Friday, September 16, 2011


It wasn't until 4 days later that I was willing, or ready, to remember. It always sat in the back of my mind. I would overhear people talking about it but I didn't actively pursue it...remembering. I didn't watch any of the television broadcasts. In fact I was so involved with my own day I only thought about it when I saw certain things that forced me to remember. The people around me never really said anything about it either and seemed to go about their day as it was any other.

I flew to Denver Thursday afternoon, yesterday, for work. The Sunday paper was still around the house so I stuffed it into my backpack and would read it on the plane. I now find it rather ironic that I would read that particular issue of the paper on an airplane flight.

The front page pictured the new memorial pools in downtown Manhattan.

A special section had two hands reaching up to the sky in apparent grief while looking like two towers. Inside were selected stories of what people remembered from September 11, 2001.

As I read those stories I found myself reflecting back to that day as well.

I was working from home. No customer appointments required me to be anywhere. I was listening to the radio when the DJs started talking about the first plane crash. It was background noise. I don't know at what point I finally turned on the TV but it was after both planes had hit the towers.

The images were mesmerizing. I called Aimee to check on her and see if she would be leaving her office in downtown Cleveland. Not evacuation orders had been given so she was going to stay at the office working with an out of town consultant.

She was more concerned about her sister, Becky, who was flying into New York that morning for work. Becky could see the smoke coming from the towers as she rode in the cab to her hotel.

I continued to watch the TV and hear what could possibly be provided from the newscasters.

My most vivid remembrance from that morning was when I was standing in front of the TV and saw the first tower collapse.

I yelled at the TV, "NO!..NO!..NO!"

As if my words would stop the crumbling and everything would be okay. I sat down on the coffee table and couldn't believe my eyes. An entire building was gone.

The next two days was spent watching the TV as updates were given as soon as they were available. It was very exhausting.

The weekend of 9/13 - 16, Aimee and I had scheduled a trip to West Virginia with my brother and his friends for some white water rafting. There was no need to cancel the trip since we weren't flying.

Actually the white water rafting was the best thing we could have done. It was a two day trip with some remote camping and rock climbing.

We were able to get away from the media overload following the attacks. We would get small updates from the people driving us from point to point but otherwise we were isolated.

It allowed us to laugh, share good times, celebrate some birthdays and decompress.

There is no doubt that the past decade has further defined this country. Some of it good and some of it bad. We have also changed as a people, but unfortunately time allows us to slip back into old habits and forget the positive results that surfaced after the horrific events on a sunny Tuesday in September.

No...I wasn't directly affected by the events on 9/11/01. But we all were affected in some way.

I do remember. I'll never forget. They will be a part of my memories until I die and a part of history forever.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Unmiserable Cleveland

I came across this picture from one of my travel days. We had just taken off from the airport and were heading east to CT. Ignoring the fuzziness of the window I really like this photo.

Click on the picture to get a larger view

Despite all the bitching and moaning about Cleveland, the region and Ohio in general, I like living in Northeast Ohio.

If someone takes the time to look around, Cleveland truly is Unmiserable.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Classic at Mastick - Race Report

Found this race report saved under draft mode. This race was held August 10th....enjoy the read.

The annual Classic at Mastick 5k Run was held this past Wednesday. I had seen the race director (John) around town and he reminded me of the race. I haven't run this race in years and seeing John motivated me to participate.

The race is primarily for the kids.....high school cross country runners getting ready for the fall season. The race feeds a scholarship fund which is awarded to kids after the XC season is over.

So quite a few high school teams come out for the event which means the old guys (those over 25) are severely outnumbered. But I just wanted to come out and have some fun.

I saw some friends and coaches before the men's race (women raced separately) and did a 3 mile warmup. I haven't done a fast 5k in a long time so I needed a lot of warm up time.

The course starts by running across an open field. I needed to watch my footing so I wouldn't twist an ankle. I was holding my own as we looped around the grassy sections and headed toward the bridle path. I was still running with quite a few people and the path was full. It was hard to move around other people due to the rocky terrain.

We hit the first mile marker in 6:40....holy crap. I wasn't expecting to be that fast. Was the first mile accurate? I don't know but I was feeling the effects of the pace. I just needed to hang on for 14 more minutes and it would be over.

It was funny running with the young guys. I would start to pass and they would surge ahead. They didn't want to be passed by some old guy. But I held steady and they eventually would fade off my shoulder.

I had my eyes on another "old" guy in front of me and slowly reeled him in. As we popped out of the woods he sounded like an exhausted horse snorting and grunting. Knowing he was spent I dropped him with a quick sprint up a small incline. After the 3 mile marker we turned toward the finish chute were two young guys sprinted past me.

I crossed the line in 20:43 which gave me a 6:40/mile pace. I guess that first mile was accurate.

I hung out for a while to watch the girls race and then headed home. It was a great night and showed me that I still have some speed in my legs.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Oktoberfest 5k Race Report

Aimee and I have had a great labor day weekend with family and friends. We finished our weekend at the Cleveland Labor Day Oktoberfest 5k Bier Run. Our friends Mandi and Dale have made this an annual race on their schedule. Aimee and I decided to join in on the fun.

Race morning was a far cry from the hot temperatures on Friday and Saturday. It rained overnight and the temperature was around 65 degrees.

We showed up an hour early to register and warm up. I saw our friend Joe V and we did a warmup run on the course. Since I had never done this race I wanted to see the entire course. I've been feeling that my knee has required some long warmup time since the surgery. We caught up with each other during out warmup just chatting away.

Back at the start area we started seeing more friends. Snakebite teammate Jason Z showed up with his family and Mark from Spin/Second Sole Multisport team was my age group competition.

We saw quite a few fast runners so I didn't know where I was going to wind up overall or in my age group, but the odds were looking pretty good.

I started the race at a good effort. Despite my "good" effort the front runners were pulling away step by step. It didnt' take long for the lead police car and speedie guys to be out of sight. I focused on the people around me and within my line of sight.

Mark passed me after the first half mile and I stayed on his shoulder. Together we passed some other runners and hit the first mile marker at 6:17, I hit my split button but didn't look at my watch. I looked ahead and needed to push the pace.

My strategy during mile 2 was to catch and pass as many people as possible. Each person was within easy striking distance with little surges to each person. One person I was trying to catch was 50 yards ahead of me and it took my a while to catch him. Of course I was stuck in no mans land and the winds coming from the north were stiff. I caught him and started going after the next target.

I passed the water station without grabbing anything to drink. My focus was on the person in front of me. The pond in front of me had a fountain shooting water into the air. The only reason I mention this is because the water was being sprayed 10 feet to the side. Of course I had to make a left turn into the wind. Beyond my target I could see Joe V. and John Z. (Jason's dad).

Into the wind I push hard to catch my victim. Once I pulled up next to him I continued by him. I could here him try to go with me but I wasn't going to give him a free ride. I passed him with authoritay......

