Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ah... Rested.

Day 9 – Chicago Marathon Training. Sleeping in can be a good thing when your body is trying to recover from strenuous training, this is especially true as you grow older and are at greater risk to injury. After a tough run yesterday, I knew I needed sleep. I set my alarm for 6:00 AM with a goal of hitting the water by 7:00 AM. Waking after 7 hours of sleep, I felt good, my body was recharged and ready for a good workout.

In the water, I felt charged with energy and the swim felt easy, though it was only a mile. I will target another good night sleep and watch my nutrition as I start removing the “junk” from my diet. Hopefully these changes will result in a better Week 2 of training.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Only 19 more miles!

Day 8 Training for Chicago Marathon – Well the first week is done, and today was the first day of Week 2. Last week started off just as I thought it would. I felt strong and I was prepared to enter marathon training with a great base of fitness. The first two runs of the week were good. The tempo was very easy and the track workout, though tough was not harder than I expected. However Friday’s run was difficult. It was only a 13 mile run, and the pace a simple 8:08 per mile. The run however was terrible. I hit the distance and the pace was held at 8:04, but I felt like garbage. Every part of me was tired. It was not the running the wore me down rather, it was totality of this thing we call life, work, running, volunteering, the play, family and kids, I was over committed and I knew it. My commitments pushed me to cut the number of hours I could sleep, that results in a lack of recovery and by Friday I was done, completely fatigued. I finished the run on fumes.

Last night I went to bed early with the resolve today would be better. It was not. My legs were dead again today. As for my conditioning, I felt good, though it was hot and I was sweating like a sprinkler on high, my breathing was good. The legs, just felt lifeless. The concerning part is today’s 7 mile tempo was at marathon race pace. I ran at 7:35, which should have felt easy, but it did not… and to think in 15 weeks I need to run that pace for 19 more miles!

Though I am struggling right now, I know that it will get better, and that this is a part of the work to prepare my body. I also know that Friday’s long run that was so bad, was a great test mentally, to teach myself how to run when there is nothing in the tank, to fight back the demons that want you to quit and to keep on pushing when everything says stop. These are negatives that I can turn into positives.

A busy day of work and several meetings today. My weight is starting to drop… 179, goal 172 for Chicago.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chicago training Day 1

Day 1 Training Chicago Marathon – My first thought when I woke up was “Day 1”. Yep this is the first day of training for the Chicago Marathon on October 10th. The workout today a simple tempo, 2 EZ, 2 @ 6:54 and 2 EZ, 6 miles total. I must admit, I was excited to get started with the 16 week training program.

Meeting Jay at LFT, I laced up the new shoes I bought myself for Fathers day. Nothing better than a new pair of shoes. The warm up was ez as it should be, the 2 at pace were fairly easy as well. A couple miles of warm down and I was done.

The day ahead will present other challenges, plenty to do at work and a list of other task. The day will end with my first rehearsal for Fame. Likely this is be my biggest challenge of the day.

Weight… Corey talked me out of checking my weight until Wednesday. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I did not see that coming

Well I thought the most difficult part of my day would be my run this morning, I was wrong. I felt good and my conditioning and leg strength was okay. Even my weight was better, 181, heading back down to the 170’s. I had a stack of business calls and meetings that needed to be addressed and contracts signed. Again more difficulty. But again, challenge met and passed. Good business was accomplished today.

Next, I had an interesting little opportunity that presented itself; this appointment would be just after lunch. For anyone that knows me I enjoy acting, however business travel and life in general has kept me away from the stage, since college the only real acting I had done was a stage play of Treasure Island, on a bit of dare from the family and an exercise to demonstrate to my children the importance of challenging yourself I auditioned and ended up landing a lead role as Long John Silver, a summer series for 13 shows. I had a blast. I was even asked to stay on as part of a traveling group doing skits, but time and business travel dictated otherwise and I essential hung up the acting while I buried myself in business.

