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.