Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm sure the neighbors think we're nuts...


...but it was fun!

Running in the snow

It wasn't on the plan, but I couldn't resist. For some reason I love trail running in a snow storm. No, it wasn't the blizzard conditions that would hit us a little later. It was just a windy and white little jaunt. See it here. I put in one fast mile. Cool Feature: When you pull up the activity from the link, click on the "Player" tab in the upper right. Switch the view to "Satellite" and zoom in. Now hit the play button.

Here's a news flash also: I'm not that fit yet! I've got a ways to go to match what I was doing last year, but then again it is only Dec. 31.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

If I could go drinking with one person...

...it would be Cesar Millan. I would just love to find out what he really thinks about some of the owners who appear on his show.

Husband: "I was never an animal person, but you know, in a marriage you have to make compromises."

Cesar: "I appreciate your honesty. Can you tell me, do your balls also sit in a jar on the night stand?"

The training has begun.

Day 1: An hour on the bike and 30 minutes running. The bike was a trainer ride in the cellar (insane wind today). The run was one of my typical routes. Here's the link. My GPS had some issues picking up the satellite (or maybe I just did it wrong!), so the first 3 minutes of the run are missing from the stats. If you look at the map it's pretty obvious.

Sunday in the foggy fog...


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tuesday's the day...

My journey to Lake Placid 2009 begins this Tuesday. As a coincidence Tuesday is also Tim's birthday. I guess my present to him is trying not to be too difficult! Anyway I'm mentally ready to get going. My weight will start at 160 even. I have no idea what my 20 minute avg power on the bike is or my current 5k (probably ~18 min), but I do know this: I'm going to be a sore pup for the next couple of weeks because this year I begin a lifting program as well as regular training. I'm not running Boston in April so really the only focus is Lake Placid. While some of my plans always seem to be way off base, I am hoping for the following:

Race day weight ~150 lbs
IM marathon time of 3:15
IM Bike time of < 5:30
Be much stronger than I have been in years

If I'm healthy and hit that weight and stay with the plan, both in training and in racing, the results should take care of themselves.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Used to be all you needed to go running were shoes.

I've finally moved to the next level of training with the help of Mrs. Claus; GPS enabled training courtesy my new Garmin Forerunner 305 training watch. It's going to take this blog to a whole new level as I can now share with you my full training experience. Follow the links in my training log entries to see the actual run, my pace at any point, my heart rate at any point, and much more... It should be pretty cool.

The maiden voyage can be seen here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I wanna damn cracker!

No Dylan, that's Graham cracker... GRAHAM cracker.

At what age do they learn to enunciate? :-)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

'Twas the week before Christmas...

...and oh what a mess.
The kids and the spouses just flippin' with stress.
The snot was all running right out of their noses,
and Dylan's latest present really wasn't some roses!

I haven't trained since Tuesday, so I'm getting a little nutty as well. I did shovel a lot of snow yesterday, and a lot of slush today, so that counts for something. I need to just get rid of this cold so I can start getting serious again. It's actually stressing me out hearing about teammates putting in 4 hr rides right now. Yeah that's not what works best for me this time of year, but it does stress me out nonetheless. I feel like I'm being left behind again. It all rolls up into one of my biggest stressors: the realization that I actually am pretty talented, and if I just put the time in I'd be really fast. I did a 10:22 Ironman on what is widely regarded as an absurdly light training schedule. If I just put in a bit more time...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Training update

4 miles w/1 mile hard, but not all out, for the 2nd mile. 5:25. I'll take that. I also did some lifting. Was a little pissed by the lady who camped out on the leg press machine, including making a cell phone call during her "set".

I've got other things, work related, on my mind too. However, I think I might pass on publishing them at this time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Training week

Not a lot of activity, but some decent quality. A couple of runs on the indoor track. Not too long (4+ miles or so). The first had 2 x 1 mile pretty hard, but not all out. My miles were 5:48 and 5:42. The second had 400m repeats, hard. I would run 1/2 mile easy, then the 400 hard, and then the final quarter easy, then right into the next set (no stopping). I did this 3 times. My 400s were 1:10, 1:06, and 1:06. They kind of hurt.
Yesterday was 45 minute on the trainer. I use that time to catch up on missed episodes of TV shows I watch by streaming them to my laptop. Yesterday I watched the Thanksgiving week episode of "Chuck". I got out of the saddle and pushed a big gear every commercial break (30 sec).
Today I warmed up with 25 minutes on the trainer watching this week's "30 Rock". Then it was my 8.5 mile loop out around Sachuest point. 54:44 was the run time. I'm pleased with that.

So all in all a decent week. Also this last week I learned that Brown is extending out X-mas break to save electricity and heat. I'm off from Dec. 19th to Jan. 5th. Only in higher ed... Time to jump start the training!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A blog in review

I take time every now and then to go back through my blog. I like to remember where I was as opposed to where I am now. Sometimes it's entertaining, e.g. bemoaning my loss of 5k type running speed due to my advancing years in 2007. Sometimes it's sobering, e.g. the losses of Bentley and Otis. And then there are those posts which never went public; the posts saved as draft. I mention this because at one point I was venting about doctors who so quickly prescribe drugs, and then when there are issues related to the drugs make it sound like you are the problem not the drug. Hey, tobacco pharmaceutical companies don't lie, right?
Anyway 2007 was the year of asthma for Alexandra. She had breathing issues and bronchitis from April until November. All tolled, we probably had more than a dozen prescriptions filled. One of the early drugs in her maintenance protocol was Singulair. We gave Alexandra maybe one or two doses before we realized this stuff was nuts. It made her insane. She was uncontrollable. She was impervious to pain. It was one of the most frightening experiences I can recall. We called our pediatrician, and he told us it was something we were doing and not the drugs. I was pissed. We were not imagining this. We stopped the drug for good and dumped the doctor for a time (long story).
Flash forward to today. I was listening to NPR and was clued in to the FDA review of asthma drugs. And I came across this on the FDA site. I'm pissed all over again.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good to be back home

I really like going to Pittsburgh to see my family each year, but the drive is rough. That said it went as well as it could this year, minus a 60 minute meltdown by both kids just before getting to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Ct. Of course I'm all wired up from the last leg of the drive, so I won't be getting to sleep for a little while here.

We stayed an extra day this year and it helped relieved the pressure related to seeing the whole family. We were less rushed so we enjoyed our time more. The kids got to play more too (as opposed to just riding in the car for the week). Alexandra likes air hockey! I also got 12.5 miles of running in. That still doesn't make up for the calories ingested, but hopefully my body doesn't go too much into shock tomorrow when I hit the bike for an hour or so.

A special thanks goes to my lovely wife and my sister-in-law for once again cranking out a great Thanksgiving dinner.

Alexandra and Dylan with their cousins

Oh yes, this rain sucks...

Monday, November 17, 2008

No, I did not step in dog poop!

I had a pretty good run today. About 6 miles at lunch. It was clear and cool. I had my racing flats on which always seems to help when I've been suffering from slow legs. They weigh nothing. There was another guy out running today. He was 50 or so yards ahead of me when I started my run. I caught up and then passed him. He was a guy and a runner wearing a race t-shirt. That meant one thing: he was going to try and go with me as I passed. He tried.

I got back to work and noticed an aroma coming from my running shoes. Then I remembered running under a patch of ginkgo. Ever since I was a boy I remember the scent of the fruit of the ginkgo. We called them stink-o trees. I check my shoes every time...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Greetings Pointers

- You know, when you started getting invited to your ten year high school reunion, time is catching up.
- Are you talking about a sense of my own mortality or a fear of death?
- Well, I never really thought about it quite like that.
- Did you go to yours?
- Yes, I did. It was just as if everyone had swelled.

This time it's not the 10th, it's the 25th! Time's caught up, passed, and kept right on book'n. Here's the thing with me and my high school experience: I didn't really like it, not even a little. However, those 4 years played as large a role in the development of my persona as any in my life. It was sink or swim with so many unthinkable things going on. Frankly there is no way in our litigious society that the Kent School of the early 80s could be allowed to exist. It was Lord of the Flies. If it were today and just one of the many beaten and humiliated kids stepped up and talked, lawyers would have shut it down. At the same time there is no doubt I left there a different person. I'll stop short of saying better; I was not better. I was different. Where I had been a somewhat naive (not totally, as I had already witnessed/endured some of the dark side of man) boy when I entered, I left as a more jaded, at times cruel, definitely devious, and ironically self-confident and mentally impenetrable young man. I discovered that smart really could trump strong or popular. But it would be years until I learned to harness these skills which had been unearthed, and in the time leading up to that enlightenment I'd make plenty of regrettable decisions.

