My photo
Jacksonville, FL, United States
In Life as well as in running the secret is Pace.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in review

By the numbers:
Swim: 255 minutes
Bike: 1936 miles
Run: 913 miles

PRs at 10k (49:10) 10 mi (1:23) and 1/2 Marathon (1:47)
Hardware 3x 1 Sprint du and 2x Sprint tri (in the old fat boy division
40+ clyde)

Questions from the tri list:

-What one word describes your 2008 season? Does it match what you said
last December in anticipation of this year?

Rebirth.... Last December I doubt I said anything... could have said

-What one word comes to mind when you think about your 2009 season?

Crescendo... my fitness and racing have gotten progressively better.

-Did you race any new distance this year or try any new type of racing
or sport?

I tried running while weighing less than 200# for the first time in a

-What was your greatest thrill or joy this year from training or racing?

Just that... racing... whether it was racing my buddies around the
office park... competing for hardware in the master's Clydesdale
division at our local tri/du races or simply competing against myself
during the fall road races.

Watching my times improve linearly with my weight reduction was pretty
cool too.

-What was your biggest disappointment this year from training or racing?

Jax 1/2 marathon.... I wanted to end on a high note with another PR.

-What was your favorite race in 2008?

Beaches Fine Arts Sprint Triathlon

This picture:

and the fact that I came in 4th place in the 40+ Clydesdale division got
my competitive juices flowing again... and pointed out how fat I had


4 miles at lunch with 3 @ 7:45... was supposed to be 2x that

but... I'm old and I may need some energy to go Jukin' later

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The loss of an old friend and training partner

I never even got to say goodbye… We had been training together for years… always with me… no matter the pace or distance…. Never a complaint despite the weather, time of day, or my mood.

How careless… and how quickly a rear bumper can end a relationship… and it was all my fault…. In an instant… on Sunday morning

I left my trusty Garmin 201 on the rear bumper of my Suburban on Saturday. I’d taken it to the bike trails… it had never synched with the satellites in the hour or so I’d ridden so I left it there to synch and forgot about it.

Sunday morning I ran to the store for bread… and it flew off somewhere and is gone.

I am heartbroken.

I am an idiot.

RIP old friend

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

RR - Jacksonville 1/2 marathon

Short version: (There will not be a long version. )

I failed. I planned to run 13 sub 8 minute miles… and grin and gloat and float the .1 to the finish line.

I did not. I started fast… maybe too fast (7:38).. I held that pace through 5 miles. Wheels started falling off during mile 6. One bright spot… I ran my first sub 50min 10k… then I made a rather ugly fall back through the field. The last 3 miles were 10s… I just didn’t have it… I guess I overestimated myself and what I was capable of… I went to make a withdrawal from the First National Bank of Pain and had non-sufficient funds.

We are all looking for that line… just how far we can push it… and on 21 Dec 2008 for the given distance. I found it… and it pushed back.

Bring on the full marathon on 15 Feb 2009. I’ll be ready.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

March 13, 2007

I wrote the below in March of 2007.... it has taken me almost 2 years to see my vision come to fruition.

Now to make it a reality.... on Sunday at the Jacksonville 1/2 Marathon

Gate River Run 2007 - Race Report

I saw the ghost of my fitness today
Through eyes blinded
by poor choices
by a body broken down
and a wounded spirit
healed and scarred with apathy

I saw quite clearly
Though far away now
As though the sands of time
Had etched the outlines
deep into the metal
of my very being

I was running
Feeling a pain all too familiar
But different somehow
Not the bittersweet pain
Of pushing beyond
What I used to think not possible

No, this was pain just to complete
Just get to the end
What I found at the finish
Was not the joy
Of a finish line
just a line, a finish

But what I saw
When I looked back further
Was the joy, The spirit
A body glistening with sweat
Tired and hurting
Yet far from spent

I looked back once more
and longed to be him
that person that I saw
at last the revelation
I was not looking back at all
Instead, envisioning a future

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekend update

not much to say... ran 11.5 on Saturday. I had planned to run on Sunday but... good to get the miles in. My pace was solid. Right on a 9 mpm pace. I was cold the entire time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Once a Soldier

Yesterday when I read a report from my friend Hurricane Bob Mina. He treadmill "raced" a guy he refers to as the "perfect soldier". Well... he didn't actually race the guy. He simply ran the same pace as "the perfect soldier" and in so doing ended up running 4 miles in under 30 minutes. After reading Bob's report I thought to myself... that I sure would like to do that... I bet that I could go under 30 minutes for 4 miles... In fact I'd just missed that very goal last week... I'd tried, and failed, to run 4 7:30s. I came close but the last mile... I could not hold the pace.

