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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Have To Get Up Early...

I have been having major issues with getting my runs in during September.

August was a pretty good month with me logging in over 60 miles for my upcoming Half in December. September was supposed to have over 100 miles logged which would ultimately lead me to my PR, but I did not get close to those numbers. My goal for September was actually to run 99 miles, that is what my plan called for.

August totals- 60.12 miles
September totals- 44.86 miles

So I am well off my plan.  So I had to look at what happened, why did I miss so many miles? Here is the answer.

Life happened.

Things got busy at home, at work and with the family. Trips were taken, schedules had to be adjusted that really weren't working for the family. I constantly have to remind myself that this is my hobby. I am not feeding my family based on how I do in a race fortunately (because we would all starve!) With 3 boys in school, and each of them having to be ready at different times, the mornings are quite busy.

Applies to many aspects of life
My oldest son leaves for the bus stop at 6:20, my middle has to get a ride at 6:30 (we live to close to the school for the bus and his instrument is to much to lug everyday) and my little guy starts an hour after the bigs! My wife has some classes in the morning to teach this year, so we are busy as a family. I like seeing my boys off to school, so I am not blaming them at all.

Life Happens.

So, if I want to continue to run, I have several options. I can run in the evenings, but that takes away from time with the family. I also have to watch what I eat during the day, and I love me some Taco Bell (Yes, I know that is an entirely different post). Plus, it will soon be dark by the time I get home with Daylight Savings, so that doesn't really solve anything.

So my option that I choose is to just get up earlier. Get up at 5, hit the road by 5:20ish, get back by 6:30 and then enjoy the day. My weekday runs never get past 6 miles and that should not be more than an hour, so it is totally doable. It makes sense. It makes sense if I really want this PR, which I do.

Yes, it is still dark at 5:20 AM here in Memphis, but I have options. My gym is open and I can always hit the dreadmill. I really have zero excuse not too. I always feel like a more dedicated athlete when I am up early, and out training. My big thing will be staying awake! I always hit the 2 PM valley!

I am sure that every runner/triathlete that has ever trained has run into training issues (see what I did there? run into issues??) I also know that no matter how hard I try, I doubt I will hit every  planned run. 2015 is going to be a big year for me and I want to be ready. I wrote this on Twitter the other day and I think I may print it up and hang it on my mirror, it is a take off of the old 'I do today what you won't so I can do tomorrow what you can't" quote, I hope it works for you as well.

I gots to get up early to get me where I want to be!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I'm Retiring...

I kind of expected this day to come sooner or later, but I really had hoped it would be much later. Regardless of the timing of this post, I can say that the accomplishments have been many. I remember when I first got into this sport many years ago. I really just got into it for the challenge of it, you know, I thought it would be fun, but nothing to stick with, I just wanted to see if I could do it. Well, I did.

And I was hooked.

Yeah, it looked good on me!
I at no time had any dreams of going past a sprint triathlon, but who knew Ironman was in the future? Or half marathons, marathon or even that 50K! It was a good ride and I far exceeded any expectations, but the time has come to retire...my favorite visor. (you didn't think I meant me did you?)

My white ADIDAS visor was with me from the beginning. I have no idea where I got this visor, it has just always kind of been there. I have worn it through the hot Memphis heat and in the cool rains. I have worn it under a skull cap. It was my visor, there are many like it, but that one was mine.

Like all good things, it was beginning to wear out. The Velcro in the back is giving away, and it flops around hitting me in the back of the head with every step, and although I desperately wanted to hang on to it, it kind of buggs the crap out of me while I was running. So I just can't handle it anymore!!!!

It looked real good....

So I bid you farewell my friend!  Don't cry and don't be sad, I probably will not forget you, but I might, cause after all, you are just a visor! So I am retiring you white, sweat stained, non velcroing velcro ADIDAS visor.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I Love Memphis...

You may have heard a lot of bad things about Memphis. Our crime stats, a dangerous city, racial divide and other bad news comments about my adopted city. You see, I am not originally from Memphis. We moved here almost 13 years ago, and I honestly can't imagine living anywhere else. Yes I love Memphis, and check out this video of why...

There is a change coming to Memphis, so get ready to start hearing  good things!

Friday, September 12, 2014


I see a lot of my racing buddies already mulling over the 2015 race schedule for themselves. Many are looking to run IM's and some are looking to Boston and some are spreading to other type of races. When I see this conversation get started, it only leads me to start thinking about what I am going to race in 2015. I already know I am doing Redman again, but what else am I going to do to help me do better at Redman?

One of the main reasons I want to do Redman a second time is due to the run. My run sucked. I did a 7+ hour marathon. I know I can do better than that, and without going into excuses of why I was a 7 hour plus marathoner like blisters or whatever, I want to beat it. I know that if I can somehow have a good run, I could be closer to the 14 hour mark instead of the almost 16 hour mark. So that has really played into my thought process of 2015.




Guess what I am going to focus on? RUNNING!!!

So here is my proposed schedule, which has not been approved by my bride.

December- St Jude half
January- Winter Cross Country series 3K and 5K
February- Fort Smith Half and Winter Cross Country 10K
March- Germantown Half and Little Rock Half
May- Memphis in May Sprint Triathlon
July- Mighty Mite Triathlon
September- REDMAN

So I know what you may be thinking, that's a lot of halves in there and no marathon, I mean if you want a better marathon, shouldn't you run a marathon? And to your thinking I would say "meh".

I really do not like training for marathons. I also think that a strong start to the year of running will fit in nicely to the IM training I will start in May, right after Memphis in May. I will have to find the right plan or coach maybe, but I think it is totally doable and will have my running base further ahead than ever.

I know I can do better than 15:53 and I know it all depends on my run, so that is my focus!

And I wanna beat Brad