Monday, March 29, 2010

What is your option?

I received an e-mail from a friend. She attached this picture since we had just been talking about all things iron....Ironman things to be exact.

I guess what she is trying to say with that sign is that failure is not an option so don't even think about it. Many people claim that D..N..F do not exist in their vocabulary. It is a hard pill to swallow.

I have been fortunate to have only voluntarily DNF'ed from a race once. It was back when I was mountain biking and my head wasn't in the game. And when you are on one of the toughest courses in Ohio (Vultures Knob) night....your head better be in the game or else your head will be splattered on the ground.

Well I had gone over the handlebars twice that night and I withdrew before I killed myself.

I would live to race another day.

So while finishing is always the goal, sometimes one must take the easy way out and regroup to attack again.

So always keep your "options" open.

Game On.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Photos - Week 12

3/19/10 - Peeling Bark.

We have a very nice birch tree in the back yard. I like how the bark peels back.

3/20/10 - Stuck Squirrel.

This is actually a baby squirrel who didn't know to NOT enter our yard which is patrolled by two dogs. He eventually came down overnight. Click on the picture for a different style.

3/21/10 - Toy Time.

Snickers grabs a toy from the basket and is quite content to play by himself.

3/22/10 - Breakfast of Champions.

Ever since they got rid of Wheaties Crunch I've gone back to an old standby.


3/23/10 - Oh Christmas Tree

We bought an artificial tree for Christmas last year. The problem is that I don't know where to store the thing. It's big enough to put a body or two in. So for now it still sits in the living room.

3/24/10 - Nice.

It was such a nice day out. The dogs were roaming the yard. People running outside.

3/25/10 - Crap

A cold front moved through and started dumping snow on us. Hopefully it will be that last time.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How NOT to ride 80 miles.....

.... and still run well the next day.

That about sums up my weekend of training. First the details then you can see the results at the end of the post.

On Saturday I had a brilliant idea.
Aimee was going to meet her sister after massage and leave her car at the office. I would meet them later for dinner and pick up Aimee. Instead of worrying about getting the car after dinner I would plan my ride so that I finished at her office and pick up the car, the Pilot of course.

This sounded good and I would get outside for a ride. The weather called for an overnight low of 44. Awesome because then I could get a mid morning start and ride for around 4 hours.

Well the morning temps were more around 30 and I didn't want to bundle up that much since it was bound to get warmer as the day progressed. I hung out and got my stuff put together and waited until 10AM to head out. It was still a little brisk but I had a warm jacket, leg warmers, hand warmers tucked inside my toe covers, gloves and mittens and a beanie.

Sure I would be a little cold to start but I would warm up eventually. I also packed three bottles of fluid, two containing Perpetuem, a Clif Z-Bar, banana and a fruit smoothie PowerBar. I also packed money in case I needed it for more food or drink.

I headed south first which was nice because the winds were coming from the north across the lake. I was enjoying my ride. At one point during a hard effort I saw, caught up to and passed a golf cart on the road. Mind you I was in farm country so anything goes. It was fun zipping by the two kids and saying hi.

Eventually I had to head east and that meant going into the wind. I just geared down into the small chainring and spun it out. Things were going well. I was heading in the direction I wanted to go. I had made it to Medina with no problems. I felt that everything was going according the plan as I made my way towards the Metropark Reservation in Hinkley.

As I exited Medina my route headed northeast. I still had a bit of wind to contend with. It was only 9 miles to Hinkley but I could feel my energy starting to fade. My energy and the wind would come and go. I would feel strong but would soon feel zapped.

I didn't worry about the pace since I was still moving forward. The wind was still blowing and the damn temperature didn't seem to be getting any warmer. I was still comfortable but I could have used a better base layer up top.

Once I reached Hinkley I was 2 hours 13 minutes into my ride. I wasn't quite sure how long it would take me to get back. Only one way to tell. Full speed ahead. Well maybe 3/4 speed or half speed at times.

The rest of my ride would be almost directly north. Some of it would be west but it didn't help much. I was getting tired.

