Sunday, April 26, 2009

What - A - Weekend

Spring has definitely sprung here in northern Ohio. Temps were in the 80's all weekend and that meant for some prime training. Four weeks out from Triple T and the next three weeks of training will be very important. Unfortunately work is going to make it tough to schedule quality sessions.

But this weekend worked out perfectly. One customer pushed off his weekend work so I had all weekend to play.

Thursday was a forced rest day so I decided to do a long run on Friday (normal rest day) in prep for the weekend. I put in 13.5 miles before 9AM that morning. I held a 8:13 average pace and it felt great.

Saturday would afford a great opportunity to ride the hills in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Some of you will remember the 14 Hills Ride (aka Death Ride) as I prepared for both Ironmans. Well I need the hills for Triple T as well. The best part was starting at 7:30AM with no extra clothes. The temp was around 60 degrees and would warm up quickly. It felt like it was the middle of summer.

All said and done I put in 68 miles, 3:45:00 and 9 hills. I also managed to take some pics from the ride.

Stream along Boston Mills Road. I'm sure not too many people get to see this because the road isn't used that often by cyclists due to the incline and motorists are not looking for it.

Oak Hill Road. This is the steepest of the Death Ride hills. I skipped it this time. I'm looking straight across at the base. I'm not looking up at all. Yeah it's that steep.

Hale Farm and Village

Heron nests on Bath Road.

Obligatory shadow picture.

I found this guy trying to cross the road. I snapped a picture first then carried him across the road. "Like a Frightened Turtle"

Sunday's finale was the NCN Racing Buzzard Duathlon. This race has been the season starter for this area for 9 years. The 3 mile run, 15 mile bike, 3 mile run is on the rolling streets around the Cleveland Metropark's Hinckley Reservation. Each lap starts by going uphill.

The goal for this race was to finish well. With two big days of training under my belt I wanted to push the envelope and complete the weekend on a high note. I'll try to post a race report but I will say that it was a success. I felt good the entire race and finished 3rd in AG.

Later in the day Aimee and I visited the Witch Doctor; aka acupuncturist. We both had good sessions which help recharge the legs with good energy while releasing the toxins and stress of training.

Of course we also had to treat ourselves to some Dairy Queen after dinner. A small reward for our hard work this weekend.

Three more weeks of training before I taper for Triple T.

Game is On track. I hope it stays that way.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Fun - Somalian Pirate We

This has been one of the better seasons for Southpark on Comedy Central. The shows have been timely in regards to current events and I have been LMAO. I will tell you the lyrics are adult in nature. Okay...disclaimer out of the way.....roll the video.

Monday, April 20, 2009

This Calls for a Brain Dump

And yet another week slips by with little action in the blog-o-sphere. Oh I've been reading my favs and posting comments but the posts on my own have just not been there. I commented on Cyndi's blog about not worrying about missed workouts and not playing catch-up.

Normally I would do that with my own blog but this time I'm going to brain dump and recap the last week.

Last Monday I was out of town at a customer for 3 days. No problem there is a YMCA in town and I can still swim and run. Problem.....the pool is closed for repairs. I'm flexible....I deal with it.

Tuesday was another quality treadmill workout. It's a fun one where you keep a steady pace but you change the elevation every 60 seconds. You can read about it here.

Wednesday I drive back home and ride on the trainer. Nothing heavy but something to loosen the legs.

Thursday I ran again. 6.5 miles with some tempo at 1 mile, .25 mile and .5 mile distances. Another quality workout.

Friday is rest day. Whew. Except for a fund raising wine tasting at the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Saturday was a quality brick. Aimee and I rode together for 2:15 hours then I rode for another 1:30. The portion I rode alone was some great tempo work on the bike followed by a 4.5 mile run. I knew it was going to hurt but I pushed myself twice for a .5 mile and then a .25 mile surge. I don't know how long I ran but the brick total was probably 4:15.

This day was filled with quality. The best part was riding with Aimee then having her ride the mountain bike during my run.

