Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Shoes

Hey I got new running shoes today. I am in St Louis for meetings till Friday and I am staying in Chesterfield. There just happened to be a Fleet Feet store just down the road so I stopped in this afternoon and got fitted.

My foot doctor had told me that I needed a more neutral shoe now that I have orthotics because the orthotics compensate for my pronation and the shoe doesn't have to anymore. I wanted to try some Muzuno's but the sales guy told me up front that the heel was less cushioned than the Nike's I was used to. The other shoe that my fit pointed to was the Nike Air Pegasus. I tried the Muzuno Ride first and he watched as I ran down the sidewalk. The shoe felt good but the heel was a little less cushioned. Then I tried the Nike's and they felt great. So, I walked away with a new pair of Nike Pegasus. They sure make me feel more flat footed anyway. I'll know soon how they are for running. I feel good that they will work as I have ran about 400 miles in Nike Air Structure Triax 10's.

I also picked up a couple of long sleeve technical shirts for $5 each that were on sale. Couldn't beat the price at all. I'll probably go back sometime this week to shop more as I was pressed for time today.

Chesterfield is really nice. There is a shopping center at least 2 miles long with every store imaginable and lots of good eating places. Other than meetings and eating, I won't have much else to do so I may do a little needed shopping. Then again, maybe not!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Big Dam Bridge 100 Ride Report

This was my third Century and I’ll have to say the best ever. My longest ride in training for this one was only 66 miles and the past two weeks I missed most of my mileage so I really didn’t know what to expect. We had trained hard at the shorter distance so I hoped that would help. I just knew I had to be conservative.

Heather, James, Gary, Rock, me, Curtis, Russ just before the start

We almost missed the start but were able to jump in the middle of the pack. The first 25 miles we rode somewhat conservative with Gary, Curtis, Rock, James, Heather and Russ. I think going out a little slower helped us a lot latter on.

Part of our group crossing the bridge at the start

We stopped at the Maumelle rest area so everyone could use the bathroom then we rode past the Mayflower stop. James, Russ and Heather turned around there as they decided to just do 50. We saw one crash before Mayflower then another really bad one at the intersection of I40 and 89. There would be more. Just past Mayflower we started hitting the hills. Rock started having some issues with her IT but stopped and stretched it out. Next stop would be the Fortson and Sayles rest stop to prepare for Billy Goat Mountain.

Gary, Rock, Curtis, me, fellow blogger Gabby and Gary

Billy Goat was hard but not as bad as last weekend when I rode it. Maybe it was because I already knew what to expect. I found that as long as I didn’t look up and just keep moving, the hills would eventually go away. They did throw a twist into the course. Instead of going out to Hwy 107 and then to Otto Road they turned the course up the mountain on another road that cut over to Otto. This road was terrible. It was rough chip seal and felt like you were riding on a gravel road. We had a long climb to the top of the mountain but it wasn’t real steep so it wasn’t that bad. Then it was a fast downhill. Halfway down the mountain there was a hairpin turn and the volunteers were set up there warning people to slow down and watch for loose gravel. Once you made the turn it was a long rough downhill into the valley. Here we saw another bad crash. We think someone blew a tire on the downhill and the guys arm was pretty scrapped up.

Otto Road was nice and smooth and we started pacing again here. We stopped at the aid station at the church and refueled. Rock got here cleats adjusted some. We saw another guy there that had crashed evidently. He had a bandage on his head but was still riding.

The ride on in to Conway was good but we had some wind to deal with. We had a big group of fast riders pass us and we latched on to their wheel for a while but they were really fast and we just really didn’t want to ride that hard. I really liked the new route around the airport. Made the traffic not as bad. We stopped at the Conway stop and refueled again.

Me at Conway

Curtis & Rock at Conway

Getting out of Conway was not as fun. There was little or no support through the red lights on Donaghey. We had to fight the traffic here but we got through it. Slowed us down quite a bit.

Then it was more hills again. There were a couple monsters between Conway and Mayflower but after doing Billy Goat they didn’t seem too bad. By this time we were close to 70 miles in and the hills did hurt. We planned to buzz through the Mayflower aid station and just refill with water but we got stopped by a train. This cost us a good 5-10 minutes. Then we did have to stop for water.

We picked the pace up a little on the last 25 and had the wind helping us some it seemed. The hills coming back seemed like nothing after the big ones earlier. We stopped at Maumelle so Curtis could get his jacket that he hid in the bushes.

By the time we were on the other side of Maumelle I realized that we were going to finish in less than 7 hours which would be a big PR for me. We were on the home stretch and all we had to do was keep moving. We crossed the finish line at 6:58 and we were 4 wide crossing which was pretty cool. We all stayed together the whole ride and never let anyone drop. I never felt like I wanted to quit the whole ride and never felt bad. My shoulders and butt was starting to get sore though. Curtis did an awesome job pacing us most of the way though we all did some pulling. After the finish I did feel a little light headed, why I don’t know. Tried to walk it off but that didn’t help. Thanks to Vicki, she had a coke in her car so that helped a bunch.

