Monday, June 18, 2012

I DID IT....Time for a Bit of Rest!

It has been a while since I have made it one here.  Honestly, I have not had time to even think about this blog for the last week or so.  Life has been busy!  But, I am glad to say I made it through all the obstacles that life can throw at you and conquered a pretty grueling schedule!  I will apologize, this is a LONG post!

I knew this last five to six weeks was going to be difficult but if I focused on my goals I could get it done.  Sometimes it was tough and I thought it would be easy to just give up, but that is not my mentality, I do not like to quit!  This first of all started out with joining the Live Uncommon Race Team.   This has been such a wonderful experience for me.  I have met so many GREAT people through this organization.  So many focused and dedicated individuals that are super nice and most of all supportive!

Back in April, I looked at the schedule and decided what races I was going to do.  It all started with the Quad City Distance Classic Half Marathon on May 13.  This would be the first race of five in a six week period of time.  What a race to start with...this was probably be my biggest mental obstacle.  This race did not go as I had planned.  I did not eat right the week before and it bit my right in the left cheek!  I lost all my energy towards mile nine and had to settle for  time I was not to happy about.  However, I needed to recover fast from this race.  Because I had signed up for my first triathlon the following weekend.  The day after the half, I did have a little pity party for myself because I had put a lot of training time into this race and I really let myself down with my results, but there was two choices, dwell on it and be miserable or get back on the horse that kicked me off!  Luckily it takes a bigger horse than one race to get me down.

As I started to recover from that race and try and train/taper for the bluff creek triathlon, I had some great advice from fellow runners and triathletes which helped me tremendously.  I honestly do not know how people do it on there own.  Having my running/workout buddies is like therapy for me.

On Saturday May 19, I took off from Bettendorf, heading to Ogden, Iowa with good friends Aaron Maurer, Josiah Campbell, and Jeff Paul.  All of us besides Jeff were about to partake in our first tri, The Bluff Creek Triathlon.  Kudos to Jeff for enduring all of our newbie questions on the triathlon.  The good news was I had recovered from the half, I felt good and was ready to race.  Probably the best thing I did was race again to get my head back in it mentally!  Early on May 20, we all set out for the Don Williams Recreational Park.  Jeff and Aaron had entered the Olympic Distance and Josiah and I entered the Sprint.  Pretty gloomy morning and cold but the race went off on time and the results from the crew from Quad Cities was awesome!  Jeff won the Olympic Distance, Aaron won the Olympic Distance Clydesdale Division, Josiah took third in the Sprint Clydesdale and I actually won the Sprint Clydesdale Division.  Felt really good to have all of us get mentioned on the award ceremony.  Not only did it feel good, but mentally I felt refreshed after the disappointing half marathon performance I had had a week prior.

The next week I had a weekend of nothing for road racing or triathlon but this is where things get a little more complicated.  I ski with the Backwater Gambler Water Ski Show Team and our shows started this Memorial Day Weekend.  Does not sound like a lot, but holy cow, it takes a toll on the body!  Especially for someone about to turn 40 this year!  But I love it and my family loves it too!  So throwing the ski training into the mix about 4 to 5 nights a week is a hard one to juggle.  Last year it was about this time I gave up the running to just ski because of the wear and tare on the body.  This year i have going to try and hold on to my fitness and keep going so I do not loose all I have worked for.  I BELIEVE I CAN do this with the right amount of rest.

On the weekend of June 2, we had the Live Uncommon Torch Light Parade and Adventure Race.  This was a cool weekend and was a lot of fun.   Lots of family fun and camaraderie out there.  Not a real competitive weekend for me but a great atmosphere to be in.  That morning, I had gotten together with Saturday morning long run group and did a 10 miler.  That was fun as well.  Always good to see the group bright and early on Saturday morning.

The weekend of June 9, the Race for the Cure hit town.  I had told myself leading up to this, I will run this for fun and to honor those who battle the big "C".  Early that morning I got up and jumped on the bike for  a 24 mile ride on the Illinois bike path.  What a beautiful morning that was.  I had such a nice and peaceful ride.  I finished riding to the race, met my Live Uncommon Race members.  Somehow, this year they decided to chip time this event.  For some unknown reason, that chip being on my foot made me competitive?  All the sudden I felt the urge to run faster than I originally planned. I think the same bug hit Josiah too, we both took off and ran a decent 5k.  Not our PR's but made our legs work.  But again in the end, this race was to honor those who have fought and won against the cancer battle and to remember those whose life it has taken.  Great event!

