Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Short and Sweet

Wow! It has been quite some time since I have written on the blog. I can attribute that to working 7 days straight and topping out at 70 hours and that’s not including the training. That followed by more training and a travel week to Charleston for the Cooper River Bridge run. I will hit the highlights and will go into more detail about these event tomorrow.

Had a long ride last week and I was able to really nail my nutrition down on the bike. I felt very confident and am ready to ride. On the flip side, I was hitting a hill that I thought I could take in the big ring. Well as it peaked I made a huge mistake and tried to shift to the small ring. This threw my chain and right into the rear arm of the bike. It caused a pretty significant gouge into the arm and broke my chain. The chain has since been replaced and I am waiting on Cervelo to see if the frame needs to be replaced. I will go into more detail about this issue tomorrow.

I Ran Cooper River Bridge Run and following the half marathon race I expected I would do well on the run. I ran the race at a 9:22/ mile. I have not moved that fast since probably the academy 9 years ago. This really put me in good place as far as running goes. Unfortunately, 3 miles in my knee was on fire! After New Orleans, I am going to check out the Vibram Five Fingers.

Because of the Bike issue, I wasn’t able to participate in the Cool Breeze Triathlon. I think it was the best choice.

One last thing, today the lake temperature is a smoking 67 degrees! I am excited about that and planning on going out to the lake tomorrow. I am totally looking forward to it!

I think that’s it in a nutshell.

p.s. I learned what the big yellow sponge thingy that came with the Aero bottle is for!!! Rookie!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My First Open Water Swim: Lake Norman Water Temp 55 degrees brrrr

I waited and waited for the weather to get a little warmer before I would go out to the lake. I searched everywhere for a place to get an open water swim in. Finally, I decided to go to Lake Norman State Park. They have a swim area that isn’t guarded by a life guard. That’s perfect because I knew there wouldn’t be a “No swimming when lifeguard is off duty” sign posted. Kristin and I jumped in her car and started our 90 minute drive (one way) to Troutman, NC. This, unfortunately, is the closest public lake access where swimming is permitted. This is also the same reason when I win the lottery I will buy a home on the lake; I digress.

The forecast was calling for rain but it wasn’t supposed to start until 3 pm. The plan was to be in the car and headed home by 2 pm. I looked at the water temperatures all week. It was consistently 55 degrees. That didn’t mean anything to me other than it was freezing. Since I had never been in the lake before in that temperature, much less in a wetsuit, I wasn’t sure if the wetsuit was enough to keep me warm.

I did a search on IamTri about tips for swimming in 55 degree temps. It was suggested to wear a neoprene cap and booties. Some people also suggested wearing earplugs to keep equilibrium intake. (side note: for some reason I don’t know, if you pour warm water one ear and cold water in the other, at the same time, it will throw your equilibrium off. why? I am not smart enough to know hehe). Considering I am the guy that if something is going to happen it’s going to happen to me, I did all three; the cap, booties, and I used a set of earplugs I already had the earplugs but only used them a hand full of times. (my swim cap does a good job of keeping water out of my ears).

On the way to Troutman, NC, it was looking 50/50. Part of the sky was grey, the other part was sunny. I was praying we didn’t drive so far just to not swim today. We arrive at the state park and make it to the swim area. It was closed off but there were plenty of places in that general area to sneak out to swim. I told KP that if I didn’t see no swimming signs I was going in. I had the whole I’m a police officer card and this area wasn’t properly marked thing going for me if we were to get caught swimming ha!

I get into my wetsuit after what seemed like forever and headed out to the water. If you want to know what happened next…just watch the video.

Funny, after the swim, I was all muddy from the river and we went into the family rest room to change out. Of course KP and I weren’t doing anything in there but when I came out there was a Park Ranger! Uh Oh! Where did I put my police ID hahah. Kidding I didn’t badge him but I was hey we weren’t doing anything lol. I just explained to him I was swimming and we were just getting my things together. Then I asked about the swimming in that area. He said as long as we were outside the designated swim area we were not trespassing and they didn’t have authority.

I explain this was my first open water swim and he was making comments and I realized he was a triathlete too! That was pretty cool! Then, and only after I realized I wasn’t breaking the law, I told him I worked for the city of Charlotte. That was pretty cool too. He was a cool Park Ranger! He said the reason he stopped was because he heard Kristi say something about calling 911. We were having a conversation and I told her thanks for being out there even though if I ran into serious trouble you would have been able to anything. She responded by making a statement about calling 911 and this is what the Park Ranger overheard.

