Monday, December 31, 2007


It's time to set up some goals for the new year! Over the past year I've found that I've been doing a lot more running that I have cycling thanks to the addition of marathons to my race schedule. It is very time consuming and energy consuming to prepare for the marathons leaving less time for the bike. This made my duathlon plans and mileage plans for 2007 suffer. It just became to much to juggle with trying to train for the Flying Pig and training of the half in the fall and Disney coming up in a couple weeks. Something just have to give, and it turned out to be the time on the bike.

In 2008 I've decided to continue with my running goals that I didn't quite reach last year like the sub-20 minute 5k and sub-40 minute 10k, and my ultimate goal of a Boston Marathon qualifying time. This means I'm going to change my goals for cycling. Running is going to be about speed, and cycling is going to be about distance and just enjoyment. I want to continue my cycling, and especially commuting this year. I just won't be working on speed.

One new thing that I'll be doing in 2008, or at least revisiting after 8 years is the triathlon. Rather than trying to compete in a bunch of duathlons I'm going to prepare for one triathlon. It will most likely be one of the HFP races, and most likely the East Fork Triathlon. The race is in August which will give me plenty of time to prepare for the swim once the weather gets warmer.

I'll also be revisiting the MS150 ride this year with my buddy Rick. I've done the MS150 3 times in the past. It's always a great time for a great cause.

1500 miles running challenge
1500 mile cycling challenge
2008 push-up challenge
2008 sit-up challenge
commute to work on bike more
qualify for Boston (3:10 marathon)
run a sub-20 minute 5K
run a sub-40 minute 10K
Race 1 Triathlon
Ride and MS150 ride
Race a fall marathon

track eating and eat healthier (limit fast food, sweets, soda)
get to the gym twice a week

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The 20 Mile Run

The morning started out cold with snow storm warnings for the city. This was the 20 mile weekend. That means I have only a few choices. Try to beat the storm or run through the opening snow, or wait until Sunday after the first round of snow and run on slick ground and colder temperatures. Then there was the last choice of running 20 miles on a treadmill. I think I'll take the weather.

At 7:45 and the beginning for the run the snow hadn't started and the temperature wasn't so bad. It was hovering around freezing. I stretched out at the side of the 5 mile loop where I left a water bottle with Gatorade, one with water, and a banana. As I finished up my stretching A group of runners were running down the path away from me. Maybe I wouldn't be running alone after all. They were about 25 yards ahead as I took off. I felt good so I followed along hoping to catch up. I didn't want to push it too hard, so while I could keep them in sight I wasn't maeking up any ground. At mile 1 I checked my watch to see that I had clocked a 7:28. That was way too fast. If I was going to make it 20 I couldn't keep up that kind of pace, so I let them go. I backed off my pace and felt for something closer to an 8 minute mile.

The first 5 miles, or one lap, felt great. It wasn't too cold. The legs felt good. I stopped for a minute to eat a Gu pack, and suck down Gatorade. As I started the second lap the snow started. It was a steady, wet snow that immediately picked up to a steady downfall. The second lap went without incident. I felt good as I steadily turned out 8 minute miles. Everything seemed to be clicking along. By the time I got back to my stash The ground was covered with snow and the path was quickly turning white. I stopped to devour half a banana and drink some more Gatorade. I would be cutting it close, but I might be able to get in 5 more miles and still get over to the start of the Noel 5K that was also running that day at Lunken, unless it was canceled of course. The snow continued to pour down occasionally mixed with bits of ice. As I headed out on the next loop I switched directions hoping to avoid some of the wind in the face that I was getting on the second 5.

These next 5 proved to be more challenging as I grew tired and the footing became slippery. With every foot fall my foot would slip just a bit. It wasn't enough to feel like falling, but enough to be annoying and make me work harder for every step. I finished up the first 15 miles at 9:45 am. The Noel 5K started at 10 am. I had just enough time to hop in my car and drive around to the other side of the park where the start line was and the registration. I ran in, filled out the registration as quickly as I could, pinned my number to my shirt, grabbed a cup of water and walked out toward the starting line.

As I walked out to the starting line the snow was still coming down at a steady clip with the ground fully covered, the drive and the path fully covered with snow. I was surprised to see that around 100 crazy runners made it out for the race on this treacherous morning. It made me feel good to be out there and glad that I came over for the race. I saw a few familiar faces that I said hi to including the race director Don. Everyone was in good spirits and excited to get going. It's not usually something I'm very aware of because I'm deep in my own thoughts and plans for the race. Today I was just glad to see other faces.

I didn't set any blistering records for this race or even attempted to do so. I just wanted to run a steady pace and stay squarely in the middle of the pack. It was an out and back course, so I got to see everyone running their race. As I was headed out I saw the race leaders coming back at their lightning fast pace. I was hanging with the middle of the packers the entire way. As I was heading back I saw the slower runners working just as hard if not harder than the race leaders. My hats off to those who spend a long time out on the course. It's impressive to see someone run fast, but it's just as impressive to see those working so hard to reach their own goals at the back of the pack. The longer you're out there the harder it gets, especially on a morning like this when it's snowing and freezing.

During mile 3 I was plugging away when I saw a guy up ahead of me suddenly take a hard fall. He tried to get up, but fell again and again. I stopped to help him to his feet and asked him if he was alright. I walked along with him for a few moments to make sure he was steady. He said he would be alright, so I moved on. As I crossed mile 3 I slowed down and told the volunteer to keep an eye out for the guy. He might have hurt himself.

Usually at the finish it's time to kick back relax, stretch out and grab some refreshments. It wasn't over for me yet though. I walked through the finishing chute, gave the officials my tag and jogged on out the back, turned and headed back out. It was 2 miles to the finish. Two more agonizing, knee aching, soaking, cold, snow covered miles.

1 - 7:28 2 - 8:04 3 - 8:03 4 - 7:56 5 - 7:43 6 - 7:36 7 - 7:56 8 - 7:41 9 - 7:34 10 - 8:00
11 - 7:17 12 - 8:25 13 - 8:36 14 - 8:34 15 - 8:20 16 - 8:05 17 - 8:20 18 - 8:57 18.1 - :53
19 - 9:20 20 - 8:52

The 20 Mile Mix

There isn't much cool about waking up at 4 in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep. That's especially true on a day when I have a 20 mile training run planned. It is kind of cool to sit in the quiet and dark of the early morning just listening to some music and putting together my mix for the run. I like to mix it up with some music and podcasts. Anything to take my mind of the long miles. This will be key this morning as I'm looking at freezing temps and possibly snow and/or rain. Lunatic Fringe indeed...

Dare (Soulwax Remix) - Gorillaz
505 - Arctic Monkeys
Born To Be a Dancer - Kaiser Chiefs
Phedippidations 126: Base Training - Running Podcast
You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch - Aimee Mann
Joker and The Thief - Wolfmother
The Underdog - Spoon
Oh My God - Kaiser Chiefs
Filmspotting #190: I Am Legend/Juno...- Movie Podcast
Well Thought Out Twinkle - Silversun Pickups
Seven Army Nation - The White Stripes 12-13-07 We Arrive at 6 and 5...-Multisport Podcast
Sugar Free Jazz - Soul Coughing
Feel Good Inc. (Stanton Warriors Remix) - Gorillaz
All This Time - Heartless Bastards
I'm At Home Getting Hammered...- Banjo & Sullivan
Lunatic Fringe - Red Rider
Ecstasy - Rusted Root
Since The Last Time - Arrested Development
Take Your Mama Out - Scissor Sisters
I'm Shipping Up To Boston - Dropkick Murphys
Ball and Chain - Social Distortion
Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
Something In the Water - The Jealous Girlfriends
Get Back - The Beatles
Children's Story - Slick Rick
Killer Kaczynski - Mando Diao
Henry Parsons Died - Widespread Panic
Fell In Love With A Girl - The White Stripes
None Shall Pass - Aesop Rock

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Jingle Bell Run 5K

It's been entirely too long since the last time I've posted on this blog. I've been very busy adjusting to my new job, and Scrabulous on Facebook has me thoroughly addicted. So what's been up for the last few weeks?

The leg has been healing slowly. Some days it has been feeling better than others. I've cut back to running 3 days a week to give it a little more time to heal in between runs. This has made my weekly mileage suffer, and it will be interesting to see how that effects my marathon running. At this point I just want to arrive in Orlando and on the starting line healthy. I'll let the rest take care of itself.

I've run two races. The Thanksgiving Day Race 10K was my first race back after the injury. I wasn't running for any sort of time. It was running with my cousin Michelle and a friend of hers. I let them set the pace at the beginning of the race and just hung with them the whole time. There was no reason to push it. I could have risked further injury, and running with Michelle was just fun. It was a great morning.

Following the race I started to have problems with my left foot. I thought it was a bruise at first, but I think it was more of a muscle pull in my foot. The muscle across my left instep was hurting at every step. It was another set back in my marathon training that I just didn't need. I started switching back and forth between my new shoes, and my older, more broken in shoes to try and ease the pain in my foot. It seemed to work out as the foot eventually worked itself out. The leg continues to nag and ache some as it heals. I've just come accept it as it is and will do the best I can with the pain.

That brings me to the Jingle Bell Run. I didn't have any particular expectations for this race other than to just run the race, and have a good time with Michelle. The course was an out and back course, so I decided to set a steady pace for the first half. After that I'd make a decision whether to maintain or push it up and really race this thing. The weather was cool, and it had been sprinkling and raining off and on all morning, but at race time things were looking pretty good.