Fixing to cross the finish line together, me, Rock, Gary, Curtis

Gabby, aka Gab's a trucker finishing her first 100 miler

On nutrition I think I did pretty good. Probably didn’t drink enough during the first 25 since it was cooler. I ate one whole banana, 3/4 ‘s of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, probably 5 cookies at least. I really liked the Vanilla wafers and peanut butter at the Maumelle stop. Had pickle juice, ate about two ounce of Hammer gel, and some peanut butter crackers. I tried to take two endurolytes every hour, ended up only taking 8 though. Took 2 Sportlegs every two hours which I have no doubt helped my legs, especially on the hills.

Post race I had a big plate at Corino’s for dinner, Spaghetti, lasagna, and chicken parmesan plus salad and cake for desert. I ate all of it too! Almost got my 6500 calories back that I burnt.

It was a great ride, great weather, with great friends.

Final stats:

Official clock time - 6:58

unofficial bike only time - 5:55 - 17.0 mph avg. pace

6487 Calories burnt

Avg. heart rate 156 max 186

Starting temperature - 62 degrees

Ending temperature - 83 degrees and sunny

Friday, September 26, 2008

100 Miler Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the Big Dam Bridge 100. This is the premiere century ride in Arkansas and there is an expected 2000 cyclists to be on hand. My only goal right now is to beat last years time and set a new Century PR. We shall see. Weather is suppose to be perfect almost. Right at 60 degrees at the 7:30am start but it's going to get up to around 87 degrees by finish time. About the same as last year so at least I know what to expect.

The course has been reversed on the north loop this year and it actually makes the hills a little easier I think. The big hills will be around 40 miles into the ride. Then we will have a few more around 60 I think. My main goal is to be consistent and not crash and burn the last 25 miles like I have done in every other century so far.

My training has been off the last two weeks but Sundays 54 miler was good and it was on the hilly portion of the route. I just hope the group I am riding with will be more conservative than in past centuries. We shall see.

I did weigh in this morning the lightest I have been @ 166lbs. How I have no idea. I have only biked about 13 miles since Monday and have eaten bad at lunch at least three days. Makes no sense to me but the lighter the more power I will have on the hills. I do need to carb load today so I'm sure I will gain it all back before the day is over.

Here is a photo of the jersey I will be wearing. I just got it in yesterday. I earned this one by fund raising efforts for the Tour de Rock ride back in June. I'm pretty excited to have a jersey that only a select few can wear.

I will post a full race report after I recover hopefully Sunday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bikes and Dogs

One of the guys in our club sent this out in an email yesterday and I just had to put it on here because we have all been or will be up against that dog. This is a classic. He really needs to become a blogger!

Okay, yesterday I met a dog that did not like me nor listen to me. The teeth inside the huge mouth of the Great Dane, reminded me of why I always hated Scooby Doo. Goliath stood taller than my bike, perhaps 8 feet taller. His teeth looked like implants from a Great White shark. I won't say I had fear in me; I had resolve to keep both legs. The coming bloody fight would not be pretty, but I intended to persevere and hoped there would be more dog blood than human blood at the scene of our demise. Vegas would not have bet on me,but I would. I had real anger that the people did not come out and control the beast that forbid my movement in any direction. If I took one step backwards, Godzilla took two angry steps forward. My retreat emboldened his courage.

When did I know my destiny. Oh, at the time he was two feet from me with jaws agape as we both looked at my right leg dangling like meat on a stick. I think it was then that I realized he was ticked that Susan Cormier, on her fancy, new, and faster bike, got past. I remember the old joke, you don't have to outrun the bear, just the other hunter. Away, Susan rode...how I longed to join her. But reality and fate had me in peril as soon watched from a distance that only binoculars could observe. I heard the dog actually swear that I would not be so fortunate as the one on the bike with wings. Recognizing a tasty meal when I see me, at a speed that would make Superman seem slow, I dismounted and put the metal between the beast and the food chain. Not a second earlier I had a nice bike. The thought of owning an expensive (to me it is) bike had left me. In a flash of teeth, I realized I owned one heck of an unwieldy club. I knew exactly how I intended to get the whole damn mess down his throat...and down his throat it was going. I only sweated, I mean waited, for the moment. Susan, at her distant perch, looked on as if she had paid for the cheap tickets at Madison Square Gardens.

In time, it got better. Well, no it didn't; who am I kidding? The dog had absolutely nothing better to do and kept pressing me. Susan pulled out her trail mix and water and settled to watch the brawl from the safety of her perch. I could hear her snickering that it served me right for my earlier comments of how to talk nicely to a dog.

After several minutes, it could have been days, time flies when your life flashes in front of you, Scooby Doo's dipstick step-sibling, who looked something like an ugly bulldog, joined the fray. From a distance, I thought what does this little twit want. As it got closer and I could discern the bulldog features, I thought, you have got to be kidding me. Two dogs and both have mouths that could swallow watermelons. I only had one club and
that one was definitely committed to the largest threat. When the runty came yapping to me, I got indignant and threatened to kill and rape his entire family if he didn't back off; Winston Churchill, the jerk, backed off, at least a bit. But the other garnered courage from the runts distraction. The ugly one remained on my side of the bike and distracted me. When I turned my
attention to the ugly one, the ape with the big teeth pressed the fight. The mutts were tag teaming me. I couldn't believe it. My entire day had gone like this; unbelievable. I couldn't believe how quickly my ride turned to a fight in the trenches.

