Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Flip turns in December...

I know I have been saying for awhile that I was planning on getting back to the pool after the half marathon as over, and I am happy to report that I have been to the pool twice this week! So I headed off to the Bartlett recreation Center to hit the water.

I remembered where the pool was. I remember my combination to my locker, and my jammers did not look to ridiculous on me. In my locker were my Zoggs goggles, swim cap and flippers, everything I needed was there. So I changed clothes, grabbed my towel and walked out to the pool area.

As I was walking, I noticed how empty the pool was. there were maybe two other people, not including the lifeguard in the pool, swimming laps. It always seems to be this way that once the season is over, the pool becomes an empty place until the New year crowds show up, but it is one of my favorite times to be in the pool. In fact, one of my most favorite traditions is my Christmas Eve swim. I am usually the only one in the pool. The gym usually closes early, so I can get in and out easily, and as I was walking to the far lane, I was already planning my Dec 24th swim.

As I got to the far lane, I placed my stuff down and got on my goggles and cap. I then walked down tot he deep end of the pool and do a wicked pencil drop into the pool. (I saw Crowie do this on an IM special and thought it was cool, so I start all my swims that way now)

It felt good to be in the water. I swam 500 yards and that was enough. It has been a long time since I last swam and it was evident. I swam the 500 in 10:04 and was not upset with that time. 500 yds used to be a warm up!!!  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed swimming and I was glad to be back in the water. My plan is to continue to swim 500 yards, three times a week until January and then amp up the speed and distance. I hope to have a clear plan as to my race schedule and will have a plan in place.

P.S. My flip turns were about the same as I left, so that's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What I am looking forward to in 2015...

So 2014 is basically over.

2015 is here...almost.

So what now?  Races? Goals? These are some questions I ask myself. And I can tell you that I have high hopes and I have plans to do great things, but that doesn't mean I will do them. I do not think I am going to do the whole new years resolutions thing, or set specific goals (like six pack abs) only to realize that I am not going to achieve them. So there will not be a 2015 Goals post on Daily Trainings this year.

Instead, I am going to tell what I am looking forward to in 2015. Here it goes...

In 2015, I am looking forward to getting back to running triathlons. At my last half marathon, as I stood in the corral waiting for it to start, I found myself openingly (did I invent a new word?) missing the start of the swim. I miss Stella too.

In 2015, I am looking forward to getting back in the pool. I cannot tell you the last time I swam. Not because it's a secret, but because it has been awhile since I got wet. I am hoping to jump into the water this week sometime. I am sure the 500 yd warm-up I used to will now be something to post on FB!

In 2015, I am looking forward to getting back into some tri shorts. (Tell me that is not weird) I mean I like running in running shorts, but something about the tri short that just seems right with me. I dunno, it's weird, I know.

In 2015, I am looking forward to doing my 1st sprint triathlon in 3 years. It's not that I have anything against that distance, its just that it hasn't really fit into my goals at the time. The Memphis in May Triathlon weekend always has a sprint on Saturday and an Olympic on Sunday. I have done this race the last 6 years or so, but I have never done the sprint. Well, that's about to change! I am really looking forward to this.

In 2015, I am looking forward to signing up for Redman 140.6 in September. As you know, I will be beating Brad D at this race, which is an added bonus, but I will also be going for a new PR, which will be equally as rewarding as beating Brad.

In 2015, I am looking forward to getting on a training schedule. I like having a plan. In many ways I think I am a better trainer than a racer. They say that the training is the hard part and the race is the reward. Whatever...

So those are a few of the things I am looking forward to in 2015. Notice they are all triathlon related, and that is because this is a triathlon based blog. I have other things in my personal life I am looking forward to, but that is something for me and my family. I will probably make mention of it throughout the year as I bang out words on the computer. I like blogging and expressing stuff in words. (beautiful statement right there huh?) So I hope to continue to keep Daily Trainings going, and I hope some people find it interesting, but I really hope everyone had a great 2014 and will have a better 2015.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Proud of my Slowest 13.1 Ever!