It's part of the strategy of running I like. If you are going to pass someone make it hurt them physically and mentally. Crush their spirit and don't allow them to hang on. I know I have been crushed many times that way.

A couple hundred yard more and we turned right and were out of the wind. The rest of the course, under 1 mile, would be south and east in direction. Ever so slowly I was catching up to John Z. but time and distance was running out.

We entered the parking lot of the county fairground where the finish line was. I had actually managed to get within 10 yards of John. I kept pushing towards him and was right on his shoulder at the final turn with 50 yards to the finish line. He picked up his pace and I tried to stay with him. I crossed the finish line just off his shoulder and half a second behind.

Funny thing about races these days. Most are also chip timed. When the results were posted it turned out that I had actually beat John by .3 seconds. I had started about 2 rows behind him. Good thing were are in different age groups because it didn't affect our age group finishes.

My finish time of 19:36.9 placed me 2nd in the 40 - 44 age group and 11th overall. I managed a 6:19/mile pace which is the fastest I have seen in a couple of years.

Since this was an Oktoberfest Bier Run the awards were these awesome bier steins. Aimee and I stayed around for the Oktoberfest with some friends. I drank my beer from my award and had some very tasty bratwurst, sauerkraut, and German potato salad.

I just don't know why we haven't done this race in the past. I think this was a very well executed race. I kept my head in the game and raced strategically. And the effort definitely paid off.

We will be back again next year for more fun on the run.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Sliders

Tonights dinner consisted of....

Cajun Rubbed Chicken Thighs....

Eggplant fresh from the garden......

And sandwich thins....this picture is of the large size. I found some mini's on the store shelves today.

So I cooked everything on the grill, placed the eggplant slices on the bread first, a chicken thigh next then topped it with some Swiss cheese.

Yummy little sliders with some great taste. Delicious does not need to be complicated. Sometime simplicity is the best way to go.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Who Connecticut

Work took me to South Central Massachusetts/North Central Connecticut. As I drove from CT to MA each day I passed several crop fields. I've never seen tobacco plants before. The person I was working with told me that CT used to be a big producer of cigar tobacco. The fields I saw weren't that big. Most of the old tobacco fields are now sod farms.

But I did get a picture of this field.

I also saw this barn where they hang the leaves to dry. It's pretty cool design how the barn opens up to let in fresh air.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Going at it Alone

I have read many articles pertaining to the virtue of running/cycling/swimming in a group. The pressure to keep up. Training with people better than yourself. Getting outside your comfort zone. Learning from others with more, or different, experiences.

My group training has mainly consisted of two or three other people. Sometimes even a group of six. Now we are talking about a party.

Group running has been out for me because I am slowly getting back to a respectable load. Then some friends are ramping up for A races and are churning out some speed work. I'm still not looking for speed right now. I've been working on tempo runs instead.

One the bike I have been out more often with several people. And yes the efforts have been good. Chris is training for IM Florida and has a great base. Last I rode with him I was just trying to hang on. It was a good 55 miles but I was toast. I also rode with some other Snakebite teammates for 40 miles. That was fun because we contested some city limits and had some hard pulls.

But for the most part I have been a solo trainer. Mainly because my schedule is sometimes chaotic so I train when it's convenient for me. When I was being coached I usually had specific workouts for specific goals. It's hard to incorporate specific workouts in a social gathering.

Well last night was one of those times I needed to go at it alone. I called Mike and asked if he wanted to go because we have been riding together on Wednesday nights. Our schedules weren't matching up very well and I wanted to go pretty hard.

With a good amount of cloud cover, steady winds and the threat of rain I set out for a 40+ mile bike ride. My goal was to warm up and then hit it hard on West River Road. This is a great 8.5 mile stretch of rollers where I wanted to bury myself. Unfortunately there are two major roads that break up the road. It was the last 1.5 miles that forced me to drop below my average due to one long steep uphill.

Getting into Valley City I had completed 20 miles in 1 hour. I knew where along my route I would push the pace and where to spend some time in recovery. The wind would be smacking me in the face but I never got rained on. I got wet mainly from a misty rain and the road spray.

I was very happy with the results from my ride. I completed 44.64 miles in 2:15:35.

But the most important aspect of this solo could be done, and done well.

As great as it is to be pushed and motivated in a group training session..I find more satisfaction when I go it alone.

It is a mental test to push yourself to the edge.

Fighting the urge to slow down despite your legs screaming at you.

Your response....."Shut Up Legs."

Your mouth is hanging open to get as much oxygen into your lungs as possible. Partly to feed your muscles but also to keep your brain from stalling out.

Suppressing the queasy feeling in your stomach as your body redlines....."Please don't puke."

Being on a lonely stretch of road with no one around. No one to prove anything to...except yourself.

Never knowing when your legs will blow up and you get yourself.

Struggling to get home from the furthest point of your ride at a pace you feel with make you fall over.

Knowing that this suffer fest will simply make you a better rider down the road. Surprise your friends the next time you ride together.

Mainly because it shows you have Game. And tonight it was On.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Tasty Food

I had an epiphany over the weekend.

I really like to cook. And I like cooking for people.

Aimee spent Friday afternoon with the girls relaxing around the pool at our friends house. Actually it was too hot for the pool so they socialized around the basement bar.

Guys were allowed to show up after 5PM and it was my task to cook for the women, I volunteered. I bought all of the necessary ingredients to make four grilled pizzas. Scott picked up stuff to make one of his pizzas also.

I was ready to make:

  • White Sauce Seafood pizza
  • Chicken BBQ
  • Mexican
  • Traditional Pepperoni and Mushroom
Since Scott had a pizza to make so I only made the first two. His pizza being the third was enough for dinner. Scott's pizza was interesting to say the least. He used:

  • White Sauce
  • 1 can sauerkraut, drained.
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, drained.
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled.
  • Mozzarella cheese
Despite the odd ingredients it was very tasty.

I can't tell you how thrilled I was to serve up my pizzas. They were quite tasty and everyone said they really enjoyed the flavors. Scott had never grilled pizza so I provided some instruction as he cooked his recipe. I think he is converted over to grilled pizza.

So my new mantra in the kitchen is

It really put a smile on my face seeing how much everyone enjoyed the food I prepared. There is comfort and friendship when we share a meal with those we love.

Of course I love cooking for or with Aimee. We make a good team in the kitchen. We aren't afraid of trying new things or changing up a recipe.

I made some great burgers Monday night for Aimee and I.

I shall call them: Ultimate Taco Burgers

I chopped up mushrooms, shallots and a seeded jalapeno. I used shallots because I didn't have a regular onion.

Saute the mixture until everything is softened. Combined the mixture with one pound ground beef and bread crumbs. I used Panko because...well...I didn't have any regular breadcrumbs.