In case I haven't said it before, she is awesome. We followed up our training day with dinner downtown before Aimee and a friend saw Chelsea Handler. I played chauffer and dropped them off at the theater. I visited my brother before picking them up again.

Sunday we ran with some friends. Well, Aimee ran with friends while I hit the Buckeye trail between Brecksville Reservation and Snowville Road. My legs were so heavy for the first several miles and then things started to feel pretty good. I love being the only one on the trails and just loosing myself to the wooded path. Still pretty muddy but the legs were coming through for me. I finished that run with 9 miles in 1:27 time.

So today was just a nice day to loosen up in the pool. It was the first time in over 10 days. I swam 1000 yards to loosen up before getting in the whirlpool. Tomorrow is a hard swim workout. Maybe the long break from the pool with provide some good times in the water.

Brain dump over. Hopefully I won't need to do this again too soon because the Game appears to be gettin' On.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Two for Tuesday - Exciting Time for Tri-ing

I would have to look back in my post listing to see when I last posted a TfT but two things, or people, have "inspired" me today.


I can't help but make sure everyone who reads my blog knows about Shawn. She found my blog and boy am I glad. I have enjoyed following her journey towards completing the Lavaman Tri on March 29. The Queen songs in my playlist are mainly for her because Another Has Bitten the Dust and joined the movement towards triathlon. Yes, Shawn became a full fledged triathlete once she toed the start line in Kona as part of Team in Training. By making it to the start line she pushed herself through workouts and training that would have beaten down other people. But Shawn had, actually has, the guts and determination to follow through and reach her goal.

I love reading race reports from people that are new to triathlon. I get excited through their reports and remember the thrill and joy of racing that I have experienced. These reports help me keep the fire burning while I train and race. Check out her race report from Lavaman. She went through so much before, during and after the race I'm hoping, nah...I know, she finds the humor in what happened surrounding her big race.

With one race behind her she is already looking towards the future. More races, loosing weight, improving her fitness, enjoying this wonderful family of triathletes. Game On Shawn. This Bud's for you Miss Purple Haired Freaky Swimcap Sharklike Triathlete. Well.....maybe not a are still training.....maybe an O'Doules.......nah.....stick with Gatorade......with some CarboPro. Yeah...that's the ticket.


You don't know TriSaraTops yet? Where have you been? She's is a great blogger and loves sharing her little tidbits of life with us all.

So what can I say about my tri-sister TriSaraTops. Oh I would probably use too many adjectives and start to sound all mushy and effiminate. So I'll stick with "She Rips Tri's like a Rock Star"...."She's Uber Cool"...."She's a Tri Studdette". I know you're laughing Sara.

Seriously, I'm just happy to have her as a friend. Last year Sara started a mini Evo-Tri group at her high school. I called it the Evo-Kids, not to be confused with "emos" who shouldn't be confused with the goths who hate vamps.....well that's what I learned on Southpark....I digress. I helped her with a couple of workouts with these young ladies. I was able to race and watch them at their first triathlon. My hat is off to Sara for everything she did for these kids.

I'm excited that she wants me to help with this years Evo-Kids as well. She is firing up the band wagon and hoping to get more area schools involved. Just as Shawn above has found the fun and excitement of triathlon at 40, I want to help bring more young blood into the sport.

Last year is was all girls. This year we are hoping for more interest from the boys. Hopefully several area high school coaches will help spread the word. I'm really excited by what could happen this summer. I'm going to help Sara as much as I can, but I will surely be riding on her coat tails as she is super organized and is a woman on a mission. I like it.

Game On Shawn and Sara. Female triathletes rock. I should know....I'm married to one.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Yes fatigue. We have all experienced fatigue in one form or another.

Physical, mental, material.

Did I just say material? Yes I did.....and you will see why as you keep reading.

Since my game was back on after three weeks of illness, which culminated in pleural effusion, I was ready to get back to some serious training. I needed some long saddle time this weekend and I didn't want to do it on the trainer, especially 3 hours.

