Saturday, May 14, 2011

MC Miles for Moffitt

Earlier this week I was nominated, by Tom and B.o.b., to volunteer at the Miles for Moffitt 5 mile/5k race on Saturday, May 14Th. The race coordinator was looking for someone who would be willing to call out runners names as they crossed the finish line. Who me? Talk with a microphone in front of a large crowd. I couldn't do something like that without a script. Yeah right. Right up my alley some would say.

Miles for Moffitt is a race used to raise money for cancer research at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Check this link for more information.

I showed up early for my assignment much to the surprise of some fellow BRA runners. I was not having to run so there was no need to drag the morning along. I was given a cordless mic, a laptop on a table, a chair and plenty of shade. There was a timing mat about 50 feet short of the finish line which would send the runners names to the laptop. This would be easy. Just read the names on the screen. Got it. So I thought.

The 5 milers were off and running. About 30 minutes later the 5ker's were sent on their way. I then began to notice that there were lots of runners. I mean lots of runners. That would be lots of names. Oh boy.

The first runners from the 5 miler were now coming in. This was easy. First and last names. Maybe even their home town and a short bio. About 20 minutes later the chaos began. Now there were numerous runners coming in. Groups of runners. Names flashing all over the screen.

Matthew Kinback, Tampa, FL. Rick Brown, Valrico, FL. Pedro Meraz, Wesley Chapel, FL. Jessica Kennedy, Leesburg, FL. Marcia McCormick, New Port Richey, FL. Mark Courchane, Tampa, FL. Brian Zipler, Michael Coyne, Holly Logan, Hillary Adams, Taisiya Tribushnaya (WTH), Bill, Jim, Patricia, Tom, Karen, Chris, Patricia, Karen, John, Lisa, Sara, Amanda, Andrea, Amanda, Elton, Jess, Patricia, Seleighna, Xiomara, Bridgett, Kelsey, Stephen, Steven, Cass, Nancy, Steve, Patricia, Laverne, Shirley, Meckalekahineyho and then it just got crazy. I was just making names up. So many people were popping up on the laptop that I just yelled out, "Give a shout out for this big group of runners. You know who you are."

All kidding aside, I will admit that again I was humbled by watching people finish a race. Whether they were running or walking, I saw finishers who were crying and/or jumping for joy as they crossed the finish line. I didn't know if they were crying because of a self goal or maybe a family member or friend may have a cancer related illness. And for that moment I was able to share their joy/pain by calling their name out and witnessing their accomplishment. I would definitely like to call their names out again next year. I won't wait to be asked. A special thanks to B.o.b. and Tom for thinking of me when the request was put out there.

Now to the Ironman training. After the Moffitt race, 10:30 a.m., I went to Flatwoods and ran 8 miles in the blistering heat. My training is coming along and I will start ramping it up a little. 23 weeks to go.

Toll booths are.....

Monday, May 9, 2011

When 7=13.5

Now that I have started my Ironman training I am going to try and post more often to kind of hold my feet to the flame. The posts will somehow include my training for the day, week or whatever is on my mind.

Some time last week, the BRA majority decided that our long Saturday run would be held at Flatwoods Park. Flatwoods has a paved seven mile loop and some trails in and outside the loop. And depending on which entrance you use, there is an additional half mile or two mile start to the loop. So this means you either have an automatic mile or four miles added to your run. All still sounds like basic math.

Because runners in BRA are such nice people, a carpool location was coordinated for the trek to Flatwoods. Not really. It is because gas is so damn high right now and C-Steve just can't ride his bike on the interstate. We loaded up four vehicles and headed out. Bet Al has never done that.

I still had in my mind that I was going to probably run seven. I say this because for the past few months when the Saturday runs were held at Natures Way (a road around a neighborhood in Brandon), I would meet the group in a different location and would end up running only seven instead of the minimum 10.3. So I figured two miles to the loop and then seven on the loop and then two back would be eleven miles. If I went part of the way out and then back I could still make it some sort of seven if need be. But I am one of those runners that just runs how I feel and usually doesn't wear a watch. Not sure if that makes me a ZEN runner but whatever.

A few of the runners were going to run trails and the rest. You guessed it. Were not. I was still on the fence about running trails. You know how much I like trail running based on my earlier post about the J'ville Xterra Tri.