I didn't measure any of the ingredients. Why bother? That's half the fun of cooking...being spontaneous.

I chopped until I thought I had enough.

I dumped in the Panko until I thought I had enough.

Then I added some homemade taco seasoning, recipe found at I used about half of the recipe and also coated the outside of the patties with the seasoning when I placed the burgers on the grill.

Over high heat I seared the burgers for 2 minutes. Of course the thickness of the burgers determines how long they should cook.

When I flipped the burgers I turned down the heat to medium-low and added raw spinach and cheddar cheese on top.

The lower heat would still cook the burger but also wilt the spinach/melt the cheese.

When I pulled the burgers from the grill we topped them with guacamole.

These were some tasty burgers. Honestly they were the best I have ever made.

So even in the kitchen I like to get my Game On.

Bon Appetit

Thursday, July 28, 2011

6 Day Bike Rider

I was flipping channels on the cable box today and noticed an interesting movie title.

I was able to catch the last 30 minutes and was mildly amused by this 1934 movie.

Of course I needed to look up the movie and see what it was about. The Turner Classic Movies website provided a nice overview of the movie.

But then I also looked at the Wikipedia entry for Six-day Racing.

And also visited the website 6 Day Racing.

I knew velodrome racing was big in the late 1800's and early 1900's but I didn't know they had endurance events like this. Check it out. And this was before advanced sports medicine, fancy nutrition supplements and high tech bicycles.

Talk about Game On.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Return to Racing - Huntington Tri Race Report

So having signed up for the Huntington Tri I needed to do some preparation.....mostly mental. My training once I completed rehab was short runs and big bikes. Swimming was spotty at best.

So I was preparing myself for the suffer-fest which is a sprint tri.

I had to travel for work Thursday - Saturday and Friday night was only 5 hours of sleep. But my Saturday night was a solid 7 hours.

Waking up race morning, the temperature was already 70 degrees with the dew point just a little below that.

Aimee and I headed to the event so we could get our transition areas set and mingle with all of our friends. That is one problem with this race. Everyone comes out for it so I get talking with people. I turn around and there is someone else I need to talk with. Walk five feet and talk with someone else. I enjoy seeing everyone but I had to force myself to get my act together.

With the day being so warm I decided to not wear my wetsuit. The swim is so short and I didn't want to deal with the suit in transition. I would put my running singlet on in transition.

I got to the beach and did a quick warmup before wishing all of my SBR teammates good luck. Well, at least the ones I could find. We had 13 people racing today.

I lined up for our wave which consisted of guys 40 - 54. The horn went off and we ran in to the water. I took two dolphin dives and started swimming. I was surrounded by some swimmers but that didn't last long as I started to pull away from the masses.

After the first turn buoy I was in the lead pack of approximately 5 guys. I was breathing every stroke since this was a sprint and I was pushing the pace. I was expecting this race from beginning to end. Half way through the swim my upper chest and shoulders were screaming at me but I just kept pushing forward. I wouldn't need my arms once I got on the bike.

As we hit the beach I believe four of us from the wave were together. I heard my dad, brother and some friends cheering for me. I pushed hard to the transition area which is about 200 meters from the beach.

All of my splits are from the watch since I don't have the official splits, those will come later.

My swim, beach to beach (1/4 mile swim), was 8:20. The run to transition, partly uphill, was 2:33. This is the funny stuff from my watch. I must have hit the button accidentally...... seconds...


I did manage to hit the button after mounting my bike. I pulled my singlet down the rest of the way on the bike and settled in for the 12 mile ride. I was riding well and catching people in front of me. But I was also watching guys in my age group pass me. I stayed strong and just tried to keep them close. At mile 6 I took a Power Gel and kept taking my water with Nuun.

In those final miles I could feel my stomach becoming upset with the effort. The feeling in my stomach was the slight hint of puking. Upset enough to think about sending the contents back up but nothing that wasn't controllable.

I evaluated how I was feeling and decided it was exactly where I wanted to be. On the verge of exploding but keeping it together.

Approaching transition I started to take my feet out of my shoes ready to dismount. As I hit the timing mat I could hear some of my friends cheering for me.

Bike time was 32:46 with an average of 22MPH.

I don't have a transition split but I was out ahead of my main competition. All I had to grab were my shoes, race belt and visor.

There was definitely something about transition that got my adrenaline pumping. All of the people watching...excitement to get running...being in the heat of competition.

I roared out of transition and hit the immediate downhill. Of course there was an immediate uphill on the other side and that is where I needed to settle down a bit.

I did some self assessment to see how the body was doing, especially the knee. The point where I had my surgery done was not bothering me at all. I was a little sore over the top of my knee. It wasn't painful so I would reassess further down the road.

After half a mile my legs started to come around. At the one mile mark I needed to start picking up the pace and I found my target. A guy who had passed me on the bike was within striking distance. I started pushing forward to reel him in.

I finally caught him at one of the corners of the course and moved past. I could hear him trying to stay with me but I wasn't going to let that happen. I saw some more targets in front of me but I wasn't sure if I would catch them. So I pretended the guy behind me was still my target in front.

I was on the final straight before the downhill/uphill return to the finish line and all I wanted to do was hang on and finish as best I could.

I managed to pass quite a few people in front of me as I continued to pick up my pace. On the final uphill I drove my knees high and pumped my arms and came sprinting over the top to the finish line. I let the volunteers take my bib tag and timing chip since I really couldn't move. I grabbed some water and continued to grab my knees and get my breath back.

I completed the 3 mile run in 22:55 and my finish time was 1:07:47.

My finish put me third in the age group and 24th overall....something I am very happy about for my first tri of the season.

It was a great day for Snakebite Racing. We had 10 awards with 3 of them being overall awards.

So what race will I do next?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

Hot, hot, hot. Is there anyone out there that isn't dealing with high temperatures right now. Maybe Christi has some cooler weather in Colorado.

Snickers and Ruby are dealing with the heat as best they can. Snickers is almost 14 years old and Ruby is a young 8+ years old.

Being older Snickers sleeps a lot and gets back inside as soon as possible. Then he pants for a long time cooling off.

Ruby can tolerate the heat better and enjoys the outdoors. She even suns herself on the driveway.

Click the picture for a close up of Ruby

Stay cool my friends.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Race Weekend

Yes my friends....race weekend is fast approaching. On Sunday I will be racing the NCN Huntington Tri/Du. This will be my first race post surgery. My knee has been feeling good. My cycling is pretty strong. My swim is okay.

I am preparing myself for the pain which is expected for a sprint tri. One mental trick I use is to remember that it is only one hour of intense racing. This is in contract to Ironman Lake Placid which is also on Sunday.

I have many friends who will be racing in Lake Placid. Some will crush the course, some will survive, some will complete their first IM. Thinking of them will push me during my own race.

Aimee and I love Lake Placid and had two great years at the race in '06 and '07.

