Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fire Week

This past week must have been fire week or something. Our Department gets calls everyday but here in the past few months actual fire calls have been little to none. I always know that when its quiet for too long the sh*t is fixing to hit the fan and it always does. Extremes in the weather seem to play a part in it too. Very cold or very dry conditions, windy and dry, or storms.

Wednesday afternoon was one of those windy and dry days. I didn't get to make this call but we had a grass fire, trailer fire and a couple out buildings on fire on this one. Ended up having three departments working the incident. Combine all of that with about 95 degree temps and you can have problems.

Thursday afternoon it happened again. Close to the same time, 3ish. What looked like a double wide mobile home that had been modified caught fire. The home owner seemed to think it was the timer that had multiple a/c units plugged in to it that caused the problem. Well, sounds like the culprit to me, but we usually leave that up to the Insurance investigators. This became fully involved real quick and ended up as a total loss, though the front part of the structure is still intact. Again we had mutual aid from two other departments, mostly to help supply us water. I did make this fire though I got there a little later in the game as I was working, but once I was able I took an engine over and assisted with salvage and overhaul. Thats the fun, nasty stuff where you have to tear out walls and look for hidden fire. Then you get to reload all that hose that was pulled off. Another fun job. Its not all just putting the wet stuff on the red stuff. Firefighting is a total team effort and you may have a crappy job one day and the heroes job the next. You just never know whats going to be handed to you. This was another one of those hot windy days.

I was hoping to get some good sleep Friday night as I had plans to drive to Lake Degray to bike with Gary, Curtis and a few others. Well, that wasn't going to happen. About 11:30pm we had a shed fire. It was just up the road from Station 1 so they had a crew there pretty quickly. It was about a 9 mile drive for my station. 3 of my guys showed up so I had one roll the tanker and I drove the engine with Reg playing Captain. When we arrived we gave engine 65 water from the tanker and I took over operations command. I had three guys fighting fire but at this point it was pretty much out. Looked like a metal out building so all the metal had fallen on top of what was burning. So, we had to pull all the metal off of the fire so we could finish putting it out. The home owner claimed they were not burning but it seemed obvious that they had done come bull dozing around the shed. They probably was trying to burn it and it just got bigger than what they expected. No big deal, just a waste of our time and sleep. By the time we got done it was 1:30am before I made it back to bed. I was thinking then, I don't think I'm biking Lake Degray on Saturday. I was soaked from head to toe with sweat so I could probably count this as my workout for the day!

Luck as it is, Saturday morning came and it was raining and thundering so the bike ride got canceled. That was good but I missed getting to bike. After three days of back to back fires, somehow we missed the bullet Saturday. Must have been the rain and change in the weather. In fact, we never even had a medical call all day or night which is really weird.

I have been having problems with my left heel since the 2 mile race last Saturday so I have just laid off of running all week. I have an appointment on the 9th with a foot specialist to see what it is. So, I guess I am on the IR list for now as far as running goes.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wednesday Trail Ride

Wednesday evening I met Rock and Gary at the River Trail. They had already biked probably 10 miles by the time I got there meeting up with them at the dog park. We headed out over the Big Dam Bridge at a fast pace, then decided we would tackle Overlook.

Overlook is a pretty good hill, or actually a mountain. I goes up just before you get to Murray Lock and Dam. I will have to say it was much easier than last weekends Iron Mountain. I was able to sit and pedal almost all the way up. It was in the low 90's so I was just a little winded by the time we hit the top but nothing in comparison to last weekend. I think I can do almost any hill now after that.

Afterwards we came down the hill very carefully and not as fast as we could have. I held my brakes almost all the way down, partly because Gary mentioned to be extra careful towards the bottom as there was a bad bump. When we got to the bottom we rode down Rebseman towards Cantrell. Gary led and I think he started hammering. Rock took 2nd position and I hung on. We were going about 19-20 for a little ways when Rock fell off Gary's wheel. I went around her trying to close the gap and I did, latching on and hanging on for the ride. We were flying at that point. Gary was on fire, we were doing 20-22 at times but I was right there. I stayed within inches until we made the slight turn on the four lane that runs to Cantrell. Just a couple seconds delay at the turn and I lost Gary's wheel and I was dropped. Oh well. It seemed much harder the rest of the way. It's amazing how much the draft makes a difference in effort. We had also dropped Rock but we were soon all back together after the turn around.

We had a little bit of a tail wind on the way back and we were really flying. 22mph seemed almost effortless. Gary slowed a little so I passed and started pulling for a while. I kept us around 19 for about a mile or so until I could feel the fatigue of pulling a pace line starting to take over me. I pulled out and Gary took the lead again. As luck has it, I fell back too much and I was dropped but not far. Another rider wearing a team uniform rides up next to me and motions for me to get on his wheel and I did. He pulled me for about 1/2 a mile till we caught up enough then he motioned for me to get on Rock's wheel and I did. That was pretty nice of him to help me out!

