Dec 1, 2010

Together Forever?

Our boys have/are growing up so quickly. It makes me sad to think that one day they may go to separate colleges, live/work in different cities, etc. I wish they could stay together forever! These pictures are priceless and mean so much to Teresa and I. Hopefully as time goes on, the idea of them separating (both from us and each other) becomes a little easier to accept.

Nov 30, 2010

Do I Have To Say The Words?

Tree and I had a surprise date night last night.... well, it was a surprise for her anyway. About 2 months ago I caught wind that Bryan Adams would be playing an acoustic (Bare Bones) show at the State Theater in Sandusky. After some thought, I decided not to tell her until the day of the show (I'm good at keeping secrets). She's got a photographic memory when it comes to music - this dates back to the countless hours she spent singing in dancing in her room as a child - so I didn't feel as though she needed advance notice to "prep" for the show. I was right. As he stood up there singing and playing his acoustic guitar (accompanied on some songs by a piano) I could hear her singing along with every word and knew she was enjoying herself.

For some reason, I'm still amazed to this day how much of a Bryan Adams fan she is (and always has been). We first met at a time when "grunge" rock and "gangster" rap were mainstrseam and my impression of her was that she was like me and every other kid in their late teens at the time. Not so much! I guess she's an 'old soul' in that sense!

Nov 2, 2010

Goal Setting

It's never too early to set goals for the new year. In fact, some of the goals I have floating around in my head can be accomplished before the new year and some are more long term and will not come to fruition until 2012 and beyond. However, as is the point of any goal setting session, the important thing is getting them out there so I can formulate a plan of attack. Here goes:
  • Ironman #2 - probably a 2012 and beyond goal, but I have to keep sight of this and continue working in the pool and on my biking.
  • Build a playroom and indoor workout area - Our recently flooded basement has inspired me to make the most of the space we have (there's tons of it). Certainly more to come on this.
  • Run another sub-3 marathon - Spring 2011, Cleveland.
  • Organize garage, including priming and painting drywall, building shelves, etc.
  • NYC Marathon - This one is definitely 2012 and beyond as I want to wait until the munchkins are old enough to take on the big apple.
  • Office/Study Build - Our home came equipped with an office/study... well, everything except the desk, chairs, computer, etc. So much of our house is filled with old furniture left over from our college days and this room is in sore need of a more grown up look (and feel). I'm thinking laminate floor, suede-textured walls, a two-person desk, wall space for our diplomas, etc.
  • Outdoor Patio - The plan is to do all the legwork (i.e. line up contractor) by spring of 2011 so it's complete in time for the warm weather.
  • Finish Books - I have trouble reading a book to completion. Mostly because my interest level has dimished by the halfway point and it's a real bore going from page-to-page. I guess my goal should instead be to find more compelling books ; )
  • Start collecting a Gregory Peck movie library - and to go along with it, a collection of all the novels his movies were adapted from.

Aug 11, 2010

2010 Greater Cleveland Triathlon

My path towards the 2010 Greater Cleveland Triathlon started sometime mid-to-late 2009 when a little bird told me that it would be included in the summer 2010 Team In Training schedule. I have been a run coach with TNT for the past 3 years but have been wanting to fundraise again and since I've already done a marathon with TNT, I figured a triathlon (especially a hometown triathlon) would be perfect.

The day turned out to be great! Competing while wearing TNT purple is like nothing else. The course was littered with cheer squads (scream teams) wearing purple and urging, not just us, but everyone on (props to Mentor High cheerleaders for ditching the red and donning the purple).

SWIM - What can I say about the swim? Yikes... really. I am a horrible swimmer. I can't figure how I have a god-given ability to run and can hold my own on the bike, but am so incredibly slow as a swimmer. For some silly reason (more mental than anything) I decided not to wear a wetsuit. Who knows how much time I lost because of this but I was 10-15 minutes slower than my previous swim times would have predicted. Oh well. I didn't drown and I wasn't the absolute last person out of the water so... on to the bike.

BIKE - As much as I want to get-up-and-go on the bike, I am still fairly winded from the swim. Plus, and maybe it was just me, I felt a fairly strong headwind when heading south on the bike course. Still, I have a lot of fun on the bike. I did good negotiating the hills and a few of the more technical sections of the course and managed just under 18 mph as an average speed.

RUN - Normally I love hitting the ground running. It's my chance to pass everyone who treaded over top of me in the water. Not on this day. I was looking for any excuse to rest at T2 and was fortunate to find 1/2 cup of Gatorade next to my bike. Three seconds later I was out of excuses and was on the go. My average pace was consistent but slow for me. I knew this would be the case as I've run only a handful of times since the Pittsburgh Marathon in May. Plus it was really frickin' hot and I hate running in hot weather.

