Friday, November 27, 2009

I really don’t want to.

 What would Jesus Do?
To everyone that has followed my blog! THANK YOU! It’s just three more days before I submit my application to become sponsored. Ironman Cozumel also opens registration in three days! I hope I make it in!

I really don’t want to.
There is a run/bike route about 10 minutes from house that is nothing but rolling hills! It's an out and back 7 mile run scheduled today; 3.5 miles out and 3.5 miles back. Seven miles normally wouldn't be a huge deal. However, this place has hills that will break your spirit! Make a grown man cry. Slap your mother! The truth is… I really don’t want to run today! Have you every heard of the book, later became a movie, “The loneliness of the long distance runner”? That title says it all. It’s dark, quiet, and LONELY. No music, no sound, just cars passing you wondering what that crazy guy is doing.

I am having a moment; an extremely lazy moment. I wanted to know what the bible said about laziness. I came across Proverbs 13:4 (NIV) “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” That was all I needed!

I began thinking about Jesus. The pain he endured for me; His loneliness. I wonder what the day would look like if He said, “Uhh Yeah! I’m just not in the mood to walk with you today! So, uhh yeah, just have at it and let me know how your day works out for you.” How lucky am I, are we, to have a loving, always willing Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. concrete to iron concretetoiron
Praise God for putting it in my heart to do an Ironman! Since this has been placed in my heart, doors have opened with zero effort from me! This journey has helped mold my faith in Christ! When the decision was made to complete an Ironman, I had no idea how I was going to pay the $525 entry fee. I had no clue about training for an Ironman or Half Ironman. I began to I did two of my favorite bible verses would play in my head:

Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" -Matthew 6:25-27 NIV

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” -Hebrews 12:1

These verses tell me not to worry because there is nothing I can do! It is ALL in God’s hands! Second, this Ironman is something I feel God truly wants me to do! Not only to raise money for the orphanage, but to inspire others to walk with Christ. This is my race that has been marked out.

The Blessing
I’m in law enforcement and often times we work side jobs off duty to earn extra cash. About two weeks ago, I worked a traffic job for a construction company. This was the easiest job ever! The foreman said he may need me to return in a couple of weeks. I didn’t think anything of it. The job I just worked for him would cover some of the entry fee but not much.

Last week, I received an unexpected phone call! It’s the foreman calling me back for an all day job! WOOHOOO just what I needed to cover the rest of my entry fee! The best part is this job is easy! I just sat here, caught up on the blog, read some other blogs about Ironman, and finished reading one of my triathlon books!

Did I mention registration for Ironman Cozumel opens in 5 days! I made enough money to enter this event just 5 days before registration opens! Thank you Father! This event is sure to sell out the same day it opens. I wouldn’t doubt

I know that everything that happens is a God thing. It’s just really nice when I get that “Aha! This is a God thing!” moment. This was definitely one of them!

Wanna see me cry?
Let me read a story about an Ironman! I came across this blog (yes I began to tear reading it). It was a lady who was completing her first Half Ironman. Notice I said completing not competing. Like me, she was not in it to win, but to complete! She wrote something in her blog that I wanted to post here.

“I would rather be the slowest person in a race than to quit out of fear or shame of being too slow.”

Although God placed this in my heart, I am human. I have goals. And, unfortunately, I have an ego. I become a little concerned and even discouraged when I think about my times! Truth is… I’m not that great a swimmer! Lol! I’m not even a good swimmer! I’m ok on the bike, and I’m a relatively slow runner! I do have one thing in common with every athlete that has toed the starting line of an Ironman, Half Ironman, or any other endurance event: confidence. My faith in Christ gives me my confidence, my dedication to continue this journey, and the resources I will need to complete.

I was inspired by this woman’s will to complete this event regardless of what the clock said at the end! At the end of the day she can say, "I have completed an Ironman 70.3!" Congrats to here! Her blog lists a very detailed race report. I encourage you to read it.

Time check: Almost 3:30 pm – 2 more hours to go! I have been up since 4am today! Praise God! The day is flying and it’s been an easy job!

p.s. that’s my pic of the cross :) I am also a photographer!

November 24:

I swam again today; nothing serious. I mostly did some speed work and worked on breathing every 5th stroke. It seems that changing from 4 to 5 strokes changes everything. It almost feels like starting over. I also realized something: I don’t have direction! I am swimming; yeah. Cycling? Not as much as I should. Running? Check; got that covered. But, I don’t have direction. I realized the Half Ironman is a short distance away; five months (20 weeks). I think its time to get some direction to my training.