In 2006 this was my bike.

I rented the ZIPP 404s and I feel they made a difference for the race.

This is my current bike with the Flashpoint 60's. This bike got me through Ironman Wisconsin. I could have some fun at Lake Placid with this bike. The long downhill into Keane is a blast.

So good luck to all my friends this weekend. Whether you are racing sprint or Ironman.

Game On.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vive Le Tour

In case you have been living under a rock lately...or just don't care....Le Tour de France is on it's 14th day. It has been a very exciting and dramatic race so far. Some media people have called it Le Tour de Crash because of the massive pile ups and injuries during the first week.

Some major contenders have already been eliminated. Three abandoned just today due to lingering injuries and the body simply shutting down on them.

The past several years I have been fortunate to work from home during the Tour. I can work and watch at the same time. I'm really into the tour this year. There is something very impressive about watching the individual and team efforts that go into riding the Tour.

I can't seem to get enough of the television coverage.

I watch the live show in the morning.

I watch the recap in the afternoon.

I watch the prime time show with all the special segments.

I find it similar to watching a movie. The more times you see something the more you see the little things. After watching the riders the first time, I can pay more attention to the scenery, fans, or supporting riders during the other shows.

Even when traveling I should be able to catch most of the Tour in my hotel room, or on the internet.

I don't care who wins right now. I don't think Contador will do it...he just isn't looking good.

No matter what happens....these guy have got major Game.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Most Excellent Run....I never ran.

This morning Aimee and I joined our friends at A Most Excellent Run. Since I am still in recovery I grabbed my camera and made sure to grab some pictures of the event. Our friends have a special needs child who has benefited from the Achievement Centers for Children. So it was an honor to join the group this year and help push Michael for the 10k run. Aimee ran and pushed...I didn't.

But watching the magic as it happens was just as good as taking the steps behind his stroller.

This picture defined the day for me.

Helping Hands

Need I say anything more?

Here are more pictures from the morning.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back in the Saddle

My down time needs to end. My motivation needs to be lifted. My body needs to be challenged.

This week was a major breakthrough for my recovery.

On Sunday I went with Aimee to the Maumee Bay Tri/Du. Snakebite had a great showing with 12 people competing. The team did great and placed very well in overall and age group standings.

I was cheering and taking pictures of my friends. Here is a public link to my pictures.

I was running to different spots to get pictures and my knee felt pretty good with all the action.

On Tuesday I had a good swim session at the Y and that afternoon I got back to Coca Crossfit. I did the entire WOD, at a reduced weight, and didn't have any side effects.

Wednesday was another PT session. I warmed up on the elliptical machine before doing some floor exercises. Then it was on to the....drum roll please.....TREADMILL. I was going to run.

We started with some walking and I let Cyndi control the speed. We did two intervals of two minutes. I had no pain in the meniscus and just a little over the top of the knee cap. We think it's still a little swollen and just getting irritated. But overall it was a great return to running.

I finished Wednesday night off with a 40 minute spin on the rollers. I put the rollers on the back porch and stayed at home to do a good skills session. Even in the good weather a trainer session still has great benefits.

With two days of moderate workouts I was fried this morning and slept in. Tonight was another crossfit WOD and hopefully I'll swim Friday morning.

This little jump start is just what I needed. I had been feeling flat and my sleep was irregular. I'm convinced that regular exercise helps you sleep better. There were several days in the prior weeks where I was having a hard time getting to sleep or waking in the middle of the night. This week my sleep has been much better.

So I'm looking forward to continuing my training. Race schedule will be determined in the next few weeks.

Game On

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Big Fun in Kansas

Work took me west this past week. I was in the middle of the country where I could say, "Toto, I don't think we are in Ohio anymore" because I was in Kansas. And I don't care what they say about Texas, they like things big in Kansas.

Big Skateboard
I passed this guy on the highway. Maybe they were delivering it to the Jolly Green Giant.

Big Tires
Yes those are tires. Only two of them on that flatbed. Each is the height of the truck cab.

Big Tire Plant

And this is where they were going well as I. I had some work to do at this tire plant. The big tires on the flatbeds were probably going in for repairs. These tires cost so much they repair them instead of buy new ones. The plant has two large x-ray machines to find the damage. How big are the x-ray rooms? Two floors. These stacks of tires are waiting to get shipped out. You might be able to see that one stack of four tires is as high as a trailer.

Big Sunset
I caught this sunset from my hotel parking lot.

Big Hot Air Balloon
After dinner Wednesday night I saw some hot air balloons in the sky. One had an odd shape to it so I chased it down. You can see the basket under the balloon and the flame heating the air.

I followed the balloon to where they would touch down. I wonder if they knew the people living in the house.

That is one heck of a big Jack-in-the-Box balloon.

I thought that getting away from Ohio and working with my customer would keep my mind off triathlon training/racing. I had no such luck. Last weekend was the K-Swiss Ironman 70.3 Kansas in Lawrence, KS. As I was driving to my customer on Monday I saw cars with tri bikes on top going the opposite direction. Grrrrr.

Then I learn that the Topeka Tinman Triathlon is this coming weekend. If I was healthy that would have been a great double weekend to surround my work week.

Oh well. Back at home then it's the Maumee Bay Tri/Du on Sunday. I'll be cheering on my SBR teammates and other Cleveland athletes.

Game On.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Robins Nest Pictures

I took a series of photos of the robins nest outside one of the bedroom windows. It was interesting watching the lives of the baby birds and their parents.

You can find all of the pictures on my Facebook page. The public link is here so everyone can see the pictures.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Girls With Sole - LULA 5k

My friend Liz is the executive director, founder and head mentor for her organization, Girls With Sole (GWS). I try to support her any way I can because what she is doing means so much to some deserving girls. There are also many great groups, companies and individuals who have partnered with GWS. Many I know including Coach Angela, Grunt Girl Racing (Aimee is a Grunt Girl), Coca Crossfit (Killer Kate), and Hoban Pest Control (Tina is a dear friend of ours) to name a few.

With my knee still recovering I reached out to Liz and asked how I could help. I offered to be the lead bike for the 5k run. She took me up on the offer and I was set to go. Aimee signed up for the race along with many of our friends.

I rode the course to get familiar with the turns and helped the race crew get the corners ready and mark some potentially hazardous holes. When I made it back to the event area I chatted with some friends and listened to Liz give her pre-race speech.

The awards were hand painted by one of the girls in the GWS program. Below is Liz with one of the age group winners with her custom award.

At the beginning of each GWS session Liz has the girls say the program creed to remember why they are there. One of the program girls recited the creed.

We're Girls With Sole and we're on the move
We're strong and proud you can't stop our groove
We know who we are and who we want to be
We sail through life with resiliency
At Girls With Sole we set goals and believe
If we keep lacing up - we will always achieve.

Then one of the girls also sang a song that meant a lot to her. She followed that up with a wonderful National Anthem.

