are gracious enough to wait on me. Two the idea of leaning forward on these so called "aero bars" and biking harder and more aggressive is very different and I think it scares me that my legs will simply give out. Third I feel so wobbly, these wheels are so thin that my bike is all over the road when I go for my water or transition between sitting positions - frustrating! I know it will come in time, but until them my body is making a lot of new adjustments because it just hasn't had to work that way before.

So, having said all that it has become clear that strength training for me will be a must. I need to build my leg strength if I am going to be a serious contender in my triathlon adventures. I have settled on the idea that I need to retool all my training programs and perhaps stop thinking of myself as a runner who rides, but start thinking of myself as a whole triathlon racer. After all I hate being last, but improvements come in time, and I totally hate being the pity rider that everyone looks at and goes "Poor guy he tries so hard".

So as I go forward starting Monday (yes I get that I'm waiting several days, but I have a race this weekend) my new training will start taking place it will now be training for a specific goal and not a half effort at training for runs or events – next level training – training for true race results. So look out world this good looking man is going to get stronger, faster, and if possible even better looking. I know I already walk around looking like an Adonis, but I need goals people!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A triathlon seems like the logical next step...

Before I get started I just wanted everyone to know that this maybe my last blog post under the blogger website. I've set up an account on wordpress because of their iPad app, but I've not committed to publishing there just yet. Now on to my thoughts.

It has been a very long time since I have posted anything and it has not been for a lack of ideas or blog titles that flirt in my head, it has more to do with writing the entire blog in my head and then forgetting it by the time I sit down to write. Today was no different as I wrote two blog posts in my head and what you have here is a completely new blog post. I have been training as you are all aware, because I train a lot for a lot of races and this year has been no exception.

My fall race calender has quickly filled up so much so that I had to pull back from some races I wanted to do and incorporate some cheaper local races into my schedule. To that end I decided to do a triathlon. Many of you may think why a triathlon? Well, to be honest I've done a lot of running. I've run everything from a 5k to an ultra-marathon distance (which has not been repeated) and I was looking for another challenge. I found that challenge after running the Turtle Crawl 10k and watched as the triathlon participants attacked their race. Yes I said attacked.

The idea of doing in essence three races in a row appealed to me as a challenge that could help take my fitness to the next level and in many ways it has, however, my slacker nature has also kept me from reaching my full potential. I guess it's because I keep thinking of this as a test run to see if I "will like the sport". I already know I will the challenge is just exciting!

Since I am always looking for a new way to push myself because the Goofy Race and a Half was not enough for me apparently, I settled on this path. I don't doubt that I can finish the race and I know I won't come anywhere near the podium on this, I don't have the bike for it truthfully, I'm only able to get about 13 miles an hour out of my bike and I know that there will be people there killing the bike portion.

It will be enough for me to finish the race and take this experience and incorporate a lot of what I will learn into my planning for ongoing training. I'm a runner at heart and I know that and I love race challenges and yes I plan on doing the Goofy again this year or then again maybe I'll get froggy and finish the unofficial "Dopey"; that's an insider term for doing all three races on marathon weekend. It is my belief that this triathlon will motivate me to continue to improve my overall stamina and eventually buy a better bike that may help to put me on the podium next year. Do I think I will do another one after this... you better believe it! Do I know when? Not right now, but I would like to get one more in before the season ends and the weather turns cold and my eyes focus on Disney.

Monday, June 18, 2012

First Place!!!

I know your thinking that this is a lot of posts recently, but I have to share this I have actually come in first place in a race!! I know it is hard to believe, but I ran a 10k during the Jekyll Island Turtle Crawl Triathlon and I came in first in my age group. I have always settled for being a middle of the pack runner and working out my own PR, but this was possibly the most motivating thing I have accomplished in a very long time.

This one event has set me on a new path and that means I am doing something fantastic. I have started reaching deeper to build a new base. I am taking to a whole new level of fast and overall health. I've decided to drop some pounds and start being more holistic in my approach to improving the person I am. That means adding to my routine and adding some cross training, I want to take it up a notch and all this because in my age group I CAME IN FIRST PLACE!!!

My next race if your curious is the Sunshine Festival 5k and there are usually many people in my age group at these local 5k races, so while I may not dominate this one, I know I will be better then last time and I did get older and sometimes that means I don't have to get faster. ;)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I have been it's true I have

I have to admit since my last post nearly two months ago I have been having difficulty in collecting my thoughts and sorting out a lot of what is going on in my life in order to generate a blog posting, but as I sit here listening to Pandora and thinking back over the last several weeks of the adventure that is being a part of Team Davis it occurs to me that in many ways things are constant as the waves against the beach, but in other ways my training and running have been involving.

I left from the last post wondering if I was maybe not running enough to generate an quality thoughts and that perhaps I should be racing more. Well I did go race and it was an amazing eye opener for what is needed to keep me motivated to take running seriously and refocus my attention. I am currently about a week away from finishing a training program for a spring tune up that should have been finished three weeks ago, but I'm getting there and the best part is I have been getting faster. I love going faster. I just love the physical output, the push to go to the next level, and wondering just how fast can I go and for how long. While that has been ongoing, I must admit that I just cant get myself into the mood to stretch and I know in the long run that is costing me and it will catch up with me. Hmm is this self-sabotage?