On to this past weekend, the QC Triathlon.  This is one I have been wanting to do for a while and I finally got myself registered early and got it.  What a great event and well organized.  I was a little frustrated last week in training.  I was also helping a friend put a deck on so training did not go as I liked but got some good stuff in.  I also attribute some of the bad training to just being tired.  Skiing is going well, but my body is tired.  Not to mention I had a pretty good spill on Tuesday at ski practice that I hurt my ribs on.  This made it a little uncomfortable to breath while running. Race day crept up and I had to tell myself, you have trained and you are ready! I was out at the race by 5:20 a.m. an got all my gear situated.  Race time came upon me very quick.  As we started to get ready for the swim, the rain decided to bless us for the first time in  a while.  Kind of nice though, cooled everything off nicely! Race time was here, everybody got lined up on the beach and the gun went.  The swim was not my favorite in this event, I think mostly because people were not honest about there swim times.  Slower people jumped up front and I caught up to them around the second buoy and it was a huge cluster.  I also needed to site better myself.  Oh well, I made it out of the water and on to the bike.  I felt really good on the bike and averaged 21.4 mph, most importantly, I remained upright!  If you follow, you know last race I crashed!  I bettered my times by a couple minutes on the bike.  As I exited the bike, my legs felt very slow!  Took me a while to get them going and ended up running a bit slower than I like but finished the run in 23 minutes.  I think this is one place, I could have done better with more rest but I just didn't have the power.  I finished the QC Tri in 1:19.10 for a second place finish in the 40+ Clydesdale Division.  I was a little disappointed in the race that they only awarded the top finished in this category and the top three in about every other category.  But if you know me and awards, that is about par for the course!  I was happy with my finished and yes, I think I could have done better and next year I will or later this season I will.


Now is some time to rest.  I am going to take a few days off here to give my legs a bit of a breather and then I will get back at it.  I am going to try and find another triathlon to sign up for and I am going to do the QC Marathon later this fall.  I will continue to ski this summer too.  If you have not been to a show, you gotta get out and see it!  Thanks to all that supported me and my training, especially my family!

I think most of all this proved to myself, that I CAN do anything I set out to do as long as I keep the goals in line and battle the obstacles that confront me and not let them get the best of me!  Thanks for all the support on here and I am off to enjoy some rest and the rest of my summer!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Time....Where has it gone?

Well, as I just finished a workout, I am thinking where in the world has all my time gone?  How did I accomplish this while I was teaching?  Seems like I get up, workout and ski and now it is time for bed again!

To begin, I am helping a friend build a deck and that is consuming some time.  But I really enjoying building things like this, I love seeing the final outcome of the deck.  I am trying to get this done before they get there pool installed.  Secondly, I am trying to stay on track with my triathlon training and keep getting better at what I do in the ski show!

The ski show is coming along great!  If you have not been out to see us, The Backwater Gamblers, you are missing out.  I believe it is a GREAT show.  I am in seven acts of the show and run crazy during the show, I can't imagine being in more acts, but I want to.  I want to help the team out as much as possible!  We have a really good group of people willing to help everyone out and I really enjoy this!  Last night, i had some team members really encourage me to get out and hit the jump.  This is something I did not think I would do, but I did it and it was AWESOME!  What a feeling soaring through the air like that.  Although the landings were a little bit off, probably funny to watch.  I will get it though, I have some great teachers out there!  I also got some good strap doubles practice in with my partner.  Good night of skiing overall but didn't get home till 9:00.

This morning, I needed to get a bike ride in.  Mary had to help out with a garage sale so I decided to just sleep in and get some rest. I have been up training at 4:30 everyday this week, I think I deserved some rest! I am glad I did as I feel a little more refreshed now. Instead of getting outside, I used the trained and had a nice little workout on the bike.  I need a couple more rides this weekend so I will ride over to the Race for the Cure tomorrow to get one more in.  Sunday, hopefully a swim and bike to end out the week.

