Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time Time Time is ticking in my head.

I have had so many experience in the last week and the inability to have a moment with web connection to write them up. So grab a sammich and enjoy the post.

Last Sunday was the official opening of our club 'pool', otherwise known as Canyon Lake. With a water temperature in the low 50's, five brave souls donned wetsuits and took the plunge. Actually it wasn't that bad. As this is historically the time of our OW swims, we have swam in the high 40's when the water stung the cheeks horribly. Had it not been my first OW swim in months, and my endurance better, I would have same more than the 1,000 yards I strung together. What followed was the pool opening BBQ with families and kids and lots of meat and beer.

In my ongoing quest to drop the hammer on my run pace for Pat's Run, April 17, I have really been working on race pace and speed drills. I forgot how bad those hurt. On Saturday at Mighty Mo's flag football practice I walked off 100 meters and commenced 8 x100 sprints. Truth be told I was shooting for 16 x 100 but I started dry heaving and cramping up from a fall I took on my back earlier in the day. Regardless it was a good session for me to get my leg turnover up.

I started looking at my training logs and realized that to get the immediate speed I need on race day off the line I need to warm up my body first. So I flipped my workout from run first, bike cool down last, to bike warm up then run. It really helped and I dropped my max HR about 20 bpm right off the bat.

To run faster, I have to run with people who are faster and will push me. I sought out a trainer at one of my clubs that has a 6:30 pace and inquired if we could run a couple times a week together. He was flipped out excited and so was I. On our first run of 4 miles, Pat's Run is 4.2 miles, we finished in 29'35" a low 7 minute pace. Our first mile was at 6'37" pace, easily the fastest mile I have run in five years. At about 2.5 miles I started to see stars. I got tunnel vision. My side started cramping, I was way out of my comfort zone. I loved it. We turned the final corner and mile down, I could just make out the stoplights of our finish line. The last 3/4 mile we ran 10 second intervals at 100%.

Now see, the last couple days my sinuses have been stuffed up and running at the pace I was at, I wasn't able to breath through my nose and my throat was all swollen. At the end I was sprinting had snot running out my nose, two feet of spittle hanging from my lip from a dry spit and the only smile I can affect when I run. The one I call, "I just gut the cat" smile.

I just hit my projected best finish time for the race 6 weeks early. Obviously I am readjusting my projected time a bit lower. It just felt so good to be able to finish a run that hard. I expected to hang on for a mile, two tops and then fade off to my normal pace. But I squeezed the life out of that run. All my runs this week have been harder than normal and I can feel it. My ass is sore from the extra effort, my legs burn with lactic acid, I sleep like a rock at night.

Its not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Coming up next

Why is it so hard to taper the week before a race, but so easy to recover the week after?

Based on the results and recovery of last weekends Lost Dutchman marathon, I feel confident enough to start stringing together dates for 2010 events. My next primary event is the 4.2 mile Pat's Run, a local favorite supporting the Pat Tillman foundation. Pat was an ASU college football player, played in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals and as a matter of fact did triathlons in the off-season. His coach is a friend of mine. Pat gave up a $3.6 million contract with the NFL to join the US Army Rangers after 9/11. He was killed in Afghanistan. I am also proud to say that my business has become the official headline sponsor of Pat's Run. (Shameless plug)

I've decided to treat this as a TT (time trial) run and really blast the 4.2 miles. My goal is to run sub 7'30" pace. That used to be a decent pace for me before I decided to include swimming and cycling to to the mix. The hard part is that the race is on April 17, two months away and I have to switch from long distance running to foot turnover and speed work. That is going to hurt. I know I can put together miles in the 8's but it takes me 6 miles before my groove sets in to that pace without being forced. I have to get back to that 'off the gun' speed.

The added pressure is well over a hundred employees will be doing this race and I am not satisfied to just show up. I already know the 3-5 people that I know if they race, I can't beat even with my projected pace but they are also not in my AG (Age Group). I could well win my AG for the company and be in the top 5 for the company overall. Looking at the last couple years of results, I'd be top 15% or better in my overall AG.