Everyone made their way to the start line for a nice 5k through the lakeside streets of Rocky River. One of our young Snakebite racers was in the crowd. Josh is a little fireball of a runner. He is 14 and running sub 18 for a 5k. I figured he would be top ten at this race. As I was leading the front runners I was constantly looking back to make sure I wasn't too far ahead or too close to the runners. Each time I looked back I could see Josh in fourth place.

I took the leader into the finish area and watched the runners stream in while chatting with and cheering for friends. Sure enough Josh finished fourth overall and won his age group.

But my day wasn't over. One of the race crew asked me to lead the 1 mile walk. With the incoming runners it would be too hard to have a car on the street. So with the ringing of the bell the one mile walk started. I had been joking with two guys about going slow enough for the walkers. They said I would probably tip over. But I didn't have to worry about that.

After I made the first turn I looked back and there was a little girl running after me. She couldn't have been more than 6 years old. I saw her mom and little brother not far behind her so I stayed with her the entire time. I kept her close to the curb providing a rolling barrier as she continued to run.

We made it to the turn around and now she was with the runners of the 5k. I watched as she weaved her way in and out of the runners much older than her. I kept encouraging her and stayed close to this precious little runner. I told her that she didn't have much more to go. The final straight away starts with a right hand turn the goes uphill immediately. Some of the 5k runners were walking and I thought the maybe she would also...but she didn't. She powered up that hill and kept on going to the finish.

As we entered the parking lot she had another 100 yards to go. All of a sudden I saw this little body rocket past me. She saw the finish line and took of like it was the START of the mile. I yelled for her to keep going. Her mom and little brother passed by 30 seconds later and I told her she finished great.

I went back to the event site and started talking with as many friends as I could find. So many of my running, cycling and tri friends were there. It was good to catch up and get some nice sweaty hugs.

I was talking with a friend when I noticed a little body hovering behind his legs. I finally looked down and saw my little runner girl starting to walk away. Her mom said, "He sees you." She turned around....I bent down to her level.......she looked at me and said....."Thank You."

I told her welcome and said what an awesome job she did. She ran the entire mile. She never complained. She never wavered. I honestly think she was smiling the entire time.

I pray that this little girl continues to run, play, grow, compete into the strong woman she can be. This is the essence of Girls With Sole. And this day quite possibly has set in motion a long fulfilling life. I know it has made my life more fulfilling because of this little runner girl.

Game On.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Recovery is 90% Mental

....the other 10% is in your head.

Recovering from an injury is hard for any athlete. Not being able to do what you love. Not being able to spend time with friends. Wondering when you will be at full strength again in order to start training hard for races undetermined because of the recovery cycle.

Rest and rehab. That's about all I can do. With the incisions I can't get into the pool. I can't run. I'm slowly getting back onto the bike with my max effort being 40 minutes so far.

Tri season is starting without me this weekend at Deer Creek Triathlon.

I can't run in a local 5k benefiting Girls With Sole.

I missed the 14 Hills Death Ride last weekend with my Snakebite teammates.

I am fortunate though that Aimee has been very supportive and makes sure I am cautious about what I do. Unfortunately I snapped at her today not meaning to...bad hubby.

I think it's part of the "seclusion" from doing what I want. Today was a perfect day to ride the bike or run in the park, but alas I didn't....couldn't.

I have been getting my workout fix in with Crossfit. Being able to go up to Coca Crossfit has helped me keep my balance. If I feel I can't do the workout of the day (WOD) I hang out and socialize or provide support to the people pushing through the workout.

If I do workout, it's upper body stuff like shoulder presses, push-ups, chin-ups or other miscellaneous exercises. But the most beneficial aspect of going to the "box" is the community. Unlike running or cycling we all stay at one spot for the workout so we encourage each other, learn from each other and build friendships....not that we don't do the same thing with running/cycling.

I miss my tri buddies a lot and can't wait to get back into the pool/lake or on the bike with them. But the crossfitters at Coca have provided some great mental support lately. They ask about my knee and keep my fire stoked as I watch them complete their WOD and reach new levels of fitness. It's a community very similar to triathlon. We are all at different levels but we all enjoy it very much.

So as the weather gets better...I get better..and soon I will be able to enjoy the nice weather outside on my bike...swimming in the lake....running on the trails.

Game On.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What surgery?

The two bandages remind me of the knee surgery I had 10 days ago. My recovery has been going great. Yesterday I rode my bike for 40 miles....I mean minutes. It was a nice easy ride and I was happy to be on the bike outside. My physical therapist is happy with how things are going. Later this week we will see when I might be able to get back to running.

Below are two pictures the doctor took during the surgery. This is the actual tear. The little fibers were trimmed from the meniscus. Pretty cool stuff.

I also have to wish everyone a happy Memorial Day. As the sun rises this morning it looks like it will be a glorious day to remember the few that have given so much for the many....a country.

In my family my Uncle Dave served during the Korean War. Friends have served or are currently serving our country now. Thank you everyone for serving.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Post Op Weekend

My recovery weekend went pretty well. I stopped using the crutches Saturday morning. They were just getting in the way and I was stable enough to place my weight on my right knee. Aimee was working in the garden and I was helping with some small things.

Everyone in a while I would sit down and rest so I didn't over do anything. Aimee was awesome all weekend and took care of cutting the grass. It's nice to not worry about it especially since the grass has been growing so fast.

Dr. Stearns called and said the procedure went well and I could remove my bandages on Sunday. I couldn't wait to get them off. There was so much gauze under the ace bandage I couldn't bend my leg very far, and my mobility was actually very good.

Sunday the knee continued to feel pretty damn good. The weather was still good and we did some more work in the garden. I'll have to post some pictures from our work.

Today was vacation day so I could rest some more. And I did. I took a late morning nap and just tinkered around the house. My dad and uncle came over for dinner to help finish out the evening.

Physical therapy starts tomorrow morning.

Game On.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Just Another Day

So Friday started like any other day except Aimee and I were on vacation. My vacation was scheduled since the beginning of the year because I was going to go watch the American Triple T and then race the Little Smokies Half Distance Tri. But something else came up for Friday May 20th....knee surgery.

My procedure wasn't until 12:30 in the afternoon which meant we needed to be at the hospital around 11AM. After we showered Aimee went to the dealer with her car for service and I was left to keep busy around the house. I went out into the garden and did some planting. I also prepped the area where would plant our veggies.

The worst part of the morning was not eating or drinking. I was so thirsty but couldn't do anything about it.

So Aimee got home and had a bite to eat before we left for the hospital. We were shown to my room and met my nurses Casandra and Mary Anne. I changed into the lovely gown they provide and they took my vitals. Casandra asked if my heart rate was always low. The display showed 46 as a resting heart rate and I told her that is normal. If I had been training it probably would have been lower.

