Saturday, May 31, 2008

Summer is here

Its that time of year again. The early morning high humidity, then the high temperatures throughout the day. None of which are conducive to running. I guess the cool weather during the spring and winter has spoiled me. The only thing that gets me going now is races or speed work. Long slow runs are just long slow and dreary but I think as I get more used to the heat that will get better. Biking is great when its hot so thats a good thing.

I more or less took Tuesday off as a rest day after the duathlon. I did get 4 miles on the spin bike at the Fire Department while I was waiting on training to start Tuesday night.

Wednesday I ran from our house to the track to meet Annette and Michele to do our speed work that we would have normally done on Tuesday. This gave me a 3 mile warm up. It was pretty warm so I felt really sluggish on the warm up ending up with a 10:34 pace.

We were going to do the intermediate workout but somehow I got ahead of Annette and Michele so I more or less did the advanced workout. Mine was somewhat modified and it went like this:
1x800@LT pace
5x400@INT pace
2x200@INT pace

The speed work was really not too bad. It was pretty hot and when we ran south on the track it was very warm with no wind and then when we turned to the north side we got a little breeze which made it bearable. All in all the speed work added another 3.5 miles so I ended up with 6.5
for the night.

Speed work tends to make my heel really sore so Thursday night I thought I'd do a little recovery run and see how things felt. Again, it was very hot, mid 80's and humid. I really felt like I struggled through every mile. I just ran around the neighborhood till I got 3.1 miles. The 10:16 pace felt more like 12. I know its the heat and humidity.

Today (Saturday) I ran with the group from South Side. We started at 7am and the sun was already out and bearing down on us. There were several new runners so we tried to run slower so we could stay closer to them and make them feel more a part of the group. We did a lot of walk/run but I got to run with Jane, Joan and Steve so the conversation was good. At 8am we met up with Vicki's group and ran with them for about 1.5 miles or so. Total I ended up with 7 miles and an empty water bottle. If you run now you better carry plenty of water!

Heading to the river trail on Sunday to watch a sprint-triathlon then bike with Bailey. Should be fun!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I Can

If this does not inspire you than nothing will. If you think you can't do something then you need to watch this. Another one of the inspiring videos about Dick and Rick Hoyt. They have competed in over 224 Triathlons including 6 Ironman distances, 65+ marathons and countless other races over the years. They have been competing together since 1979. What an inspiration to all!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Du is Done

If you are a runner and also bike some, all I can say is that you have to do a duathlon sometime. It brings a whole new strategy to being competitive. Today a bunch of us raced the Du For The Parks Duathlon in Hot Springs. This was really my 2nd first Du. Last year I had a flat on the bike portion of this race and had a DNF. It did allow me to see how much fun these races can be. Since I will probably never do a Triathlon, the duathlon is more for me. I just don't like the swim that much.

Annette and I rode to the race with Bailey and Michele who were going to do a female team. Bailey is recovering from a stress fracture so she couldn't run but she had been biking. Michele is a strong runner but doesn't do the bike. This made for a perfect team for them.

We arrived a little over an hour before race start. We had to register and with bikes and transition areas to set up, it just takes more time. And you always have that chance of something mechanical at the last minute on the bike. This worked out pretty good for us as some of us started our warm up just 20 minutes or so before the start.

We had a pretty big group of cruisers racing this one. Annette, myself, Bailey, Michele, Gary, Curtis, James B., Vicki, Lisa, & Jane. Annette, Bailey and Michele had never done a Du before and I had never finished one.

The first 2 mile run started at 8:30am. We were towards the back of the pack as it appeared obvious that some really good athletes had turned out for this one. I realized just before the start that I had no idea what pace I was going to run or what I needed to run. I couldn't even remember my 2 mile PR. So when the race started, I just ran. And I ran hard. I jumped ahead of Michele and Annette but I knew they would be trying to chase me down. I saw Vicki up ahead and passed her pretty quick. About 1/2 a mile out I saw Jane and started trying to reel her in. It took me till the one mile turn around to catch her. I was pretty hot and winded by that time and decided that I'd slow my pace just a little. Little did I know that I had just set a new one mile PR! Later I found out I ran an 8:12 first mile which is 6 seconds faster than my last timed mile.

I slowed some on mile 2 but kept pushing. It was nice seeing the bikes waiting. I crossed the mat to the transition area with a 2 mile time of 16:57. Again, I really didn't know my time till later but this too was a new 2 mile PR. I beat my old PR by 20 seconds. Probably no wonder I felt like dying when I started putting my bike shoes on. Running shoes off, bike shoes on, helmet on, then run the bike to the mat, cross and then get on the bike. I lost a little time messing with my garmin switching it to bike mode.

