Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snow run

First and last snow run of 2012. Met the fella's at the Kroger's parking lot in the 'boro and caravaned to Percy Warner Park. Light dusting of snow on the ground in the Park. Cold 24 degrees, but no wind. We stayed together until the bottom of 3 mile hill. Fast guys motored on, I waited on the other guys. That was the last I saw of the fast guys. I went solo at mile 4.7 or so heading over to Edwin Warner Park. Still going without water or gels on these long runs.

I'll have to get a map of Edwin Warner, I turned around early because I was afraid of getting lost. I'd been on two different trails and maybe two different roads. The trails weren't as worn as those in Percy Warner. Thought I'd see the fast guys coming back, but never did see them. Lot's of deer, so many that I stopped counting and twice as many squirrels.

Because I'd turned around a mile early, I thought the fast guys were behind me. So, I stopped at the turn for Luke Leah overlook and made a sign out of branches. Primitive stuff, sticks to make a arrow pointing left and four sticks to make LL. Surprised when I finished at the Stone Gates and the first group of guys had already left and the fast guys where in the van warming up. Geez, they got 16 miles and I only got 14.5.

Stopped at the Donut Den on the way back to the 'boro. Phil brought in his new recovery roller. Pretty smart design. That thing is great for hitting all of the tight spots in your legs and even the glutes. I'll have to put that on my list for my birthday. Can't find the website, only the picture above. He read about it in Running Times.

Friday, December 28, 2012

End is near

Time to reflect on the year about to end, 2012 anyway. I stopped the new years resolution thing many years ago, back in the days when I would go to the gym/workout facility. (Really handy/convenient located right on the work campus.) The week around the new year would be the most crowded of the year. All of the those with good intentions of working out, would be hard at it. At least for a day or two.

I'll more than likely pad my running log with a long run on the first day of the new year. Should end up with around 1,860 or so miles for the year just ending. No PR's this year, only mediocre races. Did get a century bike ride done, during my down time from running.

Time to concentrate on the sub 3:00 marathon. Minor set back the last week with the sprained ankle. Seemed almost healed this morning. Real test will be this sunday, when we head back out to Percy Warner Park. Think the plan is the 11.2 with a add on in Edwin Warner Park, plus Luke Lea. (just 'cause the guys need to do it at least once) I've never run anything in Edwin Warner Park. It'll be good to do something a little different, though the 11.2 never gets old.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Still a runner

Seems I'm always late to the game, playing catchup. Lot's in the news lately. Shocking stuff. Evil people, girl next door gone bad. (oddly enough I'd have never thought of myself as religious) We'll leave those discussions to a long run, which should help to make for a more civilized discussion.

Finally got around to reading Born to Run. Really enjoyed this book, couldn't put it down for the first half. Really slowed down for me regarding the hunter/gather section, but picked up at the end. Didn't care for the sprinkling of Spanish throughout the book. Once or twice for effect would have been cool, but got old really quick. And wow, what a name dropper. Guess, that really makes it more believable? Don't think I'll be going for any barefoot runs. It has changed the shoe industry, again.

Some great cycling photos.

Don't know if it really helps
Finished the second week of the new training cycle. I'm still nursing a sprained ankle from last Saturday's drills. I'm probably the only one clumsy enough to roll their ankle on the soft infield grass of the local high school. The speed workouts and hills seem to aggravate it the most. The swelling is almost completely gone. Icing it again this morning after our morning long run. 

Still unable to really lock into a good pace for the workout portion of these long runs. A portion of that is probably due to no water or gels, ala McMillan. Also seems like my form and/or foot strike is compensating for my bum ankle. I'd hope the ankle is about healed so that won't be an issue next sunday when our long run is back out in the hills of Percy Warner Park. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2,000 miles

Isn't going to happen this year. 2008 was the first year my annual mileage was greater than 2,000. Kept it above 2,000 for the next 3 years. For 2012, I'll still get close, right around 1,800. All of the numbers are here. I've switched running logs. I have been using Running2Win for the last 5-6 years. I've switched to RunningAhead.

Started a new cycle this week, in the build up to make another run at a sub 3:00 marathon in the spring. This time I'll be following FM and the other fast guys. They're training for a half marathon in February and then a marathon cycle for Boston. All of these guys are capable of sub 3:00, though only one has done so, so far. Think we're following the same plan FM coached them to some half marathon PR's this fall. They haven't lost much fitness. I've got a ways to go to catch back up.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

State of the fat ass

I had every intention of letting the annual Fat Ass 50k retire this year. Couple of different reasons. For one I didn't know if I would be off on New Years day. More importantly were other little things. Like the liability issue, but is is unofficial so no worries, right? Really hadn't been a concern until I found out that a couple of runners climbed over the train that had stopped on the tracks over by East Main. Thought I'd been clear in years past that a cut through was under the tracks. Also we had the one year with the rain that caused the river to rise so quickly that the path along the greenway wasn't even passable. (or so everyone thought, except for a couple of brave foolish souls).

Ideally I'd like to stage this event on a trail.Ultra's are meant to be run on soft surfaces. Nothing close in Murfreesboro, so that pretty well is out the window. Also, would be nice to have a location that was more beer friendly. Not that location has every stopped me from enjoying a beer. I can always be counted on to have a beer on hand for the end of most of my athletic endeavors. It would be nice to sit around a fire and enjoy a beer, post run.

What kind of event is it if the race director doesn't finish the distance? I've only finished 3 of the 6 years. Guess that's another fact of this kind of event. Do one loop, two loops or run 33 miles because it's your birthday. The things that appealed to me from the first fat ass, still hold true. No times, no aid, no shirts, no whining. Probably could get more participation if we had a t-shirt or timed the event. I don't plan on either.

I'll be back out Tuesday morning 8 am to run. I don't plan on messing with a generator this year. Even though the pavillion has an outlet, no coffee or chicken dumplings. I'm only bringing a case of water and a case of gatorade.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Carrots in the wind

I've been accused of being an ass.
Saturday is the one day in the week, where I sleep in. (5:30 am for anyone who pays attention to that sort of stuff) I usually drive the two miles to the closest greenway trailhead to get in my run. Hate to drive the car such a short distance, occasionally I've ridden my bike or run from the house if its a long run day. It's the one run during the week when I can run with my MP3 player and not have to worry about cars. Bright blue sky and temps in the low 40's, nice to be able to wear shorts in December.

Sunday was a repeat of Saturday with starting temps in the low 50's at 6 am when I started out with the fast guys for an easy long run of 14 miles. We ran the St. John's loop, flat for 2 miles, rolling hills for the next 10 miles and then another flat 2 miles home. Started out with a long sleeve tech shirt with a singlet underneath because I thought the wind would make the low 50's seem chilly. Wrongo. I pulled off the long sleeve after 2 miles and wore the singlet. Funny how a steady wind in the 50's is just annoying. Another couple of months and that kind of wind with temps in the 20's or 30's is going to be uncomfortable.

Finally making a little bit of head way in training. Almost able to keep up with the fast guys for half of our easy long run. Good to have them pulling me along for the early miles and me trying to hang with them on the ups. Based on my most recent race, the Murfreesboro Half marathon, my VDOT is 46. (won't count the monkey as a race) I'd say its probably gone up at least one level in the last week or two. Still nowhere near the 51 I've had in the past. Average pace for the run, 7:57. Not quite the 7:30 or so from days gone by, but getting there.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The hills won, again. 2012 Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon

Personalized tech shirt and monkey kill on the sleeve.

