Distance Running and Lessons Learned

Today (Saturday August 31) I got out early and went for a run. I have been working late at work this week and so my weekly runs were reduced to the one run on the treadmill. Since I want to go to the Hy Vee Triathlon this Sunday, it pushed my long run to today! So I ran along my usual trail for 13.1 miles in 2:18:36. Not too bad, since I stopped for a quick restroom break and bought water at the farmer’s market. Then I walked the remaining 4.5 miles back home.

It was a great morning! Beautiful scenery and sunshine made for a wonderful run. It’s the very reason I hate the treadmill so much, you miss the beauty that’s out there if you only run in one spot. I was hoping that I would get 17 miles of running in, but that’s the total with the walking and it taught me a few things that I hope to carry with me from now on.

First, get the short runs in. Had I got my three 8-10 mile runs in, I would have been able to push through for a couple more miles. I guess I need to figure out how to get them in when duty calls and I have to work late.

Second, my Garmin 210 GPS watch is awesome. While it’s true that it doesn’t speak to you at each mile, it does show mileage, time, pace, and you can look at it any time. It saves my iPhone for music and phone calls, and that makes me feel a little more comfortable since I’m journeying out further and further.

Third, I realize the importance of food and fuel. I ate a little something before I started and remembered to bring along some Stinger Gels with me. It was good to have a quick source of fuel right with me.

Fourth, I realize how blessed I am. I am able to go out, run a half marathon, walk for miles in the beauty of God’s nature, have wonderful friends that are upbeat and supporting and even want to run with me! It doesn’t get much better than that!!

Well, I have used my foam roller, took a cold shower, and now I’m ready for some food. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!

Be happy, Be healthy.


The Treadmill

Since it is so hot outside, I decided to go to the gym and confront my old nemesis; the treadmill.  I know some people love the treadmill, but I am not one of them.  I love the feel of the road under my feet, the sights, the sounds, the adventure, the changing of the pace either by training, or that the Black Eyed Peas came on my iPad. The treadmill gives you none of that, just a constant pace, the same scenery, the same, the same, the same.  To me, the treadmill is a necessary evil, waiting there for you to show some weakness and climb aboard.  I can almost hear it laughing on raining days.

Well I swallowed my pride and ran for an hour on the treadmill (I couldn’t take any more) and got 5.45 miles in.  Hopefully this heat wave breaks so I can go outside and run again.  I need to do an 8-10 mile run, but not on a treadmill.  I think that the treadmill is mentioned in the 6th level of hell in Dante’s Inferno. But if I have to, I have to.

I did get the results from the Sherman Hill “One Hill of a Run” 5k race.  I finished 21st overall out of 80+ people, was 2nd in my age division, and had a time of 26:41.  Not bad, but I need more hill training . . .  they were tough!

Be happy, be healthy


Rest and Recovery Time

You have to make sure to give your body a chance to rest and recover, and that’s what today is for me. I got off of work late today, so I decided to use today as a recovery day and focus on training again tomorrow. It looks like I’ll be hitting the treadmill for my run (it’s supposed to hit 100 degrees Tuesday). I’m not a fan of treadmills; they don’t give you any feel of the road, it’s a constant pace (which I hardly ever keep), and there is nothing to look at to let your mind wonder. The gym has numerous televisions, but I don’t care to watch TV. I’ll be glad when the heat wave tapers off and I can run before it’s pitch black out. But I may have to do that anyway, I love running outside.

Please remember that the Hy Vee triathlon is this Sunday. Come down and cheer on the athletes as they compete in an Olympic length triathlon. A shout out of good luck to Connie, Eric, and Andy who are competing this year (did I miss anyone?). It takes a lot of time, dedication, and willpower to prepare for these events, and I and proud of all of you and admire each of you. Good Luck and I’ll see you at the finish line. Cheers!

Live happy, be healthy.


Spin class

Boy it’s hot outside! I’m glad my friends and I did our long run yesterday. Today I decided to beat the heat and sweat indoors instead! So, I packed my gym bag and headed to 7 Flags Fitness Center to do a spin class. I ended up having the entire spin room to myself. As a bonus, they left the stereo cabinet open, so I could plug in my iPod without having to use headphones! Sweet!

The training program I used was called “Two Big Hills.” It is split into two sections, and the goal is to complete the whole thing, which would be 1 1/2 hours of spinning . . . most of it out of the saddle (standing). Due to time constraints, I did an hour and 10 minutes, and was drenched in sweat at the end of it all. It was a great workout.

If you have never tried spinning, I would recommend that you do. I was so intimidated watching the classes that I was scared to try it around people. That’s when I stumbled into a goldmine. While searching on the web for spin training, a found a site called http://www.trihardist.com/. The person running the site is Jamie Morton; a triathlete and trainer in the Kansas City area. She has on her site free spinning mp3’s that will take you through the various activities done in a spin class. She talks you through each workout, and has great music to boot. There are mp3’s that focus on intensity, hills, endurance, etc. She also has some mp3’s for sale. They are also awesome and they helped me not only biking up hills, but with hill running as well. I even sent her a thank you letter for helping me in my training, it helped that much. There were several hills that I could never get passed without stopping before I started her workouts. Now I just power through them, and use them as a tool to get stronger.

If you ever wanted to try spinning, but were afraid to go, this is your opportunity to try it. In the beginning of my spin training, I started out with a 45min workout, made it 26min, and was drenched in sweat. I could hardly move. Now, my longest training was 2 hours and 15 mins. That was pushing it, but it was good to know I had progressed that far.