Once I got out of the parking lot I grabbed a drink from my water bottle and started hammering. There is a very nice downhill shortly after the bike start and I planned on taking advantage of it. I flew down that hill passing a couple bikes and making a sharp left turn onto Hwy 70 for about another block then a sharp right turn. From here it was an out and back, pretty straight but up and down hills. The down hills were awesome and I hit up to 32 mph+ on some of them. Then you would have a big uphill that took you down to 12mph or sometimes 7.

I really tried to push the pace on the bike as I thought this would be where I could make up the most time. I didn't even want to look at my average speed at this point because I was afraid I would be disappointed so I just wanted to hammer. Not very many people passed me. I made a lot of my passes on the uphills. I can only remember maybe 5 bikes passing me the whole race but I passed a bunch, too many to count.

Up to the turn around point the route felt like more downhills than uphills. I realized before the turnaround that I had to go back up all those nice downhills. Yuck. I think they were bigger going back or my legs were getting tireder. A lot of the bikes were slowing way down on the hills and I'd take them out. I tried to go aero as much as I could but staying in the aero bars just wears me down so I have to come up. My neck starts hurting and I know its just because I haven't trained enough which is true. After the zigzag on 70 and back right, there was one last uphill. A girl on a tri bike had passed me but she had slowed on the hill pretty bad. I had to drop to my lowest gear and spin fast to get around her but I did. I felt like I was sprinting! When I hit the top of the hill I could see the Depot so I gave it all I had to finish. I was rolling into the parking lot at about 20 mph and stopped just at the line where you have to get off the bike. Unclip and jog across the mat, then find my spot on the rack. I had to switch back to my running shoes which was more of a pain than going to the bike shoes. Plus I was so hot from the sun and heat. I took one last drink from my water bottle and headed out to the last run, grabbing a water at the mat and then pouring it on my head to cool me down. I did feel pretty good about the bike, I knew I did good, just not sure what everyone else had done. My bike time ended up being 41:51 for 12 miles with an average pace of 17.2 mph.

The second run was nothing short of terrible. It wasn't the fact that my legs felt weird from the bike, it was just the fact that the heat had beat me down with two all out efforts and now I was trying for a third. Well, it wasn't happening. I ran maybe 200 meters and I had to take a walk break. I was already winded. Then I took off again. I ran maybe a 1/4 mile and took another walk break. Before the one mile mark I noticed that everyone in front of me seemed to be doing the same. It reminded me of the Nashville Marathon around mile 23. I was not that exhausted but getting everything to keep going felt about the same. I guess I had burnt up all my glycogen on the bike and the first run. I was running on empty. Or maybe it was mental, or maybe it was just the 85 degree heat. Whatever it was, I had to run/walk it in for 2 miles. I was not happy about this but I did finish. Final 2 miles - 21:32 - 10:46 pace.

My overall time for the event was 1:24:03. I beat the people I wanted to beat and after it was over I really felt like I had done something different. Not quite the same as a marathon but still had that awesome feeling afterwards.

As for the rest of the crew. Annette had an AWESOME bike and awesome time overall. She averaged 14.6 mph which is very good for someone that has only biked for less than a month. Bailey and Michele won 1st place in the female team competition. Bailey also had an awesome bike with just over a 15 mph average. She too is a new biker. Jane won first place in her age group, Gary won 2nd grandmasters, Vicki won 2nd grandmasters, Curtis won 3rd in his age group and Lisa won a 2nd in hers. The only thing I won was a PR and a lot of new found knowledge about duathlons. These are a lot of fun and they really bring out the athlete in you!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Duathlon Training

Training for a duathlon is a little different. You have to get your run training in but also get some bike training in. I feel like I am a much stronger biker than runner so hopefully the two will complement each other. Memorial Day will be my first "Du" of the year so I am pretty excited.

Monday was a rest day for me. Just seems a lot of the time Monday is very stressful at work and I am tired from all the weekend activities so sometimes I will take it as a rest day.

Tuesday night was the Tuesday Night Flyers Clinic at the Cabot Track. I was actually supposed to just do a 3 mile recovery run but since there was a large group, Dennis didn't really notice when I jumped in on the advanced workout. Here is what our workout consisted of:
1 X 800 (LT Pace) (rest = 400 jog)
2 X 200 (Interval Pace) (rest = 200 jog)
4 X 400 (Interval Pace) (rest = 2 minutes)
1 X 200 (Interval Pace)

It was around 87 degrees and very sunny so this was not going to be much fun. We started with a little over a 1.5 mile warm up. Then we did strides which added another half mile. Then we were off. My 800 was about 20 seconds too fast. My 200's were a little fast but I was within about 10 seconds so that's OK. My 400's were dead on pace and my last 200 was way too fast. I ran it at :52 and I was suppose to be 1:04. We were all pretty beat by the time we were done with this workout. We opted for a short cool down and mine ended up being about .6.