I didn't have to wait very long before Ernie came in to wheel me down to pre-op. I was getting real good at telling everyone my name and birthday. They are always checking to make sure they have the right person.

Ernie pointed out the waiting room to Aimee and we kissed good-bye. In the pre-op room I met Amy who inserted my IV and checked my vitals again. Needles never bother me so the IV was easy to get started. The feeling of the solution entering my arm was cool. I mean very COOL. She warned me that I would feel a cold rush up my arm and I sure did. My entire right arm from hand to shoulder was suddenly cool from the inside.

As Amy walked away she said she would be back to shave my knee. I told her not to bother. I had done a fresh shave on Wednesday in preparation of the surgery. As she was transferring my vitals to the computer she asked if my heart rate is always this low. I looked up at my monitor and saw 46 BPM again. I told her I'm good and that it was the same number as upstairs. Being fit has it's benefits. I was also able to answer 99% of their health questions "NO" .

Next up was the anesthesiologist. He stopped by to ask questions, again, see how I was doing and explain what was going to be happening. I didn't mind answering all of the repetitive questions. Everyone is simply doing their jobs to make sure everything goes well.

As I was waiting for Dr. Stearns to arrive I took a short nap. No sedatives yet....just took a little nap. He showed up and checked on me and Enrique, another patient also getting his knee done. He check to see how I was doing and put his initials near my right knee. At least I knew he would be working on the correct knee. Enrique was having his left knee done and I'm sure Dr. Stearns didn't want to mix us up. I asked if he was going to take some pictures because I wanted some to take home. I forgot to ask him what "type" of tear was in my knee. I might have forgotten anyways. I'll ask him at my follow-up visit.

I was finally given my sedative and antibiotic through my IV. The nurses started wheeling me to the operating room. As they wheeled me in I saw the TV monitor for the scope and the big overhead lights...then I was out.........

When I woke up the clock said 2:15. They would continue to monitor me until I was ready to head back up to the post-op room where I would get dressed. Aimee told me that the Dr. had talked with her after the surgery and everything went great. He drew her a picture of what the tear looked like and handed her some pictures from inside my knee.

We went back up to the room and Casandra got us both something to drink. She took out my IV and said I could get dressed when I felt up to it. I was feeling pretty good. I didn't feel hungry but was very thirsty. We got all of my release orders and prescriptions, then Casandra wheeled me down to the lobby.

I hopped into the car and we headed home. It was now 3:30 in the afternoon.

As soon as we got home Aimee made sure I was comfortable in my chair and started making dinner. By 5 we had happy belly's and started to watch the Tour of California. I checked the internet and watched the time trial while Aimee napped with Ruby. I had a nice nap in the afternoon so it was Aimee's turn to nap from a tiring day. I swear that waiting is just as tiring as doing something.

Since the day was still pretty nice we sat outside to enjoy the quiet neighborhood. I took a picture of my knee to post on Facebook when I saw a post from Mike C. He was starting a fire on his back porch and was inviting people over. I looked at Aimee and said let's go. Mike only lives about 2 miles away so it's not a big drive. We surprised them as we rounded the corner of the house and had a nice evening with them. Aimee had some wine and I had two recovery beers.

Overall it was a successful day for surgery. Now I have the rest of the weekend to relax.

Game is already starting to get back On.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Torn - 2.0

I was looking at my list of posts and things didn't look quite right. My last post was in draft mode and there was no text, or images. Then I remembered that there were some problems with Blogger last week. Apparently my post about my torn meniscus was wiped out.

I'm pretty bummed about it because I thought it was a good post.

So to recap I am having my medial meniscus repaired....TOMORROW. Yeah, surgery is scheduled for 12:30PM. The surgeon says it will only take 20 minutes. I should be on crutches for a couple of days they walking and doing physical therapy.

Most people I have talked with say the surgery and recovery are pretty easy. I just need to keep myself under control and not try to come back too fast or too hard. I would really like to get some late season tri's in but I also don't want to do more damage and make my recovery even longer.

I had pre-admission testing today and am ready for the surgery. The hardest part my be staying away from food. I can't eat after midnight tonight.

On the plus side the nurse said my knee will only be wrapped in an ace bandage. So nothing big and bulky to worry about post surgery.

I'll let you know how things go post-op.

Game On as I get on the road to recovery.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ohio University - Athletes in Action - Triathlon - Race Report

So many things to talk about but first things first.

Did you wish you mom a happy Mother's Day? I did and we had a nice time together with both sides of the family today.

As you can tell from the title, Aimee and I raced at the Ohio University - Athletes in Action - Triathlon. When this race was announced it was a no brainer to sign up. Aimee is an alumni of OU and we love going down to Athens any chance we get.

The inaugural event consisted of a 500m indoor swim, 25k bike and 5k run. This would also be our first multi-sport events of the year. Our training hadn't been the greatest but the race would allow us to blow out the rust.

Being a Saturday race we drove the three hours to Athens on Friday. We grabbed out packets and had dinner at the pasta buffet. After dinner we drove the bike course. We weren't paying very close attention to the road markings and drove several miles (more like 5 or 6) beyond the turn-around. Once we got back on track we headed back to Athens.

The bike consisted of either going up or going down. Athens is a hilly area and this course would keep us honest about our fitness. Nothing very technical since the majority of the turns were sweeping and could be taken in the aero-bars.

We checked into our hotel and settled in for the night.

Race morning we were up at 5AM to eat some food and make our way over to the race. We would be meeting Big Daddy Diesel for this race (yes he is real). We got our chips and body markings before setting up our transition spots. The hardest decision for this race was going to be what to wear. The morning temperature was 45 degrees with some fog. For the bike I opted for a regular bike jersey, wind vest, arm warmers, my long compression socks, skull cap and light gloves. One big difference with today's race would be the events I was doing.

Because of my knee issues I changed to the aquabike division. So it would only be the swim and bike. It's a whole different mind set in aqua bike. I could go balls out on the bike and not worry about blowing up on the run.

After setting up transition Aimee and I went to the pool to finish getting ready. We met the couple who parked next to us and chatted until the race started. Chuck and Brenda drove in from Huntington, WV for the race. They are the same age as us so it was nice chatting with another couple who race together. We had a great time talking with them. I warmed up in the 50m pool to get used to the long lane length.

As I chatted with Aimee, Brenda and Chuck some more BDD finally arrived.

After the announcements and national anthem, I lined up for the start. Being a time trial start we were asked to give an estimate of our swim time when we registered. My projected time placed me 25th in line. I was hoping I wouldn't get passed by too many people.

Every ten seconds someone would jump in the pool and start swimming. Once it was my turn I jumped in and started chasing the person in front of me. Two parts of the swim are unique. At the end of each lane you had to go under the lane lines and swim back in another lane. There was also some congestion at the walls as I caught the person(s) in front of me. I think I passed 2 - 3 people and was passed by only one. My swim time for 500m was 9:21, but that included the run to transition.

