Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Scenes From the Country Music Marathon

John D., Holly J., and myself after finishing the half. We were trying to figure out where Mile 20 was before our marathoners arrived.

Gatorade hand-off to Heather. We hadn't been there long when she showed up looking strong!

Here she comes!! My dad spotted Holly heading for mile 20, and I got the Camelbak full of Gu, Gatorade Endurance, Clif Shot Bloks, and Vaseline straped on and ready to run the last 6 with her.

We're off! Holly downs a Gatorade and we take off...

Holly spent more time than she would have liked at these things...LOL...but thank God they're there, right? Heck, I had to stop during the half to use one. When are we going to learn to do what IronJenny says and take the freakin' Immodium!?!?!

Running through Shelby Park...Mile 23

Mary Beth and Amy after finishing their first 13.1 in style!! Way to go, girls!!!

Michele gets the Sub-4!!

Heather gets the Sub-4!!

Here comes Holly down the finish chute - looking strong!!

And she did it - her first Full Marathon - Congratulations Holly-Welcome to the Club!!

The Flash and Holly

Holly and MomThe Congratulatory Hug

There are SO.MANY people at this thing that I didn't even come close to finding all my friends...much less get pictures of all of them...and I even left out some of them in my pre-race I'm going to make an attempt to congratulate them all. We really had a lot of people from Manchester to run this thing, whether it be the half or the full...and for a lot of them, it was there first time.

13.1 Congrats to:

Karen H. (first 13.1)
Mary Beth (first 13.1)
Amy N. (first 13.1)
Mike N.
Holly J.
John D.
Pam A. (she's back!)
Trevor T. (first 13.1)
Samuel M.
Lisa and her friends
Jay and Tammie (first 13.1)
Audra F. (first 13.1)
Patricia D.
Amy (David's daughter)
Ronnie E.
Tony P.
David E.
Melinda A.
Brian K.

26.2 Congrats to:

Lee S.
Tim G.
Heather D.
Jill M. (so glad I got to see you out there!!)
Wayne S.
Ronald M. (coach his son in T-ball last year)
Terry Q.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Music City Madness

Well, this weekend is the date for the Country Music Marathon in Nashville. I have been wavering back and forth about what part I was going to play in all of it, and I think I finally have my plans nailed down. First off, the boys are running in the kids marathon on Friday night. Briar has cruised through 24 miles over the past couple of months, and Bo has worked diligently and somewhat begrudgingly at times for his. They both need one more mile, which will be done tonight, before running mile 26 on the marathon course.

My sister Holly-Jane is running the whole thing, the full marathon, the whole sha-bang. She's been set back several times with injuries, but she is going the distance on Saturday. I plan on meeting her at mile 20 and offering whatever support she might need to make it to the finish. After all, I do believe I would have walked away from Rocket City with a DNF had Holly not been there for me.

Fellow running buddies Heather, Tim, Lee, Michele, and David are also taking on the big 26.2. There is no telling how fast these guys are going to thing is for sure - there will PRs and sub-4's, no doubt about it.

I will be running the half in disguise. I procrastinated signing up until online registration was closed, and I didn't want to make the extra trip to Nashville to sign up at the expo today, so I am running under the name of Brian Stacy. Brian is a friend who was signed up but came down with pneumonia and can't it kinda worked out well for both of us to split the registration cost and let me take his bib number and chip. I'll be a thirty-something cute. I'll be running with Boston veteran Holly, and possibly John D. John was set for running the full 26.2, but has also been sick for about a week...and it's looking like he may just just go for the half this time. Also running the half will be Lisa, Mike, Amy, Mary Beth and Karen. Lisa and Mike are veterans, but this will be Karen, Amy and Mary Beth's first 13.1 - YAY!!! Also running their first 13.1 from Manchester will be Audra. She is running with Patricia, who also ran last year. I have also heard that Trevor T. will be running the half for this first time.

I am running the half as a training run, then grabbing my camelbak filled with Gu's, Gatorade, Body Glide, etc. and heading down to mile 20 to cheer and wait for my peeps. Oh yeah, and snap pics...lots of pics. I hope to meet up with Rae and Brent and make some noise with them too!!

