Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Upcoming Ride

After only a couple 20 milers since the first part of March I am registered to do a 62 miler in the Tour de Rock. Did it last year and it was a blast, though I did train for it and rode hard. Plan to ride easy and since its basically a flat course I don't think I'll have a problem doing the distance.

Sunday we did a brick (bike/run). Biked 18 miles and then ran 5 miles. Both were very good. Held an 18.1 mph pace on the bike and a slow easy 10:10 on the run. I wasn't even pushing the bike all the way so I can really tell that the P90x workouts are helping with my legs and core. Aero was so easy.

More to come soon!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Back on the bike

Yesterday was the first time I had been back on the bike since the first week of March. Had a good 18 mile ride with some of the cruiser guys. Even though it was 91 degrees I felt unbelievably strong. Ended up having a 17.5mph average even though we didn't even push the pace or do any drafting. Well, the last 8 I did push it a little. I wanted to open it up and I did. Guess too much, dropped everyone. Felt good, the legs are not sore, though the heat almost got to me later.

I really think P90x helped. The leg workouts are killers, well, everything about P90x is pretty much killer. If I could only stick to the schedule. Last week was week 5, recovery week for me. And I pretty much have only done one workout all week. Got to get back on the program this week......and only 7 miles running logged. What a slacker.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Still here

Believe it or not I'm still around. I guess you could say I have had writers block and just haven't felt like writing or been inspired to write on this blog. I'm sure it will come back soon enough. Weather has pretty much sucked too, can't get any bike rides in because of the rain and my schedules. Stay tuned, more to come soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


We are headed to Nashville today for the Country Music Marathon and Half. Annette and I are doing the 1/2 this year. Looking forward to a fun, easy event. Can't wait to eat at the Gerst Haus and have some German Beer and bratwurst!

Hopefully when we get back things will slow down some so I can catch up on some blogging.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Total lack of blogging

If anyone reads this I apologize for the total lack of blogging. Basically I have had no time to do it, and now everyone has all of a sudden started using Facebook. Well, Facebook in itself is a lot to keep up with at times. Top it off with training, being very stressful at work, tons of fire department work and the days are over. Each could be a whole column by themselves.

The first week of April we were gone out of town to Brett's Army graduation in Fort Jackson, SC. I have pictures but no time to post right now. Still getting some runs in, in fact Annette and I got to run in London, KY while we were taking Brett to his AIT base at Fort Knox, KY. Must have had a little altitude there because it was hard to breathe.

We have still been getting some great lunch runs in. Usually two to three a week. Seems like we always end each one with a very fast last mile, almost racing to get finished. Makes for some great speed work and negative splits.

Last week I started P90x. Actually I was just testing it the first couple times so now I have decided to stick with it and see how it goes. I really like it. It's hard, but its like having your own personal trainer everyday. Annette and Michele have been doing it for a month now. They start at 5am everyday. I just can't do the early thing. Works better for me after work or maybe early mornings on weekends. Going to stick with it and see how it goes.

May be racing a 5k this weekend if weather permits. It's a small one so maybe I could win Next weekend we are heading to Nashville for the Country Music 1/2 Marathon. I don't really have a plan yet, haven't decided if I want to race it or just have fun. I did have a good run at the Inspiration Run last Friday. Did 12 miles of it and conquered Mountain Springs Road with no problems. Felt really strong and it was nice being at the front of the pack, though most of the others had already done 10 or more miles.

Oh yeah, tax day is over with for now. Filed my extension as usual. Our business accountant never gets all the stuff done in time.

Stay focused and think positive!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week in review

Just a quick update as to what I have been doing.

Things have slowed down this week at the FD so that's been nice and I've been able to get some sleep for a change.

As far as training goes, did good running Monday and Tuesday and then it seemed the weather turned bad and didn't get to do anything.

Monday, Annette and I did a lunch run. Ended up pretty much being a tempo run even though we said it was going to be easy. I guess my legs felt too good and the weather was actually 72 degrees warm. Ended up running 3.13 miles with a 9:36 average pace. Not bad for an easy lunch run.

Tuesday was another lunch run and another 3.1 miles. Temps were 65 and very windy. We backed the pace down a little on this one and averaged a 10:07.

Saturday was the Spring Fling 5k in Cabot and I elected to work the race and not run it. For some reason I was just not excited about racing. Even though I have been getting faster, the Grand Prix guys in my age group are just so fast its crazy. I have to run a sub 22 5k to even get a 5th place award. I was also coordinating with Police and Fire for the race so that gave me something to do. Also on Friday I went out and bought me a new digital SLR camera. A Nikon D-40 with an extra 55-200mm lens. This gave me something to do during the race. Since the race finishes on the High School track, usually all the race photos are taken there but I opted to do something different. I was back up on two intersections anyway in case the police had to leave so I found me a spot on East Main where the runners ran up an pretty good incline. Had woods as a background so it made some pretty good shots. It was also interesting watching the runners struggle up that hill. I think the pictures turned out pretty good for my first crack at race photos. I'll have to say, it was fun!

If you want to see the photos I took you can see them here:

Today (Sunday) Annette and I did our long run. Or at least its long for me. It had turned pretty cold on Saturday but it was warming so we waited and ran around 10:30am. Ended up doing 9 miles with a 10:32 average pace. This was a very comfortable run and actually the pace would have been much better if it hadn't been for having to stop to cross one of the highways. We purposely tried to keep the pace comfortable and it worked out to be a great run on a beautiful day.

We leave on Tuesday to go to Fort Jackson South Carolina for Brett's basic training graduation. I am looking forward to getting away but I will still have to do some work while we are gone. It never ends. We might even come back through the Smokey Mountains if we have time. I would love to get some good pictures there! I'll be taking a bunch at the graduation I know.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Behind again in more ways then one

Title sums it up for me. Pretty much running behind on everything. Sleep, training, time, you name it. Too many things to get done and not enough time in the day. Quick updates from last week:

Guess its good that last week was a back down week anyway after the half. I was only able to get two runs in all week and weekend. Tuesday was a lunch run. Basically wanted it just to be a recovery run as my legs were pretty sore still from the half. I got in 3.4 miles @10:25 pace while Annette was right around 3. First two miles were 10:40ish pace as Annette was having stomach problems. Picked it up from there and did a 10:01 and 9:50. Good day to run, weather was just over 50 degrees.

Thursday evening I rode with Annette to Michele's house and ran with them to the track for their Women Can Run Clinic and then I ran on home. Ended up with 5 miles @10:21 pace. This included about a 3 minute wait to cross Hwy 89. I was just trying to stay around a 10 - 10:30 pace. Splits:
1- 10:34
2- 10:33
3- 10:47 (waiting at crosswalk)
4- 9:51
5- 10:02

Hey, negative splits so I guess its not all bad.

I have been very busy at the Fire Department the past couple weeks. Seems we have an arsonist or maybe more than one in our district setting fires to abandoned mobile homes. Week before last we had two abandoned mobile homes burn and last week we had two more. One was in the same trailer park as the one from the previous week. The other one was at a closed down mobile home dealer early Saturday morning. They are all happening between 11:30pm and 1:00am. The crazy thing is, several of us have the same person in mind as a possible suspect. Arson is one of those crimes that is very hard to prove since the majority of the evidence is burnt up. The other thing on these are that since they are abandoned mobile homes, there is not as much push for opening an investigation. We shall see, but in a 7 day period of time we have had 4 abandoned trailers lit up so I think it is a pattern, maybe it's just coincidence. All I know these 3 hours of sleep nights are getting old!

Also on Monday last week my 35 year old Mack engine was hit from behind by a dump truck. Luckily no one was hurt. One of my guys was driving the engine to station one and had stopped at a stop sign when the truck bumped him from behind. Bent the tail board up pretty good and buckled the bed some so the chief took it out of service. The good thing for me is that Station 3 got Engine 62 to use till our new truck is finished. I think its a 2004 HME chassis with a Ferra body. Automatic, a/c, full custom cab. Pretty sweet after having to drive standard no air trucks for 15 years.

So we get E62 on Tuesday night. First night we have it she makes one of the mobile home fires. Then early Saturday morning she was first in on the other one. Also Friday our day crews fought an occupied mobile home fire, confining the fire to one bedroom.