Overall for the night I got in 5.24 miles. Afterwards we all went to El Carnival for a surprise birthday party for Lisa F. or as we have all nicknamed her, Tri Lisa. She was turning 40 so this was a special occasion for her. On top of that she will be competing in Ironman Cour De Lane next month. She is quite an athlete.

Lisa on the left - Ironman @40

I have to count this one as another rest day. I had to go to Memphis for a company meeting so no time to run. Wednesday night we ate dinner at Texas De Brazil. Oh my god, this place is awesome. It's all you can eat meat! Needless to say, it's probably not the best place to eat when your in training nor is Cracker Barrel where we stopped for lunch. Wednesday night several of us went down on Beal Street and it was lined from one end to the other with motorcycles. Pretty cool. Here are some pictures:

I got back in town around 3pm and Annette informed me that we were meeting in Greystone to bike/run. I needed the training so I was in for that. We got there at 6pm and met Jane who was riding with us. There was a large group of runners there also. Again, it was about 87 degrees so it was pretty hot and sunny. We headed out and the girls went straight down Greystone Blvd and I made a right. i told them I would catch up to them. This was good because I really wanted to ride hard and with Jane being there, Annette had someone to ride with.

I did the first loop from the club house, a big downhill then a right down a culdesac, then a big uphill. The downhill is fast and you have to be careful not to go too fast as you have to turn. The uphill takes everything you have almost to get up. I was in my lowest gear standing to get up this one. A good warm up hill for sure.

Back to the clubhouse then a right on the main road. Another big downhill. I hit about 33 mph on this one with braking some. Now I was trying to catch Annette and Jane. They probably had a 1/2 mile lead on me. When I got to the turn for the 2nd golf course I went straight and obviously they must have turned because when I got to the end they were no where to be found. After I turned around I saw Jane. She was coming to get me. Annette had thrown her chain on one of the hills and they couldn't figure out how to get it back on. A pull on the rear derailleur solved the problem and we were back on the road.

The hills continued, up one big one and down the next. We did this all the way to the back of Greystone then turned around and headed back. The last hill going back up to the clubhouse is always a tough one. I hit the bottom of it at about 25mph and then as you start to go up your speed drops to almost zero. This one takes a lot of effort to get up and I was standing and pumping my legs to make it. Annette and Jane both had to walk up this one. It just takes a while to learn which gear to use and build up the strength to conquer these monsters on the bike. One thing about it, biking the hills will make you faster and stronger. Average bike speed 13.9 on the hills.

We met Michele in the parking lot for the run. All I can say is the run sucked bad. Maybe it was because I really pushed it on the bike, but I think it was the heat mainly. 87 degrees is not running weather, especially for hills. Needless to say, we did a lot of run/walk on these. We did an out and back, ending with 2.5 miles and a very slow 11:52 pace. Pretty sad.

Friday is almost always a rest day for me and this was another one.

I really wanted to do a practice race for the duathlon on Monday. I needed some running miles but I needed bike miles too. There were groups of runners/bikers doing all kinds of different things today. Some meeting at 6:30, some at 7:00, some at 8:00. Annette was running with Cheryl and Michele with the Little Rock Marathon training group at the river trail. They were starting at 6am which meant getting up at 5 or before. I opted out of all of these and decided just to do my own thing and practice my race.

I set all my stuff up in my garage and prepared to do my 2 mile run. My intent was to duplicate as best i could the mileage of the race and practice the transitions. When I started my first run at 6:30am I could barely breathe. It was probably 74 degrees and 95% humidity. My heel was hurting a little too so nothing really felt good. I just wanted to get this over with and get on the bike which is always fun. The air was so thick or maybe it was my brain, I had to do some walks in a 2 mile run. This didn't make sense but I struggled through it. I did an out and back, getting back at 22:21 with 2.09 miles and a 10:43 pace. Terrible. It had to be the humidity.

I had a good transition to the bike with a 1:20 changing shoes and getting my helmet and all on. I sped out of the driveway like I was in a race heading towards town on South First Street. Since it was early, traffic was very light so I decided to go down Kerr Station Road and turn at the middle school. There are a few good hills on Kerr Station but I was able to hammer most of the way and keep a really good average speed. I cut across at the middle school to Bradley and then to Dietrich. Then I turned on Campground road and headed up the big hill to Stagecoach. This slowed my mph again but I kept pushing. Stagecoach was very rough so I couldn't ride as fast as I wanted on this section. I turned on to Honeysuckle and then back down Dietrich and headed for South Side Elementary. I figured I might get to see some of the 8am runners heading out and I did. Vicki asked me if I wanted to brick with them but I didn't have my running shoes with me or I probably would have. I hammered down 321 back to Kerr and reversing my route home from there. It was really a good bike ride, the hills slowed me down some and the stop and go through some of the city streets hurt my average a little. I rolled into my garage with 15.13 miles @57:38 for a 15.7 mph average.