Couldn't ask for a better day for running a marathon. Temperatures in the low 30's before the start and warming quickly. Probably 40 by the time we started and mid 60's by the time everyone was drinking beer. Loads of sunshine and little to no wind. Course records were set. This is the way marathons should be run.

Old fashioned cotton t-shirt and Yazoo/Monkey Marathon Silipint.
Thought I'd learned my lesson the first time I ran this thing in 2008. The hills are tough. Maybe the monkey kill on the sleeve of the technical shirt had something to do with it. Pretty sure I've volunteered every year since that 1st one. Thought that was the smart thing to do. Run 14 miles with everyone and then volunteer at the finish line. Maybe it was EB who talked me into running this year. I was only able to keep up with her until mile 12 or so.

Great swag as always. A tech shirt personalized with your name, a cotton t-shirt, magnetic bumper sticker, regular bumper sticker. Last year Trent sold Silipint pint cups. This year everyone got one when they crossed the finish line. This years was black, last year clear. Lot's of food afterwards, little bit of everything. Beer from Yazoo. The Hop project was very tasty.

Volunteers were great as always. The Nolensville Running club were the most vocal, or maybe it was just where they were located in the valley before 9 mile hill. Water and gatorade at all of the aid stations. Gu at at least one. Most had other stuff to snack on as well. Almost to the extent of an ultra.

My race was great for the first 18 miles. Tried something different for carrying my gels. Wore my Arrogant Bastard Ale bike jersey. It has 3 pockets in the back. I tried it out on my fast finish long run and it worked well, but with only a baggie and one Clif shot block. Didn't work as well with 5 power gels, to much bounce. Did get lots of shout outs regarding the jersey. Did like the fact that it had a zippered front, because it did warm up quickly.

The plan for this race was to hang with EB and come home around 3:30. She did, I didn't. Basically, I out ran my fitness level. Three months of training after three months of only biking isn't a good enough base to run these hills or a marathon. We started at the very back of the pack and slowly moved through for the first several miles.

The first 8 mile splits were right were they needed to be: 9:15,7:59,7:39,8:03,8:19,8:02, 7:26, 8:41

Then next 8 miles were about the same, I slowed a little when EB pulled ahead around mile 12: 8:03, 8:33,8:05,8:00, 8:24,8:15, 8:42, 8:41. Miles 15, 16, were up the back side of three mile hill. Stopped to pee around mile 17. Mile 17 was 9:00 and mile 18 was a 8:35, downhill to the Stone Gates.

Mile 19 through 20 were up 9 mile hill and Luke Lea. This spot was my down fall, yet again. Didn't walk up any of it, probably should have, because I did the walk/run thing the rest of the way home. Every mile was 11:00 plus, except for mile 22 which was a 15:14. Sat down to get a rock/sliver of acorn/something out of the heel of my shoe. Damn groin locked up on me trying to get up and had a volunteer help me get back on my feet. Ugh.

Half of the field passed me in the final 6 miles. Only good thing was the keg had been tapped by the time I slogged across the finish line. Didn't have my first beer until a half hour later, my pint glass was filled with water and then gatorade until that time.

Will I run it again? Probably.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

3 more runs until the Flying Monkey Marathon

No real taper plan for this marathon. No carb loading. I've cut back on the length of runs the last several days. Sunday's long run was only 12 miles with the last 6 miles at marathon pace or quicker. Marathon pace is going to be 8:00'ish. I'm shooting for a 3:30 worst case. I'd hope to be a little quicker, but the training just hasn't happened this cycle.

No long runs greater than 18 miles this cycle. This is a first. I'm not certain if it was the six or so 20 mile long runs for my PR marathon or mileage above 70 miles per week or new training stimuli or ?? On a flat course I think a 3:20 or so is possible given my current level of training. Monkey course, add 10-15 minutes.

Picked up a couple of acorns at my nature stop on Sundays long run. At this point in the run, I'd only covered 3 miles. Super Slow. Really was beginning to wonder if I'd even be able to pull off a fast finish for the day. For some reason I held on to them for the rest of the run. Nothing really unusual about them. No where near as large as those out in Monkeyville. Really started thinking that they would be a reminder to grow a set/HTFU and run what I could today and most certainly on marathon day. No backing down, no caving when it got tough. Last time I ran monkey, I gave in at nine mile hill, the course beat me. Don't want that to happen this year.

Splits from this Sunday's fast finish were: 7:39, 7:49. 7:39, 7:58, 7:52, 7:45. Compare that to the splits before the PR marathon at the Flying Pig: 6:49,6:54,6:50,7:02,6:40,6:44. A completely different world fitness wise. That's where I want to be again, come spring.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day

Remember our Veterans.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Old school

The Garmin wouldn't turn on this morning. Pretty strange. I'd left it hooked up to the computer all night by accident. Kinda thought it would change my long run. I'd planned on running 18 miles with the last 8 miles at marathon pace. The route I'd chosen is not quite 18 miles, but close enough. It's a course that I've run many times, parts of it or in the other direction. I picked it because it's a single loop with some rolling hills. Also chose to run it the opposite direction to get the biggest hill out of the way in the first 3 miles. That still left a couple of rollers at the end, but that's part of the training.

Started out slow and checked the Timex Ironman at roughly where the first mile on the Garmin usually beeps. It was slow. No biggie. I wanted to ease into my run slowly and have something left for a fast finish. The last few long runs have been to quick at the beginning and no gas at the end. Great morning for a long run, low 40's grey morning. Head wind for the first several miles and it took my hands about 4 miles to warm up. I ended up hitting the lap button 4 times for reference so I could at least see if my fast finish was successful. Near as I can figure, it was right at marathon pace for the last 7 miles.

In the end, no Garmin didn't really change my workout. I started slow, picked it up in the middle and pushed steadily home for a fast finish. It would have been nice to know what my pace was on those miles, but I'm ok with knowing the energy level was there to push those final miles home and even up the couple of rolling hills on the way back. The overall pace isn't where I've been in the past, but it's starting to come back. Just run baby!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

3 weeks out from the monkey

Big contrast to my last decent marathon performance at this point in time. Some people start to taper at 3 weeks. Think I'll go with 10 days this time. Never did get to 70 miles in this buildup. Pretty hard to get that kind of mileage on 6 days of running. Only got to 57 miles this week. High mileage was 68 miles, the week before last. Still haven't run a 20 miler, no use in doing that this weekend or next. Probably do some fast finish long runs; haven't done any of those yet this cycle.

This weekend's long run was only 16 miles. Planned on 18, but didn't feel like adding another 2 miles at the end. Started early to get some miles before the guys showed up. Only got in 4 instead of the planned 6 miles. Call this a 8 mile marathon pace run sandwiched between a 4 mile warmup and a 4 mile cool down. Probably not as effective as a fast finish long run, but better than just a slog.

I will continue to go out to Saddle drive to do hill repeats. Think this will be my 3rd week back. The guys are training for a fast 4 miler at the Boro Dash. I'll plan on riding the bike or standing on the course with a cow bell. It'll be cool to see the guys in action, they are in different place from the workouts the coach as been giving them.

Did try something different on the long run this weekend. Clif Shot bloks. Only because that's what they had at Target. Never got around to comparing them to my usual Powergel. Coach said one package was equivalent to 2 powergels. I cut the pack in half and stuck it a baggie. Only ended up eating/sucking/chewing/chomping on half. They were cut into bite size pieces but seemed to work best just sitting in my mouth like chewing  tobacco. I bought the caffeinated one. I'll try them again this weekend, before deciding if I'll switch.