We started off the race at a pretty good pace. I was shooting for about an 8 minute mile. We started in downtown Covington. near the Ohio River. We went up the road and took a right on to a bridge for our first river crossing into Cincinnati. As we came off the bridge we finished mile 1. Things felt pretty smooth, and even as I was not pushing the pace I came in at 7:18. Things were looking good. I was feeling good. I still didn't push things too hard. I just let Michelle set the pace and cruised along. She set an excellent pace as we came in at a 6:55. Going into mile 3 we headed back across the river. As we headed up the incline of the bridge I decided to pick up the pace. As we crested the bridge you can just see the finish line off to the left. This is a great motivator to keep it up. Off the bridge and around the block to finish mile 3 at 6:50.

A final sprint brought me in for a great finish. About 45 seconds later Michelle came in for her own impressively strong finish. The foot was feeling good. I hadn't thought about my calf at all after the first mile of the race. We both finished under 22:30. It was a great race.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On The Road Again...

The Trusty Asics Gel-Cumuli

After a week with a few easy runs followed by 5 days with nothing but rest I think I'm ready to get back to training for Disney for reals. I got out for a lunchtime run, and for the first time there was no pain at all in my calf or shins. It is such a huge relief. I was so afraid that this would be one of those injuries that would linger and hang on. I think the 5 days off did the trick and helped me kick it. It just goes to show that sometimes less is definitely more, and you should always listen to your doctor.

Now that I'm back on with training it also means I can get back to racing. Thursday is the Thanksgiving Day Race. It's a great 10k on Thanksgiving morning to help you build up that apetite so you can stuff yourself for the rest of the day with no worries. mmmmmm turkey. This year I'll be running with my cousins. This year I won't be racing for time. I won't be racing for time, I won't be racing for time. If I tell myself that enough times it might start to sink in to my corrupted, stubborn brain. I'm going to hang with my family and run just for fun. I won't be racing for time.

One final thing is my Team In Training fundraising. I've got about 3 weeks left to finish up my fundraising and reach my goal. I'm soooo close I can see the end! Only $375 to reach my goal of $3600! We did a craft show this past weekend selling handmade cards and Christmas ornaments my wife had made. Unfortunately, we didn't make much, but that's alright. It was so sweet of her to spend all the time creating the cards and making the bulbs. There were a lot of people there selling crafts, so it wasn't easy to get noticed.

Friday, November 09, 2007

It's Not So Bad

This just in.....Runner training for Walt Disney World Marathon and raising money for Team in Training has fears of injury after experiencing increasing pain in his left leg that culminates with him having to bail on a training run. Runner decides that it would be best to see a doctor. More at 11.

The worst moment I had yesterday in the doctor's office was when they told me I neede xrays. Immediately my mind flashed forward to him giving me the news that I have a stress fracture and I shouldn't run for at least a couple months. Fortunately that scenario didn't happen.
First I should say that the doctor was great. He and his wife are both runners, so he was very understanding of this crazy need to push myself. That really put my mind at ease. I was afraid that I would get a doctor that, while maybe a good doctor, just wouldn't get it. Add that to the fact that he never spoke down to me or made me feel stupid. I really couldn't have asked for a better doctor. Except for maybe one that could replace these twigs with bionic legs. That would be cool. :)

He confirmed what I had already suspected. I have some mild shin splints. That isn't really part of the problem with my calf, but a bonus diagnosis. He showed me a stretch to do for the shin splints. He said to give it a week before seeing improvement there. The calf muscle problem is just a strain. It was caused by a combination of training and poorly fitted shoes.
I suspected the shoes, but wasn't ready to fully admit it. I tried these new Asics Nimbus with a different width. They never really felt very good, and it was just a bad idea. Like he said, "if it isn't broke don't try to fix it." Luckily this news comes with two days left on my 30 day return policy. I'll be heading back to Fleet Feet today to return the Asics Nimbus and returning to the good old Asics Cumulus with a 2E width.

In addition to the shoes he said I'll need to take it easy for 2 weeks. I can still run, but only the shorter easier runs. No interval, tempo training, or long runs. I'm just glad that he thinks that I will be able to keep training at all. I had high hopes going into the training for Disney of setting a PR and getting closer to qualifying for Boston. I've come to realize that just getting to the race healthy and happy will be more than enough for me. So much work has gone into this race besides training by myself and my family that just being on the starting line marathon day will be a huge reward.

A special thanks to Bree for sending me photos and messages while I was at the doctor's office waiting. You brought a smile to my face.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I was going to do a two part Halloween weekend wrap up, but the time has passed. It just doesn't interest me anymore. I'm easily distracted by shiny things, or colorful things. It's been pretty much about work the last couple of weeks. Work, work, run, work, sleep, work, run, hurt leg, work. At least there is all the work to keep me preoccupied and not thinking too much about that little thing toward the end of that list. It's kind of hard not to think about it though with the Team in Training and Disney front and center.

The last couple of weeks has seen an increasing pain in my left leg below the knee. I can't point to a specific event that has lead to the pain, just a slowly growing ache that continues to grow and bother me. It could be overtraining, since I've been training for one race or another since January, or it could be something worse. I'm going to try and put it out of my mind until tomorrow.

Tomorrow I go see the doctor. Tomorrow I find out how I spend the next couple of months. Do I finish preparing for Disney in January? Do I get to explain to all the friends and family that I won't be continuing with Team in Training? Tomorrow I'll know.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Weekend Recap Part 1

It was just me and the alpacas up Sunday morning. I've run by this alpaca farm countless times, but have never seen all the alpacas hanging out so near the fence. Pretty cool. I needed some pretty cool and amusing things to keep me happy on this Sunday morning long run. It's been a crazy, busy weekend that started Friday after work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Run Like Hell and culminated Saturday night with a Halloween bash at my best friends' house that we'll be talking about until the next Halloween bash. Since it was such a packed weekend I'm going to blog this out in installments. First stop is the Friday's Run Like Hell.

I've been working on the marketing committee for the Run Like Hell for quite a few months now. We worked on a very tight budget in order to be sure that 90% of the proceeds would go toward funding research for a cure for CF and support for families of patients with CF. That meant a lot of calls to get items and services donated. Our goal was to raise $100,000 Friday night was the fruit of all our labors.

Previous years have come to be known under the aliases of Rain Like Hell, Snow Like Hell, The day the Hell Froze Over, Hotter Than Hell....and on and on. What would the weather bring this year? Fortunately, as the evening grew closer the weather was looking very good. It was hovering in the low 60's with a few clouds scattered around. If the weather took a turn worst, which is always a possibility during any given October day in Ohio we were prepared with tents for the band and the crowd.

Before the race I worked race day packet pick up and late registration. It started off a bit slow, which was good because I got to roam a bit and take some pre-race photos. However by 7pm, 30 minutes to the race, we were slammed! We were checking registrations, taking money, and giving out race numbers as quickly as we could to get everyone registered before the gun went off at 7:30 pm. Things started to slow down around 7:25, so I jumped ship and headed for the start line.

The starting area was packed with people. I know they make announcements and what not before the race because of previous years' experiences, but this year you couldn't hear a thing. People were chatting and checking their watches knowing that it must be getting close but not getting any sort of information. I chatted with a few people, snapped a couple of photos and enjoyed the crowd. This would be the first race where I wasn't going to worry about my time at all. I was just going to run, take photos and enjoy all the crazy costumes!

The gun went off and the mad dash began! I set out at a steady pace. I wanted to stay up with the front runners just for a minute or two, so that I could fade back and take photos along the way. It was a little bit like running intervals. I'd pick up the pace for a few minutes to a point where there was a street light or what looked like a good spot to shoot from, stop take a photo, then run on up for a few minutes to the next spot.

The photos really speak for themselves....Go Here. I took about half the photos. The other half were taken by my father in law Tom Chaney.

After the race I went to the after party where I worked the souvenir booth and walked the crowd taking photos. It was lots of fun, and a very rewarding experience.

As a postscript to this blog I received an email from Annemarie, the Events Coordinator for CF. The preliminary total for the event was $102,000! WooHoo!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Taking Rain and Making Lemonade

If I were doing one of those "post what's outside your window at work" games this is what I'd post. Well if I pulled a Peter Gibbons and took out one cubicle wall this is what I'd see. This is the 4th day straight of rain. I think it's been the 4th. I don't know I've lost track. I was going to complain, but how can I complain with all the devastation going on in California with the wildfires. Thanks to Entertainment Tonight I know the troubles that Britney Spears, Sean Penn and other superstars are going through. I really hope one of your 5 homes don't burn down! It's a tragedy. Seriously though my thoughts are with you all...everyone except Britney. I could care less about her.

But I digress. I've decided that since it's been pouring down rain, and I don't have access to a gym right now that I'd take a recovery week. I needed to let my feet and legs heal a bit anyway. Continuing to run last week after the race was a bit much. I've been feeling the strain of the race in my calves, and the blisters I'd developed during the race were still hanging around. Add to that a general training fatigue anyway. This was a good opportunity to rest and heal with out feeling all stressed because it is so nice outside and wanting to get out and run or ride. After a couple days off I started to feel the urge to run, but couldn't because it continues to rain so I did some much needed strength and core training.