If by chance you know me, and you are running this thing and I don't realize it - yell at me...leave a me...whatever - just let me know so I can cheer for you while you are out there!!

It's RED, It's RED!!!

Guys, guys, guys!!! Hold up...

Maybe I'm color blind, or maybe the quality of my camera phone just sucks...but the bike is RED!! Pink is a pretty color and all, but I am all about the RED.
Taken from

Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility, which is why stop signs, stoplights, and fire equipment are usually painted red. In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage. It is a color found in many national flags.

Red brings text and images to the foreground. Use it as an accent color to stimulate people to make quick decisions; it is a perfect color for 'Buy Now' or 'Click Here' buttons on Internet banners and websites. In advertising, red is often used to evoke erotic feelings (red lips, red nails, red-light districts, 'Lady in Red', etc). Red is widely used to indicate danger (high voltage signs, traffic lights). This color is also commonly associated with energy, so you can use it when promoting energy drinks, games, cars, items related to sports and high physical activity.

Pink signifies romance, love, and friendship. It denotes feminine qualities and passiveness.
Red is associated with vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership, courage, longing, malice, and wrath.

Go ahead and beat me out of the water...but you will feel my wrath on the bike. No other color will do.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A New Family Member

I'd like to introduce to you the newest member of our family...

He is unnamed at the present time, but we're tossing a few around.

And by the way - Holly ran a 3:36 at Boston! And also congrats to Daisy and E-Speed who rocked Beantown like rockstars!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Marathon Monday

Little Manchester, TN will not go unrepresented this year at the marathon's most prestigious event. Our very own Holly Johnson qualified for the Boston Marathon at the St. Jude's Memphis Marathon with a 3:39:08. She went on to clock another qualifying time at the Birmingham Mercedes Marathon this past January. I get to run with Holly every now and then, and she's probably the best runner in this area. She's usually pushing, dragging and encouraging all of us mere mortals to go a little faster...push a little harder...and hold the pace a little longer. She always calls or emails me before I have a big event, reminding to me to relax and have fun...that I've done the training and trust it...and that 'there is no wall.' She's a super sweet person and great competitor, and I know that she is absolutely going to rock that Boston Marathon Course. Her bib number is 15721 . If you know Holly and would like to track her progress, you can go to and enter her bib number after the race starts at 10:00 (I think Holly actually starts at 10:30.)

Best of luck to you, Holly! I know you will do great!!!

*FYI: The picture above is Holly crossing the finish line at the St. Judes Memphis Marathon...with the clock time showing, not her actual chip time of 3:39:08. Just so ya know...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rumblin, Stumblin, Bumblin

The BT Half Iron plan is really taking it easy on me this week. I'm kinda enjoying it, too. I've been able to do some things with my workouts that I can't normally do. For instance, Sunday was an easy 45 minute spin. I felt like Briar could handle 45 minutes out on the bike, so we took an easy ride out into the country and back that lasted about 40 minutes. Then I got Bo outside and rode up and down our street with him for a while. Perhaps this was taking "easy" to the extreme, but it sure it was fun to "train with the kids."

Monday was 31 minutes of speedwork and a 3250 yd swim. I was totally a zombie and turned the alarm off and missed the opportunity to get this done in the a.m., so I had to do it after work. I did the speedwork on the treadmill and then went down to the pool for the swim. The poor guy working at the rec center came by 2 times during my 31 minutes on the treadmill and cleaned the floor where I sweating. I sweat something awful, it doesn't matter if I'm running 2 miles or 20 miles. I went down to swim and realized I was running out of time quickly, and I only got in 2350 yds.

Tuesday was an easy 45 min, and I took the opportunity to go to my first ever spin class at 5:45 a.m. We just recently added these classes at our rec center. I took my mtb shoes with me, hoping that my Crank Bros cleats would work on the pedals (they are spds), but they didn't of course. The class was pretty neat, I guess. I definitely worked up a nice sweat. I'll go back...but if given the opportunity, I'd rather ride outside. It should be getting daylight early enough to get in some good outside rides before work, pretty soon.