Two miles to the first water stop. I felt good. A good pace and I was actually running in the front of the front pack which was actually a warm up for them but hey I will take it. We re-group and start on the 7 mile loop. I am still undecided about the trail run. Here comes the entrance to the trail and there I go in to the trail behind C-Steve and Speedy Jan. I was followed by Strawberry E and a female I had not seen before. I shall call her, "Soon to be ahead of me" for now.

I felt good in the beginning on this here trail. Nothing crazy. No hills or fallen trees to jump over. Just a nice back and forth trail which began to seem to take forever. Several times we would cross a dirt road but not the paved loop. I kept thinking that at any turn we would end up back on the paved loop and I could just head back towards that two mile entrance. Not happening.

We came to a rest area. I don't think it was an official rest area but I will call it that since it seems they were waiting on me to catch up. I asked Speedy Jan if we had been running for about 37 miles already and she said, "no. Just 5.3." We continued on. One thing about trail runs is that you can make your own trails if you wish to catch up quicker. I did that more than once.

We finally come to the paved loop. I was told that we were now on mile 7. Yey. I am done. What do you mean this part of the paved loop is the 3.5 point. So your saying it is 5.5 miles back to the cars. No more yey. "Why the long face Captain?"

I know you math geeks are thinking. "Captain Nuts. 7+5.5= 12.5" I realize that. Remember that half mile section to the seven mile loop I mentioned earlier. Well that is where a bathroom is located and I needed to get to that spot. This was not the time for a woodsman type potty break. I will save you the details of that mile. Unless you request more info. So there is the extra mile to make it 13.5.

That last 6.5 miles were ran without any company. Which is how I usually prefer it as long as I have a working ipod which just so happens I did. I will admit my ass was tired. I kept a nice steady pace and only walked at the two remaining water stops. This lone runner was hoping someone, anyone, would have come back and ran in with me for the last mile just for a mental boost but that's not going to happen in the Ironman so I guess it was okay that it didn't happen here.

I get back to the cars just as the search parties were being organized. I got kudos for running more than I set out to. I smile on the outside but was not on the inside. Nothing like kicking off my Ironman training with a bang.

For all of it.........

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Miss You Mama.....

This is a re-post for someone who most definitely deserves it. Happy Mother's Day Mom. I still miss you.

Dear Mom, I know it has been a while since we have talked and even longer since I wrote you. I want to tell you how much I love and miss you dearly. You are still such a special woman in my life and hold a deep part of my heart. I should not have waited for this "Mother's Day" to reach out to you. Life sometimes gets so busy that we tend to overlook the people that mean so much to us. That is a lame excuse but it is the best I can do right now. On this day I would like to reflect back on our lives together as Mother and Son.

I know it was hard for you at times raising your three children as a single mother for the most part. You working those long hours only to come home and still manage to cook our dinner and put up with all the fussing that two brothers and a sister do. You were so strong not to let it show but I later learned that you were so tired at times and still kept going. Being the oldest was such a big responsibility for me but you never asked me to do things that you did not think I could do. I am so grateful now for that. When I was young I did not realize you were setting me in motion to be the man I am today. Absent all the crazy stuff I seem to find myself doing but hey if it were easy everyone would do it.

I want to thank you mom for being there for me as I was growing up. I can remember all those times you assured me everything would be okay. Like the time when my sister threw the plugged in light socket at me and it stuck to my chest and started electrocuting me. You assured me that I was not dying and the black hairs on my chest were just an early sign of puberty. And when my brother would throw his Christmas Tonka trucks at me out of anger you would assure me that he would eventually grow out of playing with toy trucks. I remember when I was playing outside and came inside thirsty and started drinking from the water jug in the kitchen. After I finished half the gallon I then looked on the jug and read "plant food". You assured me that I was not going to start growing broccoli in my stomach. I remember when my heart would get broken by a girl from school. You would tell me there are other fishes in the sea. You would also tell me that it also doesn't hurt to be a shark every once in a while. I thank you for not getting mad when you returned home from a week long business trip and my girlfriend had moved in. I think you knew it was a temporary thing and also knew she had a different agenda. Some lessons in life are best learned the hard way you would say. You would padlock the cupboards because you were tired of my brother and I eating all the groceries before the week was over.

