Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grandman Triathlon 2010

The 2010 Grandman Triathlon in Fairhope, Alabama on June 5 was my first triathlon. It consisted of a 1/3 mile swim, 18 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. I was terribly anxious about this race due to my inconsistent training and a lack of experience in multi-sport events. This is my race report.

The swim was an open water, out and back, in Mobile Bay. We started in the water, and from the gun, I struggled to find my comfort zone within a pack of swimmers. Being kicked and grabbed, I quickly realized the swim was more of a fight or flight experience. At the turn around my heart rate was pegged in the red and my swim form was sacrificed at the expense of my constant gasping for air. As a result of the effort, I was wrecked coming out of the water. I stumbled into transition and got ready for the bike.

The bike was 18 miles with some rollers in the first 5 miles but mostly flat. The first 20 minutes on the bike was torture. I had not recovered from the swim and I was peddling squares. As I battled mental demons telling me to stop, I pushed through and forced myself to take on some calories. I took a GU Roctane Energy Gel and almost immediately I felt better. My form came back, my pace picked up, and mentally all the demons faded away.  I had a huge negative split for the second half of the bike and managed to pass a few age groupers in to the transition. I rolled in to T-2 and quickly was out on the run.

The run was 5K (3.1 miles) with a good hill at the beginning but the last mile was completely flat. I felt good coming off the bike and maintained a good pace. I had not forgot my experience on the bike so I kept taking on calories in the form of  Powerbar Energy Chews. I was aiming for negative splits, slowly picking up the pace. This strategy work well and when I started my kick in the last 400 meters I was able to pass 5 age groupers and cross the finish line with a big smile.

I want to thank everyone who inspired, motivated, and helped me accomplish my goal.

Thanks to you I can now call myself a triathlete.

Official Results: 
Overall 455/545
Age Group 45/51
First Timer 50/61
Swim 13:00    1.5   AG 41/ FT 41
T-1  4:51
Bike 1:13:11  14.8  AG 49/ FT 53 
T-2  2:01 
Run 39:52     12:52 AG 47/ FT 53
Total Time 2:12:55

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Deprivation Overload

As I have mentioned, we added another member to our family and we are blessed to have a happy, healthy, baby girl. I thought I had the parenting thing figured out but I forgot about the sleepless nights. My motivation is wavering due to my lack of no sleep. Recovery takes longer, my diet is a joke, and when I do have free time, I'm thinking relax not workout. As a result I had no February training plan.  My next event is the Azalea Trail Race Run, March 29. I'm going continue to run as frequently as possible, watch my diet, and work on my March plan. Oh and SLEEP! 

February Follow up

Ran 12 miles (in 6 workouts)
11:12 average pace (pathetic)
Total of 2 hours and 6 minutes of training.

As told in the introduction, February was a war between sleep and training. Guess who won... Good news is March is looking better and I am excited about the results from my Cram Training. (More on this later)

Iron Man

I gave blood today and I felt REALLY good afterward. So good in fact that I was a little suspicious of the reason. So I did a little research...

While iron is a necessary nutrient, it is needed only in small amounts. When too much iron is absorbed from the diet, it can cause a wide variety of health problems. High levels of iron are associated with an increased risk for cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses such as endocrine problems, arthritis, diabetes, and liver disease. Men absorb iron from the food that they eat, and  

once this iron is in the body it has essentially no way to get out. 

Periodic blood donation

should be considered as a way to remove excess iron and lower body iron levels.

What Is Iron Overload?

Iron overload occurs when, after many years, the body absorbs an abundance of iron that builds up in organ tissues such as the heart and/or liver. Iron overload is a serious chronic condition that must be properly diagnosed and treated. Undiagnosed iron overload can lead to hemochromatosis, which is potentially life-threatening. While the majority of hemochromatosis cases are genetic in origin, as mentioned, other non-genetic causes may be to blame. These can include complications from other blood disorders, chronic transfusion therapy, chronic hepatitis, and excessive iron intake.

What Are the Symptoms of Iron Overload or Hemochromatosis?

While there is no distinct set of symptoms that indicate iron overload, early symptoms of iron overload or hemochromatosis include:
  • Fatigue                 
  • Weakness            
  • Weight loss
  • Joint pain              
  • Abdominal pain
Other factors may influence the progression of hemochromatosis. These factors include:
  • Excess iron in the diet
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Vitamin C intake          
  • Infections
  • Iron lost through menstruation or blood donations
  • Environmental factors
In Conclusion: 
I don't know that I have excess Iron, Iron Overload or anything. I do know that I have some of the symptoms of Iron Overload and after giving blood today I felt great. I'm not a doctor nor is this any sort of scientific testimony. I had a great experience donating today, I looked for a possible explanation, and at least some of this makes sense. Maybe it is pride I feel for giving blood that may save lifes or maybe the production of new red blood cells triggered some euphoric sensation but regardless of the cause, I feel good. I'm not telling you to go out and buying leeches

or Leaches

but I do encourage you to donate blood and I bet you will feel good too.
    Thanks to Dr. Alex Vasquez for providing the research information
    Thanks to LifeSouth for a great blood donating experience

    And I thought my shins hurt...