Today I didn't feel great. Got back late last night from a business trip with too much gluttony... breakfast buffet... goodies during seminar breaks... long lunches... happy hours... long dinners... combined with crappy weather.

So I decided to run 6 with 4x8:00/mile in the middle.

It was sprinkling when I went to change and pouring by the time I left. I was soaked before I left the parking lot.

Warm-up mile seemed easy... a 9:07

As I started the first tempo mile I decided to run on feel and try to stay loose. I felt great.... the rain was pouring... 7:21.

During mile 2 the rain eased up. I was still wet and cold but my legs kept turning over... I began to believe that perhaps, I too... could be a soldier... 7:27

My breathing started to get labored at the beginning of mile three and I had to force the legs to keep the turnover high. 7:29

I knew that I could gut it out on the last mile but it seemed to be forever. I ran a slightly different route today so where the finish line was I did not know. I had to alter my gait and take long slower strides... my breath was ragged but... I made it. 7:22

4 miles - 29:47

The rain poured again during my cool down.... not that I cared.

Thanks for the motivation Bob.

Being all that I can be...
CPT Michael D. Cowart (Ret)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Toddling Town

in Chicago this week.

Weather is awful... 34F and raining. Our offices here are in the basement.... therefore no windows.

I ran 17 on Sunday.... speed varied... Ran a few with Kara in the 11 mpm range and a bunch (8 maybe) right at 9 mpm... felt awesome at mile 15... and seriousl;y considered the full for next weekend... well... until mile 17 that is....

Still a little sore today.

I would love to go for a run outside. Maybe if the rain turns into snow.... otherwise I'm treadmill bound in an hour or 2.

Gotta get my pushups in too.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Marathon Swim

My friend Tony is going to swim a Marathon

Marathon Swim
Who: Tony Lyons
What: Marathon Swim - 42.2 km or 26.2 miles. 1688 lengths of a 25 meter pool.
Where: Canada Games Pool, 65 East Sixth Avenue, New Westminster, B.C.
When: March 27th 2009
Why: To raise funds for the CKNW Orphan’s fund
Why #2: Why would one go and run a marathon? Im going to swim one cause it is there and because I can.

Tempo Day

Today was tempo day.

The training schedule called for 6 miles including 4 mi @7:29 [gulp]

That looked hard…. But… I wanted to train hard so…

Mile 1 - 10:51 nice warm-up… but I had aches and pains in both legs.

Mile 2 - 7:28 – tried not to think…. Decided that I needed new training music.

Mile 3 - 7:35 – tried not to slow down

Mile 4 - 7:29 – began to have to put some effort into holding the pace.. forcing the legs to turn over.

Mile 5 - 7:46 – started in a hole… running along the railroad tracks it is easy to lose focus and let my pace drift… I did for .3 miles or so before I noticed… spent the rest of the mile trying to get lost seconds back.

Mile 6 - 10:55 – spent and wandering… just trying to cool down.

I missed the 7:29 goal… but… I can’t overachieve every day.

I think I’m sick… I’ve been looking forward to this run all week and will replay it in my head a few more times over the next few days.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Half or Full?

The Jacksonville Marathon (and ½ Marathon) is 21 December.

I’m on the fence about whether to do the ½ or the full.

Thae case for each…

Because it’s there
Because I’ve done it 4x
I just PRed the ½
Catered training run for the full Marathon I’ve already registered for in February

Maybe I can PR again… sub 8s even…
It’s ½ the cost ($35 vs $70)
My friends are doing the ½
My longest runs have been 2 14 milers… last month

100 pushups

I started this program today.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Saturday ride

26 mile ride on Saturday...