Friday night is the Run Like Hell 5K. Following that I've got a busy weekend of Halloween parties and a Team In Training Fundraising party. With the Run Like Hell out of the way I can concentrate on my Team In Training fundraising and training for the Disney Marathon.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Autumn Weekend Workouts & Chi Running

It's been a great weekend for workouts. Autumn temperatures and colorful leaves are in full force and made yesterday's ride and today's run really great. Today run was particularly good because it was a bit of a relief. Ever since last weekend's half the runs this week have been tough. I've felt like I've had to force my pace and I never felt comfortable at any pace. It was not encouraging.

I decided to take today's 13 mile long run and just try to run at a comfortable pace. I didn't do any marathon pace running. I just let my legs carry me at a comfortable pace. If that meant that I ended up walking some then so be it. As it turned out I was able to set a comfortable pace and keep it up the entire time without stopping. I had some minor aches and pains, but nothing that was cause for concern and nothing that a little ice didn't take care of after the run.

On a completely different topic. Has anyone heard of Chi Running? I received a call the other day letting me know that I won a drawing last weekend for a workshop for a program called Chi Running . I've never heard of the program and was wondering if anyone else had done it or at least heard of it. I just don't want to waste a half a day only to find out that it is a 4 hour long commercial for a book. They promise the ability to run farther, faster, with less effort and injury free. Sounds good to me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dayton River Corridor Classic Half Marathon

I stood at the start line outside of University of Dayton's Welcome Stadium ready to go. I was feeling confident. Despite the fact that my iPod crapped out on me, so I wouldn't have my tunes or my Phedippidations podcast to pass the early miles, I was still feeling confident. I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to hear the cheers from around the world of the other runners that were participating in the World Wide Half Marathon. I was really disappointed that I wouldn't get to use the playlist the Bree and I had spent months building for the race. Still I had gotten good use out of it during training, and I was well prepared for the race this morning. Nothing was going to bring me down.
I had my clothes layed out the night before. I had my food prepared. Everything was ready. What was I missing? What did I forget? Apparently it was my brain because when the starting gun went off I shot off the start line like a rocket and never thought to slow down until it was far too late.

About 1/2 mile in I fell into pace with a lady at a quick 6:52 pace. It felt great to be in step with someone. I concentrated on smooth breathing and a quick turnover. The air was cool, the sun hadn't broken through the clouds yet and everything was right with the world. I had visions of finishing at under an hour and 30 minutes. This fellow runner and I were like a well oiled machine as we broke off at water stations to grab a drink and then fell right back into step. It went like that for the first 5 miles or so.

Somewhere between 5 1/2 and 6 miles my fortunes began to change as a strange pain ripped across my back between my shoulder blades and fatigue began to set in. I tried to push on at the same pace, but I had to slow down. I backed off and tried to stretch out my back a little as I ran. It eventually worked out, but I knew that the rest of the race wasn't going to be as easy as those early miles.

That little thought and little bit of doubt opened the door to the voices. The voices came in to sit for a while and have a chat. We discussed how the pain in my back was weird and painful and probably would come back. They laughed and laughed as I tried to pick my pace back up and ask them to leave. It was a grand ol' tea party...for them. I was struggling and by mile 8 marker I had another issue. I could feel blisters forming on the instep of my left foot and on my right heel. Seriously? What the hell. This caused the voices to crack up and they jabbered on.

At mile 9 waterstation I had had enough. I was way to far into my own head, so I stopped. I picked up a cup of water and gave myself a 1 minute time out to walk. I needed to regroup and get myself out of my head. I ushered the voices out and decided that I would try to relax, find a comfortable pace and enjoy the rest of the run. I got a helping hand by another fellow runner somewhere around mile 10 as a guy ran up beside me and started to make small talk. We talked about the weather, races we had run the previous weekend, anything to forget about the fatigue and pain of the late miles. I don't know his name, and I didn't see him after the race, but he was awesome and I thank him.

After passing mile 12 I could hear the cheers and see the stadium as we headed in the home stretch. We headed off the road, across the parking lot and into the stadium where we finished with a 3/4 lap around the track to the finish line. I could hear labored breathing and a quick pace coming up behind me trying to make the pass, but there was no way I was going to be passed 200 yards from the finish line. I picked up the pace and thought about the days of running the 400 meters in track. I finished strong.

mile 1: 6:52 mile 2: 6:57 mile 3: 7:04 mile 4: 6:55 mile 5: 6:56 mile 6: 7:05 mile 7: 7:30 mile 8: 7:47 mile 9: 7:48 mile 10: 7:55 mile 11: 7:56 mile 12: 7:58 mile 13.1: 8:33

My official time was 1:37:21 finishing 5th in my division (M 30-34) and 91st overall (I think). They haven't posted the official results on the site, but they were available the day of the race, and that is what I remember reading. I could be wrong. I was a little delerious at the end.

It wasn't a PR day, but I'm happy with the results. I was only off by a minute and a half from my 1:35:55 PR set at the Loveland Challenge last year. It was a huge learning experience. I now know that I really could use some music at the beginning of races to help me relax and slow down in those early miles. I got so wound up with thoughts of pr's and fast speeds that I made a really silly mistake. I also learned that no matter how comfortable a new shoe feels on short runs that doesn't mean they are broken in and ready to go on a long run or race. I know I'm not making grand discoveries here, but hey I learn best through experience and more experience and nearly hurting myself. It's all good.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Little Miami Tri

The Little Miami Triathlon is not the normal swim, bike, run triathlon. Instead of starting with a swim it starts with a 6 mile canoe or kayak down the Little Miami River. I choose to do the kayak, because it's a little quicker and a individual event. The canoe requires a partner. I don't mind working with a partner, but I don't particularly care for canoes when it comes to racing. Once you reach the first transition you ditch the kayak and run 5.5 miles back up the river mostly on marked roads and a couple of miles on a multi-use path. The final 1/4 mile of the run is the reall kicker. You hang a right off the multi-use path on to a dirt trail that leads to a set of steps. You run (or walk) to the top of the steps then back on to the dirt path which continues up, and up, and up, and up at about an 18- 19% grade. Does that sound right? Maybe I'm exaggerating, but it is steep! The Final leg of the race is an 18 mile bike on country roads around the Fort Ancient where the race begins and ends. The bike course is mostly flat with some rolling hills. The tough parts of the course are out on open roads in corn fields where the head winds can be pretty nasty.

Now that you have an idea of what the course is like let's talk about this year's adventure! I started at 8:38 am with a buddy. It was early enough that it was relatively cool. I say relatively because it was already warm enough that nothing extra besides race gear was necessary. We had received news that contrary to earlier reports they were unable to get permission to release more water into the river to raise the water level. We were in for a rough morning on the river and that's just what we got. As we paddled down the river we hit sections that were less than 6 inches deep. We went around bends and through small, shallow rapids that left about a foot wide path for which all the boats and kayaks to pass causing bottlenecks and a little bumper boat action. The key to getting through this portion of the race was to try and relax, and paddle smart. Otherwise I'd find myself flipped over like I saw a few other people. It's just the worst being soaked and trying to empty out a kayak full of water.

I hit the shore at an hour and ten minutes, which was a little disappointing. If the river would have been higher I could have easily brought it in at under 55 minutes. Since I used the event supplied kayak and paddle all I had to do was dump the kayak and paddle with some wonderful volunteers take a few sips out the water bottle that I had taken with me on the river before tossing it and run away. At this point I had a little surprise. As I was running out of transition I ran past the buddy with whom I started. I hit the road at a steady pace and worked the stiffness out of my legs that had set in over an hour of sitting in a kayak in the first mile. After that I settled in to a rhythm and cruised through the rest of the run. It was all smooth sailing until I hit the dreaded hill that I talked about earlier. I jogged up to the first section then walked as quickly as I could. Ran across another relatively level part and walked again. There is no real reason to run this part for me. It's more about conserving energy fort the bike.

At the bike transition I popped a couple of electrolyte tabs grabbed some water, changed shoes, changed into a dry cycling jersey and hit the bike. By this time it was really starting to heat up. The expected high was 90 and it was definitely getting into the 80's and sunny. That makes for a tough bike ride as you head out on to these country roads that are mostly along open fields and corn fields where more often than not you're going to hit a head wind and that is exactly what happened. The best thing to do is tuck on to the aerobars and concentrate on keeping a steady cadence, and if I was lucky I could fall into line with a couple of riders and do some drafting. On most triathlons drafting is against the rules, but there is no rule against it in this race. Unfortunately for me it wasn't meant to be for two reasons. I found myself, as I often do, in the no-man's land in between the quick riders and the slower riders. To add to my problems all of the pushing across the rocks in the kayak and my poor paddling skills had left my lower back tired and growing painful. It made it extremely tough to stay on the aerobars without hurting my back worse. I pushed through the headwinds, over the rolling hills as best I could.

Despite the pain in my back there was one upside to the bike portion. Thanks to the electrolyte tabs I was able to avoid the painful cramps that had plagued me in previous years. Every year before this one at about mile 11 my calves would just sieze up painfully making pedalling all but impossible. While the back pain was uncomfortable it was manageable and preferrable to the cramps. I was able to push through the back pain and once I hit the last few miles the adrenaline of the finish took over.

The final time 2:58:41 which is over 15 minutes slower than last fall. However I finished 10th out of 50 kayakers which is the highest I've ever placed!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting Pumped for October

October is shaping up to be a great month! On Monday, October 1st I'll be starting a new job. I'm so excited about this because, among the many other reasons, I won't be working nights, weekends and holidays for the first time in 7 years. That means I'll be able to get back on to a regular sleep schedule (no more getting off work at midnight, and in bed at 1 am, only to get back up at 6 am to go back to work). Those days just suck. It drains me physically, mentally, and emotionally. No more...woo hoo!