The bridge was almost effortless, I think I was going 10-12mph up. Last year I could barely crawl up it on the bike. We headed back towards Little Rock where Gary and Rock were parked. Gary continued to hammer, so I just hammered too and stayed right with him. He was so strong and fast but this was good training for me. We dropped Rock just past the wooden bridge, then we slowed at the Skate Park to let her catch back up. Gary took off again and I stayed with him. We were doing about 20-21 down River Road all the way back.

After they got to their cars I headed back to the Dog Park. I didn't ride quite as hard but still pushed it a little, maintaining 18-19mph most of the way. I ended up with right at 25 miles for the evening with one good hill repeat and a good fast ride for the rest. I burnt just over 1600 calories for less than a 2 hour effort. Not bad!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Watering the grass

This is how I water the grass.......well, not really. Tuesday night I taught dump tank/tanker operations at my fire station and this was a photo I took while I was discharging water. Thats about 1000 gallons per minute coming out. Master streams are cool!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Iron Mountain

I'm finally going to try and get caught up on the weekend. After Saturday mornings 2 mile race, Annette and I headed over to Lake Degray to meet Gary, Curtis, Cindy and James B. for a bike ride on the 1/2 Ironman course there. We were not going to do the full course of 56 miles but we decided that we would ride out about an hour and ten minutes then turn around and come back. I had already been warned about one big hill, but after doing River Mountain last week I figured there couldn't be many worse than that. Boy was I wrong.

This was one of the views from the ride

Annette was a little apprehensive about riding with such a fast group so I told her that I would take it easy and ride back with her. She is really doing good on the bike, especially considering she has only been doing it for about a month. James took the lead with Cindy and Gary following. Curtis and I sort of took turns riding back with Annette. The first few hills were not that bad. The scenery was AWESOME! To give you an idea, the name of the road we were on was Skyline Drive. If you ever run or bike on a road with this name expect some BIG hills.

About 4-5 miles in to the ride we had our first big climb. I had no problem with it, then the downhill was unbelievable. Nice smooth road with some slow sweeping curves. Really made it nice after climbing. It wasn't long though and we had lost sight of Gary, Cindy and James. As we made a turn on to highway 8, we look to our left and here comes Cindy and Gary. They had made a wrong turn and was having to catch up. So for a while we all road together. Annette was actually pulling us for a couple miles doing 18-19 mph. She does really good on the flats, its the gear selection she is having to practice on more. Didn't take long and Cindy wanted to fly so she passed the pace line and took off. Well, when a girl does that one of the guys always has to go chase her down, and Cindy is a very strong biker so its not an easy task. I think Curtis chased her down this time and Gary joined in the chase soon afterwards.

Curtis and Annette tackle one of the smaller hills

After we made the turnaround a few miles up the road we took a break. I had asked Cindy and Gary where James was but they didn't know. He had gotten ahead of them when they made the wrong turn so they assumed he kept going the wrong way. He was a big boy so we knew he would find his way back. I made the dumb comment that this was a really nice route and really wasn't that bad. I think they were all laughing to themselves knowing what was to come.

After riding a little bit, Cindy and Gary had took off again and Curtis told me to go catch them. So I started hammering. I was working hard and gaining on them. They probably had a 1/2 mile lead on me at least. I looked back and I could see Curtis and Annette gaining on me. I would look down at my speedometer and see that I was going about 17-19mph. I knew this speed would be pushing it for Annette but still they were gaining on me. Whats up with that?? I was working my tail off trying to catch Cindy and Gary and Annette and Curtis was closing in on me. I thought to myself, man, they must really have a good drafting system going to be catching up like that! I knew Curtis was strong and could pull like that but I really didn't think Annette could hold a pace line yet. I had almost caught Cindy and Gary when low and behold, here is Curtis and Annette, passing me! I figured out their little trick then. Curtis was actually pushing Annette with his hand on her back while he was riding beside her. Amazing! He is super strong to be able to do that because I know they had to be rolling at least 20mph to catch me.