FINISH - As I neared the finish line I saw my family, friends, TNT posse, and my honoree, Page. I took my medal and put it around her neck for keeping. Her bravery and spirit over the years is enough to warrant all the medals in the world.

Afterwards, I hung out on the beach with the family and a high school friend of mine and her family. An amazing day all around.

Jul 29, 2010

Woot, Woot!

Results are in from the Pirate Triathlon and I'm really surprised I did so well. The modified/shortened swim really helped but I figured my lack of training over the past 2-3 months would catch up to me by the end and I'd fall apart late.

The mass swim start combined with the modified course and the fact that I was able to keep up with the pack (for the most part) made for a rough swim. I nailed the bike (I think). I still don't have a computer to know my pace, but it felt fast and I was doing a fair amount of passing. Had a decent run... got passed by a 13 year old very early who made me (and many others) look silly. Finished strong and somewhere in the top 10% overall!

All in all, another great experience in my hometown. This race has grown in numbers almost every year since its inception way back in 1994. Soon it will be May and time to register again.

Jul 22, 2010

Team In Training Video - In Honor of Page

I created this video as a fundraising tool and to tell my story of how I came to run on behalf of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Enjoy.

Jun 28, 2010


Triathlon training is going like this....

Swim: Hitting the pool with some regularity. Jumped in the lake once about two weeks ago. All in all, I feel really good in the water.

Bike: Now, in addition to my fancy bike that is rarely used, I have fancy new tires! Gotta schedule some time for a few 20-30 mile rides!

Run: I injured my left knee about 2 weeks ago playing flag footbal and haven't been able to run since. It's just now starting to feel good enough to run. Soon I will ramp up the mileage in order to run a solid 10K at my August 8th triathlon.

May 10, 2010

P90X Week 1

Day 1 - Yikes... I just got my butt kicked by the chest and back (+ ab ripper x) DVD, which is the very first workout in the 90-day P90X cycle. It's basically a mix of push-ups and pull-ups - with a splash of dumb bell exercises. I don't really feel like explaining the structure of the workout at the moment as the simple act of typing is anything but simple. Suffice it to say, it's a bitch of a workout. And then when it's all done... SURPRISE, 15-minutes of ab ripper x. I couldn't keep pace with TH and his posse, but did at least 75% of the reps.

I'm gonna scour the house for some protein and then go to bed. Gotta wake up early to swim... bet that will feel good!

Day 2 - Day 2 is Plyometrics, and from what I've read it's considered to be the "mother" of all the P90X workouts. I was more afraid of falling on my face as it consists of lots of jumping and twisting and other airborne antics that requare some degree of rhythm/coordination. All in all I had a pretty easy time with it. Definitely worked up a good sweat and felt the burn in my legs at times. For the next three weeks, I will welcome it as a break between upper body resistance workouts.

My body is still SCREAMING from Day 1! Every part of my upper body hurts and now it's becoming difficult to sit/squat from Day 2. I know this is the initial "shock" but I would never have guessed it to be this bad (bad as in good... sort of).

Day 3 - Shoulder's and arms. This one is definitely for the "beach" muscles, or "marathon" muscles for a guy like me. The structure of the workout was simple. Five "blocks" of exercises for the shoulders, biceps and triceps. Run through a block once and then repeat before moving on to the next block. I found some of the exercises to be too easy (too little weight) and some to be too hard (too much weight) so I ordered some resistance bands for next week. Even though I was still incredibly sore from days 1 and 2, this workout felt great. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being 'check your ego at the door', this one was about a 6... really not too bad. The focus was on form/technique rather than high heartrate or max reps.

Day 4 - Yoga X. I'll never forget the first time I did Yoga X... not because I've never done yoga before or because I'm completely inflexible, but because I "pushed play" minutes after the Cavaliers monumental collapse against the Celtics. 90 minutes of deep breathing/meditation was the perfect remedy for a frustrated Cleveland sports fan. My form on some of the poses was probably way off but they felt great and I pulled most of them off... except for the crane! I will consider this program a success if I can eventually hold this pose for more than half a second.

Day 5 - Legs and Back. Lot's of squat-type exercises and plenty of pull-up/chin-ups for the back. Similar to Plyometrics, this one burned at times, but my legs are in pretty good shape from running/biking. The hardest exercise was single leg wall squats. Oh, and pull-ups are always tough!

Day 6 - Kenpo X. After doing this one, I may opt to skip it in the future as I just don't see a whole lot bang for the buck. It's more cardio than anything and my time would be better spent running for an hour instead. Plus, this one requires even more coordination than plyometrics. It's just not for me.

Day 7 - Rest or X Stretch. I chose to rest... will try X Stretch next week.

Weeks 2 and 3 are identical to Week 1. Week 4 is a recovery week (i.e. no resistance stuff).