Mistress is okay with this plan as the race would take about 30 minutes, rather than my times for endurance events which go from 4'30" hrs to 14'30" hrs. The trade off is the how the kidneys react to that crushing pace and zone 4/5 run. I'll find this out in training hopefully.

Its not enough to exist. I am going to live

Monday, February 15, 2010

Event Report #1: 2010 Lost Dutchman Marathon

You never know what to expect on race day. You could have trained and tapered perfectly and fall apart. You can be under trained or otherwise unprepared and unsure and pull together an outstanding day. I had an outstanding day in almost all regards. I will give myself a solid D+ in one area I will discus a bit later.

For those coming in almost two years late to the enormity of this race; during my April 2008 Ironman my body started to break down. Instead of stopping, over the next four hours I willed myself to keep going and right into kidney and liver failure. Then my heart and lungs seized. I broke a rib trying to breath. I cramped up my entire body. Sun stroke. I ended up in the hospital for a week and they told my wife the first night I probably wouldn't make to sunrise. Later I was diagnosed with a certain condition that upon review experts said I should never exercise again, giving me a 1/5 chance of dying in every workout. I eventually went to the top clinic in the world for endurance athletes and they managed, still do to some degree, my return health.

Race day could not have started better. I arrived at my training partners Jeff's house at 0445, coffees in hand. His wife Wendy is running her first marathon, she is also my minder to keep me under control, lest my Type A mind takes control and I decide to blow myself up. As we walked towards several buses that take racers to the start line we enter a random bus and I almost walked into a really good friend, Steve. Then other people recognize me and start calling my name. What a comeback. I sat down to Lisa Ginn, a wonderful woman that I know locally, but only talked to online. What a great chat we had.

The race starts in the middle of the desert running 6 miles into civilization. I start with Steve, training partner and wife and to some respects we all stick together for the length. The first six miles goes great. A bit fast, but its mostly downhill. Back into civilization and along the freeway we maintain a more realistic pace. The route takes us through a large country club, golf course residential area that my team actually uses for bike training and run training. Been on this stretch many, many times which makes it comfortable.

I am definitely strong physically at the pace we're at. It is effortless to maintain and my HR is low zone 2. I have been (happily) peeling off course to urinate, which is clear. I don't think I have peed more during a race. Wendy starts having some hip issues, Steve some breathing issues. You just never know what to expect on race day. Jeff and I run off course so he can get a Coca Cola at a Subway.

Mentally I am far from being able to control myself. I constantly had to reel myself in from wanting to drop my pace. I knew if I stayed with Steve, I would finish safe. Had I ran off, I do think I would have finished the race at least 30 minutes faster or blown up two miles later. But my goal was to finish so I never left his side. He told me to run ahead if I wanted to, and told him I wasn't old enough to go off by myself. Really I couldn't have finished feeling the way I did if it wasn't for him. Thanks Steve.

Steve is Hispanic and he runs with this big ass sombrero to keep the sun off. He got dozen of funny, positive remarks. Its race levity. Around mile 22, some people on horseback were crossing the road ahead. One man, stopped his horse to let us pass. As they were still 30 yards ahead I waved him across. In the middle of the road, he says to us, "My horse doesn't like your hat." Then his horse, mid road, pivots hard, eyes get really big and he snorts at us. I seriously thought the horse was going to charge and got ready to push Steve out of the way but the cowboy reigned him hard and away from us. Super weird.

At mile 24 we ran along some desert. A cowboy on horseback was watching the race. I asked him if the can in his hand was Bud Light. He replied it was Keystone Light and I asked if he had another. From his saddlebag, he produced a cold one and I went over to fetch it. His wife, also on horseback remarked drinking a beer during a marathon probably wasn't the best idea. I remarked, "Ma'am, me doing this marathon probably wasn't the best idea." As it turned out, the race photo team was a half mile ahead and I ran through the picture area with beer in hand.

