Saturday, December 1, 2012

Race To Panera Recap

Another edition of Recap 101...
This morning I decided I didn't want to run. Not sure if it was lack of desire or lingering injuries but either way I didn't feel like getting up to run. I still wanted to meet up at Panera though. I am not really training for any races. I have a few on tap but not training for them yet. What about Ragnar you say. I don't count Ragnar as a race. Plus, if I were to seriously train for Ragnar, I would put on too much weight with all the McDonald's, whiskey and spoons full of goodness I'd consume.
I figured since I am all eco-friendly and such I should just ride my bike to Panera. Shoot it is only three miles from my house. Can't be that hard. And then I started to doubt myself. Am I trained? Did I get enough rest? Did I eat enough carbs the night before? Will that six pack of Nati Lite lay heavy on my stomach? And most important of all, which bike would I use. Should I use my tri, road or mountain bike. Maybe dust off the Old Heater that lil' Timmy gave me back in 72'.
My nutrition this morning was sub par. I had two cups of black coffee and a cranberry bagel. I lightly toasted the bagel and added a small amount of butter on both sides because I like butter. And as with drinking coffee in the morning you know what happened next. Yep, I felt wide awake.
Now that I have completed my pre-race/ride ritual, I needed to figure out what I would wear. I didn't think I needed to wear a "kit". For those of you that are not road bike enthusiasts, a "kit" is a matching outfit you wear while riding a bike. When I say matching, I don't mean just colors. It also has to be stretchy, lots of advertisements and flashy. I decided I would just wear some cotton cargo shorts, a t-shirt and a pullover jacket. It was still a little chilly out.
Now to my bike decision. I went into the garage and then remembered that I had loaned Old Heater to Sullivan back in July and she hasn't returned it. Might as well use one of my mountain bikes. The one I chose hadn't been ridden since Ragnar. A Schwinn Moab with a silver/gray and red paint scheme. Added some air, dusted off the saddle and off I go.
I rode the most direct route to Panera. And when I say most direct route, I mean I rode through yards and over sidewalks and through the woods and yes you guessed it, passed Grandma's house on the way. I made it to Panera without any injuries.
Once I got there, I saw there were already some BRA runners gathered at tables along the south outdoor seating area. Others arrived shortly there after. I will not mention any names at this time because I forgot to bring the waivers. I will say that it was great to see Steve was back in town. He had been on a super secret mission for several months. Welcome back Sweaty. We all missed ya.
Now as with most Saturday mornings at Panera many things are discussed. And I mean many. I found out the word on the streets is that 70.3's are easier than marathons. There is an on-going poll of who may have a dungeon in their house. Spiders don't grow on trees. Why would a man wear band aids on his nipples while not wearing a shirt. Anyways, to find out more just show up on a Saturday after a BRA run.
I needed to refuel for my ride back so I got a peecan twist and a cherry cheese danish. A little money savings tip from me to you. When ordering at Panera, always ask for it to go. You are taxed, if at all, lower when it is to go. I ate my snacks/desserts/pastries and yapped for few minutes more. I didn't even drink fluids. Weird.
I then headed back home. I was almost exhausted. No not really. I did lather up a little more than usual while showering though.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Recap Training

I was recently told that my recaps seem to be a little late and other times there are no recaps when there should be. So I figured I might as well just recap all kinds of stuff just to get back in the groove. So here goes a recap of my 5 mile run from this morning.
I have only run once since the Florida Ironman and have gained, on purpose, about 15 pounds as well. So several days ago I agreed to meet Dorcas this morning at 7 a.m. at the Y for the 5 mile Natures Way loop. I did not check the weather nor think it was going to be in the low 40's.
When I got up this morning I had to figure out what to wear because I needed to be warm. I decided I would wear my TRI shorts to cut down on the chafing, knee length outer shorts, a short sleeved tech shirt with a long sleeved tech shirt over that. By the way the long sleeve tech shirt was the white one from last years Brandon Half. I also wore my blueish calf sleeves, ankle socks and my Asics 1170's. Just before I left my house I decided I also needed a knit hat and another pair of socks which I would use as gloves. Socks do make good gloves. Kind of like dual purpose mittens.
I then drove to the Y. The traffic was sparse. Could be because it is Black-Friday. I still kept my speed at around 35-40 mph. I made two green lights so I figured luck was on my side.
Dorcas of course arrived running. I exited my car and yawned. The stretch caused by my yawn was all the stretching I was going to do.
We both started running towards the tennis courts. Neither one of us were wearing watches so the pace was going to be a feels good one. I like "feels good" pace runs. We made it to the tennis courts with relative ease. No complaints on my end and none from her that she wanted to admit. I took two sips of water from that water fountain that is by the parking lot. We then continued our run. I felt pretty good at the first mile marker. I decided to continue to run the same pace. I felt pretty good to the second mile marker. There is a hill just before the second mile marker. Have you ever noticed there is a fenced area on the left if you are running up the hill?
We continued our run back to the Y. I picked up the pace a little with a mile to go. We made it back to the ball field parking lot entrance without any incidents of noteworthy. I suggested we start walking as we got to the parling lot. Dorcas agreed. We walked for about 100-150 yards to where I was parked. We must have talked for what seemed like 5 minutes. And to think this loop again in the a.m.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Florida Ironman 2012 Training Summary