After getting to bed at 3:30am on Saturday, I had to be at Station 2 at 8:30 for annual hose testing. Needless to say it was hard to get out of bed. We also had a chili cooking contest for lunch and Annette's chili won the "yummiest chili" award. Sunday was another busy day. 5:30am vehicle accident which we got canceled on. Then around 12:30pm we responded to about a 5 acre grass fire on top of the big hill just south of Greystone. Got that done, washed all the trucks and before we could leave we had to go back to that fire as it had flared back up again. I ended up getting home around 4:00ish.

Try to add on to that mowing, trying to clean the pool, visiting some relatives Sunday night. Oh, and I almost forgot Annette and Michele's new P90x program they are trying to start. Came home and they were on a cleaning binge to get our workout room set up. Needless to say, it was a busy weekend and week!! I have some photos to post but no time....maybe later.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Little Rock Half

I am way behind on posting so I'll try to make this one short. (lol....don't believe it)

Did the Little Rock 1/2 Marathon on Sunday. The day started out very stressful. First off, Saturday night the weather forecast called for a 42 degree start. Kind of borderline for me as to wearing long sleeve or short sleeve shirt and shorts or tights. Actually too warm for tights and I was hoping I could wear my favorite long sleeve that had gotten me through the 15k race and the 1/2 training run in the rain. After getting up Sunday morning, the temp was 50 degrees. Talk about missing the forecast. So now it was plan B, tech t shirt. No big deal other than the one I picked had never been tested on a long run. These are things that one needs to do as some shirts can chaff where others may not. I rolled the dice.

To add to the tension, we needed to meet Michele and some others at 6:15am for the drive down, at 6:45am my phone quit working right. I have a Blackberry Curve and the roller ball all of a sudden started hanging up. I thought no big deal, I'll just pop it out and clean it good with some canned air. I had done this several times with Annette's phone with no problems but after popping mine out, I could not get it to go back in place. It's kind of like doing surgery because the parts are so small and so easy to break. The harder I tried the more it would not go back in place. All I could think about is that I had to have my phone for at least after the race to find out where everyone is. And you can't do much of anything with a Blackberry if the ball does not work. I tried and I tried until finally, I broke it. Yep, I broke the ball, its 6:50am, I still needed to shower and get dressed. We had to meet at 6:15. And one other little thing, it was race day!

Lucky for me I had purchased a roller ball for Annette's phone when she was having trouble. So I grabbed it, out it in my phone and it went right in place. Phone worked, ball worked, everything was good other then it was now a few minutes past 6. Stress!!!

Somehow, I managed to shower, shave, get dressed and get all my gear together in about 10 minutes and at 6:15 we were walking out the door. Met Michele at Team 1 and then found out that Karen had overslept so we didn't have time to wait on her. Off to the races we went.

Since my stress level was now reduced, the race seemed no big deal. My goal was just to stay around a 10:00 average pace and have a PR. My pie in the sky was to run a 2:10. Not fast for some but with my pure lack of training so far this year, it would be a big task. I had only done one run over 10 miles and had only had three over 8 miles leading up to the race so my expectations were really more than my legs should be able to handle. My last half was last April.

After the usual bathroom visits, we found our starting coral and didn't have to wait long and we were off and running. I stayed with Annette, Michele and Jane for probably the first couple miles. We all started separating as we crossed the Broadway Bridge. I felt good and strong but by mile two my right shin and calf was tightening up. At 2.5 I grab water as I slogged through the water stop. By 3 or so the pain in my leg was gone. It was getting warmer and I was starting to sweat pretty good. Much warmer than I would have liked. The next water stop I tried to get some Gatorade down me which required me to walk fast through it. Didn't walk any more than 15 seconds and I was back running. The next stop was close to 6 miles and I wanted my accell gel so I kinda slogged through it. I was keeping a good pace, probably faster than I should have. Average pace here was probably 9:50 which was much faster than my goal so I decided I'd just go with it anyway and bank whatever time I could. I knew I would need it later.

I managed to keep my below 10 min pace up to about mile 10 where things fell apart for a few. There is a long incline leading up to the Governors Mansion and for some reason seeing that for about a mile or so just messes with my head. My legs were starting to tired too just from lack of training and I knew once I turned at the corner, it was only 5k to go. Here I made the fatal mistake of taking a quick walk break to rest my legs and catch my breath. Shouldn't have done it. What cost me time was after I started back running, two blocks later was the water stop. And it was time for my last gel. So, a fast walk here. All in all this probably cost me one minute in time, if that. From there on it was still rolling inclines but I felt better. Tried to push the pace when I could. My average pace was still around 10:05 per my garmin. Nothing spectacular from here other than I passed one of the Grand Prix guys that usually runs about the same time as me. He passed me back then I passed him again when he took a walk break. After that I was determined to make him work to pass me. It paid off in the end. I finished the last couple miles strong. It was nice seeing that finish line though. I knew I had a PR in the bag but I had blown my hopes of a 2:10. Ended up finishing at 2:13:45 which based on race distance was a 10:13 pace. My garmin showed the course a little long at 13.29 miles. Time was the same but my average pace per my garmin was 10:04. Either way it was still a big PR by almost 5 minutes. Still not happy about mile 10 and if it had been a little cooler I know I would have broke that 2:10. Little Rock is a tough course and really not one to PR on. Nashville is next for me at the end of April so hopefully I can train more and have another PR there.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Week in review

Wow, I am behind on blogging. Seems like everyone all of a sudden got on face book and that takes a lot of time just to keep up. Just a quick recap of what I have been up to since the crashes on Saturday.

Saturday night - 11:30pm structure fire, abandoned trailer. No big deal, just a lot of lost sleep. Was back home by 1:30.

Sunday - Was scheduled to be my long run and I needed around 8 miles. After being up late on Saturday and with the time change no way was I getting up to run with the girls. Well, the weather turned warm and I ended up running at 1:00pm. Decided the only way to get it done was to run to James and Michele's, get the bikes off his rack for them and then run back home. Should get me 8+. It was a tough run, mainly because of the heat. Luckily I wore my water belt with 2 bottles to keep me hydrated. By the time I got to James and Michele's. I was dripping with sweat. The temps had gotten to almost 80 degrees. Annette was at the WCR Clinic so I knew I could catch a ride back home with her if I had to. No way. I visited with James for a few as he was hurting pretty bad from the bike wreck then I took off. Pace was slow and I had to do some walking just to cool down. Annette drove by me a couple times asking if I wanted to get in and I said no. Long story short, I got 8.5 miles done in 80 degree weather. Average pace was a 10:57 so it was pretty slow. Luckily it didn't turn in to a death march and I got it done.

Monday - Another warm day. Had too much going to run at lunch so with the new time I ran when I got home from work. It was warm, and my legs felt like lead weights so I just did a 2.1 mile run. 10:08 average pace so not bad considering I guess.

Tuesday/Wednesday - Tuesday night was my FD night so I didn't get a run in. Wednesday the weather was terrible and we went to a birthday party after work so no time.

Thursday - Slugged out 3 miles on the treadmill. Weather was still nasty, rainy, cold. Amazing how it can be 80 on Tuesday and 31 on Thursday. That's Arkansas weather!

Friday - 12:30am Structure fire. Another abandoned mobile home. I'm starting to wonder if there is a pattern developing. Two in less than 7 days though they were not in the same place. Needless to say, we have our eyes and noses out, especially if there is another one soon. Got back home at 2:30am, just in time to get 4 hours sleep before work. Yuck. Luckily I have plenty of good coffee to keep me going!

Saturday we will be attending the Little Rockers Marathon event for the Magness Creek kids where they run their last mile of their marathon. This is a fun event watching all the little kids race and Annette is one of the leaders of the whole group of around 150 kids.

Sunday is the Little Rock Marathon/Half Marathon. Annette and I will be running the half and hoping for PR's. I'm not even going to say a time but I have one in my head. Wondering if a 9 minute PR is doable? Have been having some weird leg pains since running on the treadmill last night. Hope its just tight muscles from sitting at work and stuff. Seemed to be better on the treadmill when I ran faster so maybe I just need to stretch it out. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Will update the blog later this weekend. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Saturday close call

It all started out to be a good weekend. Annette and I were riding to the 2 mile race in Conway with James, Michele, their kids, Russ and Jane. James, Russ and I were going to bike back to Cabot after the race along with Phil C. I had decided I was not racing it as the 2 mile distance might hurt my foot and with next weekend being the Little Rock 1/2 Marathon I didn't want to take a chance.