 One thing that really is apparent is the base needed before starting a marathon training cycle. Usually I've been doing 30-40 miles per week. This time was from zero starting in July. It wasn't until September that I hit 38 miles for the week. I was riding the bike during the time off from running. That just wasn't enough evidently.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

less than 4 weeks

Yikes, the Monkey Marathon is going to kick my ass this year. My time at the Middle Half equates to about a 3:24 with the old, double your half time, plus 10 minutes. McMillan says 3:25. I'm thinking 3:30 if everything goes to plan. That's 8:00 miles, about where I'm at on the 18 milers this cycle. Gave up on trying to run 20 milers, it just wasn't happening. No use trying to squeeze in a couple now.

Seems like I'm about 4-8 weeks out from where I should be fitness wise in this buildup. But, starting from scratch, it is what it is. I've been back out to Saddle Drive two times to do some hill repeats. Seems like that's helping with the strength on the hills. Still don't have any turnover. I skipped the track workout the guys had this morning. Sure don't want to risk getting hurt trying to keep up with them.

Be interesting to see if I can get any kind of turbo effect from the cooler weather forecast for this weekend. The low is going to be in the upper 30's with a north wind. Marathon weather. I haven't had a successful fast finish long run yet. Last weekend's 18 miler was a slog after running the middle miles at 8:00 pace.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Voted on Thursday after work. Quickest I've ever been in and out. No line. Must have timed it just right, only 45 minutes until the poll closed for the day. This was on day two of the early voting.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Middle Half

The plan was to hobby jog this thing. The end result may have been, but it really was a race effort on my part. I ended up parking across the street from the lot adjacent to the finish. Worked out well enough. Managed to get about a single mile worth of warmup before the start. The temperature was 56, so I planned on wearing a singlet and arm sleeves. I ended up tossing them right before the gun, back at the car. Gave me a nice little strider to get the blood going.

Glad handed lots of folks I haven't seen in awhile at the start and settled back a 100 feet or so from the start. EB and I snarked about some chick who always starts right on the front. ( we passed her at mile 2) Our first mile was a 6:58, so much for a easy hobby jog. The first miles are always easy. 7:08, 7:15, 7:10. The way the course is laid out helps with these early miles as well. Mile 4 is a out and back to Oaklands Mansion. So you get to see everyone in front of you. Instant turbo boost to see the fast folks zooming by. Plus, when you're heading back out, the folks behind you are yelling encouragement. Hard to keep it slow.

Mile 5 was 7:03, damn. Didn't think I had that in me. Really thought a 7:15 pace would be a stretch for the entire race. But this part of the course is probably my favorite. Up around the square and back down East Main. Get to see a miles worth of the runners headed towards the square. Adrenaline rush I guess. Some young chick had settled in with me and EB from about mile 2 or maybe earlier. Pretty cool to get lots of shout outs for the ladies from the bystanders, plus everyone in town knows EB.

Mile 6 is about the point where I decided the ladies were going just a touch to quick for me. Another women had hooked on and I backed off. 7:17 for mile 6. Settled in to my pace and rolled off a 7:31 for mile 7. This is the pace I'd really thought would happen for the entire race. Downed my second gel at mile 8, it was caffeinated. (it did give me the boost I needed) This section of the course is my least favorite, down Mercury and onto Rutherford Blvd. It's also the longest "straight" section of the course. From mile 8 to mile 11, busy road with runners on the shoulder. Got passed by at least a dozen runners on this stretch. The only part that breaks up the straight is a little out and back onto campus. Another chance to see who is within striking distance and to see who is gaining on you. Mile 8 sucked 7:39. Dave T was on his bike at the corner and got me out of my funk. 7:22 for mile 9.

Mentally tried to be strong and stay with runners as they passed but only able to hang for a little while. Big toe cramped up pretty much the rest of the way home. More slow down, 7:27, 7:34 for miles 10 and 11. Made the turn down Lascassas for the final push home. At least the wind wasn't in our face, but these miles were pitiful. 7:43 and 8:01 for the last two miles. Tried to get the feet to turn over but they wouldn't cooperate. Did find one last little burst of something once I got on the track for the final 200 meters to the line. Someone was right behind me and I'll be damned if I was going to get beaten to the line.

1:37:34 8th old guy. (at least in my new age group) What the hell? A full 10 minutes off my PR. About where expected to end up time wise, but some faster old dudes this year, than in years past. EB was the first grandmaster female. BQ1 got his PR, his brother beat the Peeman in the results, but not at the finish. Good times. Surprised when I came thru the chute to see DW and #1 son. That was cool. Another great Middle Half from the Tate family.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

marathon weather

Finally the kind of weather that's perfect for training for a marathon. At least the last 2 days anyway. Dreary, gray skies once the sun rose, even though it never did shine. Temperatures in the upper 40's. Only downside is the wind. It always seems to kick my ass. I'd like to rationalize that eventually it's at your back.(though it never seemed like it today)

Got 62 miles on six days of running this week. Probably will go ahead and start another running streak only because its the only way I'm going to get up to 70 miles per week. It's only 6 weeks out from the Flying Monkey Marathon. Only 5 more long runs. This could be really ugly.

Today's long run was only 17 miles. Planned on doing 18, but only got 2 miles done before the guys showed up. They all seem to be at the peak of their cycle or ready to start a sharpening phase. Another hilly route with me only able to hang for a few miles before the pace was to quick. Hell, I wasn't even done running/slogging before they were driving home. Did take a succeed cap at 7 miles and again at 14 miles, because my foot was cramping. That's the first time in the last 3 weeks worth of long runs that I've taken a succeed. Odd, because it was a cool morning. Must have been the quick pace chasing the guys?

Sure will be nice when everyone is on the same training cycle. Probably won"t be until spring. Most of the guys are going to Boston. That will be a great chance to train for another sub 3:00 attempt. Though realistically we never train for the same races. I'm the only one dumb enough to do the Monkey. The W bro's will get a dose of the hills at PWP this spring. That's always the true test of fitness, the double of the 11.2.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Diesel ?

Ended last week with 53 miles on six days of running. The miles are where I wanted them, just not the fitness. I'm 10 days out from the Middle Half marathon that I know won't be a race effort. The fitness just isn't coming back like I thought it would. Granted I've only been running for ten weeks. Thought the bike workouts would have helped more. Seems like I've been converted to a diesel motor, lots of low end torque, but no speed.

I did manage to get my heart rate down to 35 bpm this morning before attempting a workout with the guys. BQ1 and Peeman did 3 miles worth of  tempo at half marathon pace minus 30 seconds or something that I had no notion of even attempting. Really thought I'd be able to hang with BQ2. Didn't quite work out that way, but still pleased with the effort. Pace was only about a 7:15 average for five miles at 155 bpm. Guessing that means I should be able to run the half marathon at about that pace? 

Or I could just hobby jog the half. Maybe go out at at 8:00 pace for the first 6 miles or so and then pick it up all the way home. I've only done that one other time at the Music City Half . Just hate the thought of showing up at a race and not being able to race.Especially since the guys are in such good shape. I'd really like to try and race them. Tried it in 2010 at the Middle Half when I was better shape and it wasn't much fun the last few miles home.

Bigger goal is still the Flying Monkey Marathon. Maybe a 3:30 is possible. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

fall is in the air

Another cool morning for the long run. 18 miles this time, longest of the cycle so far. Right around 49 degrees for my 3 mile solo run before the guys showed up. Clear skies and no wind. Great running weather. Probably never got over 51 degrees before we finished. The guys were doing 5 miles worth of fast finish. I only was able to keep up with them for the first 3 miles before they picked it up and I slowed down.

