Thursday, December 25, 2008


So what have I been up to? I have continued running, and after a number of races ran another marathon, the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (3:39:57). There are photos from it, as well as the Indianapolis Marathon (half) HERE. I’m planning on two for spring 2009. I’m considering running the Illinois Marathon, followed by the Country Music Marathon three weeks later. We’ll see. I’d really like to do a fundraiser/destination marathon again, but The Wellness Community isn’t doing it in 2009. I’m looking at Team in Training, but haven’t heard back from them yet.

I’ll be changing this blog theme a bit over the coming weeks, once I figure out what I’m going to do.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I did it! I achieved my goal of completing the Big Sur International Marathon in less than four hours. Not bad for a first marathon on a hilly course where one should expect to add 20 minutes to a normal marathon time. The course was challenging and what surprised me was that going up the hills wasn’t an issue for me. In reality, I should have pushed myself a little harder going up some of the hills. What became a factor was going down the hills. I’ll cover this shortly.

At 4:30am, we boarded the buses for the hour-long drive to the start line (quite a logistical feat, since 3,200+ people were running the full marathon, with another 6,800 people eventually taking the same buses to the start points for the shorter runs/walks). Arriving at the starting area, there was a massive throng of people milling about, with music playing to help pass the time as we awaited the 6:45am start. The competitors ranged from really fit folks, to others you wouldn’t guess would/could run 26.2 miles in six hours or less (the course closes after six hours). And there was a guy in white tights, a cape, a curly moustache, and a French cap (not a beret), who ran with a baguette. Yes, a baguette. I know he had a baguette, because he passed me around mile 5. I don’t know where he got the baguette, because he didn’t have it when I was standing behind him at the bag drop-off before the race (if you had sweats or other personal items to shed, you could have it sent to a pick up area at the finish line).

So, the race started, and I stuck to a comfortable pace, keeping my heart rate in the 152-159 range. The first six miles were downhill or flat, and I was keeping a good pace. At each mile mark, there are people calling out times, along with anticipated finish times. For the first eight or nine miles, I was on a 3:20-3:35 pace to finish. Of course, I knew the real climbs started at mile 9.8. Here is the course profile (bottom of the page): Big Sur marathon course

I made a point to not attack the hills too hard, as I was concerned about energy management – I didn’t want to hit a wall (bonk) at mile 20 or so. I shortened my stride, swung my arms, and kept at an effort so my breathing was not hard, and on a cycle of inhale/exhale/four steps, instead of the six to eight step patterns I usually breathe. Hurricane point was daunting to see (2.2 mile 4.5% climb), but not as bad as I thought. There were more climbs after that, but what became a factor was going down the hills. I tried to step it out enough on the descents to keep my heart rate up, making up for the decreased speed on the inclines. Somewhere after mile 18 it was getting too difficult to make the long strides, so my heart rate was dipping to the low 140s on some near the end. I couldn’t get enough leg turnover, and making a longer stride might have put my face on the pavement due to braking action.

Another factor was the camber of the road. Some areas, and especially the curves, have significant camber, and when combined with a decline, cause your foot to the front and side of your shoe. My feet were starting to hurt at mile 20.

And lastly, I started to have GI issues at mile 18. I was debating on stopping at a port-a-let, but I didn’t really want to. Eventually, I was really uncomfortable, and decided I would have to stop to take care of the situation. But before every water point/john stop was a mile marker, and nearing a 3:55 finish pace, decided I could not stop.

My dark place was probably miles 20-23. What really helped me around mile 23 was seeing the Strides for Hope team coach, Deseri Garcia, who ran with me for about ½ mile. Support and encouragement at this point really helped snap me out of my funk [read: self-defeating mindset].

At mile 24, I was just thinking,” I’m there. Step it out, pick up the pace.” Then I hit the last hill at mile 25, hoping there was not a decline after the top. Time was going really slow for me, because I just wanted to get across the finish line, knowing it would feel so good to stop. Approaching mile 26, I could see the finish line, and as I got closer, knew I was going to make 3:56.

