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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Another weekend another adventure…

This past weekend our adventure was to run the length of the Guana River Wildlife Management area

A meandering dirt road trek of 10.5ish miles…. Then run back…  21 miles total

Ya know a good thing about winter is that we her in the south do not have to get up at the buttcrack of dawn to train like we do in the summer…

We can sleep in a bit…  and then enjoy almost perfect training weather

Saturday was no different.

The Northern entrance of the park was closed due to hunting season

We did not give up, however, and drove to the south entrance to the park.

We parked…  took a quick photo…   okay we took three pictures and this was the *least* goofy looking one

We were not at the height of photogenicity at 0900

We started shuffling up the road into the preserve anyway.  About a mile later we came upon the ranger to whom all hunters were to report…  and although we were unarmed… un trucked and un camouflaged… we still checked in.

Now at this point in the story I should explain…  I wanted to take pictures of the hunters and of this ranger…  only I have a rule…  never shoot at anyone who is armed…  even with a camera…. Lest I get shot at too

This ranger who looked for all the world like Slim Pickens and sounded a little like him too gave us passage but warned us sternly to stay on the road and out of the woods…  He said it like 3 times…  and while I enjoyed his drawl…  once and a shotgun in a zipper case behind him were all the warning I needed.

A couple of bends in the road later we heard a smattering of gunfire…  a mile or so further along we saw a few shells.

Not too much further along we saw some of the brave and hearty hunters…  a pickup going 5 MPH with two fellas sitting in folding chairs in the back…  and steely gazes…  ready to gun down any rabbits or squirrels who got out of line…  or better put who got in the line of fire.

I sure did want to take their picture but rules is rules

Being a long day out there…  Judi fielded a few calls

In a bit over four hours we trekked 21 miles…  mostly slow running…  at times at a fast walk…  at other times just walking.

We did see a dozen or so hunters…  all of whom looked a bit displeased with us for invading their kill zone.

An absolutely fabulous day to be outside

And what do you buy your favorite little runner after a really long run?

That's right…  a really big beer.

Oh yeah!  I got one too…  complete with wino bag

We followed up Saturday with a nice negative split 9 miler on Sunday.

I'm feeling like we are on track.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

11 random things

So…  Peter over @ My Boring Triathlon Blog

Tagged me on the 11 things

Yay! and Thanks!

I think I'm the last one to do it…

Here are the rules:

1. Post these rules

2. You must post 11 random things about yourself

3. Answer the questions set for you in their post

4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer

I think everyone has done this now… 

5. Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them

6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people!

11 random things about me:

1.      I have had sole custody of my kids (now 18 and 16) for the past 10 years
2.      I smoked for 10 years
3.      Dipped Skoal for 15… Quitting Skoal was the hardest thing I've ever done
4.      I have been a triathlete since 1997…  I am still one of the slowest swimmers in every race I do… 
5.      I love peanut butter
6.      I never cuss in front of my kids but do like a sailor around my friends
7.      Was in the National Guard for 13 years.  I quit when I got my kids full time.  I had just made Captain.
8.      I am a rule follower and have great respect for authority (yet I'm still not going to follow all the rules of this tagging J)
9.      I competed as a "Clydesdale" for the first 10 years I did Triathlon.  I'm nowhere near that weight now.
10.  I am a chocoholic (my desk drawer @ work)
11.  I do PT on myself in my office almost daily

11 questions for you to answer:

1.      Why and how did you get into triathlons?

I wanted to do one since I seeing Thomas Magnum compete in Magnum, PI back in the 70s.  I entered a Sprint Triathlon…  did no swim training, bought a bike the day before the race…  and had a blast.

2.      Dark or white meat?

When it comes to turkey… Dark

3.      Beer, wine or liquor?
Wine – Red Zin and blends are my favorites

4.      Where did you grow up?

Chattahoochee, FL – home of the state mental institution

5.      TT or road bike?

I have one of each.  I rode the TT bike on the trainer this morning
6.      Favorite vacation?
This one:
I took my kids on a road trip to D.C., Philly, and NYC

7.      What do you do now that your parents did (and hated) when you were growing up?
Correct my children's grammar

8.  Your favorite sport (not including swimming, biking or running)?
Ultimate Frisbee
9.  How many days per week do you spend on Slowtwitch?
10.  How long ago was it since you've been hammered (drunk)?
A couple of years

11.  $20,000.  What would you buy with it?
A new car for my youngest kid… 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The long road home

When we last left our hero and heroine they were quite chippy…

17 miles into their 50k…  whistling and having a jolly old time.

Miles 17-24 included a bit more walking…  Judi was having some back issues…  my "hot spot" was now two blisters on the outside of my left foot.
Remember that shoe on my table?

Yep…  new Sauconys…  I'd decided to not wear them because while comfortable for running… they are new and not quite so comfortable to walk in…  instead I pulled out some 2 year old shoes that I've done literally over 1500 miles in…  and these shoes are broken down…  you guessed it…  on the left side of the left shoe.

