Saturday, January 31, 2009

One final Dad's Weekend

Wow....11 days since my last post. I have only one thing to say about that....Dad's Weekend. The annual fathers visit down to campus with my son. The fourth and final Dad's Weekend for me and all I can say is....thank-you Andrew for graduating in four years, I can't take another weekend like this.

Leading up to the weekend Aimee was laying down the law. I was to NOT get sick while on campus. Not sick as in drink 12 beers, take 6 shots, have a Wendy's Happy Meal come back out the same way it went in......I know too much information.

I'm talking sick as in come back with a stuffed up head, hacking cough, let's see if it can turn into bronchitus...sick.

Each weekend I would come home and be sick for about a week. Something about drinking, talking loudly and cold weather does this to me. I was 3 - 3 leading into the '09 version. I was warned.

But it's his senior year. I couldn't pass up the last weekend.. And my brother wanted to go down as well. This was going to be a fun trip.

Rob and I drove down on Saturday under clear and cold skies. We agreed that one evening was enough for the two of us. We enjoyed leaving the snow behind, but the cold temperatures stuck with us. We never saw the thermometer rise above 30 degrees.

Once on campus we settled in at Andrew's house and introduced his 4 housemates to Rob. I had already met most of them before. Two other dad's were visiting as well so we have a pretty full house. We went uptown for a couple of drink and conversation before heading to dinner. We needed a good food base before the main activities of the evening.

After dinner we dropped off the car and let the guys decide where we would be heading for the night. Bars? House Parties? Always a large selection around campus. So first off we hit a house party hosted by two of Andrew's housemates from last year. Loud music and beer pong was on tap. For the dad's this usually means we stand around with a beer in our hands while we watch the festivities. A couple of "guests" were ejected, quite enthusiastically, after proving they couldn't hold their beer. I don't think the one felt the send off, but I'm sure he was sore the next morning.

From there we joined some female friends at one of the bars uptown. We watched the end of the Cavs game and played some of the video bar games. After a final drink we started to make our way down the street to another bar.

We wandered around a bit looking for a place that wasn't too crowded. This is when we noticed that we had our beer blankets on. You know...that warm feeling you get from drinking. That is when you let your guard down to the cold outside. We finally made our way to Courtside for our last round of drinks.

We actually found a table to sit at and enjoy the last of the evening before heading back to the house. As we made our way back to the house Andrew ordered some pizza, I was hungry. At 3AM the pizza arrived and I managed to get something in my stomach before finally going to bed. After 6.5 hours of sleep I was up for the day. We got our stuff together, had something to eat and finally headed back home. Most of the guys in the house were pretty lethargic and we had things to do.

My brother and I had a great time during our 24 hour road trip. I have to thank Andrew, Matt, Mike, Yutz, Whitney, Mallory and Shelly for a great evening. We had a great time.

So what was the outcome of the weekend. I'm sick. 4 -4 baby. Perfect record if I can be proud of that. It has made for a somewhat miserable week. Hopefully it won't become anything serious. I think I'm getting better. This "forced" downtime from training will hopefully fuel me up for the next few months.

But you know what? I wouldn't trade it for anything. The time spent with my brother, my son and his friends is priceless.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pushing it over the edge

When I was a kid I loved my cereal. You never knew what great prizes could be found at the bottom the box. Of course I couldn't wait until the cereal was gone before getting the toy. I was good at tipping the box and digging through the cereal to get the prize.

Our latest box of Frosted Mini Wheats is promoting Guitar Hero. The toy was a Half Stak Amplifier that would play three guitar riffs. Press one or all three buttons and you can mix your own song.
It's a fun little gadget. But when I took a closer look I noticed something special about each of the buttons.

The team who designed this have a great sense of humor.

As Nigel Tufnel says "What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff" .... put it to eleven.

Sometimes when we are deep in our training or racing we need that extra push to eleven as well.

Game On.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Buckeye Trail Fun Run Report

Yesterday was the titled fun run on the Buckeye Trail. This would be the third year in a row doing this run. We enjoy the trails so much and the atmosphere is very laid back. Tanya Cady is the RD and her pre-run speech is always funny. With two loops of 8 and 5 miles we can run whatever we want in whatever order. We just need to tell the people at the finish line how many miles we ran and they will mark it accordingly.

So there are options from 5 miles all the way up to the max of 50k (31 miles). You can quit/stop whenever you pass through the start and call it a day. Hot chili and a great Brooks jackets waited for you inside.

Aimee Sara and I carpooled to the run with temperatures sitting at 25 degrees. This was the warmest day of the past week. A fresh layer of snow had come down overnight, about 3 inches.