My transition back to the run was good. Took me a little longer than last time and I think it was because I had to grab my phone. T2 time 1:53. I was off and running again. This time I was warmed up really good. Sweat was pouring off of me and I did get a big drink before I ran out along with drinking about half a bottle while I was on the bike. I was running faster but I burnt out really fast. I looked down at my garmin and I was running about an 8:53 through the first block. Then I started getting winded so I took a 20 second walk break. The heat was tearing me up on the run. I would run 1/2 a block then have to walk. Somehow I managed to get through it. About 1/2 a mile out I decided I couldn't bear to do the same out and back run so I turned on another street hoping it would get me close to 2 miles. Anything different at this point was good.
I finished this last run with 1.84 miles and an average pace of 10:20. The only bright spot is I know on race day I am super motivated so I think I can have a pretty good run. I was very happy with the bike, and in a duathlon, you can make up a lot of time on the bike really fast. Keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will be a little cooler or at least the humidity. I can deal with the heat running but the humidity just kills my breathing.

My running mileage is way down since the marathon and this was the week I was supposed to start ramping back up. It looks like I will miss my mileage goal by a bunch this week, but I have been getting some bike miles so maybe that counts for something.

Hopefully my next post will be a good race report from our Memorial Day Du!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sunday Brick

Annette and I were up just before 5am to meet several bikers/runners for a brick workout. We were meeting at the Water Department building on Hwy 31, biking out 30 minutes then 30 back. Then running 4-6 miles.

For some reason I didn't factor in the additional time it takes to get two bikes ready. You always have to air up your tires on road bikes and some days this is a pain. So we ended up being about 3 minutes late. When the Cruisers say they start at 6, they start at 6. If your not there no one waits. When we got there everyone was gone. I got the bikes ready and told Annette to take off and that I would catch her as I finished getting my bike shoes on.

Let me tell you, she is going to be a strong biker. It took me almost a mile to catch up to her and I was riding hard. The object of this rise is to push the pace as hard as you can just like in a race, then run. I kept Annette in my rear view and when I would get too far ahead I would circle back. We were riding into a strong head wind so this made it even more challenging. I could tell she wasn't having as much fun as I was. I told her when she saw the first bike coming back to turn around, that would put everyone getting back about the same time.

It wasn't long and we saw Brenda, she had turned back early so she could get ahead of the others. I think Annette turn back then. Then came Cindy who is an awesome biker, followed by Bailey, James and David. I turned around shortly after I saw James go by and headed back. It was a faster ride going back, the wind was not quite as bad but we did have some crosswinds. I passed Bailey and Annette but never caught up to James and Cindy. I think my average speed on the bike ended up being 16.3mph for right at 13 miles. Not too bad considering the head wind and turning back for Annette two or three times.

After we got back to the parking lot we dumped our bike gear and got ready for the run. This was not a transition like in a real race, we all just took our time and waited on everyone. Bailey, Cindy and David are all injured so they could not run but Michele had showed up for the run portion along with Jenny and another girl.

I started out running with James B. who is very fast. I was amazed at how good my legs felt. Usually I can barely run after the bike so I guess I am getting stronger and more used to it. It was interesting since I seemed to be pushing him some in the first mile. We went out much faster than we probably should have but thats ok. First mile was a 9:30. I could hear the girls way behind us talking so I tried to stay ahead of them. After about 1.5 miles James started speeding up and left me in the dust. So here I was by myself with several fast girls behind me. It wasn't long and Michele was saying things like "we are watching you". I felt like a rabbit being chased by a bunch of wolves. But thats ok, it made me push the pace. 2nd mile was a 9:10, wow. Pretty fast for coming off the bike.

At the two mile mark we all took a walk break and the girls caught up to me. It was getting very warm by this time and none of us had brought water but we had decided we were getting 6 miles anyway. I took off again, with the girls in chase. It was just Brenda, Michele and Annette left at this point. The other two girls had turned back at mile 2. Mile 3 was much slower, I think we tok a couple walk breaks here ending up with an 11:03. Brenda had caught up to me and she said lets run to the end of the road, relaxed pace then take a break. So we did. End of the road was mile 4 and a 9:32 pace. We turned back on to Bethlehem Rd headed back and decided to do the same thing again. Run a mile then take a walk break. We were feeling the heat but it wasn't unbearable. We ran on the wrong side of the road just to stay in the shade. I looked back and didn't see Annette and Michele so I figured they were walking a lot. We kept pushing and I told Brenda I just wanted to stay under a 10:00 average for the whole run. We hit mile 5 at a 9:58. One mile to go seemed like nothing. We had one last small hill then it was a little downhill and flat to the parking lot. About .1 out Brenda said lets pick up the pace to finish so we did. It was a nice sprint to the parking lot and I was very glad that it was over. I hit 6.0 halfway in the lot. 9:58 last mile. Overall average pace for 6.01 miles ended up being 9:52 so I was pretty happy with that. Thanks Brenda for pushing me!

