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!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away! Tough Week!

This has been a pretty good training week so far!  However, this weather is tough to be motivated in!  Ran is such a relaxing sound it is hard to get out of bed in the mornings!  So far this week, I have been able to get a lot done, even though we are half way through the week.
On Monday I was able to get a good swim in and do my Spinervals DVD on the bike.  I was pretty happy with my bike, as I have not been able to do that workout in a while.  I was thinking it might be a little tougher.  Mentally it reassured me that I have been doing something right with my training.  I still have a couple more rides to get in this week as well as a good swim tonight too!
Running yesterday with the Crazies was a great run.  Nice and easy, never felt labored and my legs felt pretty good coming off a late bike ride Monday night.  Today, I knew, was going to be a mentally tough day for me.  I was supposed to do my final Yasso workout until after the half marathon.  The workout called for 10 x 800's!  Last week I cleared the hurdle of 8 so this week was one more mental challenge.  As i got out of bed this morning, lightning was coming, I could see it in the distance.  I headed out to the track anyway.  I got there and got a lap in and the lightning continued.  As I looked around, all I could see was METAL BLEACHERS and something clicked in my head, "this is not a good scenario!  I had hyped my self up for this and my only other choice was to head to the Y and get on the Dreadmill to do this!  I was really not excited, in fact almost mad that I had to go inside to do these.  I was on my own (Although I know Katie was thinking about running these while getting some rest! HA HA)  Finally I got going on the treadmill with the 800's.  I felt like I was in a Matrix full of numbers.  Trying to keep track of my laps on my watch, keeping track of the .5 miles on the treadmill and making sure my recovery time was correct.  After all was said and done, I finished up with 10 x 800's.  As I was getting the recovery time in, I thought, I feel good, I am going to do one more for good measure. Why?  I have no idea, something about doing 11 seemed intriguing, no idea why, but I did.  I finished with a .5 cool down that ended with me doing 9.5 miles and 11 x 800's.     Even having to get off the treadmill once to resign up for the treadmill because the Y only lets you sign up in 30 minute increments.  I think I might have given John Byrne a run for his money on making the treadmill an absolute disaster with sweat, It was dripping off the treadmill, on the treadmills next to me, everywhere!  Overall, I was pretty happy with this workout, even thought I spent over an hour on the treadmill!  My splits for the 11 x 800's were as follows: 3:09, 3:11, 3:08, 3:09, 3:09, 3:11, 3:07, 3:06, 3:07, 3:08, 3:06.  These are fairly consistent, but found it really hard to stay more consistent on the treadmill.  Still pretty solid for me.
I only have about five more days of hard training before the taper for the half marathon.  I am looking forward to seeing how the two week adventure of back to back races will go for me.  Mentally, I have put myself in a good spot with plans  all laid out and physically, I am ready.
I will set out to prove I CAN do this and get my PR in the half!
From here on out, mentally I CAN beat any obstacle that steps in my path!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good week..Mentally & Physically!

This has been a pretty good week for me both mentally and physically!  Mentally, I have had to focus on training for the triathlon as well as the half marathon.  I have "made time" to fit in the other disciplines.  Weather it was between birthday parties, before work, after work, with the family watching TV, I was able to fit it in.  We had three track meets this week as well and I was able to fit it all in. I am maybe going to get one more tide in today if I can!
Another physical obstacle I conquered this week was on the track. I used to think that track people were absolutely, certifiably CRAZY!  I would hear of the doing 20 x 400 yards and 10 x 800's?  What, sprinting that far, that is NUTS!  During my training, the plan has been calling for Yasso 800's.  These are a challenge, you take you mile time, split them in half and that is what you run your 800's in.  We started with 2 of them, that is not bad at all.  This week we hit 8, that is right 8 of them!  I was not sure how I would handle all this.  Katie G. and I took off and did some good warm ups and then got after 8 x 800!  By the time 6, 7, and 8 rolled around, my times were getting faster. Why?  I am not sure of that, maybe more focus because I was tired or because I was just getting warmed up?  Who knows?  What I do know, I finished these and tacked on another mile or so for cool down.  I was amazed that I could actually do this.  It is amazing what YOU CAN do when you tell your mind you are going to do it.  Mind over matter, I think is how the saying goes!  I do not like track workouts all that much but I am actually looking forward to running 10 of these.  10 x 800's, CRAZY, but I can see the benefits of these.  Last Saturday, I ran my best 5k ever and I think it has a lot to do with the 800's.  I needed that last week, now, I have moved in to a mental place I like to be while running, knowing I CAN succeed at whatever I set out to do!
Physically right now, I am feeling pretty dang good.  Last week, I weighed in for the first time in a long time.  I am down to 212 pounds.  This is lower than my senior year of high school.  I started back in December at 248!  Down 36 lbs and feeling pretty good about it.  I am hoping that by Mother's Day, I will be at about 210 for my first half marathon of the year!  I think this will help me with my time and feeling good on my feet.  I think being this light (for me) I think will really benefit me when it comes race time.  Best part of it all, I am having fun doing it, and I don't feel like I am dieting at all.  I am really not, just eating clean and smart!
Again, there are so many people out there doing such awesome things, for such good causes!  It is really cool to see a running community, such as LIVE UNCOMMON, come together, bring people of all sorts together and give back to such great causes. Not to mention the ledge it has pushed me out on training.  I am not sure if I would have taken the steps to prepare to race all summer if it was not for all my running buddies!
Today, Aaron M., Katie G., and I took off to run the practice half for the QC distance classic.  They open up the course, not really, but mark it so you can get a feel for the course.  We ran a really easy 11 miles and I picked up on the last two just to push a little.  I finished the practice run, very nice and easy pace.  I was three minutes ahead of what I ran last year.  I am excited to do this race again, to see what I can do and see if I have trained smarter and learned anything from a year ago!  I have a much better base under my belt now.  It should be a better race for me.
I am off to church for another busy Sunday, but productive.  Hopefully I can push for a another week and a half and see what I CAN do for the QC Distance Classic.  Till then, be productive, see what you can challenge yourself to do.  Get out there and test yourself and see what YOU CAN do!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What a GREAT DAY!