It did in fact feel really good to stop, though I had to keep moving and couldn’t sit for another two hours (with the exception of the short, light massage I received in the massage tent). Walking around and getting drinks at various places, it began to sink in that five months of effort had paid off, and it was kind of an emotional moment for me (from someone who doesn’t show emotion). Since December, my accumulated training time is over 139 hours, over 590 miles running, and over 710 miles riding, with about 30 in the gym. I wish Michele could have been there with me.

In the end, my hips and outer quads were smoked, and it was hard to go down stairs most of the day. I took a brief ice bath, followed by two hot showers. I used my massage stick periodically to work out the kinks, and feel pretty good, though the next day my morning resting heart rate was up quite a bit (55 vs. 39 the previous week). I had hoped to run negative splits the second half of the race, but I don’t think this course is conducive for that. I could have been faster on the hills, and I learned my energy management plan may have been too conservative. I had started the carb load process four days earlier, and consumed gels at 45 min before the race, 1 hr, 1:45, and 2:45. I think I could have pushed harder and maybe bumped my average heart rate to the low 160s, instead of 156. I don’t know. Fatigue management is another story.

My splits:

mile time HR
1 7:50 145
2 8:28 157
3-4 16:12 156
5 8:15 158
6 8:23 160
7 8:44 159
8 8:58 159
9 9:12 159
10 8:26 153
11 10:38 159
12 9:35 158
13 8:00 152
14 8:31 153
15 8:36 158
16 9:06 157
17 8:56 154
18 9:35 155
19 9:47 156
20 9:46 156
21 9:31 154
22 9:50 157
23 9:54 154
24 9:34 159
25 9:09 159
26 9:34 161
0.2 1:48 167

621/3208 overall
79/245 age group

And the course? It was spectacular! For the first six miles or so, you’re in the hills, with tree canopy and limited visibility. Then you break out and head for the coast. It became pretty windy, and I was really wishing I could find someone to draft. Once you hit the coast, it is just amazing, seeing the cliffs and surf, and once you’re closer to the water, can hear the waves crashing below. There were musicians along the way, ranging from high school bands to rock bands, from cultural drummers to a guy playing a grand piano on the Bixby bridge. I liked the drummers at the base of Hurricane Point the best. The thumping was in a seemingly south Pacific rhythm, and not only could I hear it for the next ½ mile, it was in synch with my cadence. The thousands of volunteers (literally) really helped the race go smoothly.

And my fund raising? It looks like I will just about hit $8,500. And I was stressed about getting $3,500. Thanks to everyone for their support, both financially and with goodwill, as I could not have otherwise done this. It was a wonderful experience, and all for a good cause. I’d like to do this again next year (my thoughts at mile 21 were just the opposite), though I think I would be even more stressed about the fundraising aspect.

My friend Brian was with me at the start. He signed up for the race right after I told him I was running in it (what a pal). He hadn’t run a marathon since the mid-90’s (Honolulu), but being the most spontaneous person I know, he just signed up. Since I don’t/can’t listen to music when I run, nor do I talk much, I told him he was either going to be ahead of me or behind me during the race, but if he was with me, they’ll be no yammering because I have to tune everything out when I run. We got separated and I didn’t see him again until after the race. We walked around for awhile, went back to the hotel to clean up, then went to a pub for some pints and chow. I found it was still too hard to eat, and could only consume half my Guinness.

What’s next? I’m running the Geist half-marathon on 5/17, and want to do one of the local triathlons in June, while getting ready for the 2008 Muncie Endurathon in July.

Here are the race results: Big Sur results. I am bib 3374.

I have posted a few pictures, as I don’t have many (I hope to get some from the team), but here is a link to the ones taken by Marathon Photo during the race: Marathon Photo

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 29 update

It's done! I'll post results and commentary, and some pictures as soon as I can.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lab Rat

Over the winter, I volunteered to be a lab rat at the IU School of Physical Education, to see if they needed anyone for VO2 max testing. It panned out and I was used as part of a final exam for a testing protocol class. It was an interesting process, and harder than I thought. It became especially difficult when I reached the 20% incline and my lungs were screaming for air while I was breathing through what seems like a small hose. I haven’t had the results explained yet, but I think it went well. Using the Bruce protocol (and if I am reading the sheets correctly), my max VO2 is 5.45 L/min, and 76.3 ml//kg/min. When I have time, I’ll look into what this means, and how I may benefit through use of this information.