I kept looking down the road for Annette and Michele and never saw them. I was about to get worried when I looked out on Hwy 31 and here they come. They had decided to make a loop instead of turning back the way we did. Afterwards Michele invited all of us to her house for breakfast where she cooked eggs, bacon and home made biscuits and gravy. It was so good!!

Memorial Day is the Du for the Parks Duathlon so I think I will be ready for it. Last year I had a DNF because of a flat so this year I am out for revenge! Its a 2 mile run, 12 mile bike, 2 mile run. I would love to win an age group award. We shall see!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Busy Busy Weekend

It started Friday night. I had the best intentions to get to bed early as we were having to get up at 3:00am and drive to Fort Smith to race the Survivors Challenge 5k. Well, by the time we had gotten everything settled and ready it was after 10:00pm. I was already beginning to dread Saturday.

Then just past 11:00pm my fire department pager goes off and we have a car fire at Cupids. For those that don't know what Cupids is, its an adult entertainment/lingerie store. You can figure it out from there. Dispatch said the vehicle was 15 feet from the building so that was enough to get the adrenalin going good. I should be really good at duathlon/triathlon transitions because I can go from a dead sleep to fully dressed in about a minute. This was one of those calls where I had the feeling it could be bad, and since I needed the sleep, it usually would be.

So off I headed to the station, arriving to find my crew getting turned out. I had a driver so I took my Captain's seat which meant I was responsible for all the men on the engine plus have command at the scene. As we got close to the scene we didn't see any smoke so we all were a little calmer. When we turned in the parking lot it was almost funny. There were guys bailing out of that place like crazy. I guess the red lights were scaring them off. We found the vehicle with the apparent fire but it was out. Evidently the owner had a gas line come loose and set his under hood area on fire but he got it put out with a fire extinguisher before we got there. All my guys were disappointed as they really wanted to go inside!! I think I made it back home just after midnight. Then I couldn't get to sleep. I had that shot of adrenalin and didn't get to use it.
So I tossed and turned, then finally got to sleep about 1.

Just over two hours later I was up and drinking coffee getting ready for the 5k. It is about a 2.5+ hour drive to Fort Smith so I was not looking forward to that. Gary, Curtis and Rock were also headed out so along with Annette we had 5 total going from our club.

We arrived at the race in classic Cruiser style, one hour ahead of the start. This gave us time to get registered and check things out. It looked to me like it was going to be a fairly small race so I was hoping the other clubs would not field a team. No such luck. We needed one more male and one more female for us to make a team but we didn't have it. So the best we could do was get individual points.

After registering we took off for a warm up run getting about 1.2 miles in. There were lots of volunteers so it appeared that this would be a well supported race and it was. My goal was just to PR which meant I needed a 27:19, about a 8:48 pace. I really wanted to break into the 26 area but that meant an 8:41 average pace. So my main goal was to start out slower around an 8:50 then speed up the next two miles.

It was really a great race course but it wasn't flat. There were a few rolling hills, not real big but big enough to slow you down. I managed to force myself to run slower on the first mile and my split was an 8:53. Pretty much what I wanted for the first mile. I kept pushing through mile 2, dropping down to an 8:47 pace. Going into mile 3 is when I started losing it. I guess my lack of sleep, the hills, and the start of the heat had its affect. My 3rd mile dropped to an 8:54. One good thing was that after the first mile, no one passed me. I slowly picked off other runners one at a time. It was weird though, there was almost no one walking and usually you will see several people walking by mile 2 or so. Not today. I will have to admit that on the last hill I was feeling pretty winded so I did walk just maybe 30 seconds or less, but then I fired off again. The runners that passed me while I took that break I soon took out. The finish was on a slight downhill and if I had known I was as close as I was I would have started my sprint sooner. It's so hard in a 5k to time that just right. I did sprint it in though and passed three people before I crossed the finish line. My final time - 27:25. I had missed my PR by 5 seconds!!

I was a little annoyed at that but after talking to Gary, Curtis, Rock and Annette, I soon found that all of them seemed to slow down on that 3rd mile. We all had good times, but none of us really did what we wanted. Such is the way racing goes. It's really a constant learning process for me. Oh, and I did try something different. I hadn't used an Ipod in a race in over a year but I did today. I had hopes that it might give me something extra mentally or give me some extra push. It didn't.