In addition to the new job October is one of my favorite months for racing. This one is going to be particularly busy with 3 races lined up. The first race is the Little Miami Triathlon. This will be my 4th outing of the Little Miami's kayak, run, bike race. I don't have any specific goals for this race other than just to get out and have fun...and kick my friend's ass! Every year I do this race with my best friend. Last year he was talked into doing the canoe division with a partner. I was in a kayak, so we weren't really racing head to head. This year he's upgraded his bike and has been training with a buddy at work on his run. He'll crush me in the kayak. He has a lot more experience and better form in the kayak and has better upper body strength. That's just the beginning though. I plan on seeing him on the run, and passing him on the run. :)

The second race for the month is going to be the Corridor Classic Half Marathon, and more importantly The World Wide Half Marathon. It will be so exciting to know that I'll be running with Team Sparkpeople and all the other runners all over the world! Check it out at For this race I do have a specific goal. I want to set a new pr, and crush my previous record of 1:35.55. I'd also like to run negative splits for this race. I really need to slow myself down at the beginning of races.

The third and final race of the month is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Run Like Hell 5k. This one is not only a race, but also a volunteer project I've been working on all fall. I'll be working the night of the race doing something in a booth, and I'll probably be dressed up in a costume, so needless to say this run will be just for the fun of it! I just need to think of a costume that will be easy to run in, and has no mask that will constrict breathing. Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Advantages of Running at 5 AM

Disclaimer: This blog entry is an attempt to delude, I mean convince, myself that getting up at 5 am to run is in fact a great idea. I mean I'm going to be doing it over the next few months, so let the deluding, I mean convincing begin!

1. It's better than coffee. I'm not a huge coffee drinker, but I do like those bottled Starbucks Frappuccino drinks in the morning. A good run in the morning is a great way to get the blood flowing and a nice shot of endorphins.

2. I avoid the heat of the day. For a little while longer temps are still hitting in the low 80's. I'm not a fan of running in the heat. So, for the time being it's nice to run before the sun comes rises. Now that's going to be a different story come November and December. Let's just not think about that right now.

3. When work is done it's family time. I can't convince my wife and daughter to get up at 5 am and hang out with me. So, I guess it's better for the marriage if I spend time with her after work sometimes instead of running or cycling all the time.

4. Running in the dark can be fun! We live on a pretty safe, out of the way road, so running in the dark is fairly safe as long as I don't trip and fall on my face! This morning I felt like I was in my own personal horror movie. I was running in the pitch black of our street where there are no street lights, so the only lights I had were the lights of a few scattered houses with their lights on. I was surrounded by the woods and the sounds of small animals like squirrels and large animals like deer scurrying away. I only hope I don't run into the mean ass pack of turkeys that roam the neighborhood. That would be a horror.

Help convince me. What are some other advantages?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fall has...Fallen, in a totally good way

I was working up a rant on the lack of courtesy on our local multi-use path for today, but I think I'll put that off for another day in favor of something a little more positive. Fall has finally showed up in Ohio, and like it most often does it burst on the scene on the drop of a dime. You go to bed one night after a 90 degree F and muggy day only to wake up the next morning to 50 degrees and a day that reaches a high of 65 and no humidity. That alone is worth a little celebration. Add to that a little mental boost from a good run and you might find me dancing a little jig at said celebration.

I woke up at about 7 am to a long run that I didn't particularly feel like doing. I got little sleep last night, had a few too many drinks while hanging with a buddy, and was facing a very long 12 hour work day in 4 hours. After downing a big glass of water and some electrolyte tabs I stepped outside in my short sleeve TNT running shirt and a pair of shorts only to quickly run back inside. It was quite cold outside at only 49 F. I pulled out a bag of cold weather gear and dug out my running cap and gloves. Knowing that I need to work on my nutrition and hydration during long runs I pocketed a Gu and drove a bottle of water out to the 6 mile point of my run.

The run was wonderful. The 1.5 mile warm-up went smoothly. I picked up the pace for a 5.5 mile race pace section which wasn't quite up to the speed that I wanted, but it still felt great. I slowed it down for the last 3.25 miles, but even at 8 minute miles I felt like I could have put in another 5 miles. I haven't felt that way about a run in a few weeks, and not really good about any particular run since my last race. September wasn't off to a great start for training. All the heat, humidity, bad shoes, and general feeling of malaise has left me feeling less than excited about training into the fall. Today has gone a long way toward turning things around. It's the beginning of a new season, and I've got some of my favorite races of the year to look forward to as well:

10/7 - Little Miami Triathlon -kayak/run/bike
10/14 - World Wide Half at the Corridor Classic Half Marathon
10/26 - Run Like Hell 5K

Friday, September 14, 2007

Shoe Update

The shoes are going back. I'm really disappointed in how poorly they fit. I don't think I blame New Balance in anyway. I know several runners that swear by New Balance shoes. I'll just have to add it to my list of brands not suitable for me. This list also includes Nike, who apparently only makes shoes for all the narrow footed freaks of the world.

One of the complaints I forgot to mention in my blog yesterday was that toward the end of my first run the two smallest toes on my left foot started to go numb. That is never good as far as I know. Yesterday I went on a 6 mile run on a nice shady multi-use path. The path is completely flat and mostly straight. I figured after breaking the shoes in for a few days running in such ideal conditions should be no problem.

Everything felt good for the first 4 miles. Going into mile 5 I decided to pick up the pace for the last 2 miles. The toes on my left foot started to tingle. A few minutes passed as I tried to ignore the tingling, but then my ankle started to hurt and the pain quickly traveled up to my knee. That's about enough for me. That goes way beyond a shoe causing minor discomfort. I've always had a bit of a fear about my knees. Back and knee problems run in the family, so a shoe that aggravates the knees will be treated like toxic waste.

I'll be heading back to the shop this weekend to order another pair of Asics .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Job, New Shoes

After months and months of applying for jobs, and after months and months of disappointment things are finally starting to look up in the job department. I've been interviewing for a new, better job over the last couple weeks. After the initial job interview at the end of August I was called back for a second interview. It was at that point that I decided to keep kind of quiet about the job. I told very few people, because I've been facing so much disappointment in the last year. I get tired of thinking that this will be the job only to not get the position. After that I'm faced with weeks of explaining to friends and relatives that I didn't get the job, and I don't understand either why I didn't get the job, and blah, blah, blah.

Well, I can say officially, 100%, undoubtedly that I did get the job. hip, hip , Hoooraaaay! This is the job that I talked about in my August 31st post. It's a new position, in a new department, so there isn't an official title or job description yet. I'll be doing what I like to do best, a little bit of everything. Variety is the spice of life after all. Hopefully I'll be starting sometime at the beginning of October.

I also just got a new pair of running shoes. Over the last year or so I've gone through 2 pair of Asics Gel Cumulus. I love those shoes. This time when I went into the Running Spot I decided that I wanted to try something different. I tried the new model of the Gel Cumulus, some model of Mizuno, and a pair of New Balance 755. I really liked the feel of the Mizuno, and the Gel Cumulus (or is it Cumuli?) were nice as always.

In the end I chose the New Balance 755's. I liked them better than the Mizunos, and they didn't have my size for the Asics. Besides I wanted to try something different right? So far I am not terribly impressed. I'm trying to give it some time to break them in, but my initial reactions are as follows.

- They are very stiff. I thought I liked that when I first tried them on, but after a couple runs I'm not liking it. The runs felt kind of...flat. I don't know if that's the appropriate term, but that's the best word I can think of at the moment.

- There is lots of room in the toe box. It seems a lot more than the Asics. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. That remains to be seen.

- Despite the roomy toe box they feel tight across the top of my foot. I made adjustments to the laces which helped a bit. I'll see this afternoon when I run how much of a difference it makes.

This will probably the last run I do in them before deciding whether to take them back. That's the nice thing about going to a good running store. Most of them are looking for customer loyalty, so making sure the customer is happy is job one.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sometimes the Voices Win

It happened just before the 4 miles mark. I was pacing along with a woman at a good 7 minute/mile clip when the heat started to get to me, the legs started to feel weary, and the voices. The little voices came out to play. " Come on Adam slow down. Why are you pushing so hard? Why are you out here at all?" The game was on. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate on breathing and relaxing. No good. The voices grew louder and more insistent. The heat, the weariness, and the voices were just too much. I slowed down my pace. I didn't stop, but I just couldn't hold my pace. I watched as my pacing partner pulled away. Bummer. I spent the rest of the race trying not to get passed. I was passed once.

Every race has a lesson. It may be something new, or confirming something that I already knew that needed work. In this case it is confirmed that I need to work on my mental game. I'm not talking only about the negative voices that can be overwhelming at some points, although that is a large part, but also running a smarter race from start to finish. I have a bad habit of coming off the line too quickly, and this race was no exception. I ran my first mile in 6:27. Am I nuts? That's the pace I was shooting for in my last 5k. There is no reason for me to start that quickly other than some delusion of speed. What can I say? Saturday morning Roadrunner cartoons were a staple in my youth. These days I'm feeling more Wile E. Coyote than Roadrunner.

Here's the good news. Despite my nitpicking I ran a very good race. I finished with a time of 43:38 at a 7:02 pace. I was 24th overall 2nd in my division. That's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Training Assessment

I feel like I've been training for the Disney Marathon for a long time already due to the fact that I started training for the World Wide Half at the end of June. Either I'll benefit from having the base miles or I'll be so tired of training by the end of this that I'll blow up. Only time will tell. In the meantime I thought I'd do a quick assessment of where I am as I head into the 4 month countdown to Disney. First I'll start with training and then talk about fundraising.