It’s only five days to the marathon. I’m as ready as I can be, and there isn’t anything else I can do to prepare for it this week (other than to take it easy). I can’t improve, but can make things worse, so my only activities this week are two easy runs (45 min) with short sprints in them, and two easy 90 min rides to spin my legs.

I’m looking forward to it, and still have a goal to come in under four hours. This may be tougher than I had anticipated, since the course information says this is not a course for a personal record, and to add about 20 min to your normal marathon time. This is due to the hills, especially Hurricane Point, which starts at mile 9.8 and continues at a 4.5% grade until peaking at mile 12. It sounds like a heartbreaker. I don’t mind hills; I just don’t have many around on which I can train. My hill climbs in Colorado were challenging, and as I described to someone else, my heart rate was where I wanted it and my breathing was a bit harder, but my pace was that of an 85 year-old woman with a walker browsing the magazine aisle at Kroger. I hope this is better, but I have to make sure I have enough to keep going after mile 20. I’m not yet sure how I will attack this hill (aggressive/conservative).

In the end, I’ll finish with the best time I can, and I’ll do my best to make that time less than four hours.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Taxes suck. Not just paying them, which is always painful. I mean filing. This system is absurd. Completing the forms using Turbotax (which I have been using since 1995) usually takes me about three hours. Compiling all of the information takes time as well, since we file Schedule C and other associated self-employment stuff (Realtors are independent contractors and are generally self-employed).

But this year was worse. I waited until the last minute (yes, I know that is not very bright), mainly because other things had higher priority. So, getting started at 1pm on April 14th was not smart, but it's a good thing I did. Michele and I didn't take a break until 2am, when I finally cracked. I was fried. My brain was like the picture, and physically I felt bad. I was dehydrated (instead of my usual 1.5 gal daily regimen, I'd had maybe a quart all day), and was way past being able to think clearly. So, I decided to get a shower and some sleep and would hit it in the morning.

April 15: I jumped back in and finally finished my federal taxes. There was an odd error in the file that took me nearly two hours to find, fix, and destroy. Fourteen hours to complete federal tax forms is insane. Why so long? Deductions. Especially non-cash donations, which must be itemized with value and condition. State taxes will be a breeze.

We usually try to have taxes filed before our annual ski trip, so we just have to send in payment on the deadline, but this year there seems to be so much going on. Our lives are not so different than anyone else's, so if you think about how many hours are consumed trying to comply with this silly process, it should be clear that the savings freed up by abolishing the current system and going to something simple would not only let us keep more of what is ours, but also free up tax revenue to be used where it should be, and more efficiently.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I felt good Sunday and planned on running about 15 miles, and at around mile 14, decided to bump it to about 16.5 miles. The thing is, I had to decide at mile 15 whether it would be 16.5 miles, or 18+ miles. As I was starting to feel fatigue in my legs, and feeling raindrops, I opted for the former. When I got home it felt really good to stop. I like the solitude of running alone, which is why I absolutely cannot listen to music while running. I have tried, but I don't like it. I guess my point is that after almost 2.5 hours of running in silence, I was starting to get bored. I was beginning to think about fatigue, instead of being distracted by random thoughts and stuff along the way. I like the distance; I just need to work out how to pass the time mentally. My time for a comfortably-paced (151 average heart rate) 16.53 miles was 2:25. Here is my route: Geist Lake+more

It has finally sunk in: 26.2 miles is a long way to run. When I got home, I felt okay, but was it okay enough to go another 10 miles? What dark place might I find along the way? Granted, I was running alone, and being in a race is a different dimension. I'm looking forward to finding out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another Great Trip

We had a great time in Keystone, Colorado. The weather was great, we had new snow on at least three mornings, and most days were sunny. The kids snowboarded, and we tried the tubing hill, which was great fun. We really had a nice time. The photo page has been updated with new pictures.