BQ1 mapped out a 15 mile route that was part of the HOT 100 route.Nice rolling course with no hills that come close to those at Percy Warner Park. Great course to get a good rhythm without having to struggle up any killer hills. Nice to have a different route. Easy pace for my solo effort and for the first 3 miles with the guys. They picked it up and I slowed to around 8:00 pace.

I carried a handheld bottle for my water. I also carried a gel and some succeed, but didn't plan on taking them unless needed. Felt pretty good at my pace and really only slowed for the last 3 miles. Not the usual slog slowdown, but enough to bring the overall pace down to 8:17 overall. Better than the 16 miler two weeks ago.

Lots of deer out this morning. Also had a horse that ran parallel to the guys through two fields which was pretty cool to watch from my vantage point about 20 yards back. Big black horse, came racing back towards me after finishing running with the guys. Farmer just down the road had a lots of donkeys and one baby. Great morning for a run in the country. Also nice that the starting point for all of these routes is only 8 miles from the house.

Finished out the week with 52 miles on six days of running. Almost hate to take a day off. May not, but no plans for a streak. That would just be stupid. Pretty sure I'm done with the bike for the year. Haven't ridden it in two weeks. The days are just to short and I don't like riding in the dark.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Making progress in the return this go around. Not as quickly as I'd like, but can't get greedy. This week I ran 44 miles total in six days. Only one day off and no bike. Only one weight workout.

Made it back out to the trails at Percy Warner Park to run the red and white trails. It was the best effort to date. Cooler weather made a tremendous difference.

Minute on and a minute recovery workout showed my speed still needs lots of improvement.

Progression run this morning went ok, little warmer than last week. Planned on running 30 minutes easy (8:30 pace), 30 minutes moderate effort (8:00 pace) and 30 minutes harder effort (7:30 pace). Wore the heart rate monitor and planned on around 140, 150 and 160 bpm for each segment. Didn't quite work out to plan. The first 30 minutes were way to easy, didn't hit 140 until almost the last mile. It was a slower effort than a ultra slog pace; 10:00, 9:31 and 8:45.

Next segment went better. Ran about 152 bpm for the entire 30 minutes and felt really comfortable. Had the Garmin display set to only show heart rate and distance. I didn't want to know the pace until I downloaded. 7:42, 7:36, 7:47 and 7:49. Little quicker than I wanted but it was on the greenway, nice and flat.

Last segment just couldn't seem to get the legs to turn over. Only able to get the heart rate above 160 on the rises. Mostly it was stuck around 158 bpm and felt almost like a tempo effort. Happy with the results. 7:20, 7:32, 7:25 and 7:34. Total of 12 miles on the morning.

Tough thing about marathon training is balancing all of the workouts with everything else. I'd like to get one trail run, one speed session and one long run in each week. I'd also like to run with the guys at least once a week. This past week worked out really well. Did end up running solo for the progression run, only because I didn't want to run the hills with the guys or go back out to PWP. Next week I'll have to try meet the guys for at least one run.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Great morning for a long run. Started out a little after 5 am to get in 5 miles before the fellas showed up. Back out to Spain Hill. Couldn't find out how much that property went for at auction. Surprised to see the fast guys pulling into the parking lot. They had a workout mixed into their long run and went the other direction. Temps were in the low 50's and a fog in the air.

I was only able to hang with the guys for a couple of miles. It was nice to have them pull me out of my slog. My first 5 miles were at a 8:50 average. The guys were cruising up the hills after a couple of miles at 7:30 pace or better. Let them go and settled into a comfy, honest pace. They were a good carrot but I lost sight of them after a couple of miles.

Carried some water, but no gels or Succeed caps for this run. Felt really good, but couldn't really seem to pick up the pace on the downhills. Overall pace for the 16 miles was 8:34. Nice negative split and I felt really good in the last few miles home. P man did help pull me home for the last mile as he came back out to add on some more miles.

Only saw one deer and that wasn't until I was almost home. She bolted across the road directly in front of me. Kinda strange, but the hunters were out in force. Never did see them, but heard shots for the last several miles. Think it's dove season. Couple of other runners out as I was stretching afterwards. The fog did provide some really cool effects for some great magazine cover shots. One that really stood out was the guys heading up a hill framed by the road and trees with the sun behind them and the fog as well. Kodak moment, that's what makes being a runner so special.

Big difference in elevation on Strava versus Garmin training center. Strava shows the run at 914 feet of gain and the training center 2,464 feet. More inclined to believe the Strava data. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guest appearance

Yesterday's workout was a fail, initially. Set up the workout for 10 x 2 minutes with one minute recoveries. Did a 2 mile or so warmup and hit the lap button for the workout to start. I count down the seconds so I know about when the recovery piece should start, but it didn't. Kept going forever, or so it seemed, (2:57) I was running up a hill. Damn Garmin never beeped. Stopped and reprogrammed the workout that I did last week, 10 x 25 seconds with one minute recoveries. Think I must have picked the 3 x 2 mile workout. Damn, oh well still got a little bit of a workout.

Today I got back up at 0 dark thirty to meet the herd at Pittard. Couple of the guys had a serious half marathon workout and the others were going to hang on at their own paces. My plan was just to warmup with the guys, hadn't seen them in awhile. But, when the time came to go on, I went with them, just for grins. I'd already done my workout yesterday. Ended up running one mile at about my old marathon pace, 7:02. That was surprising and the heart rate was actually within a beat or two of those efforts as well. Sure couldn't pull off 26 miles worth of that, now. But, it was encouraging to see that I haven't completely lost what little speed I use to have. Even did four tenths of a mile worth of their 1,000 meter repeat. Still lots of work to keep up with these guys.

Athlinks shows that I've run 12 half marathons. My PR is a 1:27 at Tom King. I'd really like to run a 1:25-26. That's about the shape I'd need to be in for a sub 3:00 marathon. My last race at the Middle Half was at a pace to run 1:30 (42:46 at the halfway point), but I failed miserably with a 1:33:51. I've only run the Middle Half one other time and that was the first year. This years race is on October 13th. Five more weeks to build strength. Won't have enough speed to make another crack at 1:25, but sure as hell would like to break 1:30. Goal race is still the Flying Monkey Marathon on November 18th. The half marathon will just be a fun race.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back out to Percy Warner Park

Ran the 11.2 plus Luke Lea this morning. Looked like a really crappy day for a run. Lot's of rain on the drive into Nashville from Murfreesboro. When we pulled in to the park, only 3 other cars where in the drive. Very odd, must have been the holiday weekend and the early morning rain. The rain let up about the time EB and I started running. I haven't run the  11.2 since January. Thankfully, it didn't rain much during our run and cooled it off considerably from the heat of the previous day. Usually the first trip back is a sufferfest. The bike rides over the last couple of months must have made me stronger on the hills. I wasn't as out of breath, but no speed.
Both of these screen shots are from Strava. The top is the 11.2 and Luke Lea. The first highlighted green segment is 3 mile hill and the second one is 9 mile hill. The third is Luke Lea. (no big deal right?) Only two real climbs for the entire loop. This description is better than anything I can write. Today's trip didn't disappoint, lots of wildlife and almost zero humans. Big plus was a owl in flight directly in front of us across the roadway.

