Sunday, April 25, 2010

Too many withdrawals without enough deposits...

That's the analogy Beth gave me today. No, it wasn't about our financial situation. But not that we're swimming in money or anything--actually our Jetta's acting up and we were pricing new cars this past week and we're trying to figure out how to budget it!!

What she was referring to was my fitness level. I've been taking some "withdrawals" from the "Bank of Fitness" two of the last three weekends, however (as noted in previous blog entry), the deposits back into the Bank of Fitness have been sporadic at best. It's been a crazy last two weeks in the height of track season and being away travelling for Beth's triathlon last weekend. This past week, I took off Monday to sleep in. Tuesday I had a really solid workout (4x400, 2x800, 4x400 - finished with a 72!), 45 min run Wed, and light run Thursday. Friday and Saturday no runs due to track and car stuff.

So, I came in to today's well-tapered at least (although not well rested as again noted in previous blog entry). With it being a somewhat flatter course than Martha's run, I wanted to improve on my 37:30. The number 36:00 was stuck in my head, so I went in to the race shooting for 5:45 pace.

Mile 1 a little hot at 5:36. Mile 2 uphill and 6:08 and it deteriorated from there. Mile 3 a finish of the up and then down and flat for a 6:02, 18:30-ish at the 5k turnaround, 6:08 mile 4, 6:15 mile 5 that was ALL downhill (ugh!), 6:06 mile 6, and 1:16 0.2 to finish at 37:32. (By the way, Beth's last 0.2 was 1:17. I was slacking to the finish--especially considering I just did a 1:12 0.25 on the track Tuesday. Sheesh!).

The good news is that I did run 37:32 (6:03 pace) and was the 4th male overall (5th overall--beaten out by a female Olympic Trials qualifier). Who would have thought that 3 years ago I'd be disappointed with a 37:32 10k? I guess it's all perspective. And, like Beth noted, I just haven't had the time to put in the proper training to maintain a high level of fitness to improve my times more. I could cite factors that it was in the low 70's and felt a little hot and it was on a rails-to-trails surface, but mostly it's just the conditioning issue.

We did get to meet some people today and make some connections. Beth met up with a friend from high school that she had been in touch with via FB. I had a person after the race come up to me and say, "I hope you don't think that I'm stalking you or anything, but I noticed that we have a mutual friend on Facebook." Turns out that my roommate from my freshman year at Elizabethtown College knew her from 6th grade. Small world! Also, the current Etown track/XC coach went to high school with her. Small world x2!!

So, I'll take it and do my best to put in more time to get ready for the Gatons Memorial 5k Race in Greensburg on Memorial Day. It's a great race in honor of a great person and coach. If you're in the area, definitely come out and support it!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Track Happened

It's been a whirlwind April around here. Mostly due to track season arriving in earnest. To sum up the lack of blogging/facebook in two words: "Track Happened"

To quickly recap the last two weeks, I thought it would be entertaining to attempt to speed blog on the theme of two-word sentences like the overarching them of Track Happenend.

Tue 4/13-Wed 4/14: Drive in. Work out. School day. Track practice. Go home. Eat dinner. Get sleep.

Thu 4/15: Much same. Pickup bike. Now fixed. Haven't ridden.

Fri 4/16: Beth's toy. New bike. Butler Invitational. Big storm. Very wet. Left early. Coach's decision.
Sat 4/17: Morning practice. Trip begins. 6 hours. Entered Bumpass. Prepped tri. Ate Noodles. Saw lake. Mets-Cardinals. 20-inning game.
Sun 4/18: Race morning. Cold start. Took pics.

Beth won.
Met Brian.
Ate Noodles. Drove home. Pirates sweep. 10pm arrival. 11pm bedtime.

Mon 4/19: Lacked sleep. Pre-meet. Long day. Grocery shopping.

Tue 4/20: Long day. Track meet. At home. More responsibilities. 3:30pm start. 9pm left. 9pm dinner.

Wed 4/21: Car appointment. Dropped off. Ran in. School day. Had practice. Ran back. Repairs expensive. New car? 7:30pm dinner. Cut grass. Broke lawnmower. Wheel snapped. Replaced wheels. Lawnmower alive.
Thu 4/22: Workout early. School day. Pirates swept. Brewers 20. Pirates 0. That hurt. New Ford? Test drive. Get quote. Probably not. 8pm dinner. Graded tests. Heavy eyes. 11pm bedtime.
Fri 4/23: Week ends! Drove Beth. School day. Practice after. Pickup Beth. Eat Qdoba! and Coldstone! Sam's club. Got pretzel. 11pm bedtime.

Sat 4/24: Hempfield Invitational. All day. Eat dinner. Saturday church.
Sun 4/25: 10k race. With Beth. No rain? We'll see.

Good night!

Monday, April 12, 2010

An Off-Week and Martha's Run RR

Easter was great last Sunday. After a great Saturday night service at Cornerstone in Murrysville (we joked that we were celebrating Easter with the Aussies!!), we were down in Greensburg for Easter lunch. Lots of good eats and good conversation with family.

And so began my "off" week as my week off finished. I just felt a little off-center all week....a little odd perhaps.

Beginning with staying up to complete procrastinated grading until 11pm Sunday night, I was back to the grind on Monday at school. I didn't quite finish it all Sunday night, so I wrapped it up Monday night with another 11pm grading night. (Note: usually in bed around 9:30-10pm).

Wednesday started the PSSA testing period, which also meant that I was temporarily kicked out of my normal classroom for a few periods a day (just luck of the draw with where my classroom was located). We also administered a Pitt Calculus test Wednesday and were grading it throughout the day. We also had a department meeting after school which meant I missed part of track practice. More off-kilter.