Yesterday called for a 30 minute easy run, and I met up with Heather, Holly, Tim and Lee for the first segment of their run. It was still very dark outside, and as we were running towards town on Hwy 41, something just jumped up out of the road and tripped me! Not really...actually I didn't look back to see what it was, but I think it was a rough patch of concrete or something. It was enough to send me rumblin, stumblin, bumblin and sliding on my hands and on my right side. Thankfully, I had gloves on (because it was a crazy 33 degrees), and i also had tights the damage was just a cut on the palm of my hand and a strawberry on my right thigh. Just like I had slid into home, under the tag, and scored the winning run. Put me in, Coach, I'm ready to play! That is the first time I have taken a spill while running in quite some time. I'm thankful the damage was minimal. I peeled off from the group around 4.2 miles or so, and went to Cindy's toning class. The BT plan says to stop all the strength work now that we're 4 weeks out from Gulf Coast.

WHAT!?! Stop the strength work?! BT, we have a problem. It's called swimsuit season. It's called PCB. You know, the venue of the GCT. I can't stop the strength work now! Granted, I never was extremely diligent with it in the first place...but we gots to have it, now. So I went on toning class. It wasn't extremely intense, so I think I'm okay.

Speaking of swimsuit season, I had to make a late night trip the grocery store last night. I picked up some bananas, grapes, some salad ingredients, some cereal and milk for the kids...and then...I meandered over to the frozen food section. And this is what I see:
You gotta be kidding me. And not only was Mayfield was half off, but so was Purity and Blue Bunny. I LOVE some Blue Bunny. I love it all, actually. And I love a discount, too. So now I am standing here in the frozen food section of Manchester's one and only grocery store (I don't count Wal-Mart as a grocery store), and they two of my favorite things combined - Ice Cream, and a discount. Thus, the angel appears on my right and the little red devil on my left, and the conversation ensues...

Little Devil: Yippeee! Check it out, can get Purity, Blue Bunny, or Mayfield. You can get vanilla...think brownies with ice cream, homemade milkshakes, or just a big bowl of it all to yourself. Or you can go with Neapolitan - Bo likes chocolate, Briar likes Vanilla, and you like 'em all. There's Butter Pecan too. Take your pick!

Little Angel: Oh dear...honey, you're 4 weeks out. 4 weeks from GCT. 4 weeks from PCB. 4 weeks from donning the can't do this. Pass it up,

Little Devil: Hey, if you don't want to eat it, then fine. But it's 'Buy 1 Get 1 Free'. You can't pass that up. Just go ahead and get it, and you can have some after your long ride this weekend for recovery. You don't have to eat some of it every day. But you can't pass it up.

Little Angel: Oh, honey, you know how that goes!?! Run! Fast! Get out of here! If you buy it, you will eat it! You won't just eat it for will want some every day. Think about the swimsuit season...think about your triathlon suit...think about lying on the beach. Think long term. You can't do ice cream, remember? It's like crack!!!

Little Devil: Of all things. Well, then at least get the frozen yogurt. It's just 100 calories for a 1/2 cup serving. No, it's not as good...but you have to get something.

~I slowly open the freezer and pull out the Strawberry frozen yogurt. It looks as good as ice cream. I guess it will do, even though it's not on sale. I put in my buggy.~

Little Angel: NNNOOOOOOOOO!!!! The calories don't matter! Remember - you NEVER eat a 1/2 cup. A 1/2 cup is just enough to piss you off. Put it back, dear. Just put it back, and you will be glad you did. It's not even on sale.

~I agree with the angel...I'm not buying it if its not on sale. I put the frozen yogurt back. But I can't walk away. I want some of the ice cream in a bad way. So I call my Dad.

"Hey Daddy! What kind of ice cream would you like? It's all on sale...I will buy you some and bring it to you!"

But he doesn't want any, either. ~

Little Devil: Just get the ice cream. As much as you train, it's not going to hurt you.

~I open the freezer door again.~

Little Angel: Shut. The. Door. And slowly. Back. Away.