But here I sit 25 years later and I do think I'm a better person. Definitely better than I was then. That mental toughness carries me through grueling workouts, races, and life in general. I bend but never break. And now I do not use this talent to defy someone else, but rather I try to hold it up as an example for others. As human beings we are capable of so much more than we know. Never start from a position of compromise. Always strive for excellence and let the inner strength help you persevere. And in the end if you come up a little short of that ideal goal, well then humility helps you accept it and the indomitable spirit persuades you to try it again.

So here's the question: Do I become the person I am today if I don't go to Kent? Do I owe anything for the skills unearthed or am I owed for the scars left behind. Obviously that can never be answered. And while nobody who went there is part of my life, nor do I seek them to be, there is a bit of curiosity as to what others have discovered and/or become.

Still I doubt I'll go.

The diet starts tomorrow

Okay, I'm officially disgusted with myself. Tomorrow it's time to stop the bleeding and start reestablishing my place as a machine! Seriously I hate feeling like crap, bloated, irregular, sluggish... I know what feeling good feels like and this just ain't it. The first step is to get the workouts on regular intervals, every other day for the most part, and make sure I'm away from my desk at least going for a walk every day. Also the beer and wine quantities need to drop. I'm not a really big drinker, but it's time to make it just a couple times a week activity. Breakfast everyday, no exceptions. This is huge for regulating my sugar and energy levels throughout the day.

Think of this as my off season conditioning program beginning. I need to bring it up enough so I can start with Tim in mid-December. I think I'll start logging all my workouts like I used to because it'll keep me more honest. Speaking of which, I did have a really excellent run last Thursday. It was 7.75 miles at lunch. I was moving well and felt good. There was another runner out who was moving well also. Even though we didn't run together it was motivating. Fast people make me run fast. It's that ego thing.

I ran 4.25 yesterday and it wasn't so good.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Catching up

As I write this I'm sitting on my trainer spinning an easy gear. It's actually not that easy to do, because the keyboard keeps moving. I'm in the middle of my weekly 90 minute "parachute" training session. I call them that because their purpose is to slow my loss of fitness, not prevent it. I hope to hit the beginning of the real preparation (after X-mas) feeling unfit from a mental standpoint, but actually in okay physical shape. Mentally I am near the point of feeling sloth-like, complete with self-loathing. Physically the metrics are still pretty good. My mile repeats are still sub-5:40.

My performances seem largely governed by neuro-muscular response, and not overall strength. Put simply I'm efficient, not strong or fast. I compete by not slowing down. Years and years of repetition work in my favor. I also "remember" what a given effort should feel like. It's hard to fully explain that to people, but it is this ability to draw on past sensations that I feel gives me my above average ability to pace. The running version of perfect pitch.

So with my body handling these workouts without interference from my brain, I'm able to think about many things, e.g.:
- The election. For me it said something unexpected about our country. Personally I don't care who you voted for; I myself struggled a bit with this. I do care why you voted. I don't believe in just voting against someone by voting for someone else. "I'm voting for the white guy" was the most discouraging comment I heard. Fortunately it appears those people are the minority.
- My family. I'm spending more one-on-one time w/Dylan and we're getting along better for it. I had a good day with him yesterday, and we're raking leaves today. As for Alexandra, I'm just trying to keep up with how quickly she's changing. We have that special father/daughter bond. And Leanna, well that's the toughest part. Still trying to be a better husband. It's not easy.
- Work and Personal finances. I try to keep this to a minimum, but it always sneaks in. Most of the time is spent figuring out how I can reduce the demands of work so I can focus on the important stuff.

It's my generation's time to lead. And you know what? I'm not sure how to start. There's a guy from NYC who organized peace runs in Kenya this past spring following the country's post election violence. I wouldn't even know where to start. I have a wacky idea about following in the steps of Bill Bowerman. No not in founding the corporation that would become Nike. Instead it's to follow in his footsteps with regards to getting the community engaged in activity, and to center that activity around track. You see the town where I live sports a pretty decent outdoor running facility, complete with tartan surface and lights. I've had this idea of Wednesday night track night for residents of the town. I wouldn't be fostering world peace, but maybe I can try and do something about childhood obesity. Maybe just getting a few families involved could have a snowballing effect. Maybe. Maybe I'm dreaming too. But then again some guy from New York put on races in Kenya (oh yeah, he also runs a charity which donates shoes to Africa).


**Update**
It was one of those perfect fall running days. A little bit of coolness in the air, but the sun was strong and warm. Shorts and a long sleeve shirt. I really enjoyed just being on the road today. Only ditching the watch would have made it better. Yeah I had the watch. Hopelessly addicted to performance metrics. My pace was well off today. While anxiety always has me fearing that the "big slowdown" has finally started, I think it's a safe bet the real culprit was the mile repeats on Friday. "Thick" legs makes for slow turnover, but my endurance was good. So I'm about 2 miles into the 7 mile run, thinking about those things I think about. My mind starts to wander and I recall my high school x-country days, and I start to remember, again, my one and only real running partner Brian. I've written about him before, 4 years ago actually. Today I thought about how I never really pursued the issue of discovering the manner of his death. I didn't really want to find that he never outran his demons. Then I think that thanks to my little muffin and her sidekick, I've beaten mine for good.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Unexpected performance limiter

I can address most limitations that appear in my training. Diet, weight, work stress...eventually I can put them to rights. However I'm now confronting a new challenge: Monsters in the closet. That's right, I had heard it can happen anywhere and at almost any time, and it has finally happened to us. Our closets have monsters. I've also been told we occasionally have one or more under the beds as well. Now I have to figure out how to get rid of them. Think they'll take 3 fitty?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The world according to Alexandra

"I used to have a dog named Otis. Now I have Dylan!"

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Odd Day

Today was a weird one. Leanna is with friends in Boston. The kids spent the day with Grandma and Grandpa. It's raining so I had no yard work to do. I'm doing a longish workout tomorrow, so I'm resting today. So I found myself with nothing to do, and I realized I'm really bad at having nothing to do. I left the house in my truck and felt like a rudderless ship. I had no idea where to go. I called my friend Austin for guidance. Hell I needed help! I went to an italian deli in Newport where I had some lasagna and stuffed cherry peppers, and then went to Barnes and Noble where I had a double espresso and a chocolate cupcake. Aside: I'm thinking an espresso is actually more pretentious than a latte or cappuccino because of the little little cup (demitasse). I read "Men's Journal" (which I later bought) and picked up a novel. And I did all that in 2 hours. I'm really bad at nothing. So I went back home and worked for a bit. Pretty sad. I did ride my trainer for 30 minutes but that's like working. I was supposed to do other stuff today, and I just didn't no what to do. Maybe I need friends? Okay in the interest of full disclosure there was something I was thinking about doing, going to an open house at Tim's parents house, but I felt a little bit under the weather and more just didn't want to drive the hour to Brockton in the midst of Ike.

So I've come to the conclusion that I'm a lost cause. I can't do nothing. I can't nap. I can't sleep in. Do you hear me? I CAN'T DO NOTHING. Hmmm, I think I know where Alexandra gets it now! (fyi, Leanna sucks at doing nothing too. Maybe that's why we are perfect for each other!)

On a final somber note, I am pretty bummed about Paul Newman dying. Some of his movies are one among those I remember the best, including Butch Cassidy, the Sting, Cool Hand Luke, and Color of Money, (oh...and Slap Shot!).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Impromptu swim in Maine

We went to Ogunquit, Maine for a long weekend last week. The weather was questionable because Gustav was coming through. Instead we went for walks; Daddy with Dylan in the backpack, and Alexandra in the jogging stroller. When we got down to the beach the tide was out leaving lots of hard packed sand and tidal pools. Well the kids weren't dressed for swimming, but what the hell...


Zoooom (part 2)...