If you work with those mp’3 that Jamie has out there, you’ll be ready for the ‘real’ classes in no time. Remember, each trainer is different and each have different terms that they use. Don’t be afraid to ask them before the class to go over what he/she will call out. It will make it easier for you. Also ask the trainer/instructor to help you properly set up your spin bike. If they are worth anything at all, they will be happy to help you. After all, the idea is to help you get fit, not get hurt.

After the session, I did my stretches (the sound you heard was Stephanie’s jaw hitting the floor), rinsed off, and hit the outdoor pool for more stretching and a cool down. Now it’s time to plan tomorrows’ workout.

Live happy, be healthy!


Time to start anew

Hello. It’s time to start this blog anew.

When I started this blog, I had the intention of writing about food, restaurants, and assorted stuff. That was a couple years ago, and my how life changes! Not only does life change, but if you’re willing to go for the ride with it, you’ll change as well. So I guess a little update and backstory is needed to get caught up in the here and now.

When I started this blog, I was 214 lbs and really didn’t care about my weight. I thought I was enjoying life and the spoils that went along with success. Then I noticed the marks on my waist that my pants were leaving because they were too tight. My wife suggested getting larger pants, but I refused, not believing that I was getting more and more out of shape. Then one day I visited my doctor (I have borderline asthma induced from years of smoking – which I quit doing but not before some damage was done) and he told me I had high blood pressure, that it was genetic, and that I would be on meds the rest of my life. I asked “what about diet and exercise?” and was told that while it would help, I would always need the blood pressure medication.

I didn’t like the sound of that. I didn’t like being chained to a pill. Wasn’t it bad enough that I had to take breathing medication and tote my inhaler around, without adding more to the mix? I thought about joining a gym, but I had went down that road before, only to stop going after a few visits and waste a bunch of money. I needed to be accountable for getting in shape. I needed a goal, and a plan.

A friend mentioned an event called Penny’s Pieathlon, a sprint triathlon that requires the entrants to swim 400 yards, then bike 12.5 miles, then run a 5k race. He said then there’s pie and ice cream at the finish, hence the name. I found out that it was in 6 months, and I decided to enter. Then I had to find a gym with a pool and somehow remember how to bike and run.

To be certain that I would stick to this plan, I paid for the triathlon in advance, and then told everyone I was doing it. That way I would be held accountable and embarrassed if I quit again. Now I needed to start training.

I also started counting calories in an effort to lose weight. What I found shocked me! I was consuming all the wrong foods, too many calories, and a lot of it (calories) were unnecessary. The first thing to go in the trash was soda. Now, I have a pop now and then (it’s rare), but I was drinking 8+ cans a day. At 120 calories a can, that’s an entire meal wasted on sugary syrup. I replaced it with water; lots and lots of water. At first I hated it, but now I have to have my water!

The training started slow. I could only run a quarter mile, and then walk a quarter mile, and then repeat until I reached a mile of each. After a week I was up to a half mile, then a mile and so on. It was a slow pace, but a safe one. The swimming was the hardest; I could only do a half lap without needing a break (that’s 25 yards). I needed to do 400. But by determination and slowly adding to it, the distance increased.

The bicycle training was funny. I had always known how to ride a bike, so it shouldn’t be hard right? Wrong! I got 5 miles and was worn out. But again, determination and proper training helped to increase the distance.

A funny thing happened on the way to the triathlon; I started changing. I suddenly noticed I was losing weight, was happier, enjoyed working out, was making new friends who were like minded as me, and I felt better than ever. Why I hadn’t done this before??

The six months flew by and it was race day! I was a nervous wreck. But when my time came I went for it. I finished the 400 swim, and ran out to my bike. Before I knew it, I was back in the transition area and heading out for my 5k. As I crossed the line I almost cried. I did it. I started out an out of shape 214 lb. blob and finished at 190 lb. sprint triathlete.

I’m 183 lbs now, and am training for my first full marathon which will be in October. I have done a half marathon, a 20k Dam to Dam run, a 75 mile bike ride, and numerous 5k races. This year I shaved 15 minutes off my previous sprint tri time. The best news came during a case of dizzy spells in which I saw my Doctor. He said “What the heck are you doing with this training? Your blood pressure is too low.” And he proceeded to take me off blood pressure meds! He then asked that I not share my secret, or he would have to get a second job. lol

Well, that’s the backstory. I will start updating on training and races as they come up. I have two 5k races in September, and a 10k and the marathon in October.

I need to thank numerous people who have helped me along the way. To my wife Julie for putting up with me during this change, to Stephanie, Connie, Eric, Andy, Kara, Stacie and others for their help, guidance, advice, and encouragement. If I forgot to mention someone, please don’t feel bad, you are always in my heart, and I thank you!
A big shout out to Suzan H. Who inspired me more than she knows. She quietly trained and completed an Olympic triathlon, alone in her training, not saying a thing. It was by accident that I found out she was competing, and watched her cross the finish line. I wished I could be in that kind of shape. Well, if you try hard enough, sometimes dreams can come true. Not that I’m ready for an Olympic Tri, but I’m a lot better shape than i’ve been in years.

Well that’s it for now. Going to pack the gym bag and hit the spin bike for a nice 1-1 1/2 hour workout.

Live happy, be healthy!