Eat, drink,, drink,, drink, spin.

I started to break up the remaining part of my ride into small segments. Make it to the next intersection. What is next? Oh yeah, make it to Wallace Lake. Oh good Cedar Point Road. Next marker Mastick golf course. Keep going.

A couple of times I found myself drifting away from the edge of the road. Partly due to the bad road conditions, partly because of my lack of focus. I just had to make it to the end of the park and climb one last hill.

Within one mile from said hill the inner thigh of my left leg started to cramp up BAD. I had to keep spinning from fear of simply falling over. I forced myself to breath through the cramp. I just hoped it wouldn't return while climbing the hill.

I made it to Aimee's office and the safety of the car. It took me another 2:15 to finish my ride. I had logged a total of 4.5 hours and 79 miles. As I emptied out my pockets I realized where I had failed.

On the seat in front of me was the banana, Z-Bar and half the PowerBar. Two bottles were completely empty and there was a little bit left in one Perpetuem bottle. I had completely ignored my nutritional needs. That was probably the worst bonk I have had to date. BIM Active says I burned up 3785 calories. I maybe consumed 800 calories on my ride. What a dumb mistake.

I still managed to get in a 15 minute run but it was a slow one. I made my way home and sat in a cold water bath for 20 minutes to help the legs recover. I was due for a long run the next day, Sunday. Time to HTFU.

I met Aimee, Becky and Kyle for dinner and we made it to bed before 9:30. Sunday morning arrived and we slept in. We didn't roll out until 8AM. We planned our day; running then grocery shopping. Meal plan was made for the week then we headed out for our run in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

I wanted some hills, as you can see below, and I found them. After a flat 3 mile warm-up I started with the hills. I was happy with how things were going. I was powering up the hills and recovering quickly once I reached the top of each one. When I reached the highest point of my run I reversed it and screamed down the Buckeye trial inside the Brecksville Metropark.

Once I made it back to the road I had the final rollers to attack and I was still moving well. Back onto a trail in the park I continued to push the pace all the way back to the parking lot. Of course most of the remaining mileage was downhill or flat resulting in the quick pace on the splits chart.

By the time I made it back to the car I was toast. Legs done. Stick a fork in them.

I walked to the Towpath trail and soon saw Aimee returning from her run. We both had good runs. I was happy my left thigh didn't cramp on me during the run. It only hurt when I tried to take off my shoes or put my sweat pants on.

After we got home from grocery shopping I took another cold water bath for 20 minutes. The legs really needed some relief. Other parts weren't happy with the cold water but it's a "small" price to pay.

Check out the information from BIM Active as I recorded the bike ride and run on my phone. There might have been a little bit of elevation on each day.

Remember, if you take food with you on a bike ride....EAT IT!!!!!

Game On

Saturday's Bonk-a-pottomus Bike Ride

Route:--Elev. Avg:875 ft
Location:North Ridgeville, OH, Elev. Gain:-16 ft
Date:03/20/10Up/Downhill: [+3530/-3546]
Time:02:30 PMDifficulty:5.0 / 5.0

Weather:Mostly Cloudy

36 F temp; 79% humidity

36 F heat index; winds NE 13 mph

Distance: 79.14 miles

Speed:17.2 mph

Pace:3' 29 /mi


Elevation (ft)

Posted from

Sunday's Most Awesome Hilly Trail/Road Run

Route:--Elev. Avg:757 ft
Location:Brecksville, OH, Elev. Gain:-6 ft
Date:03/21/10Up/Downhill: [+1135/-1141]
Time:12:25 PMDifficulty:3.8 / 5.0

Weather:Partly Cloudy

50 F temp; 58% humidity

50 F heat index; winds NNE 6 mph

Distance: 10.75 miles

Speed:6.1 mph

Pace:9' 49 /mi


Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 44-1' 056.9+0.7-6 ft
28' 23-1' 267.2+1.0-10 ft
39' 47-0' 026.1+0.0+30 ft
414' 29+4' 404.1-2.0+32 ft
512' 30+2' 414.8-1.3+151 ft
69' 31-0' 186.3+0.2-6 ft
711' 06+1' 175.4-0.7+82 ft
810' 12+0' 235.9-0.2-39 ft
98' 44-1' 056.9+0.8-108 ft
106' 55-2' 548.7+2.5-105 ft
end7' 31-2' 188.0+1.9-26 ft
Versus average of 9' 49 min/mile

Posted from

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Photos - Week 11

Sometimes I have more photos than I know what to do with. I can't quite find a favorite from a particular day. This week I have some special click-thru pics. When the words *clic-thru* appear, click on the picture and see the special secondary picture behind it......enjoy.