So here I am writing the day after the St Jude Marathon Weekend where I ran the half marathon. This was the first time I have ever run the half, and I am so glad I was not signed up for the full. This is one of the premier races in the South in my opinion and I love doing it, it benefits St Jude Hospital in Memphis. No family ever pays for medical treatment at St Jude due to donation from all over the world.  So the first weekend in December, over 18,000 runners come to Memphis to run this race. The Marathon weekend offers a 5K, 13.1, 26.2 and a 26.2 relay option!

Now I knew going in that this was going to be a tough race for me. My last long run was an 11 mile run on November 1st and it took me 1:55, so I felt I was on track to have a great race. Well, things happen. Some things you can foresee and other things you can't. For some reason, I always seem to think I can train through the Christmas "Black Friday" rush and everything that goes into planning for those 2 wonderful days (and yes, that is sarcasm). Due to travel with work, I had a hard time keeping the training schedule going, but I decided I was still doing the race anyways.

So here we were on Saturday morning waiting to start. I started in Corral 8, which was a 10:07 mile. I was really unsure of how long I would be able to hold that pace, but I was game. I was running with 3 other friends and I knew that would help me. I also knew I was going in with no expectation except to finish the race and enjoy making that turn to the finish line.

The first 6 miles were awesome. Tons of people cheering and runners were everywhere. Our foursome stuck together, which you know is tough in a race this size. we were hitting a 10:07 pace which was getting tougher each mile, so I pulled back alittle and let the guys go on. I was able to keep a steady pace for the first 9 miles or so before I knew I needed to focus on finishing.

So I did some walking through the water stations and then ran tot he next one for the next few miles. My calves started tweaking around 11, but  managed to push through and get to the finish line. I crossed the line at 2:31:23. PR is 1:54.

Here is the thing. I am more proud of this 2:31 than I would have thought. I knew going in that I was not trained for it and even had thoughts of ditching the race, but I didn't. I pushed through. It hurt and my legs are still sore. I didn't listen to the voices. I maintained, I persevered and I finished. When you think about the reason this race exists, to raise money for kids battling cancer, my leg cramps seem trivial. So like I said, I am probably more proud of my 2:31 and everything it took for me to get there than I am my 1:54.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Unprepared, But Ready

So I am back to the blog, rambling on as always. It has been a busy time for me these past couple of weeks. Since this is mainly a blog about Ironman and racing, I will start off with my upcoming race that I feel completely unprepared for, The St Jude Half Marathon. I started the training off really well and had some lofty goals, but life has since reared its head and reminded me that this is my hobby and other things have to come first.

I do not know why I do this every year, but I do. As you might know, I work in the glorious world of retail, and I am finally surrendering to the fact that Christmas sales and late season races do not mix. I always think that I can pull off training and still deal with the Black Friday schedule, which includes school and church activities plus time changes, cold temperatures and everything else one must account for. It is just a difficult time of year for me to hit my workouts, yet I still think I can. I think I have finally learned my lesson on this race.

This past 10 days have been crazy for me as well. My father got very sick and was even in the ICU unit for almost a week battling an infection that got into his bloodstream. This was a very scary time for my family. We went form taking him to the ER, to him joking with us as we left for the night expecting him to be kept one night to us being called at 5 AM telling us he was in ICU on a breathing machine. It was unreal! I was glad we were visiting my folks that weekend all this occurred (it was his Birthday and we celebrated Thanksgiving that Sat because of my work). Being three hours away did not make it any easier either. I felt like I needed to be in two places at once so many time this past week!

**I do want to thank all the friends and family that did pray for my father, either from FB, IG, or people who heard about his condition**

I am happy/relieved to know that he is finally cleared to go home after being in the hospital for over a week! Huge relief!

So after all that, and now traveling for work this week, I have a half marathon coming up Saturday that I am so not ready for. My last long run of 11 miles was about a month ago. It is so going to hurt on Saturday!

I am still going to run it. I am an Ironman!!!  Right?

I have just changed my expectations on this race. I want to run it and enjoy it, just be in the crowd around other athletes. I know a lot of people running this race and I admit, the competitor in me wants to smoke my friends, but I may be the smokee instead of the smoker this year. (sounds totally whack, but you get it). So I am totally ready for my butt to be kicked. Everything is OK in my world right now and if me not hitting a goal time is the worst I have it, then its fine by me!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On The Other Hand...

