Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Back On Track

So I think it's safe to say that I am back on track! I'm back to my training plan and am feeling great at the midpoint of this week. I eased back into things on Mon. with a pretty standard recovery workout. I did 30" in the pool and a 30" run. I was really excited to make it through the run without any pain or anything off going on in my legs!

Tues. I made it outside on the bike for a decent 1' ride. My bike computer read 21.9 miles averaging 19.9 MPH, with an avg. cadence of 95. Once again, I made it through the ride without getting into my big chain ring. I felt really good on the bike and am so excited for the weather to continue improving. When I got home from my ride I lifted and then called it a day.

Today I swam 2000 meters. I'm feeling good as I swam at my t-pace the entire time (including drills!). So, this week has been a success thus far. I'm excited to be back in the swing of things and can't believe how quickly the weeks are going by. I'm only a month away from this season's first triathlon (which, of course, will be a "speedo only" tri)!

Gwen came down with a nasty case of strep throat and made it into the Dr. today. She's on some hardcore antibiotics and will hopefully be back in the swing of things soon. As I mentioned before, her graduation went great and we're super excited for the opportunities she'll now have!

Alright... last thing... I met with my nurtritionist on Mon. and am really excited about all the information we went over... I'll write a brief post tomorrow outlining the different things we went over but now I gotta jet and eat!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Real Pandemic

Swine Flu has been saturating the news over the weekend. As I was driving to a jobsite inspection this morning it was all I heard about on NPR and, being the simple minded person I am, I started to think about other "pandemics" that affect my life more directly.

Now that the weather in MI has changed for the better I am starting to see a lot more bikers on the roads. In years past I have been guilty of complaining about all the spandex clad cyclists riding on the road. Since I have started to bike more seriously I have taken note of just how many people share my previous outlook. People constantly complain about bikers being on the road. It has become (or has been) socially acceptable for drivers to talk about yelling at bikers, throwing things at them, or joking about running them off the road (or ACTUALLY doing it in some cases). The amount of time we cyclists, triathletes, recreational bikers, etc. spend on the road makes us particularly susceptible to bad drivers and road rage prone individuals. I feel fairly confident in saying that by the time the Swine Flu story has faded away there will be less people affected by it than those affected by biking accidents on the road.

I'm not really sure why this popped into my head this morning... other than what I wrote above. However, right after I started thinking about it I noticed the "Share The Road" sign which I posted above. I've seen these at Jade/Whisper before and I know that a lot of the bike shops have donated these signs to different municipalities... so thank you! I figure with all the time on the road I'll have this year maybe this sign will directly benefit me, and hopefully others as well. I guess the important thing is that safety is the shared responsibility of both automobile drivers AND cyclists... we all need to make sure we aren't being stupid. So, I guess that's all... just wanted to throw up a quick post as I was thinking about this.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this weekend was Gwen's graduation. It went awesome and we had a lot of fun. I'm super proud of her and know that she'll be a great nurse. I bought her a couple of graduation gifts, 1 that I knew she would really like, and 1 that I really like... I'll post pictures of the one I like this week when I get it! With all the craziness behind us, and my body finally reaching 100% following the marathon, I will finally be getting back to my training plan. Luckily I start slowly with a 1/2 hr. swim and a 1/2 hr. run today! Can't wait.

Two things before I jet: 1. I meet with a nutritionist/dietician this evening to go over my IMKY nutrition plan. I'm super excited about this and will share details. 2. My boy Nick Gerrits ran his first 1/2 Marathon in Nashville this weekend so big ups to him!

Alright hope your week is starting great! Later on...
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"This is Only a Test..."

Alright, this is my first attempt at using my BlackBerry to post to So, bear with me...

Today's training plans have been shot to heck! I was planning on getting a brick in this morning prior to today's festivities (Gwen's graduation!). In the end though there is too much for us to do and it looks as though training will have to take a brief hiatus. Tomorrow I'll be running in the Dunes with Roy (and possibly Gwen) and am looking forward to my first "substantial" run since the Town Crier.

Next week will be the official "Return of the Training Plan" and I'm looking forward to getting back on a "normal" routine. It has been up and down since the Martian Marathon but I'm finally back to 100%. Or at least pretty darn close!