What a great way to start off my weekend!  Running a 5k for such a great cause and an even better turnout, especially by the Live Uncommon runners!   The Run for Renewal helps so many kids in need.   Such a cool event and atmosphere.  If you weren't there today, mark it on the calendar for next year.  Kids being kids and lots of people helping make sure they get to enjoy their youth!

For me it was not about running, it was about making a difference today.  I feel like I got that chance in many ways.  First of all, my daughter made the choice a month ago to run this race and she stuck with it!  She ran her first 1/2 mile kids run and ran it in 4:19, what a trooper and she looked good doing it!  There are some pictures below!  After that we gathered at the starting line and headed out got he 5k.  I was a little nervous to say the least.  After my St. Patty's day run, I was a little worried that I was not making the gains I needed to be making.  I thought I was going to go out a ROCK that 5k.  Now I look back and I really had set myself up for failure in that race.  I did a lot of things wrong, mostly mental too.  Easy fix, right?  Today would be the proof if I could.  I had made some training changes and I also talked myself into a better mental game.  As the race went underway, I was able to control my mental midget side of my brain and let the mental giant take over.  Thanks goodness, I might have had to throw myself in a headlock or cradle!  The course was a little hillier than I thought which was good, it made me focus on running and not out thinking myself.  When it was all said and done, PR for me!  I ran the best 5k I have ever run by about :45 seconds according to my watch.  I am not sure about the official race time but won't be to different.  I really needed that and will hope this will propel my training and make me want it that much more.  My time of 20:14 is very close to my ultimate goal, running under 20 minutes.  I have a few more this summer so I will get after it and make that goal a reality, because I KNOW I CAN!

 To start my day this way is so nice and refreshing!  See many people reach out and show they care is so cool!  Thanks to Phil P. for taking these awesome pictures today.  Phil is a ROCKSTAR with his camera!

Now I have a bit of confidence flowing and am thinking I am going to try and do a tri-athlon in Ogden, Ia.  This would before my original planned QC Tri,  but I figure, what the hell.  I am going to go in with no expectations and give it hell so I can improve for the QC.  I need to get some things in order and get after it, I know I CAN do it, just need to buckle down and focus!  Tomorrow, i will get inb a brick and see what I can do and decide if the tri is feasible for me to take on!

Thanks to my family, I have such great support between them and he LU family!  I love having them cheer me on and run with me.  Such a cool feeling, one that is not describable!

Thanks Live Uncommon for making me take that risk to be a better person in life, sometimes the biggest regret we have is the risk we didn't take!  Get out there, get after it because YOU CAN!!!

By the way, Great work to Aaron Maurer on his PR of 19:09 today too!  Way to get it done!




Monday, April 16, 2012

WOW, Where does time go???

It has been a while since I have been able to post, mostly life has just got in the way.  Every time I had intentions of writing, something seemed to come up that needed tended to ASAP!  Seems that is the way life has turned for me here recently.
Probably the biggest events are both my daughters birthdays.  Olivia's was last week and Kennedy's is today.  At first this was great having their birthday's within a week of each other.  However, I am slowly finding out that I am just going to call April, Birthday Month!  I hope later in life they don't figure out that it is also "Diamond" month.  I will leave that for some one else!  Anyway, Olivia has decided that she does not want to celebrate birthdays together.   I can't say as I blame her, but it just makes the days spread out a little more.  I think all of Olivia's friends have birthday's during this month too.  Seems like all we have done is host a birthday and go to birthday's.  Oh, did I mention, I have made three birthday cakes in a weeks span as well.  Yes, I am, Betty Crocker!  Oh well, as much work as it is, and running around town going crazy, I would not have it any other way.  I love my girls and their births were so special.  I will keep and just suck it up in April.  Pretty much have no choice as I am the only male in the house!

I have also been working on something I used to love.  That is my new fish aquarium.  I love having fish tanks, they are very tranquil to me.  I had to convince Mary a little to get this rolling but I finally have it going.  I have two Blood Parrot Cichlids, Flowerhorn Cichlid and an Electric Blue Jack Dempsey.  They all are pretty impressive fish.  Very young now, but will grow and be beautiful in color.  Now my challenge will keep it looking like it does now.  Clean and sparkly!