Then came Iron Mountain. I'm not sure if this was really Iron Mountain but one of the marinas on the lake is called Iron Mountain Marina. Actually the first climb wasn't the worst. I thought it was at the time. It was probably at least .3 mile long and got really steep at the top. It was a struggle to get up it and when I did I stopped to cheer Annette on as she climbed. She made it to the top also. We were both pumped then we looked ahead and saw the monster of all hills. We had a little downhill the we started climbing back up. The hill had to be at least 1/2 a mile long and very steep. My first thoughts were, I don't know if I have enough left to make it up that one. I started climbing. I stayed seated as long as I could and tried to stay in about 2nd gear so I would have one gear left. I dropped down to first and stood up, climb a few like that then sat back down. Up to this point the grade was not that bad. About .1 before the top, the grade of the hill changed and it went what seemed like straight up. Oh my god, how was I going to get up that? My legs were already burning from the first hill and the climb I had already done. All I knew was that I was going to do it. I stayed seated as long as I could which wasn't long then stood up and started pumping. I can say that I have never done anything on the bike or run that hard before. My thighs were burning with pain, my hips flexors felt like they were going to explode. I started looking at places to fall over. I knew if I stopped pedaling I was going to fall because there wouldn't be enough time to get my shoes unclipped. I eyeballed some grass on the side thinking this might work, then looked to see how far I would roll down hill. Funny what we think sometimes. Then I just kept gutting it out. I was breathing harder than if I was doing a 100 yard dash or something. I would push the pedal down, pull it up and back again. Sometimes stopping the stroke just enough to rest my leg for split second, but not long enough to come to a stop. Finally, I was at the top. How I don't know. I kept hearing Gary's voice in my head saying "we are not walking the bikes up any hills". Well, I didn't today. I did have to put my head down in my aero bars just trying to catch my breath again. I was still breathing hard, and it probably didn't help any that the temperature was probably 90 degrees. Annette did end up walking her bike up this one, I almost wish I would have but I did conquer that monster.

It wasn't over though, we ended up having about 3 more big climbs, none as bad as that one but all of them still a challenge, especially after all the work we had expended. The last 3 or 4 miles of the ride seemed like they would never end. My neck and shoulders were killing me. A lot probably because of the climbs and some because I was getting dehydrated. I should have been drinking more. It was a good sight to see the parking area and know that the lake waited for us. It was nice to know that everyone else had struggled on that hill too. I knew then that it was worth it and that the training would make me stronger.

This was taken with less than two miles to go. Annette and Curtis.

Afterwards we got a snack and Gary, Curtis and Cindy swam out to one of the buoys in the lake which was probably about 400 meters out. They did this twice. Amazing! I stayed in the water next to the bank just cooling off and Annette swam a little around there. The water was very refreshing to say the least. I think we may be planning on going back there this weekend for more pain and torture!

Gary, Annette, Curtis, Cindy and me getting ready for the swim after the ride

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

You Are an Ironman

I just wanted to congratulate my fellow Cabot Cruisers who completed Ironman Coeur d'Alene. You guys are awesome and also prove that through proper training, we can all do whatever we want to do. You guys ROCK!

Final Times:
Lisa Feldt - 13:51:50
Heather Bender - 14:09:08
Marianne Park - 14:13:20
James Martin - 14:53:45
Kristina Grisham - 15:11:04

In case you don't know, thats a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run all in the same day! If only I was a good swimmer...................

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Heat in The Street and a 2 mile PR

My weekend started with a trip to Arkadelphia Saturday morning to run the Heat in the Street 2 Miler, one of the Arkansas Grand Prix series races. Our Tuesday night running clinic was one of the harder speed workouts we had done all year and afterwards I felt it in my left heel so I basically took the rest of the week off so I would be ready for this race.

Cruisers discuss pre-race strategy
Annette, Jane, Joan, Curtis, Vicki, Vic's grandaughter

I wore my racing flats since a 2 mile race is pretty short and I needed all the advantage I could get. When we did our warm up I could tell I was going to be in pain after this race. The racing flats do not have as much cushioning as my regular running shoes but I just had to deal with it and race. The other thing was we were biking with some of the group after the race at the Lake Degray half Ironman bike course. I was looking forward more to the bike riding than the run. We had a decent group of runners, not as many as normal but a good solid group. Annette, Bailey, Joan, Vicki, Jane, Gary, Curtis, James B and myself. Jane and I were kidding Joan that we were going to pace off of her. At 67 years old she is an inspiration and I had yet to beat her in a race. My plan was to run with Jane and Joan as I knew we would all run about the same pace.

Warm up run

The race started with about a 2 block downhill, and as we started running Jane took off, so I followed. We took full advantage of the hill and I passed several grand prix runners that I had never beaten in a race before. So from here on I just chased Jane. I couldn't catch her, not sure if she knew I was back there or not but I stayed close. We were flying that first mile. I looked at my garmin when it beeped the first mile time and I couldn't believe it. 7:56. I had never ran a 7:56 mile. The thoughts in my head were that I was going to crash since I obviously went out too fast but I kept pushing and trying to keep up with Jane. It was a good run, I was running hard, but it felt good. I knew the end was coming soon so I knew I could finish the distance. As we ran I could tell Jane was slowing just a little. About 150 feet before the finish line I made my move, kicked it in high gear and sprinted to line passing Jane with about a 3 second lead. I couldn't believe it when I looked at my final time. 16:19. That is a new 2 mile PR by 38 seconds!! I had to write Coach Dennis later and tell him that his speed work training was working. Unfortunately as soon as I stopped I could feel my heel. It seems there is a price to pay for speed.