Check out the heel…  or lack thereof on the left shoe.  This caused my foot to roll out a bit more than usual and…  blister.

Really…  I could run better than I could walk… and would sometimes run ahead of Judi… then stand on one foot until she caught up…

Somewhere along here we passed the marathon distance

The last 7 miles was an exercise in us asking ourselves…  as well as asking each other…  "What are we doing out here?"  "What is it we are trying to prove?"

I realized at some point that our Garmins were set up to auto pause if we were going slower than a 20 minute mile pace…  which we were at times.

And I'm just the kind of nerd to stop and fix that so I could get data from a 20:42 mile we clocked… 

We did finish…  and learned a bit about ourselves…  what to do… and what not to do…  and most of all gained mental toughness that only 6 plus hours of forward motion brings….

I'll leave you with a nice picture of my blisters on my ugly foot

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Kinda Perfect Day for a 50K

Judi and Michael's 2012 Rails to Trails 50k

In order to be fully prepared for RATS I think that we need to do a few ultras… Especially seeing as how Judi has never done an ultra…  has done but one Marathon and RATS is, by design, a series of four ultras in 6 days.

I wanted to do the first one in January…  and since the Jetty to Jetty race I'd used to prepare in 2010 has been moved to May…  and the fact that we could not find a 50k nearby in January…  we decided to do our own…  we even invited all of you..

alas..  we were the only ones who showed.

I woke Jimmy up to see if he was interested…
It was far too early for our lazy dog…

We packed our packs

Yep…  that's a running shoe on my kitchen table…  and the precise shoe I *should* have worn (more on that later
We arrived at the trailhead just before dawn and headed out on the long out and back. 

The trail is ~14.7 miles end to end.  Since Judi had been having knee issues during long runs recently our tentative plans were as follows in an excerpt from an email I sent Judi on Friday

We run the first 9 miles ~1.5 hours together then do one of the following based on how you feel. 
Option A: 
Judi feels strong and want to keep running:
We finish running the 3.5 hours~ 18 miles…  turning at the train station (12.5 miles) Then walk it in (7 miles)
 Option B: 
You are not feeling great separate at mile 9
Judi: out to train station and back = 7 miles = walk @ 15 mpm pace 105 minutes
Me: to end and back = 11 miles = run @10 mpm pace 110 minutes….

Will be hot on your heels by the time we get back to the 9 sign.  We can then run/walk to the finish based on what we have left in the tank 

So off we went packs on our backs in absolutely no hurry.

Until mile six…  where my colon knew there was a restroom…By the time we got there I was in sphincter squeezin' penguin waddle mode but I made it….  Only to find that the door. Was. Locked.

All of the water was turned off too.. off to the woods..

Once back on the trail…  less than a quarter mile along…  two port-o-lets


Okay…  quickly put that ahem…  behind me

The next 6 miles were just nice and steady…


we walked a few times to stretch and eat but in general just moseyed on

When we reached the train station at mile ~12.6 we found their restrooms open…

Here I am waiting on a woman


Here we had our first big mistake decision for the day.  Our exchange went something like this:

Me: How do you feel baby?

Judi: fine

Me: do you want to turn around now?

Judi: no I want to keep going to the end.

Me: okay

Judi: How are you?

Me: I feel good… I have a hot spot

Judi: keep running you perv…

Me: no… I mean yes…  I mean…

Judi: what?

Me: I have a hot spot on my foot

Judi: what does that mean

Me: it means my shoe is rubbing my foot in such a way that I may have a blister later

Judi: oh… are you going to be okay?

Me:  yeah…  I'll be fine.

So on we go.  The miles are marked both by posts and markings on the road.  We got a picture to send our friend Mark at the 14.5 mile marker since he was supposed to meet up with us and run part of the course.


He never did show… I think he went to yoga…  and listened to his Coldplay albums instead.

On the way back we had another chat.

Judi: a 50k is 31 miles right?

Me: yes

Judi: so if we just run 2 more miles we will have an ultra

Me: yes

Judi: it would be a shame to be that close

Me:  well…  if you want to do it just say so

Judi:  do it? Why do you always go there you perv?

Me: no… I mean yes…  I mean… you went there..  I was..

Judi: what?

Me: so you want to do the whole 50k?

Judi: yes… it is what I have in my brain

Me: okay

At the next mile marker we came to we did a one-eighty…  and went back a mile.  And then there we stood…  at the Mile 14 post…  with our Garmins reading dead on 17 miles…  with 14 miles in almost a straight line back to our car. 

To be continued....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two things I like

Robert Frost's poetry and running

I've quoted these lines before...  both to myself and aloud on many a run

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

By: Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Building base and getting better

Over the weekend we:

Got an indication of how much sitting around over the holidays affected my weight:

186 is not "fighting weight"

BMI of 27…  overweight

Checked out Mr. Peachy…  my youngest daughter’s car…  she wrecked it…  We are going to try and fix it…

We. Shall. See.