All that being said I hit my new show milestone which would be 500 miles. I've put more than that on my Nike's as of today and before I am able to get to a new pair I suspect I will add several more miles. On top of that I've made it a point to drop some of that winter time pounds that I've put on and it has been falling off almost daily. It feels good to have everything a little loose, of course some people see that as an excuse to buy new clothes, but not yours truly. I just think it makes what I have look that much better on me. I mean after all I look good no matter what!

I have been having more fun with my running and I think I have been getting a little closer to what some people call a purest form and popped out the headphones. I've been spending time with myself in my own head and listening to my breathing, feeling the footfalls, embracing the headwind, allowing my body to speak to me in terms of pain and healthy response to the forward push. It's nice to have nothing but yourself to talk to sometimes and more importantly, I think, it is good to be able to listen and quietly encourage yourself forward.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Let's take a look back....

It has been too long since I have been in this world and communicating with all of you. To that end let me start with a brief recap of what has been going on in my world and let's start with my recollections and thoughts as they relate to having completed the Goofy.

I don't know why it is, but the Goofy was harder for me to run then when I ran my first 50k. In the runDisney world when you do all the marathon weekend runs your running what they call the Dumbo. That is a total of 42.4 miles. Now that may sound like a long distance and it is, but I did it over the course of three days where I completed the 50k over just seven hours and all though I would be having rest breaks between the runs it would make a difference, I know it did, but it didn't.

This was one of the hardest runs I had been a part of, the distance wasn't insurmountable,but I think the psychological stress was more then I was prepared for. I had the energy for the 5k,that was easy (don't hate), I was able to do the half-marathon with some anxiety, but the marathon was an adventure in true mental training. I must admit it did not help that I could not keep an accurate record in my head of my pace versus the sweep time and my anxiety was super high through out the entire race. I was always sure I was going to be swept. I literally let my imagination runaway with myself.

Needless to say I did not get swept and I had plenty of time to spare. I ran so hard that I actually caught a pace group. I then had it in my head to catch the next pace group up from that one. I did well for a long time, but my efforts eventually burned me out Audi got passed by the pace group again, but toward the end it was ok they left me with about 5 miles to go and at that time I was fine I knew I would pass e finish as,on as I stayed I forward motion.

The last three were the hardest for me this time, I had noting left in my tank for any speeding was running on empty and that meant to simply keep moving. As I crossed the finish line I was told I looked good, but trust me it was all an act. I often don't think about Disney as an exhausting place, but these runs, these races were totally that exhausting.

After it was over I remember stretching and relaxing on the bed and then ta-da I woke up hours later and ready to go back to bed. I felt good having that level of tired in my bones it showed that I did something remarkable. Would I do this race series again? You better believe it. I guess the one drawback to doing this race was that I've had a hard time getting motivated again. My spring training has been suffering and I need to find my mental motivation for the next race. I accomplished what I had been focusing in for over a year and now, I hope this is not an example of mental laziness or overconfidence. Maybe I don't have enough runs on my plate.... Hmmmm that maybe it.

I think I need to do more racing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And now the Goofy or is it Dopey?

I am now less then two weeks away from a great test of endurance. Next Friday I will be traveling to Disney to run the Goofy Challenge and for those of you who do not know that is running the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday and that alone is a challenge in itself. I have been thinking hard about how to plan for this adventure and how to manage my shoe exposure. I know what you may be thinking "manage your shoes?", it's a legitimate question and I have an equally legitimate answer and that is I have nearly 200 miles on my new shoes that were bought in October so that means their half-life is quickly approaching. I had recently felt that I need to get serious and invest in at least two pairs of running shoes to help preserve my feet and keep me enjoying this activity.

Anyways, back to the Goofy if you take a minute and do the math that's 39.3 miles in 24 hours, now some of my long running friends will find that to be nothing and some of my never running fiends will find it to be an incredible feet. I think it's somewhere in the middle. It is a big deal, but one that I've been training for for a very long time and I am not worried about completing the task. I am looking forward to wearing that Goofy medal, for me I think of my Disney medals as examples of good runs at a great location put on by a class act.

I did hear recently in the runDisney world that to run the 5k on Friday would be considered "Dopey" when you're going to complete the Goofy as well. I decided that I could not pass up the challenge, I mean after all it is a lot of walking and slow running so that I can focus on the challenge that is the marathon. It being Disney that means I would walk out with a set of four medals if I succeed in all these races. Is it Dopey that I signed up to run that race? Maybe, but I am looking forward to the challenge.

However, I feel that my true measure of success is that my lovely wife is going to run the 5k with me on Friday morning! This is a big deal as she has not run a race in over a year, probably close to 18 months and she is going full tilt with her training and dedication. I am so thrilled that she is with me and I look forward to sharing in her success.

Here's to your good running!