Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sometimes I Get Freaky With My Foam Roller...

Oh foam roller, you wonderful painful piece of foam I could not live without!  Oh how I love, yet hate you all at the same time.

Needless to say, the foam roller is turning out to be one of my most important pieces of running gear I own. This was not always the case. I mean, I have always used the foam roller, but I didn't really usseeee it, if ya know what I mean.

In the past, my time with the foam roller was short and sweet, mainly because it hurt like the dickens. This should have been a sign to me that I needed to spend more time rollin. But honestly, I was never quite sure how I should have been using it. Or how long should I be using it???

About 2 weeks ago, I was talking to a buddy that is a super fast sub 3 hour marathoner (something I will never see) and we were talking about how my knees were starting to bother me. The inside part of my knee is what was bothering me. So we talked about this and he mentioned that it was probably my IT band that was causing the pain! He explained to me how the IT band could be affecting my knees. He went on to say how spends up to 2 hours on the foam roller. He will search and search until he finds that sweet spot and then just work it out.

I have never been on my roller for 2 hours!!!

So I went home and did about 20 minutes.  Close enough right?

I rolled very slow and methodical and it hurt, but I could actually feel my IT band releasing after a few solid minutes on it. So I did the same thing the next night and the night after that. 3 straight nights I spent on the floor with my roller. And guess what?

My knees are feeling much better. So I am sold on it and I have been doing it just about every other night and I am loving it ( I really hate it, but you know what I mean) It's a lot like running, you may hate the mile you are on, but you love the end result. So if you do not have a foam roller, get one!

Friday, July 17, 2015

It's The Right Time...

How I feel once I am done with a morning run...
I like to think that I am a strategic type of guy. A planner if you will. I feel great when I have my day planned out and I know what is going to happen and what I am going to get accomplished, however, I would not consider my self so much of a planner as to where I am not adaptable and can change on a whim and still get what I need to get done. I like to think that anyways...

But I am not when it comes to my workouts.

I am an early morning workout type of guy. Always will be. Afternoon or evening workouts just never "work out" for me. (Did you see how that worked out? I did it again!) Many a morning when I wake up, I just don't want to run, or swim, or bike. Some of those mornings I will talk myself into changing my plan and I will plan on leaving work a little early and then workout. I go so far as to pack my backpack with running clothes even. I plan my lunch around it because although I LOVE Taco Bell, its not good for me to eat tacos for lunch and then run later. So my mindset and intentions are always good and strong.

But it never fails. Life happens. Work happens.

It seems like every time I verbally tell someone I am going to try and get out early from work, something happens. Or there is something at home that I forgot about or that pops up during the day. I should have learned this by now, but yet I always resort to talking myself into doing it later that afternoon. So No more!  I am saying no to skipping morning workouts and I am just going to start telling myself that if I do not get up, it most likely ain't gonna happen!

So I need to remember why I like to get up in the morning and get it done.
  1. No cell phone calls from work or anyone early in the morning
  2. It's not as hot
  3. I feel more productive throughout the day
  4. It's not as hot
  5. Does not interrupt family time since they are all still sleeping
  6. I feel like a more dedicated athlete
  7. I can then tell all my friends how dedicated I am and how they aren't
  8. I can eat Taco Bell for lunch
  9. Less traffic on the streets
  10. I sleep better knowing I got up early, ran and worked all day

That list took me less than a minute to come up with, so it's a no brainer right?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Daily Trainings Update

courtesy of Fatbooth
It's good to be back!  From where you may be asking. Well, my family and I went to the beach for almost 2 weeks and spent time hanging on the beach, catching fish, crab hunting at night, working on my tan, boogie boarding and eating very well! It was hard to come back from work last Monday for sure. I know while we were 'beaching it", a lot went on in this world, from flags to rainbows! So I thought my first blog post back should be an update. I usually do an update when I have several things I want to write about, but I know I will not get around to doing a separate blog post for each thing, so here it goes.