3/12/10 - I picked up some new running shoes. I went back to Mizuno Inspires. I happened to have some Yankz that matched the color scheme of the shoes. Unfortunately they are the color of a competing multi-sport team in the area. Oh well.

3/13/10 - Another working weekend. The guys I was working with had various NCAA tournaments on during the day. So we set up shop outside the computer room in this conference room with a nice TV.

3/14/10 - You should be accustomed by now to the morning picture from my hotel room when I travel for work.


3/15/10 - Dinner with family Monday night resulted in three bottles of wine being consumed.

3/16/10 - Snickers is 12.5 years old. He's been sleeping a lot lately. I hate to say it but most of the time I have to pause and make sure he's still breathing. He's a good boy.


3/17/10 - St. Patrick's Day. It's a non-event for us. But we did brave the surrounding neighborhoods for a quick bike ride. We avoided the roads due to the potential of intoxicated drivers.


3/18/10 - After my post yesterday I couldn't believe the toy I found in my Happy Meal from lunch. I must now follow the Force.

I have to offer two responses from yesterdays post.

MissFit Island: Fear is the path to the starting line. Fear leads to Fitness. Fitness leads to Confidence. Confidence leads to the finish line.

Big Daddy Diesel: Slow Yoda vs. New Yoda. Don't forget the "first" 3 movies Episodes 1 - 3 were a younger Yoda kicking some ass. The second set of movies, first to come out..Episodes 4 - 6, were an older Yoda by approximately 20 years. Luke was born at the end of Episode 3 and Episode 4 picks him up in his 20's. I'd be moving slow like Yoda too.

So to answer your question......Yoda kicks matter how young or old he is.

Game On

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Do or Do Not.....There is No Try

Wednesday mornings swim workout has been one of my favorites from Coach Angela. My interpretation of this workout has many aspects.

First, it's a great race simulation workout. Go hard, settle in, bridge up to the next group, settle in, break from a group.

Second, this workout helps test your fitness. Instead of a straight time trial, mix it up and go hard and steady. Can you recover by keeping a steady pace or go hard when you need to? What is the time differences between a hard effort and a steady effort?

Third, do you have what it takes to rise to the challenge and push? Push beyond the comfort zones. Push beyond the tired arms. Push beyond the lack of oxygen the lungs are screaming for.

This is one of the hardest workouts in my arsenal. Over the weekend I knew I wanted to do this workout at some point. I pushed it from Monday to Wednesday because I was still a little tired from working the weekend and this requires a rested body.

I was getting pumped up for the workout. I was up for the challenge and wanted to test myself.

I'm happy to say I nailed this sucker. I never hesitated starting the next set. In the past I would need to refocus and commit myself for the next 1000 yards.

But this time my focus was solid the entire time. Maybe it was because I got pumped up about the workout. I felt that my stroke and body position was on target. I felt fast but under control. I was just below the anaerobic threshold that would be put me in deep hurt.

The table below shows the breakdown for each 1000 yard interval. I've included my splits for reference.

Interval First Second Third
200 hard 03:01.2 02:54.3 02:56.8
300 steady 04:52.2 04:40.9 04:42.3
100 hard 01:31.1 01:28.2 01:29.8
200 steady 03:07.8 03:09.8 03:12.3
100 hard 01:27.8 01:28.2 01:29.9
100 easy 01:44.5 01:40.4 01:48.8

Except for the easy efforts at the end of the interval I kept pace between 1:27 and 1:37. I can live with a 10 second swing. Actually I think it's awesome.