Training has been tough up to this point and much of that is due to the weather. It hasn't been all bad, but the percentage of runs that have been "not fun" at the least to "torturous" at th worst has gone up dramatically. It's starting to cool off so I'm hoping that will change in short order. I'm also a bit frustrated and confused. The advice I'm getting from my coach is that I should start running goal pace runs as part of my long runs now. I've been doing that, but I'm not always able to maintain my desired pace. It's tough to get yourself up to running goal pace alone and the course I'm running is fairly hilly and doesn't lend well to fast running. I'm hoping that my ability to hold goal pace will improve over time. Right now I'm just doing the best I can.

Under the frustrated and confused category I'm also doubting that I can run a Boston qualifying race. It's still way early for such thoughts, but it isn't helping with my training. I need to find a way to balance out this desire to run fast and still maintain a level of enjoyment that makes this work worthwile. Today I had a good run which makes me feel a little better. I must have been in the zone. I was going back over my splits and panicked for a moment. I couldn't remember running part of my normal route. I know I did it because of the time, and I'm remembering enough now that I know I did it. It was just a weird feeling for a moment to have forgotten an entire section of my run. I don't know if that's good or bad. I think I need to change my route and shake things up. I warmed up 2 miles at a 8:20 pace. Ran the next 3 miles at a 7:44 pace followed by the tough hill section dropping to a 9:36 pace. I'm not surprised after yesterday's biking and finally finished the final 2 miles with an 8:35 pace.

Fundraising for Team in Training is going okay. I'm up over $500, which is good. I'm just freaking out a bit. I've still got over $3000 to go. I'm going to shoot for $1000 a month. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to get there!!

Tomorrow I'll be racing the Mercy Metric 10k race. My goal for the event is to break 42 minutes. That would be a pace under 6:45. It's going to be a tall order after a tough week of training.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Running Fast is Hard!

A very important part of my marathon training is speed training. It is also the second least fun part of training. The first is hill training. I haven't been doing much in the way of hill training so far, so right now speed training is the least fun part. I shot an email to my coach Terry for some advice. This is part of his response:

---As an example, if you run your 800 m at 3:10 pace, theoretically you should be able to run a 3:10 marathon. The key to Yasso's is repeatability. You should be able to run them CONSISTENTLY within 5-10 seconds of the same time for each repeat. Generally a 400m recovery jog is run between them. You should concentrate on working your way up to between 8 and 10 of these.

Another option for you would be to do ladders, working your way up from 200m, 400m, 800 m, 1 mile ( with a recovery of about 1/2 each distance) and then work your way back down again.

Still another option, which worked well for me, is to concentrate on the Yasso's but with MINIMAL recovery between them (15-30 seconds). This will feel very much like racing, and is likely to be the hardest of the workouts of suggested. You will need to experiment with these to see which workout is best for you. Remember, you do only ONE of these workouts per week.

Lastly, another option from speed work is to do FAST hill repeats. Find a short,(100-200M ), moderately steep hill, run the uphills hard, and then walk or jog back down. Work yourself up to 10-12 of these. I know several people who swear that these are as effective as formal track work. Again, you will need to experiment to see what works for you.---

I was kind of hoping he would have something different for me, but I guess not. I used Yassos to train for the Flying Pig and he is completely correct. They were very accurate at determining how fast my marathon pace would be. I ran them at 3:30 most of the time during training and ran a 3:37 marathon.

I tried the Yassos with a short rest last week, and that wasn't for me. I need to keep moving, so I switched to the 400 jog in between. It gives a little more recovery time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I make questionable choices

It has been ridiculously hot here in Cincinnati over the last week. Averaging in the mid 90s. Yesterday and today the temps topped out at over 100F. Don't worry though, the humidity is somewhere in the upper 80% range. So you take a shower, get all clean and fresh, walk outside, and immediately start sweating and feeling gross and sticky. It's lovely.

A normal person, a smart person, would probably stay inside, limit activity and enjoy all enmities modern life has provided. I prefer to dress up in a chicken suit and run around downtown assaulting people with brochures and candy and follow that up with a run right about the time that temps reach 100 degrees. I don't think it needs any explanation.

Okay, I'll explain. Tuesday we had our official kick-off for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Run Like Hell. As a volunteer I had the privilege of taking part in the event on fountain square. I took one for the team and put on the chicken suit. I've dealt with hot and uncomfortable before. I used to be a baker. I spent 6 hours a day standing in front of an open oven. That was hot. The very next day I dealt with hot temps as I'll explain in a moment, but none of them compares to putting on that costume.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of sweat pooling in a rubber beak right in front of my mouth and breathing hot air into a rubber mask that goes right back into my face. I also had a choice in the mask. I could either breathe clearly, or see clearly...out of my left eye. I had to alternate, because doing both just wasn't feasible . On the bright side I think that confirms that I'm not claustrophobic.

How would you choose to follow up a day of running around in a chicken costume? I chose to go for a run in 100 degree heat. I went to my first Team In Training workout on Wednesday after work. I knew it was hot outside, but I work in a basement office all day with no windows. I have absolutely no sense of what it is like in the outside world while I'm working. I finally overheard someone talking about it as we were walking out to have our run. 101 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Brilliant! Let's go run. Maybe it was the chicken suit experience that toughened me up, or maybe it was just the experience of having a group to run with instead of running alone, but it wasn't so bad.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Plans are Staring to Take Shape

I have a plan that is starting to form around this goal of a 3:10 marathon. I am pretty sure I'm going to make an attempt at the goal. I'm going to work up to the half marathon in October, and see how that goes. If the half goes well, then I'll move on from there. I think it will go well.

The plan is to start running marathon pace long runs now. I'm running 8 mile long runs at the moment, and I'm not quite up to running 8 miles at a 7:15 or faster pace. Yesterday I was able to run 4 miles at a 7:15 pace, and 4 miles at a slower pace. I'll use that as a starting point. Every week I'll add on a mile at race pace to my long run. So, next week I'll run 8 for my long run. The first 2 miles will be at a slow, warm-up pace, the next 5 at race pace, and the final mile as a cool down.

During the week I'll be mixing in speed work, easy runs, hill work, and tempo runs at a faster than 10K pace. That should be interesting. My tempo runs have definitely not been up to that speed up to this point. I'm just hoping that since I have a goal to motivate me, that will help. I'll also be working in my core, abs and strength work along with some cycling. It's a tall order for sure.

I also started round one of fundraising for Team in Training. I decided to go with the easiest a most obvious route first. I sent out about 50 emails yesterday. While I'm giving that a few days for responses I'm going to make up some business cards with the information on it. I think that is a great idea. I've run into a few people that said they would be happy to contribute. If I have a card on me...bam! Done deal. I'm also going to approach my in-laws about doing some sort of fundraiser through their church. I'm not sure what yet, but like I said plans are just starting to take shape.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Bid for Boston?

I have much to consider tonight and over the weekend. I've been trading emails all afternoon with one of the Team in Training coaches about my training plans for the Disney Marathon. My ultimate goal is to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time, and I was thinking about going for it at Disney.

After some discussion I'm beginning to wonder if that is the best idea. I knew it would be a lot of hard work, but I don't know if I fully understand just HOW hard it is going to be to achieve the goal. As the coach put it "You would need to drop your time over a minute a mile to accomplish your goal... I don't want to discourage you, but I DO want you to be realistic and recognize that, while doable (depending on how hard you are willing to work) this will not be easy. Typically, I would have you do this over 2 marathons (dropping 30 sec/mile each marathon)." The "over a minute" is in reference to his comparison of my first marathon time of 3:37:14 which is about an 8:20 pace. I would need to bring that pace down to a 7:15 pace. That sounds like a lot, but I must also consider the fact that due to poor nutrition planning that's an 8:20 with a limping, cramping final 6 miles. I easily lost 10 minutes at the end of the race last time. The cramping has since been remedied with the help of some electrolyte capsules that I'll be using during the race. Taking those 10 minutes back or any part of those 10 minutes makes the deficit seem more reasonable.

On the plus side Disney is a flat course. I tend to do well on flat courses as do many others. That will be to my advantage. On the minus side the coach suggests that I race every other weekend a 5k or 10k to increase my speed. This is probably the most efficient way to increase speed, but it's not really the most budget friendly way to do it. The race fees can very quickly build up.

It's all just a little overwhelming. I need some time to digest this information and try to formulate a plan. The coach's suggestion was to work toward the half marathon, and then begin formal speed training after that to prepare for the marathon. Maybe that is the key. I don't have to make a final decision right now, but see how the half goes. Once that is over I'll have a more clear picture of where I am in my training and whether a bid for Boston is going to be realistic.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Back in the Swing

We've been back from a trip to Michigan for a few days, and I'm starting to get caught up and back into the swing of everyday life. Part of getting back into that swing will be getting back to making regular posts on this blog. I'll have more reason to post here on a regular basis as I kick off my fund raising and training for the Team In Training trip to the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. I've got my fund raising website set up and will start soliciting for donations Click on the new Team in Training banner there at the right to check out my site.

The trip to Michigan was made in part as a vacation and in part to help some family out. It also gave me an opportunity to make another step toward completing a goal of mine. I found a 5k race to participate in while we were there knocking off Michigan in my Cross Country Challenge. I'm not going to do a full blog entry report on the race, but here is a quick recap...