Due to Steve's breathing problems we ended up fast walking a lot the last four miles with short runs on the flats and downhills. As we crossed the finish line, I saw a dozen friends waiting for us. Lots of hugs and high fives. Several saying, "No hospital. Yeah." What a blast.

I finished in 5:45. Not that a clock mattered to me today, finishing upright with a smile is all that mattered. And I did that. My average HR ended up being 135. I felt really strong the whole day. I even danced at one aid station and did a hula hoop obstacle course at another. I don't think I have had as much fun in a marathon before, always opting for the more aggressive competitive racing style.

I have no idea where this year will lead me with the events I do, but this finish proved at least physically I can still hang. Mentally, I will still need help but if I plan out the year correctly, I can manage those expectations.

Its not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Mae Leilani

Today is our daughter's very first birthday. Happy birthday my pretty pink princess beautiful butterfly.

Mae has certainly been a blessing in our family, no more so than to her big brother. Their hearts belong to each other, a bond that for the last twelve months has grown exponentially greater as their communication improves.

Mommy and little girl have completely bonded and already created that unique relationship of equal parts love and frustration that I see in every mother daughter relationship.

I was the hardest nut to crack and that's probably why she works so hard to bend daddy to her will. Oh I see the giggles and smiles when I walk into the room. She taunts me with the hugs and love pats when I hold her. But she won't crack me, daddy's are hard. I know. I know. Total crap.

Happy birthday sweetie. We'll continue to raise you as a God loving, sensible, open minded young lady with manners, patience, kindness, fairness, competitiveness and joy. We all look forward to teaching you about this great big world, see you've even been to Europe! Life is a great adventure and you're going to love it. Love it. Almost as much as we all love you.

Happy Birthday

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A real race week, again

Wow, I have a race this weekend. I wish I can say I am ecstatic, but to be honest I am trying to stay low key, least I trigger an adrenaline rush and start pre-loading my kidneys at triggering Rhabdo. In fact I took a leak this morning and my urine was pretty dark. The first time in months (with no reason) so I am taking this week seriously but not jumping up and down about it.

I confirmed with my training partner that we are running this thing at about a 12 minute pace. It's his wife's first marathon so she is being conservative. He is doing Ironman St. George but his knee has been dodgy for months. Plus the last two stand alone mary's have seen him dragging across the finish line, so he'd like to finish stronger, albeit slower. Me. I just want to finish standing with a smile on my face.

All my runs for this have been less than typical marathon training mileage but my pace has been about 20-30% faster than race pace. The trade off being when I do run at race pace my HR is zone 1. Right where I want it. However, in the typical "Do it all wrong" category, I am breaking the first rule of racing (Don't Try Anything New On Race Day) by taking a new flavor of Hammer Gel with me. Montana Huckleberry. I know its not as extreme as new shoes, or suit but nevertheless its a change.

Weather looks to be in the mid-70's on race day, so I have to make sure I have plenty of hydration with me. I will probably carry Pedialyte in my fuel belt and drink water at the aid stations every two miles. I don't want to be stuck with just water for all that time.

I really expect this is going to go off without much drama. The recovery will be longer than want next week but its something I understand.

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Superbowl in Vegas recap

Standard Las Vegas disclaimer apply's (ie what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas). I will only speak of my own actions on the weekend in order to protect the sanctity of those I traveled with, except when those actions are pure and altruistic. To get the big question out of the way, yes I did lose money. Oh please, you can't win every time you go and I lost a pittance compared to previous years.

We got in early Friday and I immediately went for a run while most of the group hit the tables. I was only going to run an hour, saving my legs for a hard Saturday run the next morning. To my surprise I felt very strong and continued to run for 2:04:00 and the distance of a half marathon. A pace of 9'28". Afterwards I went to the spa and spent a couple hours relaxing.

The group I was with all meet up for a dinner at a high society joint called Carnevino. I really wasn't in the mood for steak which they are world famous for. But I was cajoled into splitting a large two person cut of their award winning signature steak. It was delicious, creamy, fatty. Not only was it much more sophisticated than boring universe of normal foods, it was much to rare for my taste. Otherwise the evening progressed long into the morning with me gambling little and drinking an occasional cocktail. Mostly I just talked up everybody I met.