Daddy's still got some speed too. I haven't trained more than 4 days in a week since Lake Placid, and no more than 3 runs in a week. No runs longer than 6 miles. A glass or two of wine almost every night. Sure the workouts I have done have been focused on maintaining leg strength (hills) and lactate threshold(intervals/tempo), but I haven't put the whole thing to the test in 2 months. Today I decided to see if I had enough residual fitness to try a fall marathon. I tested on my 10.7 mile loop. I went out quick with good leg turnover. Long story short, I stayed quick. My final time of 1:06:32 was the fastest time I've ever posted on that loop. However, something else happened on the run. As I became more relaxed about my fitness, I lost my motivation to run a marathon this fall as well. It's been a tough year of training and I'm not mentally ready to go back to long workouts. 75 minutes is long enough for now. 90 if I'm feeling really antsy. Tim wants me to be ready to go in December if I'm serious about breaking 10 hrs for Ironman. I'm thinking I better enjoy life now 'cause there are going to be some long painful work next year.

Zoooom...

The kids are growing. While Dylan has simply incredible language skills (no doubt aided by the constant stream of noise coming from big sister), physically Alexandra is on the steep curve right now. Maybe it's all the tricycle riding, but her running speed has increased dramatically in the last 4 weeks. She is now much more balanced and coordinated and her leg turnover is really quick (like it is on the tricycle). She calls it going "Super fast". I can't just fast walk and keep up with her. She can close on me if I'm only jogging after something. The clip below was taken today. Note the last 5 or 6 seconds. Maybe it's just me, the proud daddy, but I think she's got something...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Alexandra rode a bicycle today!

Last couple of months she's been a tricycle ridin' fool. Now she's up on 2 wheels (with training wheels). I'm both excited and maybe a tad wary. She's growing up fast.

Friday, August 22, 2008

General Update

Things are settling back to normal after a turbulent couple of weeks. We had a death in the family which threw a wrench into the routines for a bit.

Dylan is now 2 years old. His actual birthday was the 18th, but we're having his parties (one for RI friends and one for family in CT) this weekend. And speaking of Dylan, he's now been with us longer than he's been without us. As you'll recall we got him the day before his first birthday last year. We're now just 3 days shy of the anniversary of "wheels down" at Logan airport, the day we celebrate as "gotch ya day". For Alexandra that day is October 9.

Alexandra has completed her time at Club Sprouts, a pre-school like program which has served as valuable bridge for her. Coincidentally the center itself looks to be closing. You see, I told Leanna with what they charge clearly we were the ones keeping it in business!! :-) Next it is on the formal pre-school. I'm hopeful this will work out. Education in the United States in general I have serious doubts about, but I think we're okay for the next year or so.

I'm starting a part-time job next week (and training and working my full-time job and most of all being a daddy), and yes I have no clue how I'll manage. The big loser will be my sleep and thus my short-term memory function (it has been noticably compromised at times. A little alarming but I'm fairly confident it is not a long term thing). However facts are facts; I'm looking to go to Hawaii next year and I just don't make enough working in higher ed to pay for that trip. Not a big deal, I enjoy the type of work I'll be doing (actually more than I enjoy my current job), and it pays really well so I don't need to put in too many hours. No Pat, I'm not going to be a male prostitute.

Well time to shower and start another day.

Thank you for stopping by,

Joel

PS: Emily, if you want to slide me a pair of tickets to the big island, or maybe just a voucher for bike transport, I won't complain. I'd gladly take the NASCAR approach to training and racing for the next year throwing names and logos on every item of clothing I've got.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back in the groove

Today marked the first workout since Lake Placid where I felt "normal" again. My paces are still off, but that's not a concern. The big improvement was in my energy levels, which are back up. I wasn't draggin' ass during the workout. Instead I put in a nice, not spectacular, 50 minutes on the trainer and 28:08 running. A slight amount of power work was thrown in on the bike. I feel fine now. Don't get me wrong though, I still hope the kids sleep in tomorrow.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Are you watching the Olympics?

Okay if you've followed this blog for a while you've probably guessed that I've always been a fan of Olympic sport. I've talked about the special meaning it has for me to finish Ironman Lake Placid on the speed skating oval in Lake Placid, because that is the same oval where, in 1980, Eric Heiden skated to 5 gold medals.
I'll admit even though I'm hardcore when it comes to this, the last decade or so has really tested my commitment. The summer games especially had become sooo commercial and it seemed the only event that mattered was the men's 100m sprint final. And of course PED (performance enhancing drug) scandals have now tarnished those already less than satisfactory experiences.
Well then I watched the opening ceremonies from Beijing on Friday. Wow. I also realized that I'm hearing nothing about track, almost nothing about basketball, and tons about swimming. Michael Phelps, not LeBron James or Kobe Bryant owns the airwaves. NBC is doing a much better job in the coverage as well. Well execpt for Al Trauwig on gymnastics. Apparently he didn't get the memo that when you're calling an event that really occurred earlier you don't give away the ending. "And then it all went wrong for the American. Watch her vault. Everything seems fine and then it all comes apart on the landing." Thanks Al, can I watch it myself?

I'm back and glued to my TV.

(and while the "story" that everyone is sticking to claims that President Bush was discussing the developments in Georgia with Vladimir Putin, I still think he was taking a food order for the row. "Hey, what's a guy gotta do to get a hotdog around here?" And of course later on, "Who directed this show? Johnny Mo? Doesn't sound Chinese to me? Did he play for the Angels?")

Here mama...

Dylan's had a rough weekend. It started Friday while we were out on the deck. Dylan was playing on his scooter when suddenly he runs towards his mommy with his hand out stretched. "Here mama. Here mama." Next I hear Leanna scream and lurch to her left. Dylan had brought her a live Carpenter Bee. Yes it had stung his hand. While we watched him like hawks for the next hour, there were no issues other than his hand swelling up like a little pork chop. Saturday morning everything was back to normal, well except for his cold...

Friday, August 08, 2008

My Diet

If you've been reading this blog you've seen reference to my weight. It's not just the long training hours that have brought it down (I'm 154 now). I'm pretty sure my dietary choices are helping.

I did not set out to lose weight. Rather I started out wanted to know that my kids were eating well, and that they were eating the same things we were eating, not "special meals" because they wanted to be picky. Knock on wood, it is working.

Here are the basics:
Breakfast every morning. A good breakfast with ample protein. Try to get in 500 calories. Eggs, maybe waffles (jam not syrup on them), yogurt w/ground flaxseed added, fruit. A bagel w/cream cheese once or twice a week.
Snack at mid-morning. Apple and Banana or yogurt.
Lunch based on left-overs from previous night's dinner. When I was deep in training I would also have a salad (mixed greens or baby spinach) with nuts, dried cranberries, and a raspberry dressing.
Snack mid-afternoon, usually a yogurt if I didn't eat it earlier.
One helping at dinner. We use 9" plates (it really does make a difference). Typically lean meat or fish or something based on whole wheat pasta.

I've been keeping bread and milk consumption down pretty low. No sugar in my coffee (try using honey, it's really good). No cream. No artificial sweeteners either. They're killers...literally. I also don't snack on sports drinks. They are used exclusively just before, during, and just after workouts.

Oh yes, and beer (or wine, one or two reasonable glasses), natural tortilla chips or Ben and Jerry's Karmel Sutra (v. small scoop maybe once or twice a week) after the kids go to sleep!

I think it's a matter of what I'm not eating, not what I am eating because clearly I still have some vices in there, especially after dinner. I think the timing/frequency is also important. My body knows that there is always more food coming so it doesn't go into survival mode and try to store every calorie I eat, as would happen on some sort of deprivation diet.

Must...work...out...

Gettin' a little stir crazy. In fact Dylan brought me my running shoes this morning. His way of saying "Get the hell out the door Dadda. You're makin' us nuts."

I've been swimming 3 times, running once, and walking once. This weekend I'm back on the bike.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Fat'n Happy Time

Okay not so fat and getting a little antsy to start working out again. I've recovered from Lake Placid and have got to spend a little more time focused on work and the family. Time to put work back up on the shelf again and get back in shape! :-)
I've re-upped for Lake Placid again next year. I've also booked my lodging. The family is coming with me. You're hearing it here now: I'm going to qualify for Hawaii. In retrospect I think I subconsciously sabotaged my chances this year because I had serious doubts about being able to afford the trip. Sure I have those concerns for next year as well, but I've also got a year to figure it out.
Racing has become more of a job and less of a hobby. While I do it far less than I used to, there are now logistics, budgets, etc... oh yes and more than a little training. When it all comes together like it did in LP, though, it really is satisfying. It's way more satisfying than my job, even when my job is going well, and that's a point which I think few employers understand. I recently talked to a CEO of a small company over coffee and he said he thought work should slot in 2nd after family: sorry dude, too high. If I was told that I would lose my job if I went to Lake Placid or Hawaii for a week for a race, I'd be looking for a new job. I wish I could explain the empowerment I feel in the rest of my life following a good race. When I composed my race report after 2003 I remember thinking that while I don't believe the race, my first Ironman, changed me, it was this incredible affirmation of who I was or at least who I thought I was. Emotionally I was a train wreck going into that race. I remember sulking in the rain (it rained non-stop that June) while I trained. I remember crying on runs, "what if I can't do it? What if all those things I tell myself (about being special, talented, etc...) are bullshit?" I was sure if I didn't finish I'd be broken.