The bottom elevation is the white and red trails from the Stone Gates at Belle Meade Boulevard. That route seems tougher to me than the 11.2, steeper climbs anyway and the keep on coming. Running on the trail just seems tougher than the road. You have to keep your eyes on the ground, so you don't trip. Even then, its not a guarantee. Lots of near falls every time I'm on the trail.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

There goes the neighborhood

Noticed an auction for a 494+ acre farm out on one of our regular riding/running routes on my Saturday bike ride. It backs up to Spain hill. (Casons Knobs) What an awesome property. Don't think the neighbors are to thrilled about it. At least 5 houses for sale on the road leading towards the farm and once I looked on line at least a dozen in the small subdivision across the road. Sure would be awesome to turn that farm into a patchwork of trails. I'll be following this over the next couple of years to see how it turns out. Most of the small farms that come up for sale, end up only being subdivided into 2 or 3 tracts of land with a single home. Guess the neighbors think this is going to be turned into a major subdivision.

Got a total of almost 34 miles of running this week. Hope to hit 40 next week. I'm still trying to build my base to about 50 miles a week before I start attempting any kind of real workout. Doesn't look like I'll be getting any speed back before the Middle Half. Maybe when it cools off I'll pick up a little bit of speed. 

Been watching the Vuelta Espana all week. Think it has 2 more weeks to go. Its another grand tour held in Spain. Didn't realize the Pyrennes where on the northern border of Spain. I can see why some of the pros train in the area. Great roads, lots of climbs.

What the hell's up with the USA Pro Challenge? I haven't seen any listings for it on tv. Is it only available on the interwebs? It's only 7 days long, but in Colorado. Would appear to be a marketing dream. Guess the US marketing folks are so burnt by LA, that they can't get behind a cycling event? Oh, its only on NBC sports channel the old Versus channel, the one my crappy satellite network doesn't carry on my plan. It requires an upgrade. Pfftt. Veulta Espana will have to do, would have liked to watch Hincapie in his final race.

Check out Jeff's blog post about the myth. I've rambled my thoughts plenty over the years.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

To long

Didn't realize it's been almost 3 years to the date, since I've been out to the trails at Percy Warner Park. Got off work an hour early to meet EB. Trails seem more worn, but just like I remembered them. Single track that either climbs up a hill or back down the other side. Few spots on the tops of ridges that are somewhat level, but very few.

Uploaded the run into Strava, because the elevation shows up better than the Garmin software. Not very many runners use Strava. Like it for the bike, but prefer Running2win for logging my runs. Another really good site for logging runs is RunningAhead, great forum.

Love running on the trails. Awesome stuff. Now just need to get out there once a week. Had my ass kicked by the trail and EB. Good times.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


That one's off the list. (thought it was on the list, must have been the other list in my head) Finished my first Century bike ride on Saturday. It was the H.O.T. 100 starting in Lascassas. Me and the guys had been talking about it for quite awhile. Just never really seems to win out over running. This year the bike won. G committed before me, so I had to go ahead and sign up as well.

Hot topic on the running forums is always the accuracy of GPS devices. Someone is always finishing a 5k race and their GPS measures a different distance. Lots of factors, that I won't even talk about. Only thing I know is the bike odometer seems to be more accurate. We rode 102.5 miles according to my bike odometer and 100.9 miles according to my Garmin 305. Probably right in the ball park of the accuracy claims made by Garmin. The number that I'm more concerned with is the average pace, in this case 18.3 mph average on the bike odometer versus 18.1 mph on the Garmin 305. Not big, but G's difference was staggering. He only showed 17.6 mph avg, yet he beat me home by 5 minutes. Only difference being his Garmin 305 was on his wrist, versus me mounting mine on my bike.

Rest stops or feed zones, whatever you want to call them were placed just about the right spots along the course. One in Readyville, we went by twice, one after the first big climb on top of the ridge, and the last one in Statesville about 23 miles from the finish. Lots to eat, oranges, cantaloupes, watermelons, grapes, peanut butter and jelly sandwich's, Oreo's, peanuts, bananas, ice, water and Heed. One new thing for me was a cracker with peanut butter, a slice of banana and a drizzle of honey. Yummy. Pretty similar to the spread for an Ultra. The last stop is the one where we dilly dallied. I sat down took off my shoes and drank an entire bottle of ice cold water.

Sag support was awesome. The boys, (mine) both asked what is the SAG wagon? I had my answer, but really thought it must be some kind of acronym (Support and Gear) or something. This is one of the explanations I found on the interwebs. This ride had lots of support, at least 2 vehicles making trips up and back each 20 mile or section. I saw them in action on at least one flat and another mechanical. Plus, we saw two of them in action when they came back and picked up J, one of G's tri buddies.

This course has two climbs of significance, Petty Gap and Dolittle. We've been up Petty Gap before. G rode up it the first time in his big ring. Not as much gas this time, must be the heat. Last time it was in the 60's this time at least mid 70's, maybe warmer. Dolittle was a long climb and it was about 60 miles into the ride. We had a truck that  wouldn't go around us the entire way up the hill. Annoying as hell. I stopped at almost the top to let him go by and then stopped again at the summit to wait on J. Only waited for about a minute and then rode on. G had passed me on the hill, thankfully he waited for me at the real top of the hill.

One thing for certain a Century is easier than a marathon. Least if you take your time and dilly dally around at the rest stops, don't hammer the hills and coast the down hills. First rest stop, I had to wait on the guys. I'd started out slow, but DT went flying by so I latched on for a couple of miles. After one mile hot mile at around 28 mph I thought I'd better slow down and let that train fly on without me.

New respect for the tri-athletes. I can't imagine hammering through 100+ miles and then running a marathon. Perhaps the swim cools them off enough that the heat from the bike and run is welcome. NOT. Saw a couple of runners starting out as we finished our ride. No thanks, no triathalons for me. Guess the ulitmate all around stud has to be the decathlete. Saw a picture of Bruce Jenner on a Wheaties box from 1976 last week.

My quads were pretty sore for the rest of the day, and I was a little bit tired but not as drained as a marathon. Did a 10 mile run this morning and surprisingly felt really strong. But, it was overcast and cooler, even rained for the last quarter mile. Enough bike for the time being, I'll keep it in the rotation for cross training but time to get serious for a half marathon in October and the Monkey in November.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

So it begins

I'll call this mornings workout an AT run. It's based off the McMillan plan where the first phase has some up tempo runs that are run at half marathon pace. Not having run a half marathon in some time, I based it on my heart rate for the last time I ran these workouts, 160 bpm. Pulled a distance of 2 miles out of thin air, mostly because it was a third of the total distance I planned on running. Seems like the first workout of this plan is 20 minutes. Close enough for starting out.

Thought it was cooler this morning when I started. The 68 degrees according to the thermometer on the deck felt cooler. At least until I started to crank up the pace to get to 160 bpm, then it felt really warm and muggy. The first mile came in at 7:28. I had the Garmin set so all I was looking at was heart rate. Felt like stopping, but continued on until it beeped to let me know the second fast mile was done. Heart rate rose to 164 for that one and the pace had slowed to 7:40. Yikes, lots of work to be done. Probably would have been discouraged seeing those paces as they were being run.

I've been at this place before. Patience is the key. The paces will drop. Just can't get to gungho and try to accelerate the program. That would just lead to injury. Probably best to wait another week or two before I try and run with the herd. Still trying to get in some bike rides, but missed some because of all of the rain.

Reminded again this morning why I don't like riding my bike on the shoulder of the road on Thompson Lane. Someone dropped a box of nails for a nail gun, over a hundred nails. I've flatted twice in the last month, need to buy some new tires and tubes.