I did run, though not as much as I had planned. I ran 1 of 3 days in Denver (5,100'), in what started as a cool weather run that quickly changed into an "I'm burning up!" run when the sun came out from behind the clouds about 10 minutes into the run. The sun was that intense. My first run in the mountains (9,300') was an early morning run, since the streets were dry. I found my breathing rate was at a slightly higher rate than at home, but not too bad, though I didn't tackle any steep hills. I woke up at 5:30 every morning planning on running, only to find fresh snow on the ground, prompting me to go back to bed. I finally decided to go for a run one afternoon (after skiing all day), choosing to go a bit further, but not knowing exactly where or how far. I ended up running this route, an inquisition that had a couple of hill climbs in it, made worse since I didn't know where the top was until I reached it (turning on the elevation feature in the link makes it more clear). It might not be much for someone who runs hills or at high altitude regularly, but for me it was a challenge. I felt like I was do a geriatric shuffle, while breathing like I would in a 10k race. Perhaps I was a bit fatigued from six hours of hard, thigh-burning skiing, but even fresh, it would have still been hard.

I covered a great deal of ground, since I spent many days skiing without breaks, getting off the lift and going back to the base of the mountain without stopping (some runs are over three miles long). One observation is that people are being more careful, and more are wearing helmets. I didn't see a single yard sale (wipeout with stuff scattered everywhere) this year or even last, as I had seen many over the years. People have slowed down and are staying in control, likely influenced by the fatality reports and perhaps enforcement of the skier code; people are behaving more responsibly.

After sixteen years of Colorado skiing, it's time to start wearing a helmet. It's just the smart thing to do, and it's only right, given we make our kids wear one. There have been seventeen ski/snowboard fatalities in Colorado this season, and we unfortunately witnessed the aftermath of one, with ski patrol shoveling snow into bags for the cleanup (the guy was wearing a helmet, but succumbed from chest injuries sustained when he went off the trail at high speed and ran into a tree). An accident and a tragedy somehow made worse since it happened while he was on a vacation.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I am getting ready for almost ten glorious days in Colorado. This will be my sixteenth year of skiing either Summit or Eagle County, and another year at Keystone. You may even catch us on a mountain cam at Keystone Mountain Cam.

Yes, I'm bringing my running shoes, because I only have four weeks left to get ready for the Big Sur marathon. I anticipate the altitude will be a factor, but I figure it will be good for me. Besides, I feel great and after having a great training week last week, I need to stay on it.

The picture is Loveland Pass, from 2007.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Though spring is almost here, I’m not yet ready to begin my spring clean-up. While watching my sons play ball in the yard, I started walking around a bit. There are lots of branches and stuff to clean up, perennials to cut down, beds to edge and mulch, bushes to trim, and one other item with which I was hoping I wouldn’t have to deal: I have a #@$%&*^ mole!!!

It has been active sometime during the past few weeks, as I found new and old runs, in two locations. And going into a wet season it can’t be at a worse time. I haven’t had mole concerns for some time. Last year I finally bagged the one that had been dogging me from 11/2006-5/2007. Previous years were stressful times. Many people who don’t experience moles would have considered me a lunatic, but once invaded by moles, you understand they are evil minions sent forth by Satan to wreak havoc and destruction on the planet and in people’s minds. The Mole Chronicles detail the success and frustration I experienced during a mole invasion in 2004 and 2005. Yes, invasion. I had three years where I was dispatching seven or more moles each year. Just leave a request in the comments if you want me to send you a copy. Moles must be destroyed, no matter the cost.

In the words of the vast society of men working for the cause:

"Let every mole know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to eradicate this scourge from the face of the earth."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Wife is a Saint

I spent Sunday afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese. I have never been to CEC before, and I took Gabriel to a birthday party. Michele has taken the kids there for these events on all previous occasions. It was exactly what I anticipated. flashing lights, games, children's music, general chaos, germs, and noise, noise, noise.