I remember yelling for the owners to come out and get their dog. I say dog, as I had dismissed Ugly's threat. Ugly could just bite me, Scooby could swallow me whole and then drop my remains where no one would notice. The owners never appeared. I then yelled that next time I would carry my concealed permit and one of my guns and that would be the last encounter anyone would endure with the beasts from hell. That produced nothing, not a neighbor, not a gosh darn thing. I believe Marmaduke might have snickered.
Eventually (just short of eternity-at least for one of us) Marmaduke backed up to his yard and I eased toward Stagecoach Elementary and Campground Rd.

I will be armed from now on with something better than a bike: gun, knife,pepper spray, rocks, hand grenades, dog treats injected with exlax, whatever it takes. If I had a bike like Cindy's, I would just take my handle bars off and beat the hell out of every dog I pass. I love dogs but would rather kill one than take a bite. In fact, I encourage all of you to kill at least one dog a day. If that's offensive to you, start small: kill an ant, then a small dog (like the poodle that bit me when I was a teen); develop your inner
instincts to kill and just keep working your way up until you can kill a German Shepherd (like the one that bit me also when I was a teen). Don't stop there, mentally prepare yourself until killing Scooby Doo is child's play and a great day is going Postal at the local dog pound. Hey, what do you mean I have issues? Anger management?

Rank Roo for Ristening,


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not so sucky Sunday

This week sucked so it was time to at least have one good day. After only logging .5 miles for the whole week I was feeling pretty down about the whole running/biking thing. Life happens and does interfere with training, but that's just the way it is and it seems to be happening more and more to me.

So this morning I decided it was time to run. Good, bad, ugly, I needed to. And it was actually not bad. The foot felt pretty good and I tried to run an easy pace. Which considering my running fitness level that's probably all I could do anyway. Ended up with 4.14 miles with a 10:35 average pace. My splits were all pretty consistent with a 10:10, 10:35, 10:35 and a 11:11. Walked too much that last mile plus I didn't have any water.

I had planned on biking with the 1:30 group but I had to go work for a couple hours at our West Little Rock location. One of my managers had a death in the family so I have to get their payroll done. I figured I might not be able to make the ride but it worked out that I got back home at 12:30 so it was a rush but I went.

Met the group at 1:30 at Cleland and Hwy 5. We were biking part of the Big Dam Bridge route and the plan was for about 65 miles going all the way to Conway and back. The plan was also not to ride hard but we all know how those plans go. We had a pretty large group, James, Heather, Russ, Rick S1 ,Rick S2, David, Lisa M and Lisa F and myself.

We took Cleland pretty slow which was nice since its very rough. Towards the end of it the group started splitting up some. Pretty much was everyone except David and Lisa F. We took Cleland all the way to Batesville Pike and then turned on Dorsey to Fortson. There were a few good rolling hills in this part. But Fortson we all knew was going to hurt. And it did. Right on Fortson towards 107. A couple miles down the road was the first major hill. It was one of those that took almost everything you had to get over it. I have climbed worse, but this one would be in the top 5 I think. Several nice downhills made up for it and the road was soon newly paved which was nice and smooth.

We all stopped at the top of Fortson hill to take a quick break before descending down to 107. This is a tricky decent as you have a stop sign at Hwy 107 and its kinda hard to stop! We didn't have any problems though. Left on 107 then took a left on Otto Road. This was another nice, smooth road with rolling hills. We had some good speed on this road and I'm sure we averaged 19-20mph most of the time. The main group all hung pretty close but we were not really drafting. I think we may have had a little tail wind helping us out which was OK. The return trip might not be as fun though.

We turned right on Hwy 286 and headed towards Conway. Another rough road and lots of traffic. This road really sucked but we were still flying along at a 19-20mph average most of the time. We had some truck pulling a tractor attempt to pass us and then before he even got to the back of the first bike he locked his brakes up, squealing and burning rubber. I guess there was a car coming in the other lane and he decided he better not pass. Didn't really bother me that much and I was the one at the back.

We stopped at a Citgo station just on the edge of Conway to refill and wait on David and Lisa. This was just over 25 miles. Heather was needing to get back early so James, Russ and myself decided that we would turn back and take 286 over to Hwy 89 and then back in. This would cut out probably 10+ miles which probably 3 miles was going to be in city traffic which I wasn't looking forward to.

So the group split here and we rode on. We tried to up the pace some but we had a little bit of a head wind and there was countless hills. We stopped at the Hwy 89 intersection for a minute then had to climb up a long hill. Not super steep but one of those long slow ones. It had to be at least a half mile long if not longer. A couple more smaller ones put us to mostly flat ground again. At least the road here was smooth too!

We made a left on Batesville Pike and then rode back to Cleland and back in. After we turned on Cleland from 107 I couldn't get back into my big ring for some reason. I fought with it for half a mile or so then just rode in the small ring. This put me behind which at the end of a ride always makes you wonder why the hell you do this. I finally tricked the gears and got into the big ring and I could get some speed again. The group was 1/2 a mile ahead of me at least by this time. I said the heck with it, I was just riding it in and not pushing it.