Recently I read a blog post about what to do when your PR's are behind, or basically "how are you going to handle the fact that you aren't as fast as you used to be?" This really got me thinking because I have already been struggling with this.

I know I will never be like the 25-35 year old JFORD when it comes to physical activity. I just won't. My body has changed over the years (knees and wrists are becoming issues) recovery takes me longer than it did, and I am sure if I go curl up in the corner and think about it, I could come up with more, so I won't. But it is true, I am getting older.

Granted I am only 43, but I have a lot of years of sports on these old bones. I have even told my wife that I think I have maybe one more year of trying to be competitive (my definition of competitive). So I have to ask myself this, are there anymore PR's in my future?

On one hand I say no, it's doubtful. I do not have the same drive, the same ego, or the same confidence in my body that I use to have. I think this is normal, that as we age our body change, but it could just be a mental thing as well. But I honestly do not see me going sub 20 on a 5K (not that I ever have before, but it was always a goal) AND I honestly do not see me going to get my aches and pains looked at by a doctor cause I am a big wuss and I am afraid of what they might say, so I just won't go and will deal with it. So I expect a few extra non scheduled rest days here and there out of necessity.

But on the other, I can totally see me setting a new PR in the IM I am racing this fall. Beside the fact that I am racing Brad D at Redman, I actually EXPECT to set a new PR at he 140.6 distance. (So I know this post sounds weird, going back and forth, but this is the way I am thinking right now.) So maybe I am just going to be a long distance guy going forward, cause let's be honest. The longer the race, the less people care about your time, just as long as you finish.

I know I can beat 15:53 on IM (and beat Brad in the process), but I know I will most likely not go under 22 in a 5K and I have to find a way to be OK with that. As I wrote in an earlier post, PR's are forever.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rookie Mistakes...

Every Saturday I do my long run in preparation for the St Jude Half Marathon on Dec 6. Lately I have been heading out to the Greenline to do these runs because my neighborhood is getting old. My goal Saturday was to run 11 miles in 1:55, but I really set myself up for problems.

Saturday morning I invited two friends of mine to run with me. I usually do not like to run in groups, but I have been trying to branch out more and letting people push me further and faster. I find that running with a group makes it harder for me to stop and walk a bit when I am with others. Maybe it is an ego guy thing...

So Saturday I woke up at 6:30 and got ready to meet the guys at 8 AM for 11 miles. One thing that always messes with me is running in the cold because I am always afraid I am going to over dress and get hot. Saturday morning it was 34 degrees here in Memphis, so I really had to start digging out some cold weather gear. So after about three different running clothe changes I finally felt like I had a good combo and heading out to meet the guys. I had my fuelbelt, gloves I could ditch and glasses and I was ready.

The run started off really well. We were all having a good time talking and before I knew it, we were at the 5.5 mile turn around and we started heading back. I was having no issues and I was on my pace I wanted to be on...until about mile 8ish.

Then I realized that I did not eat anything that morning before my run. I had no fuel. And instead of realizing that and hitting the GU I had in my fuelbelt, my focus became about just finishing. Around mile 9.5 or so, I could feel my calf twinging, that good ol calf cramp was coming, but I wanted to keep going. I wanted to hit that 1:55. My running partners slowly inched away from me, leaving me to run alone (which was totally cool!) I could sense that my running gait was changing, but I kept trucking along, and finished in 1:54:33. Right on Target.

So here are my rookie mistakes I made, and I should know better:

  1. No food before the run. This was extremely stupid of me and I know better. I had plenty of time to grab a bite before my run and for whatever reason, I didn't. I know this effected me in a bad way!
  2. No water at all. While I had two bottles around my waist, I never went to them. After the run I did drink water, but I never had a swig. Now granted it was cold and I don't think I needed as much water as I would on a hot day, but going two hours without water is just stupid.
I am not sure what I was thinking, because we all talked about water stations and gels and how we would use them on race day, but I never even thought about it. It kind of sucked, inviting people to run with you and then being the one that got dropped, but it was a good reminder for me to fuel up before and during a long run. I won't make that mistake next Saturday. Saturday is another 11 miler!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's Just The Way I Am!