We ended up leaving before the awards were given out. Cindy was waiting at Lake Degray for us to bike so Annette, Gary, Curtis, James and I took off for our bike ride.

I'll try to write more tomorrow about our Iron Mountain ride.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

You Will Do This

This is for all my friends competing in Ironman Couer d'Alene tomorrow.

Good Luck James, Lisa, Kristina, Marianne, and Heather!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Big Dam Hill

Last night Annette & I met Gary and Rock on the River Trail for some biking. We headed out towards the Big Dam Bridge and another biker joined us along the way. We crossed the bridge and I'll have to say that bridge seems like nothing now to me. Last year I could barely make it up it and this year I have gears to spare and I don't even breathe hard.

We headed down towards the 430 bridge and Gary had to leave early so we didn't get to ride with him long. When we got under the 430 bridge, the guy that was with us (sorry I forgot his name) talked us in to trying the hill at River Mountain Road. He told us that his riding group a lot of times does 8 hill repeats on this hill on Wednesday nights. So I thought what the heck, the worst would be I stop half way up and coast back down.

As we started up the hill he was coaching Rock on how to climb. So I just stayed behind them and listened. I had done some pretty bad hills and I knew the pain we were fixing to have. Rock had never done hills like this. I knew Annette couldn't make it to the top so I told her just to ride up as far as she could.

For a while it wasn't too bad. I stayed in my second gear about half way up until I finally had to drop down to my lowest. The good thing was I was still maintaining speed, and I wasn't having to stand up yet. It was nice having the clip in pedals because I could get extra power pulling up and give my legs a little break. 3/4 of the way up the hill got steeper. So we would alternate standing for a few strokes then sitting down. I was breathing like I was sprinting. I wish I had wore my heart rate monitor because I know I would have been maxed out by the time I got to the top. Finally we were done. We had conquered the hill. Now we got to ride back down.

The downhill part is pretty scary as you can really get some speed going. Since I had never done this road, I was pretty cautious and held my brakes almost to the bottom. I was still going almost 35 mph with my brakes on! I venture to say one could hit 45 easy going down this hill. Annette was waiting at the bottom for us and she went up a pretty good ways. The overall length of the hill was right at .8 mile. According to the bikers, this one is one of the hardest because it is so long. Maybe not as steep as some of the others.

We finished up our ride by heading down Rebseman Park Road to the golf course and then back across the bridge. Annette and I rode with Rock to her car since she had parked next to the baseball field. By the time we got back it was almost dark. It was a great evening to ride and seeing the sunset along the river trail is an awesome sight. Total miles for the evening, 25.5.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Rainbows are a special thing, and to see one just before the sun comes up is pretty rare. I took this photo Saturday morning as we were leaving the school to drive to the Tour de Rock.

This was taken with a camera phone, if you look hard you can see the rainbow in the middle

Here are a couple other pretty things......Kylie and Annette get ready to go to the Cabot Kids Track Night on Monday. The kids run 100's, 200's, 400's etc and all get to be winners.

Kylie and Annette - almost twinkies

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Epic Weekend - almost

I guess I could call this weekend almost an epic weekend. 73.4 miles for the weekend running and biking.

63+ bike miles on Saturday.

10 miles running Sunday.

96.8 total miles for the week. I should have done 4 more miles!

If I only swam.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tour de Rock race report

What a great event for a great cause! Things did start out a little questionable. We had thunderstorms move through the area around 4am and looking at the radar, it showed a line of rain stretching across the central part of the state. Bailey came by and picked us up at 5:30am and we made the short trip over to South Side Elementary to meet up with some of the other Cabot Cruisers that were going.

We arrived at Burns Park just past 6:30 allowing everyone plenty of time to get their race packet and bikes prepared. That wasn't a problem though. The problem was rain. When we left Cabot it looked like it was going to clear off but by the time we started getting close to North Little Rock things started looking worse. We seemed to be right on the line of the rain. Some had raincoats, some had umbrellas, we didn't have anything. But luckily it wasn't a driving rain, just enough to get you wet. As we were airing up tires one of the officials came by and was telling everyone that the race start was being delayed due to the rain till 8:00am. Somehow the time passed pretty fast and before we knew it we were lining up at the start line.

The Cabot Cruiser Team pre race

There were a lot of bikers here even with the weather. I would guess at least 600+ had showed up. I'm sure a lot stayed in bed when they saw the rain. The officials wanted the 62 mile people to line up at the front, then the 50, then the 30 milers. Our plan had been that we were going to stay together as long as we could so this sort of messed our group up. Annette, Joan, Jane, Curtis and some others moved to the back for the 30 mile group. Gary, Rock, Bailey, Cindy, me and a few others opted to fit in with the 50 mile group. We didn't want to get caught up in the big pack that would be racing up front so we thought this would be safe.