I shut that freezer door and walked straight to the check out. I loaded the groceries into my car still wanting that ice cream. I went to bed still wanting that ice cream. If I am still wanting it this afternoon when I home, I am going to try on all my swimsuits. That should seal the deal, once and for all...or at least until I am in the grocery store again.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

To monitor or not to monitor

Gina Kolata, of the NY Times, has published a good article on heart rate monitors. I will admit, I have not used my HR monitor since my fiasco at the Rocket City Marathon in December. If you weren't following my blog back then, I used my Garmin 305 HR monitor for most of my training. I kept a watch on my average heart rate during most every training run, and I felt like it usually pretty accurately reflected my perceived level of effort. My intentions for race day were to go out easy for the first 5 miles and then step it a notch for the next 15 miles, but all the while saving enough to 'feel good' at mile 20 so that I could hammer it home and bring back the sub-4. But is there even such a thing as 'feeling good at mile 20'? To elites, maybe, but to a mere mortal whose number one weapon is a great big heart and a will that refuses to give up - I don't think so. The term 'feel good at mile 20' is obviously relative...but relatively speaking, I have still never been anywhere close to feeling anything that remotely resembled the word "good" at mile 20 of 26.2.

I do now know the difference in feeling well enough to hold my pace(but I wouldn't call it 'good') and feeling like death at mile 20, though. You see, what I never factored into all my HR training was that I was running in fairly normal conditions during my long runs. Sometimes it was cool, sometimes it was just plain butt-cold, and sometimes it was windy, but it was never hot and humid. Not the extent it turned out to be on race day, anyways. I had nothing with which to compare my soaring heart rate at mile 2. The same heart rate that continued to climb during mile 3 as I continued to stay close to my planned marathon pace, and that eventually at mile 13 got about as high as it could go before a complete breakdown of all systems, i.e, a bonk. In retrospect, at mile 19, I realized that my effort to maintain my goal race pace in the humidity had prevented my body from processing all the fluid I had been feeding it...and I vomited multiple times before being able to shuffle/walk the last 7 miles.

The moral of the story? The heart rate monitor doesn't do you any good if you are going to disregard the data it's giving you and continue to push the pace despite unfavorable conditions. I think some people are able to use them effectively, and some people are not. I fall into the latter category. I am going to push the pace, and I am not going to feel good at mile 20. If I've been training for a sub 4 marathon for 5 months, I'm going to lay it out on the line and go for that sub 4, regardless of unfavorable conditions and elevated heart rates. Maybe someday I'll be able to reign myself in and be able to use that HR monitor more effectively, but for now...I'm just swimming, biking and running, and loving the hell out of it.

Ironman may be a different story, though. I will HAVE to reign myself in for Ironman. The difference, though, is that the goal is to finish, and not to "sub" anything other than the 17 hour cutoff. Up until this point, I really haven't felt the need to get the HR monitor out. What do you think? Should I dust it off and use it on these long training rides and runs? I'm doing fine without it - but feel free to chime with your iron-thoughts on this.

Speaking of Iron, and speaking of big hearts and will power, this girl has neither as compared to that of my Iron-buddy Commodore. If you don't know already, he fought tooth and nail against the course, against himself, and against a kidney condition that I never knew he had, this weekend at IMAZ. He refused to give up, until his body demanded so, as it shut down his kidneys and liver. Ironman knows no greater competitor than Comm. Send up some prayers or some healing thoughts for him and his family.

Congratulations to Kathleen who fought the AZ heat and became an Ironman Sunday! Way to go, girl!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Another one bites the dust

Down with week 16, and that leaves 4 weeks until the Gulf Coast Triathlon. Am I ready? Hmmm...let's see...

Mentally - yes, bring it on. I can do this, there is no doubt in my mind.

Swim - Ugh...I can swim 1.2 miles...I know that. It's just the uncertainty of the ocean, and the waves, and the getting knocked around by other swimmers. I hope I have a long, straight swim coming up soon in my plan. I have a hang up about doing all these 3,000 - 4,000 yd swims, but they are broken up into shorter sets. There are no shorter sets when you are swimming a loop in the ocean. I like to get the feel of the open water...the 'I'm over a half mile out into the water and the only way back is to keep swimming' feeling. I think it's time to start thinking about pulling out the wetsuit for an open water swim, regardless of how cold the water is.