Gary did win 3rd place masters and Rock won 1st place in her age group so the day was not a total loss. Afterwards we all stopped on the way home at Cracker Barrel in Russellville for a late breakfast. Then Annette and I hit the Starbucks in Conway to help us get home.

It was about 1:00pm by the time we got home. Annette and I both were pretty tired by then so it wasn't long and we were both napping. We already had evening plans. Jackie was having a big birthday party at Cregeen's Irish Pub in North Little Rock and there was probably 25+ Cruiser friends going to be there. 6:30 for dinner and then some were going to the Piano Bar at the Rivermarket. Well, we had already decided we would do dinner and come home since we had a 6:00am Brick workout scheduled for Sunday morning.

We rode with Bailey and Jane which was nice since I had already driven almost 6 hours. Dinner was great, we had a lot of fun celebrating Jackie's birthday with all our runner friends. I really would have liked to have went to the Piano Bar but I knew I would not have been able to bike/run Sunday.

More to follow on Sunday's activities!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thursday Updates

It's Thursday night and I am just now getting to type something in my blog.

It has been a crazy week. Starting with last Friday when I had to shut down one of our businesses and put 6 people out of work. So this week I have had to work in Little Rock cleaning up loose ends and manning the shop. None of which is very fun.

Sunday afternoon Annette and I got a good bike ride in with some of the Cruisers. Ended up with 17+ miles. Wasn't bad for Annette's first ride on her new bike. I think she liked it!

Monday night I was too stressed from work to do much of anything so I called it a rest night. Then Tuesday night I got home late so I missed the clinic. I felt like such a loser by that time. I was able to go upstairs and do a hard 45 minute full body workout on weights and core. That made me feel much better but I still missed running.

Wednesday I had to run and I was determined to get Tuesday nights speed workout done. This was a pretty tough workout and I decided I would attempt the advanced workout. Coach Dennis had us doing 6 x 200's with a 200 slow jog rest between each one followed by 2 x 400's with a 400 slow jog rest in between. Both done at interval pace.

So off to the track I went. Starting out with about a 1.7 mile warm up including strides. It was very humid Wednesday evening with temperatures in the mid 70's. The 200's seemed much harder than they had the last time I did them. But I got through them. Actually I was probably 10 seconds too fast on most of them but thats pretty close to where I needed to be. By the time I got to the 400's I was slowing down and I nailed them, about 3 seconds fast on each of those. I finished up with about a 1.8 mile cool down run which gave me a total of 6 miles for the night. I was pretty beat up afterwards, my feet were hurting and my knees were sore. Thats speed work for ya. I felt it all day today too.

After work tonight, Annette and I headed for the hills of Greystone to ride bikes. Last summer a few of us did hill repeats here and there was a group of Cruisers running tonight there too. We were late getting there since I was working in Little Rock, but we soon ran into Cindy and Jane on their bikes. They had already been riding maybe 30 minutes. Let me tell you, there are some mean hills in Greystone. Annette did really well for only her second time on a road bike. I tried to coach her on the gears which is what she seems to be having the most trouble with. After dealing with some of these big hills you learn pretty quick which lever does what because if you don't, your in for some serious pain or you will be walking up the hill. I was very proud of Annette, I think she only walked up two of the hills. The last hill going back to the club house is one that will get you. There is a fast downhill just before it so your rolling pretty fast as you start up it. But as soon as you go maybe 50 feet up, you come to almost a complete stop. It's just one of those short and very steep hills that is deceiving to look at. I had to stand up in the lowest gear I had to make it up. There are several in Greystone like that, but they will make you stronger for sure.

I can already tell I am much stronger this year on the bike. Sunday morning we are meeting early for a brick workout. I am looking forward to hammering down on the bike and just see how much improvement I have made on that course. Saturday we are heading to Fort Smith for a 5K Grand Prix race. It's a long way to drive for a 5k but we will have fun and we should get lots of points. Hopefully we will have a full mens team.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Best Run Ever

Do you ever have those runs where everything just seems to click and feel right?

Today was one of those days. And it makes no sense at all. I hadn't ran since Thursday and last night we went to the Twisters game with Rock, Tim, Kelly, Robert and some others. Several beers and margaritas later we didn't get home till midnight. So no early run.

I felt like a slacker so finally about 11:45am I took off for a run. I figured up front that this would be a miserable run. It was sunny outside, temp wasn't bad, around 62 but the wind was 19 mph and gusting to 32. I decided I needed the IPOD for one thing and I was also going to try out my Brooks Racing Flats.