  1. I know everyone is dying to know what day of the streak am I on? Well the streak died on day 22, the morning we had to get to the airport. I managed to get in 38 miles in the month of June, so I was very happy. What did I learn from it? Well, I actually really enjoyed it and will likely do it again, it was fun to see how long I could go and a mile is nothing. Since I am running Ragnar in October and have no more tris on my schedule, I think I am going to focus on running and swimming going forward.
  2. I am not doing the Mighty Mite Triathlon this year. A very good friend and a mentor to my son is getting married on that same day. I do not think it would be a problem to get there, race and get back, but that would leave my wife with a lot to do that day. I think this day is more important.
  3. My weight is down to 188, even after vacationing. I am down 10lbs since this winter! How did I do it? Well, having a white couch and a wife that won't let me eat on it helps, I mean, who wants to eat chips and salsa in the kitchen and not in front of the TV? My snacking throughout the day has slowed down and even eating late at night, I am sure the constant exercise helps.
  4. I am so ready for NCAA football season!  Go Hogs!!!  WPS!!!
  5. I have been foam rolling like a champ!  I have really spent some time doing it. It hurts a lot but man does it get me feeling better. My IT band has been very sore, which has been effecting my knees I think. I was told that since it connects to the knee, that if you stretch out the IT band, it can take away some of that knee pain. I will let you know how it goes.
  6. We are leading a running group at our church and the first run is tomorrow! yes, I know July is a prime time to start a running program, but we have about 20 people signed up and I hope it grows and grows.
  7. We got a new cat! I told Jesse, my 6 yr old, that after we moved and after vacation, that we would get him a cat. Well he remembered, so we went to the animal shelter and picked out a torti cat and named her Reese cause she looks like a Reese's peanut butter cup. So far she is doing really well and has not been a problem!

Monday, June 15, 2015

DAY 15 of the Streak...

Yes, I am 15 days into the streak and I thought I would give an update on how it is going. Before I started the streak, I posted on the BT forum that I was going to start streaking and asked if people had done one and if so, what did they get out of it. Most people seemed to be worried about injuries more than anything else. Some were concerned about burning out and some thought a streak was a great way to have active recovery. Well, after 15 days, here is what I think about it.

I am actually enjoying the streak. I admit it has been tough some days to work it in, because I am also sticking to my sprint triathlon training plan, which looks like this now (7 days run, 2 days swim, 3 days bike). On the days where my plan does not have me running, I am still running a 1.1 mile course around my house. So in the first 15 days of June, I have already covered 26 miles running!

I will admit, that some mornings it is tough to get up and run, but other days I feel awesome running to the pool, swimming and running home. My 1.1 mile run is usually taking me less than 10 minutes, so it is really more of a scheduling process than anything to get it in and get to work on time. I am really aiming at getting through June.

I also agree with the group on the BT forums about the 1.1 mile run being a great way to recover and loosen up those legs after a tough workout. My 1.1 mile runs are never meant to be fast, but I am finding that I am running them faster than when I began, and I am not even trying to run them fast. Go figure!

Another benefit I am seeing (along with some watching what I am eating) is the fact that I am losing weight. I am down to 188 lbs. Early in the year I was pushing 200 pounds, which was not good for my knees! So now I am comfortable running without a shirt, and believe me in Memphis, it gets hot and humid! It was almost 80 degrees the other morning here.

I said shirtless! I'm not totally streaking!

Will I continue the streak after June? I am not sure, but so far it has been fun and it has brought back the joy of running for me.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Run streak? 1 mile a Day

So my bride and I have decided that we are going to do a challenge in the month of June. We have both agreed to run at least a mile a day during June. I am going to be doing this in additional to my preparation for the Mighty Mite triathlon in July. I am doing this for two reasons.

Reason 1: My run sucks in triathlons. I know this, and if you have read this blog long enough, then you know it also.  I always tell people that if you want to swim/bike/run better, then you need to swim/bike/run more. So why not take my own advice? Because it might actually work??? I am putting my money where my mouth is. So everyday in June, I am doing at least a mile. Somedays it will be longer, if that is what my plan dictates, but regardless of it, I am running.

Reason 2: Vanity. I need to lose about 5lbs. I am already down about 6 or 7lbs, but another 5 will get me back in the 180s. This will make a difference on the knees and get me back where I want to be (plus we are heading to the beach in late June).

So why is my wife doing this with me? She is a good accountability partner for me. Many times she is the one that gets me out doing things when I do not want too, so I know this will benefit us both. We have talked about other people doing running streaks and figured we should give it a try as well, even while on vacation at the beach. Who knows, it may last longer than 30 days!

Started June 1st
Weight 190lbs


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Memphis in May Sprint Tri Race Report

It has been a while since I had raced a sprint race, actually it had been 3 years since I have done this distance so I was really looking forward to this race. Another reason I was looking forward to this race was because it would be the first time I got the chance to race alongside my bride, and a third reason I was looking forward to this race was that a lot of my friends were doing this race as their first triathlon! So it was a big day for all!