My last post outlined some of my recent experiences on the bike. I have been feeling strong and yet, at the same time, a little slow. After sitting around and thinking about it the other day one thing I realized is that I haven't even been into my big chain ring yet! I'm not sure how much of a difference this is going to make but I have a feeling that when I get to the point where I feel like I am comfortable pushing a bigger gear I'll surprise myself!

I'm posting a picture of me wearing my sweet Eddy Merckx shirt... don't act like you aren't impressed. And, yes... I'm rocking the chin strap (the baby version since I can't grow real facial hair).

Alright... hope everyone has a great weekend.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

First Day Back...

Baby steps... baby steps... baby steps. That's all I could think today during the Jade/Whisper Group Ride. It was my first workout since last week Friday. I've been down and out with a sinus infection and my prescription of antibiotics was a welcome relief yesterday. I felt like I needed to get out and get the legs pumping and thus... the group ride.

The ride overall was alright. It was decently windy and I spent a lot of the ride working by myself off the main group in the aerobars. Here are the vitals: 1:40:35 total ride time, 31.9 miles, 18.9 avg. MPH, avg. cadence of 95. Overall I'm alright with this but I wish that I had kept the pace a little faster and worked within the group a little more. Lessons for next time I suppose... like I wrote... baby steps.

Last week Fri. was my 2nd TT outdoors for the season. It was a 10 mile TT which I finished in 29:33, with a 20.3 MPH avg., and an avg. cadence of 97. It was a big improvement over my last TT and considering that this time I threw some hills into the mix I felt pretty good about it. Next TT is a month or so away and I can tell that I'm getting stronger on the bike. Loving it.

That's it for now. Check back later this week!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Whisper Cycles 5x5 Promo and New T-Time

Pictured Above: The Exclusive Whisper MS 5x5 Decal (for more info read below)!!!

This week has been going great thus far. Despite what I wrote in a previous post... the first "official" Jade/Whisper Cycles group ride happened last night and it was a blast! We went just over 30 miles and averaged around 18.5-19 MPH. It was good to get out on the road in a group setting and see how the dynamics of a group ride go! Needless to say I ended up going out a little hot and getting dropped BUT I was able to fight my way back to the main group and I'm actually quite proud of this. I feel great today and although I haven't tried running my knee is feeling good.

Today's workout was to set a new t-pace in the pool. I swam 1000 meters in 00:17:32 which works out to 00:01:45 per 100 meters! This is an improvement from my previous t-pace of 00:01:58. I definitely feel much slower than everyone in the pool (and out of it for that matter!) but it's good to know that I'm improving. Tomorrow is a 10 miles time trial on the bike and I have a feeling I'm going to blow the doors off of my last time. Stay tuned for a report!

Lastly, I got an email that I wanted to share with everyone. This is a really great deal that Jade/Whisper Cycles is offering on the Whisper line of bikes (the type of bike I have... so you know it's cool) that will also benefit a really great cause. Jade/Whisper has been teamed up with the MS 150 ride for several years and has even done a couple of seminars with the MS 150 folks ( The Famous "Fix a Flat in 2 Minutes or Less" Seminar). Whisper has committed to offering a 5% discount on all Whisper bikes purchased by registered participants of the Bike MS, Great Lakes Breakaway (sorry out of area folks... check them out anyway...). On top of that 5% of the purchase will be donated to the MI Chapter of the National MS Society. This is THE perfect excuse to buy a bike. Last thing... these bikes will all have a special decal on them. Check out the website (below) for more info (and see the decal above).

Monday, April 13, 2009


My plan today was to jump back into my training plan for IMKY.  Unfortunately, things do not always go as planned.  I was still feeling a little sore (specifically my right arch and left IT band area... my knee) and figured that I would probably benefit more from a day of rest and a massage than I would my workout.  I called and booked a massage for this evening and was feeling pretty excited.

Right before I got to my appointment my throat started to get really, really sore.  Like to the point where now every time I swallow it hurts.  I have no idea why this is but it is a royal pain (I've taken a bunch of Nyquil so hopefully it'll go away soon).  Anyway, I digress.  I let the massage therapist know that I thought I really would benefit from some focus on my legs and feet.  Thus, they did their thing and I left feeling much better.  I think that overall I made the right choice today.  Oddly enough, during the massage I got super relaxed (no, not THAT relaxed).  Twice, while face down, I realized that I was drooling all over the place.  Like huge amounts of spit falling out of my mouth.  That was a little embarrassing.  During the last 15-20 minutes of the massage I fell asleep.  That probably isn't a big deal except that when I woke up it was like when you fall asleep in class and suddenly pop your head up like you just heard an explosion... yeah, needless to say I freaked myself, and the masseuse, out for sure.  So, here I am now pounding down a bunch of water and hanging out!