Well an opportunity was knocking again, a part in the stage play of Fame. Specifically Mr. Myers, the Drama Teacher. Having never seen the play or movie and only knowing a bit about the premise, off I went with no expectations other than an opportunity to challenge myself once again. I think it is great to put myself out there from time to time just to remember I am still alive.

Showing up, I had little direction on what to expect, as I entered the building the place was buzzing with 20-30 theater students, it presented a palpable energy. Weaving my way through the energetic students I find my contact and pleasantries are exchanged. She is the theater director, an outgoing energetic person with great enthusiasm.

No time was lost, she knew what she wanted, and quickly said, “let’s see what you have”, “Can you sing? Dance? Where have you acted?“ Sing! Dance! Of course this was Fame… certainly there would be singing and dancing. My mind is racing as I am recalling my abilities… Looking back I am not sure how this happened but I said, Yes, with all the confidence in the world. Great, follow me.

I followed behind her and the Movement Director as we made our way through a maze of rooms and hallways, stopping at small room next to a piano. Once again, I have put myself in a place to see if I can meet the challenge. The instructions were brief and simple, I am going to “sing” and I want you to follow along with the piano. Ready. There was only one answer, “yep.” And so it went. I expected that it might be a crash and burn right there, yet as she provide a tone and pitch, I followed, up and down a scale repeating, lower still, repeat , lower still, repeat… While I am mimicking the tones and pitch, they are both shaking their head approvingly. Now back up… the scale. Still good. Finally I said, that is as high as I can go. Surprisingly singing got an overall approval. Great, not likely, but serviceable, sure.

Next came the read. Hey, no sweat, this is what I love. The acting… I was so confident in this area I felt it would be a slam dunk. Just the opposite. For reasons I cannot begin to understand and what will likely bother me for years, I just could not nail this one line, the rest were good and I feel I took the direction well too. My best… not even close, but okay. I am not sure why, I just was not hitting my best.

Let’s keep moving… we move to a dance studio. I am thinking I may have survived my train wreck on the acting, and I know I can do better and I am still feeling confident. Now the Director of Movement/Dance, takes the lead. Follow me she says. We stand in the center of a dance studio and she begins to show me some simple moves and asks that I shadow her as the music played.

After watching and practicing a couple of moves, it was my turn. A swagger up, 2, 3, 4 pose, arm in air, and drifting down to the side, saunter to the left, pose, and swagger back 8 steps. Inside my mind is racing until I finally said to myself, listen to the music and think loose hips.

We do the number about 3-4 times and we are done. The Movement Instructor places her hand on my shoulder and says “he can move” and nods to the Theater Director. I smile to myself and tell her that I appreciate the gracious comment.

Unfortuantley I still have the bad read that is sitting over my head like a dark rain cloud. They ask to for me to try it again, not all the lines were bad, but one, an important one I just blew. I try again, this time… no better. I just did not hit it. Rats.

They take my number and I am given the “we’ll give you a call” Oh well.

I really thought the singing and dancing would be my downfall. That I ended up being okay. Great, no let’s not be ridiculous, but again, serviceable. However my acting, the thing I felt I would do so well, I blew it. Could I do this part, yes! I think I would be great. But today.. ugh.

It reminded me of a bad race or a bad wrestling match. You know you are better but you cannot find it that day or that match. I thank them and head to the car pleased that I had the guts to stand there where others might have said, what… no way.

Sitting in the car, I pretty much knew I blew an opportunity and it was my fault. That stings. I must have repeated the line 20 more times since, but that is easy, I did not hit it when it counted. Grrrrr. I am not a big fan of failing, I can accept others making mistakes but I have real difficulties with my errors.

I do not tell anyone about my lunch “appointment” and I finish the rest of my work day. Tonight I’ll make something on the grill, drink a beer and think about the possibility as I lay down to drift off to sleep.

I know I will be frustrated and the most difficult part of this day will be accepting my failure. I’ll tell myself, "hey you tried" in an attempt to find solace and eventually I will drift off to sleep.

Tomorrow will be another day.