To bad the weather decided to make this day a lot harder than it needed to be. It rained ya'll!  Hard. The day before and even into race morning, it was a mess. The expo tent was ankle deep water and honestly, it would have been very easy to say "forget it". I have raced in the rain before and I hated it! Thank God for radar apps on the iPhone! We were checking it  often waiting for the rain to move out, which it finally did. We were then able to get our transition areas setup and get in the water for a swim. I was mulling over the decision of whether or not to wear a wetsuit because they said the water was 75 degrees at race time and I leaned more to the short swim vs. time to take off wetsuit and decided to go without the wetsuit, which  in hindsight was the right decision for me. It started raining once again once we started to line up for the race and I was shivering, I couldn't wait to get into the water. So, with no further delay, let's get into the race itself:

Swim: 13:57

Finally a race picture I like!
The swim was a basic triangle shaped swim that was said to measure 580 yards. We all started on a time trial start going off every 3 seconds. The line moved pretty fast and before I knew it I was jumping between people that were walking and wading into the swim. I felt very little bumping heading towards the first buoy and was doing OK. It was a little tough to sight due to the weather conditions and I brought the wrong goggles. I meant to bring my clear lenses but for some reason, they did not make the trip. As I got to the first green buoy, there was a lot of bumping. It was awesome! We all made it around the buoy and started heading for the next green buoy. There was about 8-10 of us I am guessing that were all in a group. Out of nowhere, I see a canoe near me and someone yelling, so I stop to see what's up and they are yelling that we are suppose to go around the orange buoy before hitting the next green one! So I make a 90 degree turn and head back to the buoy!  I know!  What was I thinking? I should have just kept swimming. This really cost me some time and added an additional 100 yards or so to my swim. I was very upset at myself for messing up the swim. I just did what I could and I knew my time was going to suck. As I was running up the ramp, a friend of mine yelled that my wife was about 10 seconds ahead of me! My reply was "you kidding me?" and he assured me she was already in transition. Now, my wife is a strong swimmer, but I had a good minute or two on her and while she might beat me in a pool swim, I am more at ease in open water, so yeah, I was surprised. It was only later that I found out my swim time and it was no where close to the 10-11 minute time I was expecting. Swim pace: 2:23/100
T1: 1:06

Knowing that I was already behind my expectations, I think I had one of my fastest transitions ever. I was slamming things down and getting out of there. I really wanted to beat my wife out of T1, which I did because she opted to wear the wetsuit.

Bike: 39:34

After the crappy swim, I decided I needed to crush the bike, so I went out harder than normal. I knew it might affect my run, but I did not care. I was able to pass a ton of people and felt fast! I stayed in aero a lot. The roads were wet with some flowing water going all the way across the roads, wasn't an issue but it made me nervous. My max speed got up to 27 mph and I tried to hang on to top speed as long as I could. I averaged 18.2, which I was happy with. I felt good on the bike, I felt fast.

T2: 1:30

My feet were so wet from all the water on the road that I had trouble slipping my feet out of my shoes as I was riding in, so I just kicked out of my pedals and ran it in my bike shoes to rack my bike. I had my shoes tied up in bag incase it rained some more and I had trouble getting my shoes out. I made a bonehead decision to go without socks on the run. My thinking was that my feet were already so wet that shoes probably would give me an issue for the 3 mile run. Yes, this will come into play shortly.

Run: 29:42

Yeah, I can't believe I was under 30 minutes either. This run was tough because (1. I was undertrained and (2. I made the bonehead call to run without socks. My watch never picked up after T2 and that messed with my head also. The 1st turnaround seemed really close and I thought that was a good thing, but since I did not know the run course well, I did not know about a 2nd turnaround point. After the 2nd turnaround point, it was much hillier and my feet were blistering up pretty good, so yeah I was hating life. I think the one thing that turned my attitude around was that I was talking to someone along the course, telling them about my bad swim and how I went harder on the bike, they simply said, "those are over, run this race". True words indeed. I knew I needed to suck it up and finish strong, so I quit worrying about the other legs and hit the levy and ran it home.

Finish time: 1:25:52

All in all, it was not a bad overall time, it was only a few minutes off my sprint PR time. Yes, I wish I had a better swim, and yes I wish I had worn socks on the run, and yes, I wish it had been dryer, but that's the way it goes sometimes. That is what is great about triathlon, you never get what you expect and then sometimes it works out better. I expected to do better, but I was right on the mark of where I wanted to finish. I also found joy in doing sprint races. It doesn't have to be long races anymore for me to feel like a triathlete.

Another win for me was racing with my wife. She always has a big smile on her face when she hits that finish line and truly looks like she is having a great time. Sometimes I wish I had that joy of finishing rather than the disgust of missing a buoy!