Picture paints 1k words:

Outback Distance Classic 1/2 Marathon

The “Outback” is our local Thanksgiving Day race. I’ve competed in this race a handful of times…. Nothing makes the deep-fried turkey taste better than 13.1 miles of appetite building.

The timing of this race makes it an easy target to focus on after triathlon season is over. Conversely my two best ½ marathon times have been at this race with my PR of 1:54:17 set in 2004.

In the days leading up to the race I was not sure if I would be racing or not. My little blonde training partner was signed up to do her first ½ marathon and had asked me to run with her. I said yes… and silently cursed to myself…. I was ready…. Really ready… I was in the best shape I have been in for a very long time…

Race morning: I mention something about running with her… she said “Go on…” “Run your own race…. I’ll be fine”. Inside I was doing back-flips…. Yelling and screaming for joy… outside… I just looked at her and said “Are you sure?”

With that all settled we got out the door pretty much right on time. My daughter, Masey was running too. She was signed up for the 6k… I was not worried about her one bit. She’s a runner… 2 seasons of track and a few 5ks under her belt… she’d be fine.

We got to the race site about 35 minutes before the race started…. All we needed to do was make a quick run to the little blue boxes and we’d be fine…. Well… they had 18 or so boxes… and the line for each was about 30 deep….

So…. We actually got to the start line about 3 minutes *after* the gun went off… no worries… it’s a chip timed event.

About 200 meters into the race I spied a familiar face er… I mean back end… It’s Layne Wallace from the tri-list... looking strong…

I passed a lot of people in the first mile… having started at the very back end of the race… When the 6k split off from the ½ Marathon I expected the crowd to thin… not the case, however, the road was smaller and still fully packed…

I tried to keep steady… and run nice and easy for the first 4 miles and not pay too close attention to the pace…. I hardly noticed that these first 4 miles went by at a ~8:05 pace…

I did take notice of my pace on the 5th mile… I had been passing slower runners for the first 4 miles and in the 5th mile I finally got passed by a few… Self doubt started creeping in… a sampling of the thoughts in my head:

“Did I start out too fast?”
“I’ve never run this fast before…. In a race this long”
“I hope I don’t pay for this later”

My thoughts were getting a little annoying… so I simply followed the next set of feet that passed me… and really didn’t think at all for the next 2 miles….. Until the Lifesavers… someone at the side of the road was handing out lifesavers… and yelling out the flavors on offer… my brain woke up to Wild Cherry and I snagged one… As I attempted to unwrap my lifesaver the next aid station came into view... my newly awoken brain remembered that mile 6 aid station = gel… so I pulled it out… So I ran through the aid station with lifesaver in one hand unopened gel in the other… still trying to get my brain to tell me how to obtain water in this state.

Thankfully there was one person handing out water a little further down the street… I managed to shove Gel and lifesaver into my mouth and grab a sip of water without choking or tripping.

With my gel and lifesaver life was better again… pace felt easy again. A mile further up the road I ran into another old friend… one of my old Army buddies that I seem to run into at a race every year or so. We managed to have a 10 minute conversation without slowing down…. The last question he asked me was: What’s your goal for today. I answered “Sub 1:50”

He just looked at me and said “You better get on up the road then”

So, I did just that. Holding my pace took a good deal of focus for miles 9-12… my legs were not really screaming… but they were recommending that I slow down. I did not, however, and when the mile 12 marker came into view I realized that I had a little bit left.

I managed a ~7:40 pace for the last 1.1 through a cruel little neighborhood in which we had to make at least 12 turns. As I rounded the last of them and the finish line came into view, I was quite pleased to see 1:49:xx on the clock… I had just gotten under 1:50 for the gun time.

Chip time 1:47:06 for a 7 minute PR….

At the finish line I had my requisite bout with asthma and set out to find Masey… I found her in the car… texting… like only a 15 year old girl can. She’d had a good race.

We walked/jogged backwards through the 12 turns of the final 1.1 miles… met up with Kara and ran her in to the finish as well.

And the fried turkey was good…