Some things never change. In my almost twenty years of Vegas trips, most all of them involve maximum people in a minimum room. The only thing that has really changed is the quality of casino and the size of the room which this years room at the Venetian was superb. I awoke on a great couch but not feeling great. In fact I felt quite ill and my stomach was killing me. I envisioned my previous couple weeks of stomach flu and remaining cold coming back. While everyone else headed to the buffets or the tables I puked myself silly in the bathroom. Other than a forced trip mid afternoon trip to get some bland food and water for the rest of the day, I stayed on the couch till Sunday morning with a horrible stomach.

Sunday I woke up much rested and feeling good. I went down to the gym to ride the bike for a bit and lift some weights. Afterward, I felt good but my stomach still not right. Luckily all of us agreed to meet for a classic buffet and Harrah's hit the spot with a awesome breakfast spread. It was great. I had a very good traditional breakfast, twice. Hey, it was all you could eat. I walked out with a waffle cone, not filled with ice cream, but with key lime pie. Waffle cone and pie. No better combination. Have no fear I ate less than half of it. Damn it.

Between the buffet and the Superbowl, we hit a couple of casinos and played some cheap tables. One lady asked a friend if he was winning this weekend. He looked at her with a straight face and said, "Lady, I'm playing $5 blackjack, do you think I'm winning this weekend?"

I didn't put anything on the game, so had no stake in the results. I am amazed at how little I gambled this trip. Usually we watch the game at a big crowded party, but I was not the only one who suffered from the Friday dinner so we all watched the game in a penthouse my partner was staying in, separate from us. After all was said and done in this town, it cames down to just the classic group of guys hanging around a flat screen and one-upping each other based on bets placed between them and how they played out during the game.

So many Las Vegas trips lose points because of disintegrating group dynamics revolving around morality, debt, communication and commonality but this one continued to get stronger each hour. with us. For me, this trip ranked somewhere in the high middle of all my Vegas outings. I've had 1's (worst) and 10's (best ever) and give this one a 7. Even though I was sick and on a couch for 24 hours, the group I was with was really tight and made up for all the other stuff.

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why should I worry, thats what you do

I really love my friends. I do. There are so many people that are invested in my successes (and failures) that it is hard to go through the day without smiling about my great fortune. If you can't say the same about your life, then I am truly sorry you can not understand this blessing.

For almost two years I ran as far away as I could from my competitive spirit as I could. My literal life depended on it. When I came back to training, it was purposefully uncoordinated, loose and without race specific goals. Believe it or not, I was quite happy with that. I wondered if I could become one of the mythical dudes people talk about who never raced but always surprised people in training how great I was. Chevy Chase in Caddyshack was my motivation in that. But those that know me, know that ain't me.

Admittedly it was reckless to make a marathon my first race back to being on a clock. And doing so has moved me even closer to the person I was before, though hopefully without the gigantic flaws. But I love my friends because they remind me of those flaws. It is so, so easy to get myself psyched for a race and forget what I have become. My friends keep me grounded. Boy do they keep me grounded.

Between the daily texts and the phone calls I get regular reminders to 'slow down', reminders of my 'don't kill yourself contract' I have with Mistress, others say, "are you effing nuts, you're an idiot." To race within my physical ability not my wish list. I have a big list. I am personally really looking forward to this marathon. Especially since unlike triathlons, I will be doing this whole thing with some of my closest friends around me in one big gaggle.

I will say that mentally, a marathon is a nothing distance to me. Whether that is a result of all the marathons and road races I have done since the early 1990's or my Ironman training or visualizations or just my Iron F#@king Willpower; it doesn't seem a huge hurdle for me.

The real test will be my bodies ability to handle that distance and really, truthfully, override my mind if things get tough. And if it can't, that's what my friends are there to do, make me do what my body wants, not what my mind wants. Then of course recover afterwards. And I already know that in this regard, my body will take much longer than it ever has to bounce back and I'm prepared for that.