It took me a while to get dressed for the bike. The worst part was putting on my jersey. On a wet body things stick and won't cooperate. I finally got dressed and grabbed my bike for the run out of transition. The first 1.5 miles of the bike were on the Hocking Bikeway. We were told that due to "traffic" it would be a no passing zone. As I started on the bikeway I could see two people in front of me. I thought I could catch them but wasn't sure. I came up behind the first cyclist and I believe it was Julie Krause from Team ER. I came up on her shoulder and asked if I could pass. We were the only two people around so I knew there was no "danger" by making the pass. With a smile she said it was fine and I thanked her. If you are going to break the "rules" you may as well be pleasant about it.

I started catching the second person near the end of the bike path but I waited to pass until we were back on the road. Once I made the pass I needed to focus and put in a big effort for this bike. In 15 miles I would be back in T2 and done with my race.

Overall I felt pretty good. On the uphills I alternated between standing and sitting. If the hill was short enough I would keep my gearing and power over the crest by standing up. I didn't want to waste any time shifting since I would need the gearing to keep my speed up.

I slowly started catching some people in front of me. On one downhill I noticed an OU triathlete in front of me. He was coasting down the hill. As I passed him I encouraged him and offered some simple advice. Keep pedaling...even on the downhills. I know some people see it as a time to rest and recover. But this is a great time to take advantage of gravity and increase your speed without blowing up. I pedal until I spin out my gears completely.

During the return trip I passed several more people and buried my head and legs into the effort. As I headed into transition I unclipped my shoes and prepared to dismount. Because of a left hand turn to the dismount line I swung my left leg to the right side of my bike. I didn't want to have my weight on the inside pedal as I dismounted since that could result in my wheels washing out from under me.

I crossed the timing mat and my race was done. I started walking towards my transition spot when I spotted Rich Fowler, he's the announcer for HFP Racing. He asked me if I had lost my transition spot. I responded no since I was done with the aquabike. As I racked my bike he made the spectators aware of the little known category of Aquabike and said that Snakebite Racing was in the house.

So I was done. First multi-sport race of the year complete. I changed and got my camera. Watched people come in on the bike and cross the finish line.

We had to wait until everyone was done before awards were presented. Aimee took 3rd in her age group. I took first in the aquabike with BDD right behind me.

We wanted to spend the entire day at OU with some bar hopping that night but Mother's Day activities pulled us back home. We finished our day tracking friends at Ironman St. George.

Just another weekend of getting our Game On.

Great Race Nutrition helped keep me hydrated during the race.

Aimee finishing the bike.

Aimee starting her run.

While Aimee was running I waited for BDD to finish his aquabike. I almost missed getting a picture at the dismount line because I had a hard time recognizing him.

Aimee "flying" across the finish line.

Aimee with her "3rd in age group" mug

Aimee and I enjoyed the evening together watching the live feed from Ironman St. George (another post) and drinking some hot beverage from our race awards.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who are you and what have you done with my wife?

Because of my current injuries my competitive mojo has been....lacking. It's been kind of a I don't give a sh!t attitude for the 2011 season.

Aimee on the other hand is chomping at the bit for some racing. She has always called herself a runner more than a triathlete. But this year is different (last year she was different also but that involved IM St. George).

Ever since she ran with our friend Jen, she has been jonesing to do a half iron race.

I transferred my Little Smokies entry to the Great Buckeye Challenge. Unfortunately Aimee will be hosting her sisters baby shower that weekend. She was a little bummed about the conflict. So we are trying to figure out where she could race a half.

I am quite pleasantly surprised by her desire to do a half iron race. It's actually helping me get my mojo back.

So don't be changing my wife any time soon. I think we need each other right now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Tomato & Spinach Dinner Strata

I have not shared any good recipes lately. Kind of goes along with the lack of blogging. Well lately Aimee and I have been finding some great recipes and I contribute it to her desire to eat better. She is always on the lookout for healthy magazines and I have been finding some recipes on-line.

Two magazines that have been a good source of inspiration are Clean Eating and Eating Well. I have also found some tasty recipes at The Foodee. This is a good starting point to many other sites.

So today's recipe came from the May/June issue of Eating Well. Aimee found it and I made it. She read the ingredients and bought the food. I did the prep and cooking. Of course neither one of us read the directions all the way through. After it's all put together it's supposed to sit for at least 2 hours and up to a day.....oops. We adjusted and pushed the meal to the next night and cooked something else.

As I was putting the dish together I was beginning to have my doubts. The icing on the cake, or topping of the strata, was pouring three whipped eggs over the entire dish. A traditional strata is usually a breakfast item so eggs aren't that weird, but there is no meat in this dish. No sausage or bacon or ham. But hey, I'm up for a culinary challenge.

Here is the link for the recipe.

Tomato & Spinach Dinner Strata

So after letting the dish sit for 24 hours we cooked this bad boy up and sampled our creation.

It...was...AWESOME!!!!!!! I had a second piece and Aimee has a smaller second helping. And the leftovers were just as great.

So we highly recommend this recipe. If you don't like it let me know because I would be surprised.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sorry folks but we have been delayed.

Don't you hate that announcement at the airport? It just throws your whole day off. You try to scramble and salvage what is left of the day and get where you need to be.

That's how I have been feeling lately. But it's not due to travel problems, and it has nothing to do with work.

My race season has been delayed. Below are two pictures of what is delaying me.

So what do you think? Right knee. Left ankle. Both not looking too good.

I think the knee is over used. The half marathon in Houston and some Crossfitting has caused it to freak out. The inside of the knee is the most painful. I have an appointment with an ortho I've been to before so we will see what he officially says.

The ankle was twisted during my first 4 mile run after taking it easy for a week post half marathon. The ankle is stable and is still a little tender but I'm walking fine.

However, this has really put a damper on my training. Swimming is about all I can handle.

I skipped the season opener at the Buzzard Duathlon.

I signed up for the Ohio University Athletes in Action sprint tri and the Little Smokies Half Iron in May.

I have finally made the decision to cancel both of those races. I may swim and bike at OU, but I am nowhere near ready for a half iron. So I will still go down and watch all my tri peeps race at both.

It's always hard to deal with injuries and set backs when everyone else around you are in good form and ready to race. So I'm going to recover as best I can and hope to be ready for the second half of the season.

Let's see what Game I can muster later this summer.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm back?

Can I even say that?

Back from where?

The last place I went was Houston and you saw my race report from AHCHM.

Actually it's my attempt to get back to blogging. Lately I have been a great reader of blogs and Facebook posts. But my own commentary has been lacking.

Then I got a comment from Michael at Slowly Tri-ing.

Really?!?!?!? Someone is still ready and visiting my humble blog? And I have to ask that really how your name is spelled? Isn't that the male spelling? I was thrown for a loop when I saw her name next to the profile picture. Maybe she will leave a comment to help me understand.

