Monday, March 30, 2009

Inspirational Running

Somehow it has felt longer than 7+ days since my last post. I simply have not felt too inspired or motivated to write. My illness is still lingering. Work kept me busy during last week. The boy and I pulled a one day trip to U of Louisville to visit his academic adviser. Each of these have been a contributing factor to a diminished training schedule and less time to either blog or train.

I will say that the training I did have last week was quality, something which I have been more in touch with since the beginning of '08. Friday night's run was quality on two levels.

Aimee had plans to run the final miles of her sisters long run to offer support and encouragement. Not knowing when I would get my own long run in during a busy weekend schedule, I decided to meet them down on the trails as well.

At 6PM Aimee trotted off to meet her sister and I headed towards one of my most favorite trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Old Carriage Trail. I know I have written about this section of trail before but it is a trail that I cannot help but run each time I am even close to it.

With the temperature in the upper 50's the parking lot had some cars in it but not too many. The flat 1.25 miles to the trail head was a nice warm up before hitting the rolling terrain. Along the way I could hear everything in the woods and on the river. Especially noisy were the spring peepers. To get an idea of what I heard, go to the link for spring peepers (it's a Wikipedia article), put your speakers on full volume and play the clip for "collective spring peepers calling". Better yet, put headphones on because they were on both sides of the trail.

Once I was out of their mating area the quiet of the park surrounded me. No cars, no planes, very few people, no music......just peacefully quiet. I hit the trail head and started the climb to the upper portions of the trail. Along the trail I heard the rustling of leaves and branches by the inhabitants of the woods. Black squirrels, chipmunks, birds, maybe even deer. I'm not sure because I rarely saw anything, but I heard them out there.

I was flowing along the trail passing an occasional walker and possibly a dog. I saw at the most 5 people and quietly said hello as I passed them by. The quieter the better for this run.

The loop rejoined the Towpath a little further down from where I originally started. I hit the split button on my watch.....37 minutes. I turned around and headed back up the hill I had just come down. The deeper I got into the woods the more I became in touch with what I was doing. I could tell that this was going to be one of those runs. One where the energy flows from the top of your head down through your feet and into the ground.

People have many names for this special feeling often using terms like "runner's high" or "the zone". I like "the zone" myself.

When I find my Zone I try to recognize it and feel the experience. The body moves as one, I can feel my heart beat, everything becomes relaxed and my pace flows. My feet float over the rocks and roots in the trail knowing how to carry me safely over the terrain.

When I reached the Towpath again I continued my pace back to where I started. I passed Aimee and her sister not far from my starting point. I pushed the split button on my watch.......35 minutes on the return trip. A very nice 2 minute negative split.

I needed more time so I started running after Aimee to see what the status was. All was good and they were going another 2 miles out and back. I finished my run doing the same out and back.

All said and done I logged between 12 - 13 miles with some excellent tempo on Old Carriage Trail. I may be at a better place than expected for this weekends half marathon in Athens, OH. The race course is flat so my hill work should pay off. My expectations are not very high but sometimes that is when your best performances come through.

I'll be looking for my Zone during the race. I'll be preparing myself mentally all week since there is nothing physically I can do now to help me on race day except try to get healthier.

More to come this week.

Game On.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Family and Friends Friday - Let's Have a Sleepover

Remember as a kid when you would have some friends over for the night? Staying up late. Watching movies. Eating pizza and getting wired on pop. Talking. Doing each others hair and nails....well maybe not for the guys.

Who said sleepovers are only for kids. I had one last night. I just woke up from one last night....or was it this morning?.....yesterday? Have I actually woken up? It's all a blur.

Last night........

TriEric: Okay time to go to bed.

All: Do we have to?

TE: Yes

All: But we aren't tired.

TE: But I am and it's a school/work night.

All: Puuuhhhhlease? We just want to talk.

TE: No. I have a meeting tomorrow morning and I'm not feeling well.

All: But...we never get to talk like this.

TE: GO.TO.BED. It's 10:00PM.

All: Okay.

Now I hear whispering, "He said go to bed, not go to sleep."

TE: What are you doing?

All: We are just talking?

TE: Stop it. It's almost midnight. Go to sleep.

All: Okay.

TE: Why are you still talking? I can hear you.

All: We can't go to sleep.