As I have aged, I have become more and more concerned with germs. Okay, I'm a germophobe. This facility, and others like it, must be a cornucopia of nearly all known communicable diseases. The kids crawl around the tunnels and climb the tower with their shoes off, touch everything in sight, wipe their noses, and spread unspeakable microorganisms to everyone and anything with whom they come into contact. Should we incinerate our clothes? But I digress. My tolerance for this kind of chaos is low; probably lower than it is for most people.

I don't know how Michele does it. If I was ever faced with having to choose between say waxing my body or enduring Chuck E. Cheese again, the decision might be a challenge. Yet somehow Michele endures these types of events regularly, and with a smile. That's because she's a great mom who thrives on seeing the kids having fun and enjoying themselves. Not that I don't, but I get a bit uptight with this kind of event, because it is hard for me to see disease-covered hands touching faces or worse, mouths, and I come unglued. I realize the best defense against germs is to be exposed to them, but I firmly believe the kids get their fair share at school.

Maybe I just need to lighten up and relax a bit.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


It's official. #3374. That's my bib number for the Big Sur International Marathon. I have lots of work to do between now and then, but I'm looking forward to it. Signing up for events helps solidify things, but I hadn't seen official confirmation until this morning. Yes, it is obscenely early, but this is what works for me right now. It's too hard to do anything after work, which leaves getting up early and lunchtime.

I'm just stoked to finally feel this is real. Signing up for things and having confirmation of it is a mental milestone. I'd write more about this, but this topic is not original and I'd end up plagiarizing something, since I have recently read articles and blogs about it.

These are pictures of the more scenic areas of the course. The middle of the bridge will have a guy playing music on a grand piano. Strange things in California - Who knew??

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I'm Back

And it feels great! I'm ramping the activity back up, and tomorrow looks like I'm back on the schedule. I have taken a few easier runs: 3 miles Saturday, 7.8 miles Sunday, and just under 2 yesterday (I ran out of time). I also had two 90 minute easy rides on the bike trainer, and some time in the gym. Now it starts going back to near-normal. I'll do 40 minutes on the treadmill, high-effort and adding .5% incline every half mile. The next ride will be a higher effort one with 20 minutes high rpm drills (1 min by 100/110/120, 6X), then 65 minutes Zone 3 heart rate (<152 for me), wrapping up with high rpm drills again. Sunday is a Zone 3 60 minute run.

I'm not yet sure what's in store for next week, but I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Starting Over

After a ten-day break from all exercise, I start again. Actually, it has been longer than ten days, since I was ill before the break. I think I have run two days out of the last fifteen. I feel like I fell off of a wagon at the base of this road, and just hung out eating bon bons.

Well, no more. It is time to hit it and that is what I will do. Today and tomorrow will be easy runs to get my sea legs back; I'll take an easy three mile run today, and an easy six miler and an easy ride on the bike tomorrow. Then it's back to the plan, ramping up to the higher intensity workouts. I never thought I would be looking forward to the LT (lactate threshold) rides on the bike (mentioned in a previous post), but I am, and they are getting harder. The weather is warming up, and it's time to focus.

I have new running shoes to try out (I retired my others at 400 miles), and I am stoked to get started. The main thing is that I stick to the ramp-up plan; an injury is something I do not need.

Colorado is just a month away, and I'm really starting to look forward to it. This will be my sixteenth year of skiing in Summit/Eagle counties. While there, I'll need to run as well. The altitude will make things interesting.

The picture is of a switchback in Switzerland. I found it on someone else's website while looking for pictures for this post. You might take a look, as there are some cool photos of a motorcycle trip around the mountains in Europe. I just fixed the link.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Off the Wagon

I'm in a rest period, and I feel like I have completely fallen off the wagon. I'm following my plan, but as I mentioned in a previous post (the three people who have read these know what I'm talking about), down time is harder than continuous training. It breaks up the routine and structure that works for me. When I start up again next week, I will ease back in and then hit it hard. I'm picking up new running shoes, since my others now have over 400 miles on them; I should have replaced them last month.

On the fundraising front, thanks to a significant benefactor, I have exceeded my goal. Having said that, I will still remind those who haven't yet contributed that I am still collecting, and appreciate any donations.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Now I'm Somebody

The new phonebooks have arrived! Things are going to start happening to me now.