Back to my training...I have had some really awesome weeks of training, well, running anyway.  My biking and swimming have been lacking to say the least.  As of right now, I am just trying to keep my base with the bike and swim while I focus on the half marathon.  Once that is over, I will put more miles on the bike and in the pool.  Since I last posted I have added some Yasso 800's to the regimen.  To my surprise, I am really enjoying the 800's.  Last week, I was able to complete 6 of these and keep them consistent.  This week will bring 8 of them, we will see if I still like them as much.  I feel pretty strong right now as my running is progressing.  Last weekend, I set out to simulate a half marathon race.  Katie G. needed to run this for her training and I thought maybe it would be good for me too.  Aaron M. and Curt S. joined us as well.  We let Katie kind of set the pace for us.  She wanted to run between 7:30 and 7:45 pace for the half.  I would be lying if I did not tell you I got a little nervous the night before.  I wanted to do well and see if I had improved on last years half.  Last year I was able to complete the half in 1:45.46 which I was very pleased with.  If I was going to go at Katie's pace, I would be improving my pace time by about a half minute or so.
On Saturday we set out and got after it.  We actually had a large group, but many people were in different stages of their running so we did not get to chat as a group as we normally do.  Hopefully that will return this weekend!  We had set up a course to run with not many hills.  Most of the course was on the river bike path.  After all was said and done, we were able to keep a 7:36 pace.  I finished in 1:39.53 for the simulated half, setting a pr for me.  I was super happy, knowing I still have four weeks before I have to run this again and I think I will make some more strides!  Great job by Katie, Aaron and Curt this weekend too, I am lucky to have these talented runners at my side and pushing me!
Another shout out to all the runners that show up early on Saturday morning to set out and run!  To accomplish things they have never done, train for races they fear, run farther than they have ever run before, running for the fun, all of you have done such a fantastic job, week after week, trying to attain those goals!  Keep pushing, YOU CAN  be the best at whatever you want.
Good Luck to the Live Uncommon Race Team this weekend at the Run for Renewal in Davenport!  It will be nice to see us all decked out in our awesome gear and tear up the streets of Davenport!
Do tomorrow what you did not get done today, because YOU CAN accomplish whatever you put your mind too!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

MIA on Blogging!

Sorry folks, I have been a way for a bit.  Seems like every time I built in some time to write, something else gets in the way, like life!  I have been meaning to write for the last five days and I have just not got it done.

My training has slowed down a bit in the biking and swimming areas.   I have kind of done this on purpose as I am trying to train more for the half marathon on May 12.  I am hoping the plan will work with out losing to much on my swim and bike.  My goal is to try and get two of each workouts built in each week along with my running.  So far, I slacked a little on those but, like I said life is a bit busy right now.  With Easter and both of my girls have birthdays coming, oh and work, things are crazy.  Olivia's birthday is on Easter and it is the golden one too!  So much planning is needed!

One of the things that has been on my mind a lot lately is the groups I have been running with.  First, I cant explain to you the value they have in my eyes.  About every other day, I so look forward to running, no matter how bad or good I feel, I always know they are there and will get me through the workout.  This morning was a prime example, I felt tired, my legs felt tired, my allergies were firing on all cylinders and I just did not have it.  Until I started and kept pushing because of the people I run with.  I ended on a 7:10 mile, mile 6.  I believe there were nine of us getting after it.  At one point it was silent, no one talking, which is really rare amongst this group, but you could hear every ones sneakers beating the pavement, working...all before 6 a.m.!  Incredible the amount of effort we put in.

Now, I know, I have talked about the running group before but I can't seem to get over the fact that there are this many GOOD people out there that are willing to get up at about any hour of the morning to run!  To RUN!  They are dedicated, they are athletes, they are moms, they are dads, they are professional, they are the CRAZY!  I will admit runs without them are very hard to deal with, which is something I am working on.  I have also talked about surrounding myself with good people because the results are, well, GOOD!  Some of the people drive a half hour to get to us, some push the limits to get to work on time, some do it because it is the only time they can, some just go because of the camaraderie.    For whatever reason, they get it done, early in the morning.  Good example, last weekend, we gathered at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning and more at 6:00 a.m. and even more at 7:30.  I believe we ended with about 14 runners, that early on a Saturday morning!

One reason I wanted to reflect about this was to make sure you all know how important and what GREAT people I am privileged to workout with.  If you are not running with us, you should, YOU CAN!  You are missing out.  Some of these people have come so far in their running, it is amazing to watch.  YOU could be that person too.  Power in numbers!

I am super excited to continue my venture in running this summer.  I am not to worried about PR's, but I know they will come when I workout with this group, they are just that type of group.

For now, 6 B4 6, CRAZIES, thanks for all your push and helpful advice, you are the best.  If you are not part of it yet, come join us, you are missing out.  Till next time, YOU CAN get out there and achieve!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Week of Lows and Highs!

Last week was an interesting week for me training wise.  I had some really good conversations with some awesome team mates of mine, yeah, Live Uncommon Team Mates!  They are awesome and if you have not experienced them, you need to, wicked bunch of athletes, parent, friends and down to earth people!

I came off spring break last week with the a week of intense training, not my highest mileage training, but very intense.  Thinking that coming off that week, I was going to be unstoppable in my training.  However, I found quite different outcome than that.  After running the St. Patrick's CASI race with the Live Uncommon team, I was drained.  If you read my post, you know, I was a little disappointed in my outcome of that race but I also should have expected it.  I worked my legs like no other during my "vacation", really taking them to their threshold for three days straight.  Then I expected to race my best 5k ever, right out of the gates!  Kind of foolish of me but I do always want to do my best and don't like failure.  I did experience a little, but more importantly I learned from it.  I was way over training.  I was doing unneeded time in the pool, on the bike.  I needed more track workouts instead of long runs.  It was nice to sit back and look at what I had done and realize, OVER TRAINING!  Funny, just a couple of months ago I was telling another friend he needed to cool it a bit.  Needed to take my own advice!  So I did!!!

Last week, I decided to just run and cut way back on the biking and swimming, the two spots I was really killing myself on.  I only logged about 28 miles running and it was just what I needed.  I even took Friday completely off knowing I was going to run 15 on Saturday.  I felt pretty good coming out of the weekend and have put together a plan that should meet my distance running needs and adapt into the triathlon training as well.    I am feeling pretty good at this point and hopefully this will turn that over training into some Pr's and a better attitude towards training.

I am going to have to invest in some new shoes this week as well.  I am at 312 miles, since January, on my Brooks Ghost 4, love the shoes, did not last quite as long as I like but my frame, 5'11" 218 make it hard for shoes to hold up.  I will get the same shoes unless anyone has some better advice for me.