My plan is to pick up my workouts tomorrow with what was supposed to be today's workout.  This will work well as there is a group ride at Jade/Whisper Cycles on Wed. that I really want to go to and although doing "3-a-day" workouts isn't anything new it isn't necessarily something that I want to do right now.  So, it will be a normal "2-a-day" workout.  I think that I've mentioned before what I do in terms of daily workouts but I'll throw it up for anyone that is interested.  If anyone would like to know specifics about workouts let me know... I've been doing "2-a-days" since Oct. and definitely feel like I'm staring to master it... or at least get the hang of it.  A typical week looks like this:

Mon.- Swim and Run (typically "recovery" workout)
Tues.- Bike and Weightlift (usually a drill on the bike (ILT, spin-ups, etc.), sometimes instead of lifting I do Yoga)
Wed.- Swim and Run (moderate time/distance usually drills in the pool)
Thurs.- Bike and Weightlift (moderate time/distance, usually a greater intensity bike)
Fri.- Swim and Run (long swim and moderate run)
Sat.- Brick or Long Bike
Sun.- Long Run

I have to admit (and I'm sure anyone who reads this blog on a semi-regular basis knows this already) but I definitely miss workouts on occasion.  I think that right now I am at about 85-90% in terms of sticking to my plan.

I saw on the Beginner Triathlete website today (in the IMKY 2009 forum) that we are now 20 weeks away from Ironman Louisville!  It's crazy that it's coming up this quickly and although I know that I'm going to be absolutely freaked out when it gets here, I'm still very excited!  Alright, off to finish "resting up" and then tomorrow it's right back at it!  Stay tuned. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saugatuck Town Crier 10K Race Report

Pictured Above: Josh pre-race

Pictured Above: Gwen pre-race

Well folks, it's over.  In the books.  Finished.  Today's Saugatuck Town Crier 10K was the first time that I have run since the Martian Marathon and I have to say that I am pretty satisfied with my performance.  I ran a 00:50:49, which is a 8:12 pace, and was good enough to put me dead last in the M25-29 division and 77/160 overall.  Normally I would be a little distraught by the fact that I ended up so far in the back but I feel like I kind of have a trump card over everyone in that I ran a marathon less than a week a go.  So there.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

The race was well represented by two groups near and dear to my heart.  The Satya Yoga Center had a good turnout with impressive performances by all (Gwen, Mary-Lynn, Veronica, Tony, and Michele all repped).  Mary-Lynn pulled down a "W" with a 2nd place finish in her age group.  Gwen did an awesome job considering this was her first time running in a really long time due to school.  She was a little disappointed with her finish time but she did me proud... 60 hours+ a week for nursing school and she's still out there busting her butt (not to mention that in terms of distance this was a "first" for her).  The second group that was represented was Jade/Whisper Cycles.  Matt Smith pulled down a solid 2nd place finish overall in both the 10K AND 5K.  I talked to him for a little bit before the 5K (following the 10K) and he was telling me that a group of guys he was with had actually ridden their bikes TO THE RACE and yet, he was able to put out a super solid performance (I should note that for road races Matt is sponsored by Striders running store... google them, they are great!).

The weather out this morning was decent.  When we stepped out of the car this morning I looked at the thermostat and it read 34 degrees.  I don't think it actually stayed that cold but it was pretty chilly.  I didn't pre-plan very well so ended up running in shorts (wish I had worn tights) and didn't have gloves.  Needless to say my fingers were numb at about mile 2.  The mileage definitely took a toll on my body today and I was sore when Gwen and I got home.  My left knee especially was bothering me and I think that this week I'm going to have to keep a close eye on this to make sure I don't do any actual damage.  That being said, I didn't really have any aches and pains beyond the normal stuff while I was running.  The course was really nice.  The start and finish were in downtown Saugatuck and the course brought you along the river into the hills, woods, and neighborhoods of Saugatuck.  Very cool.  This is definitely a run that I'll be doing on my own this summer and I encourage anyone local to give it a try.