Some of the crew lining up for the start

The start was uneventful, we rode out of the soccer fields and headed towards the launching ramp on the main road. The first hill at the golf course saw a few near misses as some were having trouble getting up the hill. Then we came to the wooden bridge on the river trail and everything came to a sudden stop. No wrecks I guess, just had to go single file across that little bridge. This was a pain because being clipped in to the pedals you would have to unclip, then ease forward then once it was your turn, clip in and go. Clip in pedals are sometimes a challenge in these situations.

After hitting River Road things started spreading out and we were off. It was very slow on the trail but now we could speed up. We must have had a tail wind because we seemed like we were flying. The roads were still wet and there was on and off rain but luckily it wasn't heavy. My riding group at this time consisted of Gary, Rock, Cindy and Bailey. As we rode down Washington Ave. I talked to a couple newer Cruisers, Lisa M. and her husband who I forgot his name. I rode with them and chatted some, then we made the turn on 165 headed towards Scott. We started picking up the pace here but with the wet roads we could not do a pace line. If you rode the wheel in front of you, you would get soaked from the water spray. You could stay a little to one side or the other and it wasn't too bad. I looked down several times and we were rolling at 21-22 mph and it was easy. I really didn't feel a tail wind but maybe we had one.

Around mile 12 we rolled in to the first rest stop. We were all soaking wet at this point and a quick snack made us feel better. From there we continued on but we had dropped Bailey we thought. So now it was Cindy, Gary, Rock and me. We continued to ride pretty hard, but still we couldn't really hold a tight pace line. Sometimes the road would dry out and we could and this would help our speed. We hit the second rest area around mile 25 or so. As we rolled in there was Bailey and several of the other cruisers. Evidently she had not stopped at the first stop so we didn't drop her at all. I think this was the stop where the volunteer asked me if she could clean my sunglasses. Wow, that was nice. I had so much mud and water debris on them I could barely see. I commend the volunteers on this race. They did a great job!

After getting a snack, bathroom breaks, etc, we were off. Bailey had went ahead with Lisa M. We were able to get a good pace line going with Gary pulling most of the time. Cindy would pull some also. Rock and I just hung on and tried to keep their wheel. It didn't take us long before we passed Bailey and Lisa. Along the way we would pick up riders and drop riders. I guess we must have been really rolling. I know I had trouble hanging on a few times. With Rock being a new biker, Gary would try to set the pace around 17, but usually it was more like 18-19mph and sometimes faster. We were making some good time with the pace group though.

Gary took this while in motion, Rock and me

Rock's longest ride before this one was I think 37 miles, and she had originally planned on just doing 50. Just before the 50 mile turn she made the decision to go for the 62. Hey it's only 12 more miles. This was when the heat got turned up. Cindy and Gary kept the pace going, with Cindy sometimes dropping us a little. Gary tried to keep it a little slower so we could keep up. I know I'm faster than last year but still not as fast as I want to be. The miles rolled on. The pace was challenging at times. We started getting a head wind probably around the 30 mile mark. This made things a little harder. At one point we must have had 10+ bikes in our little pace line.
Somewhere close to the 40 mile mark Gary, Rock and myself sort of pulled out of the pace line and road a little easier for a while. This was nice. At the Scott rest stop we met back up with most of the pack we had been in. Got some drinks, ate a snack and we were off again. Only about 20 miles to go, so it couldn't be that bad right?

Me, Cindy, Rock & Gary at the Scott rest stop

Well, we got in the pace line again and this time they slowly started speeding up. We made a left turn and I lost a couple spots but stayed with the group. Cindy was pulling again, then after a while she came rolling back to the back to let Gary pull. It probably wasn't 5 minutes later and here goes Cindy, riding from the back to the front with no help, passing probably 10 strong bikers. I tell you, that girl is an awesome and strong biker!

With about 15 to go, the guy in front of me started fading, I was hanging on to his wheel then I realized that he had fallen off the wheel in front of him pretty good. If I was going to stay with the pace group I was going to have to pass him and catch back up. Well, I did, and I caught the pack, stayed on the wheel in front of me for a couple miles. Then I guess that little sprint got to me and I started losing ground. One wheel length, then two, then three, then boom, I had lost the draft, the pack was gone and I was by myself.

Before I had feel off we were rolling about 19 with a good head wind. Once I was alone it was a struggle to hit 16-17. I thought oh well, I'm just going to ride this thing out by myself. When I made the turn on to Rose Street I looked over and there was Rock and Gary waiting for me at a little park. Gary had went to the bathroom and they said they didn't know they had dropped me but that we were going to stay together like we had planned. That was nice, and helped me to finish strong. By this time the sun had come out and things were heating up. We turned back on to 165 for the final ride in. We had a 3 bike pace line going and we were doing good again. It wasn't long and we were back on River Road and then the trail to finish up. The only thing I hate about the bike tours is there is not much there when you finish. You cross the finish line, there is no one keeping time, no medals, you just finish. I was glad to be done and felt as though I had a good hard ride with a very good time.