This past weekend , I was also able to get after another favorite of mine, BAREFOOTING!  Who barefoot in March in the Midwest?  This did and now I CAN say I have been barefooting in March  on the Rock River!  It was not bad at all, about 62 degrees and having a wetsuit, made it enjoyable.  Check out the picture  at the right!!!!  Need to straighten out the arms, but all is Good!

Kind of a random post but it is what it is!  Last week was kind of random, taking time off, realizing reality, checking my mental capacity and being smarter about training!  I am looking forward to being smart in this phase of my training now that I have a nice base to build on.  Thanks to all the people out there who listen to my training obstacles and allowing me to make that hurdle and continue on.  Get out there, train hard, train smart and see what you CAN do!  I AM!

P.S.  Don't forget to check out my Live Uncommon Race Team page and make a donation for 7, yes 7, FANTASTIC causes.  If you would like to donate, you can also write a check to Live Uncommon in my name.  Come on, YOU can MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Just click on my badge!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Biggest Accomplishment Yet & My Family

Well this week provided some interesting thoughts, accomplishments,  and some realities.  The thought process going through any training process is sometimes mind boggling.  You go through so many highs and lows it is hard to keep all of them real and not let them bog you down.  At one point you accomplish something you never thought you could and the next, reality smacks you right in the face and starts to get you down.  That is the hard part, getting back up after you get down.  I think if you truly want to achieve your goals, you have to find a way to overcome those lows and get back after it.

This week, I did not have the huge numbers in training, like over a 100 miles for the week.  However, I felt like I upped the intensity for three days getting in some good bike rides and runs.  Trying to account for the St. Patty's day race in there as well it made it a little harder to get the big numbers but I am ok with it.  I will get back to that this week!

Some of my big accomplishments for the week....I rode outside for the first time doing hills on Tuesday and felt pretty successful with that, the next night I was able to ride 40 miles and try pace riding.  Those were big for me mentally after training inside for the winter.  Secondly, I was able to swim a full two miles in one of my workouts in the pool.  That is the longest I had gone in the pool this year too.  Mentally, that was a challenge and I was able to really focus on form.  Thirdly, I was able to run some mile repeats.  I was able to record my two fastest miles ever, a 5:48 and 5:57.  I felt really good mentally and physically accomplishing these goals.  They were not necessarily goals I wrote down and set out to get but more like mile markers for me along my journey.  Then came reality!

The reality set in yesterday about a mile into my first 5k of the year.  I really set some high expectations into the run.  I am not sure why I did this, being the first of the year, but I did.  Probably because of my mile splits the other day.  I kind of set myself up for the failure here but I am not going to be disappointed in my effort.  I ran a 21:30, which is my second fastest 5k ever.  I now know that I need to get on the track a little more if I want to be 5k ready.  I have been training long distance to fast should not have really been it for me.  Although, I did have some awesome help yesterday in John O'Brien, our LIVE UNCOMMON Team Captain, and Katie Gaffney, my REVOLUTION Race Teammate trying to give me a push.  I appreciate that from them, I could not ask for better teammates!  Considering this is the first 5k of the year, I will get my goal of under 20 minutes, sometime in the future, I know I CAN!!!  I am going to take a little rest again today, as my hamstring is a tad tender this morning and I do not want to risk any injury to it.  I will enjoy my last day of break and let it heal!

However, none of the above can even compare to the "Dad" high I had yesterday after the 5k and parade.  When I came home, my oldest daughter,  7 years old, came to me and said, "Dad, I want to run those races like you!"   For me that was my biggest accomplishment I could have had, my daughter wants to do things like I do, I AM setting a good example for her.  If you know Olivia, she does not want to do anything unless it is on her terms, no pushing that envelope at all.  Believe me, I have tried!  When she came to me she was serious and usually she means it when she says she wants to do something.  For example, when she wanted to join the Backwater Gamblers Ski team, she said "let's join" and that was that and she has been awesome at it.  I expect nothing less on this venture.  She was excited and we talked about it and she is going to run the Project Renewal Kids run on April 21st.  I am so excited to see her take this on.  Yesterday, she even ran about a mile loop around our house, I did it with her, pretty cool, for a dad!  Last night she wanted me to wake her up so she could run this morning. I did let her sleep in thinking this would not be the case in the morning. This morning when she came downstairs, she was ready to run!  Running shoes on, hair up in pony tail, ready to go!  She went out for 1/2 mile in 4:13.  So very proud of her.  If it lasts, which I think it will, she will be good.  If it doesn't last, at least I know she is thinking about being healthy and living that UNCOMMON life!  I will keep you posted on her progress!

Until next time, see what YOU CAN do!  Get out there and make it happen, nothing CAN hold you back if you BELIEVE YOU CAN!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Today...I CAN!

Spring break week for me usually means I am in Florida basking in the sun on a beach.  This year, we decided it was in our best interest to stay home and relax on spring break and spend our money on house updates this summer.  So that left me here to train and relax.  However, we did head to the Dells on Sunday and Monday and had a really nice time with the Conway's.  I also have to share a funny story at the Dell's.  After a good day at the water park, we went to the Moosejaw Restaurant.  As we were waiting for a table, I was holding my daughter.  I was wearing my Live Uncommon pullover and it has my name on it.  As I was standing there, I here the people at the table right behind where I was standing start reading off information that pertained to me.  Things like, where I worked, Live Uncommon Race team, Bettendorf Middle School.  I was like what, "did they take my wallet?, how did they know this about me?"  As I turned around, they did not say hi or hello.  Instead, I see the guy looking up the information on my shirt on his phone.  He must of thought that I was someone important with the Live Uncommon gear and my name on it.  Kind of freaked me out at one moment, knowing he got all that information, just from my shirt.  On the other hand I was proud to know that one more person knows what Live Uncommon is about and what I am about and what we stand for!  Kind of a fun story!