Ended up finishing with right at 54 miles with an average pace on the bike just under 17 mph. I didn't think this was too bad considering the slow hills we had on Fortson. I was glad afterwards that I didn't do the 65 mile route. It had even more hills and I'm sure the others didn't get back till almost dark. I was pretty wiped out afterwards, and the run this morning I'm sure didn't help.

Next weekend is the Big Dam Bridge 100. I am almost doubting my sanity in doing 100 miles. Which I know if I do it slower it won't be as bad but I would like to have a new PR at least. My lack of training the past two weeks further makes me question why. The bad thing is, I will have little to no free time this week to get any running or riding in the way it looks now. Hopefully I can cram something in.

See you on the road!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Feeling better

Finally feeling quite a bit better. The stomach issues have just about gone away so hopefully that is over. I have never had pains like that before.

This week is becoming pretty much a wash out as far as any training goes. I have business associates in town since yesterday and they won't be gone till Friday afternoon. So basically I am stuck from 8am-8pm with them. Not that that's bad, its just bad for any training I needed to do. If I hadn't been so far behind on sleep I could get up early and get a run in. Maybe tomorrow morning. Just not enough time in the days this week.

I desperately need some bike miles. Next weekend is the Big Dam Bridge 100. I was ready for it, now I am starting to doubt my sanity in doing 100 miles. I just need to get on the bike though and things will be fine. I had been training super hard so hopefully slacking for a couple weeks won't mess me up too bad. I am concerned though at this point. At least from Sunday on I have nothing on the schedule to mess my training up. I hope to get at least a 50 miler in on Sunday if the stomach will cooperate.

What about running? I have some decisions to make pretty fast. If I can't start ramping up some miles quickly my fall marathon hopes are over. I might as well call it a season and be done. We shall see.

I test Saturday for IFSAC Driver/Pump Operator and have had no time to study this week. Which means I will have Friday night only to cram 80 hours worth of studying in. If I pass the test it will be a miracle. I can retest up to 3 times without going through the whole 80 hour course again. Could someone please put more hours in a day!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Long Night

When it rains it pours, and such as the way it is for firefighting. We go weeks with nothing more than bs medical calls then you can bet money that when its been quiet for too long, the stuff is going to hit the fan.

Last night we had a structure fire around midnight. It was about a mile from my station so even though I had felt like crap, I knew I needed to go. We would be the first engine in and make the initial attack. Our chief drove to the scene while myself and two other newer guys got on the engine. When I pulled out of the station one of my brakes were sticking. This made it tough to get any speed at all but I was committed and they needed that truck there. Upon arrival the chief informed us that there was a hydrant right across the street from the residence. How nice! We dropped about 100 feet of 5 inch hose as I got as far up the driveway as I could with the engine. There was already a power line down so I had to make sure there wasn't any others that could fall on the truck.

The structure was a single wide mobile home that was about 40% involved with fire upon our arrival. This is when it gets crazy. While I'm putting the pump in gear, trying to get water supply established the other two guys are pulling two attack lines to stretch to the fire. I also had to connect the 5inch to the truck, its just a few minutes of mass confusion then it smooths out. All fires are that way and it probably doesn't look like mass confusion to someone else but the first few minutes always feel that way on the first engine in.

About the time I was charging the hand lines two other engines pulled up with crews so things got down to business real quick. I was pumping a 30 year old truck so I always have concerns with the safety of my crew but the old Mack did a great job. Even after we added a 3rd line she kept on pumping like a champ. It didn't hurt that we were on a very good hydrant.

The attack team was fast and knocked down the fire keeping it confined to just one end of the trailer. By the time we had things under control the fire had consumed less than 50% of the trailer and 4 walls were still standing. In the firefighting world, having 4 walls standing on a single wide mean you made a good stop. The structure is still a total loss but the home owner still has over half their belongings that can be salvaged so that's a good thing. The room that they were sleeping in was a total loss and they said their dog woke them up otherwise they may have not gotten out. One word, smoke detectors! Make sure you have them and test them twice a year!!

By the time we got all the hose, tools and other equipment loaded and back at the station it was about 3am. Then of course we have our critique where we talk about everything we did right and wrong. Mostly right on this one for a change. I did take my engine out of service until the mechanic can fix the brakes. We have a $250,000+ new engine being built but it will probably be after the first of the year before we get it. So I ended up getting about 2-3 hours sleep before getting up for work.

On the sick note, I went to the doctor today because I have been having stomach pains. More like bloating or air that won't come out. The doc did an xray and blood tests and said everything looked good. Gave me some meds to try and some stuff to clean me out. I hope that works because I have had about all the stomach issues I can stand.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Week in Review

I have been about half sick all week and if that wasn't the case things were breaking right and left. So here is a summary of my crappy week and I won't even list all the things that are broke.

Monday night I ran with Annette and Michele in Crooked Creek. I got 4 miles in but it was terrible. My foot started hurting and it was so humid it was just plain hard to run. I almost hate to even put this on here but my average pace for 4 miles was 12:09. That's how bad it sucked. Tuesday I had about came to the conclusion it was time to quit running. Why put up with the pain?