I struggled mightily during the race.

I finished.

5 years later my life is soooo different, but it all started during the Ironman in Lake Placid. From the moment I knew I was going to finish the clouds in my mind and on my soul lifted and I knew the meaning of life, my life anyway.
One thing:
Okay, I guess that's two things!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A wet and wild time in Lake Placid

What a weekend. Hard to focus and get all the pertinent details out. I guess I'll start at the end. No, I didn't qualify for Hawaii this year, but I only missed by 2 minutes and 23 seconds. My friend/coach Tim came up to me after the finished and asked in amazement how I did that. His estimates had me going at least 30 minutes slower. My finish was 10:21:56, a personal best by 37 minutes. I placed 113 out of 2345 competitors and 17 out of 369 men aged 40-44. So I've raced Lake Placid 3 times, and have improved almost 2 hours in those attempts. Not too bad. The following pictures are from the three years: 2003, 2005, and 2008. In 2003 I did not have kids. In 2005 I had Alexandra. This year, well you know the deal...



Before I get into the race report, let me tell you a little bit about the weekend. Everything was normal: registration, pre-race workouts, focus...focus...focus. And then on Friday, while eating pizza at Mr. Mike's on Main St. in Lake Placid, I got a text message from Tim. It said to meet at Mirror Lake at 3:00 pm. Okay, we're all doing our pre-race swim together. Well 3:00pm rolls around and I jog over to the lake with my bag of gear. When I get there I don't see anyone I know getting ready to swim. What I do see is a group congregating by the "water slide" on the edge of the lake. As I near I hear a mother shush her son, "shhhh...it's a wedding." And then it hits me, holy SH-T! Tim and his long time girlfriend (and also a pro triathlete) Cait are finally getting married. It had been kept a secret from everyone, including the parents. Nobody knew until that day, well, nobody but the race registrar and the town of Lake Placid. It was a huge surprise and served to really level my head and relax before the race. I'm really, really happy for them.


And lest you think they're just a "good look'n" couple. Tim finished 10th overall and Cait won the women's race with a new course record on the run.


So what about my race? Well it was wet. I mean really wet. I joked with one of the locals, "I guess your definition of scattered showers is that there was a brief break between the two raindrops that just hit me." 2003 was wet also, but was more of the windy squall variety. This was just a steady, sometimes crazy heavy, rain. The good news is that there was no wind, but boy there was enough water to make one of my bike brakes stop working. That's lots of fun (I'm being sarcastic) when the course features a 6 mile 40+ mph decent.
The rain started literally as we stepped into the water for the start of the race. As there was no lightening it wasn't a big deal during the swim. My swim time was slow, slower than the 1st two years, but at least I met my goal of not expending any real energy. Leaving the water in 1 hour 10 minutes did mean I was firmly mired in the thick of "the pack." I had to wait ~2 minutes in a line just to mount my bike (recall I said I missed Hawaii by 2:23). My "official" time for the bike was 5:32. My actual time (kept on my watch) was just under 5:30.
I felt great on my bike. In fact I didn't even feel like I was going that fast. I was spinning easily and thought that everyone else was just really slow. I knew I wasn't going too hard because I was keeping tabs on things with my heart rate monitor. The pulse was low so I was good. On course I saw my mates a few times, and also had a few "enjoyable" encounters in the "fittest CEO" division. I guess it goes with being a CEO triathlete, but to a man they all seemed to be a--holes.
My run went well. Once again I saw my mates on the road, and to a man they all warned me to take it easy and not blow up, but I was good to go. I did hit a rough patch at mile 14, but even that wasn't as bad as I'd been through in other years. Absolutely no cramping this year. Oh, I had to pee every couple of miles. At ~40 seconds per pee (3 on the run alone), I literally pissed away my trip to Hawaii. As it turns out peeing was a common problem for many racers. Everyone had planned for hot and humid, so our nutrition plans were all based on fluid intake. Well now it was cool and rainy, but you still need the calories, so...
When I hit the oval I was really happy. Usually my races end up with my 'A' goal being missed, and me being happy with hitting the 'B' goal. Today I had hit my 'A' goal (10:20ish). It was a good day. I am happy. Hell I think I'll do it again next year. I know Tim will be there as well.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's go time

Knee healing (~95%).
Equipment packed. I've practically got 2 of everything.
Mostly rested.
Mostly fit.
Tipping the scales at 153.5.
Nothing to do but do it. I'm wearing my heart monitor race day so I don't need my brain!

Dinner tonight at Lisa G's in Lake Placid.

http://ironman.com/events/ironman/lakeplacid

BIB NUMBER LAST NAME FIRST NAME AGE SEX CLASSIFICATION DIVISION
1187 KEHM JOEL 42 M AGE M40-44

"It's 334 miles to Lake Placid. I've got a full tank of gas, 1/2 a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and I'm wearing sunglasses."

I'm downstairs with Alexandra right now. Everyone else is still sleeping. I love the racing but I hate the leaving and being away. I can't wait until they're a little older.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Final Dawn Patrol

Okay I will be getting up early a few more times, but this is the last time I'll be getting up pre-5:00am to log a 5 hour workout. You see the prep for Placid is done. It's hard for me to believe that I've been working with Tim for 20 weeks now. All that's left is to make it to next Sunday without injuring myself further (minor aches and pains in the last week), and then it's go time. I'll post one more time before race day with the athlete tracking information and any pre-race thoughts as well as time predictions.

Until then have a good day,

Joel

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pass the jelly

Well for the first time in my triathlon/open water career I've had an unfavorable encounter with a sea critter. Today I jammed my exposed right arm into a 6 inch Lion's Mane jellyfish. I was about 25 yds off shore and was pretty well panicked as I tried to get in without hitting another one. At first it really burned like hell. Now the bicep and shoulder are achy. This sucks. It's far from life threatening, but damn it's no fun.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Observing humanity

I did my longest workout of the year so far, longer even than the race I did earlier in the month. It was mostly a bike ride with 40 minutes of running tacked onto the end. Don't tell Tim, but I cheated a little. Instead of the 3hr 40min he had prescribed, I went out for 5 hrs. I ride on a loop around the area of my house and it takes a little less than an hour to complete one loop. It proved to be very interesting tracing and retracing the same path and watching how the activities of the day unfolded at a given location. e.g. On the first loop near the end of the second beach road I spied a deer. This was not unexpected. Since I start at 5:00am, the first loop is typically the "critter" loop. All of the animals who cohabitate with us as going about their business as the majority of the humans are still in bed. By the third loop the deer had moved on, though some of his brethren could still be seen about. Instead her presence had been replaced by that of a "human". I use the term lightly. Big tub of goo smoking a cigarette and pissing on the side of the road is the more accurate description. And finally on lap five there was the middle aged couple walking their big German Shepherd, I'll call him "Sparky". Well Sparky picked up a sent and was pulling his "master" (Caesar would not have approved) toward it. Ahh nature in action...the German Shepherd driven by instinct to follow the scent of the deer...ah...ooh...no... the scent of the piss from the fat tub of goo. Excuse me sir, you might not want him to get too into that. Yeah...not so good.
Following the ride it was back to real life: screaming cranky children. I finished up the run, grabbed some food, and me them down at the beach before Leanna could file the divorce papers. All this got me to thinking: If the planets align and I get a spot for Ironman Hawaii, they're all coming with me, and so are my in-laws and anyone else who can make it. This is one of those "life list" items. So what if I don't have the money for this, if I pull it off I'm not sure I'll ever even want to do this again. I mean there are better things to do Sunday morning than watch a big hungover fat guy piss on the road.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The disappearing daddy

Tim's been work'n me hard, but has concerns about my lack of volume. Okay 14 hr training weeks are small to him, but they're huge to the rest of us! This has resulted in what one of our friends described as "the incredible disappearing daddy." Yes I've dropped weight. No I was not big before, but I'm 14 lbs lighter than this winter and the lightest I've been in 15 years. However I'm still feeling pretty good and my performance numbers are on track for a good race in Lake Placid. The following is a picture from a race in Bristol N.H. 10 days ago run in 98 degree heat. That was no fun, but I still managed an age group podium spot. Yes I do know how to put a hat on! There's a cold water soaked sponge under it to help keep my brain cool.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

More Beer Wisdom

"Beer...you my only friend."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Daddy, are you a Prince?