That leads me up to today.  I decided I would try and put some brutal miles/workout in this week since I was off work and especially since it is nice out!  Who needs Florida with this weather?  (ask me that again next December!)  Anyway, I feel like I have accomplished the killing myself part of working out.  Since Tuesday morning, I have put in almost 70 miles in biking, swimming and running.  Most importantly, I have accomplished some things I have not done before make this and "I CAN" week!  On Tuesday morning I set out on my first solo run for the first time this year.  I struggled mentally but did pretty well training wise, finishing 6 miles with a 7:44 pace.  I did get a swim in, the biggest yardage to date after my run and still felt pretty good.   On Tuesday, I also decided I was going to meet Jeff Paul and the Trek Store riders  for my first outdoor ride.  I was not sure what to expect on this ride.  I did know it would be an interval workout of some sort.  We ended up doing hill repeats on the bike.  It was a good ride for me.  I was able to push and stay up with the front group for the most part.  It was also good because I was able to ride amongst other riders, getting me used to having people around me while riding.  I felt really good after this ride.

After that ride, my sister was nice enough to grill some steaks out and enjoy a nice bonfire!  Nothing like a great meal after a healthy day of working out!.

I will admit, I slept in a little on Wednesday, knowing I was going to have a big day again.  I started in the pool on Wednesday.  I wanted to get a good quality pool swim in.  I was able to do this with my biggest swim yet.  I was able to rip off 3500 yards/2 miles.  I even did the dreaded 200's during this workout and was able to hold a 3:05 or under pace for all of them.  I really felt good, again, eclipsing some old marks for yardage.  Once again proving, I CAN do a lot of things given the time and courage to get out and do it! I also snuck a little lift in after this, and I will admit the quality of it was pretty low but did get in six lift.  Mostly because I wanted to get outside and enjoy the day.  However, I really did not get to get outside, but did get some much needed errands done.

At 5:00, I decided I would go ahead and go meet some bike riders over off of Ben Butterworth parkway for a ride.  I had been told it was a 40 miler, which scared me to start with but I figured I could handle it. There were two groups, an A and B.  I was a little late getting there due to a accident so I ended up with the B group which was a good thing.  I did all I could to hang with the B group.  We took off and headed west ( I think?).  We headed out into the country on some very isolated but good roads.  One guy in the group kind of took me under his wing when I had told him I was a newbie and that it was really my first long ride I have done outside.  As we talked he thought we maybe would only go 34 miles or so.  Well, to me mentally, I was thinking this is good.  But as we got going, I realized, it was going to be 40 miles.  It was a good thing or as John Byrnes would say, it was a "character builder".  As we rode we did some very close pace riding.  Wheels only about 6 inches from the guy in front.  The pace riding reminded me of Indian runs.  The last guy up to the front and block the wind for a bit, then the next guy moves in.  I was pretty happy as I kept up with these guys for the most part.  We were consistently riding over 20 mph as we trekked through the country side.  Finally we had made it back to the bike path on the river and that is where fatigue set in for me.  It was about mile 34, the wind kicked up in our face and I was struggling.  But, I knew I had to get back to my truck or walk and that was not on option. I pushed through the pain and made it back.  Funny thing was, I was at 39.27 miles when I got to my truck.  Nope, that was not enough, mentally, I had just worked my ass off and I was going to go 40 miles!  So,  I went past my truck enough and turned around to get my 40 in.  Just one of those silly things for me, no reason, just needed to see forty!  For the first ride outside, I went 40 miles and ended with and 19.1 mph pace.  Which I will take considering the wind was pretty strong last night.  Never thought I could do 40 miles, this early.  Once again, I CAN ride 40 miles and finish with the group.  This is a big hurdle for me, when I push myself, I CAN get things done!  I came home and hydrated up with a nice meal and water and sat with the family and enjoyed a peaceful bonfire, in MARCH!  Crazy!  As I knew today I was going to finish out my last of the tough days for working out.
Today, I set out to Meet Katie G., one of my Crazies Group runners.  I had decided since I was going to run a 5k, the CASI St. Patrick's Day Run, I was going to do some mile repeats, two to three of them.  We met at the Y at 7 and had plans of running to the Bettendorf High School and jumping on the track.  I was a little unsure how I would perform on this due to my long ride last night.  The warm up run to the high school was much needed to work some of the lead out of my legs, and my hamstrings were very tight.  Made it to the track and stretched a little more to make sure I did not pull anything.  We set out on the first mile and mentally, I was challenged here.  Took off at a good pace and I was not sure I could hold it.  Fortunately, I ran the fastest mile I have ever run today, 5:48.  Much to my surprise as I have had such a heavy load of training the last few days.  I was really stoked by this.  We walked a lap and jogged a lap in between and set out on the next mile.  This one was tough too.  We headed out fast and again, I was not sure I could hold.  I ended up with a 5:57 this time.  Two miles under 6:00, felt awesome.  I have never run a mile under 6:00 before, let alone two of them.  My fastest mile I can remember to this point was 6:34 last year.  I am pretty excited about that.  I still have a lot of training to do, as I really have not hit a track workout yet and I am much faster than last year at this point. You can see those miles below on lap 3 and 6.
Katie and I then finished up with another 3 miles or so back to the Y for a total of 7 miles.  Even the miles back were at a good pace.  Although, when I got to the Y, I was done and ready to stretch as I was tightening up.  We stretched a little bit and re-hydrated.  What a AWESOME way to start my day.  Doing two miles under 6:00, something I did not think I could ever do and I DID IT!