It has been a week now since I finished my second ironman distance triathlon.  First and foremost I want to thank my family for being patient and also encouraging during my training.  I  also thank my wife for being such a great Sherpa during the days leading up to and the day/night of my race.  I also need to thank my training partners and close friends for their support, advice and chuckles. You know who you are so no names needed. Yet.

I would be remiss if I didn't start this recap by telling you a little bit about my journey to my second ironman distance race.  I say second ironman distance because last year I did the Great Floridian which is an ironman distance TRI. It has the same mileage but due to all the legal mumbo jumbo they can not call it an Ironman and instead call it an Ultra Triathlon. But to me this would be my second ironman.

The Florida Ironman is so popular that it sells out the day after the race.  You have three ways to sign up.  If you are competing, you can sign up for next years race the day before your race.  You can volunteer for the current race and sign up for next years race the day after the race you volunteered for.  And finally you can try your luck by register on-line the day after when they open for general registration.  I chose the latter last year and was able to register before they sold out in 16 minutes.  Lucky me right.  Or so I thought at the time.

I had never registered for a race a year in advance but I was excited to get in.  That was crazy.  A year of training. Shiiit.  That is a long time to just swim, bike and run.  Should I get a plan? Should I get a coach? Should I train more than I did the previous year? Should I break a leg? All of those things sounded great and were viable options but none are me.  I have a hard time following a plan.  I don't like to be coached and I get bored with all the training.  But as long as I know that going in I would have no one else to blame. You get out what you put in has probably been said to me over and over again. I knew for damn sure I could pay for it on race day. I only had to beat 15:01:00.

The bad thing about a big race in October/November while living in Florida is having to also train in Florida.  I am a fan of the heat, at times, I do not like to train in the heat.  And an Ironman means long hours of training.  You can start before daylight at the pool and on the long run days but not so for the long bike days.  I don't like to use the trainer. Again that word boring comes to mind.  There is no way I will sit on a bike for over an hour and go nowhere. Dumb.

As the months ticked away, my training was far less than the previous year.  60% less.  The more important things in life seem to get in the way and I had the mindset that I had already done an ironman so what is the big deal.  I can do another one. All I had to do was get out of the water. I knew Florida Ironman was an easier course than Clermont.  I was also trying to avoid over training which I feared would lead to a race ending injury.  Or so I told myself that with fingers crossed.  Although there were times I was in the frame of mind that a simple hang nail would have been a race ending injury.

My running went from five days a week to barely two.  I would do long runs of 14 miles on Saturday with a total of 18 miles for the week.  I found myself looking for a 12 week, 8 week and eventually a 4 week marathon plan. Well even a 5k plan would have worked at this point.

I was biking three times a week with a long ride on Sunday.  In a six month period I did three rides of 100 miles but all others were never over 70ish.  Not because I didn't want to.  Well strike that.  It was because I didn't want to and my body also wasn't cooperating.  When riding in the heat, I seem to hit that wall at about mile 70 and can not recover quickly. I also have an issue with taking in enough calories while riding.  I start out with all kinds of food and end with more leftover than should be.  I seem to forget to eat while riding.  I definately have to work on my calorie intake during the Ironman because from what I remember, 112 is greater that 70. Just saying.

Swimming has somehow over the years become my stronger event.  Don't know why.  Not sure if the others have just come down to my swimming or my swimming has improved.  Anyways I also did not swim much.  I maybe swam twice a week which included one open water two mile swim.  Some of my swims took longer because those were on the days that I swam with Jan and Karin.  We had this routine of yapping before the swim and then at the turn around.  I thought for sure they would have ran out of things before we swam but nope, they thought of new shit to yap about while swimming the first mile.  I was not concerned about my swim mileage because we were also going to be able to wear wetsuits.  Can't drown while wearing one.  Have you tried? Can't do it can you.