I am looking forward to the QC Tri next weekend.  However, I would be not be truthful if I did not say I am looking forward to a bit of a break.   I am going to take some days off after the tri just to let my body settle and recover.  I have done this much training for this long of a period of time in a long time.  I am starting to feel the effects on my knees.  Rest will be welcomed to say the least!

Tomorrow is Race Event #4 for the Live Uncommon Race Team. We will be supporting the Susan G. Komen Race for The Cure tomorrow.  I will run this event, it will be at a slower pace than a normal 5k.  This is more to honor the lives that have been taken by cancer and celebrate those who have battled and won.  I will run to honor those I know....Donna Shoening, Melissa Bixby, Gail Zager, Chris Lennon, Lisa ( Reid's Friend), Nancy Blanche, Bev Hartwig and many others.  Looking forward to some fun my my Live Uncommon Crew!

For now, I will push forward and see what I CAN accomplish in the next week.  I know I am in shape for these events and now I just need to perform and have fun.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

One of those Days!

This was one of those weird training days!  Last night I had a water ski show and we skied really well for the second show of the summer.  I was excited about that and took a while to calm down.  I went to bed about 11:00 knowing I was to get up at 4:30 and run with the CRAZIES!  However, when the alarm went off, I heard the rain drops and decided I would sleep and get some rest.  I needed it as I slept in till 8:00, that is unheard of from me.
It rained most of the day here so I decided I would head to the Y and get some weights in.  I did chest and shoulders.  i was fairly happy with the weights I lifted but definitely realized that I need more of this.
When I came home, the kids were still lounging around and watching TV, I curled up with the youngest and fell back asleep.  I know, Tough day!  Rain was still coming down so I opted to clean my garage a little bit, it has been driving me nuts.
I finally finished the garage and decided that this was enough procrastination and I needed to get my six miles in.  As I was starting, I was thinking tempo run.  During the first three miles, I would have quit running if I was not 3 miles from home.  My gut was killing me for some reason and I just did not feel good.  As the title says, one of those days.  However, even feeling like crap, i knew I still had somewhat of a tempo run going.  At about 3 1/2 miles I decided I needed to suck it up and get after it.  It also helped that I had a tail wind for the last three miles.  Even feeling bad i was able to get this tempo run done. My splits were 8:13, 7:55, 7:43, 7:33, 7:21, 6:58 and 6:32 for the last .31.  Once I made up my mind, I knew I could do this.  Running solo and waiting till the mid afternoon made me second guess myself, but was able to mentally dig through this run.

After I got home, I decided that I would go ahead and get my bike over with as well.  It was going to be today or tomorrow and I had time so I went for it.  I put the bike on the trainer because I did not want to bundle up and head out on the roads.  I decided to make this just a base milage ride.  Once I got warmed up, my legs just wanted to go.  It was kind of crazy because I thought I would struggle for sure.  The more I rode, the better the legs started to feel.  Before I knew it, I had hit 15 miles in under 30 minutes.  I was trying to keep my cadence above 80 and that was no problem, I should have went for 90.  I rode for 46 minutes and some change and felt really good the entire time, getting 25 miles in.

For starting out as a not so good training day, I have changed that around and feel pretty good about what I ACCOMPLISHED today.  I gave my body some needed rest this morning and I need to remember that, rest is oh so important, especially since I am adding all the skiing in the mix too!  Now it is on to Sports Fans for some yummy food!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Backwater Gamblers First Show Tonight and Some good training this week!

This week has been a tough one.  Trying to juggle all the end of the school year needs, getting some quality training in, and getting ready for the first BWG Ski show of the  year.  Been pretty busy every morning working out and skiing every night practically.  Thursday was windy so opted out of skiing and got some much needed rest!

TONIGHT, if you don't have plans, come on out and see the Backwater Gamblers Perform.  It should be a fun and entertaining show this year.  We ski tomorrow as well.  All shows will start at 6:30.

Todays ride was going to be the first for Aaron M. and his new Cervalo P1, but it ended shortly with a flat tire.  Felt bad because I knew he was pretty excited about this.  Luckily we got him back to the house and I am in huge hope that the bike shop will get him righted this afternoon.
After we got Aaron back, I took off on Forrest Grove Rd. and had a decent 25 mile ride today.  Little further than I normally  go but felt good so I went with it.   I rode to PV JR. High and back, something I have not done.  Humid but good ride today.

