Monday, April 25, 2016

It's Time to Get it Back....

This picture was taken as me and my bride finished the Warrior Dash in Mississippi. It was 4 years ago. We had a really great time doing this race, but as I look at this picture, I think to myself...what happened to me?

I mean for one, look at that left quad muscle! My legs were so lean and cut back then, and four years ago I was 40 years old! So yeah, I was quite proud of that muscle.

And I want it back!

Not really sure how it happened, but I went from die hard triathlete, to a "well I still could if I wanted to" triathlete, to a dude that has trouble getting out the door.

(As I sit here sipping a Dr. Pepper and eating sour gummy worms, that should give me a clue right?)

It is so weird how you can want something in your mind so clear, but yet you have so much trouble getting out there physically. I am reluctant now to even say I did an Ironman because it seems so long ago, and I am not referring about time, but a long time ago from where I am now. I literally feel like I am almost starting over.

And that is why it will be so glorious when I finish my next 70.3 in October. I think I have finally gotten the bug again. I am not sure if it is the warmer weather, the fact I weighed in at 199lbs the other day or what, but I can honestly say that I want to start training again and getting back into shape like pictured above. I won't expect it overnight and it will take some time, but I am going to get back where I should be. I am also going to be updating this blog more often, I really think that helps, documenting it all and everything.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Our Newest Addition...

Meet Molly.

Molly is the newest member to our family. She is a 9 month old black lab that we adopted from the animal shelter. Let me tell the story (not triathlon related at all)

My boys have been wanting a dog for awhile, and I admit, I was wanting to get a dog also, so one Saturday we decided it was time and we loaded up and went to the Humane Society to find us a dog. I was shocked to see how many pitbulls were at he humane society. I'd say it was 75% full of them, but we found a little black lab named Holly that we all liked. I think they said she was 7 months old. So we ask if we can play with her and decide that she is the dog for us, so I fill out the paperwork.

I take the paperwork back to the counter and they review and then ask me the following question:

Them: So, is the dog going to stay outside the majority of the time?

ME: Yes, we have a fenced backyard and she will stay outside most of the time.

Them: Well, if that is the case, then we can't let you adopt a dog from us.

Me: what?

Them: Yeah, all our dogs have to be inside dogs for you to be able to adopt.

Me: So, you'd rather the dog be locked inside a house all day instead of running outside while we are at work and school?

Them: no answer

Me: You should really tell people on the front end of this instead of after my 7 yr old playing with her for the last 20 minutes!

I was mad and tears were flowing from my little guy. So we went to the Memphis Animal Shelter and there is where we found Molly. First question I asked, was about her being outside and they were very understanding that outside is better than being cooped up all day inside alone.

Molly is 9 months old according to them, and she is doing great. We still have to train her not to chew on some things but she is learning. I do hope one day to work with her so she can run with me sometimes, but we'll see!

Monday, March 28, 2016

12 Truths About Running...

I recently read an article entitled 21 secrets runners won't tell you, and it was pretty interesting. But I do not think it went far enough, so I will elaborate on a few of them. I am not going through all 21 secrets, but here is my 2 cents...

1. Running rotates around your pooping schedule. This is so true that it made me laugh, Nothing makes me go to the bathroom more than saying the words, "I think I am going for a run" I need at least 20 minutes to "prep" for that run because there is nothing worse than running and having to poop, except maybe biking.

2. Shoes do matter.  Wholeheartedly agree with this one. My feet take a beating from running and I like a comfortable shoe. I bet I spend more on my running shoes that I do for dress shoes!

3. You can lose half your weekend to long runs. Yeah, the weekend used to mean a time of sleeping in, but when training it is more of a scheduling conflict that you can imagine. You have to determine how early you have to get up to get your run in so that it doesn't mess up your weekend time with kids and family!  It's a scheduling nightmare, which usually involves this question to my wife, "So when would be a good time for me to run?"

4. Running is boring. Yes it is, even with headphones. I have always told people that running is a mental thing. Usually if I am honest, the most fun part of my run is the last mile or so. I do think it is fun to run in the rain, but only if it starts raining during the run, and I like trail running once in awhile, but soon it all comes back to running. This especially applies to the long runs.

5. You always feel great post run, but the runner high is pretty elusive.  I can't say that I have gotten that "runners high" euphoria many times. I am not even sure how to describe it. I rarely run into my driveway high fiving my kids after a run and find I am enlightened. I normally want to shower and eat...everything.

6. Even if you run long distances, the first mile is still tough. Every run I do, every run, I have to tell myself to get through mile 1. I make no decisions about that run until I am through that first mile. You see, my body lies to me, and especially my brain. Many time the first mile feels like mile 10, and I am usually trying to talk myself out of stopping and going home.

7. Losing a toenail is a possibility. Happens to me every marathon I run, never during training for the marathon, just the race itself. Go figure!

8. Your running clothes will smell like death, but for some reason, my cat like to roll around on my clothes like its catnip. It is truly a gross sight. I think sometimes I should just walk right into the shower with clothes to try and contain the smell.