Following the race I went out for a ride with Jim and Jeff.  I figured that a nice recovery ride/spin was in need of and we had a great ride.  It was pretty windy out today and that definitely affected me however I was pretty satisfied with the ride overall.  Jeff/Jim both worked with me on group ride etiquette/technique and despite the fact that I almost took Jim down a couple of times I think things went well.  Final ride readout from my bike computer was: distance 38 miles, 17.7 MPH avg. speed, top speed of 26.1 MPH, avg. cadence of 88.  Almost 40 miles... you ask me this is the best way to recover!

This week will be a good week for me to jump back into my regular training.  It is a "smaller" week with a couple of "testing" days.  I'll keep everyone posted.

Alright, Gwen and I are getting ready to go hang out with Nick who is back in town for the weekend!  Everyone have a good Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Opening Day for Jade/Whisper Group Ride

Tonight was a great night. I was planning on doing an easy recovery spin on the bike but on my way home I was feeling a little lethargic. As I was driving back I got an email from Jim @ Jade/Whisper Cycles letting me know that a group ride was on tonight (the first one of the year). Yes, today was officially "opening day" for the Jade/Whisper group ride. Granted, there wasn't a lot of fanfare... no beers and hotdogs (for another week) but I think that there was plenty of excitement. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it in time but I raced home and grabbed my bike and gear and headed out for the shop.

I started changing clothes on the way because I knew I was going to be cutting it close. Fortunately I showed up just in time for the ride. We left the shop around quarter after 6 and headed south out of Zeeland.

According to my bike computer we rode for 01:40:02. Total distance was 31.7 miles during which time my average speed was 18.8 MPH with a top speed of 30.1. My average cadence was a pretty solid 95. I felt great when we got back and my legs are feeling awesome right now. I feel like that was about the best recovery ride that I could have had. The best part is that had I gone out by myself I wouldn't have pushed it at all and I would have just had another mediocre training ride. Riding with Jim and the rest of the guys (tonight it was Joel and Dean) is really great for me because I am picking up a lot of things that I don't know about because I haven't done group rides in the past. They showed me how to ride a pace line, we talked about finding the "sweet spot" in a draft, and the constant encouragement keeps you going! The great thing about all this is that they are all willing to take the time to teach me how to do this stuff. I am 3 days out from a marathon and I feel really good. The one "ache and pain" that has been lingering is the soreness in the arch of my foot. The ride seems to have loosened my foot up a little and it's not hurting at all now. We'll see how it feels tomorrow when my legs tighten back up a little. At any rate, I am really happy with how the recovery is going for now. I am still going to hold off on running since Gwen and I will be doing a 10K this Sat. So, for the next couple days I'll stick to the walking, swimming, and ride routine. Weight lifting will be on a hiatus for now as well... don't want to strain the muscles too much as they are trying to recoup.

One last thing... I mentioned yesterday that I had something in the works regarding a neat opportunity for some people to try out a Whisper Eclipse. I am still in the process of getting the plan together but check in over the weekend for details. Between now and then if anyone IS interested please leave a comment with an email address... or some way to get in touch with you. Basically I'm trying to work a "try before you buy" program for the Eclipse. The biggest limiter though is that the only bike I'll be able to use is my 54 cm. so folks would have to be pretty close to this size frame... anyway check back for the full plan over the weekend and like I said; if you are interested let me know!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Recovery "Run" (and Swim)

So... a couple of things going on between Sun. and today.  First off, recovery has been going really well.  I am feeling great and the pain/soreness have gotten progressively better.  At the moment my worst pain is in my inner thighs and wrapping around to the back of my thighs.  Today my workout was focused on recovery.  

I started out with a walk on the treadmill.  I flirted with the idea of jogging for awhile but learned right away that, that wasn't going to happen today.  Once I figured that out I set the treadmill at 3 MPH (weak I know...), incline at 1.5, and started walking.  I made it up to a speed of 3.7 MPH but that was as far as I got.  It felt a little embarrassing to be walking on the treadmill like that but at the same time it was very satisfying to know that I was back at it after only a couple of days.

From there I made my way over to the pool for a 30" swim.  The swim felt pretty close to normal since I don't typically kick a lot.  I felt a lot better following the swim.  My legs were feeling pretty loose and warm and I seemed to have lost the "hitch in my giddy-up" that has been there since Sun.

All in all I'm feeling pretty good.  The compression tights, attention to nutrition, and rest have been good to my body for the last couple of days.  I'm hoping that after a "slow" week this week I'll be back to my normal training routine next week.  