Everyone had a great race. Afterwards James, Russ, Phil and myself got our bike gear on and head off to Cabot. James had just gotten a new Orbea Ordu Tri Bike and this was only the second ride he had been on with it. We were anxious to see how it would do in comparison to his road bike. There was a very stiff southerly wind so when we pulled out of the parking lot we had a head wind for probably 6 miles almost. I pulled for probably 5 miles then James came to the front to see how the tri bike would be. He immediately hit 23mph and I could not hang. I figured he had to gain at least 2mph with the bike and aero helmet he had on. Once we got turned on Otto Road things were nice. Good smooth road, not much wind. It was actually getting pretty warm though and I was starting to sweat, wishing I didn't have the long sleeve shirt under my jersey.

Let me warn you, there are some fast dogs on Otto Road. Had two come out and chase us and one was a little small dog. I looked down and I was going 20 mph and he was gaining on me. Never seen a dog run that fast! Luckily they didn't take us out. We stopped at Otto Road and Hwy 107 to regroup. Then we headed north towards highway 319. It was just maybe a minute or so later when things went bad.

James was the lead bike with Russ maybe one bike length behind him and then me probably 3-4 behind Russ with Phil behind me about the same. We had somewhat of a nice small downhill, then a slight curve, then the road straighted back up. I noticed on my speedo that we were doing 23mph. Then all of a sudden I see James bike shake on the front and he started going down. Russ tried to swerve to the left to miss him but there was no room and he went down. All of this was happening in split seconds and all I could see was James back sliding across the road in front of me. All I knew is that I didn't want to hit him and go down so I swerved hard left and somehow missed both of them by inches. Phil did the same. It was just like watching the Tour de France on TV when they have a big crash other than this was live. By the time I got stopped and looked back Russ was on the side of the road sitting up and James was laying on the side of the road but moving. Since Russ was closest I checked him for injuries. He was holding his right arm and said "I'm ok, I just have a broke arm". Yes, he did have a bad break, but he was very calm about it. Much calmer than I would have been if it was me. I told him to sit tight and I ran over to James. He was holding his shoulder. I checked it and no bones were poking out so that was good. He was alert, conscious and said it was just his shoulder and side. I figured maybe a broken collar bone and maybe a rib. Phil was on the phone and I started calling 911 for an ambulance. I wanted them checked even if they didn't want to be transported. All the while Phil was grabbing the bikes out of the middle of the road. In less than 5 minutes First Responders arrived from Hilltop and Vilonia Fire Departments. It had to be not much over 5 that MEMS arrived. I lucked out and the two guys on the unit were friends of mine so I knew James and Russ would get extra special care. They told them that unless they wanted a ride to the hospital there wasn't much that they could do which both refused transport as Phil had already gotten Michele on the phone and they were on the way there from Conway. The medics did splint Russ arm and we got a sling to immobilize James shoulder/collar bone. They both had some road rash but nothing severe. James had a spot on the side of his head that looked almost like road rash but it was where his helmet slid on the pavement. Luckily he was wearing one, otherwise it would not have been a good outcome.

Michele and the girls arrived within 15 minutes, probably shocked to see James and Russ sitting hurt on the side of the road. Phil and I got their bikes loaded on the rack and then realized we couldn't go with them. They needed all the room they could. So we decided to just ride on. The MEMS crew did tell me that if we really needed a ride they would make sure we got taken care of but Jackie was on her way to meet us from Conway too so we just rode. The rest of our ride was uneventful and we talked some about what happened. We didn't push the pace and continued on to the BP store at Hwy 5 and 319 where Jackie was meeting us. I got a call from Annette when we got there that they had made it to the ER in Conway and that there was a 2 hour wait so I needed to go pick her and Jane up as soon as I could. Luckily Bailey saw us at the BP and pulled in. She ended up giving me a ride back to my truck at James house. I drove home after that to change and get shoes as mine were in James vehicle in Conway. I was at the ER in less than an hour and the guys just got to go back just shortly after I got there. Since the kids were with Michele, we took the kids home with us and dropped Jane off at her house. This all started probably around 11:15am and it was after 6 before James and Michele got home. Russ ended up getting admitted and they did surgery on his arm/wrist. His break was maybe an inch behind the wrist and seemed to have a lot of damage but the prognosis is good with an estimated 6 week recovery time. James did have a broken distal clavicle (collar bone) and a broken rib. So basically he has to wear a sling till it heals. No surgery needed. Both have a lot of pain for a few days. The bad thing is both these guys were training for the 70.3 Ironman New Orleans in April so now they are out. James also is planning on Ironman Lake Placid which is in July so he may still have time to train for that one. And James new tri bike, well, I got it off the rack yesterday and looked it over. Everything looked good other than the top tube on the carbon frame has about a 2 inch crack in it. I'm sure a bike shop will say it needs replaced. He is hoping his insurance may cover it.

He said his foot came unclipped for some reason and when it did he just lost control of the bike he thinks. He was in aero and that's exactly what it looked like from behind, but things happen so fast we may never really know. One minute your having fun and the next your laying on the side of the road in pain. Could have been much worse, could have been all four of us down or even worse, a car could have been close. All in all we were pretty lucky.

As far as my training, for Saturday I ended up with 24.3 miles with a 17.4 mph average pace. The ride would have gotten us close to 40 if we had got it all done. Maybe next time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Quick Recap for the week

Monday - 5.0 miles - Treadmill run - Very warm and slow, 10:40 avg pace

Tuesday - 2.2 miles - Treadmill at lunch for a quickie - 9:59 avg pace

Wednesday - Out of town no running

Thursday - 5.0 miles - Ran with Annette and Michele to the Community Center for their Women Can Run Clinic then turned around and ran back home. Very warm outside, 72 degrees plus which we are not used to yet. Luckily we had some brisk winds that helped keep me cool. Avg pace 10:35, would have been better but got stuck waiting on city traffic at mile three to cross the road so I had like a 12:23 pace on that one. Other laps were all under 10:19.

Friday - rest day?

Weekend plans - Going to Conway in the morning to watch the 2 mile race then I am biking back to Cabot with some others. Should get around 40 miles biking if not more. Weather is looking perfect for a bike ride other than the winds maybe. Will try to get around 8 miles in Sunday in preparation for the Little Rock 1/2 next weekend.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial - El Dorado, Ar

This is a great video and they are still raising funds to have this put at the State Capitol. I have two friends whose names will be on this.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Long run and Speed Work

I hate to say it but this week I have been slacking a little on the running side. Looks like I will end up with only three days of running but still have almost 20 miles in. Not really a big deal to me as the quality of the runs is what counts for me and they have all been good.

I had already blogged a little about Mondays lunch run. Ended up resting Tuesday and had Fire Department stuff Tuesday night. Wednesday is suppose to be my tempo run so I put all my numbers in the McMillan Running Calculator and it said I should run my tempo runs between a 9:40 and 10:05 pace. Sounds about right. So I told Annette we would shoot for a 9:40 pace after a 1 mile warm up. Well, the weather was not in our favor. It had gotten hot for a noon time run. It was 65+ degrees and we were really not used to that. First mile I tried to keep things slower. Ended up being a 10:04. Hey tempo pace upper end. Second mile was a 9:48 and the third mile we really picked up the pace and mine ended up being a 9:24. Actually too fast, but for average pace I ended up with 3.1 miles @9:45 so I was dead on tempo. Afterwards Annette and I both commented how hard the run was. It felt more like race pace, but I know it was because of the warm temps, plus we were still recovering some from the 15k.

Thursday my foot was a little sore so I took off and Friday is almost always a rest day. Saturday called for a 13.1 mile long run with the Cruisers on the Little Rock Marathon 1/2 route so I figured it wouldn't hurt me to have some extra rest days. I like to listen to my body and now when it says something hurts, I don't run.

Saturday was looking like a not so fun run, it was raining Friday and calling for rain and cold Saturday. Not another 15k day I thought. It was Jane's birthday so this run was dedicated to celebrating her birthday. We met the group at the Clinton Library and just after 7:30am we were off and running with right at 25 Cruisers. We had a good large group which was nice since some of the areas we were running in were not so nice. Temps were around 39 degrees.