5th Annual Lakeshore Miles For Meals 5K Run & Walk

I didn't have any particular expectations going into the race. I'm still looking for that sub 20 minute 5k race, but I wasn't expecting this to be the one. I had two things working against me: lack of sleep, and stiffness from the previous day's long drive. With that in mind I decided to just give it my best and let everything else take care of itself. That was enough. I ran a very good, evenly paced race. I was averaging right around 6:30 minute/miles give or take 6 seconds. If I made any mistakes it was in the last mile. I thought I saw the finish line, so I kicked it hard. It turned out that I still had about a 1/4 of a mile. That made for a very hard, long kick to the finish.

I finished 16th overall with a finishing time of 20:20. The best part was that I finished 1st in my age group! I knew I had at least a top 3 finish wrapped up going into mile 3, but I had no idea that I running 1st. That was a great feeling. You've got to love the smaller races. There is no way I would have finished 1st in my age group in most of the larger races. That doesn't matter though. I will simply bask in the glow of the victory!

Hopefully I'll be back very soon with some Team In Training updates, Run Like Hell updates, and some race results as summer winds down and the fall race season heats up!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Dog Days

I'm deep in the grips of a mid-summer rut. I remember feeling this way last year as well. It's due in part to a lull in my race schedule which leads to a bit of slack in my training. Last year I slacked in my running, and this year it has come in the form of my cycling. I'm just not feeling up to spending 2 or 3 hours on my bike in the humidity and heat that we get around here in late July and August. An hour of running seems bearable, but after that I'm just done.

This rut is deepened by this last minute scramble to try, once again, to secure a teaching job. This is the second year that I've been sending out resumes, making calls, and trying to get interviews for those jobs that are vacated right before school. It doesn't do much for the self esteem or ego to go through these rounds of interviews and denials while feeling the school close in day by day and coming to the realization that I'll have to wait another 9-10 months before the spring rounds of hirings.

I'm looking forward to bouncing out of this rut very soon. Even if I don't get a teaching job I've got some good stuff to look forward to going into the fall and on into the winter. I've got some races to race, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Run Like Hell Committee to work on, and fund raising to do for Team in Training. For now I'll just have to endure these dog days and make the best of it. Geeze it's hot. Maybe it's time to get back into swimming!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Hill

It's been a very...ummm interesting week. It started out as an exciting week. I had a teaching position that I was preparing to interview for, and second teaching position that was in the works. I had an inside track and was just waiting for a call to set up an interview. It was looking to be an exciting week.

Monday morning I went in for my first interview. I was very nervous and excited. The interview was with the principal and 6 other teachers from the school. That's a little intimidating. They took turns firing questions at me about classroom management, curriculum, teaching philosophies, and the old standard fluff like: "What do you enjoy most about teaching?". I answered each in turn to the best of my ability. I saw a lot of nodding heads to my answers and approving smiles. All seemed to go great.

I called my friend at the other school to touch base. She said she would let me know when they were setting up interviews. I checked in with an adviser at NKU who has close ties with the school district with which I had just interviewed. I knew she would not hesitate to give me a good reference. I had a good feeling about this one.
Wednesday afternoon I still had not heard about the other possible position which leads me to doubt that I will. School starts in a little over 3 weeks. Then I got a call from my wife. We got a letter from the other school, crap a letter. That can't be good news. It wasn't good news. Dear Mr. Iker, We were pleased to meet you...blah, blah, blah...lots of applicants....blah, blah, blah...good luck loser...blah, blah. Okay I'm paraphrasing the last part.

The rest of the afternoon was not fun. I alternately felt okay with not getting the job and very disappointed in myself for blowing the interview and not getting the job. I really don't think I blew the interview, but you know how that goes.

I had scheduled a hill training run after work, but really didn't feel like doing it. I wasn't really in the state of mind to go run up a hill 5 times over. I went anyway. Sometime during the second time I was working my way up the .4 mile hill I realized something. I wasn't thinking about not getting the job anymore. That lead me to start thinking about it, but as I breathed heavily, and felt the burning in my legs I realized that I was good with it. I have a lot of good things going on in my life. I do have a decent job, maybe not my dream job, but a good job none the less. I have the love of my family. I have good friends. I have my health. I have this hill. I love this hill. (My love for the hill was short lived. It was over by the time I started the 3rd time up the hill.)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I'm Going To Disney World!

I am very excited. I just signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January through Team in Training. I've been thinking about it for months now, and decided to go for it. It's a little daunting to think about raising over $3,500 by December, but after the meeting Thursday night I'm feeling a little more confident. It seems like an organization that provides great support. I also feel very motivated to do this since cancer has hit my family and my best friend's family within the last year. I will be raising money and running in honor of my grandmother, a cancer survivor, and my best friend's father who recently died of cancer.

This decision has made me change my goals for the year as well. While I love both cycling and running it seems that my focus has shifted a little bit more toward running this year even before I decided to do this second marathon. Instead of going for 3000 cycling miles for the year I'm backing off to 2000 miles for the year. Ultimately I'd like to beat my distance of 1952 miles that I put up last year. 2000 is a nice round number. Add an additional 1000+ running miles and I think I have a mighty fine year.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Life in Perspective

I received a reminder this weekend on how short life can be, and how quickly it can end. A few of weeks ago I got a call from one of my best friends, Justin. His father, Dal, had been diagnosed with cancer. He wasn't sure what the prognosis was or how they were going to treat it. Fast forward two weeks. Dal had been moved to a hospice facility from the hospital. He was heavily sedated. My wife and I went to visit Dal and his family on Thursday night. The family seemed to be doing well. It was a tragedy that this was happening, but everyone was grateful that he was peaceful and being well cared for and surrounded by family. Friday morning Dal passed away peacefully in hospice. I am glad that I got to see him one last time, and regret the times that I had thought about calling him or stopping by to see him but had not.

Saturday night we had a cookout with Justin and his wife along with some family and friends. We had a wonderful time catching up with old friends sharing in food, drinks and stories. There were lots of children running around playing and having fun. Having rowdy kids running around is always a nice reminder of how simple life can be, and that in fact life does go on. After the kids crashed out we sat up into the night gathered around a fire enjoying the company of friends and family.

If you have a friend, family member, or loved one you've been thinking about calling. Give them a call. You never know when it's going to be too late.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Allure of the Race

I am planning on doing something at a duathlon that I've never done before. I'm going to be a spectator. The Duathlon National Championship is coming up at the end of the month. The regional competition is being held in Mason, OH. It's not too far from home, so I thought I might drive up and watch the race. I could take my camera and shoot some photos, and cheer on fellow racer and frequent competitor Kevin. He's a very nice guy that I've met and been racing against at the Wheelie Fun races this year.

Kevin asked if I had signed up for the race at the last race in Caesar Creek. I had not and have no intention of signing up. However, now that I am looking at the event it calling to me. "Adam, come out and play, come race me. It will be aaaaawwweesoooommme." So far I am resisting the siren song of the race. I have no reason to sign up. I have a good schedule set up. I have until the end of August until my next duathlon which gives me plenty of time to train and get psyched up for the next race. I have no reason to sign up, but it would be awesome.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Caesar Creek Duathlon

I have gone through a range of emotions when it came to this race. I initially felt disappointment (in myself), then moved to acceptance (with my performance), from there into an appreciation (of how far I've come). The initial disappointment I felt was really in my lack of effort more than performance. I wasn't putting forth 100% during the race. What I came to accept was that I really wasn't feeling 100% that day. I knew it that morning, but my competitive side wouldn't let me accept it until I could put a little time and space between myself and the race. It felt like an excuse, and I hate to make excuses. The fact is though, That acceptance came in the form of knowing that even on very little sleep, and generally not feeling great I still performed well. That acceptance grew into appreciation as I started to compare this race with previous races on this course. I raced this course three times last year and the one time this year. Here is a comparison of the 3 most recent races.

DateRun 1Tran 1BikeTran 2Run 2Total Time

How can I be disappointed in a a new course record and a steady improvement in my times across the board? The only area where there wasn't improvement was in the transitions. It is also the area that I have worked the least to improve.

I'm not going to go through a play by play for this race. Instead let's play a little game of high/low. I'll pick out one high point and low point from the race, and I'll throw in an important lesson I learned on race day. The low point of the race came fairly early in the race. Somewhere during the 2nd mile I came to the realization that I wasn't feeling that great. It wasn't one thing in particular, just an overall feeling of blaaaaaaaahhhh. It was at that point I just tried to relax and enjoy the race. The high point came early in the second run. As I've talked about in previous entries I have serious problems with leg cramps. I sweat very heavily, and seemed to lose my electrolyte balance fairly easily. I started using the elecrolyte caps and apparently they work. I had no sign of leg cramps at all during the race. It was such a welcome relief during that second run. I was already feeling mentally down and experiencing some minor pains in my back so added leg cramps may have done me in. That definitely makes me think I am on the right track in terms of race nutrition and hydration.

One valuable lesson I learned is to always, always, always take a spare tube, pump and some basic tools with you to the race site. It seems obvious, but it is worth repeating. I had everything packed up on Saturday for the race. I went over my bike to make sure everything looked ready. I went to pull my bike out of the back of the car and there was a flat tire. Luckily I did have the pump and a spare tube with me, so I was able to make a quick change before the race. I can think of many times that I've gone without tools or a pump. That will never happen again.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Fun and Games and Kayaks

I don't really consider working out a form of work. If it was really work then I'd probably be less excited about getting out there to run or ride almost every morning. It's more my way to release stress, be athletic and competitive, and improve and maintain my fitness. Still, it can feel a bit like work sometimes when I'm out there by myself everyday. So, any chance to mix up a workout with fun and games is welcome.