Next month I will do a fourth set. I may need an extra day to get psyched up for the workout.

All I know is that once again I will Do.

Game On.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday Photos - Week #10

I may be a day late but I'm not a dollar short. Enjoy this weeks photos.

3/5/10 - Century Cycles in Rocky River had their annual customer appreciation party. Guest speaker was Jef Mallett, creator and writer of the comic Frazz. He has also written a book titled "Trizophrenia". Jef Mallett is a very funny down to earth guy.

3/6/10 - The snow is starting to melt in northern Ohio. Ruby is enjoying the warmer weather and loves searching for birds in the trees.

3/7/10 - The Mill Creek Distance Classic was on Sunday. I used this photo for my race report but I like it so much because of the friends who shared the time with me on this day.

3/8/10 - Here is the view as I pull up to my Crossfit gym. Love the caution tape.

3/9/10 - Aimee and Ruby cuddling in bed. Awwww, isn't she cute.....both of them.

3/10/10 - I went to the beach where we have our open water swims during the summer. Three months from now it will be game on in the lake.

3/11/10 - The tulips are starting to push through the mulch. They want to come out and bloom so bad.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A milestone and.....puking

It has taken me way too long to reach this milestone. Blogger is telling me that this is my 500th post. How accurate is this number? No very. I think it includes those that are in draft mode.

Regardless it has taken 4 years and 2 months to get here. My first post was on 12/31/05 as I began my preparation for IM USA in '06. A lot has happened over the past four years.

So welcome to 500.

On another note I am bringing attention to Big Daddy Diesel and his Pukie Awards.

It helped me remember my race at the Baltimore Half Marathon in 2006 when I "even felt like throwing up a couple of times, once with puke in my throat" during the final two miles of the race. Good times....good times.

Lately it's been Cleveland Crossfit making me feel like puking. It's a good feeling for sure.

So for Big Daddy I am nominating Bree Wee for a pukie. I first heard about her mis-hap on Facebook and then saw her blog post. Way to go girl.

Have a great weekend people.

Game On.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Two Fer

I've decided that this post will be a two 'fer. Two race reports in one post. I have just got to get caught up. It may not be pretty but I want to whip it, whip it real good and get it over with.

First we go back to Valentines Day. It was the Run with Your Heart Trail Challenge. This 15k trail run is a new benefit for a local charity. I needed to use it as a training day with the hills that it would include. I was also having some issues with misc. muscles. It was an excellent chance to get with friends and have a good time.

Morena and Rick

Tony, Bill and Rudy - tony was 2nd overall, he's 18 and very talented

I took my camera with me on the course and was taking pictures along the way. Would occasionally wait for people and take pictures as they came up the big hill on the course.

The part that was difficult about the course was the white stuff on the ground. It was a foot deep in some places so the going was slowish. I kept my pace under control and did the two loop course in 1:44:43. The course photographer took a cool pic of me bombing the big downhill too.

This race was a benefit so awards only went to overall and there were some nice raffle prizes afterwards. If they had done age groups I would have been 4th. If it really mattered I was 25th overall male, but it didn't. All I know is that I had a great time playing in the snow.

Fast forward to today. Wait! Did I say today? As in I ran a race today AND I'm posting my report on the SAME DAY!!!!!! Holy Schmoly. It can't be. Well peeps, read it and weep because it may be another half ass report like the one above.

To the east of Cleveland is the city of Youngstown. You may or may not have heard about it due to good and/or bad press. But that is not important to the report. They have a half marathon that Aimee and I have never done. I know. Amazing. Our schedules have never been quite right to make the race.

Well this year we scheduled the drive to Y-Town and run the Mill Creek Distance Classic. And when they mean classic it is. It's been around for 21 years and the course is a classic. Where else can you run 13.1 miles and tackle 19 hills during the time. And the variety of hills is wide. Long, steep, short rollers, name it I ran it today.