In other news... yesterday I made the plunge.  I picked up a old school, banana hammock, grape smuggling, weeny sling, speedo.  The thing is crazy!  Typically I swim in "jammer shorts" but figured that it was time to make the leap.  After thinking it over I decided that I'll be wearing the speedo for the Swim, Bike, AND Run of my first and last triathlons this year.  They are both sprint distance tri's so the risk of chafing is much smaller than it would be if I were to do this on one of the longer triathlons.  I talked it over with Jim, at Jade/Whisper, and we're going to throw a logo and the website on the speedo so that it will work out with the rest of my uniform.  I'm really excited about this for some strange reason.  I should point out that the reason I'm going this is as an homage to my favorite triathlete, Faris al-Sultan!  Check out his website by googling his name... it's in German though so you may have to get someone like Gwen to translate it for you!  So... expect some pretty funny, pretty goofy pictures coming out of the triathlons this year (especially the "speedo only" tri's)!!!

Last thing... Gwen's graduation is coming up.  She hands in her capstone paper this Thurs. and then we will be going to the Whitecaps opening game that evening with Griff and Roy.  We're all looking forward to getting out to the park and having a good start to the opening of the Whitecaps baseball season.  Make sure to get out and support your local sports scene.  Speaking of this I have set a goal for myself this year to try to help Jim get 10 new customers (i.e. encourage 10 new people to buy bikes).  There are a lot of reasons for doing this but the bottom line is that Jade/Whisper Cycles are a product that I really believe in and the service/relationship that I have with Jim and the Shop is extremely important to me.  This being said, I want to make sure that I'm doing my part to get the word out!  If anyone who reads this blog would like to learn more about the bikes/services that are offered please let me know.

Stay tuned for a really cool opportunity that I'm going to be throwing out there in the next couple months regarding a bike from Whisper.  This is something that I am putting together and haven't even let Jim in on (so I guess I'm kind of leaking some info now but the "formal" idea won't be together for a bit yet.  I need sometime to figure details out.)!  Needless to say it's going to be sweet... that being said... those of you in the market for this type of bike (full carbon, aero TT) and riding a 54 cm. please contact me if you are interested in a "unique opportunity."  The only limiting factors are that you need to be within the Great Lakes region, seriously considering purchasing a bike, HAVE the money to purchase this type of bike (check out for pricing... either the Whisper Eclipse or Whisper Eclipse Elite), and obviously that you ride a 54 cm. bike.

Alright all... keep checking in.  I'm hoping to get back on the bike tomorrow if only for a short recovery spin but looking forward to it nonetheless!  Thanks for all the positive feedback that I've gotten and the encouragement that I got pre-marathon!  