Wednesday night was a little better. Humidity was still pretty high and I just ran in the neighborhood after work. I ran down to the soccer fields and ended up running a few laps around them which was different and kinda neat. Pace was still slow for me. 11:04 for 3.4 miles.

That was the extent of my running for the week. Yes, it sucks.

I ran Monday and Wednesday nights, Tuesday was Fire Department night, Thursday I decided to mow before the rains came in for the Hurricane. Friday night and Saturday was FD classes. So that left Sunday. Well, the morning was still very windy from the storms on Saturday and I still was not feeling really great. I did end up riding about 4 miles on the comfort bike to check out some of the storm damage. Worst week biking I have had all year I think.

Friday night and Saturday was the last class of our Driver/Pump Operator class. We were suppose to have practicals on Sunday but since the weather was turning bad Saturday afternoon the instructor decided he would have us do them Saturday morning which worked out good. We ended up completing the last module on Relay Pumping around 2pm Saturday. This was the final class of the 80 hour course I had to take thank goodness. Next Saturday we take the IFSAC test to become Internationally Certified. I hope I pass!

After class Saturday we prepared for the incoming storms from Hurricane Ike. We knew we would get hit and we knew we would be running half the night so we fueled the trucks and went home to wait it out. I think it was about 4pm when the tornado warnings started up in our area. So I was storm spotting from my back porch. Since I am also a Ham Radio Operator I had communications available with the weather net and National Weather Service. Channel 4 was getting most of their reports direct from the ham operators as one of their guys is one too. Works pretty good for early warning. Wasn't long and the storm was right on top of us but it ended up going about a mile west from out house. Evidently there was some straight line winds that took out a mini-storage building and damaged some roofs on an apartment complex.

Around 7pm it started for the FD. We got paged for a vehicle accident, and dispatch made it sound like it had a possible 10-7(dead) person and several others injured. It was on a curve back behind the Air Base so it was possible. Then we heard that there was a tree on the car with a victim trapped inside. Until one of our guys gets there you just never really know.

Our first engine in immediately called for additional help from Jacksonville. I was rolling with a two man crew from my station. En route the truck I was driving seemed to be having brake problems, not good. They were working but just didn't feel right. I have driven this truck for 15 years so I knew how they were supposed to feel. They were just harder than normal, almost like I had a brake sticking. We made it to the scene ok and the brakes were not smoking. I was more concerned about helping the victims at that point anyway. If I could get the truck stopped we would be fine.

Well, it ended up being only a single care, single victim and they hit a tree. The victim was still alive, but the car was crushed back on the drivers side probably as bad as any vehicle I had seen. And to top it off that's where the tree was. The vehicle was also nosed down off the road. This ended up being one of the top two hardest extrication's we had ever done in my firefighting career. We had every tool that the City of Jacksonville had on their rescue truck along with everything we had on our truck. There was probably 17 men working to free this lady from the wreck. At one point we even hooked a chain to the rescue truck to pull the car away from the tree so more cutting could be done. It was amazing that the lady was still breathing but eventually she gave up the fight. We never gave up and after almost 2 hours got her out. Too late though. And probably if we had gotten her out in 5 minutes the end result would have been the same. The injuries were just to severe to survive. But, it's our job not to give up and we didn't until the Paramedic called it. Below is a photo of the vehicle after everything was done.

We had just gotten back to my station shortly after 10pm when we got a call for a tree down in power lines. I mean we had just started to back into the bay when this one came out. So we headed out to check it out. The winds had downed a very large tree in a persons front yard, took out the power line and pulled the meter clean off the house. There was really nothing we could do since it wasn't blocking a roadway so we advised the homeowner they would have to wait on the power company. We no longer got in the truck and the bottom fell out and it started to rain. And rain it did. This was the hurricane rain. Must have lasted all night and luckily we didn't have another call till about 6am.

It was a long night, I had actually expected more trees down and more storm damage in our area but it didn't happen.

I'm still fighting this flu bug or whatever it is so hopefully that will be gone come Monday. I have another busy week scheduled at work and I have to find some time to study for my test on Saturday. Doesn't look good for any running or biking this week.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Do you remember where you were on 9/11/01?

Do you remember how you felt that day?



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

66.6 Sunday

Sunday morning I met the group at South Side for a long bike ride. My plan was to get 70-75 miles and the route looked like it would give us close to that. Annette had ran 13 miles and she was going to bike with Brenda and anyone else that wanted fewer miles at a slower pace. The fast group I was in consisted of Mark N., Bobby, Gary, Curtis, Rock and myself. Bailey joined us for a little while also.

The weather was great for our 9am start. I thought this was going to be a much better ride than the last couple 50 milers I had in the heat. We started out from South Side and headed towards Keo on highway 89. I started out at the lead at just a moderate pace of around 17mph. I really didn't want to push it today but that was going to change. It wasn't a mile before one of the guys comes speeding by me to take the lead. I think it was Mark. Then not to be out done here comes Gary. So that's the way it went. A total hammer fest from the start. We did get a good pace line going for a change and were averaging probably 20-21mph all the way to Furlow. I looked back at one point and I didn't see Bailey. "Where's Bailey?" I started asking. Gary said she would catch up in a few. Another mile and still no Bailey in sight. Well, Curtis being the great guy that he is decided that he was riding back to look for her. We rode on, not backing off much at all and stopped at the store at Furlow to wait on them. Curtis called Gary and said he couldn't find Bailey so I called Annette to see if she was with them. She wasn't. We got to figuring maybe she just turned back and went home. After all, she had done a hard 13-14 mile run.