And Congrats to my friends who did their first triathlon!  Jay, Jason, Philip and Dwight!  Proud of you guys and I hope you enjoyed the sport as much as I do, and I must warn you, my journey started with a sprint race...just say'n.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Opps, I Did It Again...

I have a race in 4 days, a sprint triathlon and I am not trained for it. This is starting to become a habit for me and it's a bummer. Things were going well on the whole training aspect until we moved, then it broke up a little bit and now I am here with a nasty head cold that leaves me only wanting to go to bed. I am suppose to be jumping in a lake in an hour to get in an open water swim, but I am not sure that being sick and jumping into a 65 degree lake is the smartest thing to do!

So I know I am not trained for this race, but the odd thing is this. I still feel like I can go out and hit a 1:25 for the sprint. A 580 yard swim should be around 10-11 minutes, a 13 mile ride conservatively should be 45 minutes (that's based on my trainer rides) and a 3 mile run, even giving myself 30 minutes, this all equals a 1:25 minus transition times. IS that so far fetched??  I'm not sure honestly.

Like I have said, I have not done this distance in a really long time. It should be fun. Yes, It should be fun, and I am sure I am going to get smoked because there are always really fast people at this race, but I could careless (yeah, I know, it means I still care by caring less, blah, blah, blah) This race is about me (and my wife and my friends doing their first triathlon). SO whether I smoke it it sludge through it, I am gonna have fun.

***Side note*** I have found the perfect weight loss plan for me. It 's called "Not eating on the new white sofa" plan. Seriously, since we got the new couch (see previous post) we have rules about eating on it. And apparently I am too lazy to get up and stand in the kitchen to eat a snack vs. taking it back to the couch to eat that I choose not to eat anything at all! I am down to 191 lbs! (And it ain't from training either) Maybe all these experts are right about diet!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Let's Get Caught Up...

Every time that I try to commit to blogging more, it seems that commitment has the opposite effect to my blogging! All though, in my defense, I have had a lot going on and I am going to share today! Here are the top things going on m=in my life and why I have not blogged in awhile.

  1. We moved! My family moved to a new house in late April. We added a couple of bedrooms, a dining room, pantry and more space. We are loving it! It already feels like home to me, now if I can just get rid of all the boxes!
  2. We got a new King size bed and I am loving it! It is so comfortable. I can't wait to go to bed at night to sleep!
  3. We also got a new couch which is also very comfortable! See pics below.
  4. My son Jared was in a school play and my wife was the "play mom", so they were out of pocket practicing everyday for awhile, so it was just me and my two boys most evenings. The play was excellent and of course my son did a great job!
  5. Birthdays! In the past 2 weeks, my son Jared, my mom, my niece and my grandmother all had birthdays in April! Crazy huh?
  6. NBA Playoffs are on!  I love the Playoffs! I only wish my Grizzlies could get past the Warriors!
  7. Ceiling fans! I have been hanging ceiling fans in my house with the help of my new neighbor! I am not a handyman, so I have needed the extra knowledge to get this done.

So I have my first sprint triathlon in about 11 days from now. I am worried about how I will do. I have not been hitting my workouts like I should have and I have been blaming the move. Whether or not that is a legitimate excuse, it is what it is. I am still looking forward to the race and I know I will finish it, but after all is said and done, I am thankful to be able to race and I am going to have a great time!

The right way to use a couch

The Proper way to use a couch

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I guess technically it is not a DNS (Did Not Start) if I never registered for it, but it is as it reads, I am out for Redman 2015. This was the race that I was going to go mano y mano against Brad D from Brad's Ironman Journey. Here is the back story:

Brad D did IM Texas, I did Redman 140.6. We compared times. Brad D claims IM Texas is harder cause it is IM branded. I claim they are both 140.6 and are no different. Texas is flat, Oklahoma is flat. We beat our chest, we each claim we are badder than the other and from that I issued a challenge to him to race me one on one at Redman 140.6 in 2015, which he accepted. The table was set, the trash talk started and we were having fun with it! This was all beginning in 2013. So fast forward to 2015...

As you might remember from reading this blog, a few weeks ago I went to the Orthopedic guy to get my shoulder and my wrists checked out. At the time I was actually more concerned about my should pain than my wrists. It turned out that there was a touch of tendinitis in my shoulder, nothing that a shot of cortisone couldn't sure, which it did. The wrists however were a different story.

The doctor took x-rays and did some other tests and determined that I have moderate arthritis in my wrists. The keyword is moderate to me. Moderate is worse than some arthritis but is not as bad as severe arthritis. He wrote a script for some meds and then asked to come back in a few weeks. On my next visit, he suggested that I do Cortisone shots in my wrists, but warned me that once we start these shots, I was guaranteed to need to continue them until I was prepared to do surgery, which I am not.