TE: It's 1:45 in the morning. I have to get up in like 3 hours.

All: Sorry....giggle, giggle, giggle.

TE: Good Lord. I can't take this.

I grab a book hoping that a little reading will quiet the voices and put me to sleep.

All: You have a runny nose.

TE: What?

All: You have a runny nose. Maybe you should do something about it.



TE: Go to sleep. It's late. Or is it early. What time is it?

All: We don't know.

TE: I must get some sleep.

All: Hey look. It's Ruby. I hear Snickers coming down the stairs also. YEAH! The doggies are up.

TE: Great, 5:30AM. Okay, everyone get up.

All: But we are tired.

TE: Then you should have left me alone and gone to sleep last night.


And that is how my night went. All of those little voices in my head just wouldn't SHUT THE F' UP! I could hear them talking about all sorts of things.

Tri training




Aimee and I talked about it and think the Sudafed I took last night may have done it to me. It was a non-drowsy formula, possibly laced with Red Bull. Oh well. I hope I can make it through my meetings today at the office, or is that what meetings are for....getting some sleep.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's a nervous type of feeling.....

....and I remember it well. Not necessarily from the first time I did it but the second. A feeling of what the heck am I doing, what the hell have I gotten my self into. And tonight I got that same feeling in the pit of my stomach. Not for myself, but for someone else.

I know everything will be alright. Having faith and confidence in ones abilities is what pushes the nervousness and butterflies aside.

Nothing's all good. Just had to brain dump.

I can't take much more pressure inside my head with my sinuses blocking up. I'm trying to get this cold under control before the weekend. My three week training block was cut short due to a sudden head cold. Aimee and I are about two weeks out from the Athens Half Marathon on April 5th. She's gunning for it, I'm still undecided if it will be race or a training day.

Either way....Game On

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two for Tuesday - Rest and Training

So what have I been doing for the past week. Training and working of course. Friday and Saturday were rest days. Friday is my normal rest day and with the Thursday spin sessions that Friday has become very important. The spin sessions have been a fantastic group atmosphere that helps me push the pace and get stronger.

Saturday was a rest day as well because I had to work. Nothing is quite as fun as sitting in a conference room staring at your laptop while there are blue skies and temperatures in the mid 50's. Oh well, you have to earn the bacon.

I made up for it with a second twosome on Sunday. I wanted to do a brick (bike/run) but also needed a long run. So Aimee and I headed down to the basement for a trainer ride. I put in one hour on the bike before heading out for my run.

I wasn't sure how long I was going to run. I was looking for 1:30 to 1:45 run time. Distance didn't matter.....I wanted to put in the time. it was nice getting the bike in first because the temperature warmed up to the mid 40's when I started the run. I was able to wear shorts so I could show off my pasty white legs.

My trip through several neighborhoods went very well. I tried to increase my effort for the last three miles, the hard part of the run where I could feel the fatigue starting to set in my legs and my feet were starting to shred in my shoes. I kept thinking about the Go Zone article I mentioned last week.

When all was said and done I completed 12.4 miles in 1:40. Average pace was 7:54/mile. I did manage the last three miles at 7:40/mile pace so I was happy with that. Overall I had a 2:40 workout.

So two days rest, one training day covering two disciplines.

Game On.

Monday, March 09, 2009

SBR Team Ride

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Weekend Training and Racing Report

This weekend has been a great two days of training. The Snakebite team managed to get about 10 of us to ride on Saturday. I had my BimActive going on the phone and the results are shown below, love that elevation profile. The actual elapsed time was 3 hours but once I took out the stops the 2:45 ride time matched my bike computer.

It was a great time to reconnect with old and new friends. This was definitely going to be a fun group ride. I had a hard trainer ride the Thursday prior and a 15k run on Sunday that I needed to keep some legs for.

I enjoyed riding with Linda and was able to catch up with the family. Patrick and I worked the front of the group, especially when we knew a county line or city limits sign was to be contested. I managed to sneak in three sprint wins at Bath Township, Akron and Peninsula. I was a sneaky little bastard for all of them since I usually can't out power some of the guys.

We managed to have awesome weather in the upper 60's and avoided any rain along the way. The only time we got wet was from road spray. I have pics and video that I will post later.