Scored a comp entry for the Murfreesboro Half Marathon. (Thanks to BQ1 and SS) I really like this race. I've run it twice, never to my potential. It's going to be the A race this fall. It's just about the ideal size at around 2,500. It's a fast course and its the hometown race. The Tate's have done a bang up job since the start. Really hate last years race was marred by the police blocking the wrong turn.Plenty of time to get into shape.

Registered for the lottery for the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon on day one. Last year it sold out in 4 hours. That's quicker than Boston. Glad Trent has decided to keep it small. The weighted lottery is really the only fair thing to allow those who have run it before and the newbies to have a shot at running. Awesome that he also considers military service as part of the weighting. Can't give those folks enough credit. I'd still really like to run 3:30.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Running is stupid

Not really the act so much, as some of the dumb things runners attempt. Like this morning, 20.9 miles shouldn't be that difficult. But, if the longest run you've done in the last 3 weeks was only 10 miles. Pretty dumb, especially when that was only yesterday. Got the idea for this little stunt from Strava. They have this challenge going on for July 27-29 to run 50k. Seeing as my last Strava challenge was a bust, this latest one was right in my wheel house.

Got up early, so I could get out the door by 5 am. In hindsight, probably should have started an hour earlier. Made sure I had a hand held water bottle, three gels, and six Succeed caps. Planned on taking the gels at 8 miles, 12 miles and 16 miles. The S-caps, I'd take every 5 miles.(brought extras) Decided to run from the house to the Stones River greenway, instead of in the country. That way I'd only be on the road for 2.5 miles each way, the rest on the greenway. The advantage of the greenway; lots of shade and a bathroom/water fountain at 4 miles, 6 miles and 8 miles on the way out and then again on the loop back.

Johnny's version of "Hurt" puts the Nine Nails version to shame.

Had to have a treasure hunt before I even left the house. My headphones weren't working with my mp3 player. One of the ear buds had already stopped working and of course now the other wasn't either. Least it happened before I left the house. Got out the door and probably only lost 5 minutes.

Started out slow and never really ever picked up the pace. 10 minute miles for the first six miles. By mile seven the sun was up enough to blast through the trees and it started heating up. I'd already taken my first S-cap at 5 miles. First gel at 8 miles was a Vanilla Bean flavored GU. Yuck, thicker than toothpaste, had to wash it down with water. Made a dumb mistake at the turnaround at 10.45 miles. (need 20.9 miles to get 50k) Instead of taking my S-cap, I took another gel. This one was a pineapple flavored Roctane GU. Just as nasty as the other GU. Took a little while to get back going again. That's way I don't like stopping.

So at this point I'm at the turn around point, 10.45 miles out. Half way home. I hadn't stopped to refill my water bottle yet. Did make that stop at 12 miles. The water was really cold at the water fountain. Also, re-wet the bandana around my neck and wrung out the one around my head. Shorts were completely drenched. Good thing everything had been lubed before I left the house. Decided to take my last gel at 14 miles, that should be good enough to get me home. It was a Hammer tropical flavored with caffeine. The first of the morning. Really hoped it would pick me up, because it was really warm.

Didn't stop at the next water stop. Thought it would be tough to get back going again. Should have made the stop. Within the next mile everything fell apart. Started to get dizzy. Uh oh. Started walking. Don't think I was dehydrated, though at this point I had stopped sweating. Fingertips were getting tingly. Finished off my water bottle. Lots of folks out on the greenway, figured I'd just walk to the next water stop and call the wife. Ended up walking 2.5 miles. Didn't get the 20.9 miles, only 17.5 miles. Maybe I'll run this evening or tomorrow morning to get the last 3.4 miles of the 50k. Now that would be stupid.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Creek crossing

Crappy picture from my crappy phone. Guys crossing the creek, in knee high water. That's a first for a bike ride. Last time we rode this a month ago, the road was dry. Lucky or probably because of the drought?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Comeback no.177.2

Here I go again. Week 3 of the latest running comeback. First week back, two runs for a total of 9.5 miles. Week two, three runs for a total of 15 miles. Longest run 6 miles. Did that again this morning, but wore the heart rate monitor for shits and giggles. Pushed the pace for a couple of miles but that's about all I had in me. Pace per mile: 8:43 and 8:47 at a maximum heart rate of 156. It's going to be another long slow process to get back to where that same 156 heart rate is good for a 7:00 mile. Hard to even fathom at this point.

Had to dig a bandanna out of the drawer for my run. Must be because I'm running so slow, but the sweat has been pouring into my eyes on the last several runs. Maybe when I'm running quicker it evaporates or is blown back? Plus, even though the heat wave has subsided, the rain over the last week or so has made it very humid at the crack of dawn. Still sleeping in until 4:30 am, not quite ready to get up at 3:30 am and run with the fellas. I wouldn't be able to keep up yet, anyway.

Hope to be ready to run with the fellas in another week or so. Won't make it back before we lose one of our regulars. One of the guys said he was the CEO of Optimism for our group. Fitting title, I'd always thought of him as Mr. Sunshine. He's the kinda guy who makes running in a pouring rain enjoyable. I'm gonna miss him. Seems like where ever I live the regular group of folks I run with build a strong core group. Always adding a new member, but also losing one as well. Running folks are the best.

16 year old shorts (before Verizon Wireless)(a)
Note (a). Took a picture of these before they go into the trash. Soft cotton shorts from when I lived in Atlanta. I worked in several different buildings over the years, but the best was the corporate campus that was built in Alpharetta. One of the nice perks was a onsite health center. This was all just before the Bell Atlantic merger with GTE and PrimeCo and the rebranding as Verizon Wireless.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The fall of Lance

Ok, so Lance Armstrong filed a complaint against the USADA that was rejected within a day or so by the judge. His new complaint is reviewed here by 150 Watts of Awesome. Wish she gave a cliff notes summation, but basically Lance is screwed. He'll probably lose his title's. (my reading into her analysis) He won't be allowed to compete in triathlons. Never mind that he's retired, past his prime and in the old man age group in any competition.

The "I've been tested over 500 times", has risen to over 600 times in the above reviewed new complaint. Disputed here and other places that I didn't bother to research. Plus, they weren't all negative. What? Little bit of EPO, some testosterone. No positives, really? But, we can't believe any of that right? Just because its on the interwebs doesn't make it true.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin has now filed a letter questioning the authority of the USADA. What bike is produced  designed and developed in Wisconsin? What bike does Lance ride? Good thing Wisconsin's representatives are so concerned with a retired bike rider, who lives in Texas. Couldn't Lance get a Texas representative or Congressman on his side? Where's the love for Lance.

Once the tour is over this year, will more "witnesses" emerge? More skeletons come rolling out of the closet. Will George and Levi stand by him? This could get really ugly.

As much as I've thought this has been a witch hunt against Lance, I guess if you're a doper you should expect to be outed at some point. Cycling will continue without Lance, United States interest will probably continue to fade even more than it has since he retired. One "reporters" analysis of this years tour. The tour is 2 weeks in, and I've only seen one stage. Still love cycling. I'd love to go ride on any part of the routes the Tour has taken in its 100 plus years.

Guess the one big question that will be answered in the coming months. How much will Lance lose monetarily? How much does he have to lose? Couple of million? Less?

Still a fan of Lance but the luster continues to fade. I've always wanted to believe he didn't dope. Even if he loses his titles and some money, (surely they can't take it all) I'll be one of the Lance Fan boys. Just not as boisterous as some on the interwebs.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Even though I've been riding a bike forever, I still manage to do some pretty dumb things. Yesterday, we rode 67 miles in the country. Great ride, didn't get lost. Both of us had our Garmin Forerunner 305's loaded with the course. My mistake was failing to hit the start button after I'd set the course. No big deal. Bigger error was on this mornings shakeout ride.