The weather forecast called for clear skies but cold temps. No problem because I would layer appropriately and use some hand and toe warmers for the extremities. Woke up around 7AM and started to get fueled up and gather my riding gear for the day. The temp was showing 35 degrees and The Weather Channel was saying the wind was NNE at 10 - 20 MPH.

One thing I always take into account is wind chill. Not only do I worry about the reported wind chill but also my average riding speed, 20MPH. So I wore my heavier tights and a wind vest to fight of the natural and riding wind chills.

I headed out and was looking forward to the ride. I went south first knowing I would have to battle the winds coming from the north during my return. It would be good mental and physical training for riding in less than ideal conditions.

I had my camera so I took some pictures along the way.

Obligatory shadow picture.

And a couple shots at different angles. Trying to offer something new.

With the wind at my back I was feeling warm and toasty, almost overdressed for the ride. But I knew that the wind would be right in my face so the extra layers would be helpful. Yes another picture. Notice I am outside and NOT on the rollers going with no hands. It's also a country road so there was no traffic around when I did this.

I reached the southern-most part of my planned route and started to head east. The winds were felt immediately. My speed was hovering around 17MPH. As I crossed over one of the major state routes I noticed something very peculiar. My pedal stroke was shortening up. I wasn't getting the full extension of my legs at the bottom on each stroke. I looked between my legs at my seat and noticed the seat post had slipped down.

When I stopped and swung my leg over, the seat moved so loosely it twisted. I had to take a picture of my seat.

I told myself, "Okay, no problem. You have your multi-tool and can tighten the clamp." When I went to loosen the bolt I noticed something very interesting. Fatigue. Of the material type. In this case....aluminum is the material....fatigue results in cracks.

Yes there are three cracks highlighted by the red circles. Not sure how this came about but it didn't bode well for my ride. I was at the furthest point away from home with a seat that wouldn't stay up. Fortunately I wasn't too far from potential help. There were two friends I would be riding by on my route and I could see if they were home to help.

I figured all I needed was some duct tape to help hold the seat post in place. I didn't let this minor set back dampen my spirit. Stuff like this happens. Unfortunately I was looking to road race a little this year and now it may not happen. These cracks have potentially ruined the entire frame....unrecoverable.....worthless......damaged beyond repair.

My faithful GT ZR3000 is dying. I will mourn my ride later once I get a full diagnosis.

So I continued with my ride feeling like a kid on a tricycle. My legs spinning in little circles with my knees barely moving away from my chest. I was able to spot this pig roaster next to a guys barn. I couldn't help but notice the bicycle wheel he used as part of the spit. Definitely worth the picture.

I rode to Patrick's house to see if the family was home. Patrick and his wife Linda got me on the bike in the first place so I knew he would be interested in seeing the damage. No luck. These people are busier than a bee hive in August. With three kids playing soccer and getting in their cycling it would have been a miracle that they would be home.

So it's off to stop number two. Scott and Jane live one city north from Patrick. Not much farther to go on my lowered seat. Please be there Scott. BINGO. Scott was working on their basement and provided me with four strips of duct tape. Looks like it would hold up for the final push home. This is what the tape job looked like once I got home. The seat tube still slipped some but at least it wasn't all the way down.

The remainder of my ride home was uneventful, thank goodness, except for the stiff winds hitting me straight from the north. There is nothing quite like a stiff breeze while going uphill.

All told my ride time was 2:50:00 and 50 miles. Total trip time was more around 3:30 considering the stoppages due to my mechanical difficulties. Overall it was much needed time in the saddle. The entire body is tired from the effort but it's training money in the bank.

What's next for the GT? Not sure. I hate to think the worst but it may come down to retirement for the frame. But I'm not giving up hope yet.

But man, he sure has helped me get my Game On.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Pleural Effusion

You are probably thinking WTF is he talking about?!?!?!? What type of post is this?

It's a medical post.

First we must go back three weeks when I rode outside with two buddies. It was a nice warm early spring day. I must have caught the bug then. My head got all stuffed up. That when I started taking that damn Sudafed laced with Red Bull.