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    A Sense of Achievement

    "You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."
    - Steve Prefontaine

    Training Update
    With two colds and the birth of my new daughter, I still stuck to my training plan the best I could.

    Week 1 - 10.27 miles at an average pace of 10:59 
    Week 2 - 5.91 miles at an average pace of 10:24 
    Week 3 - 3.12 miles at an average pace of 12:45
    Week 4 - 5.89 miles at an average pace of  10:16

    Strong Week 1. Week 2 started with a sore throat and 3 days of rest. Week 3 started with the birth of my daughter and ended with a full fledged chest cold which included a Z-Pack for treatment. Week 4 I rested, recovered, and raced.
    Overall I proud to accomplish my January goal and the result of the training was a PR in my target race. I would have liked to be more consistent with my weekly training mileage but given the situation I did my best. The illnesses are just part of life. I can say that the motivation of my fellow runners really made me stick to the plan. Special thanks to the "The Brad" 

    Race Report
    On January 30, I participated in the Jag 5K Spirit Run. It was an overcast, cold morning with temps in the low 40s. I talked my sister, sister in law, and sister in law's friend to running at the last minute so along with The Brad, we were a team of five. My original training plan goal was to finish under 30 minutes. Due to the training interruptions (illness & childbirth), I revised my race goal. My 5K race PR was 33:54 so I was targeting sub 33 minutes. Challenging but not impossible given my current training load. 
    I took a different approach to this race and warmed up with a little 4 minute jog. This felt good but in the future I will try to warm up closer to the start of the race so I don't have a chance to cool down.
    I felt good at the start and finished first mile in 9:29 (way too fast). The first mile is slightly downhill which contributed to the fast start but with the course being a loop we would finish on an uphill. I walked through the first water stop (maybe 20 seconds) then got back on pace. At this point my shins were bothering me (the left the most). I pushed through it backing down the pace. My body was telling me to walk but I knew I could push further. Thanks to mental focus, nano goals (just get to the next tree), and a killer play list, I made it to the second mile in 10:24. I walked through the second water stop (maybe 20 seconds). At this point I was hurting pretty bad but I didn't want to stop. I kept thinking if I could go a little farther it would get easier. I repeated my mantra "Are you an Athlete or a fat guy trying to lose weight". With one kilometer to go a fellow runner was about to stop and I said to her, "One K to go, keep it up!" She kept going and so did I. The last half mile was all uphill the downhill we had enjoyed earlier. I was 10:30 at the 3 mile mark. I lifted my pace with everything I had left for the last .1 and watched the timer click 30:15 as I crossed the finish. Once my eyes were able to focus (either from the effort or the cold) I was elated with an unexpected PR.
    I finished 80 out of 157 overall and 15 out of 17 in my age group (30-39). I feel really good with my results. Last year this was my first 5K and I finished barely under 40 minutes. A year later I ran almost 9 minutes faster. That is called self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement. And that is why I run...

    Mile 1 - 9:29
      Mile 2 - 10:24
      Mile 3 - 10:30
      Mile .1 -   :51

    Training Plans

    I'm working on my training plan for February. I'm adapting a Galloway training plan to incorporate speed training with tempo runs and easy long runs. I'm considering a 5K near the end of the month. More on all this later. Thanks for reading.

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Spectaluar Failures

    Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second. Give your dreams all you've got and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you. - William James

    Training Update
    I have followed the January Base training plan, running 4 times for 10.27 miles total in week 1. My pace for these miles averaged 10:59 which is slow but 3 of the 4 workouts were on the treadmill and my goal for the January base training block is distance, not duration. In week 2 the training distance increases to 2.75 per session, but a sore throat put the training on hold. I took 3 days off and still managed to get 2 runs in for a total of 5.91 miles at a pace of 10:24. The longer miles were not as hard thanks to the build up in mileage. Week 3 will be difficult, thanks to a new addition to my family. My training time will be limited but I hope to get in at least two 3 mile runs. I am however on schedule and nearly prepared for the Jag 5k on the 30th.

    Dean Karnazes is a mega-endurance athlete and bestselling author, who blogs about ultra running, life, and the human spirit. I have been reading his blog for a while and I felt I should steal share some of his ideas.

     From what I have observed, those that are successful (“success” being defined as living up to one’s full potential) is that they have a few underlying principles in common.

    Focus - My grandmother once told me, “You can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want.” To me, this speaks to focus and perseverance. Set goals and stay the course. Will it be easy? Hell no! Undoubtedly there will be hurdles to overcome and obstructions to conquer. Highly accomplished people remain focused on getting the job done despite the blockades. “Obstacles are those frightful things we see when we take our eyes off our goal,” Henry Ford once said. Keep your eyes on your goals and never, ever give up.

    Fail Spectacularly - The grander the challenge the higher the potential for catastrophe. The history books are filled with stories of successful people risking everything. Sometimes the outcome is a celebrated success, other times it’s not so pretty. The main lesson here is to have the courage to try. Failure can lead to incredible discovery. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Shake it off, pick up the pieces, and move on. As my pops often reminds me, “It’s not how many times you fall down that matters, it’s how many times you get back up.”