Well, not really. But a search for me on Google puts my site at the top of the search list. Some people/organizations pay top dollar to get to the first listing. I guess I got lucky.

It's kind of interesting the stuff you can dig up on Google (or the time you can waste). As I have been sick most of the week, I'm getting cabin fever and really beginning to feel like Mr. Creosote. I'm looking forward to hitting the pavement again.

I have figured out a little more about HTML, but not enough to widen the margin of the blog to allow the Founders Quote to fully display (I know how important it is for Gary). I can make that column wider, but only by making the body text narrower. I'm sure it's simple; I just don't know where to look in the code.

Friday, February 15, 2008


After coming off of a slow training week I was ready to hit it hard. Unfortunately the only thing hit hard was me. I felt a bit weak on my treadmill intervals on Tuesday morning, but I figured it was just reinforcing my desire to not have any more slow weeks. No, it was something else. By 7:30 am I was feeling worse, and I went home at noon and slept almost fifteen hours. I have had a fever since then, and thought aches, a headache, and a chest cough was enough. No, now the sinus thing begins. Not to be gross, but the stuff coming out of my sinus makes me feel bad for the Beakers who at some point in their early careers found they had to not only collect samples of the stuff, but study it as well. For the folks I was around on Tuesday (probably Monday too), sorry about the Typhoid Mary thing.

I'm blaming this on my recent trip. There was a woman opposite me in the aisle seat on my return flight, and she was coughing. Alot. At least she was (for the most part) burying her head in her arm as she did, but I felt using the overhead air nozzle, aimed to blow past my head and towards her, would help keep the germs back. Well, however I got sick, doesn't help me now. I think it's the flu, and though I thought I might have been better by today, find I will likely miss work again Friday. I'll lay in bed and cruise the horrible, horrible selection of daytime television options. There are programs that interest me, but I can only handle so much Mega-Oil Platform, or Mega-Ship-Rocket-How-It's-Built-under Dramatic Timeline show on Discovery Science or National Geographic channels. I'm getting cabin fever.

I just want to get back to work and working out. I feel like I have really fallen off the wagon and will be starting over again. The marathon is about ten weeks away, and I have lots to do before then.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is Anyone Reading This?

I told myself I wasn't going to write anything about the upcoming elections. This site is supposed to be about the fundraiser and training, but I think my daily trials may be a bit boring. Only two people have left comments. So, I'll comment on elections.

I am distressed by the field of candidates, and the shoehorning of McCain for the Republican Party by the press. Not that I liked anyone. In fact, the only person who had my attention was Fred Thompson, as he seems to be the only person who seems to recognize the U.S. Constitution. Okay, Ron Paul does too, but he's kind of a kook. Then there's Huckabee - I'm not a fan. Hillary and Obama: I don't like them. No, I don't agree with Obama on anything, and Hillary - the only thing I can say without expletives is that she scares me.

The MSM is pushing hard for McCain because conservatives don't like him - he's a conservative just slightly right of Nancy Pelosi. The press bashing on McCain won't begin until he is the official candidate, after which they will spin things to get conservatives to stay home on Election Day. I'm just not thinking about it until I really have to, because it is making me ill.

The real scare is what will happen with the congress. This is truly the elephant in the corner, and there has been zero focus on what will happen. My opinion? Throw the bums out. They are all alike. They may have had ideals when they were elected (a stretch), but over time they go native. Their penchant for spewing hot air (a cause for "global warming") is only exceeded by their insatiable appetite for our money.

What's missing? Leadership. None of the candidates are anything more than professional politicians. What's needed is real leadership. The kind that inspires people to do more, to do the right things. And a congress that respects the U.S. Constitution. Spending is out of control, and while many may disagree with military actions overseas, the expense is well within the domain of the federal government. Entitlements however, are not.

Walter Williams wrote an article for Constitution Day 2006. Here is an excerpt:
"Let's examine just a few statements by the framers to see just how much faith and allegiance today's Americans give to the U.S. Constitution. James Madison is the acknowledged father of the Constitution. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief for French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo (now Haiti) to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison said disapprovingly, 'I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.'"