Monday, April 6, 2009

Martian Marathon Race Report

Pictured Above: getting the blood flowing on the way home
So... I did it. I finished the Martian Marathon and I did it better than my goal pace! What an experience. I have so much that I want to write about it but feel like I can't really convey what went down. That being said, here's my attempt. A couple of things prior to getting into the actual "race report" that may make this a little easier to understand: 1. Gwen was not going to be able to attend the race because of school; 2. Apparently when you are putting yourself through something so physically demanding your mind starts to find "motivators" for you. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have done an endurance event like this who has claimed that something "spoke to them." I just want to point this out so that everyone knows up front that I'm not crazy and I understand that my brain was looking to create order where there wasn't... but it doesn't make it any less cool.
Alright. That being said... here goes.
I drove into Dearborn on Sat. and picked up my race packet, shirt, etc. etc. I took some time to walk to the start/finish line and get an idea of where I was going to have to park. After I did this I went to grab lunch at a restaurant called "Pizzapolis." They have the most awesome mini deep dish pizza's and I definitely enjoyed one. After his I decided to drive out to my hotel to check in and get organized (I also did some secret "business" while out there... bought Gwen's graduation present... more on that once I actually give it to her but it's awesome!). at the hotel I laid around and tried to keep myself busy as I was getting pretty nervous. I spent most of my time getting everything laid out for the race... clothes (winter wear since the weather report said it was supposed to be cold), shoes (which I had forgotten at home when I left. I only made it 20 minutes away from home before I realized it), and race #'s. Once I got done doing this I decided it was time to head out and grab some food. I drove out to Buca di Beppo's in Bloomfield and picked up some spaghetti and meatballs to go! Went back to the hotel, ate my dinner, and watched Charlie Wilson's War on HBO. Went to bed early, then the alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. I felt tired but forced myself out of bed and into the car.
Got to Dearborn right on time and met up with some fellow BT'ers (members of to say hi. Prior to the race I checked my phone for emails and had a couple from Jim at the Shop ( or pumping me up and wishing me luck! This was a huge motivator and I can't explain how much it means to have someone like this in "my corner." Can't say enough great things about Jade/Whisper Cycles. after checking the email we walked to the start line together and got ready to run! It was definitely cold out but I was dressed weather appropriate (tights, light jacket, gloves, and a baklava (which I didn't end up using)). As I was waiting in the corral I threw my iPod on. First song to play, Akon- "Locked Up." Perfect song... the gun went off and from where I stood it took about three minutes to make my way to the starting mats. The whole time I was feeling like a rubber band that was bound up and ready to explode (thus the song being perfect). I crossed the start line and started on my way.
Miles 1-13
1- 9:46, 2-8:56, 3-8:37, 4-8:35, 5-8:51, 6-8:36, 7-8:29, 8-8:57, 9-9:02, 10-11:04, 11-9:12, 12-9:06, 13-9:33
I started out feeling pretty good. Each time I hit a mile marker and looked down at my watch I realized that I was moving a little faster than I had anticipated (my goal was to do 10 minute miles). I kept at the pace I was going though, because I felt that if I moved any slower I'd basically be walking. I think that was probably the adrenaline. For the first 13 miles it was pretty tight. There were a lot of people and a lot of jockeying of positions. I had my cellphone in the back pocket of my tights b/c I was planning on twittering to keep Gwen posted on my whereabouts. At mile 3 I realized this was a bad idea as the weight of the phone kept making my pants sag. I felt like I was running with my butt hanging out and was constantly hiking my pants up. I ignored it for the time being and kept pushing on. By the time we hit the turnaround for the 1/2 marathon the crowd had dispersed. Prior to that point it was difficult to keep my own pace because I was constantly slowing down/speeding up to account for those around me. When I hit that halfway point though it was entirely different. I felt like there should have been a sign letting me know that I was "leaving civilization." There was a lot of open road around me and I knew at that point that this was for real... I ended up making it to the turnaround at just about exactly 2:00. I felt like this was pretty decent as my legs, lungs, and body all felt pretty good. At mile 10 I had stopped to use the restrooms and to post to Twitter. It was my slowest mile in the first half...
Miles 14-22
14-9:44, 15-9:54, 16-9:38, 17-10:36, 18-10:00, 19-10:28, 20-10:45, 21-10:31, 22-10:52
The first mile after the turnaround I started to notice that my pace was slowing and it wasn't intentional. I still felt pretty good at that point but mile after mile I started to get slower. I spent a little longer at the aid stations making sure to grab an extra water/Gatorade and Gu and letting my body take a brief break. It was during this portion of the race that I was really thankful that I had my iPod with me. I was covering ground that I had already been past once and there just wasn't anything that interesting to look at. Overall these were pretty "insignificant miles." Nothing great, or disastrous, happened. At mile 22 I took the time to send out a tweet.
Mile 23
They say that everyone who runs a marathon, does an Ironman, etc. etc. ends up "hitting the wall" at some point. Either your body or your mind (or both) decides that it's done; it can't go any further. For me this was Mile 23. I never felt like I was going to give up (I didn't have much choice... I had driven myself out there and needed to get back to my car so it was a no brainer that I had to make it to the finish line) but I certainly struggled with whether or not to just stop running and start walking. During this mile my body started to fight back. My shins, thighs, ankles, and feet all started to feel really sore. I could tell that I wasn't doing any damage to them but the overall ache that was going on was NOT a pleasant feeling. It was during this mile that I realized my mind is capable of a lot. I kept repeating my race mantra (which I don't really know why I use this mantra... but it works) "I'm your huckleberry, I'm your huckleberry, I'm your huckleberry..." refusing to let myself stop to walk (although I was moving at a walking pace at this point). Each time I looked at my watch I realized that I was falling further and further off my pace and the mile seemed like it would never end. Then a couple things went down that helped me push through:
1. I saw a couple of geese hanging out on the side of the road. I don't really want to get into a lot of detail about why this is significant for me but the long and short of it is that it reminded me why I started training for IMKY in the first place.
2. "Til I Collapse"-Eminem came on my iPod. The perfect song at the perfect moment.
I kept pushing through and before I knew it I saw the marker for Mile 24.
Miles 24-26
24-10:55, 25-11:00, 26-10:47
After overcoming the mental drain of Mile 23 and the physical toll that the race had taken on my body up until this point I was feeling pretty good. The last couple of miles I just stuck to a slow, but steady, pace. As I got closer and closer to the finish line I could feel the adrenaline kick back in. I was surprised at just how excited I was to finish. I knew that I would be happy but figured that since this was just a step towards the goal of finishing IMKY that it wouldn't be that big of a deal. I was wrong.
The last .2 Miles
The last two minutes of the race, as I was coming towards the finish line, I went through nearly every emotion possible. I went from feeling so overwhelmed that I thought I would cry, to being so happy I thought I would cry, to being in so much pain I thought I would cry, and yet, I resisted the urge to cry. That is until I crossed the finish line and looked over and saw Gwen standing there cheering me on. Her cousin, Christina, had driven her out to Dearborn that morning so that she could be there when I finished. She decided to forgo her school work to be there and I can't explain how much that meant to me! It was the perfect end to the race for me. Everything I could have wanted in my first marathon.
Total Time- 4:17:59 Pace- 9:50 per mile
Post Race
After the race I walked around with Gwen for about 20 minutes trying to keep my muscles from clenching up. We walked over to a nearby gas station where I bought 4 bags of ice. We then hopped in the car and drove out of Dearborn while I iced my thighs, knees, calves, and ankles. We stopped at an Olga's to binge... and it was excellent. At that point I also threw on some compression tights (which I am still wearing) to help in recovery. Then, on the ride home, I was able to keep my feet elevated to get the blood back to my heart because Gwen was driving! Overall I'm feeling pretty good today. Sore but good. My focus now is on recovery and back to my training!
So, all in all, I feel pretty good. I achieved the goal I set out to do, finished my first marathon, fought through "the wall", proved to myself that I AM mentally tough, and realized how lucky I am to be surrounded by a great wife, friends, family, and fellow athletes!
Alright... check back in and I hope that everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Taper Madness and "The Grass is Always Greener"