So now, I have a place to go swim. It’s a bit of a journey to get there but it’s only until the open water swims start at the end of April! I am thankful to have somewhere to go to get practice in before New Orleans Half Ironman! 4 weeks to go!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hitting a Bottom

This week has been full of ups and downs. One would think coming off a 5 minute PR (personal record) the week following should be great. Well, it was in some regard. I mean I pushed as much as I would during any other session. Yet, it is here I began to dig myself a hole. Not saying I am depressed, but I Googled “sports training leading to depression.” I will go on record saying I am absolutely not battling depression. Yet, this past week, was different. I found myself not being happy with my run time, or my training. Funny, not because the training isn’t top tier, rather I should be able to do more; faster times, pressing out fast wattages. I am a fairly healthy guy at 180 pounds. Yet, I am one of the slowest guys on the road. Meanwhile, my peers and fellow age groupers, some of whom, at first glance, I am in “better” shape in, pass me. It is often at those moments I hated that I smoked for 10 years and only stopped 5 years ago tomorrow (the day my son was born!).

I just can’t wrap my head around it! I began feeling like a pseudo triathlete. When someone uses the term triathlete loosely, I wonder if there is room for me to get in. Even still, when someone asks me if I am a triathlete, I tell them no but I am training from this upcoming fill in the blank triathlon. To me, the guys that are running 2 hr half marathons and less off the bike are triathletes. The guy that bikes in at under 3 hours and swims in 30-33mins or less. Those are the triathletes. So, what does that make me?

I had to post this to documents the lows in this training.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

2010 Alston-Bird LLP Corporate Cup Half-Marathon and Kristi’s 5k (its long! with a lot more typos than usual!)

The good, the bad, and the boob bop whoops!

Last night, Kristi and I had sushi with steamed rice (I LOVE sushi!). This morning, I felt a bit heavy but I didn’t care. I didn’t wake up this morning with the thought of running faster or slower than my last half. Goal one for this race…have fun. After all, it’s just a long run! In any event, I am being treated for my issues with my left knee and really needed to baby it a bit.

I wasn’t really interested in eating breakfast so I had a Cliff bar with water and I was out the door. I was in a great mood because there was no stress. No stress about times, whether or not I was going to finish, if my knee was going to hurt. It was freeing and I don’t usually feel that way before a run. I thoroughly enjoyed that feeling…or lack thereof (stress).

I didn’t wear my New Brooks sneakers that I bought about two months ago! Since I bought those sneakers they have given me NOTHING but issues. I decided to wear my old New Balances. They have a few more miles left in them! This turned out to be a great decision.

I made it to the meeting point and met my bf/gf (best friend/girlfriend) Kristi. She is totally not a morning person! However, to come out and support me she got up super early to meet me out there. I am so grateful for her unwavering support. She would seriously listen to me talk about triathlon all day. Then look at me as if it is all new to her and I didn’t talk about these exact things the day before. She is truly my best friend and I am so excited to share my life with her.

I met up with Kristi and she is dressed in athletic attire. Then this thought came over me. In four weeks she is going to participate in the Cooper River Bridge Run. This 5k would be a great opportunity for her! I knew she could do it!!! And for once, it was me encouraging her about something race related.

I simply asked if she wanted to do the 5k because she could still register. I wish you could have seen her face! She had this look of shock!!!! I saw the color leave her face and then return. I never did get an answer. I grabbed her by the arm and led her to the registration booth (translates to dragged her to registration). Kristi, still in shock, stood there while I filled out the registration card. Then she immediately handed her bib and safety pins to me and said, “Here honey do this!” At which point, she took over filling out the registration.

We went to the YMCA to place KP’s items in a locker. As we are standing there, I spin around to point toward the men’s locker room just as a young lady is walking toward me. The result, an awkward and embarrassing bop on this lady’s person! Ugh how embarrassing!

It was too funny! Kristi had this look of intent about her. She was clearly out of her element and wasn’t sure how to feel about it. It was too cute! We got her registered, got the bib and timing chip on, and we were ready to go. We walked back over to my running group and KP (Kristi) asked if the 5k’ers and half marathoner’s were going to start together. PANIC! I don’t know!