I'm not one to say exercise your right to vote. Actually, I only advocate doing the research before you vote. This isn't a popularity contest. If you don't know anything about the candidates, STAY HOME on Election Day. Or ask me, and I'll tell you who to choose...

I added links to the bar on the right. They are for you Gary.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I started my Strides for Hope campaign roughly three weeks ago, and while I have not finished soliciting everyone I intend to ask, I have been astounded by the positive response I have received so far. I not exactly comfortable asking for money, yet have received donations from many people. While I anticipated at least some level of support from friends and family, I didn't know what to expect. What really struck me was the number of significant contributions, not just from friends and family, but from former colleagues, neighbors, and others with whom I do not regularly interact. I am truly grateful to all of you who are helping. Your donations will help people who really need support in a difficult time. If this project helps raise awareness of the plight of others and the services offered by The Wellness Community, I have been successful.

I know I am more aware. Just three days ago, while in the grocery store, I ran into a guy who used to work for me, and had retired about five years ago. We talked for about twenty minutes, and I learned his retirement hasn't exactly gone as planned (does it for anyone?). After taking a couple of nice vacations, his wife learned she had cancer. She has since undergone many painful treatments and expects to have more. They were not aware of TWC, and I was able to pass information to him about it, what they do, and how it won't cost him anything. I'm hoping they try it out.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Slow Training Week

This has been a low intensity and low distance week for me, and I'm beginning to feel like Mr. Creosote. I ran less than 10 miles, and barely rode the bike. Two days of travel didn't exactly help either, nor did eating an entire box of Cheerios while I was in Mexico. With the lack of activity my left knee has actually started to hurt.

Speaking of knees, here's an actual training tip: Keep track of the mileage you put on your running shoes, along with their age. The impact-absorbing characteristics of running shoes deteriorate during not only from repeated pounding, but over time as well. I have just about 400 miles on my current shoes, and it's time to retire them. I would have earlier, but simply haven't taken the time to go get them.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

13 Minutes

I have spent the last 40+ hours traveling. Not that I mind traveling; on the contrary, I kind of enjoy it. Even if the destination is not exactly exciting. Even if it's for work and I have to go help a customer solve a problem. But sometimes the endeavor is nothing more than showing our customers that we care. This was one of those trips. A colleague and I just returned from Mexico City, where we made a presentation (as part of a supplier review) covering what we are doing to improve our product. We used three minutes more than our allotted time; it lasted thirteen minutes. For some, it seems a silly waste of time and resources, but in the domain of customer relations, it could potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in future pain. For those of you with experience as a Tier 1 supplier to an automobile manufacturer, you'll understand what I mean.

So, perhaps it is worth it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Much Lighter

Today is an off day for me, and since I couldn't sleep, spent a bit of time checking out stuff on the web. I stumbled across this video/advertisement on someone else's blog and thought I'd post it as well. With my own warped sense of humor, this fits right in.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Loss of a Pet

We have had four pets during the past fifteen years. Sadie is our current dog. Nikki and Ginger passed on in 2002. This afternoon we put our cat Destiny to sleep. She was over fourteen and was doing just fine until about three weeks ago. In November 1993, Michele found her (nearly expired) as a kitten in the street. I was a bit allergic, but that eventually passed. She and each of the dogs had an arrangement, and they got along just fine.

She was a good cat and we'll miss her.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Pain is an often misused or misunderstood word. There is pain due to an injury: something hurts, there is mental pain or anguish, and there is pain associated with pushing your own physical limits.

One of my workouts is a 90 minute inquisition starting with high-rpm drills (1 min x100,110,120 rpm, 3X through), followed by six repetitions of 6min near-maximum effort 90-100 rpm riding, then 4 min 90-100 rpm lower effort recovery. Six minutes is a long time to pedal at maximum effort. It’s hard to not look at the watch, because each time I do, only 30 seconds have passed. It reminds me of the 20-minute time trial when I competed in the Cadence Kona Challenge in October. After eight minutes, I stopped paying attention to my heart rate and just focused on keeping my rpms up. The next twelve minutes were an eternity, the last two of which were agonizing.