I am looking forward to a good week of training ahead.  I plan on getting some quality miles in the pool and road, both biking and running.  I will also be adding some weight training in this week to help improve my overall game.  I would like to get the weights in about two to three times a week.  Should be good!

Another good report is that the road rash from last weeks race is starting to heal up.  The hip and elbow were pretty sore most of the week but I think I have them under control as long as I don't rip them open bare footing!

I am excited for the week to see what I CAN accomplish without having to work.  I AM expecting some big things!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

WOW, What a week of Turn Around!

It is really hard to even think about where to begin on this post? I think in my best interest, I will start with my family!  A big THANK YOU to my wife Mary and my girls for putting up with all my training hours and time away from them.  I appreciate your patience!  Next, I will thank all my training groups, especially all my LIVE UNCOMMON teammates!  You are AWESOME, your words of wisdom and advice is much appreciated.  When my training doesn't give me the results I like, you are always there to let me know, I am on the right track.  Last week, I did not live up to my expectations, but you were there to let me know to train through it and get back at it.  I went from being pretty confident in my training, to a low that I had not expected and now with all your help, I am back with confidence, with the understanding I still have a lot of room to improve!

This past weekend, we traveled to Ogden, Iowa to compete in the Bluff Creek Triathlon.  Live Uncommon teammates Josiah Campbell, Aaron Mauer and Jeff Paul traveled on Saturday to prepare for the race.  We met close friend and training partner Brian Tritt up there as well.  For Josiah, Aaron and myself, this was going to be our first Tri!  Poor Jeff had to endure all of our newbie questions for the weekend.  It was an interesting ride up there to say the least, some drivers need to be examined.  We picked up our packets and went to Pizza Ranch for a good pre-race meal. It was pretty darn good.  Jeff may disagree with me, he can explain that!!!

I stuck to my new motto after last week, Expect Nothing, Gain Everything this past weekend.  I have come to the conclusion, I am training pretty well.  I have not had a past history of failing to train correctly.  I went into Sunday's race knowing, I have trained right, I know what I am capable of, therefore, I CAN do it!  I went with that and had fun.  My first triathlon was an awesome experience. I could not have laid it out any better.

THE SWIM- This was going to be the toughest challenge, just getting out of the water in a decent time. The start was new too, 50 people all running to get the best position possible.  I felt like a Salmon trying to swim up river. It was a bit hectic, but I remember some sound advice I been given the night before, Just keep swimming.  I stuck to my guns and just kept swimming!  Before long I was in the clear, not to many people around.  I was nice and relaxed and sighting was not a big problem.  I was surprised, the first time I truly sighted the turn, I was only about 30 yards away.  At that time I caught on to another swimming and drafted on his feet.  Just like that, I was out of the water.  In previous open water swim, I had a little trouble coming out of the water with a bit of dizziness, this time I had none!  I made it out of the water in 9:57 and was pleased with that.

T1 - This first transition went pretty smooth, considering the long run up the hill.  I didn't have to much trouble getting ready.  I had everything laid out pretty well.  Preparing certainly helps!

THE BIKE - The first part of the bike was a little hectic, trying to calm my heart rate down after the swim and just relaxing into the ride.   Everything was going well.  At about six and half miles, I had the unexpected happen.  I was transitioning from my upright position to  my aero bars.  A gust of wind hit me and blew my right onto the shoulder.  I had a started to panic a little, thinking my tires were going to pop.  As I tried to get back on the road....BAM, I was on my left side skidding across the pavement. Somehow when I came to a stop, I popped right back to my feet.  My right foot never unclipped. Everything seemed to be alright, with the exception of some road rash (pictures below). As I started to pedal, my chain had come about half off, but luckily my crank caught the chain, brought it back over the sprocket and I was off again. One funny thought I had after getting going...I could feel my left cheek and the burn.  I was thinking, I hope my pants are not ripped and my whole butt is not hanging out!  Funny the thoughts you have? Thankfully and luckily only a couple of people I had just passed came by.  I was able to pass them again.  At the turn around, I got a huge boost, the wind was at my back.  My mile pace picked up by over a minute.   I felt like I was just flying.  With about a mile left, my bike started to get a little loose on me.  I thought maybe my speed and the grooves in the road were causing this.  I made it back to the transition  and my time was about two minutes better than I thought.  I finished the 15 mile ride in 43.33.  After the race was over and I checked my bike out, my back tired was flat!  I must have punctured a small hole on my wreck.  I got LUCKY!!!  What is that saying...Got to be lucky to be good sometimes!