So this leads me to my opening statement and title. Right now, I can not imagine being on a bike for 6 hours with my wrists the way they are. I know I could stay in aero the whole time, but that is not the way I am. My grip strength has diminished a lot already, and the thought of trying to hold on to handlebars for a race, including the months of training does seem to be in my favor. I thought this through and talked it over with my wife and came to the conclusion that an IM is not in my future this year in 2015. I am not totally shutting the door on another IM, but right now it ain;t happening. So I did what I had to do...

I called Brad D on the phone and let him know that I was not going to be able to race. This was a call I was dreading to make, but knew I had too. I started the challenge and I needed to end it. Brad understood completely since it was an injury issue and not because I was wussing out, and for that I am thankful.

Right now, I am good for rides under an hour, anything after that really starts bothering my hands, so it looks like a summer of sprint races. I still love the sport and I am not ready to give it up. So I will compete. I will swim hard, run hard and make it through the bike. It has been three years since I did a sprint race and I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Toes Cramp In The Pool!!!

This is one of life's mysteries for me. I hate getting a toe or foot cramp while swimming. It usually happens about 800 yards into a swim. I feel the toes tightening up, then its the arch of my foot. Usually it is only one foot at a time. I can ease the tightness somewhat whenever I get to the wall and push off, but it never subsides. I also tend to get toe/foot cramps at night in bed, and the only way I know to get rid of them is to stand up. Which is not practical when I am already in bed and it's 1:30 AM. So why do you get cramps in your toes while swimming? Let's turn to Google...

First thing you should know is my search parameter was this: Why do toes cramp while swimming. Results, 2,020,000 results. So I guess I am not the only one with this issue! Here are the following answers I got:

  • I am not stretching enough. "swimmer" says I should stretch out all my muscles and not just the ones that are stretching every night.
  • Blonde tornado says it is because I am dehydrated
  • Others say to eat bananas (typical cramping answer)
  • Jim T says it is because the water is cold and the blood gets pushed away from the extremities.
  • The rest are more of the same

I really don't know why it happens, but it can kill a workout. I can be cruising along at 800 yards into a 1200 yard swim (remember, sprint tri training plan) and BOOM, toe cramp with 4 laps left! You can push through it, but it ain't fun.

I think I finally found an answer on that totally makes sense to me. It is the most common complaints from triathletes, which proves that I am one!  Wahooo!!!

Anatomy of a kick

“Cramp occurs when a muscle is fatigued and overused, when a swimmer is dehydrated and has a electrolyte deficit or if the muscle is tight from a previous session,” said Butler.
“The plantar fascia is a fibrous, connective tissue which surrounds the muscles in the sole of foot.
“It’s stretches from the toes to the heel and works closely with the main calf muscles in the back of the lower leg – the gastrocnemius, soleus and the tibalis posterior.
“These are the main muscles involved in pointing the foot and toes during streamlining and kicking. Cramp in any of them will be felt in the back of the lower leg or the sole of the foot.”


“The first thing to remember is to stay hydrated, not just with water but with electrolytes, and to eat the right things to help your body before and after training,” added Butler.
“Secondly, stretching is vital for maintaining flexibility in your muscles and should be included in your warm-up and warm-down for pool and land-based sessions.”

Specific muscle stretches

Try these stretches for the individual muscles on the calf and foot – hold each stretch for two minutes in 10, 20 or 30 second intervals.
  1. Gastrocnemius stretch – stand with one leg in front of the other and lean against a wall. Bend your front leg and keep your back leg straight with your heel on the floor until you feel the muscle stretch in the back of the lower leg between your heel and knee.
  2. Soleus stretch – stand with one leg in front of the other and lean against a wall. Bend both knees and transfer your weight to your back leg, ensuring you keep the heel of your back leg on the floor. You should feel the muscle stretch in the back of the lower leg.
  3. Plantar Fascia stretch – stand with one leg in front of the other with the toes of your front foot on or up against a raised platform (such as a step or a wall). Bend both knees until you feel the stretch in the sole of your front foot.
  4. Alternative plantar fascia relief – roll your foot over a golf or hockey ball. If you find this too painful, try it in warm water to help the muscles relax more.
So maybe, just maybe, that chocolate milk and Snickers bar I had before I swam wasn't the right fuel for me. Hmmmm.

Anyways, let me hear your thoughts on how to deal with them and more importantly how to not have this as an issue!