KP ran over to find out and immediately got lost in the crowd. My group was leaving and before she left she told me to stay with them; so I did. As soon as she left, I had the answer to our question. Both races started at the same time. I ran to find her but she was lost in a sea of bodies. I felt horrible. We would be able to start this race together and now we were separated :(

I would not have been as motivated if I didn’t find her. I decided I needed to go find my run group and ran into KP! WOOHOOO!!!!!!!!! I gave her the biggest hug!!! Seeing KP led to the best part of the day! Starting this race with her!!!!! That was honestly the best part of the day for me! I was so excited to be part of her 5k. We held hands as we crossed the start line and it, for me, was awesome!


They had the opening prayer and Kristi and I bowed our heads. I couldn’t help but notice how much chatter there was in the crowd. So much so I could barely hear the prayer. This was followed by the playing of the Star Spangled Banner and there was complete silence! I didn’t get it! Don’t get me wrong! I am a HUGE, HUGE Patriot! 4 years in the Army and 8 weeks of singing that lovely melody every night before I went to bed in basic training. I love my country and am still willing to die for it! However, have we lost respect for our Heavenly Father?

The first few miles were uneventful; a couple of rollers but no real climbs. I was chatting with the people in the group and it was really cool to finally run with people again. I forgot how much I missed that! Mile 6, I started to feel a little pain in my left knee. I worried about it a little but not too much. At about mile 7 or so, we hit Providence Rd. I hate that hill! You can see it coming for about a half mile away and it looks looooooong! Once you actually get on the hill it’s not too bad but looking at it hits on your spirit a bit.

At mile 9, I did a mental body scan...NO PAIN IN MY KNEES. Then I had to check in with my heart. I was 9 miles in and I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself. At this point, I had no reason not to. I did what every other person with the desire to push themselves (i.e. the people whose blog I read) would have done! I stepped it up! I prayed and recited, “I can do ALL things through Christ!” I pushed it out and started MY race! It was so awesome! I looked at my trusty Garmin and KNEW I was on course to get a personal record! I knew it. And I was going to break into the 2 hour and teens. (2:13 to 2:19). That’s a big jump from the 2:20s which is what this slow, steady missile is used to.

Man I was trying to get it done! I was casting away the fears that maybe I turned it up too soon and I just kept going! Then, I hate to admit this, but I hit mile 10 and I just lost it. Seeing that number just brought on the pipe works. Thank God! I was wearing shades and no one could see those tears of joy coming down my face. Not because I was going to PR, but because I was silencing those demons, just for today! And all I have to do is keep them quiet one day at a time! Today, it was at mile 10!

Just a 5k! That all I have left is just a 5k! “One foot in front of the other,” is what I keep telling myself. Then it hit me! I remembered the course! Mile 10-13 was uphill! I was still running with all my heart. I had to know that if I was short of hitting the teens it wasn’t because I didn’t give it my best effort. Thank God for these shades! No one could see how badly I was grimacing at this point. In fact, I bought these shades with the purpose of covering my frown when I’m running!

Incline after incline and my dreams of hitting the teens were slowly fading away. I didn’t care because I didn’t wake up today with that on my mind. I was grateful to be so late in the race with no knee pain. We head downhill for a tenth of a mile and then uphill for the last tenth of a mile.

As I began my effort uphill for the last time, I looked up to the Glory of God! It is ONLY because of his Grace I am here today. Two years ago, ALL I wanted to do was die. Today, all I want to do is LIVE. That is what mile ten is to me. That is what this Half Ironman in New Orleans is to me. It is about living!

Hard to get a sprint finish at the top of a hill! I tried! On My Garmin I saw 2:19 become 2:20 and my hope for teens was put off until another day. At 2:20, according to my Garmin, I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t help but shout, “Yeah!!” Why? Because although 2:20 may not be a stellar time by some peoples’ standards, it is a time I never thought I would see. It was 5 minutes faster than my Thunder Road Half Marathon 3 months ago and 16 minutes! faster than my time for this race last year.

In defense of that time, I was dehydrated and had the worst cramps in my groin at mile 11 last year. I was in SOOOO much pain! The only reason I continued was because my children worked so hard on their signs for me! I had to finish! I could barely walk when it was over. Unfortunately, my children were at this race physically, but I carried them in my spirit. I learned a lot from that race last year. I started carrying a Fuel Belt and learn about Electrolytes.

What was disappointing about this race?