UPDATE: The next day I was called... I got the part!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


June 16, 2010

Ambush… I was coming home from a great workout during lunch. I had met Jay for a cross-training swim workout, the distance was not too long, but it was tough, especially the 10 x 50’s we both held pace. Most surprising from the workout was the 100 all out, I had expected to hit a 1:44 – 1:50, I was hoping for a 1:40, but I deal in reality not fantasy. I had a plan for this 100 all out, but after swimming my arms off with the previous sets, I figured I was worn out, and really needed to focus on stroke and form for the first 50 and the second 50 would just be a gut-busting, lung crushing push. It rolled out as I had planned but to my surprise, I hit the wall and my watch said 1:29!!! Nice. I’ll take it. Anyway, back home I cut through the backyard and Kim is standing there with Wil. She ask me if I have my phone and keys. Uh, yeah, sure. She takes them. Wallet? Yeah. She takes that and ducks. Wham, Splash, Wap… I am being nailed by water balloons. Wil unloads, Kim scurries up the stairs and she joins in the fun. Clearly Wil has been planning this all morning. I stand there and take it all in good fun. Once drenched, I take the offensive and grab the hose. Superior fire power always wins. I know better than to dowse Kim, but Wil is fair game and the tide quickly turns. A cease fire is reached and we both change into dryer clothes.

The afternoon is filled with work and is productive. I look forward to my upcoming double header in softball. Though the expectation is killed by the reality. I start the game off with a fielding error and end up with two fielding errors for the night. My bat is not much better. Grrrr. The only saving grace of the evening is a hard hit triple that opens up a scoring barrage by our team, and turning a double play.

A few beers afterwards with my teammates ease the pain. Progress is also being made on a new project. The Worlds Hoppiest 5K. More to come.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wearing next to nothing, it was hot as an oven

Well I made it out the door for my run today, nothing too terrible as far as distance, but man was it hot. Jay and I both had early commitments which pushed us to a lunch time run, high noon. Better yet, hot noon! The temperature could easily have been 100 degrees; I don’t know for sure, I did not want to look.

Dressed and ready to go, we started off, it took only a few short steps for my body to bead up in sweat. Before I was through with the first mile, my running clothes were drenched. It looked like I ran through a car wash; it felt like I was running inside my oven. The only difference was my oven did not have the humidity, so running in the oven would have been a bit more comfortable. The pace was supposed to be slow… we hit an easy 7:30 per mile I think the burning pavement may have prompted a faster leg turnover.

Getting closer to the start of training for Chicago 6 more days!

Monday, June 14, 2010

All good things come to an end

Monday… whew. The last few days have been a tornado of activity, I‘ve had a number of good workouts and a couple I’d like to forget. There is not much that I can take away from the training other than, I was getting it done and that counts for something, not much but something. I have managed to keep myself in the pool, that makes nearly a month now and I could feel the conditioning coming back as my times are dropping. My last long run was miserable, after prolonging a trip to the doc, I need to go check on my leg, typically it breakdown in a couple of miles, hurt like hell and eventually numb up. My last run it hurt from the first step and days afterward.

The better part of the past couple of weeks is having my family visit, the days speed by filled with too many laughs and several heated games of spades. Nothing more fun than setting your sibling in a game of spades, bragging rights feel soo good.

Next week starts the official training for Chicago… I have a week to sort out my leg issue and drop a few pounds.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ah Morning!

I woke this morning and I felt good… I had no urgent items that need to be done, I had no workout to rush off to, I would hit the pool at lunch. The bed felt comfortable, the sheets felt cool and crisp as I stretched and took in a deep breath. Ah morning.

Once down at the office I plowed through a stack of work with an early morning energy, my sharp from a good night rest. The clock neared the lunch hour and I actually was looking forward to the pool. I have been steadily increasing my distance in the pool, while maintaining my pace. Today I would do my warm up and a series of 100’s, 50’s and 25’s with the intent of mixing some speed into the drill. Thursday I will go longer again. I am happy to report that my pool conditioning is getting better and I have now hit the pool for 3 straight weeks.