Wednesday on the way home, I got a call from Carnegie Learning (math text and software company in Pittsburgh that I've worked with the past few summers). They had a pressing deadline and was wondering if I could spare a few hours to help out. So, Thursday night I was up again until after 11pm working on this.

Friday was the last day of the week (finally!), but it was just COLD after school and we had a pretty crappy jumping practice. Ugh!

Just an off-week.

Anyway, I was scheduled to run Martha's Run 10k on Saturday. Her story is a very compelling one. In short, she worked at the Cold Case unit in DC when a person came in and started shooting. She returned fire and shot the perpetrator, but she died in the process. The race is designed to remember her heroism and share her story. Also, it's a pretty hilly course.

Two other math teachers who I've been informally 'training' have been gearing up for this race since back in January. I was excited for them. One of them, PB, hadn't ever done a running race before. He was a softball and bowling guy, but had gotten a little lazy in the past few years. His family had a 'Biggest Loser' competition and I've been helping him get in shape and lost weight since January. The other one, JW, has run a few 5k's and 10k's but is still pretty new to running.

For me, after riding last Thursday and Saturday then running 14 miles last Sunday (not to mention some weird color bruising on my quads I assume from my bike wreck Thursday), my legs felt like lead on our Tuesday run. Thursday wasn't much better and the lack of sleep throughout the week didn't help.

So, all that being said, I really didn't know if I'd be able to hit a goal of 6:00 pace for the 10k. It was really hilly (did I mention that?) and I just wasn't sure how the week's toll would affect me.

Regardless, I figured I'd just go out and do my best and see what happened.

I knew based on past years I should be up near the top 10 if I did my 6:00 pace. So, out I go and settle in to 5th place by about a half mile in the race. The top 3 people were gone by the first mile, the fourth place guy was just ahead of me, and I crossed mile 1 at 6:09. Settled in and just followed the number 4 runner.

Mile 2 was a finish of an uphill, then flat and downhill and I split a 5:36.

Mile 3 was a finish of the down, back a BIG up, and then back down for a 6:17. 5k (marked!!) was 18:30-40-ish and I was just hoping I could duplicate that for the 2nd half. Still with the 4th place guy 15 or so seconds ahead of me. Just keeping him in my sights.
Mile 4 was more up and down (did I mention this was a hilly course?) for a 6:08.

Between 4 and 5, the course doubles back on itself and it works out that I see my two fellow teachers. Not realizing that the top 3 were WAY ahead of us, they thought I was in 2nd. Ha!

Just wanted to get to mile 5 because there was A LOT of uphills. 6:30. Ouch.

Then, from 5 to the finish it was flat-down-flat. I figured this was my chance to catch 4th place. I felt like I was gaining a little ground, flailing my arms as I go down the hill, but just couldn't close the gap. Somewhat similar to my last 5k on the South Side. Mile 5 to 6 (they had a mile 6 marker!!) was 5:39 (told you it was downhill) and the 0.2 was 1:09.

So, finishing time was 37:27 (6:02 pace), 5th overall, and 1st in my age group. I'll take it all things considered coming in this past week. My cousin K was the 3rd female (she's training for the Pittsburgh Marathon and did well). Her dad, JT finished solid and right behind him were JW and PB right around 56 minutes. Coming in, the goal was to shoot for 9:00-9:30 pace and keep it under and hour and they hit just over 9:00 pace. Great for them!

So, off to bed and hope to do a little better with my sleeping this week.
...Oh yeah! Pirates started this week. That'll have to be another blog....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Down Goes Frazier!

First bike ride of the year today. What a beautiful day--it's up to 75 degrees already. Not bad for April 1. We've had spring break week at my high school, so I've been off all week. Although we still had track practice in the mornings. However, it's much easier to get up knowing all you have to do is conduct practice and then not have to worry about teaching for the rest of the day.

So Ben, Beth, and I set out on our 2+ hour ride. Both of them have ridden outside a couple of times already, but I figured I'd tag along anyway and hope to keep up.....easier said than done with those two. Our route had a handful of stoplights which played in to my favor as they would be stopped at a light and I'd be able to catch up. Plus, if they got through and I didn't, they would be nice enough to wait for me.

As we're coming home on Freeport Road through Aspinwall, I get my bottle and drink a little bit of Gatorade. Next thing I know, the stoplight turns red ahead of us and I've got the bottle in my right hand. I try to balance myself while holding the bottle, but need to slow down at the same time. I squeeze the left brake (front wheel) and forgot (again first time out on the roads since October) that it's a *little* more sensitive than the back brake. Next thing I know, I'm going up and over the handlebars and down. (Cue the audio clip- "Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!)

My first 'wreck' unless you count my tipping over at lights and stop signs my first few times out because I couldn't unclip in a timely manner. Fortunately, I was coasting to a stop and probably only going about 10mph at the time. Definitely could have been A LOT worse. As evidenced below, the left forearm and right knee took the brunt of the impact. Just brush burns and a little bump on the knee. I told Beth I felt like I just finished a softball game and did some sliding on the basepaths. Nothing worse than that.

Actually, the bike probably ended up with the worst of it. As you can see, the left gearshift paddle snapped off. Beth saw it laying on the side of the road and we picked it up, so I'm going to see if superglue and some engineering and support can provide a temporary solution. Fortunately, it's the front gears by the pedals instead of the back gears, so I don't use it as often during the ride (especially on flatter rides). I was able to still use it and shift, but it's tougher to shift that little nub--the whole Torque = Force x Moment Arm physics stuff. The handlebars got a little knocked out of place, too. Nothing a little hex wrench couldn't adjust to get me home.

Finally, as I was 'documenting' my bumps and bruises, Roxy felt like she needed to get some attention and posed for a picture. Silly dog.

Off to get cleaned up and some other stuff done today. Have a great Easter weekend!