    Never Stop Exploring - Show me a man who is content and I will show you an underachiever. Be restless. Search, endeavor, wander. Push your limits and step beyond your comfort zone. The familiar breeds contentment and complacency. True growth only occurs when you journey into unchartered territory and tackle the unknown. As Tennessee Williams once said, "Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.”

    If this makes you want to lace 'em up and take off then, check out more of Dean's Blog.

    Finally I wanted to mention DailyMile is a website that can be utilized to record training data. I have used, but I have found DailyMile easier to use without the annoying ads. It syncs with Nike+ and so far is pretty intuitive. Check me out on DailyMile

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    The Non-Envelope Pushing Athlete

    With the official start of my first training block of 2010 I thought I would share what I am using to record, measure, and motivate my workouts.
    One of my 2010 Goals was to monitor calorie intake. I have been using’s application, The Daily Plate to help me monitor my calories. It is a great tool and even has an I-phone app. Using guidelines according to my weight, I am maintaining a 2,200 calorie diet with bonus for calories burned during exercise. Using these guidelines should result in the loss of 1 pound per week. While the target weight loss is not significant, the 2,200 calorie goal will not require much "diet" just monitoring. Less calorie more weight loss. My starting weight on January 1st was 211 and so far I have seen good results. If you are starting a fitness program or are looking for related information check out
    Another goal for 2010 was to train focused, specific, and scheduled. has been very useful in maintaining my goal. I am logging miles, times, weight, hours slept, even the mileage on my new Nike LiveStrong Air Max Moto 7+. I set goals on the site, and then challenge friends. This is a great motivator for me and makes me feel good when I have a positive influence. Take my challenge, or try
    So check me out on, or, or if all else fails, catch up with me on Twitter.

    Quick note about my first training session.

    Week 1 of my January 5k program started Monday and the cold temperatures (sub 40 degrees) have forced me inside. My first training run was on the treadmill at a fairly easy pace.

    Equipment Check

    I received a pair of Zensah Calf/Shin sleeves from Santa this year. The sleeves are made (according to their web site) with gradient compression which provides wide ribbing in the front for shin support and tight ribbing in the back for calf support. And according to their web site, the more oxygen the muscles receive the faster they recover, allowing athletes to push the envelope in their training.

    Now we all know, I’m known for pushing the envelope

    And pushing...

    But seriously, I have been bothered by shin/lower leg pain since I started running. See previous blogs. The compression sleeves have reduced the pain post workout and aided in recovery. I typically wear them after a workout or whenever I am feeling particularly sore. I would highly recommend them especially if you are having similar issues with pain, soreness, or slow recovery. Check out for more info.

    I received a sample of AdvoCare Spark Energy Drink. It is marketed as a Vitamin & Amino Acid Supplement that enhances mental energy and focus, and helps reduce free radicals.

    Yeah I looked it up

    The Mandarin Orange flavor tasted good, not too sweet, and not watered down. While I didn’t have an instant measurable increase in energy (Spark), I did have a good workout which could be attributed to Spark or maybe any other non-measured variable. To give it a true test I would need to try it more than once and take a more scientific approach.

    WARNING…shameless self promotion and corporate pandering

    Maybe I can get a sponsorship (Wink, Wink) so that I can test the product for the non-envelope pushing athlete. It's a free sample so try it for yourself at and let me know your experience.

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    In the Beginning...

    2010 is here and to start the year right I thought I would share a few New Year quotations. I always enjoy reading quotations, famous or not. They motivated me, make me think, and sometimes laugh. Enjoy

    We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

    Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

    Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. -Abraham Lincoln

    Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed. -Cavett Robert

    Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey

    Yes I know I used an Oprah quote, but just like my good buddy Ockham used to say, "the simpler one is the better."

    Training Plan
    I'm using January to build up my running base miles. I'm not focused on speed just getting in the miles. I plan to participate in the Jag Run 5k on January 30. I ran this last year and it was my first ever 5k. My next event would be the Azalea Trail Race on March 30. I also ran this event last year and I hope to improve on my 10k PR (1:10:16).
    I have put together a rough training plan for January to get in the base miles and prepare for the 5k. I am using weekly mileage goals and not scheduling daily workouts to allow flexibility.

    Week 1 - 2.5 miles 3 to 4 sessions. Total Weekly Miles 7-10
    Week 2 2.75 miles 3 to 4 sessions. Total Weekly Miles 8-11
    Week 3 3 miles 3 to 4 sessions. Total Weekly Miles 9-12
    Week 4 Speed Work, Recovery, Race Total Miles for the month 24-33

    January Goals
    1. 30 miles in 30 days
    2. Sub 30 minute 5k

    Weight: 211lbs of twisted(flabby) steel and sex(less) appeal. I weight 1 pound more than I did at this time last year. I did eat freely during the holidays so I expect the weight to come off fairly easily. I will be using the Daily Plate app to assist with monitoring my caloric intake

    So with that, I welcome 2010. I'm excited about the opportunity to start anew and am anxious for what the year will bring. For those struggling for motivation I've included a favorite "inspirational" video clip.