Then the congestion started in my upper chest.

Time to visit the doctor on the 28th. Hmmm he said, doesn't sound the same as your visit in February. Perhaps it's more of an allergy thing. I was thinking the same thing because the sinus pressure was killer when this all started. Buuuuuuttttttt, I've never had allergy problems. I was willing to give it a shot. Singular was the drug of choice now.

One week later all of my cold symptoms were gone and the cough was fading as well. I was finally starting to get a good nights sleep. Then I woke up the morning of the 4th and didn't quite feel right.

My left side had some pressure and whenever I bent over I could feel what felt like fluid moving around. Even when I would lay down I could hear bubbles and gurgles in my chest. It was getting to be a major WTF!!!! feeling.

Aimee and I checked WebMD for symptoms and Googled different things. Aimee was looking at Pleurisy and I found Pleural Effusion. The Pleural Effusion best fit what I was feeling. I gave it the weekend to see if it would clear on it's own. Monday I called the Dr.

Trip #2 Monday morning and he said it sounds like pleural effusion. Best way to know for sure was to order some chest x-rays. so I went from his office to the diagnostics center. By 10AM Monday morning I had my x-rays done. The images were sent over to the Dr. and he said, yep there is some fluid around the chest, but not a lot to be concerned with. He would check it again on May 1 when I return for my annual physical.

I guess it's just good to know what it is. It had me a little freaked out on Sunday. And Aimee can tell ya.....I don't freak out easily.

If you look at the race listing for 2009 there is a date of April 5th for the Athens half marathon. Didn't happen. I pulled the plug on that after an evaluation run last Thursday. I knew there was no way it would be a good run. Aimee was also on anti-biotics and advised not to run. We bagged the weekend race and stayed home. We were only out one race entry because I missed the deadline for on-line registration. Who knew?

So there is my latest update. I'm hoping to get my training back on track. I have this little thing called the Triple T coming up on Memorial Day weekend. I have a lot of work to do in preparation.

Here's to hoping that my Game will get back On rather quickly.

I swam this morning. You know what? I think it feels better after the workout.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Family and Friends Friday - Joe, Ann and Carina

Aimee and I met the Britz family last summer at the Bolingbrook Spa and Resort (another name for Scott and Jane's pool). Scott & Jane loved having people over to hang out around the pool, drink summer beverages, play games, talk and eat.

When we first met Joe and Anne, Carina was about one year old. The amazing part is that she wasn't expected to be alive. She was born with a severe developmental disability that would never allow her to grow. The original prognosis was that she would pass shortly after birth. Yet one year later she was still the apple of Joe's eye and the center of Ann's love.

As we spent some time with this special family around the pool I saw how much they truly loved Carina, despite never knowing how much longer they would have this little girl in their life.

I take these opportunities to think about my own life and realize how lucky I have been. After 22 and 19 years, I have two "kids" that are healthy, well balanced young adults. It's painful sometimes to watch them learn things on their own, but I know it's all a part of growing up. At least I have the opportunity to watch my son and daughter continue to grow. I pray that they will have healthy children as well.

I think of my other friends dealing with hardship or special needs children.

Jason and his 4 year old son Dakota who has Leukemia.
Cyndi's family and her oldest son with Autism.
And Rick just left his son with Autism behind in search of a job in California, how hard that must be.

This little glimpse into the lives of families with special needs children helps me appreciate what they do as parents. Some people may comment, "I don't know how they do it." Parents do it because they love their children. And any decent parent will do whatever it takes for their children. Even if it's long stays at the hospital, sleepless nights next to their bed, whatever the circumstance calls for.

I appreciate and admire what these special parents do day to day.

Carina passed the other day. Aimee and I visited the family tonight to offer our condolences. The pain in their faces evident from the passing of their only child. The comfort of everyone gathering together in support. The memories of her by the pool as we stood by her casket....she looked so peaceful and beautiful.

Carina, June 25, 2007 - March 31, 2009.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of you short but special life.

Even in heaven...Game On