I've looked at Mark Allen’s website (an Ironman Hall of Famer) and the price to start is pretty reasonable. MY biggest fear is that I truly don’t want to participate in a one size fits all training plan. I have several smaller races leading up to the Half Ironman and I want my training plan to reflect this. Mark Allen Online, I think, will allow for these changes. I also believe Mark Allen incorporates heart rate training. I have been very interested in using this training method! One bad thing, now I have to buy a HR monitor! UGH!

Following the swim, I did a leg workout! Over the past three weeks, I have incoporated strength training for legs into my program. This is also part of the reason I haven’t run in the past few weeks! RECOVERY! Man on man! I go in and think I’m doing an easy workout. The next day! Ouch! I’m sore!

I was one of those runners that thought I didn’t have to strength train legs because I’m a runner. A few weeks ago I went to a free clinic held at the Charlotte area TrySports. The presenter was Dr. Joshua Kollmann of Carolina Sports. This guy is a beast! He is extremely knowledgeable in the area of triathlon because he himself is an Ironman finisher. Needless to say, I took every word he said as the Ironman gospel. He recommended runners incorporate leg strength training for triathletes. He also said we should strengthen our hip flexors.

I knew I needed to start a leg strengthening workout because I have had an issue with patella tracking disorder for the past 3 years. I have talked with therapist and doctors and they all said the answer was leg strength training! The disorder hasn’t caused pain so I never worried about it. However, I knew if I wanted to take endurance to the next level I cant have this imbalance!

I started strength training late in this half marathon training, but early in the Half Ironman training! I started upper body training about three months ago and legs only two weeks. Since the strength training, I have gained 4 pounds but had to tighten my belt strap a bit! Maybe I really am turning into Iron!

Nov. 23, 2009:

I haven’t blogged a lot because there hasn’t been much to talk about. I am absolutely convinced I have Plantar Fasciitis! Unfortunately, from what I have read, diagnosing PF is the easy part. I bought new arch support for my shoes and stretching my foot continuously. My previous support was worn. I wonder if that is why I began experiencing pain in the first place.

I missed my group’s 12 mile run a few days ago but I don’t think it’s going to affect my overall performance for Thunder Road Half (my target half marathon). Besides, the pain in my foot was really getting unbearable. I probably would have injured it more by running on the old arch support. I have met with my swim coach and we worked on breathing. I am moving my breathing from 4 strokes to 5 strokes. I will have to work more on my bilateral breathing but this should help with the bloating feeling I have. I also learned new drills that will help my body use the oxygen it has more efficiently.

Today, I will swim then run. I’m looking at a 40 minutes swim and a 5 mile run (hill workout on the treadmill because it’s raining!) Tonight I will probably hit the bike trainer. I really need to get a lit kit for my bike!

After the workout:
I swam for about 40 minutes with small breaks in between. I started feeling the bloating about halfway through. I was very mindful about when this was occurring because I wanted to identify when and how this is occurring. After the swim, I was determined to run! Regardless of how uncomfortable it felt. Make no mistake about it! It was very uncomfortable! I usually run my shorter treadmill runs faster than my half marathon pace. Today, that wasn’t the case! The stomach pain was waaaay too much.

I did the hill workout at race pace for three miles. During the three miles, I felt air wanting to escape! I was sure not to allow this as my neighbors using the other treadmills beside me may not have appreciated this! After the third mile, I sprinted the 4th mile and I was done. I went home feeling really poorly.

One good thing is that I think I figured out what’s causing the bloating. I am inhaling oxygen but not exhaling enough DUH! I realized I am doing this because of the weird feeling of panic I feel when I exhale too long. Further, when I exhale a lot of oxygen, the panic sets in, and then I take a HUGE breath of air.

Things to focus on:
I am also not that thrilled with my swimming. I feeling like I am missing something! Similar to the feeling I had about my stroke before that correction was made. One last note! I have continuously swum without pain in my shoulder since my stroke correction! That’s really nice to know! One last thing, I need to work on my balance when breathing. I feel out of balance when breathing at times.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Swimming and stomach pains following.

After my swim I mentioned in the last post, I was feeling bloated. I was having cramping in my stomach and bloating. I was supposed to cycle after the swim but felt extremely uncomfortable! I didn’t think anything of it until the next time I swam which was this past Monday, I felt the same way! This time I only swam about a half mile just focusing on technique. Something just wasn’t right. The funny thing is if air comes in, it’s got to go out. It can make for an embarrassing lunch.