It started drizzling somewhere around the 2-3 mile mark. Not bad at all, just enough to to make my hat drip a little but not enough to get my feet wet. Ended up being me, Annette and Jane in our little pace group. There were probably 3 or 4 other groups depending on pace and we had 4 bikers out running support if we needed it. First 4 miles were awesome and I kept the girls pacing between 10:30 and 10:40. Took a bathroom break just past mile 4 and then it was a lot of stop and go dealing with red lights and traffic. This slowed our pace some but we were not trying to push it at all. This route also has lots of "inclines" and it always seemed like more ups than downs. The rain started getting worse around mile 9 but never just a downpour. By mile 11 I could feel the ball of my foot starting to get a blister. I think it was because I had taped my foot up for the Plantar and with all the stop and go at the intersections, it was causing the ball of my foot to get a lot of extra use. The girls also started having issues around 11 so we seemed to slow down a lot. Just before mile 13 the girls called the "Scarlata Rule", we were stopping out run at 13.1 and walking the rest of the way in. Which worked out great giving us almost .7 for a cool down walk. Afterwards we met up with the group at the Rivermarket for breakfast, coffee and just hanging it.

Even though conditions were cold and wet again, I had an awesome run and felt great the whole way. I could have ran much faster but I wanted to stay close to the girls. If things will hold together I should have a great 1/2 time in two weeks and possibly a big PR. Just never know what race day will bring though. Last year it was extremely warm temps so times were bad.

Overall, 13.1 miles in 2:26 was not bad for me in a training run. My PR for the 1/2 is 2:18 so I'll be shooting for a 2:10 or better. Little Rock is really not a PR course but I'm gonna try.

Annette and Jane running downtown

Jane and Annette in front of the Governors Mansion right at mile 10

Me and Annette at the Governors Mansion

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Am I a Fireman Yet? (True Story)

This story is uplifting and may make you cry and question yourself each day to live to the fullest, help others, and stop whining about high gas prices and the cold weather. Warning, don't read if you wish to remain the same person you are today. Someone very special in my life shared it with me, and I felt compelled to share with the world - starting with all of you.

In Phoenix , Arizona , a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was dying of terminal leukemia.

Although her heart was filled with sadness,

she also had a strong feeling of determination.
Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up &
fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible..

The leukemia would see to that. But she still
wanted her son's dream to come true.

She took her son' s hand and asked,
'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up?
Did you ever dream and wish what you would
do with your life?'

Mommy, 'I always wanted to be a fireman
when I grew up.'

Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can
make your wish come true.'

Later that day she went to her local fire
Department in Phoenix , Arizona , where she met
Fireman Bob, who had! a heart as big as Phoenix

She explained her son's final wish and
Asked if it might be possible to give her 6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make
him an honorary Fireman for the whole day.
He can come down to the fire station, eat with us,
go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards!

And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform
for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy -- one-with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots.'

'They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix ,so we can get them fast.'

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy,
dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed t o the waiting hook and ladder truck.

Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven.

There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day
and Billy got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van,
and even the fire chief's car.

He was also videotaped for the local news program.

Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed
in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital.

Then she remembered the day Billy had spent
as a Fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and
asked if it would be possible to send a fireman
in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition.

The chief replied, 'We can do better than that.
We'll be there in five minutes.. Will you please do me a favor?

When you hear the sirens screaming and see the
lights flashing, will you announce over the
PA system that there is not a fire?'

'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?'

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window-------- 16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room

With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they LOVED him.

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said,

'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'

'Billy, you are, and The Head Chief,
Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief said

With those words, Billy smiled and said,
'I know, He's been holding my hand all day, and
The angels have been singing..'

He closed his eyes one last time.

True Story---> according to

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Training with a purpose

After the 15k on Saturday, Sunday was dedicated to being my bike day. I really need to bike at least once a week until the time changes and then I will get some rides after work. So I met James and the Cruiser group for our standing 1:30pm ride. Ended up being me, James, Phil, Rick W., Duane, and Rob. Nice size group and James and I had already talked about riding easy at first and then picking it up on the way back in. James was wanting a 2 hour ride for his 70.3 New Orleans training. Sounded good to me.

We decided to do the Mt Carmel/Bethlehem/Mt Tabor loop. Almost 30 miles with a lot of hills and rolling terrain. Of course it was windy. Again, we wanted to keep the pace easy going out. And we pretty much did. Everyone stayed together up until about the last hill on Mt Carmel and Rob fell off. We stopped at the Water Dpt on 31 to regroup and went on out Bethlehem. Just kept a pretty steady moderate pace. Rob decided he would cut his ride short and took a short cut back as the rest of us went on. I knew it was going to happen and after we turned on to Mt Tabor we hit a head wind. It was a good one too. We still all kept on pace though we hadn't started to hammer yet. It was tough pulling, not quite as bad if you were in the draft. Phil came up to pull and asked me if we wanted to hold 20mph and I said sure, we can try. Well, we did till about the first hill, even into a strong headwind. I can tell my hill legs are still not back but its getting better. I took all the hills on Mt Carmel in the big ring going out so its just time in the saddle. Needless to say, we couldn't hold 20 long. 17 was much easier. The wind was brutal.

Eventually we were done, with everyone really picking it up for the last 5 miles. Duane had turned off on Dogwood so James, Phil, Rick and myself all made it back at the same time. I know Rick and I had our tongues hanging out, James and Phil didn't seem near as tired. It was a good ride though and we did what we said we were going to do.

28.3 Miles
17.1 mph avg. with head wind & hills
28.8 max
1733 calories
150 avg HR

Monday was a recovery run. My legs were trashed. Between the 15k and the bike on Sunday, I just needed to stretch them out a little. So Annette and I did our lunch run. We decided that we would try to keep it slow, around a 10:20-10:30 pace. Weather was nice, mid 40's, sunny, but again there was wind. This was a great run, I kept the pace slow and felt great. It was actually nice running at this pace with very little effort. I decided into the run that I was going to try to keep my heart rate around 160 or less. 164 had been about my marathon rate last year and that was running probably slower than this. It all worked out good and we did stay close to our goal pace. Recovery run done! Here were the stats:
Total miles - 3.11 - 31:52
Avg pace - 10:15 (very very comfortable)
3-10:09 (picked up the pace on the last block just to stretch the legs)
Avg HR 160

Wednesday is tempo day if we get to run at lunch. Weather is looking good for it, maybe a little warm.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rivertrail 15k Race Report

I was a little apprehensive going in to this race as I really didn't know what I could do. Ha, I probably said that in my 5k report too but its the truth. After little or no running from June through mid January, I really didn't know. I did know that the 9 miler I did last weekend was great and my fast lunch runs seemed to really be building my aerobic capacity back. I could finally breath again and run many miles without having to walk.

Getting up this morning the weather report had called for rain. At 6:30am it was 47 degrees and no rain which was perfect running weather. By the time Annette and I had gotten to the race site, it started to sprinkle. By 8am race time, the sprinkles had turned to solid rain. All I could think was that this is going to be a miserable race, but at least I knew I wasn't going to get too hot. One thing that probably saved me from mentally ruining the race was the fact that last year when training for Nashville, we ran a 20 miler in a pretty much flash flood. So after that, rain really doesn't bother me as much, and this was only 9.3 miles!

I had two goals for this race. 1) was to run a 1:30 and 2) was just to PR. Last year I ran this one in just over 1:33 and I was feeling much stronger than last year so I figured a 1:30 was realistic. And based on all the predictors out there, based on my 5k time I could do a 1:29 so it was pretty close. One thing I did do different was right before the race I programed my garmin to do the virtual partner and I set it for 1:30 for 9.3 miles.

The race started in the rain and we were off. I tried to stay slow at the beginning but I wasn't as slow as I thought I should be. So from there on I just tried to keep my pace below 10:00. I knew if I stayed below 10 I would PR so I thought maybe in the last couple miles if I had anything left I would just pick up the pace some. It went really well. I fell in to a rhythm and just ran a steady pace. Not slow for me but slow enough I wasn't breathing hard. I paced off a few people in the first few miles then saw some others later on that I ran behind and then passed. Annette was behind me all the way but I knew she wasn't too far. I tried to keep those good positive thoughts coming throughout the run, even when it was miserably wet and cold.

Just before the turn around I saw Bailey and a friend she was running with so I tried to catch up to her. She is a fast runner and we kid her about lolly gagging around. Well sure enough, they stopped in the middle of the race to look at what appeared to be a dead crawdad in the road! Irregardless, I never caught her. I gained on her a few times but then she saw Michele and she took off never to be seen by me again. I did catch Michele just past the boat ramp. She was pretty much done and was not feeling good. We ran together for a few then she told me to go on, she was going to wait on Annette. I did walk the 3rd water stop at about 5.5 so I could take my gel and get a drink. I didn't loose but maybe 20 seconds if that. By mile 8 my legs were getting pretty tired but I kept trying to push. Then just past mile 9 its the parking lots and you can see the finish line but you have to run around to get to it. Since I have ran this race the past two years I was mentally prepared for this but I was hoping that the finish line was different but it wasn't. I knew just when to turn it on and just before the turn to the finish line I started running faster. Baileys young male friend was right there so I really kicked it then passed him right at the finish line. Probably not the smartest thing to do with my foot but it was fun at the time!