We waited at the store a little bit for Curtis and then took off. Annette called me back when I was on the road and told me that she had talked to Bailey and that she just went home. I felt bad as she was told that we were going to ride easy and then everyone started hammering. She was tired from the run and got dropped so she just turned around and went home. I don't blame her at all.

Everyone gets dropped but when you do it is not a very fun feeling. Sometimes the pace group is just going so fast that if you fall off the wheel in front of you just a little you are done for and there is no catching back up. I have had it happen to me many times.

So we sped on towards Keo on Hwy. 15. We would take turns pulling and most of the time everyone was right together. We really did some good pace work for a change. I figured we would slow down some so Curtis could catch up but Gary wasn't going to have any of that. Taking turns pulling helped a lot keeping everyone fresh. It's amazing how much easier it is to sit in a pace line and pedal at 20mph than doing it on your own.

We stopped again at about 16-17 miles out. Rock wanted to stretch and Gary was riding his new tri-bike and needed to make some adjustments. This also gave Curtis some time to catch back up to us. Everyone refueled and we could see Curtis coming in the back ground. I started easing forward along with Mark and Bobby. Rock and Gary was still waiting. I had thought they were coming so after about a 1/4 mile I turned around. Finally we were all back in a group and Curtis was back with us. On we went. This was the nice part of the route with little traffic. We actually slowed the pace some and carried on conversations. Most of the time Mark and I were pulling. Curtis came up and rode with us for a few miles then we looked back and Gary and Rock were dropped. Curtis again went back to check on those guys to see what was up. We went on, slowed our pace so they could catch up. Not really sure what was going on but I think Gary was having issues with his bike. Mark, Bobby and I made it to the 25 mile turn around at Keo and waited for the others to catch up.

We ate and drank but still didn't see the others. We got to thinking that maybe they turned around or something. Maybe they had a flat. Who knows. We headed back towards Cabot and figured if they were still coming we would see them on the road soon. About a mile down the road we saw them on the side of the road. Gary was having to adjust his bike again. No flats thank goodness. So the group got back together again. We swapped out pulling among us for several miles and really helped our pace. I guess one time when I was pulling I must have pushed the pace too much because when I looked back it was only Mark and Bobby behind me. We had dropped the others. Mark and I started alternating pulls, 30-60 seconds, then back. Before long we had dropped Bobby. We were doing usually 20-21mph, sometimes more. The road here is flat and usually windy. We had a little wind but nothing too bad and nothing to help us for sure.

As we kept going, I looked back and told Mark that they were gaining on us. I kinda laughed and told him that if they were going to catch us, they were going to pay for it. So we worked it even harder. Drafting and working together like a breakaway from the peleton. That's exactly what it was and it was three against two. I guess they passed Bobby and kept working it trying to catch us because at one point Mark just said "this is futile". "We are done. They are going to catch us and there is nothing we can do about it." That's exactly what happened. After a few minutes of trying to kill ourselves they caught us. From there we kept going and when we crossed 70 we stopped to wait on Bobby. Once we had him back we were off again and decided we were going to stop at the store at Furlow to get more water and ice.

After regrouping, Mark and Bobby said they were splitting off at Oliver Lane and the rest of us would be adding on at Mt Tabor and 321 to take on the hills. Fun fun. Well, as soon as we left the store, Gary, Curtis and Rock dropped me like I was sitting still. For some reason this stretch of road always tests me and I always get dropped here. Not that I was riding slow but once they refueled they had a full head of steam and they were gone. I was still averaging 18-19mph and there were some uphills now. I just figured at that point whatever, If they go on I'll just turn on Mt Tabor and do my thing. Well, when I turned on to Mt Tabor I heard someone call my name. They had stopped on the side of the road and I went right by them. So again, we regrouped. This time Gary said that we were going to drop the pace and do like 17-18. Sounded good to me. Curtis led off and was on the low side of 17. Wasn't long and I passed him to pull a little bit.

I guess I had a burst of energy because I ended up dropping everyone. I slowed down but I guess they were slowing too. I ended up stopping at the church on Mt Tabor and waiting a minute for them to catch up. They didn't stop so i just jumped in the pace line and kept going. Curtis said we should up the pace and pull 30-60 seconds at a time then drop back so we did that all the way to Hwy 31. We stopped there for a minute then worked our way back to 321. This started the hills. But Curtis wanted to play. He challenged Gary to sprint to the next mail box so he could show Rock who was the fastest. Of course Curtis won. The point being on sprints its more about the rider than the bike. They did this two or three times and it was kind of funny. At 60 miles into a ride and they were doing sprints. That doesn't count the 14 miles that they ran early that morning! I tell you, those two guys are animals!

The hills on 321 were not that bad to me and I could have done more mileage. They did hurt, and there was not much working a pace lines on these. Gary made the comment that these hills were just like Ironman Louisville the previous weekend. Curtis had to jump in and say no, these were worse than Louisville! In any case I felt good that I could still make it up and down them.