Maybe it was the wind, maybe the ipod, maybe the racing flats. Maybe it was margaritas! Whatever it was, it felt like the best run I ever had. Not once did I even breathe hard. It was just going to be a relaxed pace run anyway, running to Fred's and back. I did purposely run the first mile slower but I mainly just enjoyed being outside, running, feeling the wind and listening to my ipod. The only thoughts I tried to have about running was about my form. I'd run through my checklist and make sure I was kicking my legs, pumping my arms right, etc etc.

Usually on this training route I almost always walk at least once just to break the boredom. Not today. Steady and speedy was the case. And not once did I try to run fast or hard. Just swing and breathe. I also thought about my mom since it is mothers day and she has been gone from us for over a year now. I think she must have came and visited me because this run was just almost spiritual. Weird, I don't understand it, must have been in the zone.

Here were my splits:
Total miles - 3.35
Time - 31:59
Avg. Pace - 9:33

This You Tube Video is from the movie Forest Gump. This is what happens when you are in the zone!! I think I could have done that today.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Women Can Run

Congratulations to all the ladies that completed the Women Can Run Clinic's around the state.

Annette won first place in her age group and set a new PR at the Women Can Run 5k today. That is a big accomplishment especially considering there was close to 900 women running in this race. I heard that Cheryl also had a PR and I'm sure there were others. Congratulations ladies on a job well done!

Below is Annette with her new bike (which she hasn't gotten to ride yet) wearing her 1st place medal.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Marathon Recovery

I'll be honest, I haven't been very good at this. Racing a 10K a week after a marathon is a no no but we did it anyway. I don't think Coach Dennis was too happy with us. I am trying to be better the rest of this week.

Tuesday night at the clinic most everyone was either in race recovery or still in marathon recovery. Dennis just had everyone do a little over 4 mile run and it was fun. We had a big group, ran all the way out to Stagecoach Elementary from the track and back. Those that were more recovered threw in some farhtleks to their workout. The rest of us just ran.

I have asked Coach Dennis to put me a summer schedule together so I can have a program to follow. For the next 10 weeks I basically have nothing but 5k's that I am racing then I will start back into fall marathon training.

Here were my stats from Tuesday night. I slowed down at the end to talk.
Total miles - 4.77
Time - 47:50
Avg pace - 10:02
1- 9:47
5- 9:47

On another note Annette will soon be biking. Last weekend we ordered her a new Specialized Dolce Elite ladies specific road bike. This will be great cross training during the summer and a lot of fun.

Monday, May 5, 2008

1st Brick of the Year

This evening I did my first "brick" workout of the year. The plan was to run about 2 miles then transition to the bike, bike whatever I could get in around the neighborhood, then run 2 miles again.

This was actually a fun workout. I got the bike off the rack and had it leaned and ready. Had my helmet laid out with my bike shoes on the floor next to it, just like it would be in a duathlon. I didn't really have a designated route, I was just messing around and figured I'd try to get 2 miles on the garmin doing some type of out and back. The traffic around my neighborhood is so bad in the evenings that its really difficult to have a good run or bike because your always having to wait on cars or dodge cars.

First mile on the run was a 9:40. I actually didn't quite make 2 miles total but I was at 1.97 with lap two an average pace of 9:43. I grabbed the garage door opener and opened the garage door, ran in the house real quick for a fast drink of water then came back out and started changing into
my bike shoes and helmet. I was pretty slow on the transition with T1 time being 2:26.

I took off on the bike, not sure how many miles I would get but just riding and making a route as I went. I'm sure the neighbors were wondering what the heck I was doing. The traffic slowed me down some but I quit the bike after 34:40 and 8.98 miles. I had a 15.5 mph average and that was with several stop signs and weaving in and out of the neighborhoods.

T2 was better. I had a time of 1:56 switching back over to the run. I was pretty hot at this point and ran in the house, grabbed me a small bottle of water and took off running down the block. I tried to get a drink as I was running. By this time I was really getting strange looks from the neighbors.

I actually walked a couple times on this leg of my workout just to get a drink. At least the sun was going down and it was shady in a lot of places. First mile was a 10:10 and again, I missed the two mile mark only ending up with 1.77. Lap two was a 9:59 average. Not too bad considering this was my first brick of the year. Average heart rate was 159 and I burnt a total of 1393 calories.

Yesterday I rode with an advanced group of guys from the Cruisers. It was the perfect afternoon for a bike ride. We ended up with 20.5 miles and right at a 16 mph average. I never really pushed the pace on this ride. It was very relaxed to me other than we had a few pretty tough hills. I think all my running is really going to help my biking this summer.