Overall I was very pleased with my race and most of all the fact that I ran all miles under 10 other than one. Last year I think I had at least one mile where I ran a 10:46. Here are my stats and the final time is not official yet but it is what my garmin said at 9.3. I actually forgot to turn it off but the virtual partner stopped at 9.3 and gave me a time so that's what I'm using for now. The lap times are correct.

Final time - 9.3 miles - 1:31:39 (missed the big goal of 1:30 but still had a new PR.)
Avg pace - 9:51
1- 9:47
2- 9:47
3- 9:44
4- 9:46
5- 9:50
6- 10:06 (water stop)
7- 9:52
8- 9:56
9- 9:53
10- 9:48

It's not negative splits but that's a pretty steady pace all the way through. I have never done that on a long run before.

After the race we all went to the Hospitality House for the awards ceremony and also the 2008 Grand Prix awards. We found out there that two new state records were set for the 15k distance both in the male and female division. Talk about running with some talented people!

Here is a pic that Melisha's husband took of some of the Cabot Cruisers at the awards ceremony. The group racked up on the age group awards. The cups were the trophies for the race.

Tomorrows plan for me calls for a 2 hour bike ride. No running. Congrats to all that won awards and to those that stuck it out through the rain.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Lunch Runs

Getting some good lunch runs in this week. Took the day off Monday just to save the foot. Tuesday started with rain so Annette and I were not sure if we could run at lunch. By lunch time it had stopped and looked like it was a go. Temperatures were around 44 degrees so it was cool and a little breezy. We opted to do the Fred's and back route. Long sleeves, shorts and gloves were the dress and it was perfect. Never got hot or cold. Our plan was to do this run just at a moderate pace and do a tempo run on Wednesday. Well, that didn't work. Guess we pushed it a little so it was more of an LT or tempo type pace. It was a great run, again! Here are the stats:
Total 3.01 miles - 29:23
Avg. Pace - 9:46
Negative splits!

Wednesday was suppose to be our tempo run but after Tuesday's run we kind of said that Tuesday was it. We decided that our goal for Wednesday was to just run at our 15k race pace which we wanted to be 10:00. Wednesday was the opposite of Tuesday as far as weather goes. Sunny, 70 degrees and very windy. Beautiful day though. I went from long sleeves and gloves to sleeveless. We ran the bridge/ballpark route and it wasn't bad but with the increase in temps made it feel much harder. I tried to keep the pace right at 10 which worked out pretty well. It was a beautiful day to run and the wind even though it was very windy, gave a good cooling affect. The good thing, 10:00 minute pace goal was met exactly according to my garmin. Here were the stats:
Total 3.01 miles - 30:07
Avg Pace - 10:00
1- 10:03
Another negative split.

May take the day off on Thursday or maybe do some core and a short run on the treadmill. Legs and foot are feeling a little sore. Great mid week runs though for me.

Happy running!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Long Run

After this weekend I am starting to love running again. About a month ago I was about ready to break up with running and just bike. Not now. I'm back. Or running is back, at least for this past week anyway. I know this will jinx something by saying it but the past 5 runs including the race yesterday were great. It helps that I have gotten my endurance back and the speed is starting to come around.

As for this mornings run, Annette and I met Michele, James, Jane, Karen and Gabby at Michele's house for what started out to be 10 miles. It was pretty cold at the start so we reversed the route we were going to take so the wind would not be quite as bad. We opted to loop around by Knights and the neighborhoods there and come out by the High School. This also included bathroom stops for the girls if they needed them.

It wasn't a fast run but the long steady run is not suppose to be your fastest. The great thing was the people we were running with. Everyone pretty much stayed together the whole time even though some could have ran much faster. We had great conversations which helped pass the miles. After coming out by the high school some of the girls wanted to stop at the gas station to use the rest room. Then we looped back behind the community center and ran up the hill next to the high school track. We were at about 5 miles when we got to Honeysuckle so we decided to run on to Stagecoach and then down Campground. Karen only wanted about 7 so that would be perfect for her. When we got to Michele's, James opted to cut his run short and Annette was struggling a little. We ran around the neighborhood to add on getting another mile. Annette, Michele and Jane stopped at 8. Gabby was wanting 12 and I wanted at least 9 so I ran around the neighborhood with her for another mile before I quit. I should have kept going but I was way over the 10% rule for the week so I just didn't want to push it with my foot. Sorry you had to run those last miles alone Gabby.

I felt really good on the run today, strong with plenty of endurance. I really felt like I could have ran a good half marathon if I had needed to but I'll save it for the 15k next weekend. My only goal there will be to stay under a 10 min. per mile pace. That will get me a PR. Last year I think I was just over 1:33 so if I could just do 1:30 that would be a PR. I really have no idea how long I can hold that faster pace, but I'm thinking I am in better shape this year than last. Hoping to get some lunch runs in this week depending on the weather. I do hate the fact that I didn't get any bike miles this week but running took the lead. Next Sunday I will try to bike.

Final stats for the week - 22.17 miles running. That's 9 miles more in a week than I have had since November! My average pace on today's run was just an 11:08 but we had some good mid 10 min. miles. My foot felt great this morning and after the 9 miles it was just a little sore but no limp. So any run where I feel good and can walk afterwards is a great run.

Hope everyone has a good week running!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day 5k

This was a great race held in Russellville. We had a very good turnout from Cabot with the men's team fielding 7 runners and the ladies close to 12.

As for my race, I did exactly what I planned to do and the plan worked, though I wish I would have pushed harder. It was very cool at the start, around 40 degrees and wind so it felt more like 32. Shorts and a tech t-shirt for me was right for running but not standing around. The race was suppose to start at 9am but got delayed 15 minutes because there were so many people still registering. The race itself is held on a walking trail though it is paved. There was close to 330 people running the race so being congested at the start was an understatement. They did ask for the faster runners to move up to the front and the others try to form based on pace but that never works. Someone slower always wants to get close to the front.

The race started and I just tried to keep Jane in sight which worked for about 3/4 of a mile but there were too many people for me to even run a straight line so I just eased into my run and tried to get it done. My goal as stated in yesterdays post was to be around 28 so I had it figured to try to stay around a 9 minute pace and that's what I did. After about 1.5 miles the course thinned out and it was not crowed anymore, though someone was always pretty close by. I just ran and tried to tell myself that I was doing great and to keep at it. I'd check my garmin every now and then to see if I was on pace and I would be. When I got tired or a little winded I would slow it down just a little, then pick it back up. I was really trying not to over stride and hurt my foot again. That was one of my biggest worries, other than just dying before the finish and having to walk which didn't happen.

No world speed records set but I was very happy at the finish. My garmin read 28:22 for 3.12 miles and a 9:05 average pace. My official time ended up being 28:25 which is close enough. They did have some timing problems so my garmin is probably correct but it makes no difference anyway. The other thing that made me happy was that I had negative splits and was very consistent with them. Mile 1 was 9:11, 2 was 9:06 and 3 was 9:04. Still missed my PR by just over a minute but considering my lack of training, it wasn't bad for me. The most miles I have had in a week since before Thanksgiving was 13.3 miles so as my miles go up, my speed should too. If I can get back to 20-25 miles a week with a little speed work I will shatter my old 5k PR.

As for the competition, it was fierce in this race. In my 50-54 age group alone there were 15 men that finished 22 minutes or under. I just think that's amazing. Wish I could run that fast. The Cruiser men did score with 4 out of 7 taking home trophies. Ladies had 5 or more that took home trophies. Afterwards Annette and I went to brunch with several of the Cruisers at IHOP. Made for a long day, we didn't even get home till after 2pm. It was great spending time with all of our running friends and getting back into racing.

My foot is a little sore but not to the point of limping or anything bad. I need a long run Sunday to prepare for the 15k next weekend so I am a little apprehensive but I think it will be fine. Going to try for 10 miles or so.