My total mileage ended up being 63.64 in 3:44:00 for a 17mph average. Really not bad considering we had to go slow on the trail and at the beginning we stopped at the wooden bridge. Afterwards we were awarded the trophy for the team with the most spirit. That was pretty cool as we had all worked hard to raise money for CARTI. We had some photos made then ate some barbecue. After that a few of us went down to the Salty Parrot and had margaritas to celebrate our ride and Gary's marathon a few weeks ago where he had Boston Qualified. Fun, fun, fun!!

The Cruisers take the trophy for the most spirit

Celebrating the ride and Gary's BQ from his marathon-Bailey, Gary, Annette, Curtis, Me, Rock

Friday, June 13, 2008

Last chance to help

Tomorrow is the big ride, the Tour de Rock. Today is your last chance to help the cause and make a small donation! It has been amazing the number of people that have signed up on our team. We have 22 riders as of this morning and have raised almost $1100 for Carti. Everyone participating is so excited. You would think that we are running a marathon or something. I am hoping the weather holds out for us, they are calling for a chance of rain early in the morning but unless its storming, we are riding! At least it would be a warm rain for sure. It should be a fun day and I am hoping that Cabot wins the traveling team trophy for the year.

Still time to make a donation today. Here is the link:

Thanks for everyone's support and donations!! You are making a difference.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tour de Rock - Helping to Fight Cancer

Bloggers unite!! I need your help! This Saturday June 14th Annette and I will be participating in the 5th Annual CARTI Tour de Rock bicycle tour. Annette will be riding her first ever 30 mile ride and I plan to do the 50-62 mile route. All proceeds will benefit programs and services for cancer patients treated at the seven CARTI locations throughout the state. This is for a great cause and is a great event. To make things even sweeter, we have formed a Cabot Cruiser's Team and currently have 20 bikers with more planning on joining before Saturday. The team with the most members wins a traveling trophy and right now we have it won hands down but there is still two days left. This is going to be a FUN ride and best of all, we are helping others!

Please consider donating to CARTI and help us bring the fight to cancer. All donations are 100% tax deductible. If you are in the Little Rock metro area you can also join our team. Part of the entry fees are even tax deductible.

Use the link below to make your donation and sponsor Annette & I in our ride to fight Cancer.

Monday, June 9, 2008

It's Only One Hill

Saturday a small group of us headed to Havana, Arkansas to run the Mt. Magazine 15k which climbs 1960 feet for the 9.3 miles. Our group consisted of Annette, Bailey, Rock, Joan and myself. Joan was the only one of us that had ever done this race, which really isn't a race at all. It is more or less an endurance run to see who can get to the top. One of the cool things about this race is that every finisher gets a trophy. And the object is for the last person to get the biggest one. Old trophies are brought to the race each year and donated to be tagged for the next years race.

I set the clock for 3:35am and we met the rest of the group at South Side Elementary at 4:45am for the 125 mile drive to the race. Luckily we could all fit in one car so I ended up driving Annette's CRV. This gave us plenty of room and good gas mileage. We did make one pit stop in Russellville for a potty break. Another 35 miles later we were driving up at the Havana High School parking lot.

Joan, Annette, Me, Rock, Bailey pre-race

This was an old school and there were only maybe 6 or 7 cars in the parking lot. I thought then that this is going to be a small race. The temperature at 7:15 was already 75 degrees and about 85% humidity. After registering and getting ready, we started walking towards the starting line. The starting line was actually about a 1/4 mile up a gravel road. Interesting!

By 8:00am everyone had walked to the starting line or what we thought was the starting line and we waited for some official to say go. A couple minutes past 8 a pick up pulls up and the race director gets out, explains the course and water stops, then says lets get started. On your mark, get set, go. There was no crowding the start line. You could tell that no one was anxious to take off fast. Ha, they had run this race before and knew what was ahead of them. There were a lot of first timers and we were some of them.

We started off at a moderate pace with Joan blasting ahead like she was in a 5k. Rock and I stayed together with Annette and Bailey not far behind us. I had never raced on a gravel road before so this was a first. Just before we got to the high school the gravel turned to pavement. From here it was all paved.

This was probably around mile 2 - You can see the mountain ahead

The first two miles were semi-flat, slightly rolling but not much in the way of hills. Before we hit a mile we turned on the road that goes up to the mountain and you could see the mountain looming ahead. It was very beautiful. The weather sucked though, it was very warm already. Mile one and two went fast, running slower than my 5k pace trying to conserve energy for what was ahead but ended up with a 9:43 and 9:48 pace. I took a quick break at mile two to get a drink from my water bottle and kept running. I knew the mountain started somewhere around mile 3. Between 2 and 3 we had a couple hills with one downhill but not enough to run super fast. There was a water stop at mile 3 which we took advantage of. We were already sweating a ton.