So we got to the race and started seeing all sorts of friends who were also there from the Cleveland area. Aimee and I were using the race as a training day on hills since both of our races will have quite hilly runs. I wanted to keep a controlled pace and see what would happen. I was nervous because my right inside thigh was feeling a little tweaked out. The course would allow me to bail at mile 8 and be close to the finish in case I "ran" into problems. But if I could keep things under control I thought I could pull off the entire 13.1 miles.

From the start of the gun I started running with a couple of friends. But once we started hitting the downhills I couldn't wait with them. My downhill running technique has come a long way over the past two years and it allows me to fly down the hills. So I took off. I'm not that social of a runner anyways so it was probably for the best.

I passed some more friends and finally got into a very relaxed pace I was happy with. I was sitting around 8 minute/mile pace and wasn't stressing the thigh/hammie. I was taking my splits, when I could find a mile marker, but wasn't worried about what the watch was saying. I was just pleasantly surprised to keep pace.

With about 3 miles left to go I did pick up the pace. Now I've come to learn that picking up the pace near the end of a marathon or half marathon simply means that I am keeping the pace I had in the previous miles and this race was no different. My last mile was a 7:55 and I crossed the finish line in 1:42:43, actually an overall pace of 7:50/mile.

Unfortunately I finished ahead of Dale and Aimee so I had to take the self portrait below as I was changing. It shows my new Snakebite running excited to have one this year.

I changed and was able to watch Dale and Aimee finish. But the best part was catching up some more with friends.

I learned something about myself today. I love running and the social aspect of it. However, when it comes time to race....I mean business. I'll chat up a storm before and after a race. But during a race? You won't get too much out of me, especially on a course like this. This course was technical considering all the hills which demanded my attention. I need to be a part of the race. I have to think about what I am doing. I want to control as much of the race and my performance as possible.

So if I'm not talking with ya....don't take offense. I'm busy getting my Game On.

But's all about the friends.

Aimee, Mark, Liz, Dale

Saturday, March 06, 2010

SnakeBite Kit History

I received my SnakeBite Racing kit today. Now I have been a member of SBR (SnakeBite Racing) since the team was formed. There are only a couple of us originals left.

Over the course of 9 years we have had four distinctive kits. I wanted to provide you with a history of the SBR kit.

Kit #1
We had these kits for two years, if I remember correctly. Only cycling kits, no multi-sport. The colors stood out in the peleton and they were unique compared to other teams. The clothing line is Louis Garneau.

Kit #2:
This was the first major redesign of the uniform. We changed vendors to Voler and we couldn't get the baby blue anymore but we had access to tri-gear. We also felt that non-custom shorts would provide some flexibility for choice since comfort is quite important with shorts.

Kit #3:
The team members who designed these kits were going for a block color style that many pro teams were doing. We went back to logo'd shorts again. These kits really made us stand out. People could spot us from a ways out and knew it was Snakebite. Aimee could pick me out of the crowd during a triathlon.

Kit #4:
This is the new uniform for Snakebite Racing. We changed vendors again to Champ-Sys. They have a larger selection of items, specifically casual wear and running gear. It will be interesting to see how visible we are on course. The colors are a combination of everything over the years.

I added a poll on the side bar so you can vote on your favorite kit. Please leave comments also.

Game On.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Photos - Week 9

2/26/10 - Because of a busy weekend, we did our 4 hour bike ride in the basement Friday afternoon.

2/27/10 - Saturday we drove down to visit my son and girlfriend in Louisville. And it was my birthday. We had an awesome time with them.

2/28/10 - We partied into the next day. A guy at the table next to us had this message put on the "Phase of the Night" mirror. He asked if Andrew and I were brothers.

3/1/10 - Back at home I started to strip down Aimee's bike. Time for an overhaul before Ironman Utah.

3/2/10 - I had a follow-up visit with my eye doctor. I've known Dr. Pete for 35 years. He's a good friend from when our ages were in the single digits.

3/3/10 - The finished product. Aimee's bike all pimped out in pink.

3/4/10 - What do triathletes in training eat. I couldn't take the picture fast enough to show you the tuna steak on a bed of rice surrounded with brussel sprouts.