Hope everyone had a great Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lunch Runs

Monday Annette and I started something new. We are trying to run at lunch when we can and this week has been awesome. We got to run Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at lunch from home. I am amazed at how good this has been, especially the progression. I almost feel like I am back to speed again. And we haven't been lolly gagging around either. We have been pushing it, not to the limit but almost at a tempo pace at times. The weather on these runs has been good, Monday 64 and sunny, Wednesday was around 60 but 30mph winds so how we had good times I don't know. Thursday was perfect, 60, sunny and no wind, almost hot. Here are my results for the past three runs:

64 degrees, sunny, breezy
3.1 Miles - 31:57 - 10:19 avg. pace
3-10:43 (walked with Annette when she had stomach issues)

60 degrees, partly cloudy, extreme winds (20-30mph)
3.0 Miles - 29:50 - 9:57 avg. pace

60 degrees, sunny
3.1 Miles - 29:13 - 9:26 avg. pace

I was extremely happy with today's run. And I forgot to mention I had to walk twice to catch the phone but it was only like 10 seconds each maybe. Saturday we will be racing our first 5k of the season at the Valentines Day 5k in Russellville. My goal last night would have been to finish around 29 minutes. I'm thinking now with the cooler early morning temps and the flatter than my neighborhood course, I'll be in the 28 range. I will not rule out a PR though. I have always been much faster in races than any training runs and checking back on my logs, I have never ran 3 mile training runs this fast. We shall see how it goes come race day. No awards for me irregardless. The Grand Prix Series has some of the fastest guys in the state so I'd have to run around a 19-21 minute 5k just to place in my age group. I'm not going to get my hopes up too much for a PR, just racing for fun.

By the way, I love running at lunch even if it is just 3 miles!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More From The Weekend

Thanks for all the biking comments. I wish running was as easy but its not. Saturday was a tough day. I met the Cruisers at 7am for the normal Saturday morning run. There ended up being two groups, one doing 13+ miles and our group doing around 8. There was just a little chill in the air when we started but the wind had already started blowing.

By mile 2 I wanted to quit running. I couldn't hardly breathe. My legs felt great, it was just a struggle to keep moving. Ran a lot with Jane who is always great company on a run so that really helped. Probably didn't help that I started out probably too fast leading the group we had for about 3/4 of a mile. Then I started dropping back. Kind of like getting dropped on the bike, once you get dropped, it's over and it's hard to catch back up. That was me. But I really wanted 8 miles.

Somehow I managed to keep going and it was nice to know that Jane couldn't breathe either. I had thought it was just me and my lack of training but it was everyone. It was the high humidity we had. Anyway, long story short, got the 8 miles done and glad I made it.

Felt great afterwards, went home and changed. Followed Annette up to the Dinner to meet some of the other runners for breakfast. Everyone was talking about how tough their run was. My average pace was no where close to what I wanted but it was mileage. 8 miles @10:50. With mile 1 being a 10:05 and mile 2 being a 9:57. Should have ran those slower. Was hoping to keep a 10:30 but it was hot too.

Afterwards I went by the Fire Station to check on my trucks. With the high winds I figured we would have some idiots burning and set their fields/woods on fire. Had a problem with the batteries on one of the brush trucks so I worked on that a while then went home. Worked on the plumbing problem, went to Home Depot and got a gauge to measure water pressure. By that time it was after 1pm and I was getting hungry again. Headed up to Sonic but they were all backed up so I decided on some Mean Pig Barbecue. Was in a long line, made it all the way to second spot to order when my fire pager went off. Large grass fire! I knew it was going to happen. So I took off for the station to grab a truck. I sure hated missing that Mean Pig Barbecue but this is the life of a firefighter sometimes.

The fire was almost as far west as you can go in our district and probably a 17 mile run from my station. The scary thing was, we only had one engine responding with one firefighter at the time. Another called in en-route and no one else showed at my station so I took off as fast as my engine would go to get there. We also called for mutual aid from one of the surrounding departments. Our first truck in started calling for brush trucks. They had a field on fire and it was getting into the woods. When I got there no brush trucks had arrived so I grabbed a rake and did what I could which wasn't much. The flames were 3-4 feet high in the sage grass so it was too hot to get to with a rake. I concentrated on stopping it before it got in the woods and the next field which had a house and two campers close by. Two brush trucks came in with one getting stuck in the field before they could even get close to the fire. We had the other come around a different way and then we started getting some water on the fire. In about 3 minutes we had the field out but still had woods burning. Myself and another firefighter went into the woods and used a rake and water pack to put out what we could. What saved us was there was a creek running around the the wooded area so it acted as a natural fire break. It was very windy which made conditions worse but the woods were so think with thorns and thick brush the wind didn't push the fire much. It did play havoc on my arms though. It looks like my right arm was in a cat fight from all the vines, thorns and sticker bushes. To top that off, my fire boots give me blisters after so long so that was happening. We ended up fighting fire for a couple hours. I was pretty dehydrated by then, my eyes were burning from sweat and smoke. Once everything was contained we were finally able to take a break and get some water to drink. Then after checking with everyone we decided we had the fire out and were going back in service. Looking at what burned, it had to be close to 10-15 acres of sage and woods. Not a bad stop for basically 4 firefighters.

I drove engine 64 back to station 3, realizing that I had to get fuel as it was getting low. Had to stop at station 3 to grab a gas card and was talking to the chief on the phone when we get paged out for a rollover accident on 67-167 in front of Ace Liqueur. That didn't sound good. So here I am by myself, had the chief on the phone and he asks, "so are you going on that call?" I'm like, yeah, but I am waiting on a crew, not much I can do with an engine and no other people. Plus I figured Cabot would get paged too and they did. About that time one of my guys checked in route to the station so I knew I would have a crew. I really wanted out of those fire boots, my feet were killing me and I could feel the blister on my heel and toe forming. A couple minutes later we were screaming down Highway 5, passing traffic on the center lane. There was a lot of traffic so as a driver, its always a concern to be extra safe at intersections. A couple minutes later we were on scene, had a pickup truck up on its side in the middle of the service road. MEMs and Cabot had just got there and were treating two patients. I assisted getting one man on a backboard and basically we were done. Lucky for us, I was behind the Cabot engines so we were the first to leave. Even though the accident was actually 3 feet into our county. I love it when that happens. Usually it works the other way, the paid guys leave and we get stuck on scene for another hour or so. Not today. I was ready to go home!

I had talked to Annette when I cleared off the fire and she said we had dinner plans around 5:30. I looked at my watch as we left the scene and it was about 4:45. I still had to stop and fuel the engine. Got that done, got the engine back in service and in the bay and headed home. It was about 5:15 by the time I made it in the door. Annette would not come within 3 feet of me. I was almost black from head to toe from the soot and smoke from the fire. I probably looked like I got beat up by a smoke monster or something, scratches on my arms and everything else. Had to take a double shower to get all that off. The water ran black for about two or three minutes and before long I was clean again. Even made dinner just a few minutes late.

Ended up being just another average Saturday for me. I really hated I missed my lunch though.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Leading the pack

It feels pretty good sometimes to be one of the fastest in the group. I sure can't do it running but the bike is a different story. I know I'm not the fastest but I can hang with the top 5 anyway.

Sunday I met the Cruiser group for the normal 1:30pm ride. Had a pretty good turnout for a change. Rick W, David S, Duane ?, Tammie, Don, Lisa F. and 10,000 miles a year Charlie. We decided to do what we call the Bethlehem Loop, ride out 321 to Bethlehem Road, loop back and connect to Mt Tabor for the ride in. I really just wanted an easy's what we always say. Well, Charlie took the lead with Rick and myself following. In about a mile we were separated from the other group pretty good. We were not even riding hard yet, which I was perfectly happy with at the time. Nice to get a warm up in before you try to kill yourself. We were still averaging at least 16 but 321 has lots of up and downhills.

By the time we got to Lemay, Duane had caught up to us from the other group. He had to have been riding hard to catch us. That's about when I decided it was time to stretch these boys out a little so I took off. Duane and Rick tried to hang on for a little ways but I guess once I got down in the aero bars it was all over. By the time we were past 321 spur, I had a pretty good lead. Another mile and I couldn't even see the others. I looked at my speedometer and I would be riding 21-22mph at all times except for the hills. There was wind too and it wasn't a tail wind at all. The wind was coming from the south, southeast and we were heading east. I was kind of liking this. Out at the front, all alone. Sure can't do that running.