Alexandra is entering that 1,000,000 questions phase of life. It's cute, but yes can get tiresome as well. Yesterday was our 14th wedding anniversary. While we weren't really able to celebrate it, we did dig out the wedding video. I had not seen it in years. Hell, it's on VHS and I wasn't even sure if our old VCR still worked. But it did and we watched it. Alexandra was captivated by it. It was so adorable. I enjoyed it too: seeing how we looked then vs. how we look now, seeing old friends who are still friends, and seeing and remembering all those who have since passed away. Alexandra noted the conspicuous absence of her little brother and all of her cousins with the exception of Jacquet, who was not recognizable to her because he was so young. After the long...long...long ceremony and the marathon of pictures, the video moved onto the reception. Alexandra wanted to know about receptions. And then the first dance. She wanted to know what we were doing. Using an analogy I was pretty sure she'd get, I said "Honey, it's like when Cinderella dances with the Prince."

"Daddy, are you a Prince?"

I think there were tears all around the room.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My three compartments

My life is more or less governed by three main compartments: Family, Training, and Work. I've found that in general I can handle floods in two of the compartments, but when the third floods as well we have problems. From late March until a few weeks ago, I had issues with work (reorganization and new boss) and training (just the general stress associated with the physical load increasing). Then Alexandra got a cold and had her asthma flare up: Three compartments flooding. Not surprisingly I broke down pretty quickly. I got a nice case of shingles. Thankfully no blisters, but the pain along my right side was at times pretty severe, much like a bad sunburn...all the time. I was forced to dial back on the one thing over which I had complete control; my training. That also created some stress, in the form of concern about my fitness going into my two biggest months of the year. Nonetheless my immune system needed to recover so I started taking every other day off.

It is now 3 weeks since the pain started. It is getting a bit better, but is not gone. More important, however, is the fact that I believe I am getting work back under control. That all started with a presentation I did for a vendor sponsored seminar. The feedback I got was that it was one of the better customer presentations they had ever heard. This got me feeling good about myself as a professional again, and thus restored my confidence in my strategies at work. The next key moment came during a training run this last week. I decided to "break training" a little and test the legs by running a strong, but not all out, mile. I looked to run 5:45 to 5:50. When I stopped my watch at the end it said 5:27.89. Oh boy, I still had some speed. And Alexandra was taken back off of her asthma meds, which make her insane at times, and the asthma did not return. That was the best one ever. Well obviously things were on a steady upswing again, and because of that I considered NOT going to my first multisport race of the year; the Coast Guard Duathlon (run/bike/run). I was a little emotionally drained and just wanted to rest. However, I did go. I'm a believer in momentum and I had some positive mo' going right now. The plan was to race hard, but not kill myself. I still had a 4 hour workout planned this weekend, and the race was more of a glorified training session than a race. I'm happy to say I executed the plan well. In fact because I was so relaxed I had some of the best transitions (when you switch from one discipline to the next) that I've ever had: 33 seconds from the run onto the bike, and 29 seconds from the bike back onto the run. My racing was pretty good too. Out of 240 starters (duathon's don't get very big fields) I finished 5th overall (again), 30 seconds out of 2nd place, and won my age group (M40-44) by almost 2 minutes. My time was also more than a minute faster than last year.

So there's a lesson here: you can't fight a war on multiple fronts. I try to, but it just doesn't work. The key is to take a step back, get a couple of things under control, and then ride the wave as things start going well again. It's an important life lesson and one I hope to remember next time BEFORE I get a condition most commonly seen in people over 60.

PS: If you haven't noticed from the previous posts, one other thing I did was to spend more quality time with the kids. They're a lot of work, but they're also skilled at refocusing your priorities.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The 4yr old check-up

The best analogy I can come up with is the 60K service for your car. They don't really tell you what's involved and when you find out you sh-- yourself. 4 shots, poking, prodding and some drawn blood later there almost weren't enough brides to make up for it. Fortunately battery powered James the Engine for her train set got it done.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

We're okay.

I just re-read my last post, and want to reassure friends and family that while it is a rough patch, everyone will be fine in a few days. Alexandra's still a little sick and might have a sinus infection, but the asthma episode has passed and she is sleeping better. Can't wait to get her off the meds again (another day or two) because they make her nuts, but the end is in sight.

Time to go get Dylan up!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A family nearing exhaustion

Up at 1:00, 2:00, 4:00, 5:00. Stayed up at 5:00 to start my workout. I knew I wasn't going to get to sleep. About 1/2 hr into my 3 hr ride (in the basement on the trainer), I hear the all too familiar thumping of feet coming down the stairs from the 2nd to 1st floor. It was the unmistakable plodding of Miss Alexandra. You see she's got another cold and is having an asthma episode. That's why we were all up. We cranked up the inhalers again today, and things seem to be calming down.
Anyway, back to the workout. After the first hour I went outside to continue riding because it was now light. Well about 1/2hr into this one a cold rain began pouring down. I was pretty cold when I turned for home. I finished up a 2nd hour of riding, but was still an hour of biking and 20 minutes of running short of the whole workout that Tim had scheduled. It didn't look like the rest was in the cards today. I sent Leanna up for a nap and at 11:45am Alexandra followed. I had a bit of quality time with the big D. It was pretty cool. Dylan then went down for his usual at 1:20. Due to the unexpected situation where both kids were napping, I finished the workout with another session on the trainer and then the run. I'm beat. I didn't get a nap. Yes I'm just piss'n and moan'n.
When I put Alexandra to bed tonight she said, "Daddy. I had a bad day." "I know sweetie, but I promise tomorrow will be better."

Now off to bed with you, and me.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Still on the road to recovery

I know it's only been 5 days, but this has been a harder week than any week after a marathon in the last 8 years or so. Actually there are some good signs: my overall energy levels are good meaning I did not tap my central nervous system the way I did in October. However, my legs, specifically the Vastus intermedius, are still pretty wrecked. I have been able to ride my bike a bit, but putting pressure down on the pedals causes discomfort. Likewise pushing off the wall while swimming has also been a bit more painful than you'd expect.
The plan is to race again in 4 weeks (might not work out due to family obligations). It's a short race and one at which I've had some success, so it shouldn't be too big a deal. The idea is to get back into the racing groove again before I race "for real" on the first weekend of June. That's a 1/2 iron distance triathlon in New Hampshire and will be an early test of how my prep is coming for Lake Placid.
I did get to pull the kids in the bike trailer again today. Climbing hills with that thing on is an experience, but in general it was fine...if not for that damn burning in my legs! I figure I'll be back to normal sometime next week or maybe next weekend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Beer Wisdom of the Week

"Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing beer."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Boston 2008 Race Report