I learned I was swallowing air while swimming. This happens for a number of reasons and usually happens to beginner swimmers. So there you go, if it can happen, it is certainly going to happen to me! Of course it isn’t my intent to swallow air as it is extremely uncomfortable. I guess I will talk with my swim coach to see what is going on with me!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I didnt mean to swim that far

My goal today was to just swim a mile and then something happened. It was almost as if I blacked out. I started hearing the voice in my head challenging me to push myself; to not stop swimming until I swam for 1hr 20mins. The goal I set for Ironman was to be able to swim Ironman 2.4miles in an hour and 20mins. So I swam, and I swam, and I swam. Pause there.

When I found out there was an Ironman in Cozumel I knew it was a calling! My church, Providence Road Church of Christ, has a mission in Cozumel, Mx. They regularly take trips to help with an orphanage there. I felt like this all happened for a reason. I kept saying I wanted this Ironman to be for God because without him I wouldn’t be here. I would be fired from the police dept, still drinking every day, and certainly not being the father I should be. Because of God’s mercy, I am the total opposite. So, my goal is to raise money for the orphanage in Cozumel. I’m not sure what that looks like yet, but I have to do something!

And I swam, and I swam. I began to think, Christ never gave up on me so I can’t give up on these children. I kept seeing flashes of their smiling faces that I saw in a pamphlet. So, I swam for one hour and 20 minutes. My last 100 yards, I timed. I took the time from that to get an estimate of how far I swam. The estimate was 2.2miles. Is it possible for me to drop 10 minutes off of that time ad add 0.2 miles?

It’s hard to believe I took my first swim lesson only 3 months ago! I also can’t believe that I was a smoker for more than half my life! I have only stopped smoking 4 years ago (I stopped the day my son was born) You Can!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Finally Swimming with no pain.

Today was the first day I really had a chance to put my corrected swim technique to use. The best part about today’s swim, NO PAIN! I am really, really excited about being able to swim with no pain in my shoulders. More importantly, I am swimming with proper form! I still have a lot of time left to correct some of the minor flaws in my form. Boy am I ready for bed! But I need to hit the bike trainer for at least 30 minutes!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dowd YMCA Finish

Praise God! This was, by far, the best half marathon I have run yet! My pre-race prep really paid off. The information I received from the dietician about pre-race, race, and post-race nutrition really changed the way I train and prep. This morning, I did 3 Hammer Endurolytes electrolyte pills, about 16oz of Heed and 3 Blocks (electrolytes) en route. I did all of this probably 90minutes prior to race start. I felt like I hydrated really well over the past two days and didn’t want to go overboard with the fluids this morning. I have cramped badly in all of my previous half marathons. It is my understanding that it was my lack of electrolytes that may have contributed to the cramping. Sooooo, I may have over done it a bit with the electrolytes. However, I feel like it worked for me. I still wasn’t in a good place mentally this morning until I made it to the race site. I saw the finish line and I started to get into race mode. It honestly wasn’t until I saw my run group that I felt like everything was once again right with the world.

Unfortunately, my subgroup, the Elevens (11min/mi) didn’t show up; not one person. I was a little disappointed. So, I ran with the Twelves (12min/mi) I thought that I could run with them and at least get some miles in while having some fun. This group was a motivated bunch. A lot of 1st timers with big hearts! So we hit the road and I began chatting with them. I don’t run with headphones anymore because of USAT rules. So, the talking really mad it fun. I learned a lot about those guys. People I see every Saturday morning for run group and never said hi. Boy was I missing out!

The first three miles my left foot was hurting. This is the foot I believe has plantar fasciitis. After three miles, it disappeared; like nothing every happened. Here one minute, gone the next. At mile 6 there was a water stop. Most of the Twelves hung out there for a bit. I think the pace they were running was faster that what they were used to. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was because of me. So it was now two people from the Twelves, me, and another random sweet old Asian lady running. She really was a sweet lady. At mile 8 the rest of the Twelves caught up! How the heck did that happen?! We were running a faster pace than 12min/mi but somehow they caught up. It was at this point I parted ways with the Twelves and yes that sweet old Asian lady (who really was sweet /smile).

Up until mile 8, I knew I was going to have to leave them at some point. I was feeling good, really good…almost too good. So, at mile 8 I turned up the pace a lot! I said a prayer to God thanking Him. I asked that when I run these last 5 miles he would use me to inspire others on the route! See, before I was a Christian I ran for myself, now I run for Christ!