Stopped at the water department on 31 to wait on the others. Rick, Charlie and Duane pulled in a couple minutes after I did. Charlie made the comment that he was going to start calling me Yeah right. Wish I was that fast. Took a while for the other group to ride in but we waited. I didn't want to wait too long though because my legs would start getting cold. Before long we were off and riding again. East on Bethlehem, I tried to ride slower. I really did. But before long I had left the others again and was out there alone. I actually slowed down from my earlier pace but still had a big gap between me and the others. I knew someone in the pack would be trying to hunt me down though. After I made the right turn of the loop on something Cemetery Road, I could see Rick gaining on me. No big deal, I was getting tired of leading all alone. I slowed and just kept an easy pace and before long Rick was there. So we started drafting back and forth and kept a nice pace going. He may have tried to drop me but it wasn't going to happen. I stayed right there anytime he would make a charge. We stopped at Hwy 31 to wait on the others but they were no where in sight. After a couple minutes we decided to take off. Going south on 31 was a straight on head wind and it was blowing. It was all I could do to go 16mph, though we were going up a slight incline. I tried to draft behind Rick but it really didn't help much. The wind was brutal. When we turned on Mt Tabor it was like relief. Smooth road, little traffic and wind to our back a little. Well, maybe not. The wind just seemed to be coming every direction or at least it felt that way. We continued to push on Mt Tabor and would sometimes alternate leading. I was happy drafting. I could lead but its just more work. When we started getting close to Dogwood we could see some other riders ahead of us. Rick said they must have took a shortcut. So I told him we can't let them beat us in so we picked it up and blew past them. We kept a nice pace all the way back in, 16-22 most of the time but you have to keep in mind these routes are not flat and have rolling hills and lots of inclines. We were back at the church, and had our gear loaded by the time the next group got in. It was Tammie, Don and Lisa. We asked where the others were and they said they thought they were with us. We talked for a few and we were fixing to pull out of the parking lot when Charlie pulled in. He made the comment that "dang you boys are too fast for me". Never did see David or Duane roll in but I knew they were riding slower and this was Davids second ride of the year. It was nice to be at the front for a while. I think Rick and I both ended up with a 17.5 mph average pace for just over 28 miles. Rick made the comment that this was his fastest ride of the year and thanked me for pushing him. I was pretty happy with that considering the wind and hills. I'd love to see what I could do on some flat terrain with little wind, but then again, flat terrain is boring. It is nice to be at the front of the group in one sport anyway.

Happy biking!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Almost Friday

This week has been a blur. Trying to get end of year, end of month, accounting for this, accounting for that all done along with anything else that goes wrong. My foot was a little sore after the weekend so I didn't run on Monday. Tuesday night I was at the Fire Department. Wednesday night I managed to get 4 miles on the treadmill at a 10:30 pace. Pretty easy run really. I need to start stepping it up but weekdays just seem so hard lately to get a run in. I have just about decided to try to start running at lunch when I can. Some days I am at the shop in Cabot so I am just a couple miles from home so it would be pretty easy. Run 3 miles, eat and head back to work. Of course that's weather dependent. Running just seems harder and harder lately, not physically but more on the mental side. Just getting out the door is the tough part or maybe its just the want to.

We have some weird water problem going on at our house now. When you flush toilets or run a lot of water, hot or cold, the pipes make a banging sound. This started last week and I thought it would go away but it didn't. So tonight I started trying to diagnose what was going on. I think its some type of water hammer or air in the lines. I even turned the water off outside and tried to bleed off any air in the system and that didn't work. So, I am back to researching it on the Internet to try to figure out how to fix it or if I can fix it. I am also still having some pool pump problems so I have to work on that too.

I did get my broken spoke replaced on my bike yesterday. The guys at Arkansas Cycle and Fitness on Kiehl Ave fixed it while I waited and even replaced one of the others that had been replaced before because it wasn't black. They seem to be a great bunch. And since our local bike shop moved from Cabot, I needed to find another that was close by. The cool thing was, spoke replacement and truing the wheel was only $10. Amazing that you can get anything done for $10.

Looking to be a super nice weekend so I am hoping to get maybe an 8 mile run in and get some good biking in. Pending getting all the broken stuff around here fixed. Who knows what will be next.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Sunday

First off, Annette and Bailey completed the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach, CA in 5:33:13. They ran together the whole way which was great. Not bad considering their only goal was to finish in under 6 hours. I know they had a great time. Wish I could have made it. Here are a few pictures that Annette sent me. I'm sure she will post a bunch on her blog when she gets back.

This was taken during one of the breaks during the race

Annette walking next to the beach

This is Annette's Step Mom, Dad and Aunt who were in California and got to see her finish. Can you see the surf board around her neck?

As for me, I just did a little bike ride. Arrived at Mt Carmel Church at 1:30pm for the standing Cruiser Sunday ride. I was about 10 minutes early but no one was there. I was a little shocked since the weather was almost perfect for riding other than the wind. Wind, who cares about wind? Well, about the time I decided I was going to ride by myself, Duane pulls up on his bike. We start talking routes and then Jeremy rides up. Tried to get James and Russ to ride but I think they wanted to just take it easy for the day. I wanted to do the same but its not very often that we have 63 degree days in early February so I wanted to take advantage of it. My legs were really sore from yesterday but I was hoping for an "easy" ride to act as recovery. So let me repeat one more time, "there are no easy bike rides with our group". If your not being pushed, your pushing someone, that's just the way it is. I guess it works as most of us keep getting faster.

Our route ended up being what I would say is the Mt Tabor/321 loop. We left the church and took 89 to Mt Tabor and headed east. The wind was really getting it and I let the group starting out. I had never ridden with these two guys much so I really didn't know their pace so I just rode moderately. Mt Tabor is always fun as there are a lot of "inclines" which you really feel on the bike. After a few miles Jeremy asked if he could lead for a while and I said sure. Much easier to draft than to pull. He is a pretty strong rider and I had to work to keep up with him. Duane hung in there too. Just before we got to Hwy 31 I heard a loud pop. Sounded sorta like a rock hit my wheel but I had the sneaking suspicion that I had broken a spoke. We stopped at the intersection and sure enough, I had a rear wheel spoke that was broke at the hub. The weird thing is, last time I had a broken spoke, I had stopped at the exact same place when I found it.

I told the guys that I would just have to limp it in. Luckily my rear wheel wasn't wobbling so bad that the brakes were rubbing like last time so I was able to keep going. I was a little leery about doing a lot of speed but I figured I could make it with no problems. In fact, I got back in the lead and pulled all the way onto 321. It seemed like when we were going east we had a little bit of a tail wind and when we turned north, it was like not as much wind. But when we turned on to 321, we hit one of the worst head/crosswinds I have had in a while. It was so bad a couple times I almost ran off the road trying to hold my bike in line.

I guess we had dropped Duane just before the turn and Jeremy dropped me on the next hill. My hill legs are just not back yet, but they are getting there. And 321 has some good hills on it. The wind was bad so we were working extra hard. I looked down and it was all I could do to hold 15mph. Luckily there were downhills to gain some speed and rest.

Made it back to the church and I was amazed to see that I had averaged 16.5 mph. I figured I would have dropped to 15 or less with that wind and a broken spoke. So much for an easy ride. But my legs felt better for doing it, though when I was done, I was really done. Here are the final stats which I am happy with considering it was a very hilly and windy route.

Total Miles - 18.78
Bike Avg Speed - 16.5mph
Calories - 1128
Avg. HR - 160

That gives me total bike miles for the weekend of 45.01 and I burnt right at 2800 calories just on the bike. No wonder I'm tired and hungry! Hope everyone has a great week.

Saturday Reverse Brick Sort of

So Saturday I couldn't make a decision when or where I was going to run. There was a 7am group and an 8am group running from South Side Elementary. Being unable or wanting to make a decision, I woke up, looked at the temp for the 7am run and decided I would stay in bed for a few. It was in the upper 20's or close to 30 and it was suppose to be a beautiful day later. So why start so early?

Well, i finally made it out the door around 10am and just ran up and down South First Street in my neighborhood. It's nice sometimes just to walk out your door and run, no driving, no gear to worry about. I wanted around 7 miles, though 6 would work. By 10 it had warmed to almost 49 degrees so for me, that was perfect running weather. Shorts, t-shirt was the dress of the day. It did get pretty warm but not bad. My head was sweating but I was never really uncomfortable. As far as the run itself, it was just, "ok". I started mile one with a 10:10 pace and then fell off from there. I can always run much faster when I am with a group or in a race for some reason.