Final tally for the day ended up being 66.6 miles at just over an 18mph average pace. I felt pretty good afterwards and nothing like I did on our last 50 miler. I think the cooler weather made this a much easier ride plus we really worked the pace lines which would give each of us a little rest. I would like to see everyone adopt a "no drop" policy. I feel really bad that Bailey got dropped and she turned around. It doesn't always have to be a hammer fest.

The Big Dam Bridge 100 will be much different though with hills through 90% of the route. I'd be really happy if I could average 17 on that one but we shall see.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sara Low 5K

Saturday Annette and I traveled to Batesville for the Sara Low 5K. This was a great race, very challenging course and for a good cause. There was a special ceremony with music and speakers before the start which was very moving. Sara was a flight attendant on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11 and this was where she ran track when she was in school.

I knew there would be hills but I didn't expect there to be one a 1/4 mile into the race. It was a downhill first then a steep uphill. I ran pretty strong through the race though I never really turned the speed on in fear that it would hurt my foot. So my plan was just to maybe finish under 30:00. Well, that didn't happen but I felt good through the whole race and ran every hill except the last one. Really the only reason I didn't run that one was because sweat had gotten in my eyes and I was having to walk trying to wipe it out with my t-shirt. Sometimes I think my head is a river or something. I have yet to find the perfect solution for sweat. Some races I will use a bondi band and that works probably better than a hat, but just doesn't look as good. Not that I really care about that anyway. I like a hat sometimes to shield the sun.

As far as the run goes it was up one hill and down another pretty much till the finish. First mile was a 10:10 which I was happy with. I felt so good that I skipped the water stop. I figured I needed all the extra time I could get and it helped as my second mile was a 9:22. Probably faster than I should have been running and that was because some of the downhills. Third mile was a killer as there was a long up hill, probably 1/2 a mile at least then the race finished on the track. Third mile was a 10:24. As you finished on the track the announcer would call out your name and they even had you up live on the scoreboard screen. My final time was a 31:02 with a 9:55 average pace. About 4 minutes slower than my 5K PR this year but with the foot injury and only running less than 10 miles a week for 9 weeks I guess it was OK. Bottom line I still ended up with the same Grand Prix points I would have gotten if I would have run a 25:00 5k. My age group is very tough.

My foot was a little sore and stiff after the race. I think the downhills made it hurt more than the uphills. With the 1 mile warm up I ended up with 17.2 miles running for the week and today my foot feels great so I am happy! I'll report on Sunday's 66 mile bike ride later.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Adding up the miles

Did another 3.1 miles on the treadmill last night. About a 34 minute 5k which outside would probably get me around 29 minutes or better.

I now have 13.1 miles for the week running. The most I have done in 9 weeks.

I can still walk. The PF is still there but I have yet to have to use biofreeze for pain.

Saturday we are running the Sara Low Memorial 5K in Batesville. This is a hilly race with a lot of walkers so I won't be last anyway. I have no goals for this race, just run and have fun.

In case your wondering Sara Elisabeth Low was a flight attendant on American Airlines flight 11, the first plane to crash into the North Tower, World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Sara grew up in Batesville, AR. She ran track and her team won a state title in 1989.
The Sara Low 5K was first run in 2007. 2008 marks the first season that the race was part of the Arkansas Grand Prix Racing Series. Should be a very moving event.

Sunday plans call for a long bike ride 65-75 miles for training for the Big Dam Bridge 100.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Marathon Maniac?


It's on to training now. Another 5 miles tonight on the dreadmill and .5 walking. I already have 10 miles for the week and can still walk!

I have come to the conclusion that if I can't run fast, I'll just run slow and long and enjoy it. Maybe I'll start using Galloway's run/walk programs.

Memphis will be my projected big marathon on December 6th. I have my schedule made up and I am actually starting right where I started before Nashville. I thought I would be way behind, which I am but I can catch up. Nashville was actually a good marathon for me and I would have finished much better if it hadn't been so hot towards the end. I was injured before that one too.

The Midsouth (Wynne) Marathon is November 1st and that's the same weekend I would have a 20 miler scheduled. Since its a Grand Prix Championship Marathon race, I'm about 95% sure I'm going to run it as a training run. Anything under 6 hours would be fine. Just have fun, and Wynne has water stops every mile on the course. It is a small marathon though so not much crowd support but I am trying to recruit some other crazies now.

Annette wants to do the Surf City Marathon on February 1st in Huntington Beach California. If we somehow were able to do these, we would qualify as Marathon Maniacs. Mmmm.....the schemes begin.

Oh yeah, marathon training has begun. It's on now, bring on the pain!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Last week of August

The last week of August was busy and I didn't get a chance for many updates so here they are.

I'm almost back being a duathlete again. Started the day with an early morning 2.7 mile run in the neighborhood. It was very humid and the run sucked. I found out latter that everyone pretty much had the same thing on their runs. Had an 11:02 average between walk breaks. Probably could have pushed it more but I was babying the foot plus the lungs didn't like it at all.