Between mile 2 and 3 I think-beautiful country

Then the mountain started. It was a steady incline up and never ending. I would think I saw a crest or flat spot then only to be disappointed that it was a curve. The curves were hairpin curves that were really hard to run on because of the angle of the road. Rock was kind enough to run with me up to about mile 5. I kept telling her to go on and not to let me hold her back. I knew I was though but she was OK with it. We would run a little bit then walk. Run then walk. The further we went up the mountain the harder it seemed and the shorter my run distance would be. We got to the point where we would pick out signs and run to the sign, then walk to the next one. I walked a lot, but also learned a lot about walking fast. I was concerned about my IT flaring up and had wore my IT strap just in case. So I did take it easier than I could have. The hot temperatures really made it seem harder than it was. I would just run till my thighs started hurting then walk. It didn't take long for that to happen each time either. The only consolation I had was that there were a couple other Grand Prix runner guys around me that were doing the same thing and they were always faster than me in races. So I kept up with them anyway.

Ths was pretty much the view for almost 7 miles - uphill and curves

Mile 5 had a water stop with cookies, banana's, oranges and drinks. At mile 7 there was another stop. They really did a good job for this race. By the time I hit mile 8 I started wondering if I could finish in under two hours. I started calculating and figured if I could run just over a 10 minute mile I could do it. After a couple fast tries I gave up on that theory. There was no sprinting up the mountain for me. As I rounded the last big curve at mile 9 I could see the finish line on top of the mountain. There was still one more hill to go up to get there. I did pick the pace up at the end and let one guy pass me. He told me as he passed that he didn't want to make me mad and he wasn't racing me. I told him that was OK, I would help push him to the top and I did. Plus I was thinking I got a bigger trophy!

The finish line is at the top of this hill(mountain) what a welcome sight!

Final times: Rock was the king of our group finishing in 1:54:57. She just barely caught Joan at the last mile. Joan finished in 1:55:15. Did I mention that Joan is like 66 years old? I think she still holds the 15k record for her age group in the state too. My final time was 2:06:24 and I know I could have done better but the unknown slowed me down a little plus the heat and humidity. Annette and Bailey ran the whole race together and finished at 2:13:34 and 2:13:35.

After everyone finished we had cookies, watermelon, more cookies and more cookies! When the last finisher crossed they started giving out awards based on your male or female finishing position. I was amazed that one young girl won overall with like a 1:08 something. Unbelievable! She would probably break the state record on a flat course. The trophies were really cool and some were kind of weird. Mine actually had a coach on it and had my finishing position. 29Th Male. I think there was 48 males total and around 20 females so it was a pretty small race but hey, none of us were last!

This was the top of the mountain and we had run from down there.

Annette, Bailey, Joan, Rock

I will have to say this was a very fun race and it was different. It was nice not having to compete as the main goal was just finishing. Next year I can set a goal for this race since I now have a time to beat. And the t-shirt was the best part of all. On the back it reads "Only One Hill" but it climbs 1960 feet in 9.3 miles!

This was my odd little trophy

This was Annette's trophy, a gymnist I think

The super cool T-shirt - "Only One Hill"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Speed Break

I took a break from speed work this week. I guess I probably needed to since I have raced every weekend but one since the Nashville Marathon. Along with a race on the weekends I have been doing speed work at the clinic on Tuesday nights or making it up on Wednesday if I missed. Not this week.

After Saturday's run I thought I felt a twinge in my left outer knee. Monday night I ran 4 miles with Annette and Michele. It was there again, not bad but just enough to feel every now and then. I have had ITBS before and I know what it feels like when it hits. This was the start of it maybe. So I figured it was just raising its ugly head a little to tell me to slow down some.

Tonight was the first time I ran since Monday so I used the IT strap just in case. My left heel was still bugging me on and off so I put on my achilies strap also. Kelly had been shopping with Annette so she came over to run with me. She also was running with an IT strap so we made the perfect pair.

Thank goodness I didn't feel anything, or maybe the strap worked. Maybe it was the two days off. Our first mile was fast and hard @9:47. At 85 degrees maybe too fast for us but we managed. I tried to slow down some, but it seems for me anymore I tend to run faster than I should be then have to walk to get a quick breather. I guess I'm weird, but walking doesn't bother me and Annette has said that walking slows her down but speeds me up for some reason.
Our second mile was a 10:10, even warmer it seemed. Very breezy with a hot southerly wind. Our third mile slowed a little to a 10:26. We called it quits at 3.3 miles, I probably needed more but it was just too dang hot to be running. I guess I may have to start getting up early in the mornings and try to run. I miss those cool winter runs now.