Kendall removing the radiator

Somebody let Jimmy try the wine:


On Saturday we did two spin classes and a half hour on the Stairmaster instead of riding outside…  Judi has had a cough/cold so we stayed out of the weather.

Between classes

Had dinner with my parents on Saturday night…  I am their “Geek squad” so…  I fix it so there router needs reconfiguring…  and get a free meal.  Thanks mom!


Gotta keep an eye out when you are making out on your parent’s couch:

Hot date

Oh yeah…  running.

We had 16 on tap for Sunday…

Our course looked like this:

Yep..  a long lollipop right along the coast…  we started at 0530 and it was pretty cold…  38F or so.  Did 17 miles in around 3 hours…  the last 4 at about 9:30 pace.  I felt great for the first half…  but the old Piriformis pain was back for the closing miles…  no longer is my pain debilitating but it is still there…  I’m definitely getting better while I’m building base…  I could not ask for more than that….

That reminds me….  Where is that Lacrosse ball?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Remember lesson Balance

So...  while I would love to just run and ride for an hour each every day...  I've come to the conclusion that for the long-term ability to do them at all I must do a few more things to keep my self in balance.

THis stuff is not nearly as fun...  and the scenery has a way of not changing...

But doing it I am...

1.  Weights has become a featured part of my routine for the first time in a decade or better...  and that combined with a little added mobility has brought some strength plateaus that I've thought were all in the past.

2.  Im beginning to enjoy and really appreciate stretching...  both for the long term affects as well as feeling as if I *need* to stretch after I exercise.

3.  But the mobility stuff is the best...  massage ball...  the stick... the foam roller and the lacrosse ball have enabled me to run without much pain again...

so...  three cheers for balance

and as Mr Miyagi says "Balance not only lesson Karate, balance lesson all of life"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I felt like a runner

With the Piriformis issues I’ve had lately running has been scant…  and slow…  and painful

I’ve been emphatically told by everyone from my mom to one of my Helpdesk techs “well…  stop running!”

But…  I don’t think laying off running entirely is going to fix my problem.

As outlined in a post last week…  I’m working on some mobility exercises…  stretching and deep tissue manipulation…

And…  I am better…  just a bit. But…  I have been working at it…

Working while I’m at work too…

As a manager in a company with offices all over the country I spend an awful lot of time on the phone…  conference calls…  Webex… etc.

I try to use my time wisely and multitask…  lately that has included:

The massage ball:

The stick:

And of course stretching:

After three hours of conference calls yesterday during which I worked in some mobility…  My lunchtime run was pretty smooth and not overly painful…

5 9:30s has seldom made me as happy

I know that I have more work ahead of me but…  I feel like I’m making a bit of progress.

It didn’t hurt that it was sunny and 72F out there…  a bit windy but shirtless in January…  I’ll take it.

Doing a standing pigeon…  cooling down in the locker room:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Focus and Goals

Things I would like to focus on

1.      Suppleness
2.      Flexibility
4.      Swim for exercise…  not to be a fast swimmer or competitive triathlete
5.      Bike – find a way to ride outside more…  might play into moving and where we move
6.      Yoga – make it part of the routine – at least once a week
7.      Try to average 5 posts a week…  it’s the only life I have… why not chronicle it?
8.      Be in shape and ready for Cross season…  that means some power and threshold work in the fall when I’m normally a runner and tapering for triathlons
9.      Ride that bike trainer…  like I have in years past…  it’s good training…  it’s good base..  and good therapy mental and physical. 
10.  Read more books


1.      For Judi and I to both finish RATS
2.      Sub 5 at the ACT ½ IM
3.      Do the local cross series w/o getting lapped

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Stiffness kills

I got a tip from a friend and multisport coach

Her advice

1.  Do you sit a lot in your job?
2.  Do you ever stretch/roll, etc. your quads?
3.  If you lay on the floor, does your lower back arch up, or can it lay flat without forcing it?

If you answer yes to all of the above?  Go to:  as today they have a great segment that you can use to help floss the hamstring/groin region.

In fact this should be a bookmarked web page for all athletes.  He's got some great stuff, and you can learn a ton as you go along.

Well..  On New Year’s Day…  Judi had some work to get caught up on…  and I’m not a huge football fan…  so I spent 3 hours or so researching how-to, experimenting with and eventually purchasing some products to make me more supple.

my Tools:

Tube, lacrosse ball, massage ball

Things I tried:

I used a 26x2.25 innertube strip ripped up the seam looped and secured to a fence post in the back yard.  Looking for all the world like a first rate fool.  I really need something longer but even with all of the stops and starts and having too short a band….  When I got it in there…  good things happened.

this was the most surprising…  I’ve had knee issues in my right knee for years…  I could feel a difference after just a couple of minutes.  This one needs to go into the regular rotation.

Once again…  really good stuff…  I’ve done this a few times now… I need to do these before I run.
the most painful…  scar tissue from where I tore my quad back in March 2011

So...  I ordered one of these:

the work… and experimentation will continue.