Apr 30, 2010

Ready to Run

Wrapped up my training today with a 2-1/2 mile easy run around Huron High School's track. I used this time to contemplate my race strategy for Sunday's Pittsburgh Marathon. As Ryan Hall said pre-Boston, I'm going to run "free" and let the day dictate my pace. Rain/thunderstorms are in the forecast, which may be a good thing because temps will be in the 60's (would they cancel a marathon due to lightning?) .

I'm ready to run and proud of myself for whipping into decent shape over the past 8-10 weeks. I love to run and the challenge of running a marathon (especially to a father of twin toddlers) is no less daunting than it was prior to the first time I ran 26.2 seven years ago.

T-Minus 2 days until marathon 16

Apr 20, 2010

12 Days and Pasta!

Twelve days remain until the Pittsburgh Marathon and I'm feeling good about both the quantity and quality of running I've done over the past 6-8 weeks. An additional 2-3 weeks of focused training would be ideal as it would add to my confidence... but since I'm out of time, I have to trust in my intuition as a runner to tell me where I stand fitness-wise. So next week I'll probably have my race strategy worked out, along with my race outfit, pre-race dinner plans, etc. Teresa has a friend who lives in Pittsburgh whose Dad is "famous" for his spaghetti. Call me selfish, but I would love a homemade pasta dinner!

Apr 8, 2010

And just like that...

...I'm back to swimming again and having an indoor track to run on. The YMCA opened on Monday so Teresa and I took the boys up there last night to get our membership cards and take a look around. They offer child watch so we got the little dudes checked into the play area (which is pretty awesome) and took our time walking through the brand-new facility highlighted by an aquatics room featuring a family pool and a competitive 8-lane pool. The second floor has all the exercise equipment and the indoor track. The indoor track is not the best as it has only 2 lanes and half of it runs through the exercise equipment. There are a ton of treadmills though (all equipped with TV's) so if it's crummy outside and crowded on the track, there's always plan C. As a family, we will take full advantage of all the programs available, including kiddie swim lessons, spin classes, 'Mom-and-Me' Yoga, etc. The new Y will definitely bring a better quality of life to those who make the most of it.

This morning I hit the pool for 20 minutes, ran 2 miles and squeezed in 25 minutes of strength training.

Mar 18, 2010

Spring Running

My fitness level is gradually improving. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I know enough about the physiology of running to understand why it's been difficult to complete certain training runs I was doing with ease last year at this time. The good news is, at the current rate and with just over 6 weeks remaining until Pittsburgh, my fitness will be much improved and at a relatively small cost. Following Pittsburgh I will focus primarily on triathlon training and completing a P90X cycle. Then it's back to a month or two of base building before 3-4 months of intense marathon training with the goal of being back in sub-3 shape in time for the Miami Marathon on January 31, 2011. By then I'll have the option to run indoors at the new YMCA (18 days and counting!).

In a side note, and to follow up on a previous post... I've been running a lot at lunch time. Huron High School's track is about 2.5 miles from where I work, which makes for a nice warm up... then I can hit the track for 3-4 miles of intervals or tempo running... followed by a nice 2.5 mile recovery run back to work. It's great not having to worry about waking up early to run and/or run later in the evening after the munchkins are asleep.

Feb 9, 2010

Goodbye Morning Running

I think it's officially time for me to accept that morning running just ain't working anymore. Ever since last summer, one thing after another has kept me from getting out before sunrise on a regular basis. I've used about every excuse in the book. Some legitimate and some not so legitimate. Nonetheless, it's time for me to let go and figure out a better time of day to run. At the moment, since I no longer have the option to run indoors, the snow is making it difficult to run regardless of the time.

Fingers crossed, the new YMCA will open mid-March and I'll have roughly 4 weeks to squeeze in certain workouts that are best done on a track. Until then, I have to suck it up, stop being bitter, and head out at lunch or late in the evening after the smallzies are in bed. My lack of training since last winter/spring is reflective in my most recent marathon times and I do not want the trend to continue! Time to walk the walk!

Feb 5, 2010

2010 Calendar

My 2010 training and competition calendar is starting to fill up, which is a good thing. I need to get my butt back in shape. First up will be the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 2nd. If I shape up (literally) I should be able to run a solid race that I can walk away happy with. Next up comes triathlon season with at least 2 races scheduled. The first being the Pirate Triathlon (500m swim, 20k bike, 5k run) in my hometown of Fairport Harbor on July 25th. Second is the Greater Cleveland Triathlon (3/4 mile swim, 23 mile bike, 6.2 mile run) at Mentor Headlands State Park... another old stomping ground from my childhood. I will be completing the GCT with Team In Training... this time as a participant! Following GCT, I'll be ready to get back to marathon training and will consider a fall marathon. If I choose not to run a fall marathon, I'll focus my efforts on a fast half-marathon.