So my training is best summed up as a constant taper.  I also figured it would be a great base for St Anthony's. 40% of what I should have been doing or of what others I know were doing.  Hats off to them for keeping at it.  I just did not want to.  No time now for coulda, shoulda, woulda.  It was race week.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A New TRI Season....Sort Of

Tomorrow starts another Tri season for me. Well sort of. I have new focus and direction this year. I am training more for Ironman and Half Ironman distance races from now on. The sprints and such will be a thing of the past. Because of this decision, I felt it necessary to have a chat with my old friend the Sprint Triathlon.

Sprint Triathlon: Welcome back. Did you miss me?

Walt Smithendorf: Nope.

ST: Seriously? You mean after 18 years you have had enough?

WS: Nope. It's not that.

ST: Then what? Am I not enough for you?

WS: Kinda sort of.

ST: Well then do tell.

WS: I am bored with you. You don't excite me anymore. When we first met you were a challenge. I had to work hard for our mornings together. But now I can just roll out of bed to do you. You have also become expensive for just an hours workout. I need more.

ST: Bored? No challenge? Expensive? More? What if I made the swim rough? Blew more on the bike? Got you wet during the run? Let you play for free? Would that change your mind?

WS: Probably not. You would still be the same old Basic Sprint Tri.

ST: WELL then. You can go...

WS: Now. Now. Don't get mad. I found someone new and I need to focus more time on her.

ST: What? Someone new? Who is she?

WS: Ultra.

ST: Oh. Her.

WS: Yes. Her. We met last year and I fell in love. Just a little. I know she will take some time getting used to. She packs a big punch and I have to be in tip top shape to play with her. She is one of the main reasons I can't play with you that much anymore.

ST: Sure. Aren't you playing with me tomorrow? And my sister Olympia later this month?

WS: Yes I am playing with you tomorrow. I got a good deal on our date. Now your sister is different. She and I have a special bond.

ST: So that's it? We're done?

WS: Nope. I haven't totally turned my back on you. There will be some other dates out there that will be a challenge. I am just not putting much work in to spending time with the "basic" you. It would make no sense for me to focus my training on you and risk getting injured before my date with Ultra.

ST: Ultra. Well, you can only spend so much time with her before she either breaks your spirit or your wallet.

WS: Thanks. I discovered that already. She almost got my spirit on our first date and our second date has already shrunk my wallet. I realized last year that I didn't give her enough focus and the attention that she deserved. I know this year I will have to start my training earlier and have to crank it up well past what it was last year.

ST: Well good luck. I ain't mad at you. I know you will be back. Maybe not permanently but you will be back. They all come back and yet some never leave.

WS: Thank you. See you in the morning.

That went easier than I thought it would. This was a conversation that had to happen. I must break away from the same old same old. I have been known to get easily bored. That's probably why I have so many books with the page turned within the first 20 pages.

I am focusing on the bigger races now. I know the bigger races take more training time and focus and I can't spare it on the sprints. I see friends of mine who train, train, train and end up injured. Injuries happen I suppose but if I can minimize that by choosing when and what to train for then I may avoid one.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I'm Baaaaack...Did You Miss Me?

I decided to take the month of February off. And to top it off, there was an extra day thrown in there this year. I had to recover from January. I had to do some mending and I also had a big case of writer's block. Not that I didn't have lots to say. I always have plenty to say. I just couldn't put it on paper.

Well as the title says, I am baaaaack. My aches and pains in the knee have seemed to disappear. I thought for a while there I was going to have to get an MRI. I just backed off my running and added swimming and biking instead of the co-pay. Seems I was having more aches and pains when I was just running. I have gone a week of 30+ miles running with no pains. Well I also bought new shoes which helped. I started swimming with a masters group which really pushes my ass. It's one thing to swim back and forth at your own leisure but another to keep from having the pool closed because you couldn't get out of the pool before you threw up.

Swimming? Biking? Running? Sounds like I am training for a triathlon. Well as a matter of fact I am. Tis' the season. You true triathletes know what I am talking about and should be getting excited. I have a new strategy and focus this year which will be revealed at Escape from Ft Desoto. This will be my first race of the season. I will also use this race as a warm-up for St Anthony's. I am hoping to PR at St A's this year. It is within reach.