As Paul Talewsky told me once, be happy with a PR because you'll never know when it'll be your last. Today was a PR, officially by 2:30. I say officially though I did take a 50 second deduction for a pee break around mile 1. However, that was due to my values and concern for my fellow runners. Sure I could have dropped my pants in the starting corral and let fly, like so many people did, but no I figured it was worth waiting rather than pissing on my fellow man. Tell you what though, there were rivers galore on the road at the start. If I lived in Hopkinton I'd be praying for rain soon! Minus that deduction I would have run 2:54:51 (my time was 2:55:41).
Anyway, the race went much like my last quality workout: I spent a lot of time hunting for a pace. The course doesn't help here. The downhill is really a bunch of sharp downs with short ups, not flats. And immediately following the military fly over at the start, it was full sun all day. I anticipated this so had my sunglasses and sunscreen on. It never got too hot, or it could have become a death march quite quickly. Anyway I was running faster today than I ever have at this distance and it had one unfortunate side effect: my quads were destroyed by 14 miles. While I had more training mileage than previous years, I had fewer long runs on pavement. The leg pain led to some conservative running in the Newton hills because I was worried about tying up during the last 5 miles. After an initial surge during the 22nd mile, I pretty much settled into a tempo pace and took it in. I knew I had a PR wrapped up, and rather than risk blowing up I stayed somewhat conservative, unlike 2006 when I was attempting to crack 3 hrs for the first time.
The story of the day is obviously the encounter with Mr Livestrong himself: Lance Armstrong. Around mile 10 I started hearing a lot more cheering than normal and signs of "Go Lance, Go" and "Lance, I Luv U" started appearing. I looked around and saw this short guy (okay shorter than me!) in yellow shoes, black socks, baggy black shorts, yellow tank top and about 1/2 dozen Livestrong armbands (think 80s Madonna look). Yes it was Lance. And then I widened my focus and noticed a small entourage around him. I didn't break pace and eased past him. While I knew he was not far behind, I didn't see him again until we hit Wellesley College (lots of screaming girls). Suddenly the guy in black and yellow appears on my right shoulder. The louder the girls yell, the faster he goes. Well hell, while I knew the proper tactical approach was to let him go, I figured how often are you shoulder for shoulder with an icon with soooo many cameras around! So I matched his pace. I checked my heart monitor to see just how far above pace I was. My HR was 160 on a downhill. That's a little high, especially before the 1/2. When one of his assistants (he had people pacing him and bringing him fluids) shouldered in between us (hey he came up to me douche bag), I dropped back into my pace.
The race plan had a 15 sec quick walk break every other aid station. I can't tell if it helped or not from a muscle standpoint (the quads really hurt), but it did enable me to get full drinks without gagging, and given the sunshine this was important. It's always a help seeing people you know, and having Tim standing on the 128 overpass with a nice cool bottle of Gatorade was also welcome. I had a little fluid deficit going at that point so I chugged about 1/3 of the bottle and was back on track the rest of the way.
Of course I'm always critical of my races, however, I know I worked about as hard as I could today. I don't believe I left more than a minute out on the course today. Sure it would be great to be faster, but I've never been this fast so I can't really complain.

Oh yeah. I called home and talked to Alexandra after the race. She said, "Good job daddy. Did you get a gold medal?" "Yes I did dear, just for you (my finishers medal)." "Wow. Daddy I got Tinkerbell undies! They're so beautiful!" Okay moment's passed. Back to being Daddy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Boston 2008 pre-race

I'm set for tomorrow. I'll be leaving home early, catching a bus from Boston to Hopkinton, and then running my a-- off back to Boston. I'm pretty sure I'll be fast, but this post isn't about how fast I think I'll be. Instead it's a thank you to those who have helped me get to the starting line, mostly my family. Leanna's my hero. I just couldn't manage the kids all day every day the way she does. And if she doesn't do that, I can't do this. And yes, one last thank you to Tim, who scheduled all those "fun" runs for me. It's a lesson that you can frequently achieve more personally when you work with others.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Beer Wisdom

I'm thinking about starting a new blog topic based on the "words of wisdom" found on the bottle caps of Newport Storm beer. Whenever I get a cap with an interesting quote (they take famous movie quotes and insert the word 'beer'), I'll post it here. Sure it might be stupid, but hey I know people out there who like "Flavor of Love 3" too! Right Em?

Maybe to make it fun your comments need to name the film from which the original quote was taken.

Today's quotes:

"That beer is our last hope.
No. There is another."

"Ow, that really hurt! I mean honestly, who THROWS a beer?"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Proper Hydration Tips

Courtesy our good friends at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute:

Tip #3: Check the Color of Your Urine - An easy way to tell if you're properly hydrated is to check the color of your urine. If your urine is pale like lemonade, that's a sign of good hydration. Crystal-clear urine often indicates over-hydration and the need to cut back. Dark urine (like the color of apple juice) may signal dehydration and the need to drink more.

So okay, when I drop my pants and pee on the ground during the marathon Monday, I won't get in trouble, right?

"Sorry officer, I'm just checking my hydration level. Do you think that looks more like apple juice or lemonade?"

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Yeah I'm blogging less, but...

...I'm just so friggin' busy. Training is going well. Work is challenging. Kids are fun and challenging. e.g. From Sunday to Sunday last week (8 days) I ran 60 miles, and biked ~3 hours in 3 different states. I ran Colt State park in RI 10 days ago and Central Park in NYC 2 days ago. We took a train back to Connecticut to pick up the kids and I ran another hour then drove home. (Mommy and Daddy were on a "get-away" weekend.)
I'm transitioning to my new boss at work, but still have items to do (mainly personnel reviews) for my old boss. I've had to throw out most of my plans and start over.
The kids are kids. They are great but Dylan has monster meltdowns now (he's almost 20 months) and Alexandra had an asthma attack this last week. Not a severe one, but she's back on one of her inhalers. It looks like allergies might be a trigger because her latest bout of coughing started as the trees began to bud. It all started spring of last year as well.
Sleep would be nice but it might have to wait. I do manage 6 hours or so a night, but I really could use one or two more consistently. Nonetheless I actually feel pretty good, just a little "off balance" if you know what I mean. There is no hyper defined routine right now. I'm, pardon the cliche, just livin' one day at a time. While challenging at times, I am still keeping that positive mental energy as best I can. The fact that I am running so well helps. While it is the least important of the items I am doing, it is the one which shows the most definitive results when I work at it, and gives me hope that the other situations will indeed improve in the same manner.

Anyway I'm only 13 days from Boston now and it's time to start thinking about goals. I'm not really sure how fast I'll run, but thanks to Tim and his help a PR is pretty much a guarantee as long as I take care of the "race management" things (pacing, eating, etc...). Physically I'm ready to run a best by A LOT.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Race day today

First one since November. It was a 10k in Bristol, RI. My final time was 37:45, or 6:05 per mile. That was good enough for 10th overall. I was really hoping to be faster, even though that pace projects out to a 2:53 marathon, which would be a 5 minute PR.

This might be a tough year. I'm working really hard, and I am improving, but it's just incremental improvement. It's going to be tough mentally. Boston's in 3 weeks. We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Quick Update

I'm really behind on all of this. To recap the last two weeks:

  • Lots of running (30 miles last Sat. and Sun. alone)
  • I got "Reorg'd at work". Higher ed. is considerably less fun today than it was 8 days ago.
  • Alexandra turned 4.
  • Dylan says 'Duuuuuuude!!' His language skills are pretty amazing to me.
  • Been biking some as well.
  • I turned 42! I don't feel it, but that's what the calendar says.
  • 4 weeks until Boston.
  • Alexandra started gymnastics.
  • Leanna is still the Martha Stewart of the family. The hostess with the mostest put on a killer 4 yr. old birthday party. The wet bar alone was worth the price of admission!
  • Did I mention I got reorg'd?
  • ...

Phew!!!

The IRS agrees! I don't owe them $15K in back taxes for 2006!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Week 10:Time and Zones

It's all about time exercising and time spent in specific "heart zones". 230 minutes of running and 140 minutes of cycling this week. Nothing too intense with the exception of some 1 mile repeats while running and 5 minutes grinding a big gear on my bike. For my long run today I ran almost the full cliff walk. We had a gale last night so today the sky was perfectly clear, the seas huge and white with foam, and the breeze was stiff. A great day to run on the cliff walk. Mansions to the right, and ocean to the left. Turn at the Japanese tea house.

A guess-timate of the mileage running would be ~30. This was an abbreviated week because we just returned from vacation.

I've promised myself that I would not second guess the plan Tim of qt2systems devised, and so far I have not. Frankly I know and trust Tim and the plan is pretty consistent with the way I like to do things, so I don't think this will be an issue. One week in I think it's going well, though I need more workout clothes. Tim has me a bit more active than I have been in the past. I've worked out 7 times since Wednesday, but notably I'm not more tired than usual.

230 minutes running/230 MTD (month to date)
140 cycling/140 MTD

4 runs this week
Total: 30
Ytd: 245.05

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My brain is shrinking!

That whooshing sound you are hearing is my I.Q. dropping by the second...It's an all new "Flavor of Love 3" on VH1!

Week 9

2 runs and then a vacation. 10 miles total. Skiing, sledding, R&R (once the in-laws left!). The big "test" was a 5k time trial run in 18:16 (outside in the cold and wind). I hate 5ks. They just hurt, and running them alone on a track is no fun. But I did it because it was assigned to me as a way of determining my threshold heart rate.
Assigned you say? What do you mean? Well I've enlisted professional help from my friend Tim. He's going to prep me for Boston somewhat (I'm mostly on the way), and chiefly for Lake Placid. That also means I'll be following a different type of plan, one based on time and heart rates. This will make this mileage recording obsolete, so I might switch to just recording time spent running (and running and swimming) and some notes on the runs. I haven't fully decided yet. The big number at the bottom of the page is nice, but maybe it's time to record a different number. We'll see.