I finished out my morning with a swim in the pool.  My arms were exhausted this morning in the pool.  I decided that I should probably just drill this morning.  I did various sets, equaling up to 1600 yards after the run.  My arms loosened up by the end and I feel pretty good now.  I ended the swim with a nice relaxing hot tub soak.  That hit the spot!

As I am writing this, I still can't believe what a great start to the day this is.  Two awesome miles for me, a nice cool down swim.  Scrambled eggs, pineapple and coffee on the deck while soaking up some sun.  Maybe it is better that I am not in Florida, look at what I have accomplished this week.  What a great week of training I have had!

On to some rest now.  I have a soccer game tonight that I will play in but might scale it back a bit just to prevent injury!  From that point on, I will rest my body in preparation for the St. Patrick's Day 5K.  I am hoping for some good things from the race.  Not to mention this is the first race in the Revolution Race Series.  This will be the big event for the Live Uncommon Race Team.  Which leads me to my donation page.  If you have not donated, I would love to have your help in helping me accomplish my goal of $700.  You can get to my page with the link on my blog here or this address:  http://liveuncommon.org/default.aspx?function=displayparticipant&id=311&eid=4.

This week I have accomplished some small goals that will all help in my training for this summer.  I have many more to accomplish, but after this week, I know I CAN do anything I want and CAN accomplish things that used to be dreams.  Get after it and see what YOU CAN get done!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

LIVE UNCOMMON - THE REVOLUTION RACE TEAM


You know me, always running. Well, in 2012, I’m running for a bigger purpose than my own fitness and even my own sense of accomplishment. This year I am running to change the World. Yep, that’s what I said – I am running to change the World.
I have joined my force with the LIVE UNCOMMON RevoLUtion Race Team and our team goal is to raise $100,000 for worthy Causes. They are:
CASI: Center for Active Seniors – Provides services that meet the needs of older adults and fosters respect, dignity and quality of life.
PROJECT RENEWAL - Providing a positive presence for the children and families in our low income neighborhood of Davenport, Iowa.
RACE FOR THE CURE - Susan G. Komen...Breast Cancer
MOONLIGHT CHASE - Helping support the Scott County Library, Eldridge Volunteer Fire department, Trees Forever, the Food pantry and more...
OUCH - Wound Reach Foundation, Wound Care, Research Education and Clinical Health.
QUAD CITIES MARATHON - Us & Too (Prostate Cancer Education & Support), Erika Kate (Children with heart disease)

Check them all out...they are very worthy and it would mean a lot to me if I can achieve my fund raising goal!!!
My personal goal is $700 and I have committed to doing my part. It would mean alot to me if you would help me help the many Causes which benefit from my personal and my Team’s collective effort this year.
Literally every penny counts, so please know that I appreciate whatever you can do!
By clicking on my Race Team badge, you will magically find yourself at my personal page.
Again, thank you very much and see you at the Races!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Many New people and a good week!

Been a few days since I have posted anything.  Kind of a nutty week at work being the end of the third quarter, which is hard to believe, and grades being due and the week before spring break!  Kids always seem to run the crazy the week before break as everyone is needing this break!  But, it is all behind me now and a week off will do the mind & body good!

I first have to start out with some things I was able to do at school that I normally do not get a chance to do.  We have a tremendous art teacher at school, Mr. D, that I will be fortunate enough to work with next year.  If you know me, I am intrigued by art and wish I was a lot better at it than I am but I still love it.  Anyway, he was gracious enough to send out an invite to come to his class for a "Zentangle" lesson.  I will have to say, I have not been that relaxed while at school in a very, very long time.  First, to get 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to be quiet, like pin drop quiet, for 42 minutes is nearly impossible.  But he did it.  We had some nice relaxing music and basically doodled, in an organized manner, for 42 minutes.  The best thing is that you don't have to be a good "artist" to do it either.  If you get a chance, just google "Zentangle" and it will give you a better idea of what we did.  I was so impressed, I went to talk to my wife after and encouraged her to go.  She did it too and really liked it as well.  You can see the outcome below.  I actually did a much bigger one the same day, but didn't take a picture of it.  Mine is on the left and my wife's is on the right.  Pretty fun once you get started!



I could not help myself with this either.  Aaron M. had a really cool wax museum project for his students.  There was some awesome projects that went on and really showcased some talent we have in our school.  One of the girls did a history on Barbie.  One of her future Barbie's was a Mr. Maurer Doll.  As you can see in the picture, this will probably be one of the biggest selling Barbie's of the future.  I about peed my pants when I saw this.  I think the scowl on the face makes it, probably because he is surrounded by HAIR!!  Good Stuff!  On to the training....

This week of training has been a good one for me.  My swimming has finally taken back some shape and I am feeling comfortable again. I am relaxing with my stroke and it seems to be pushing me in the right direction.  I swam with Aaron M. and he really pushed me in the water on Monday.  I swam some 100's with him and that really made me push myself and concentrate on form.  Aaron has really made some nice strides in swimming.  I am looking forward to some more swims with him as we continue to train for our summer events.  Wednesday's swim was a good one too.  I completed a ladder and I was able to keep my rest intervals consistent and my stroke consistent.  Friday, I decided I needed to do a timed 600 swim just to see where I was at.  I was pleasantly surprised with a 9:41.  I think I can really make some improvements on this time between now and my tri's.  I have a sort of renewed energy from a couple of weeks ago, especially about the swimming.  This is big for me as I am feeling comfortable with my training mentally and physically.

My biking for the week was on par.  I don't feel like I am making any huge gains on this but I am not hurting myself either.  I am just excited to have a break in the weather and get outside to see what I can do outdoors.  Ultimately, that will tell the tale of how my trainer rides have been helping.  At this point I have got in 54 miles on the bike this week and hoping to get one more in  before we leave in the morning for the Dells.  I am pretty sure I can do it, I am not getting up early to do it either!  I will keep plugging away at the bike and hopefully get outside soon to see what I really have been doing.