My buddy Rick and I had just that opportunity over the weekend. While everybody else was sleeping off hangovers and tiredness from Saturday's fun and Saturday night's continued fun with added drinks we hit the river for an early morning paddle session. As far as I can tell that is the only good time to get out on the Ohio in a kayak. It seems to be consistently calm with only some fishers out trolling the banks slowly. We took advantage and paddled downstream about a mile and off into one of the many deep inlets that line the banks of the river.

Once we were in the inlet it was nice and calm. We paddled fairly leisurely as we stopped every once in a while to enjoy the early morning sun, and for me to get out my camera to take some photos. I'll post some later after I've had a chance to go through them and pick out a few good ones. After I was satisfied with the photos and relaxation we headed back toward camp.

Aside from just the joy of being out on the water on a kayak this was also a workout to prepare for the Little Miami Triathlon in October. Looking back at last year's blog posts I see that I only managed to get in 3 kayak workouts all summer before the race. That just won't do. This year I want to crush the kayaking leg of the race. In order to do that I'm going to shoot for at least 8 kayaking sessions before October 1st. Yesterday is session 1 of about 3 miles.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's time to take a step back and reassert some goals for July. Lately I've found myself slipping in my eating habits. You know how it goes. I'm in a hurry I'll just slide into the McDonald's drive thru. I've been drinking a lot of water I'll just have one Mountain Dew. Pretty soon I've had 5 Mountain Dews in 5 days and been to McD's more times than I care to admit. I've got all sorts of excuses I could use and ways to justify but let's not do that.

Instead of making excuses let's just move forward. For the month of July I am setting 4 goals for myself.

1. Soda - no more than 2 per week
2. No fast food
3. abs & core workout 2-3 x wk. each
4. Track food on SP

This is not an all or nothing deal. I'm not going to consider my goals a failure if I slip a little. I realize July is going to be a tough month for these goals. We'll be going to parties for the 4th. I'll be doing some traveling to race and visit friends. If I find myself in a Taco Bell at 3 am on July 5th I'm not going to call it quits for the month. It's a sliding scale.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rebuilding the core

How time flies. It's been almost a month since my last strength session. We discontinued our membership for the gym at the end of May, and ever since that time I've been busy with my daily life as well as running and biking. All the time I've had it in the back of my mind that I need to do something at the very least for core and abs. That has been moved abruptly to the front of my mind as I've started to get some of those back pains in the last few days that I was experiencing before I started my strength routine.

I found a workout program as I was flipping through a special issue Outside magazine section that came with my normal July issue. There are a couple different workouts created by a water polo coach. I've done some of these or variations of these workouts before. They definitely work. I'm going to start off with the core program and the abs program. They are both short and intense, so I'll just do it first thing in the morning or tag it on to the end of a bike or run workout.

Here are the workouts that I'll be doing. I'm going to start off alternating days. One day I'll do abs, the next core, and so on. I'm going to shoot for at least 2 per week of each, and hopefully 3 per week of each. I just don't want to set my sights to high from the start.


Lower Back Pushes - 2 sets x 10 each - lie on back with legs extended on the ground, tighten stomach muscles and push lower back firmly against floor

Swimmers - 2 sets x 10 each - lie on stomach, with clenched fists & thumbs up, raise & lower opposite hands and feet, hold each rep 3 secs.

Supermans- 2 sets x 10 each - raise both legs and arms, hold each rep for 3 secs.

Front Bridge- 2 sets x 45 seconds each - weight resting on your toes and forearms (hands clasped on the floor), hold in a plank position 45 seconds

Side Bridge- 2 sets x 45 seconds each - Keeping body in a straight line, balance on the sides of feet and right forearm, with left hand reaching straight up toward the sky for 45 seconds, switch sides


Crunches - 2 sets x 20 each - with feet on floor and hands behind ears, crunch up & hold for 3 secs.

Ankle Touches - 2 sets x 20 each - Lying on back with feet on floor, crunch up & reach right hand toward right ankle, then left hand toward left ankle

Toe Touches - 2 sets x 20 each - Lying on back with legs extended straight up into air, reach fingers toward toes as you crunch upward

Side Toe Touches - 2 sets x 20 each - Like toe touches, but reach each hand toward the opposite foot to work obliques

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Big K 5K

I had one goal for the 5k I ran this morning. The goal was to run it in under 20 minutes. I had no specific goals for how I wanted to place. I wasn't racing anyone except myself...and the clock. I think it is fair to say that I don't train for 5k runs specifically. I run 5k's during the sprint duathlons, but I never run the first one all out, and the second one isn't really just a 5k anymore is it?

The course started in Covington, Kentucky at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center near the Ohio River. This is significant because the course runs about a 1/4 mile up the road and takes a right turn to the bridge into Cincinnati. A nice little run around the block and it's back to the bridge into Covington and to the finish. With the exception of the bridge it was a fairly flat course. But that bridge just sucks.

Before the race began I decided that I wasn't going to hold back anything. I'd go out fast at the start, and go as fast as I could go the entire race. I wanted to leave it all out on the course. I made sure to get a good warm up beforehand, so I wasn't struggling the the first mile to find my stride. That first mile felt good. We hit the first bridge crossing very quickly, and mile one was over right as we crossed into Cincinnati.

Mile 1: 6:04

Wow, how quickly a race can turn on you. This second mile was brutal. The creeping, nagging voices of doubt came out to play today. "Come on Adam slow down. Honestly does breaking 20 minutes really mean anything?" Followed by, "Now that I think about it what is the point of all this training? Up early in the morning to run and bike. On your days off you go to races. What an idiot! You could be sleeping in!" On and on it goes round and round in my head. As the swirling voices of doubt yammered I just remembered those things I can control: breathing, arms, posture, and turn over. By the end of mile 2 I was really just ready to stop running.

Mile 2: 12:40

Going into mile 3 we were back on the bridge heading back toward Kentucky. I fell into pace with a woman who seemed to be working as hard as I was. It made me feel a little bit better, and helped pull me out of my own head. That seems to be the trick some days. You just need something to help pull you away from the voices that doubt your every step. I've heard one suggestion of using a rubber band around the wrist. Just give it a little snap when you need to be put back into the moment. It's not a bad idea. The other thing that brought me back was seeing the finish line from the bridge. It was at this point that I actually said out loud "bear down". I had to finish strong.

Mile 3: 19:30

After passing mile 3 I realized that 20 was slipping away. But, by this point it didn't matter. I had dialed in on the finish line and was giving it everything. My pacer, or maybe I was her pacer, was right with me heading into that final stretch. With a final push I hit the finish line at 20:08. I turned and gave her a weary "good race". I felt like puking, and that's a good thing. When I ran track in high school that was how I knew I ran a good race. If I feel like I'm going to blow chunks at the end of the race I knew I gave everything. Today I gave everything, and I can't ask for more than that.

Based on that one goal this race was complete failure. As far as failures go, I could not be happier. I finished 3rd in my age group out of 29 other runners, and 29th overall out of 320 runners. How could I possible complain when I won a bottle of chocolate syrup, and a bottle of strawberry syrup for my 3rd place age group finish? I guess that's what you get when one of your major sponsors is Kroger grocery store. A shiny medal is nice, but it's no chocolate syrup. You better believe I'll be having myself a bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup award tonight!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Run Like Hell!

The other night I attended my third meeting with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's committee putting together their fundraising 5K and party the Run Like Hell. It's starting to get exciting as we approach the event's official kick-off date of August 21st. I don't think I should say too much right now as all the details aren't hammered out, but it's going to be a great kick-off event. I was able to secure a couple of pre-registration prizes to give away, and hopefully there will be even more prizes to give away before the time comes.

Keep checking the website and our new myspace page at:
Some very exciting changes are coming soon!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Waited so long

"I've got two tickets to paradise, won't you pack your bags..." *bang* That's the sound of me blowing my brains out to the golden oldies at work. Don't get me wrong I have nothing against the golden oldies or classic rock, but this has been the longest, most stressful work week I've had in a long time. All I'm saying is like David in the 40 Year Old Virgin, "If I have to hear "Yamo Be There" one more time, I'm going to "Yamo" burn this place to the ground." But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The end of the tunnel where the door goes to the outside world for 3 much needed days off. As soon as I step out that door I'll take a deep breath and blow all the work stuff out like the dude did with disease in The Green Mile.

What am I going to do with my 3 days. Most of all relax. Maybe we'll go swimming. It's supposed to be extraordinarily hot over the next few days, so some pool time is due. Besides hanging with the family I'll be doing some riding and running of course. After a rough week and a couple of missed workouts I look forward not having to get up at 5 am to squeeze in a workout. I may actually sleep in until 7 am. woo hoo.

In addition to running and cycling I need to get my strength training regiment back in order. It's been 2 weeks since my last workout at The Healthplex, and I have no gym and no plan in place to go forward. It looks like I'll be doing it from home for the time being, which I'm not thrilled about, but I guess I gotta do what I gotta do. The problem with doing it at home is that there are too many distractions and too many easy excuses not to do it. I'll take a look at some options over the next few days and work something out. At the very least I need to start doing some core work again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

I have some tough decisions to make about some upcoming races. I knew this moment was coming, and like the true procrastinator that I am I put it off until the last minute. Well, the last minute is here for some of the decisions that need to be made.