Here recently I have been dreading my long runs and even some of my shorter runs. This time of year is always crazy busy for me being in retail and all, but I always sign up for the St Jude Marathon weekend, so I have to run. My plan has been calling for a Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday run, with Saturday being the long run. I have been fairly consistent in running during the week, but once the mileage got into double figures, man, have I been dreading it.

So, I have found the one thing that has helped me get out of this funk!

I change my route.

Simple huh? I have found that the easiest way to hit that dreaded run is to change the route entirely. I usually hate to drive somewhere to run because I think it is stupid, but on occasion, (like this weekend) I will drive myself over to the Greenline and run. It changes everything for me!

The Shelby Farms Greenline is a 6.5 mile urban trail connecting Midtown Memphis to Shelby Farms Park–the largest park of its kind in the country. Managed and operated by the nonprofit Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, the trail is an incredible community asset that provides new opportunities for recreation, exercise, togetherness, healthy activity, commuting and more. Now connected to Shelby Farms Park’s Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge, the Shelby Farms Greenline allows for miles of new trail routes. The paved trail currently runs from Tillman St. at Walnut Grove Rd. in Midtown to Farm Rd. at Mullins Station Rd. at Shelby Farms Park. There are access points at Tillman Street., Highland Street, High Point Terrace, Graham Street, Waring Road, Podesta Street, Sycamore View Road, and Farm Road at Shelby Farms Park. (I know these streets do not mean much to a lot of people, but it's cool). The trail has mile markers every half mile, which seems to really help. It also helps that there are always other runners or bikers on the Greenline. I think that my routes around my house get way to familiar and boring. So a new location is sometimes all I need to get refreshed and energized.

About two weeks ago I went to the Greenline for a 10 mile run. My plan was to run 2 miles, walk a minute and then run another two until I finished my 10 miles. So I started, it was a nice cool day with temps in the low 50s, I ran in shorts and my arm warmers. My goal was not about speed, but just finishing the 10 miles. After I hit the 2 mile marker, I thought to myself to go 3, then 4, then 5. I knew I have already hit runs of 8 and 9 miles, so I am not sure why I was so unconfident about this run, but I was! So at mile 5, I did walk a minute because I had to make some adjustments, but then I started running again for the next 5 miles. I covered 10 miles in 1:44 with a 10:24 pace. I was actually thrilled.

No, it was not nearly as fast as I had hoped, but I did finish it and I accomplished what I wanted to on my run. Sometimes you just need that extra encouragement to tell yourself you can do it. Even though I have run this distance and further in my triathlon career, and even though I just did this distance, I will still have these same thought sin my head as I prepare for this Saturday's run. I will still dread the pending 11 miler on Saturday morning, but I already have plans to hit the Greenline and hit my 11 miles under 1:55, and once I finish that, I can then start dreading the next long run, cause that is just the way I am!

Monday, October 20, 2014

FitSnap and Gravity Training

What up Peeps! This blog post is dedicated to two things I am currently digging on. The FitSnap app and my new gravity training system. So let's jump right into these two cool gadgets.


This is a great app that solves the age old question "how do I post my workout to FB, Instagram or Twitter and still include a cool selfie?" Cause we all know that is what social media is all about, letting the world know how good we have it. In the "old" days, like in the 90's, we had this:

FitSnap let's you do all this in one easy app. It is a great way to document the all important running that we do, and you can also do it with like 50 other activities! If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, then you have seen my FitSnaps. And if you haven't, then go follow me!!!! I like the app and think it is cool. It's free in the App Store and I recommend it.

Gravity Training:

This is basically designed like a TRX system. I have some issues with my wrists which make it tough for me to go lift weights. With the design of the handles, I can use my own body weight to lift. Now I know I will not get huge using this, but for what I want it will be perfect. It is designed to be used on any door frame and is portable. I can position my body at different angles which will increase the "weight" of the exercise. When I was working out with my trainer in early 2014, we used a similar device and I really like it because it did not bother my wrist. I am also going to use it to focus mostly on upper body exercises and it is something I can knock out at home. Time seems to be harder to come by each day, so this is a good fit for me. I will let you know how it goes, but please do not ask for pictures :0 (cause I do not want any certain Redman opponent to get all nervous and because I am vain like that and will probably post them without being asked) I think there is a term for those shots called "belfies", like in a combination of selfie and body shot??