The finishing medal was THE SAME as the medal last year! HOW LAME! I will be sending an email on that one. That was EXTREMELY disappointing. I don’t care if the medal is the same design but can it at least have a different year so I can distinguish between the two. To top it off, my name wasn’t on the results list! UGH!! That was really, really disappointing!

What worked?

Hammers Gels every 3 miles continues to work.

SaltStick capsules every 3 miles. This was my first run with Salt Stick Capsules

LOOOOVED the salt stick capsules! A LOT better than Hammer Electrolytes!

What to consider changing?

I was drinking a lot more water than Heed on this race. This was likely do to Salt Stick capsules and increase in sodium. I should consider carrying two water flasks and two Heed flask on my Fuel Belt

Pictures will be added in a few days.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dedicated to all you "LOOKERS"

My inspiration from other blogs:

“Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning.” -Mahatma Gandhi

This quote came from the blog From Obesity to Triathlete and the Ironman Dreamer If you have a moment read this blog! I can assure you, you WILL NOT be disappointed. This is truly am inspiring story unfolding real time!

Thanks to Jeff, who writes the blog Tri to Endure, for his Motivational Movie Mondays! Every Monday he posts a motivational clip and they have been awesome. One of my favorites was Rocky, “Its not hard you hit. It’s how hard you get hit!”

Any who, this past Monday was a clip from the movie Rudy. His clip led me to the clips you are about to see. I especially enjoyed this one where everyone doubted this young man. They told him the reach more attainable goals. In the end, he was victorious. This one is dedicated to your LOOKERS!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

That explains my Knee Pain...but im sore...err my butt is sore hehe

This is the xray of normal patella placement

This...well isn't normal placement.

For the record, these photos are not x-rays of my knee but are necessary to explain what is going on with my knee. I went to Greenapple Sports yesterday to have them look at my knee. Dr. Clay was actually my doctor and if you recall he held the swim clinic this past Saturday. So, the normal questions blah, blah, blah. He twists my knees in some random motions to see if there was pain with those movements. I explained to him I only feel pain when I am running.

He gave me some diagnosis which I have no idea what he said! I am convinced in medical school they spend most of their time saying these random names of random diagnosis. Basically, he said my patella has shifted approximately a half inch upward toward the femur and is causing the patella to grind some of the soft tissue. This, in turn, causes inflammation, which causes the pain. Ok got it. That explains it but then I asked what every other athlete would have asked, “When can I RUN?!” This issue (I don’t think it should be called an injury) wont prevent me from running but running wont feel good DUH Dr. Clay lol!

The pictures above show normal patella placement and irregular patella placement. My patella hasn’t shifted as far upward as this poor person’s! The fact is the person in the x-ray had a ruptured tendon and had to have surgery to repair the tendon. Thank God my issue isn’t that serious! This x-ray does, however, resemble my patella movement.

Dr. Clay said in about two weeks I should be relatively pain free. Yesterday’s visit he taped my knee with Kinesio tape. This was followed by one of their techs coming in and placing 4 leads around my knee. An electrical current was sent to my knee through these leads. It wasn’t bad but felt like my knee was getting tasered but on a much smaller scale (as a police officer I am one of few people that knows what it feels like to be tased hehe). By time I left, my knee was feeling pretty good.

Following the doctor’s visit, I met up with Coach Lance Leo. We did some wattage testing with to determine my training zones for cycling. The heart rates that were prescribed 4 months ago were feeling too easy. I guess this is a sign of improvement. This was followed by a discussion of my up coming training schedule. I told him about my knee issue so we are going to “baby” the knee for the next month. I am still going to be running but not as much. Over the next month we are going to increase the swim and the bike and scale back on the run a little. I’m ok with that, I hope! Lol you know your mind starts looking for excuses why you cant finish the run and I don’t want to have any when I hit the run portion of the event. At least this is a recoverable issue that wont take me out of training.

The Seat…

The ISM Adamo racing saddle does what it says! It has eliminated the numb feeling I have when riding (still not 100% from that ride 2 weeks ago). However, look at the photo above. It shows there is a lot of pressure on the buttocks when ridding in 30 and 60 degree position. This seat is designed to be ridden in the aero position. I, however, am a rookie and find myself riding in the 30-60 degree range a bit. The result, a sore bottom! I will trade a sore bottom over a numb you know what any day!!! I’m not too sore though. It’s just an annoying soreness and nothing major. I love this seat and highly recommend it.