 My left leg, left cheek, left elbow!

THE RUN - The run started a little shaky, it took my legs a little bit to get going.  The first part of the run was slightly uphill.  Once I go to the flat, I had got my heart rate calmed and was moving pretty decent.  The entire course had a few more hills than expected but was not to bad.  I just settled into a nice rhythm and cruised in.  The run was much better than I thought it would be, I actually enjoyed the run.  I think I could push a little harder on that next time.  But this was a learning experience and I enjoyed every bit of it.  I finished the run in 22:18.

After seeing my finish time, I was pretty happy.  I finished with a time of 1:17.40.  I am not sure on my overall place, but this put me in first in the Sprint Clydesdale division.  I was very happy with my time, I was hoping I could finish under 1:30 so this is good. During the awards ceremony, the Live Uncommon team members of Josiah, Jeff, Aaron and myself lit up the awards stands!  Aaron won the Olympic Clydesdale, Josiah took 3rd in the Sprint Clydesdale, and Jeff won the overall Olympic Race.   What a great feeling coming out of the weekend with all these people who have worked their tails off  and earning their hardware.  Great job to you guys, way to finish!

I would be lying if I did not say I am pretty excited about the Quad City Tri...however, I have a lot more training to do.  I want to improve in a few areas.  Their are some differences in distance so again, I will go into the race not expecting much but having fun.

Some of the Live Uncommon member sporting some of their bling! (Sorry Jeff, they did not give him a medal, I did not get  a picture of him!)

 After last weekend, I was not sure where I stood with my training.  A week ago, I was down in the dumps having a little pity party for myself.  Actually the pity party was kind of the heeling process for me.  With the good people I have surrounded myself with, they helped pick up the pieces, got me fired back up.  I am very happy I made the choice to get back at it and so quickly!  I can't thank my friends and family enough.  I do know I CAN conquer fears and disappointments by getting out there and getting after it.  My first triathlon was a super experience for me.  Not just for my time or earning a medal (although it helps), but for the experience.  Many people out there trying to fit and make a difference in our world.  Not to mention spending the weekend with some good people.  I think I have rambled enough!

Get out their and see what you CAN do today, that you thought you couldn't do yesterday!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Unbelievably Frustrating!

Today, I feel like I have wasted four months of training!  I know that is not true but hard not to feel that way after the Half Yesterday.  Totally blew it!  Two weeks ago, I ran this same course nice and leisurely and ran it 8 minutes faster than yesterday.  I handled it pretty well yesterday, but today it has set it.  I am not a runner by trade, it has taken a lot for me to come to actually like running and do it because I enjoy it. I really put a lot of time and effort into this half and it feels like within minutes, my hopes of a PR dashed away and everything I worked for is gone.

As I write this, I can see all kinds of responses coming back, not really looking for that, this is more a way for me to vent. Sorry, I don't want to sound like an ass, but this how I deal with being frustrated.  I need to get this out of my system fast.  I am working on that part as I am writing.

I think my problem was my eating last week.  I think I ate too clean, if that is possible?  I believe I may have consumed to much protein and not enough carbs to fuel my body.  I just feel like I ran completely out of gas yesterday.  At about mile 7, I got the feeling I normally get around mile 10/11.  In the case of feeling it at 10 or 11, I normally can push through it.  Not yesterday.   I made it to about 10.5 and hit the BRICK wall.  My stomach started to cramp, heart rate was way up.  I am not exactly sure what happened but that is my guess, needed more fuel in the reserve.

The most frustrating part of the whole thing is the work I put in and the doubt that it has left me.  Did I train right, what was the cause, lot of questions.