Sorry this was a short post. I could only put my fingers in up to the second knuckle. Just warming them up.

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Time For Her To Fly

It is bad when a race pacer becomes the pacee. This is what happened at the ING MEami Half Marathon yesterday. I was dropped by the person I was pacing. Yikes.

The past three half marathons I completed were playing the part of a pacer. I helped Kristen, a fellow BRA member, PR on all of them. At least 2 & 11/13.1 of them.

I was originally signed up to do the MEami marathon until I developed a knee injury about 3 weeks ago. At that point my training slowed and also my motivation. I then convinced Kristen to let me pace her to a 3rd PR at the MEami Half. She agreed. Not sure if it was reluctant or not but I didn't have to pressure her...much. Part of me still wanted to do the full. I would pace Kristen to the 12.8 mile point and then be a game day decision on left for the half or right for the full. This was on the assumption that my knee would improve. But I still didn't have the motivation for the full so I decided I would just do the half and save myself from any further injuries which could/would hamper much more important races around the corner.

So having that in mind, I also didn't care much about my nutrition the week leading up to the half. I ate at McDonalds several times during the week. On Saturday, the day before this race, I had a 24oz Corona at 8am on the ride to MEami. I had McDonalds for lunch. Several more beers later in the night. A sleeve of Girl Scout Trefoils at 10pm. I should have been better since I did have a responsibility to someone but I was thinking "it's just a half".

The MEami marathon was sold out at 25,000. Very intimidating to some. Including Kristen. We met at the corral and I told her the game plan. She was very nervous. She had also been having some ankle issues the past week and didn't want that to hinder her performance. I couldn't do anything about the ankles but I was able to calm her nerves about the race. Just run like it's a training run with your BRA friends. Run right behind me while it's crowded. If you start to fall back yell at me and I will slow down and pull you right back up. Take some type of liquid each chance you get except for the last mile unless your dying. I will set the pace so don't look at your watch.

Speaking of watches. I turn my Garmin on a few minutes before the start and I get the message batteries low. I have Kristen give me her Garmin and she takes mine. I was also wearing the GoPro so there will be video coming. I may need to do some editing first.

We start out towards the front of our corral which had been moved up to the starting line. We averaged about an 8:15ish through the first few miles. It was very humid. I think it was over 80% which as a Floridian we should be used to but it doesn't help. The first water stop was after the 3 mile mark. We fuel up and continue on. We start up one of the bridges when I hear Kristen yelling my name. I got lost in the moment and had picked the pace up a little bit and her ankles were also starting to hurt a little. I brought the pace down for her to get with me and then I gradually picked it back up some. Still hovering above 8:15ish to 8:30's.

I was starting to have some nice stomach cramps. I knew I needed to make a pit stop at some point. I decided to make that stop just after mile 5. I told Kristen to keep the same pace and stay on the right side and I will catch up to her.

I took care of business and I damn sure felt better.

An observation here. Running on South Beach at about 7 a.m., you see who some of the party girls are. There were women in tight dresses and high ass heels walking down Ocean. I don't know if they were coming from or going too breakfast. Or maybe it was the "walk of shame".

Off now to catch Kristen. She either had a damn good pace going or my break was longer than I thought. It took me 28 minutes to catch her. I thought for a while maybe I missed her at one of the three water stops I passed. I was running about 8:08 or better. I was so wanting to catch her hoping I could drop the pace at that point. My knee was also starting to hurt more than I expected. I should have slowed my pace and realized I had the miles to catch her.

I then saw her just after the 8 mile mark. I was happy. Turns out she was too. It was at this point when she starts to slow and needed me there for the push. I told her she was doing great.

We did slow the pace to just above 8:40, but we were well ahead of a PR on the current pace. My knee started hurting a little bit more. But I was also getting tired. I misjudged the "it's just a half". We kept the same pace to just about the 10 mile mark. Kristen was running strong. No complaints. Or at least she wasn't saying them out loud.

It was at this point I realized that she was now becoming the pacer. I gave her her Garmin back and told her that she needed to wear it in case I had to stop because of my knee. The truth was that I knew I was going to have to stop but not because of my knee. I was getting tired and she was wearing me out. This was her race. I wanted her to have her watch so she could get the time when she crossed the finish line.

She pulled away from me before mile 11 and I was able to catch back up but only for a short distance. I slowed and she didn't. It was time for her to fly and not return to the nest.