Pictured Above:  pic from Trainer ride yesterday

Pictured Above:  Whisper Eclipse Elite (for details read below)

Taper Madness.  I had heard about this but haven't ever experienced it until the last couple of days.  Basically TM (for me) has exhibited the following symptoms:  extreme doubt, hypochondria, massive overeating, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, constipation/diarrhea (that's right... both), and the overwhelming sense of dread!  So, as you can probably tell this week has been a "peach."  On top of all of this work has been a little hectic so actually I'm looking forward to the weekend and the marathon in a big way.  The last couple of days have been easy workouts with a day off sprinkled in yesterday.  Today I did a quick loop around the block for 30 minutes and then hit the showers.  I feel alright although my knee and shins have been acting up in what I can only assume is a carry over from the TT.  Anyway I will be good to go by the time Sun. rolls around.  

Yesterday I did a really short ride on the trainer (the weather was too crappy to get outside) and I'll post a pic from that ride.  Ignore the fact that I have my shirt off... I apologize BUT you have to admit... the impulse to look away may come a little slower than it did a year ago!

On a separate note I got an email from Jim at Jade/Whisper today letting me know that he had a Whisper Eclipse Elite built up if I wanted to stop by and check it out.  Basically the EE is the newest version of my bike.  It has a little less meat on the downtube, a little more meat/"aero" design in back (where the wheel meets the frame), and it has the integrated seat post.  It's a beauty.   Despite the fact that I love my bike like crazy... these new bikes are really nice.  The picture posted shows a custom design (the Maple Leafs) as well as some new decals that Jim has worked on... obviously whomever this bike is for Jim loves way more than me!  At any rate, it looks awesome.  Alright, well that's all for the moment.  Hope everyone's training, work, and lives are going well (pick one of the three or any combination).  

One last thing... I'm going to try my best to post to Twitter during the marathon... hey, it's not like I'm setting any records out there so taking the time to "tweet" a moment isn't going to kill anyone.  Look for live updates on how it's going... I'll probably post before then and will remind anyone who cares to check it out.  Take a look at my twitter updates on the left side of this blog and add me if you are on twitter (shoot over a direct message and let me know where you found my profile!).