We were signed up for the half marathon option, 8 mile loop then 5 mile loop, but weren't sure if we would be dong the entire 13 miles. My knee was bothering me from the prior weekends run, IT Band, and I didn't want to make it worse. Sara was coming off a bothersome stomach and Aimee didn't want to spend too much time on the trails. We all thought 8 miles would be enough.

With a toot on Tanya's whistle we headed towards the trail head. Even on the towpath trail we were single file due to where the compacted snow was. Immediately we were going uphill.....walking. There would be no running of any hills today. The footing was just not there.

I settled in behind someone and tried to keep my footing solid. The foot marks from the previous runner were hard to see so a twisted ankle was possible. I passed an occasional person but everyone pretty much kept their position since there was rarely a chance, or incentive, to pass someone. The effort to pass someone in the snow would use quite a bit of energy.

At the turn around for the 8 mile loop I grabbed a piece of banana from the aid station and thanked the volunteers for being out there. On the return trip it was hard passing people coming the opposite way since the packed snow made for a small path. It was good to see friends making their way to the aid station and told them to keep up the good work.

At various times during the first loop I wasn't sure if my knee would hold up for the 5 mile loop. A slight twinge put thoughts of doubt in my mind. Should I stop at 8 miles? Can I make it to 13? what if I take it easy on the hills?

I reached the Boston Store, start/finish line, refilled my bottle with Gatorade and grabbed a Hammer Gel. Chatted with Lloyd and Tanya and headed back out. Three people who were running near me made it through the aid station quicker than I, provided they even stopped. as I started the 5 mile loop to Brandywine Falls I could see the two guys and one gal ahead of me. I figured that if I kept them close enough I would have time to pull them back during the 5 mile loop.

As we approached the aid station the four of us were close together and we chatted while fueling up on water, bananas....I grabbed a piece of PB&J sandwich. We left the one female runner at the aid station and started the final 2.5 miles back to the finish. I was on the heals of one guy until we reached some steps. I bombed down the trail to the side of the steps similar to others before me. It was actually much safer to do that. Now I had one more person to catch.

I caught up to him after another 10 minutes of running and followed him closely until we reached the small portion of road before the towpath. He was very gracious and offered to step aside for me to pass whenever I wanted to. I wasn't worried about passing while on the trail.

Once I did finally pass him it was another half mile to the finish. Despite the 2.5 hours it took me to complete the 13 miles, I was very happy with the results and my knee made it all the way through with no problems.

Make sure you read reports from TriSaraTops, DaisyDuc and JT. They are a little more concise about the day but have great stories to tell, plus they have pictures to share.

*Before I cleared my watch I remembered my splits. I was even split on the 8 mile out and back, 47 minutes both ways. I negative split on the 5 mile section, 26 minutes out, 23 minutes back.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's about time.....

that Lance make some sort of formal comment about Ironman.

This is what the triathlon world has been waiting for since his "retirement".

Once Lance Armstrong has finished his cycling comeback, his sporting career will turn full circle.

Armstrong has confirmed widely-held speculation that he will eventually compete in an Ironman triathlon.

As a teenager, the record seven-time Tour de France champion was a top-class triathlete over shorter courses in the late 1980s.

But he eventually switched to road cycling, where he has become one of the sport's greatest competitors.

"Whenever I'm done with this (comeback). I can unequivocally say yes to that," Armstrong has told the American magazine Outside about entering an Ironman.

"That's a fact and I get asked that question every day. "I don't know when it was, less than a year ago, that I got some of these Ironman DVDs - I said 'let's see what that's all about'.

Typical of Armstrong, he also wants to be competitive when he attempts the gruelling Ironman distance.

An Ironman consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42.2km marathon run.

The winner finishes in around eight hours and the cut-off time for the late finishers is between 15-17 hours.

"I'm definitely motivated to do an Ironman," he said."We'll go back and I'll be close to 40, but I've swam more in the last three years than before that.

"And I don't want to just do an Ironman, I don't want to approach it like I approached the marathons, I want to do it as fast as I can."

In the three years since he retired from professional cycling, Armstrong competed in several marathons, posting a string of impressive sub-three hour finishes.

Armstrong also based himself on the Big Island of Hawaii for a post-Christmas training camp before flying to Adelaide last Sunday to launch his cycling comeback at the Tour Down Under.

While in Hawaii, he trained on the Queen K highway, the desolate stretch of road that is a key feature of triathlon's most famous race, the Hawaiian Ironman.

We will just have to wait with baited breath. So he will be 40. Big deal. I did my first when I was 39. I wonder if he would get a special invite to Kona or have to qualify like everyone else.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I need more......

.... workouts like this morning. I did a swim this morning knowing that Saturday would be a rest day due to a work commitment. I also skipped a swim earlier in the week so this was also a make-up swim.