I ended up walking a little and then hobbled in to the finish. I shall race another day. I am of the philosophy that "I run because I want to. Not because I have to."

So Kristen, can you pace me on my next half? Great job.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good Guys 4...Bad Guys 0...or a PSA

This post is a few weeks overdue. I had to wait til the dust, bonds and attorneys settled.

I spent the week after Christmas with my daughters and family in Georgia. Two of the days during the week were spent skiing in North Carolina. I was sort of in mid-training form for the Miami Marathon. I counted the two days of skiing as cardio but couldn't log my miles because I forgot to wear my Garmin. Oh well. I know I sweated none the less.

I wanted to get atleast one run in while out of town. The only day I had available was the last Friday of the year. I was going to go to Kennesaw Mountain National Park and use my GoPro to film my run. I was actually excited to do this run. I should also mention that I love my new GoPro. You should check out some of my videos on Youtube. Santa brought it to me. Thanks again Santa.

Kennesaw Mountain was the site of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain during the 1864 Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War, in which the Union forces of General William Tecumseh Sherman launched a bloody frontal attack on the Confederate Army of Tennessee, which was commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston. Federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner of Major League Baseball, was named after the battle, in which his father nearly lost his left leg. That's a brief history of the mountain.

I checked on line and found out that there were over 15 miles of running trails in and around the park. I needed to do a long run but did not bring my trail shoes for this trip. Should I use that as an excuse to shorten my mileage. Hey why not. I figured I would do the one mile up hill run for starters and then head to The Varsity for my chili dawgs, onion rings and a frosted orange.

I got to the park in the mid-afternoon only to discover this place was pretty damn popular with the tourists, local runners and turns out the thugs. There was no parking in the main lot so I had to drive to the new overflow parking lot. This lot looked like it would hold about a hundred cars. There were probably 30 or so cars scattered about. Some people were leaving from their cars to go to the park and some others were returning to their cars.

I found my place to park and was finishing up a call with a friend when something in the rearview mirror caught my attention. I continued my conversation and started scanning my rearview mirror and side mirror. I saw a guy wearing a black hoodie standing between two cars. He was facing one of the cars making a punching motion. He also had something large and white wrapped around his hand. For a brief second I thought he was brushing snow off the back of the car. I only thought this because I had just been skiing for two days. I was quickly brought back to reality when I remembered the temperature was in the mid 60's. He then pushed his hand towards the car again and made a circular motion. He was clearing all the broken glass from the car window. I told the person on the phone that I would call them back because someone is breaking in to a car. I called 911.

I then saw the hoodie thug climb in to the car he was facing. He was then out of my view. I was on the phone with a 911 operator. This was the first time I ever used my cell phone to call 911 and it worked like a charm.

I then saw two purses being thrown from one car to a white minivan that was next to the car that was broken into. This made me furious. People work hard for their stuff and no one has a right to take it without their permission. Do you hear that Congress and POTUS. The thug with the hoodie then climbs out the car window and falls to the ground. He then gets in to the white minivan and the van starts to drive away just as a woman is walking to her car which was parked in front of the van. She was not aware that something had even happened.

I pull in behind the van as it exits the parking lot. I am still on the phone with 911. I then notice that the tag on the van is from out of state. I needed to do what I could to make sure these thugs get caught. If I lose sight of them, they may never be found.

I have spent a lot of time watching CSI, Car 54, Starsky and Hutch and COPS so I knew what I needed to say to the 911 operator so she didn't tell me to stay away.

I stay behind the minivan for the next 8 or so miles while saying the right things to 911. The van's occupants had no idea I was on the phone behind them. It was my duty as a citizen to be the best witness I could be. I could have turned the other way and got my run in. You know there are some out there that would have. They were no physical threat to anyone so there was no need for me to take physical action. Now had they been robbing someone that would have been different.

The calvery finally stopped the minivan blocks from the interstate entrance. I was now in a live COPS episode of my own. Four guys busted. All belongings returned to the owners. If I am going to miss a run this is a good reason for it. I still got my Varsity in though. A chili dawg. Onion rings. A slaw dawg. A large coke.

My PSA for you is to remember to put your belongings in your trunk or under something in the backseat. Dont just leave your stuff out for all to see. When someone is breaking in to cars, they look in the car from the outside first. If nothing is seen then they will move on to the next one. Or you could just leave an opened dirty diaper in the driver's seat. Thugs don't like dirty diapers.