Route:--Elev. Avg:984 ft
Location:Strongsville, OH, Elev. Gain:-4 ft
Date:03/07/09Up/Downhill: [+3480/-3484]
Time:03:09 PMDifficulty:4.7 / 5.0


70 F temp; 64% humidity

70 F heat index; winds SW 15 mph

Distance: 46.24 miles

Speed:16.8 mph

Pace:3' 34 /mi


Elevation (ft)

Posted from

Sunday was race day. Well....kind of race day. I'm not in prime racing condition, at least not where I usually am at this point of the season. So I wanted to use this as a hard training effort. I recently read an article in the April issue of Running Times about Go Zone Racing. It's a great article about how to approach a race, break it up into four parts and mentally tough it out when the going gets hard. This will be my mental focus this season.

In order to keep it a mental race I didn't take any electronics with me. No watch. No heart rate monitor. No phone with BIMActive. I wanted this to be all about perceived effort and racing smart. This race was also a battle with the elements. Saturday was a beautiful day to ride with the rain staying away and temperatures getting close to 70. Sunday the rain came in and the temperature was in the high 30's. It was going to be a wet and sloppy run.

I took it hard but conservative for the first half of the race. I was comfortable. I was managing my pace well. I kept those in front of me in sight and slowly picked several off. Just after mile 5 I put down a PowerGel and grabbed two waters at the aid station. Turning onto Lake Road, it truly is along Lake Erie, we would finally have the wind at our backs. This was the start of my Go Zone. If I was going to gain any ground on the people in front of me this would be the perfect opportunity.

I focused on staying loose and keeping my breathing under control. I increased my leg turnover, or tried to keep it, around 90RPM. Quick turnover equates to more speed. Half way along Lake Road I passed the runner in front of me. She would cross the finish line as third overall female. When the race course turned off Lake Road I was within striking distance of two more runners. I finally recognized John Z in front of me and another woman. John is a very good runner at age 50. I passed the female just as we turned east into the wind and then started working on catching John.

Halfway to our next turn I made my pass and re-focused on my pace so that I would keep the intensity all the way to the finish line. Around mile 8 I saw the last person I had a chance to catch. I didn't think it was going to happen but I was shortening the distance between us. At the final turn I realized it was Dave G. We finished 1 - 2 in our age group last year at this race, I just wasn't going to be able to get him. I finished strong in 1:05:xx and took third in the age group. I was very excited by the finish time because I was really expecting something closer to 1:10:00.

I was most pleased with "how" I ran a race. I executed my plan perfectly. I didn't loose my mental focus and kept the intensity high during the tougher part of the race. I'm also happy that I am actually on par with where I was last year. Maybe my half-marathon in April will have some good unexpected results as well.

I manually put the race into BimActive to show the course and my stats.

Game On.

Route:--Elev. Avg:609 ft
Location:Avon Lake, OHElev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:03/08/09Up/Downhill: [+150/-150]
Time:08:30 AMDifficulty:2.8 / 5.0

Weather:Rain Fog/Mist

38 F temp; 100% humidity

38 F heat index; winds NE 7

Distance: 9.26 miles

Speed:8.6 mph

Pace:7' 00 /mi



Posted from

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Two for Tuesday - Running Results

Today's post is in regards to the past two runs I have had. Saturday morning was a long steady run which capped off my recovery week. TriSaraTops came over to run with Aimee while I headed in the opposite direction. The goal was for 1 hour 45 minutes. After seeing the results I was very happy with the overall run. My heart rate was higher than last summer at the same pace but that leaves some room for good fitness gains.


Distance: 12.55 miles

Speed:7.4 mph

Pace:8' 08 /mi


Posted from

So today I rode my bike on the rollers for 1:15 in the morning. I wanted to wait for the day to warm up before I would make my decision about running. It didn't warm up that much but the wind did die down. The goal was to have a nice steady run. Nothing too hard. I was surprised with the results when I was done because it just didn't feel that fast. I love it when runs turn out that way.


Distance: 5.52 miles

Speed:7.9 mph

Pace:7' 35 /mi


Posted from


Monday, March 02, 2009

Monday Musings

I found this random quote while creating a Facebook album cover. I can't get it out of my head.

In case you're worried about what's going to become of the younger generation, it's going to grow up and start worrying about the younger generation.