Late in the evening the boys and I played a serious game of kickball, and I must admit, I love that game as much now as I did as a child. Tomorrow is track as we draw days closer to the beginning of training for Chicago. Really need to work on my weight. Track workout will be pushed to noon at Jay’s request. No problem, I’ll watch the NBA finals with our guest tonight.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sir William

Monday. Wow what a weekend. It was nice to ease into the weekend with a few vacation days. There was so much to do leading up to Wil’s birthday, that coupled with the fact that Diane and Harry were visiting, I really enjoyed being able to spend time with my sister while not being hurried by work to get ready for the party.

Wil’s Birthday on Friday went off without a hitch, mostly due to the planning and hard work of Kim and the extra help from Diane and Harry. The party itself was fun, the water slide a big hit only to be followed by the “warrior dash” like competition held in the back yard for Wil and all his guest. The inner athlete came out of Wil as he blew by the competition to take the overall competition. Kim’s parents also came up for the party and that made it even more special. The night was capped with Wil’s friend Jimmy sleeping over.

It was an early night for Jack and I though, we had a race the next morning, well at least Jack did, I was still deciding if I was going to run or pace Jack. I really wanted him to run alone, but I thought I would see how he and I both felt in the morning. Race morning came early, we woke at 5:45 AM and we were at the race site by 6:30. This gave us plenty of time to register and warm up. Diane and Harry joined us to cheer on Jack. Warmed up and ready to go, the race started. I felt better than expected as the adrenaline rushed through my body. The first mile was too fast, 6:06, but I felt good, mile two I was hitting 12:28, so I was back on pace and by the end of 3rd mile, I had dispatched all but one runner in my age group, the other guy was a clear minute ahead. Not much I could do there I finished with a 19:52.

A few comments to the other racers I headed back to see Jack, good timing too. He was nearing the 3 mile mark and had a runner in his age group running slightly ahead of him. I yelled “time to lower the hammer” He did at the same time I was saying it, clearly he had the same thoughts. Opening lead, I yelled hit the corner and sprint, he did. The other runner tried to answer, but Jack just picked the pace up further to widen the margin. Jack and I both took home second AG, a good Saturday morning.

Sunday came and we ended the celebratory birthday weekend with dinner at Medieval Times, Wil’s requests. I spent the few extra bucks to have him knighted. He took the whole process very seriously. Totally worth it as he beamed, with his robe, tunic and wooden sword the King presented the proclamation of knighthood upon William. Sure is fun being a dad.

This morning it was back to work. A 4:45 AM wake up I was in the pool swimming by 5:15, only 1,500 meters, I chased the swim down with a nice 4 mile tempo run. It felt difficult, more so than I expected, but I was happy to run along side Corey and Jay, it has been a while.

Weight… Let’s not discuss.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Don't Blink...

How is it possible that a week has nearly passed since my last entry. I can tell you it feels like I have only blinked my eyes. A good run on Monday with Jay combined with a swim seemed to have set the mood for a week of fitness.

Tuesday was a wash, but I knew that would happen and thus the reason for the swim on Monday.

Wednesday was track day and I had a guest join me, Jack! He woke early with me and we made our way to the track. I was running 5 x 800 at a sub 3:00 pace. It was not really pretty. Last week I ripped them off with my slowest being 2:58 and an average of 2:56. Not the case on Wednesday, I did not exceed the 3:00 mark, but I came close, times were 2:57, :58, :57, :59, :59. My legs were just tired. The best part of the morning was having Jack there. He ran the straights and walk/jogged the curve. He did well and ran about a mile and a half of track work including the warm-up and cool down he ran 3.5 miles. Good work. The funny part of the morning was when the “boot-camp” trainer who was there working with a group saw Jack and told him it was nice to see a young athlete at the track rather than sleeping, playing Playstation and drinking Juicy Juice. Too funny, I'll use that all summer.

Today I was able to get my swim in that is now 4 in a row… I am picking up my distance through I am still struggling.

Weight… way too high, 183.