9. You get extremely specific about your running conditions and the smallest annoyance can ruin a run. Mine is this, it bugs me when I am listening to my headphones and the cord does not run down the middle of my chest. I like to run the headphone cord down my shirt, and if I feel it more on one side than the other, it drives me crazy!

10. Gu and chomps don't really taste that bad, but it is not that great either! Every SWAG bag I have ever gotten that has Gu in it has the experimental flavor that was an obvious screw-up that no one wants! (banana, orange, espresso, etc...)

11. We spend way to much money trying to figure out a way to carry fluid. I hate handheld water bottles and I hate running carrying anything, but I guarantee you I could find at least three hand held water devices in my house right now without breaking a sweat. I finally got to where I was dropping off water along my route just so I wasn't carrying it.

12. We are obsessed with Garmin. Why would we not be is a better question? That thing is awesome. I admit that sometimes I get a little geeky when it comes to that data, but there have been times when I don't want to run anymore because I forgot to charge my Garmin. To be honest, I don't even use all the information it gathers!

So which ones apply to you, or are there ones I forgot????

Friday, March 11, 2016

Why You Should Write Race Reports.

The other day I went back and looked for what was my first triathlon race. People are always asking me how long have I been racing and doing triathlons, and I usually just have to give an estimated guess, but now, I can tell you exactly when I first started this journey.

Feb 25, 2008, just over 8 years ago, I did my first indoor triathlon. It consisted of a 500 yd pool swim, an 8 mile stationary bike and a 2 mile treadmill run. The reason I know this is because I created a race report for this race. It was pretty interesting and a little bit comical going back and reading my report.

To bad we did not have spell check back then!

So my assessment of this first ever triathlon was that the water was a little choppy. A pool swim was choppy. See how I complained about the water being dirty??  LOL  I had no idea what I was in for as you can tell from the next race I did. My first Olympic and first open water swim!

I can vividly remember that race and thinking my race was over before it started. I also remember thinking "why am I doing this? This is nuts!" At that moment in the water, I thought my triathlon career was over!

And I can pretty much go back and review every race I have ever done. It is a feature on the website This website has really helped me in just about every phase of my triathlon journey, from training questions to racing, so if you are looking for a good site on triathlons, you should check it out.

Other comments in other races speak of how proud I was that I did not float on my back for any of the swim. It was also cool to see the comments people left that read my report. All in all it is a good look back at this journey I have been on for 8 years.

I have race reports form setting PR's and feeling great and I have reports from my 1st ever DNF at Ironman Branson 70.3 (which still stings). I remember everything about that race, and the frustration I had in not finishing, but then I also got to read about the joy I had from coming back and getting my redemption on that course!

A race report can help you remember little things about a course you might not find on a race website, and it will also not only help you, but it can help another fellow racer competing in that race for the first time. So I would urge you to blog, journal or whatever about your races. You see, sometimes a blog is not really about writing stuff that everyone will like, it is often about talking to myself. Cause if you learn nothing else from me, remember this:

Monday, March 7, 2016

At Least That's the Plan...

This post always seems to me like a New Years Resolution type of post. You know the post where you plan out all the great things you are going to accomplish, but we all know you never do. Sometimes we set those goals way to far out in front of us to where we literally have no chance of reaching them. I know you know what I mean. So just to make it clear, this is my 2016 race schedule! the list of races I am planning or wanting to do.

This is something I normally do around the first of the year. I have really had to plan more this year because we are so busy as a family this summer. I know the summer is going to go by in a blur, but it is all good stuff we are doing and it really should be an awesome summer. So  my "race schedule" had to be worked around our family summer schedule. It's only 4 races. I have taken a realistic look at my schedule and what I know I can do for training. So here is my 2016 race schedule (most likely)

May 21- Memphis in May Sprint Triathlon
  • 1/3 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run
  • Last year I finished in 1:25:52
  • Goal is 1:24

July 9- Paris Landing Sprint Triathlon
  • 1/3 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 3 mile run
  • First time doing this race
  • Tri team favorite race

August 27- Dragonfly Sprint Triathlon
  • 1/2 mile swim, 18 mile bike, 4 mile run
  • I hate this race
  • Not done it since 2010 (2008- 2:00:48, 2010- 1:58:10)
  • Goal time: 1:55
October 2- Ryanman 70.3 Triathlon
  • 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 run
  • First time racing this event
  • 75% Sure I will do it
  • benefits children's cancer research

I think this is a good mix and enough time between races that I can complete. The Ryanman race is something I want to do, but not sure if it will work out, the October date helps a lot, but I will know for sure if I really want to do it later in the season. The  training plans have already been scoped out and at this moment in time, I am feeling pretty good, so let's see what happens. First goal is Memphis in May!

Follow me on Instagram at Jford2309 for updates as well!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Hoka Stinson 3 ATR- Sorry, But I Really Tried!