Thursday night Annette and I met James, Brenda, Heather, Cindy, Phil and Mark for a quick out and back bike ride from South Side at 6:30pm. Well, this turned in to a complete hammer fest. Who was leading and who was killing who. Pretty much how it goes on the bike. One person takes off and the others try to keep up until that person drops and then someone else hammers away to see how long they can hold on or how many people they can lose. Mark took the lead tonight and I figured it was payback from the last time I rode with him when I spanked them at the beginning. Its all fun though. We had a good fast group, Mark, James, Heather, Cindy and me. The others rode fast too but they were not crazy enough to try to hold our pace. SSE to Furlow was fast. We drafted and changed positions a few times and when we hit the store we had held a 20mph average. There was wind too and it wasn't the helping kind. We thought maybe we would have a tail wind going back. Wrong. I missed catching the wheel when the fast group pulled out so I had to pedal it back without the aid of any drafting. The fast group looked like they just kept getting further and further away but in reality they were not that far away, but too far for me to catch them. Again, the wind didn't help us at all. I guess it must have been a cross wind because it was almost harder going back. I know my speed dropped some. Still ended up with 16.3 miles and a 19.2 average mph. I'll take it!

We are thinking about making this a regular ride, or maybe I should say torture to make us faster. Only problem now is that we are starting to run out of daylight sooner.

First off was the Clear Mountain 5k. I only showed up for this one because it was a championship race and I wanted to make sure the men had a team. I didn't plan to race it, still babying the foot and I knew I could run it slow. So that's what I did. Ran with Tim and Bob most of the time. It was Tim's first 5k and I told him to race it and he did finally run on and leave us. Bob and I stuck together through about 2.5 miles when he finally went on. I just slogged it out. Nothing spectacular. No PR's. No personal worsts either so I guess that was good. I finished with a 31:54 and a 10:17 pace. I really thought my pace was much slower. After not running for 9 weeks it sure felt slow. If not for my injury this could have been my PR race and I would have probably been in the 25 minute range. Good flat course so we had lots of PR's. Maybe next year for me.

After the race we were off to bike around 50 miles. It was Vicki's birthday so this was her annual birthday ride. We were riding from the River Trail to Sonic in Mayflower. We had a large group of bikers, probably close to 15 at least. As usual there are breakaways and hammer fests and today was no different. I just rode. Had a easy ride to Maumelle then one of the guys pulled in to Riders Ready to get a water bottle. I guess when he did one of the lead bikes turned in the next driveway and when he did the bike behind him went down. Not sure if the guy hit his wheel but I think that's what happened. The guy flipped over his bike and landed on the pavement hard. Luckily he was not hurt. He did crack his helmet and had just a little road rash on his elbow. I had more when I did a drop and flop but I'm sure he was sore the next day. It could have been worse.

Then Rock, Bailey and Phil had evidently made a wrong turn on the River Trail so I ended up dropping back and waiting on them some. Annette called a little while later and told me they were on Carnahan Drive and Vicki had a flat. So I waited some more. Finally Rock, Bailey and Phil come riding by. I stopped at the 365 intersection and waited on Annette and it wasn't long and they were there.

Then it was on to Mayflower. Rolling hills all the way. Some nice downhills and a couple good uphills. I think I pulled a lot, finally David came up and said let me pull a while and you can rest. I couldn't believe the difference from pulling to being in the draft. We finally got to Sonic and all had some food. The group sort of split up after that. A few left then another group left. Then it was our little group. I pulled and led almost to Palarm Creek. Rock moved up and pulled some then. We hit one of the big hills going back and Lisa M. and Gary from Searcy passed us like we were sitting still. They kept hammering and we couldn't catch them. The ride back was pretty uneventful. It wasn't easy. It had gotten hot and we were wearing down on the hills. Partly because the run before the bike. Some raced it hard.

By the time we got back I had logged 49 miles, I wasn't worried about adding one more. I still had a bike average of 16.1 mph which I guess is not bad on the trail and on those hills. We really need to work more as a group on our pacelines. We could all be faster then.

Had to do something while I was thinking about Gary doing Ironman Louisville. So around 1:30 I took off in the neighborhood for a one hour ride. I figured I would count this one as heat training. It was sunny and windy. Pulled out 17.2 miles in an hour, some of which included stops for traffic. I had a head wind in one direction and a little bit of a tail wind in the other so it evened out.

Labor Day
figured I would go ahead and add this in even though its September now. Annette and I met the group at 7am and I ran 5 miles. It wasn't pretty but it was the longest single run I have had in 9 weeks so I was happy about that. The humidity was terrible. We were all soaking wet when we got done. Average pace wasn't very good, just an 11:17 but hey, that gets me under a 5 hour marathon! I could walk afterwards and my foot was not in severe pain during the run. I iced it afterwards and it is a little sore but that comes with the territory.

Happy Labor Day everyone!!

Gary is an Ironman

Gary is officially an Ironman.

Final time - 13:59:27

That's a long time to swim/bike/run.

He had a smile on his face when he finished. We sat at the computer all evening watching the live coverage just so we could see him finish. It was a tough race but he did it. Not very many people can claim the tittle of being an Ironman.

Hopefully I'll update my blog more later today. Off to try to run 5 miles. Enjoy the holiday!