  • Do I really want to (and can I afford to) do the trail runs?
  • Which half marathon will I run for the World Wide Half?
  • Am I slightly deranged for scheduling so many races this year?
The first question is the most pressing, since the first trail run is coming up this Sunday. I convinced my buddy Rick to get out and do this race with me, but I'm doubting that it is a good idea at this point. He brought up a good point the other day. To quote him he said it's "a sprained ankle waiting to happen". I laughed it off at the time and called him a sissy or something along those lines, but he has a good point. Do I want to risk an ankle or some other injury in the middle of a duathlon series? By not doing the race I could get some much needed sleep, save some cash, not get injured, and still get out for a good day of training. Right now I'm leaning toward skipping both trail runs, and finding a 5k to run sometime. Maybe I'll run the Big K 5K next weekend. I'm itching to get out and set a sub-20 minute p.r. 5k time. I know I've got it in me.

The second question I have a little time to think about, but I should start considering the question. I signed up for the World Wide Half Marathon officially the other day, and I'm really excited about participating this year. I found Phedippidations last year about 2 weeks before the first World Wide Half, and was in no shape to jump in and try to run the 13.1 miles. This year I'm ready to go. I have my training plan ready. Now I just need to pick a race. I was thinking of just setting up my own course to run, but I think it will be more meaningful and fun to do it in an official race. I've picked out 3 possibilities: Dayton, Columbus, and Louisville. Columbus would be fun because I have friends that live in Columbus, so there would be a free place to stay and lots of fun to be had. On the other hand Louisville is looking good. That would allow me to tick off one more state in my cross country challenge. Dayton would be good because it is the earliest, but the other two are the front contenders right now. Decisions, decisions.

As for the third question? Only time will tell.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Training Between Races & Commuting

With Deer Creek in the can I have 4 weeks until my next "A" race, Caesar Creek Duathlon. Next weekend I have a 3.4 mile trail race, but that is just for fun. I'm hoping to talk a few friends into getting out with me for that one. In the meantime it's time for training, training, and more training. I met one of my competitors at Deer Creek, who will also be at Caesar Creek, and I've got my work cut out for me.

The plan is to work on speed. I want to get in at least one speed interval workout per week on the bike and on the run. Aside from that I'm going to try to get in two other runs per week and a lot of cycling. I'm feeling good about the run, but not as much about the bike. I'd like to get my speed up another 1-2 mph. I don't know if that's possible in a month but I'll give it a go.

I've also read that cycling training translates to better run times, but the reverse is not so. I can't remember the source of this bit of info off the top of my head, but the suggestion was to do a 60/40 split on bike to run training. That sounds pretty good about now.

Right now I'm at about 80% riding and 20% running. I decided to do 3 days straight of commuting to work on my bike. That doesn't seem like a big deal except for the fact that it's a 50 mile round trip. So far, it's been pretty good. The weather has cooperated with a couple of nice, low humidity days. So far my legs are holding up, with some soreness this morning, on the second day. If I have any complaints it's about some soreness of the butt. I was full expecting it, so I prepared for it this time by trying some Udderly Smooth udder cream. I can't say that it took away all the pain, but between applying some after the ride home last night and before the ride today it felt much better than I've ever felt after consecutive long ride or commute days.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Deer Creek Duathlon Race Report

It was a bit of a rocky start to the morning. The race was at Deer Creek State Park which is about an hour and a half north of where we live, so I had to get up at about 5 am to hopefully get on the road by 5:45. Luckily everything was packed in the car, and my clothes were laid out, so all I had to do was get dressed, eat and head out the door. As I was pulling out of the driveway at 5:50 I realized I was missing something important: directions. Ah crap, that cost me 10 minutes of going back inside and messing around on the computer to print off some directions. In hindsight I am so glad that I did, because when I got off the highway there were virtually no signs for the park. I took one wrong turn with the directions, because it wasn't quite clear where I needed to turn. If I would have tried the trip with no directions I would have been wandering around the middle of nowhere cussing at nobody but myself. I live in a small town, but this was just past all small towns out into the farmland.

The weather reports had been calling for rain all week. Everyday I checked the weather on my little computer widget, and it showed the ominous black cloud with lightning coming out of it. Then I'd look outside at the glaring sun frying the grass and wonder where this ominous black cloud was hiding. Apparently it was hiding out about one hour north of our town. It was about at that point in the drive up 71, as I was looking out across the flat stretch in front of me that I saw the ominous black cloud and lightning. About 30 seconds later the rain unleashed. When I say unleashed, I mean someone just opened the flood gates. It was a torrential downpour for the next 20 minutes. The whole time I kept saying to myself: either this will let up, or I will be considered so hardcore, or crazy, for racing in this weather.

As luck would have I passed through the storm before reaching the park. The passing storm actually created perfect racing weather. It was overcast throughout the race, and the temperature didn't get above 70 degrees. The downside (although it could have been worse) was that I reached the race site with 15 minutes to: get my gear together, pick up my numbers and timing chip, and get set up in transition. Yikes. I managed to stay calm as I quickly got things together and positioned my bike in a completely full transition area. It turned out that I had to set up off to the side with my bike leaning on the fence that surrounds the transition area. It's really preferable to racking because I didn't have to worry about knocking other bikes over when in transition. I didn't have time to get any photos, because I barely had time to get ready and get to the start line. Maybe next time.

I hit the start line with about 60 seconds to spare. It was just enough time to collect my thoughts, get focused, and scan some calves and race numbers to see who was in my division and age group. A deep breath and we were off on the first run. I marked 3 racers from my age group that looked strong, and paced off them for the first 5K. The goal was to hang back behind them throughout the first run. I was determined not to get out too fast today. I managed to stay behind one of the three. I overtook two of the runners late in the 5K, but I didn't sweat it. I knew it was because they were slowing down, and not because I was going too fast.

The first 5K split was 21:27 with a pace of 6:55. If I can match that pace on a second 5K this season I will be so happy. As of right now that is my new goal for the season: even split 5K's or even better negative split 5K's.

I ran into a glitch coming in the first transition. In my hurry to get things ready I didn't have my gloves strapped on the stem like I usually do, so I lost a good 15 seconds fumbling with them. I should have just left them behind, but I got flustered. Transition one took 1:17. It's a lot slower than where I want to be, so it's time to do some transition practice.

The bike is a bit of a blur. It was a very smooth ride, so there isn't really any big problems to focus on. It was a tougher course than the Tri For Joe course with more hills, and long stretches out in open fields with moderate headwinds. I'm happy with the fact that I managed to keep my average above 20 mph. I need to work on finding the right combination of speed and efficiency. I see many of the riders pushing these big gears. I've tried it, but I just don't feel comfortable pushing the big gears. I feel more efficient spinning faster at an easier gear. The problem is I think I'm sacrificing some speed. Most of the time I feel pretty good about my cycling until I get out on these races. When I look at the rates for the racers on results I'm dead center of the pack. I was ranked 24th out of the 56 sprint duathlon racers. It's something that still needs a lot of work, and maybe as the summer progresses and I get in more miles I'll improve on the bike. I have to remember that I spent all winter and spring running and training for the marathon, so I'm on top of the running. I'm still warming up on the bike.

The 22k bike course took me 40:05 for an average of 20.4 mph. I should be happier with that than I am. I've broken through that imaginary 20 mph average barrier that I had in my mind all last year. Unfortunately, all I can see are all the people that passed me on the bike course. ugh.

Transition two went much smoother than the first. I brought the time in transition down to 1:01 which is more respectable. I'd still like to get that under one minute. I think it's time to try leaving my shoes in the clips at least as I get off the bike to speed up the second transition.

There is always one consistent theme for any second run of a duathlon: pain. Much like a marathon where it comes down to who can persevere the last 6 miles, a duathlon comes down to who can persevere that final run. There was no doubt that the pain was going to be there. It was just a matter of whether it was going to be manageable pain or cramping uncontrolled pain. With a banana and two S! Caps before the race and two more S! Caps near the end of the bike I put my confidence in those 4 little caps and a piece of fruit to keep the cramps away. As I ran out of the transition area I felt the old familiar twitching that signals the beginning of cramping. I pushed the thought out of my mind as I knew that I was still ahead of the two racers that I had left behind on the first run, but I didn't know by how much, and I was chasing the third racer. As quickly as the twitching started it disappeared, and that was that. There was no more room for excuses. The outcome was up to me.

I was going to compare this second run to the second run of the Tri For Joe Du, but I realize it just isn't possible. These runs are so different. The Tri For Joe run was a flat, fast course on blacktop with a few short stretches on gravel. The Deer Creek run started in a parking lot and started with a slight incline, then a hard right off the road into the grass. The next 1/4 mile was a run through the grass until reaching a path out to the turn around point.

By the halfway point of the run two things were certain. I wasn't going to catch that 3rd runner. I saw him in the turn around. He was just too far ahead, and I didn't have enough gas to close the gap. That left the two racers behind. Suddenly I was thinking about how nice it was in all the previous races when I didn't know who I was racing against. Now I was acutely aware of the fact I was being chased. cool. I concentrated on smooth breathing and all those things I talked about during the last race report and let it rip. I held on to the lead over the other two racers to the finish giving myself a second place finish in the age group, 15th place overall and a new sprint distance duathlon personal record.

Despite any improvements that I think I can make I can't be disappointed in those results. Hell, I took over two minutes off my PR from the Great Buckeye Challenge at the end of the season last year!