For Christmas, I got some Christmas money and I wanted to get some new running shoes. I have been hearing all these great reviews about Hokas, so I thought I would take a chance and I went to the mall and tried a pair on. I admit they felt pretty good and made me stand about an inch taller than normal, but I just couldn't will myself to pay that high a price for shoes. (I know running shoes aren't cheap, but the ones I was looking at were top dollar).

So I waited, and waited and finally broke. I went on to the net and purchase a pair of Hoka Stinson 3 ATR shoes. I was really excited for them to come in the mail.

The STINSON 3 ATR features signature category-defining HOKA ONE ONE cushioning and support, and has been redesigned from the ground up. Updates include a more precise late-stage Meta-Rocker for improved forefoot support, and tuned underfoot geometry for improved ride and stability off-road. The upper features ComfortFrame in the heel and midfoot for improved fit, and light padding on the tongue for increased comfort. The Stinson 3 ATR is designed to be durable enough for the roads while providing ample traction on the trails.

That was the sales pitch from the web.

Now I know it usually takes a few runs in a shoe to really know if you like them or not, so I really tried to take my time in determining if they would work for me. And I really, really wanted them to be the best shoe I had ever ran in, but that is just not the case for me. Here are the issues I had:

  • The heel really slipped pretty bad on me. I tried to re-lace them several times and finally got it laced right, but it seemed to always be on my mind that my heel slipped. It wasnlt a good fit for me.
  • It actually made one of my feet hurt after running. Now this may be a "that's the way God made me" issue, but the shoe never really molded to my foot like other shoes did and I think it made me alter might stride or footstrike, which is never good.
  • The shoe felt tight on one foot vs. the other foot. Not sure how to explain that and again I went in search of different lacing methods to help, but I never got the right shoe feeling "right"
  • Knee pain. Now I cannot say this is 100% due to the shoes, but I did do an experiment. I ran with my Hokas, and then I came home and changed into my Brooks shoes. My knees did not bother me in the Brooks shoes like the Hokas.
  • To be fair, I did put about 30 miles on the Hokas before I made my decision.
So I am going back to my Brooks shoes that I love. I should have asked my buddy when I asked him about Hokas, he response to me was to "stay in what got you where you are". I wish I had listened to him and stayed with Brooks. I really did want to love those shoes, but they will not be my running shoes.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Runner Pick up Lines for V-day!

Me and my bride trial running...
So here we are at Valentine's Day and I thought I might help you out with some good runner themed pickup lines that I searched the Internet for. Feel free to use them  and take credit (or blame) for them!
  1. Good thing I have GPS, cause I am lost without you!!
  2. Did you get lost on your run? Because Heaven is a long way from here.
  3. Your pace or mine? (winner)
  4. You can stop running after your dreams, I am right here.
  5. I am not sure if it's the run or you, but that took my breath away!
  6.  Do you like speedwork? Cause I am down for a quickie!
  7. Do you run track? Cause I relay want to date you!
  8. My love for you is like an ultramarathon, it goes on and on.
  9. Are you tired? Because you have been running through my mind day!
  10. What's your personal record (PR)? If you'd go out with me, then you'd be mine!
  11. Do you believe in love at first sight? Or should I pass you again?
  12. Now that I know your bib number, I think I should be able to get your phone number.
  13. Coach told me to bang out an easy 6, but you look like a 10!  #BOOM!
  14. Coach told me not to get my HR over 160, then I saw you!
  15. On a scale of 1-10, you're a 26.2!
Let the Lovefest begin and have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 5, 2016

How To Get Your MOJO Back???

I don't know about you, but I have a daily battle with motivation. The motivation to get up from a nice, warm, comfortable bed to going out into the cold, dark morning and running or swimming. Or maybe it is the motivation to hop on the trainer at night, watch a TV show, but you fall victim to that nice comfortable bed...again.

Well if you read this blog, then you know I battle motivation constantly. Ever since I did Ironman (have I told you about that?) things have been different. I still that the desire, but not the "physical want to" like before, so how do I motivate myself? Let me share...

Blog About it!  Nothing motivates me more than to write on this blog about my workouts. This entire blog was designed to be an accountability piece for me long before I published it and thought anyone would read it. After writing a good blog piece, many time I realize that everything I say is keeping from getting out there is just an excuse (and that I can be a weenie sometimes), so talking it out on here will motivate me to get out there.


I know, self explanatory right?

Yes, the unspoken part of triathlons. Sometimes...ok, a lot of times I will go ahead and shave to get me back in the right track of mind. (I don't think I have ever blogged about shaving before). Something about it makes me feel like an athlete, makes me feel fast and awesome. I will cut my hair short, shave my legs and body and then I am ready. Does it make me faster? Heck no, but I feeeeellll faster and that is the important thing!

and finally...

New Gear!

Who doesn't like new stuff? New shoes, new running shorts, new watch, anything, it doesn't matter! Luckily, I had a Sports Academy gift-card from Christmas and I went and got new compression sleeves and new goggles!  I love swimming in new goggles! I like to go out and purchase motivation when I can. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it has to be something related to the sport.

So those are my "get out of a funk" tips. Tell me yours, what do you do to get yourself going again??