Saturday we are suppose to run a different kind of race. Its called the Mt Magazine 15k and its all up a mountain. There is no winner and no times are kept. Every finisher gets a trophy and the last person to finish gets the biggest one. I have never done this one but several of our friends have done it and said it is a lot of fun. I'm thinking we may be warped a little to want to run up a mountain in the heat of the summer! Hey at least I will get a trophy!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Wind Hits Again

After biking hard Sunday I came home, mowed the back yard, got in the pool, ate a sandwich, then decided it was time for a nap. I was really tired, sat down in the recliner and I was out. I usually have trouble sleeping during the day so a nap is just 5-10 minutes of snoozing at a time. This time I think I was ready to sleep for a couple hours.

I was nodding off when I started hearing thunder. I thought no big deal, summer shower. I was almost asleep when Annette said I better come look out back. So I got up, went and looked out the back door and it looked like a hurricane or tornado. The trees behind us were blowing like crazy. There were leaves flying around, it didn't look good. This lasted about 5 minutes then it was over. About that time my fire department pager went off. We had a tree down blocking a road. No big deal, we had some people responding so I was kind of sitting tight to see what was next. Pager goes off again, another tree down on a power line. I start to get my shoes on. Pager goes off again, another tree down. Other departments were getting paged for the same thing in their area. So I took off for the station.

As I was driving down the road I saw a police car running hot to something. There was a lot of leaves and small limbs on the road but nothing major. Before I made it to the station we had alrady gotten another call with trees down. Holy cow. I got to my station and elected to stand by ready to roll whatever truck might be needed. Most of the other guys had responded to the scenes in their personal vehicles. The tree calls quickly cleared up with only one requiring the guys to stay for a while. I was still standing by when the power went out at my station. Luckily I had the bay doors open so we could roll if needed.

Less then 5 minutes later we get paged for a structure fire or a large possible unknown fire. Well, with the storms, a structure fire was the more likely thing. We had also set up a command post at our station one with our assistant chief routing calls over the radio and keeping up with where everyone was. I ended up rolling Tanker 2 as there was not a hydrant close to the address. When our first unit arrived they advised that there was a mobile home fully involved and already on the ground. Upon furthur investigation they found out that it was actually a controlled burn and the owner had set it on fire to get rid of it. Well, technically you can't do that anymore. Too many rules and regulations by the EPA and others. Irregardless we had to put the majority of the fire out.

I ended up setting up a water shuttle with the tanker pumping water into engine 65. About 2500 gallons later I was leaving the scene returning to my station. I still had to refill with water then figure out a way to get the bay doors down since we had no power.

By the time some of my personnel had gotten back to the station we came up with a plan to get the door down. We couldn't just pull a string like most overhead doors. This one was too big and the release was not working. About that time the power came back on thank goodness. Otherwise I would have been stuck there for who knows how long.

We have had so much wind this spring its really kind of weird. It's like we are in a direct path to be blown away or something but luckily we keep getting missed. Maybe this will be the last of it for a while.

River Trail Sunday

I got up early Sunday morning and headed down to the River Trail to meet Bailey. We were going to watch a Sprint Triathlon that was being held there and then bike afterwards. The race started at 7:00am so we had to get there early. Bailey had a friend that was racing in her first triathlon.

My first impression of this race was that I would not want to do the swim and especially swim in that dirty muddy water. Just didn't look like fun and the Arkansas River was not a good place to swim to me. This was on a back water section that was blocked off from the main river by several rock dyke's but with all the rains we have had the river had not cleared up and looked like solid mud.

The swimmers get ready for the start

The event itself seemed small, less than 100 participants but then again this was my first ever in person triathlon to watch. The crowd support seemed dismal to none. Not sure why. The race didn't even have much music going even though they had big speakers set up. I was told that there was not much food either. It was interesting to watch and for the price, I would never do one this small. Though I would have to do it as a team anyway since I don't do the swim.

This is a shot of the winner of the race running in

After the tri, Bailey and I took off on our bikes and headed for the Big Dam Bridge. I tried to push the pace all I could which isn't a lot on the trail since there is usually a lot of walkers, runners and other bikers. I was amazed at how easy it was for me to pedal up the bridge. I didn't even have to go down to my lowest gear so I have defiantly gotten stronger since last fall.

We hit Rebsamen Park Road and I hammered down but Bailey held right there with me most of the time. I let her pull a few times and we did have a head wind it seemed, but we were still maintaining 18-19 mph. After going to the end of the road we turned around and headed back. When we got back to the main part of the road I hammered down again. This time I was going 20-21mph and not much of a tail wind but more of a cross wind. We went on down by 430 then went back across the bridge and headed for the Submarine. Turned around and headed back for our vehicles from there. All together we got in just over 26 hard miles. I wish we could have rode as fast on the trail as we had on the roads. It was fun but hot when we stopped. Bailey said this was the longest ride she had ever done and probably the hardest.

This was Bailey at the Submarine

This was the best training week I have had since my marathon. I ended the week with 21.2 miles of running and 42.7 miles of biking. This week I need to get a 40-50 mile ride in to prepare for the Tour de Rock. It will have to be on the weekend though, not sure when yet.