I have asked Coach Dennis to help put me together a running schedule for the summer. Right now I have no plan. I really like having a training plan so at least I know what I need to do in miles. I have a 5k race on the 17th and a duathlon on the 26th that I am training for. After marathon training these shorter distances don't seem like much. I can't wait to do the duathlon though. It is a fun race!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Toad Suck Daze 10K

Saturday we ran the Toad Suck Daze 10K in Conway. Yep, 7 days after the Nashville Marathon we are racing a 10k. The goal here was just to take this one for the running team. Well, that's always easier said than done. I had no idea how the legs would feel. I had biked 8 and ran .7 on Monday and the legs felt good. I ran almost 3 at the clinic on Tuesday night. I only did cross training the rest of the week.

Annette and I both had the same goal of just finishing under an hour. We had set new 10K pr's at the Capitol City Classic a few weeks back and Toad Suck was a much harder and hilly course. After running a marathon last weekend, we figured we would just run easy and try to stay under the one hour mark.

The race started with very high winds and chilly temps. About 54 degrees and I'd guess 20mph winds. This race always has a large crowd and is chip timed. There is also a 5k and kids race but these are not Grand Prix scoring events. I knew to stay under an hour I had to run at least a 9:40 pace and to PR I would need a 9:20 average.

As usual we started out a little too fast. I never practice what I preach but its hard to start slow when you see everyone your running with ahead of you. First mile was a 9:18 average pace. Wow, and it felt pretty good. The legs were not hurting, just felt normal. The temperature was rising pretty quick and it was very sunny so when we were out of the wind it was hot. I could tell this in my heart rate as it was higher than what I would have liked this early in the race. Never racing a week after a marathon I had no idea what to expect or if I would crash and burn before the finish. I was pretty much staying with Annette and Kelly. At the first water stop I grabbed a drink as I ran through the stop. I stayed somewhat behind the person ahead of me as they turned the corner left. I heard Annette yelling at me, "this way, that's the 5K" so I quickly had to turn back. This was the only bad thing I could say about the volunteers in this race. The guy was just standing in the middle of the road with a sign that said 5k left, 10k straight. Usually someone is at least yelling it out also. I wonder how many 10k runners went the wrong way.

We all ran pretty hard. I actually held back through some of the race. I wasn't suppose to be racing this and I was in unknown territory. Could I run 6.2 miles hard after a marathon?? Well, it worked out. I think running with Annette and Kelly helped push me. I took a few walk breaks just to conserve energy but as soon as they passed me I'd catch back up or get slightly ahead. Kelly was running super strong. Annette had a cold and some muscle soreness so she was not 100%. We continued to stay on pace or as I thought, ahead of pace. Since we were not trying to PR 9:40 was all we needed. We were averaging around 9:25 per mile. By mile 5 I started thinking how close to the PR we were. I was not off by much, but could I make up the time? I started trying to pick up the pace. Mile 5 was a 9:10. I knew then that a PR was a possibility but I really didn't want to hurt myself getting there. I ran through mile 6 a little harder, 9:02 pace. The last probably .2 or .3 hit the track at the high school for the finish. Kelly had gotten slightly ahead of me. As I rounded the first corner Cindy C. was on the sideline yelling at me to catch Kelly. Ha.....I didn't have anything left to catch her with. I didn't have a sprint left, though I did pick up the pace a little. At the finish I felt I had given it a good shot. Maybe not a 100% effort but I really had no expectations on this race other than to finish.

Me coming into the High School almost done

My final time was 58:25. I had missed my PR by :24 seconds. Not bad coming off a marathon! I did have a PR for the course. Last year I had a super slow time of 1:07:15 so this was about a 9:45 course PR. I really can't complain much about that. I do wish now that I had just pushed a little harder or not took one short walk break. At least I know my muscles recover quicker and I can run faster than my brain thinks I can.

Kelly coming in to the finish line

Annette also had a good race. She finished right behind me in about 58:46 and won 3rd place in her age group along with a course PR. Kelly was about 5 seconds ahead of me and set a new 10K PR. Gary who had also ran Nashville with us had a course PR and won 1st place Grand Masters. Michele finished way ahead of me, not sure if she had a PR but she may have. I still can't believe we all ran a marathon last weekend. I guess it just shows that our training is working and we are all very strong. Maybe even a little crazy for racing!

Miss Speedy Annette coming in to the finish

Here is Gary with his 1st place Grand Masters Trophy

Here are my splits from the race. Almost negative splits but not quite.
Official time - 58:25
Avg. Pace - 9:26
860 Calories
Avg. Heart rate - 176

The kids race was fun to watch also. My niece Kylie was running in the 5 year old race and Michele's kids were also running. Annette's Aunt Tamara won an award in the 5k. It was a good day for all.

Annette and Kylie in the kids race. Look at Kylie's form!!

Winners - Aunt Tamara, Annette and Kylie

Kylie and Michele's daughter Abby