I've only ridden this particular course twice before. Once with an experienced rider, I hooked up with as he was leaving our neighborhood and again when I tried to ride the same route on my own, but of course I got lost. This time I made the right turns, but failed to appreciate a sharp turn. Scary shit when you're coming thru a turn and your feathering the brakes to slow and the wheel hops three feet sideways. That pretty well ended my ride, right there. Scared me. Only thing I could think of was the wreck Beloki had in the 2003 Tour de France. I didn't go down. Just went ahead and soft pedaled home.


I've always wondered how the mind reacts after an accident. My little wreck last year hasn't slowed me down any, but it has made me more apprehensive on descents. G passed me in a descent yesterday because I thought we had a tight switch back turn coming up and slowed to around 32 mph. I usually always push pass him on the descents, mostly because I outweigh him by 15 pounds. We rode one road in reverse yesterday that was to steep and rough to descend without riding the brakes the entire way down. Burt Bergen still is the most intense climb we've made yet, I can't imagine coming down that one at speed.

Yesterday was the RC Cola Moon Pie 10 mile race in Bell Buckle. Hate that I missed it. Usually even in the years I don't run, I volunteer. Not this year. Thought about being one of the geeks that show up on the bike, but G had already mapped out our ride for Saturday. Just as well, had we ridden out we'd have had to deal with way more cars than usual. Plus, it would have made for a really long day. Even with our 5:30 am start time we weren't finished until close to 9:30 am or so. Lots more time on the bike versus even the longest of my training long runs. Still don't seem to be any closer to starting back running. Sigh.

Friday, June 15, 2012

still a runner?

Seems like I haven't run in forever. Still riding the bike. The weight gain seems to have stabilized at about 10 pounds. About the same place when I was only running for fitness and not training for races.

Lance Armstrong will not be able to compete in tri's. His past will finally catch up with him. Don't see any good coming from the latest witch hunt. Even if he were to come clean and admit how he was able to pass all of those tests, it wouldn't help in the long term. Some athlete's will always be looking for that extra something. The testing will have to always be improved. But, perhaps that will be enough to keep the majority of the athletes clean. It is sadly part of the cycling world.

I enjoyed watching the tour when Lance competed. I've continued to watch in the years since, but not with the same level of interest. The media really built up the american wonder boy story line. I bought it, it was a fun ride. Now american tv is on to the next sensantional story line. Cycling isn't mainstream, nor track and field. Great spectacle/entertainment that sadly most americans never experience.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Country roads

Don’t ride with me. Just sayin’, I get lost in town, riding my bike, running, even in the car on roads I’ve traveled forever. I manage to get lost. Last week’s bike ride we got lost, but only added a few extra miles. (really would have been ok if I hadn’t chickened out on the little tiny road with giant dogs coming straight at us) Saturday we did it again.

This past weekend’s ride was supposed to be 53 miles. We had a cue sheet, a car GPS, and the Garmin 305 loaded with the course. We still got lost. 81 miles for the day. Lot's of these small country roads twist and turn, have no signs, or don't even show up on the GPS.

It was a great morning for a ride, not a single cloud. Chilly start at about 48 degrees, even wore full finger gloves and a long sleeve base instead of arm warmers. It didn’t warm up until 20 miles or so into the ride. That was the first stop, ditched the full finger gloves and traded for the fingerless. Little bungie thing on the back of the saddle bag held them securely the rest of the trip.

Lots of lessons to take from this ride, the two biggest; money and energy gel. Really didn’t think I was going to need either for 50 miles. Need to be prepared for things that may go wrong. The same reason I always bring a spare tube, some tools, a patch kit and a pump. Those items are always along on each ride, in an large saddle bag. 

frame pump and large saddle bag
Cell phones, I take them on every ride. Even if it’s just down to the greenway from my house, I’ve got my phone. It’s been used once in a emergency and on this last trip way more than I would have thought. Luckily it was charged before we left and even way out in the middle of nowhere it had coverage. Though I'm probably the only hold out who still has just an ordinary cellphone and not a smart phone. Well, except for Angry Runner.

Also was reminded why that little Velcro strap around the frame pump and top of the frame is a good idea. I lost my strap some time last year and never replaced it. G and I were riding along side by side on a flat and his pump fell off. No big deal right? This time no; but sure did make me nervous when it bounced between my wheels, one pedal stroke from taking me down, ouch.

Supposedly the pumps come in handy to whack a dog that gets to close. I've never waited around long enough for any aggressive dogs to get that close where I'd even consider taking a swing. I try to out sprint them, most of the time that's all they're interested in anyways. Not that we haven't had close calls with dogs before, not on this trip.

The courses function on the Garmin 305 is pretty basic. I should have tried it out on a shorter route first. It told us when we were off course. I didn’t ignore it, but thought it was just losing satellite reception because of the hills. Had I known that it would help us get back on the right course, we would have used it. DC Rainmaker has a great site that reviews all of the latest GPS wizardry for runners, cyclists and tri-athletes. This link, shows the course function that I should have read before trying it for the first time out in the middle of nowhere.

I’d spent a hour or more the night before trying to get the course and cue sheet to load on my car GPS, a Garmin Nuvi. Never could get it loaded. Don’t think it has that capability, its several years old and just the entry level model. It worked last week to get us back on track after we got lost. I’ll continue to bring it on the longer bike rides. What I really would like to get is a real map. One that folds, do they even make them anymore?

The wrong turn we took did make us  allowed us to go up one of the big climbs for the area, Burt Bergen Road. I’ve run up one of these climbs on Burt Bergen road a couple of years ago, don’t think this was the same section of road. It’s definitely the toughest climb I’ve ever ridden on the bike. Really enjoy the way Strava has the segment function on their website to compare times on sections of road and to find new climbs. This climb puts you on top of a table top sort of ridge, really expected to come back off this and roll back downhill home for the last twenty miles.

Burt Bergen segment from Strava
This is also where everything started going wrong. Missed reconnecting with our original route by a mile or two, because I was convinced we were going the wrong way. Instead we turned around and went about 10 miles to far south. This is the point where we decided to ask for directions. First guy we ask, at a garage sale, says “he hasn’t been to Murfreesboro in forty years”. Roll out from his place wondering if his directions were right. Stop a guy, heading the opposite direction on a four wheeler ATV and ask him. His directions were different. Damn. We continued down the road with his directions in mind and what the car GPS was telling us.

Stopped at a tiny little Baptist church to rest and fill our water bottles. Mt. Aarat Hoodoo Baptist Church established 1810. Corner of Hoodoo Road and Paul Harrell Road. It was 11:00 at this point. More calls home. I was out of food. G took his only energy gel. We got directions from two different people at this church. After we rode off we joked about the type of directions we would be getting for someone wearing an Arrogant Bastard jersey. 

favorite jersey
At our farthest point out, we stopped at a country store. G went in to ask directions, I sat on the bench outside. We were 15 miles from Murfreesboro, 14 miles from Manchester and 23 miles from where we started. The road back to Murfreesboro was a busy 2 lane, highway 41, parallel to Interstate 24. Luckily it had a wide shoulder. Head wind the entire way, we hadn't felt any wind all day except on top of the ridge. We traded leads, pulling each other along the best we could. We were both pretty well spent at this point. I hit bottom about miles 70, the last miles were a struggle.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Satisfying sweat

"Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach."
Dr. George A. Sheehan, runner, writer, philosopher

Woke up this morning and decided today was the day to test out the foot. I've been putting it off for the last week or so. It's been fifty days, since I've run. I'm hesitant to start back running, first because of re-injury and the long build up, but mostly because the bike is getting comfortable. I can see why some who take up the bike during a injury, never go back to the run. Tempting but the bike doesn't give the same quick feed back or sense of satisfaction as a good run.