I would like to apologize to you again for all those things I did growing up that made you upset, disappointed or down right pissed off at me. There are some things that I did that I never told you about. I do remember you saying long ago, "Your Mother always knows." I agree with that statement whole heartily. There were times once I became an adult that we would talk about things I did in high school and you would finish my sentences. "I can't believe you knew that." I use that statement now with the girls but I replace Mother with Father. But then again there are things that this Father may never want to know or at least admit knowing.

I would also like to thank you mom for being such a great Grandmother. The girls love you so. They talk about you and the fun times we have had. The times when they would stay with you when we were on vacation. I knew the only reason you wanted us up there was to have the girls stay with you. You taught them so much that I am sure it will help them in their adult lives. They miss you so much.

I appreciate those times we would talk about things in our lives as friends would do. You and I became great friends as we got older. We became great listeners as well. You were wiser than I could ever be. I try to pass it on when dealing with the girls. I can also see some of you in them when they come at me with something I have done wrong. Especially the oldest one. Which seems to be more than needed lately.

There is some much more I want to say to you right now. If I had the chance I would. I will say that I love you and forever will. This Mother's Day gig is all about you but you never needed a specific day to be recognized. You were the best mother you could be everyday and I would tell you that right now if I could.

I remember the last time I told you I loved you. It was on August 9, 2005. You laid in that hospital bed with complications from Colon Cancer surgery. You never knew you had it. Just some exploratory surgery because of some recent abdominal pain. Who would have known. We were already told that you would be leaving us soon and there was nothing we could do about it. You were not even awake. I held your finger ever so tight as a child would do for that comfort feeling when being led somewhere by their parent. You led me to so many places mom. Some of those places I have yet to reach but have not gotten off the road. Merely a journey, right. I only let go mom once I knew you were at peace. Keep looking down on us and know that we love you with no regrets. "A Mother always knows."

I love you,


As a friend of mine said in an earlier posting, always tell your family/friends you love them. You never know when they will be leaving you for the final time.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Streak Continues....

Yesterday I finished my, what seems like 50th, 16th St Anthony's Triathlon in a row. St. Anthony's is an Olympic distance tri which usually consists of a 1.5k swim, 40k bike and a 10k run. I say usually because the past few years the swim course has been cancelled, shortened and deadly. This year, due to high winds, the swim was moved and shorted to a 1k. My time of 2:31 was about average for me but I am done settling for average.

I will admit that I have grown tired of this race. Not the race itself because the course and venue are great. It is the mentality I have when it comes to training for this race. Since I have finished it so many times I am of the mindset that "oh I can finish that with no problem." That is true but it causes me to lose focus on training and I basically roll out of bed race morning and go do it. And it never fails that when I get half way through the run I start to wish I had ran more. No one to blame but me. Imagine if I totally trained for this race what I could accomplish. Well anyways, I digress.

This years race was no exception. A great, short, swim. A better than average, windy, bike. Followed by guessed it. Slower run. I still averaged a 9:08 pace for a 10k but I know I can do better. I get frustrated when I pass all these guys on the bike and they turn around and pass me on the run. I shall work on that.

There were great moments yesterday. Several people from the BRA running group competed, very well I must say, in their first Olympic distance triathlon. All of them did say they would do it next year. We should also move our tent closer to the finish line so we can all cheer on our friends as they finish. There was also a guy that used to weigh 500 pounds cross the finish line. The race also has a Challenged Athletes division. This will humble you watching the Challenged Athletes cross the finish line. As a side note, I first started doing triathlons the year after I watched the St Anthony's Triathlon 17 years ago. Seeing people giving it their all and realizing that I could do the same if I just tri(ed) got me motivated.

I now need a new goal to focus on. I have decided to participate in my first Ironman distance triathlon this year. The Great Floridian in Clermont, Florida on Oct 22. I realize that I can't just roll out of bed and do that race. I must train and get my mind right well before September. I say this as I am eating two pieces of cheesecake, but what the hell today is my birthday. I am not getting any younger and the Ironman triathlon is next on the tri ladder.

Famous first words, "starting tomorrow" I will begin my Ironman training journey. This will have to include running more than twice a month. I should also watch what I eat as well. That does not mean I will totally give up the McDouble. Just not more than one a week. I am allowed a cheat day you know. Oh and I will have to cut back on beer. Not too much since I homebrew now and I must taste test what I make. It's the right thing to do before allowing others to drink what I make.

Steps To The Rave.......