I am amazed by the physical ability of others, which in part is what helps to motivate me. Pushing physical limits can be painful, but in some sense, it is“purification through pain.” Next time the limit is a little further. Hence, the Spanish Inquisition photo (just in case you didn’t get the Monty Python reference). “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise!”

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Recovery Days

My training schedule is a six-day structured plan, with Monday as an off day for recovery. I feel like I should be doing something. I feel like a slug, compared to the days where the morning starts with a high-effort workout. It isn't that I'm really into working out (I'm not), but I feel much better when I do. A hard workout helps set the tone for the day, so in some ways a day off is a harder part of the routine. I don't look forward to it, but recovery is an important part of any training plan (so I've read). In terms of routine, I think seven days is easier than six. I guess I'll get used to it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Focus or Obsession?

Some say being focused on something constitutes obsession. If an activity takes priority over things that are more important, I would agree. But sometimes certain activities require a level of commitment to be successful. For me, improving my physical fitness takes a good deal of time. The best use of my time is to train in the early morning before work, and/or before anyone is awake. It isn't always easy to wake up at 3:30 or 4am, especially when it is zero degrees outside. That, combined with doing my best to not interfere with family time, makes this endeavor more challenging, given an alternative option is to lay on the sofa and do nothing but channel surf and consume the Holy Trinity of food: pizza, pasta, and pancakes.

So, this wagon is moving along quickly, and I am doing my best to stay on board. I feel better than I ever have. My weight is at or below what it was in college (I'm now 42), and I think I am as healthy as I have ever been (my resting pulse is 44 bpm and blood pressure is low). I can and should eat better and get more sleep, and I'm working on it.

So what is my point? I think you have to have some degree of passion or obsession to push yourself to achieve things. It isn't always easy finding the thing or things that spark a change from within, but when you do, you want to get rolling and hit it hard. For me, I want to get my speed back to a respectable age group level, and not only have a decent finish at Big Sur but then push the envelope further beyond my comfort factor and compete in the July 2008 Muncie Endurathon, a 1/2 Ironman distance event.

So how does one find balance between what for some people may seem a selfish drive to recapture youth, defy aging, or a fulfill a mid-life event, and a solid family life where there is enough energy and focus left for sharing with a spouse and two energetic young boys? How is it not selfish to commit what is sometimes 10+ hours each week (and can eventually double)? I'm still trying to figure this out.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why am I doing this?

I volunteered for a project for The Wellness Community for a few reasons.

1) This endeavor is kind of a penance for me. With family and friends going through treatment, I didn't really understand how to help or even act. I think I stuck my head in the sand during everyone's treatments. This is an organization that helps people cope with cancer. My mother started going to The Wellness Community in Indianapolis after she moved to Indiana, and it wasn’t until I went to a meeting that I realized just how much I didn’t understand. I'm doing this in honor of them, and will wear their names during the run.

2) I have been pursuing activities outside of my comfort zone, and had been thinking about running a marathon this spring. The day I actually started looking at what event I might try, a newsletter for TWC arrived and had the Strides for Hope information inside. It really seemed a matter of fate. After researching it further, I learned it was a fundraiser, and so I thought about it for a month before making a decision. I was either going to run the Nashville, Louisville, or Big Sur marathon. Well, marathons and fundraising are way beyond my comfort zone, so I signed up. It’s for a good cause.

3) I thought it might be fun. Actually, I think it will be a blast!

Please consider making a financial contribution.

Your tax-deductible donations can be made securely online by going to secure online donation (select "Strides for Hope" and please reference my name in the form), or by check (payable to The Wellness Community). Or, click for other options.

Check contributions should be sent directly to:
The Wellness Community
8465 Keystone Crossing Suite 145
Indianapolis, IN 46240

(please reference my name in the memo).

I'm seeking commitments of $2 per mile or more, but appreciate any support you can provide. For $100 or more, I'll wear your name as a sponsor during the run.

Monday, January 21, 2008

First post

Well, I am finally learning about web design and blogging. There are many more updates to make, but the website is still a work in progress. The point for all of this is to support The Wellness Community. I will post information here and on my website