Running is still coming along pretty well for me. I still can't help to think that I would not be anywhere close to what I am doing right now without the groups I have been running with.  There is so much inspiration and energy within these groups.  For instance on Thursday, it was pretty windy in the morning and I really did not want to run.  As we got out, we had a large group and we navigated our way through Bettendorf trying to avoid the wind.  Next thing you know we had almost 7 miles done and ran one of the fastest miles we have run all year.  Then today we went for a ten mile run and had 7 of us.  I was not dreading the run as much as the course we were going to run. The actual course is really awesome, running along the river, crossing bridges (actually did not get to this morning because the arsenal bridge span was open).  Really a beautiful course in the morning with the sun rising.  The dreaded part is this hill on Middle Road in Davenport.  Going down is awesome, going up, not so much.  This thing is a conversation killer and lung burner.  But in the end, we did it and did it well!  And after we were able to pick up the pace to finish out a nice ten mile run.  After we were able to sit down at the local Starbuck's and enjoy some good conversation and coffee.  I am excited because right now my training pace is about at what my race pace was last year and I still have some really good training in front of me.  I am hoping to set some PR's this year.  I don't think I would be anywhere close to that if it was not for this FANTABULOUS group of runner's.  It was also nice to meet some people that we talk to with social media but have not met in person.  I am also excited to see more people get out as the nice weather start to roll in.

This week has been a good week of training.  However, I am going to try and push some limits this week as we are on spring break.  o I will have a little lore time to put in and get after it.  I plan on spending a little more time on the bike and in the pool.  Running may have to be on my own but I think I will be alright, although I think there will be a few crazies around for me to run with. I will take Monday off, maybe, depending on how the Dells trip goes.   I am looking forward to the week off, with some good training, some good rest and NO WORK!  To all of you leaving on Break, Have a BLAST!  To those staying around, if you want to train, shoot me an email or GOOD LUCK with it all.  YOU CAN get out and make the best of it!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Great Start to a Great Day!

Started my Saturday at 4:00, getting out of bed to meet a group to run.  I ran with John B., Rick F., Katie G., and Aaron M.  on the first of the two loops this morning.  It was a little slick but we managed.  We managed just under nine miles in the first loop.  It is always a great way to start my day with this group.  Always seeing improvement in all the individuals I run with and always pushing the positively.  Feel like I have really benefited from having a group like this and blessed to be able to run with them.  This group ran from 4:30 to 6:00 and when we arrived back at John's house, we had four others waiting.  Phil P., John O.,  Curtis J., and Brian T. all joined in.  The biggest running group yet, nine people!  On the second loop, we managed another 9 miles for a total of 18.03.
I really feel like I am making strides in my running.  I have come to realize, I am making these strides because of all the other work I do in the pool or on the bike or lift weights.  It is all starting to come together now for me.  I really think that running with good people and good athletes who push me has helped me see that I CAN run and WILL get better as we go.  I am kind of excited for the summer to see what I CAN accomplish in some road races.  It is a totally awesome feeling for me to know where I came from and where I built up to and where I CAN take it.
This is actually the first time I have sat down today, I had a 3-on-3 Basketball Fundraiser I was running today and it just finished.  It has been a super long day but very productive.  The basketball tournament is a fundraiser for our athletic department and it went super well today.  I think we will have raised some serious funds!  I am excited to see.  I could not have done it without my staff at school.  They are all so supportive of me and my job and what I do.  I had the best turn out I have had for volunteers and they were amazing.  We got 58 teams through their brackets and awards handed out in 6 hours.  Staff, if you are reading this, YOU are awesome.  Not to mention the people who do work behind the scenes!  I am pretty fortunate that I work where I do, with the people I do.
The start of the weekend has been pretty spectacular and will only get better.  I was asked to speak at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes tomorrow for our high school.  I am pretty excited to share my story with kids I have taught, and some I don't know.  I have an interesting story, well, at least to me.  This will be the first time I have done anything like this so I am super excited, yet a little nervous.  All will be good though because, I am surrounding myself with people who care and people that are good!
Now that my day is winding down, i am going to sit back, kick the feet up, and relax with my family!  The most important people in my life!
Have a GREAT weekend and see what you CAN do!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Training Blahs!

I will start with yesterday.  I had an awesome run with the CRAZIES!  We had a great group of seven running.  We started at a really nice pace and picked it up along the way.  Towards the ends, I felt like I just needed to go.  I kind of felt bad leaving the group but I just needed to do it for myself.  I took off and had some really nice last miles, for me anyway.  For some reason I felt like I did not run well last week, but I put in 28 miles running and felt good.  One of those mysteries I will probably never know, but I was satisfied with my run and that is important to me mentally.  The group is really making strides in the running category and I am excited for some warm weather to come and see what we can really do.

Today was a good workout as I pulled off the trifecta( according to Aaron M.) workout this morning.  Getting biking, swimming and lifting in all before 6:15 a.m.  I do not mind these workouts once I get going.
I jumped on the bike at 4 a.m., actually like 4:10 and rode at a high cadence for 15 miles.  I tried to keep the cadence over 100 rpm for the full time.  For the most of it, i was able, except the first couple miles of warm-ups.  High cadence is probably the least favorite of any bike workouts.  I am not really sure why, but it is.  Then, I quickly transitioned to my jammer and headed to the Y for a 1750 yards.  It was actually a good workout, I found a really good rhythm today.  I did 5 x 100 all under 1:30 and then 10 x 50 at 40 sec or below with 15 second rest intervals.  Overall I was really happy with the swim which adds to some confusion for me, which I will address later.  After swimming I hit the weights for a pretty tough weight workout too.  I was joined by Todd, Lisa, Curt and Jayme.  My chest will probably be sore tomorrow.  Here is the workout:
Group 1
3 x 15 Bench
3 x 10 Explosive Push Up
3 x 10 Burpee's

Group 2
3 x 10 Overhead Cable Chop
3 x 12 Reverse Swiss Ball Leg Ups
3 x 10 Straight Arm Pull Downs

Group 3
2 x 10 Box Jumps
2 x 10 Cable Rows
2 x 10 Weighted Sit Ups

Pretty good overall workout today.  I am looking forward to the run tomorrow as well.