I didn't want to do too much since Aimee and I will be running on the Buckeye Trail Sunday. So I decided to put in 3000 yards. I warmed up 1000, did 10 different drills for 1000, then finished off with a 1000 time trial.

The drills were designed to help me focus on some changes recommended to me from my swim analysis in December. As I waited at the end of the pool to start the TT, I tried to focus on what I needed to do. I wanted long extensions/reach and a strong pull all the way back.

It is very easy to loose focus during a swim session since it does become repetitive and boring, but loosing focus at this point can lead to bad form, slow laps and disappointment. Focus is definitely something that all endurance athletes struggle with.

I started my 1000 yards strong but reserved. I couldn't go out too fast since this would be a long TT. I checked my splits after each 100 to see how close I was to my desired pace. The frequent time checks also allowed me to keep my focus because I would do the math and estimate what my next time check would be.

Up through 500 yards I was doing well. I could tell my arms and lungs were starting to fatigue. I switched from alternate breathing to my three breath, switch, three breath, switch race stroke.

During the last 500 I focused even harder on maintaining the long reach, glide, catch and pull. I would glide until my recovery arm almost entered the water. I was keeping pace and knew I would be happy with my finish time.

When I reached the wall for the last time I hit my split watch and.......

14:44 for 1000 yards.

Now that was a satisfying swim. That's a 1:29 average per 100 yards. I stood at the wall panting from the effort. My upper body was flooded with blood which makes my not very impressive chest look like it actually has muscles....muscular man boobs. Unfortunately that doesn't last very long.

So I need more workouts like this one. High quality with noticeable results. Now I have to focus on that aspect for each workout. No junk workouts, quality workouts. Sometimes for the quest to reach certain mileage or yardage markers we sacrifice quality for quantity, which leads to poor form, poor results and sometimes injuries......something I did last Sunday during a long run.

Now I just have to remember how I got my Game On for this workout and apply it to future workouts.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hello, my name is Eric......

.....and I like Dancing with the Stars. There....I said it. Admitting it is the hardest part, right?

Aimee started watching the show and I joined her on the couch to watch as well. We missed season one but have seen some great dancing and entertainment since.

Last night was the Tour show. Aimee received two tickets for last nights tour show here in Cleveland. I will admit that it was a very good show. The music and choreography were awesome. The celebrity dancers were Lance Bass, Marlee Matlin, Maurice Green and Toni Braxton. Each were entertaining and Braxton also sang two songs.

The professional dancers are amazing and in great shape. The show consisted of two 45 minute "acts" and the dancing was non-stop. These athletes are very fit and strong. You can see the muscles cut into the legs and abs of each person. At the end of each dance set they aren't even breathing hard either. I wonder what their VO2 max is?

I found myself focusing on several pros in particular. Maxim Chmerkovskiy, Derek Hough, Edyta Sliwinska, Cheryl Burke, and Lacy Schwimmer. The style and grace as they moved around the stage was amazing.

The song playing in my sidebar is Palladio. The Tour band played a fierce techno version for a Paso Doble routine.

We enjoyed ourselves very much and can't wait for the next season.

I can appreciate how these dancers can get their Game On.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back in the Saddle

So I was reading a bunch of the blogs I follow through Bloglines and realized something.

I'm READING other blogs more than WRITING on my own blog. Somethings wrong there.

Then there is the fact that my last post was 8 days ago. But I have good excuse for that one, out of town for work.

Today is different though. I'm working with a customer where I have lots of idle time between tasks. So instead of reading I will write.

Remember my post about being a follower? Well my list of followers is up to 12 and I'm following 20 bloggers myself. Of course my main mode of following bloggers is Bloglines.

I've also become a follower of another sort. I've followed my friends and family onto Facebook. So my attention has been on Facebook instead of posting. If you are on FB as well stop on by at my page.

So I'm trying to get motivated with training. The weather and work have been putting a halt to serious training. Last week I was in Wisconsin. I had my running shoes and swimsuit but the treadmill sucks and work took up more of my time than anticipated. For some reason my feet at not liking the t-mill. After 30 minutes I'm feeling the ball of my foot getting loose and ready to blister.

I need more outdoor time but it's hard to pack alot of stuff when traveling.

I'm going to start posting more often and try to bring back some weekly features. Aimee and I have some new favorite recipes and I have some video projects that I need to finish up. So much to do and so little time.

Then there is the training plan I need to put together, publish my race schedule on the blog, find music to post and load on the MP3 player, organize the SBR multi-sport peeps.

I guess it's better than having nothing to do and parking my ass on the couch.

Oh yeah....I also need to get in the saddle time that is.

It's a new year.....time to get some Game On.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone. I created a video of my Jan. 1 day. Then I was just too cold to do anything else. Enjoy the video and the new year.