I've also started reading Blue's UnBashful Blog. I first met Megan at a swim clinic and we continue our friendship through various workouts and supporting Girls With Sole.

I also spoke with the president of Snakebite Racing, Angie. When she said she wanted to speak with me I thought, "Crap. I haven't been a very good team member lately." Actually she was looking to share some ideas with me. Whew.

But all three have helped me realize I need to get back to writing on my blog. I need to re-focus. Do the things I enjoy (blogging, taking pictures, supporting my team, training) as well as the things I must do (work, house chores, etc.) Except for work some of my "must do" items I also enjoy.

Okay...there..I've said it. Now I need to get my Game On.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

AHCHM Race Report

I was "disconnected" the final days leading up to Angie's Half Crazy Half Marathon so I didn't have any other training reports to offer. As we flew to Houston Friday I reviewed my race plan, got psyched up about being in warmer weather and decided to just go with what the day provided me.

Without further delay....let's race.

The race start was scheduled for 7AM which meant we needed to get up around 4:30AM to get ready and drive to the venue about 30 minutes away. To get primo parking we needed to be there by 6AM before they started shutting down the roads we would be running on.

I had prepped most of my gear the night before so I didn't have much to do race morning. Aimee and I got in the line for the crappers to be as light as we could for the run. Once I was done I pealed off my top shirt, stuffed it in my bag and handed it off to our friends who were doing the relay. I gave everyone high fives and Aimee a kiss before heading out for a short warm-up.

We wouldn't be needing much of a warm-up today. The morning temperature was already 75 degrees. The humidity was also a little on the high side. Considering we had been training in temps below 35 all winter I was praying to acclimate quickly. The temp difference between Cleveland and Houston was 45 degrees.

With my estimated finish time I was seeded in the first corral. I positioned myself about three rows back from the front and got ready to run. With the ringing of the bell we were on our way.

I was able to settle in pretty quickly with my pace and breathing. My race plan called for a quick start for the first 1.5 - 2 miles, my first mile was 6:49 and number two was 6:54, then settle into a good pace that was a fast rhythm until the midway point.

During mile 2 I was a little concerned. My feet were already starting to burn. The balls of each foot were on fire. They weren't quite ready to race yet. I pushed the feeling out of my mind and pressed forward. Mile 3 ended with a 6:59. I was running with another guy at this point and we were pretty much alone sitting in the top 50. We hung out a bit together through mile 5 at 35 minutes and mile 6 with a 7:23. I think I lost him at the mid-way point. I powered through the aid station and he might have stopped to get something to drink.

Looking at the race results I was the first person in the age group to reach the half-way point with a 46:17 running a 7:04/mile pace. I was happy with that. The 7 min/mile pace is what I was hoping for based upon my training.

After the halfway point lies the "Go Zone". In my plan the "go zone" would last until mile 10. The final three miles would be the "get time" zone where I push for what it's worth and capture what little time I can while hanging on.

My feet were still burning and the heat/humidity were starting to take their toll.....on everyone. Mile 7 was 7:23 and I could feel the energy being drained from my body. My mind was also taking a beating from the course. I didn't know the course. Normally I would have wanted to drive the course the day prior, but considering who we were with Aimee and I were probably the only ones that would have been interested in doing that. So without a course preview I wasn't mentally prepared like I should have been. Several sections of the course were long which added to the mind games of an already long race.

I was running alone since the half-way point. I had no one to work with. I had to keep bringing myself back into the race and not let my mind wander too far from the immediate task of completing each mile.

My feet were still burning. My legs were getting heavier. My knees were starting to ache. I was hot even though the sun was hidden by some thin clouds.

A couple guys caught up to me and I just couldn't go with them.

Mile 8 = 7:26
Mile 9 = 7:44
Mile 10 = 7:36

The "go zone" is over and the final 5k is when I need to be pushing myself for the last 20 minutes of the race. Time to leave it all on the course. Unfortunately 90% of me was already on the course.

Mile 11 = 8:05
Mile 12 = 8:16

Near the end of mile 12 I saw a guy ahead of me walking. He had passed me a couple miles back. I was going to offer him some words of encouragement when he started running again. He was still 50 yards ahead of me.

The final mile is on the campus of the community college we started in. After we made the final turn I heard footsteps behind me. Next thing I know a 5'2" woman is passing me. Now I don't mind being chicked at all. If she is a stronger runner than I that's fine. In fact I was going to use her strength to pull me along.

I dug in and started to push myself to stay in her wake. She pulled me past the guy in front of me. Then she kept pulling away, but I kept up the effort knowing the finish line was getting closer with each stride.

She helped me pull a 7:47 for the last mile and I reached the finish line 45 seconds later.

My finish time of 1:37:21 landed me in 3rd place for the 40 - 44 age group. Having the 1st and 2nd place masters coming from my age group also helped with the standings. My overall ranking was 33rd.

I hate to consider this a sub-par performance due to me making the podium but I was 7 minutes off my goal time. Everyone was suffering so I will say it was a fair result against some good competition.

Both feet got blisters on the balls, my left got the worst of it. My right knee is tight and sore, time to rest, ice, stretch and electro-stim to repair.

Below are some pictures from race day.

Okay I'm looking not too bad here.

These three are in the finishing chute. See how quickly my demeanor changes.

Finishing strong

Finish line in sight

Shoot me now!!!!!

5-Hour Energy was a sponsor for the race. I took a picture for the girl handing them out. I don't use the product but the post race picture was great. The guy next to me was 2nd in the 40 - 44 age group.

Aimee and I post race. Somehow we were managing smiles.

Aimee showing off the Texas sized finishers medal. It was a baseball theme for the race.

Accepting my award from Angie the race director. She is doing Ironman Texas in will be her first.

Showing off my awards to Aimee. Also notice the Great Race Nutrition shirt I am wearing.

Back at our friends house I started icing my legs, especially my right knee. The beer also helped with the pain.

My left foot had a very nice blister started. It was more blood than water in the blister. I just left it alone.

Here is my left blister Wednesday morning. The fluid and puffiness is gone, just some discoloration.

I forgot to add a picture of the swag we brought back with us. This years theme was baseball. Angie is a huge Yankee's fan. Starting in the bottom left corner and going counter-clockwise:

In the packet pickup bag was the beer coozie, oval sticker, socks that say "suck it up cupcake", technical shirt, and tech hat.

After we crossed the finish line you get the towel soaked in ice water and medal.

I received a plaque and baseball signed by Angie for my 3rd place finish.

The "Perfect Game" on the back of the shirt is Angie's hope for the race to go perfectly for everyone..whatever goals they may have and for everyone to enjoy the race she has organized for the past 4 years.

All she has to do now is include shorts with the swag and a person could run the race decked out in Angie-wear.