It's exciting. I wouldn't be doing this marathon if it wasn't for my friends being there with me on the course race day and all the ones that have been there encouraging, motivating and most importantly holding me accountable throughout this whole ordeal.

Its not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Boys Town

This weekend continues a long standing tradition of going to Las Vegas for Superbowl weekend. Been doing this with mostly the same set of guys for the last dozen plus years. While I have in the past had some incredibly raucous and unrepeatable times in Vegas, (unless we're drinking at a bar and one upping each other, in which case I'll kick your ass), I thoroughly expect this weekend to be a decidedly low key affair.

I have actually planned this trip more as a workout retreat rather than a gambling, drinking, partying binge. I have a long run planned most days, in fact the first thing I'm doing when I get there is running the strip outside of town. Great route I've done before. You see a whole new level of Vegas when your not in a taxi. And sober. Okay, I will admit I love the gyms and spas in these hotels and look forward to soaking out my stress and sore muscles.

I don't even have gambling on my radar until Sunday. Not that I won't if I get the opportunity. Don't get me wrong I love to gamble. But get past the slot machines and the up & down adrenaline of table gambling and there is so much more to do there, even if you despise gambling. The shows, the events, the food, the strip itself. Its an incredibly entertaining experience. I have so many great experience in this town, I would actually love to bring Mighty Mo there in a year or so.

Whatever you do in life, don't just exist. Live.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


The time is fast approaching for my first race since 2008. Next weekend is the Lost Dutchman marathon. I would say my five week training plan was going good the first three weeks but this stomach flu to lungs to sinus crap is annoying. I'd say I am recovered except for the broken glass sound in my lungs when I run. Is what it is.

Mistress had a version of this. Both parents a version. Now Mae. She has pneumonia. One would think that as parents we would be flipping out that our 11 month old has pneumonia but c'mon, by now Mighty Mo had pneumonia or bronchitis four or five times on top of all the other surgeries, scopes, hospital stays. In fact, we are damn lucky with Mae.

The only downside is that Mae treats being sick like every other person that is not Mighty Mo, so she flops around, cry's, whines, drama over vomiting and feeling miserable. It's really been Mistress shouldering the burden of this 24/7. I am leaving this weekend for a guys trip so I have been trying to bank sleep for Mistress by taking Mae downstairs at night so Mistress can sleep in peace. Which means by default, I don't sleep at all.

I am not a napper. I don't sleep well at night. If I wake up I am fully awake and nothing puts me back down except exhaustion. So I am used to 18-20 hour days. I don't like them but I deal with it. Based on the last two nights I didn't sleep at all Monday night (41 hours up) Then got about four hours sleep last night in two different periods.

Luckily there is nothing on the agenda for the family this weekend so everyone will stay home while I am gone. Then next weekend is Mae's 1st birthday. A simple affair with just close family Saturday, My marathon is Sunday. Hopefully no hospital stay on Monday. And when the marathon goes well (i.e. finish standing up with a smile on my face) I will start officially tying all my other race and adventure plans together into a cohesive schedule. And boy, oh boy, that will be fun to look at.

It's not enough to exist. I am going to live.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A New Shiny Thing: Suunto Core

I have been hiking enough lately and planning events for the near future that I began looking for a ABC watch (Altimeter/Barometer/Compass). After looking a several makes and models, (a bit of sexy factor) I chose the Suunto Core light green model. Interestingly enough my purchase did not satisfy my desires for an unbreakable watch however I will get to that in a bit.

First off, Suunto has been in the business of outdoor supplies for years, mostly with compasses and diving equipment. It doesn't hurt that their Core line is damn sexy. Their watches are split into two face types, the 'light' which is watch in photo with a greyish background with dark numbers. Then the 'negative' or black watches which is black background and orange or greyish letters. I prefer a watch that is easier to read so chose the light version. Your mileage may vary. (YMMV)

The Time face allows you to see the time in two zones, plus the temperature, sunrise/sunset, seconds, date, countdown. The Altimeter/Barometer