Bike - Check. Absolutely. I nailed my 3.5 hour ride yesterday. Fought the wind, hammered when it was behind me, ate as I was riding, and managed to take in the 200 calories per hour that I need. I felt great, and I learned some things. I ate fig newtons after the first hour, and then I ate Cliff Shot Blocks the second and third hour. The Shot Blocks really hit the spot, and are easier to eat while riding than Twizzlers. So...out with the Twizzlers, in with the Shot Blocks. I could really tell a difference in how I felt this time, and I think it was because I took in enough calories. Side note: I didn't go do the metric ride yesterday after all. I found out at the last minute that Bo had a baseball scrimmage, and I really did not want to miss it. I slept in and went riding after his scrimmage. It made for a much better ride, knowing that I didn't miss out on anything. I just CANNOT deal with missing out on stuff like that. Can. Not. Mommy first, triathlete second.

Run - I'm not naive enough to think that this part is going to be easy. I will, however, make it. Of course I can run 13 miles. I ran 14 miles Friday and then swam 3600 yds. I did become a little concerned during this run, though, because around mile 10 I felt some fairly significant pain on the backside and slightly to the inside of knee. It was like it was stiff or something. Heather reminded me to kick my ankle up higher and stretch it out as I ran, and I did that, and the pain subsided some - but it never really went away. I got back out to run a couple miles with the boys that night, though, and I could not even jog. Not at all. I iced it before bed and took some Aleve, and it felt better yesterday when I did my 20 minute runoff after my bike ride. Didn't hurt much at all. I think the problem was that I didn't ice it at all Friday after running and swimming. Oh yeah, and these super hawt Zoot triathlon shoes make it all that much better. Seriously, these babies are just too sexy for my feet.

All of this said, I do feel like I could go out today and do the half iron. If I can get a couple of good, strong open water swims in between now and then, I'll really be ready.

It looks like Holly-Jane is in for the Country Music Marathon, despite the injury setbacks. The full 26.2! She completed her 20 miler yesterday and is good to go. Go Holly!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Some days ya got it...

and some days ya don't. I've been training for something for the most part of the last 5 years, and I've learned, by now, not to get my panties in a wad when I all the sudden feel like I'm drowning again in the pool, or I can't hold a 9 minute pace when out for a run.

Bad days happen. Just like when Briar misses a ground ball at shortstop...I always remind him that everybody makes an error every now and then, but what separates the great players from the good players is the ability to learn from the mistake and make sure you get the next one. Not that I'll ever be great at triathlon...but we're all out to be as great as we can be, right?

So Monday was a good day. I was coming off a delightfully fun rest day with the boys and some good times spent with my parents that evening. Holly and I got out on our bikes during lunch and did 22 miles that included Brinkley Hill. We felt good, we chatted a little, and we most definitely enjoyed the warm weather that was long over due. I even broke out the sleeveless jersey! While the boys were at ball practice that afternoon, I managed to get in a 2,000 yd swim that went pretty well. I had a bunch of 100s to do, and I was hitting most all of them around 1:45. That's good for me.

Tuesday wasn't too shabby either. I got up and met Heather at 5 a.m. for a 7 mile run. We both had some dead legs, but managed to do 7 miles in 1:02:21, for an 8:50 pace. I went into the rec center to do some core and strength training for the first time in 3 weeks, and got as much as I could done before starting The Big Rush (you know, shower, get all prettied up, get my boys looking sharp, and get me and the boys out the door and off to school and work.)

Briar had his second baseball game that night(Won!), and I didn't get in bed until late due to some laundry that needed to be done. so when the alarm went of this morning I DID NOT want to get up. But I did...and I ran 5 miles, a little slower this time than yesterday, and then hit the pool for my scheduled 2900yd swim.


I think the thermostat on the pool must be broken again because it felt like the warm water therapy pool. It was nice initially, but after about 5 laps, not so much. And I fought the water the entire time. Couldn't find my rhythm, my shoulders and back were sore from the weights, and my legs just didn't want to kick. At one point I put my fins back on just so I could make sure my stroke was okay, because it didn't feel okay. I cut it short at 2150yds because of time, but mostly because I just wasn't getting anywhere anyways. We'll try again next time.