2 runs this week: 4.25, 5.75
Total: 10
Ytd: 215.05

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Week 8

Maybe it was the cold (20 degrees and breezy when I started). Maybe it was the questionable footing because of the snow and ice. Maybe it was taking Alexandra skiing for the first time on my "rest" day (more on that in the next post). Maybe it was as simple as running 6 times in 8 days for ~60 miles. Whatever the reason, I just couldn't get it going today. Generally the week's running was good, and I can feel my conditioning improving, but the speed hasn't shown up yet. No worries though. In 2006 I was only running 2:10 on the Ocean Drive the first week of March and we know how that one ended. Today was 2:08:18, a slight improvement over the last time, but far off the 2:02 I'd like to be running. The time isn't that important, however. This was an overload week and it was all about volume. My 41.5 miles in the last 6 days puts me over the 200 mile point on the year.

This week will be an easy one as I try and adapt to the load from the last two weeks. Then everything starts anew as for the first time I will begin on a training plan designed for me by someone else. More on that later.

5 runs this week: 7.5,4.25,7.5,4.25,18
Total: 41.5
Ytd: 205.05

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Good morning Dadda.

The only guarantee I've found with kids is the simple fact that as soon as you settle into a routine, they are going to change it. This morning was a landmark day, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I was sitting having my coffee during "Daddy time", which is that time in the wee hours of the day when everyone else is sleeping. Even though by 6:30 both Dylan and Alexandra might be awake, Dylan is confined to his crib until released, and Alexandra never leaves her bed on her own...until today.
So I'm drinking my coffee when suddenly I here the pitter-patter of little feet coming down the stairs. So I wait for the sound of Leanna following. It's a sound that never comes. Instead Alexandra comes strolling around the corner and into the kitchen and wishes me good morning like this is something totally normal...EXCEPT SHE'S NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE...EVER!
I also have this feeling we won't be able to stop her from doing this, so Leanna and I are now stepping up the program to make her self-sufficient (e.g. putting a full sippie on a shelf in the frig where she can get it on her own). Hey maybe I can teach her to get Dylan and change his diaper!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Week 7

I had planned for this to be my first 40+ mile week, but Friday's run had to be canceled because I was interviewing a candidate for my open position at work. This wasn't that big a deal because Friday was slated to be a "filler" run anyway. The key run of the week was today: 17.5 miles at Sachuest Point. This week also marked my reintroduction to "plyometrics." Specifically I did 3 sets of "jumpies" (standing two legged hops in place). The sets were 1 minute on with 1 minute of rest between sets. I did about 50 jumps per minute. These really burn the quads and are intended to get them ready for the punishing downhills in the first 1/2 of the Boston marathon. Well let me tell you they really hurt. Back when I was a rower, I was the jumpie king. I could easily do 2 minute sets. That was many years ago. These 1 minute sets hurt me for days. I fact I didn't really feel pain and stiffness free until yesterday, and I did these on Monday.
I also did a bit on running on the indoor track this last week. I'm pretty sure it's helping me, but frankly I haven't really tested myself yet. Actually I'm specifically avoiding testing myself because I'm sure I'm improving well, and don't want to overcook it too early.
As for today, the trails were wet and soft. It was A LOT of work running that kind of distance in those conditions. Despite the lack of hills on the point, it was easily harder than running the Ocean Drive. I also have my first "sweat rate" numbers of the year. I was 160 pre-run and 157 post-run with 55 ounces of fluid added. I'll do the math for you a little later.

Here are the numbers:

4 runs this week: 4.5,7.5,4.25,17.5
Total: 33.75
Ytd: 163.55

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Week 6

Lowest mileage so far, but the miles that were there were pretty high intensity, so I'm happy for the time off. A lot of 200s on Tuesday, and mile repeats on Thursday. Probably about 10 miles total for the week, but some gag'n, especially during the miles. I ran the miles in 5:31, 5:35, and 5:48. The drop off told me it was time to call it a day. That and the twinge in my left hamstring. Nothing serious, but clearly a warning to not overdo it on the track. My best 200 was still only ~31 seconds, so I'm definitely not a sprinter (fast people do 200s in about 20 seconds).

3 days off (concluding today) and then things ramp up a bit more. I'm curious to see how this "cycling" works. I'm running more track and taking more off days than ever, but also running decent mileage (for me).


2 runs this week: 4.75, 5.25
Total: 10
Ytd: 129.8

Friday, February 08, 2008

What am I thinking?!















I encouraged Leanna to go away for the weekend so she could get some much needed time off. This will be my first time solo with both of them!

And this is my "rest" weekend. Yikes!

**Update**
I'm a little more than 1/2 way through. Came close to losing it at one point, but held on. They do miss their mommy so they get a little more slack with certain things. In general they've been really good. If they weren't could daddy have survived taking them both to dinner (at a real restaurant) by himself?

**Update 2**
It's Sunday afternoon and I'm in the home stretch. Dylan's napping and Alexandra and I are watching Cinderella. Mommy is on the train home. This morning the weather was very nice so the 3 of us went out to Sachuest Point; just relaxing, bird watching (saw a really cool raptor of some sort), walking, playing with sticks, etc... A little cool and breezy, but we were all happy to be outside. In fact the only time they got naughty was when cabin fever would set in. As soon as we were all outside, everything was fine. After our trip to Sachuest, we went to Starbucks for shortbread cookies and for Alexandra, a vanilla milk. Believe it or not, the milk had 3x the sugar of the cookies. Not a very strong endorsement for New Horizon Organic Milk.

I'm glad I had the kids for the weekend. It helped with my confidence (and theirs I think!) to see that daddy could handle things. They missed mommy, a fact they expressed frequently, but they still went about the business of being kids rather than wallowing in despair. Sure Alexandra got a little upset in the middle of the night last night, but we both made it through (though I didn't sleep too much after that) and she's in pretty good spirits now.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Week 5: Starting the 2nd century

I passed the 100 mile point on the year on January 31. This is my highest mileage January since I started keeping this blog. It was the 2nd run of what will be only a 3 run week. Tomorrow will be my first Ocean Drive run of the year. I'm pretty sure this is the earliest I've run the Drive. The plan is to be conservative and just put in a first time under 2:10. In 2006 I ran 2:10 on the drive in early March, then went on to set my marathon PR (2:58:11) 6 weeks later. I also ran a 2:02 last fall and only managed a 2:59 and change a couple of weeks later, so the time doesn't mean a whole lot other than giving me a general idea how far my base endurance is away from being marathon ready.
I don't feel like I'm in danger of peaking any time soon. I think I'm just a bit better over longer distances; more resilient. Wednesday I did my first honest track workout (I've been running on the track, but hadn't done what I'd call a real track workout). It was 5x3 min. @ faster than 5k pace, with 3 minutes easy jog/walk between repeats. My pace was about 5:36 per mile during the repeats. It was pretty hard, but like last week on the trails, I actually performed better on the later laps despite the general feeling of fatigue coming over me (and the heavy legs and the urge to hurl...). That's what I mean by more resilient than previous years. I'm also lighter than I've been in a long time. I weighed in at 159.5 tonight. I think not swimming and biking has contributed to a loss of muscle mass. I'll be getting back into both soon, so we'll see what happens.
I went for a run Thursday, 7.5 miles at lunch, despite wishing to generally avoid running on consecutive days. A "farewell" lunch at work had killed my normal Tuesday training, so it was run in good weather Thursday despite running on the track Wednesday, or it was run on Friday in potentially foul weather. I fit it in on Thursday as that also gave me 2 days rest before the first 18 miler of the year (tomorrow).
On that note I need to finish up here and get to sleep. I'll be going out after making waffles for the kids tomorrow, and I'll update this post with the results after they're asleep.

Good night all.

3 runs this week: 4.75, 7.5, 18 miles.
Total: 30.25
Ytd: 119.8

**Update**
It didn't come easily to me today, despite near perfect running conditions. I'm a little too sleep deprived right now. Nonetheless I ran a 2:08:26. It was 1:02:50 on the way out and the rest on the way in. Hard to say if that means anything relative to other years because I suspect my improvement curve will be a bit flatter this year. If nothing else it tells me I can afford to be somewhat careful in my preparation because I'm in decent shape. The fade between the 1st and 2nd 1/2 splits, however, tells me I still need to build my base. Next weekend is a full "rest" (yeah, right!) weekend as Leanna will be out of town and I'll have the kids to myself. Oh, and so much for AC/DC running through my head. Today I was stuck with "Just around the river bend." If you don't know this one, it's from "Pocahontas".