My foot was a little sore from my speed work on the treadmill Thursday night. Remind me not to do that again. Makes me wonder if I should even attempt the upcoming 5k. I can and want to run faster but if it hurts the foot I just can't do it. I tried to keep it slow on Saturdays run thinking it would keep the foot from being sore. Did work to a degree and it was slow. Ended up with 6.3 miles total. Here were my splits:

6.3 total miles - avg pace 10:39
874 calories
Avg HR 174

After the run, I rested a little bit and was thinking about biking. Friday night a plan was made to bike around 3:00pm from the Community Center with James and Russ. Cindy was going to join us too but with the pretty weather, she decided to go a little earlier. I knew riding with these two guys was not going to be a slow, easy ride as it never is. We tend to push each other.

I had to change my back tire before I left the house, taking off my old trainer tire and putting a better back tire on. Those trainers burn the rubber clean off a tire so don't use your good tires!
We hit the road from the Community Center at 3, riding across to 367 and then riding to Austin. From there we turned on Ed Haymes Road which has some big hills on it. I was not looking forward to that part as I am just now getting my riding legs back.

We actually kept a good pace on the hills, lots of fast downhills. There is one big climb on Ed Haymes and I made it up with no problem but I still had to go to my lowest gear to get over the top. We turned left on Lewisburg and headed towards Highway 5, then turned on a little cut through road over to Hwy 319. We decided to take this in to Ward and back to Hwy 38. We had a nice tail wind on parts of this route and at times would get a tough head wind. Ended up stopping at the store in Ward for just a few. Then it was on across 367 and 319 to 38. Here we hit a major head wind. We had averaged 17.7mph up until Ward even with the hills but that started dropping in the wind. We still hung on to a 16mph pace in the wind but it was a lot of extra work. Turning back on 38 we still had wind. But there was a couple nice downhills to make up some speed. We were pretty much all together up until the last downhill. James took off and I followed but he pulled away from me. I think Russ may have just burnt out a little because I left him trying to catch James. I pulled in the Community Center about a minute or less behind James and Russ was a couple minutes back. Still ended up being a great ride and we all got a good workout from it. Funny, the mileage worked out to exactly 26.23 miles. Guess that's a good number considering Annette and Bailey are running a marathon today.
Here were the final stats from the ride:
26.23 Miles
16.7 Average bike MPH
1666 Calories burnt
161 avg. HR

My legs are trashed now so still trying to decide if I will ride Sunday afternoon. The weather looks good for it though.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Good Luck Bailey and Annette

Correction to my last post, this will be Annette's "5th" Marathon in less than a year and her 6th for all time. This is also Baileys 4th marathon in a year. They both will qualify as "Marathon Maniacs" after this race.

Good luck on Sunday at Surf City ladies!!

Getting ready to leave at the airport - Bailey and Annette

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blogging through the cold

It has been an extremely cold week here. We had ice on Monday evening and Tuesday. I had to travel to Memphis Monday morning for a meeting. The original plan was to spend the night but after watching the weather deteriorate, I decided to high tail it home after we had an early dinner. It was 36 degrees and a light mist when I left Memphis. Before I made it 30 miles into Arkansas, the temperature had dropped to 30 degrees. Can you say major pucker factor when you cross bridges! Actually, never encountered any slick spots for a long ways. I was worried about the White River Bridge on I40 but it was clear as a bell. Between there and Lonoke though things started to change. Just before Lonoke the temp had dropped to 28 degrees. The first bridge west of Lonoke was icy and had a bad wreck off on the side. I had my fire radio on so I heard South Bend getting paged out for another accident on I40 between the 169 and 170 mile marker. I looked where I was and I figured it would be about Remington. Sure enough, it was just west of Remington so I managed to get off the exit with no problem. Still one bridge on 89 to cross before home. When I got to it traffic was stopped and I guess the police were turning people around so I turned around and came back to Cabot via Kerr Road. No problems after that but it was a stressful drive home for sure.

Tuesday was pretty bad in some places but didn't really affect me any. It was suppose to get worse on Tuesday night but that never materialized here. The northern part of the state got it bad though with a lot of ice and power outages. We missed the bullet here!

Wednesday night I ran 4 miles on the treadmill. It was actually a pretty good run. Just an easy get it done run in 42:00. Average pace 10:30. If it was cold on the treadmill it would be easier but mine is upstairs and it always seems to be too warm for me even with a fan. But that's ok, it makes me sweat which is good.

Tonight I did a little speed work for the first time in a long time. I wanted to see if I could do a timed mile on the treadmill. Started with a 1 mile warm up and then went into the timed mile. Well, it's kind of hard to really do a timed mile on a treadmill. All you can do is start out at a pace you think is moderately hard and then increase. Pretty much what I did. Could have been faster but I didn't really have a clue as it's been so long since I really ran fast. Timed mile ended up being a 9:15 and I know I could have done better. I at least have a number to start basing a little speed work off of. I also wanted to get a feel of what my 5k time could be. This is a start and I think I am going to try one tempo or LT pace run once a week. I am just going to try to stay away from the repetition pace as that's where I get hurt most of the time.

Oh yeah, Annette and Bailey are headed to Huntington Beach, California this weekend to run the Surf City Marathon. It will be Annette's 4th marathon in less than a year. I think she will also qualify as a "Marathon Maniac" since this will be three marathons in a 3 months time period. I had plans of doing the same back in the summer but injuries forced me out. In fact, I doubt I will do another marathon until fall, but that's subject to change. Right now work is too stressful to get the needed training and have the right frame of mind that I need. Going to work on the shorter distances and improving my 1/2 marathon times without getting injured. That's the main goal. Stay healthy!

Good luck this weekend Annette and Bailey!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

50 Is Not That Bad

In case you didn't know it. I just turned 50 this week. That's right, the big 50. Half a century old. 12 years to retirement maybe? Ha....not at the rate the economy is going. Getting done with 49 seemed quite the task between a long time dealing with Plantar in my foot and then kidney stones. But now that 50 has hit, those things seem 100% better. I am also getting my endurance back and yesterday was my first Saturday run with the Cruisers in forever it seemed. Had a great run too. Ran with Annette, Jane, Michele and Eugene for most of the run. Eugene and I left the girls later as they were doing 8 miles and we just wanted between 5-6. I ended up getting 5.54 miles with just a long slow average pace of 10:21. On top of that, no walk breaks for me either. And we ran some good Cabot "inclines".

Saturday night we were invited to Jackie's house for a birthday dinner. Annette told me before we left that Brenda, Tony, Michele and James was coming also. I was starting to smell something. When we turned on Jackie's street there were cars everywhere. Annette said that Jackie's neighbors were having a party. Then I saw Cheryl's truck and I recognized some of the others that were parked and I said "yeah right". I knew something was up then. But I did get surprised! When we opened the door it seemed like the whole running club was there. Had to be 20-30 people. It was an awesome surprise party. Great food with a great group of friends. I cannot say enough about how lucky I am to have friends like this. Thanks guys for making it a great 50th!

At the party plans were made to bike to Conway Sunday morning with James and Russ. They wanted to ride to Conway, then catch a ride on up to the Grand Prix race in Russellville. I had my doubts that it may be too cold to ride but I said I would go if it wasn't too cold. Well, this morning it was 26 degrees when I got up and didn't promise to get much warmer. We would have had to leave around 9:30 to make it to Conway in time so it was just too cold. Ended up working out, Alex was sick so Michele couldn't go and do the shuttle and it was too cold for James too. James and Russ did drive up and run the race. I just didn't feel like I was ready to race yet so I stayed home.

I did get an awesome workout in today though. I set the bike up on the trainer in the living room and watched the Tour Down Under while riding. That is the way to do the trainer! I never got bored, and every time they would race to the finish line I would race with them. Think I watched 4 segments of the tour and rode a total of 1:18:00 for about 23 miles. Then it was off the bike and up to the treadmill for a run. Got a nice 2 mile run in while I was still warmed up from the bike. The first half mile my legs felt pretty heavy but I just ran slow until they came to life then just picked it up a little. Ended up with a 10:16 average pace for 2 miles which I was very happy with after being on the bike so long. Then finished out with a .3 walk to cool down. Should have burnt plenty of calories to make up for my birthday cake last night!

Remember, getting older is really not that bad, especially when you have great friends to help you celebrate!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Saturday evening Baptist Med-Flight departed Memphis enroute back to Little Rock without a patient. Med Flight struck a flock of birds around the Forrest City area and made an emergency landing. The pilot suffered some minor injuries and everyone was shaken up. Below are the pictures from the incident and the associated damages that occurred to their aircraft. Med-Flight does not wear helmets and the crew is lucky the pilot’s vision remained intact to land the aircraft.

Flying is for the birds!