Anyways, those are my two cool finds for the fall of 2014. Let me know if you use them or yout thoughts on gravity training!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Got Lost On A Run...

Yeah, this happened. let me set the scene for you with a little background information.

It was Fall break 2014, and we were headed back to my hometown of Fort Smith AR, for a few days seeing family and then hanging out at the lake. We were planning on fishing, cooking out, having a fire, shooting guns and turtles and just having a blast (which we did). This was all going down on the weekend, Friday through Sat evening.

One of my favorite pictures of me and the "Bigs"

We got to town on Wednesday afternoon after stopping to see my folks at their work and then got to hang out with my sister and her family that night eating pizza. Thursday was a good day as my wife and I went to Ben Geren Park and ran together. We found this fitness trail that was a huge circular path with these little stations for you to do push ups and other exercises. So the wife and I ran 4 miles on it, almost 3 loops. Good run!

Earlier in the week, I had posted on FB if anyone in Ft Smith knew of good places to run, and one of the replies I got was from a guy I had graduated with, he had also just completed his 1st Ironman in July. So we made plans, along with another guy he knew, to meet up at Ft Chaffee, an old ARMY training base that is pretty much empty. My plan was to run 4 miles at a nice 9:30ish pace. Well that did not happen.

I am not sure what it is, but you get two competitive people together, especially two triathletes together, and things change. I knew for a fact that the 9:30 paces was going out the window and I quickly figured out that 4 mile run was going to be extended also due to the fact hat we just took off running, we had no plan. This is totally unlike me. I normally know how far I am going and where to turn and all that good stuff, but we're Ironman right? Let's just run. Wrong!!! Ft Chaffee is much unchartered waters as far as I am concerned. There is not a lot of traffic or signage along the route, so if you do not know where you are going, well that's tough Sunshine. Our little 4 mile easy pace run turned into a 6.5 mile 60 minute run. Not what I was looking for...

But, it was fun. We had to cut through some fields, make some guesses on where we needed to go and we had swapped some stories. My friend is faster than I am so it was good to be pushed on a run like this. I have always thought how cool it would be to just one day to just go out and run, and while I hated it at the time, I liked it now.

Fall Break was a lot of fun this year. Spending the night with just my wife and boys at he lake in a cabin with no TV or Wi-Fi is something you can do and live! The only way it could have been better is if the rain had stayed away and more family could have made it, but we fished in the rain, and got lost on a run. Good times, good time indeed.

Friday, October 10, 2014


SO here is another random blog post because I really just don't have one thing to talk about, but I want my blog to stay up. So here goes:

  • My running is going well. I am about 6-7 weeks out from my half marathon and I feel like I am where I need to be. My long run has been 9 miles to date and it felt pretty good. So I have no doubt on completion, just depends on fast I finish it.
  • I had my first visit to Cowboys Stadium in Texas last week. I went to watch my Arkansas Razorbacks play Texas A&M. Great game, but we lost it in OT. The stadium is very cool and the big screen is every bit as impressive as you would think it would be. #WPS
  • I am planning on doing four (4) half marathons  through March. The St Jude Half in December, The Fort Smith half in Feb, the LR Half in March and the Germantown Half in late March. It may seem like a lot of running, but as you know, I need to work on running, so this will be good for me.
  • While in Texas, I was able to meet up with my Redman rival, Brad D. It was a nice visit and there was not a lot of trash talking until the end. We are doing the LR Half together, so it will be fun running with him. Photo evidence provided...
  • We are currently on Fall Break with the kids. It has been nice to get away from work for a few days and just hang out.
  • Today (Friday) I got to run with a guy a graduated high school with. He recently completed Vineman Tri in July, so we got to meet up and get a run in together and trade stories. We were only scheduled to run 4 miles, but when you run in a non familiar place, sometimes you go longer. We ran 6.5 miles in 1:00:42.
  • We went and watched the Equalizer the other night. Great movie!!!
Well that is all for now, hope everyone's training is going well!!! Thanks for reading.