Friday, February 01, 2008

I'm a rolling thunder, a pouring rain...

I was driving home in a little bit of a daze. It was a long week, but a good week. I'm getting both kids up and giving them breakfast everyday now. It works out well because I'm the morning person anyway, and it gives me some needed quality time with them. Alexandra has also been in a much improved mood since we took her off the last of the asthma meds. Fingers crossed there... Anyway, combine that with work and training, and as rewarding as it all is, I'm pretty beat by Friday. So I'm driving home and turn the radio to WBOS 92.9, Boston. "BONG!... BONG!... BONG!... (a guitar starts)

"I'm a rolling thunder, a pouring rain
I'm coming on like a hurricane..."

It was March, 1992 when that song left an indelible mark on my memory. We were driving a big pickup pulling a trailer full of rowing shells from Pittsburgh to Tampa. We lost a wheel off the trailer in West Virginia. We got it replaced because, well, we were in West Virginia where even the day cares can fix cars. Then we'd (I'd) gotten a little lost in South Carolina, somewhere in the heart of NASCAR country. We had to make a run for it (okay maybe we didn't have to, but it seemed the prudent thing to do) when a car load of "locals" seemed to take an interest in our trailer load of carbon rowing shells (it was something like 2:00am). So by the time the sun came up again, about 20 hours into the drive (no it should not have taken that long), we were pretty spent. I vaguely remember crossing over the Georgia/Florida border. There were 3 of us taking turns driving and by this point none of us could keep our eyes open. And then the bells started ringing. Dazed and in our own little worlds, we each started rocking our heads forward. It wasn't long before we were up and screaming "You got me ringing HELLS BELLS!"

Next stop Waffle House!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Week 4

This was my first 30+ mile week of the year. I actually had not planned on running that far, but some work stress led to an unscheduled 7.5 mile run on Friday. As a result I've almost logged my first 100 miles of the new year.
Today was an interesting and inspiring run. The plan called for 5 laps (2.5 miles per lap) on the trails out at Sachuest Point. It was cold and windy and started snowing while I was running. I felt slow and sluggish for the first 2 laps, but managed my modest average of 18 min. per lap (actually 18:01 and 17:55). I seemed a bit flat and attributed it to the extra run Friday (along with the drinking and dancing Friday night during a Mom and Dad night out). Then I started thinking about a story I was reading. It was the story of Ryan Shay. If you are not familiar with him, please follow this link: Ryan Shay. His work ethic was amazing, from what I've read. Almost as if he was cut from the same cloth as Steve Prefontaine (aka Pre). Ryan's is a difficult story because there seems to be no reason. And I couldn't help but think about his wife of 4 months, and think how unfair it was to both of them. No sooner do they find each other, then they are torn apart. I started thinking about how I would feel if I wasn't around to see Alexandra graduate from college (one of my "happy place" day dreams...).
As I was thinking about all of this I kept running. My perceived effort was constant, but the snow and wind had really picked up. As I glanced down at my watch following lap 3, it read 17:14. I had dropped my pace 41 seconds on the last lap, despite my face now going numb. I kept thinking about the story over and over, imagining I was now logging one of those legendary workouts. I truly was the only soul out running at this point of the day. As I finished lap 4 the watch read 16:49. I had dropped another 25 seconds in the worst weather of the day. It felt great.
I had dropped my pace on snow covered, windy and frozen trails from a slow of 7:12 per mile to 6:43 per mile.
I slowed to 17:35 (7:02) for the final lap. I'm now thinking about my build-up for Boston. I'm also thinking about what my place in distance running will be when I'm done. No, I won't be famous. I'm too slow for that. Rather, what will my legacy be in my eyes? I like the idea of being thought of as someone who is consistent and unyielding. I might not be the fastest, but I'll always put in the work and run tough. I try to live life the same way. I might not always get it right, but I'll always put in the effort and strive for perfection.

4 runs this week: 7.5, 4.5, 7.5, 12.5 miles.
Total: 32
Ytd: 89.55

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Week 3: Not too much, running. A bit more family.

I've had a minor cold and mild bronchitis this week, so only two runs: A 5 miler on Thursday and a 10 miler today. The legs, naturally, felt rested but the fitness just seems so-so. A few consistent weeks will make a big difference.
The 10 miler was different than I have been doing. I did 4 x 2.5 mile loops out at Sachuest Point. I wore my new shoes, the "studded snow tires." I wasn't sure if I'd like them, but once I got running on the frozen crushed stones and dirt their value really showed. Not only were they warm (it was 10 degrees w/the wind chill today), but the traction was amazing. I felt so confident, even when I hit ice, that at times I was able to do some tempo as if it were warm and dry. The trail run got me thinking more and more about doing an ultra marathon as well (the Vermont 50 miler). I kept repeating the phrase, "Any idiot can run a marathon. It takes a special kind of idiot to run an ultra."
Hopefully my lungs will be better by Tuesday so I can put in a 30 mile week this week. That will get me back on track.
I've been spending some quality time with the kids as well. Today's big adventure was daddy making waffles from scratch using Alton Brown's basic recipe on FoodNetwork.com. While there was a bit of a learning curve using the just purchased waffle iron, by the end they were coming out pretty well. By the way, I picked waffles because they are one of Alexandra's favorite things, but I wanted a healthier alternative to Eggos. These used whole wheat and some oat flower. Mmmm...good. They stuck with me as well. I made extra so we'll have them during the week along with other healthy items that Alexandra seems to love; Yogurt and granola.

I'm now watching football, relaxing, and hoping that Dylan finally falls asleep for his nap!

2 runs this week: 5 miles, 10 miles.
Total: 15
Ytd: 57.55

**Check this out**
Look at my Jan. 21st mileage from 2006. Eerie.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How did I do that?

Ever have an injury and not know how you got it? Without drinking! Well I was sitting at my desk and felt pain in the toes of my left foot. I took the shoe and found the middle toe all black and blue. I think it's just a sprain because it is getting better. And no, I didn't do it running. Actually I haven't run since Sunday because I'm nursing a mild cold (yet another present from the children). I'll probably run again today. After all I did just buy my first pair of winter running shoes: ASICS GEL-Arctics.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dear vendor sales people,

I'm sorry if this hurts, but I don't want to cuddle with you. I don't want to be drinking buddies or go out for meals. I don't want to chit-chat on the telephone or exchange crappy e-mail jokes. Don't expect me to reciprocate the Christmas card or send a thank you for the "cookie tower." I don't pay you all that money to be your friend. I pay you so I don't have to.

PS: Stop calling.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Week 2: A cameo by the watch

It's January 13th, so time isn't really that important. However, I really wanted to know how well I was running and to establish a baseline for the year. The course was my 10.8 mile loop. The time was 1:10:19, which is fast for this time of year. I'd love to think I'm going to improve on my normal winter improvement curve, but I think the reality is my improvement curve will be much flatter this winter because I'm already light and in fairly decent shape. One interesting note: Look at Jan. 14th of last year: http://jjkehm66.blogspot.com/2007/01/week-2.html I did not look at last year's log before planning this run. I'm such a creature of habit!

The watch is now going away until mid-February.

3 runs this week: 5 miles, 4.25 miles (indoor track), 10.8 miles.
Total: 20.05
Ytd: 42.55

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Keeping the PMA

That would be the Positive Mental Attitude. I'm being reminded firsthand that the worse things get the more positive you need to be. Don't get me wrong, things are not bad for me right now. However, following a healthy portion of "perspective", I can see despite another sleepless night at the beck and call of my sick daughter, life is good. The fact that she is being gabby and bossy is a clear indication she's feeling better.

As for the credit card bill... Well, it's just motivation to get my tax return done very early this year. "Come on finalized adoption deduction and 2nd child credit!"

I missed my run yesterday due to an unexpected service to my car. Part of me feels it's karmic payback for the excesses displayed by the purchase of our new TV and HD package, but hell I'm not apologizing! In 15 years I've never spent a work bonus check on myself for something like that. Just once I need to be "irresponsible." If we don't wish to be lemmings, we need to follow Eleanor Roosevelt's advice. In fact this one thing will probably scare me for quite a few days!

(PS: Have you seen "Ratatouille"? I love it.)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Week 1...again

It's like deja vu all over again! Week 1, wow. I'll write more later but here's how the year has started.

4 runs: 5, 4.25, 5, 8.25
Total: 22.5
Ytd: 22.5