Here is my mind set at this point in my training.  I really would like to get a triathlon in, just something I wanted to do.  However, I am finding that trying to squeeze all the different types of training in, is very hard on me, my family, and just finding time to relax.  I am signed up for the QC Tri and I will do it.  I have put way to much time in to not do it.  I am really liking the running at this point in time.  I may be at the "runners high" right now.  Maybe because I am seeing improvement, maybe because of the groups I run with.  Whatever the reason, I am really enjoying that, I always feel like I really accomplished something when I am done.
There is another Tri in May I may sign up for so there is something closer for me to train for instead of waiting till June.  Maybe that will bring that motivation back as well. I know I can do well in the tri, at least for me, I just need to get my mojo back.  Maybe once things settle down at work a little, it will come back.  Needless to say, work has been crazy this month.  So I ill quit whining, get back on the horse I rode in on, and start making things happen for the positive!  I know I CAN.  Here is to spring getting closer each day and the weather letting us get outside and enjoy it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

CRAZY Week!

This has been one crazy week!  I kind of knew this would happen going into the week.  I had a lot of events going and just needed to keep rolling and keeping it positive.  This was FUN week this week as I had mentioned in my previous post.  My objective is to get our school "moving/active" this week and keep it going.  We did a number of things to get the students engaged this week. We had former UFC Champ Pat Miletich come in and get almost 1100 students at BMS moving with some push ups, jump squats, burpees and crunches.  It was a pretty cool to see that many students getting active.  We also had students take a pledge to live a healthy active lifestyle to go with our theme of "BMS Gettin' Fit".  Here is an after picture of one I posted last time.  Those are little shoes on the wall that each student has filled out to make the healthy pledge.  We have teamed up with Live Uncommon and have a goal of getting as many people as we can to join the Torch Light Parade.  The Torch Light Parade is a fun event to run, walk, skip, hop, dance, do whatever you can to complete the three miles.  It will cross the Mississippi River twice and end with an awesome concert.  Our hope is to get as many students involved along with staff, but more importantly, get the students and their family and friends involved too.  We want this to be a community event, for all to enjoy.  We would like to have a thousand runners join our team.  If you are interested, sign up and liveuncommon.org and join TEAM BMS.  I know it will be a blast!  We had the awesome Live Uncommon team come in a present to the students.  We had some technical difficulties for the first couple of days but all in all it ended on a positive note.  My goal for each week is to keep reminding students of our goal to get to the TorchLight Parade and present them with activities that will help them achieve the goal.  Keeping in ming, that we want to change the world, one person at a time.  We ended the week with assemblies that included a dodgeball championship and a teacher student dodgeball game.  It was a lot of fun, but I am sure that some teachers, including myself, have some sore shoulders this morning!

As far as workouts go, this did not get any easier.  On Monday and Wednesday, I was able to pull off the trifecta workout.  his meant I rose from bed about 3:55 a.m. and jumped on my bike to get 20 miles in doing various workouts ( Speed, Interval, High Cadence).  Then off the bike to swim at the Y for 30 minutes, trying to squeeze in at least 1600 yards.  Then off to get the weight workouts in, mainly focusing on core workouts.  I had planned on doing this Friday as well, but I just could not do it, I had to listen to the body.  On Thursday nights, I usually play soccer in a league.  This past Thursday, I had the tournament and we ended up playing two games.  Upon waking up Friday, I just felt like my legs needed a little rest.  Not to mention I had ran 7 miles earlier in the morning.  So, I did, I slept in till 4:45 and went on to get the swim and lift in.  I was glad I got that done.  On Tuesday and Thursday, I was able to get in seven miles with my group of CRAZIES!  These runs were both really good and I am feeling like the running is really getting better and will be able to hit some PR's this year.  I ended the running week with a miserably cold run this morning at 4:30 a.m.  Thank goodness for my running group; John B., Rick F., Katie G, Aaron M., and Lindsey.  If I did not have to meet them, I probably would have crawled back in bed.  It was 19 degrees this morning, but felt like 3 degrees with wind at 24 mph.  Most of this run was not as chatty as I normally am.  All I could think about was getting done and getting warm.  The sweat on my coat and underclothes was turning to ice, my face was cold.  I felt really good otherwise, I just wanted to be done for some reason.  Thank you to those runners who helped me DIG DEEP and GET IT DONE

I am also contemplating(95% sure) joining the Live Uncommon Race team for the summer.  This is a great opportunity for me to give back to the community while also holding myself accountable for my own health.  This is a big undertaking as it will require some fund raising but I also think it is something I need to do to support the community we live in.  There are a lot of good people out there and a lot of people that need that extra help.  I am looking forward to getting going on this, I just need to get signed up!  One of the team Road Coaches is Aaron Maurer, who is also kicking butt in his training!  I am hoping we can get fellow runner Katie G.  on the team.  If we can get all this going, I think this is going to be a summer to remember.  I also will turn 40 this year, I AM going to do this with a bang!

Now, off to enjoy the weekend and my family that I have missed during this busy week!  Get out there and enjoy what YOU CAN do!