I'm doing my first official metric century of the year, the Tour de Boro, this Saturday. Followed by a 20 minute runoff. Should be fun.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's all about balance

First of all, congratulations to my friend, Trisaratops, who recently became the newest member of EvoTri!! Comm and Triboomer sure did give it a good shot - I wish they all could have gotten in. I'm sure that Trisaratops will represent us well, though, and Comm and Triboomer will continue to be a driving force for triathlon in their communities and throughout the blogosphere.

Training went well this weekend. I got out and did 6 mile run Thursday during my lunch break and got drenched in rain. It was fun, actually, after I realized I was completely soaked and might as well enjoy splashing through the puddles. When is it that we go from a kid who seeks out the puddles to a boring adult who tries everything possible to avoid them? I'm not sure, but I became the kid again during this run. A quick shower and blow drying of the hair, and I was back at work coding away on the computer. Then went for an 1800 yd swim that evening and a mile run with the boys.

Friday called for a 4,000 yd swim and a 3:30 bike. I got up and did the 4000 yds early and had planned on doing the bike ride immediately afterwards - rain or shine. But the rain was just solid, and I couldn't seem to find the kid again to make me want to spend three and a half hours on the bike in the rain. So I went home and did 3 hours of Tough Love with Coach Troy followed by 30 minutes of spinning and watching television. It rained all day, too...and I can't say I wish I had rode in it...I'm not sure it was even really safe to be riding in that for 3 and a half hours.

Saturday was a 10 mile run, done early and in only a slight mist of some rain at the start. I did the 10 miles in 1:29, and I felt the Tough Love in my legs for every step. Ouch.

Sunday was a rest day on my plan, but also the day for swim class. But it was pretty. Sunshine and 70 degrees. Wanna take a guess what I did? Here's a sample:

We ran another mile towards their Country Music Kid's Marathon, we played lots of baseball, and we rode our bikes down to the state park and skipped rocks in the river. Sure, I could have benefited from swim class...but the plan did say to rest...and this was just good for my soul. Their's too, I think. It's all about balance.

Oh kids think I'm famous now. The TacBoy and Bigun called to interview me Thursday night and they really thought I must be famous. I tried to get J.T. to buy into it as well...but I'm not sure he fell for it. Cool stuff, though - go check out their podcast - those guys are hilarious! It has been determined that my "super hero" is She-Ra-the Princess of Power in their League of Triathletes.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


It's time to take a step back. My clue was when I tried to go out for my bike ride yesterday 5 times, and each time had to return because something wasn't right. The first time, my chain was off and needed lube in a bad way. Second, I had one glove on and one glove still laying on the kitchen counter from where I had been scrubbing the grease off my hands. Third, the wind was cold, and I needed a jacket. Fourth, the dog was loose, and he followed me out onto the highway. And the last one, I got a half mile down the road on my fifth attempt at said ride and realized I had no helmet on. At that point I parked the bike, took off the biking gear, put on the baseball mom attire, and drove to the park to watch the last hour of Bo's practice. It think that's probably where I should have been all along.

I got myself into this mess because I could not get out of the bed at 4:30 a.m. to do the ride on the trainer. And when I say "could not," I mean that quite literally. It's not that I didn't want to get out of the bed, but that I literally have deprived myself of sleep lately until my body absolutely refused when the mind said "Get up!"

I've said it before, but I need to say it again: Self-discipline for today starts the night before.

Saturday was Opening Day for Briar and his Little League team. They won in the last inning - he scored the winning run. He was on second base and his good friend knocked him in with two outs!
Sunday the boys participated in a Youth Duathlon. It was a lot of fun, but fairly unorganized as those things usually are around here. Briar's age group ran 1 mile, biked 4 miles, ran 1 mile. Bo's age group ran a half mile, biked 2 miles, and ran a half mile. They had some friends that did it with them which made it a lot of fun. No places or results, but every kid got a medal. I don't have the pics on my computer yet - I'll post them later.

I got a good night's sleep last night, and I feel somewhat better today. I'm not as frightened this time as I used to be when I have to scratch a workout and take time to regroup and make sure I have my priorities straight. It's just part of it. Just a small bump in the road to Ironman.