I ran solid those last 5 miles! I was soooo grateful to have paced with the 12’s for so long. Traditionally, I would start my race super fast and really pay for it in the end. I was always told it is easier to start off slow and then pick it up. I am a firm believer of that race practice now.

My children have been at almost every endurance event! That is the best part. They call my runs the big race :) I love it when they say that. This time I didn’t want to have them just waiting and waiting and waiting for me to cross the line. I thought that it would be cool if they were handing out water! Even better, they could be at mile 10 which has been a headache for me in the past. It is for this reason mile 9 was my favorite! I knew at the end of it I would see my children.

As I approach mile 10, I called for Kealan and Isabella. Isabella was hard at work handing out water. My son, weellll not so much! He was being a boy and playing in the leaves. When I called their names, Kealan jumps up almost in a panic as if he’s not really sure what to do. I approach the aid station and grab water from Isabella. I give her a hug and a kiss and Kealan drops his head and says, “All man. I wanted to do it (hand me the water).” In an excited tone I said, “Kealan! I need another water hurry, hurry, hurry! I have to go!” He took water from the table and handed it to me and I hugged and kissed him. When they both handed me the water, their faces just lit up! It was one of my favorite memories! I love having my children there! It’s almost as if nothing is impossible! Thanks guys for being my biggest fans!

Although Dowd Half Marathon wasn’t my target race, I was really excited about my time. My goal was 11/min miles for my target race (Thunder Road Half Marathon) I’m not sure of the official time but I think I was a minute or two slower than my target time. I will take that! My goal for the fall half marathons is going to be 10min mile. I can do it! I know I can!

After crossing the finish line, I stayed to watch the Twelves finish. Again, this was most of the group’s first half marathon. To watch them finish was amazing! The emotions, the joy, completing their goals! Wow! I never did see that sweet old Asian lady who really was….

Sidebar- I bought a bike trainer and cant wait to try it out tonight!!!

Today was a great run! But just another training day. Because:
“…I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep”
(my favorite poet Robert Frost)

Dowd YMCA Half

I’m up, I’m up! 5:30am. Not so sure how I feel yet. I feel a little bloated but I have felt that way in the past and ran really well. It’s a coooold start! 37degrees now!! When the sun rises, we are expecting 43degrees by the race start and 56 by the end of the race. Not too bad I guess. Well gotta go. Better believe I will be calling on the Lord for this one!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wow, I haven’t been this nervous about a run in a really, really long time! My plantar fasciitis is really annoying me today! I really need to go get it looked at. I’m not absolutely sure if that is what my pain is, but other runners have told me that I have PF. Any who, I am learning that being an Ironman isn’t just about the event. It’s everything that leads up to the Ironman that makes you an Ironman. How badly did I want to make an excuse not to run the half marathon? Like any other race, I will show up, and run this race! They may have to drag me off but it’s ok. I just have to pace myself! It’s not that I can’t run the race, I’m just afraid of my pacing. If that’s all it is, then I just need to move forward. It’s great practice for the Half Ironman in May. I will be pacing myself alone in that race so let’s see what happens tomorrow.

I have been hydrating and taking care of race prep But ugh I have a really bad headache and its only 730pm but I’m ready for bed! I will be in bed by 8:30p for sure!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

On Tuesday, November 2, 2009, I ran the fastest 4 mile run. 9 minute mile! I have never run 4 miles at a 9 minute mile. Not breaking any records but I see Im getting stronger. I also decided to start the blog on this day because I needed to remember my accomplishments. It will help, I hope when doubt sets in.
A week ago, I signed up with Charlotte Aquatics to refine my stroke. My thought was that I can very easily follow a training program, but if I have poor swim form what’s the point? I was also developing swimmers shoulder in my left shoulder. I knew it was due to poor technique. I was also breathing frequently; every other stroke which I thought was too frequently. Last week we worked on breathing every 3rd, 4th, and 5th stroke. I am also focusing on learning to breath bilaterally (both sides). Over the last week, I have worked mostly on breathing every fourth stroke. I find I am making stronger strokes when I do this. I also worked on making my body longer in the water.

Last night, my instructor pointed out a flaw. In my mid-catch, I wasn’t turning my hands in! WOW! That little flaw turned out to be what was causing me so much discomfort in my shoulders! I am stoked about this because I felt I was swimming a lot easier and with less energy.

Lesson learned: Keep/Get a swim coach.

This weekend I have a half marathon. Dowd YMCA so taking it easy today and tomorrow.