This morning was warm and humid, probably low 60's. The sun was just rising, great day for a run. I'd slept in a extra hour, to take a day off from the bike. Might as well squeeze out a quick 2 mile run. The body was rusty from not running. Very conscious of the injured foot, but other body parts and muscles took awhile to warm up. Funny how quickly a good sweat builds up, even at a very slow pace. The bike doesn't seem to deliver in that regard.

Now comes the tough part. Easing back into the running. Day off tomorrow, back on the bike. Resist the urge to go run with the guys for a easy run. The comeback runs are never easy. Seems the buildup is longer every time. More importantly, this time the run is going to take the back seat to the bike. Short runs and lots of days off. I still plan to get the Century checked off the bucket list.

I did notice the quads seem to really complain about the hills on the bike. Didn't really notice until I was stretching this morning after my slog. They were a bit sore the day after Saturdays long bike ride, but it's been three days. Perhaps I need to do some kind of stretching at least after the long bike rides. More miles on the bike really pay off quickly. My average pace is inching upward, the hills aren't as tough.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

No thinking allowed

Only in the USA are you able to sue someone because you can't be bothered to think that maybe that flashy ad on TV or in the magazine isn't reality. DOH! Or maybe it's just the knuckleheads in California are to stoned from smoking their medical marijuana. &^%$#@! are people really that stupid? Or is just crafty folks and sleazy lawyers trying to squeeze some dollars out of whoever* hasn't covered their ass sufficiently?
*Big company deep pockets, right? 

First heard about Nutella on one of the running boards I frequent. Come on, some woman is stupid enough to believe her little angel isn't going to get pudgy eating a chocolate flavored hazelnut spread.

Ferrero, the makers of the creamy chocolate and hazelnut spread, Nutella have settled two class-action lawsuits with consumers who sued over the company’s advertising claims that it was a good-for-you treat.

Then this morning the headline on the local paper is about a shoe company being sued because "the shoes don't really make your tush smaller" This company is going to pay out $50 million, only half of what another shoe company paid to settle claims their shoes strengthened muscles. Absolutely crazy, just think how much the lawyers will be paid.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Porkin' up

Hard to believe I've put on eight pounds since I stopped running. Wouldn't be able to tell if you looked, but it's all right around my middle. Must be the classic beer belly. The weight routine and bike are enough to keep everything toned up, but probably the only thing that will melt the fat from the belly are some ab crunches. Ab workouts have never really stuck with me. Like the yoga poses. I know its good stuff, but I can never make it a routine. At least the hard training while running keeps the weight off.

100 miles on the bike
 = Century

Decided this is the year to cross the Century off my bucket list. Might as well work towards something while I'm not running. The bike always takes the backseat to the run when I'm injury free. Only found a couple of local Centuries and they just aren't the right time. (HOT 100) Ideally it would be the first week in July. That gives me enough time to prepare and hopefully I'll be running by then anyway. Most of the HOT 100 route is roads we normally train, so hopefully I'll get a couple of the guys to ride along for a portion of the ride, if not all of it. I'll just need to scout out any stores along the route for refueling or start at the cross road section which would cut the route into a 34 mile section and 66 mile section.

Preparing for a Century should be easier than a marathon. The long bike ride is 30 miles for the first week and adds 5 or so miles each week. Piece of cake. The time to do the long rides is the biggest negative. Great blog post here about your first century. Couple of things I'd taken for granted.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Light drizzle

As a runner it would have been no hesitation. Riding the bike, apprehension. Nothing worse than a little rain to make the road really greasy. Like when someone turns their sports car around and into the ditch, greasy. Turned out it wasn't that big of deal. The radar didn't show any rain, but it sure was raining for the first mile down the road this morning.

Rode from the house to the Stones River Battlefield. This is my go to route for the bike in the morning before work. I only have to ride on 2 miles worth of road before I can get on the Stones River Greenway and take it over to the Battlefield. Only problem is leaving at 5:30 am, it's still not quite light out yet. I have a headlamp and flashing red tail light. Hopefully that will keep me from getting run over.

Great thing about the battlefield is that it's car free that early in the morning. Plus, its wider than the greenway and fewer people. Most mornings only a handful of runners. This morning, not a one. Must have been the threat of rain. Plus, they have a program to remove the privet. This helps to open the woods up. Completely different than riding down the greenway in a tunnel of green. Lots of wildlife out, more deer than usual, the usual bunnies, birds and one turkey who remained in the road for each of my four laps. Bizarre.

Saw six Indigo Bunting's this morning. That's the most I've ever seen on one ride. They were hanging out on the edge of the road around the battlefield. Not all at one time but individually at different spots around the loop. Usually I'm lucky to see one every couple of months. Plus, they're hard to see anyway because they fly so low to the ground.

On the way home I saw one Great Blue Heron flying. Cool to see such a big bird flying. Saw another one in the same spot where I tried to take his/her picture last week. Must be a good fishing spot.

Three weeks since I've run last. Foot is feeling better. Hope to resume running in another week.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Stones River Greenway

Went for a bike ride on every bit of the greenway system in Murfreesboro on Sunday. Brought the camera along to snap a few pictures. Averaged a whooping 11 mph, because I stopped way to much. Did manage to get in 28 miles. I took all of these pictures from the trail/roadway, without getting off the bike or even unclipping both feet.

The quality of the photos isn't that great. That's the tradeoff for the point and shoot pocket camera that slips in your pocket. Though it seems everyone's smartphones take better pictures than my old camera. I really need to upgrade to a better quality digital camera with more control over the shutter speed and aperture. The picture I took of a blue heron is blurred because I couldn't hold still enough in the low light to get the shot.

You'd think I took a picture of every flower on the greenway. Nope, not even close. I only got about half of what is blooming now. The purple flower I saw last week is gone. Some of this stuff will continue to bloom, some are about done. Some appear to be way early. Like the thistle and blackberries. Didn't think they bloomed this early.

Road ID, try to wear it whenever I ride or run.

Red clover.

Like the purple.

This plant is all over the greenway. Privet, non native invasive plant. Can't say that this picture is privet. Odor is more over powering than the honey suckle and doesn't smell as good.

Big leaved tree with flowers. Thought it was tulip poplar at first, but leaves are wrong.

Surprised this little guy stayed around to even get a shot. Thought it was a baby blue heron, but more likely some type of egret.

To lazy to look up what kind of tree, but the bean looking things stood out.

Honey Suckle, love the smell, but it kills my allergies. It's actually less abundant than whatever the white flowered bush/vine that is all over the greenway.

This guy would just barely stick his head out, and I didn't want to hang around to get his picture. He was gone when I came back through 10 minutes later.

I like rocks and anything built with them.

Think this is Queen Ann's Lace. Tried to get a picture of the ladybugs, which were covering it, but the autofocus didn't work the way I wanted it.
Purple clover
Don't know what the white stuff is, it was all over the trail for about 20 yards. Almost like the stuff that comes from a dandelion, except I'm pretty certain this came from a tree, just not sure what kind.
Just took this because it was a huge tree stump.