So, with that said, it is time to saddle up, get back on the horse and ride.  It may try and buck me again, but I will beat it (not the horse) this time.  I have to overcome my mental state and stay positive.  The half is over and past.  I will race again this weekend in my first triathlon.  I am not going to worry about time.  In fact, I may not even take a watch with me, still contemplating that.  I am just going to go out and do my thing!

I am happy to say I did get out of bed this morning and get in the pool.  I seriously thought about saying "screw it" and sleeping but I am glad I got up and swam a mile.  I will get on the bike tonight and try and hammer out some miles.  We will see how my quads feel.

On the last note, if you have made it this far and listened to me wine....I have to give a HUGE shout out to all my Live Uncommon team members.  You ALL rock!  All of you who cruised to PR's yesterday and encouraged me along, I do appreciate it and it means a lot!  

I feel better after my vent, I WILL get back after this training.  I know I am better than how I performed yesterday.  I CAN beat the mind games and WILL at being the BEST I CAN be!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Toughest Week Ahead!

Really a pretty good quality week of training for me.   I feel like I got everything I needed out of the week.  As I prepare for my upcoming events, I believe I am mentally and physically ready for the challenges that lie ahead.  This week was pretty normal in training except on Wednesday I had to head indoors to the "DREADMILL" to do a track work out.  Not particularly fond of the treadmills in the first place but to spend my biggest track workout to date on one, was not my ideal workout.
For the treadmill I was scheduled to do 10 x 800's.  I knew I was going to be solo with this, so I had mentally prepared to handle this.  I went to the track first and lightning detoured my workout to the Y.  I got in and signed up a treadmill.  Normally when I go to the Y, knowing I am going to be on a treadmill, I will wear a long sleeve shirt to save on the sweat spray that comes from me.  I am a sweaty pig when I workout.  This time I had on short sleeve and the treadmills next to me paid for it.  Sweat was dripping from the treadmill, it was on the two treadmills next to me, it was on the belt, puddled in the cup holders.  Pretty disgusting!  I know it is but, it makes me think I am working hard!  Anyway, I got started on the workout and successfully nailed 10, 800s all between 3:06 and 3:12.  After number 10, I decided, what the heck, I will do one more for good measure.  I ended with 11 x 800's and 9.5 miles in 15 minutes.   Even though I had to head inside due to weather, I felt like I had a pretty good work out!

On Thursday night I was lucky enough to get outside and try my new Xterra wetsuit out.  I literally got it out of the mail and headed to the lake.  This was a brand new experience, open water, it is a bit different.  My swim was fine, I will be ok with that part.  However, I had a bit of equilibrium problem when I made it back to shore.  I would get a bit dizzy when I stand up and it goes away fairly quick but hope it does not cause to man y problems.  Secondly, I had a pretty good run that morning and my legs cramped on me several times.  I know that won't continue to happen on race day because I know I will be ready.

Today I was able to get my last big workout in before the taper starts this week.  I was able to get 20 miles on the bike using the spinervals dvd I have and jumped off and headed out for five miles on the road.  My legs really responded well today.  It did not take long to get them back on the run.  My transition was a bit longer than I like as I had to wait for the GPS to kick in on my watch.  I felt pretty good most of the run.  I saw Jon Byrne at about mile two, nice little inspirational hello from him helped me dig a little deeper!  After my run, off to practice for the Backwater Gamblers Show Ski Team, gonna be a great year for that too!

With a big week of 100 plus miles behind me, this will be my most challenging week.  Taper week!  I know it is much needed but I don't like them, feel like I am slacking.  I have my first half marathon of the year on Sunday the 13th.  Tuesday will be my last longer miles and then it will be nice and light from their on out.  5 days of resting?  That will be weird, I have not had a day of rest since April 20.  Hopefully this will make me nice and fresh for the race day.  I am pretty excited to race next weekend.  After a quick recovery on Sunday, I need to get right back at it for a couple days because my very First triathlon at Bluff Creek Tri is one week later.  I am really excited for that.  I will have some really good people doing that with me, should be a ton of fun!
So this week will be a challenge to cut back and hold my energy for race weekend!  I know I CAN do this, way to much training now to have any doubts!

P.S.  Backwater Gamblers Season has started, first show is May 27!