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:

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


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!