Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year in Review

Its that time of year when all the "Best of" lists come out. So after realizing I never got around to doing a recap of the season and because I'm admittedly a bit of a sucker for these types of silly, subjective, and ultimately meaningless lists, I figured I would make one of my own... Enjoy!

Most Painful race of the year: FL70.3
A beach start is always rough but in this race it was the easiest part. The literal pain in the butt began after only 20 minutes into the ride. Likely caused by a tight piriformis, I had the joy of experiencing a numb left leg the entire rest of the race. The uncomfortable situation was only worsened by the rain which began about halfway through the bike ride. Finally, a hot, sandy run capped the unusually uncomfortable racing experience.

Worst Performance of the year: Chattanooga Waterfront Tri
What happens when you try to do an Olympic distance race after taking a week off and radically changing your bike position? That’s right, the worst performance of the year. Incidentally, I make the “performance” distinction because the race venue was quite nice. It was just my personal showing (slow swim, terrible bike, mediocre run) which wasn’t.

Best Race of the Year: South Carolina Half
Although this race was a late edition to the schedule, it ended up being what I consider my best race of the year. After coming out of the water 2nd, I moved into first on the bike with the 2nd best bike split of the day and finished the race off with the fastest run of the day. Additionally, I had my highest normalized power on the bike for a half IM. Breaking the course record was just icing on the cake.

Biggest Blowup: ITU LD World Championships
This epic race started with a long, cold, brutal swim. The beginning of the bike ride went well… a little too well. The fast pace and not quite enough calories would eventually catch up to me about 105k into the 120k ride forcing me to struggle to finish the ride. This didn’t bode well for the 30k “run” which followed and resulted in an incredibly pathetic run split and overall finish time.

Most Enjoyable Race of the Year: Huntsville Sprint Triathlon
You can’t beat a race that starts a mile from your apartment on your birthday. This was the case with the Huntsville Sprint this year. After sleeping in my own bed before riding to the start, I lead from start to finish and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the day.

Best Venue: Mountain Lakes Sprint (Guntersville)
The transition area for this race is a beautiful park on the shores of Lake Guntersville. Not only is the lake there for post race activities but there is a pool with a slide as well. Impeccable weather and the proximity to Huntsville didn’t hurt any, either.

Best Atmosphere: USAT Collegiate Nationals
Collegiate Nationals is always provides the elements for a great party. But through in Qdoba for post-race food, picturesque weather, a college town, and Olympic Trials and you really couldn’t have asked for much more.

NYE swim

With the afternoon off, the kids were at the pool this morning. The workout:

Warm up:
400 swim + 100 kick + 400 IM (50 drill, 50 swim) + 100 kick + 500 pull
Set #1:
100 swim + 200 swim
8x50 kick
300 swim + 400 swim
4x100 kick
500 swim + 600 swim
2x200 kick
700 swim + 800 swim
400 kick
All swim is on 1:15/100, all kick is on :50/50
They had another set after that but I just did a 300 cool down and got out, using work as an excuse to make an early exit.

Stay safe tonight and have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008


S: 22,800 yds
B: 12h 19min
R: nada

Total: 18h 1min

The most notable vacancy in last week's workouts is the running. The IT band continued to give me problems so I stayed off my feet. Now that I'm back in Huntsville I'm hoping a few visits local ART guru Ken Strickland will get the situation cleared up. While not being able to run is never fun, last week was as good a time as any to be sidelined as I was down in Orlando and didnt have to work. This meant I was not only able to get out and ride most days but it was actually an enjoyable experience thanks to the marvelous December Orlando weather. The first day I was there it was a bit chilly but thereafter thermometer reached 80F, making riding outside quite pleasant.

Sadly though I'm now back in Huntsville, back to work, and therefore back to the trainer during the week and cold rides on the weekends.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


"The reason I'm telling you this is that I didn't want to miss a day's training. I always tell young athletes the same thing, 'Wherever you go, whatever you do, what must your top priority be? Running'.

"In my life I do a lot of things but I never forget my training. Athletics is in my blood. The top priority must always be training, training. This is a discipline. You have to do it." -Haile Gebrselassie


"Looking back, I recently added and logged my mileage over the years and found that I was able to average over a 140 miles a week throughout the 1970s..." -Frank Shorter in his autobiography, Olympic Gold, A Runner's Life and Times

These quotes are marvelous because they epitomize what it takes to be successful. Gebrselassie has held world records from 5k up to the marathon, won World Championships and Olympic golds from 1,500m to 10,000m and is generally referred to simply as "The Great One." Shorter meanwhile won gold in the marathon in 1972, silver* in 1976, has many other big cities marathon titles and is considered one of the greatest US distance runners of all times. Both owe their success to remarkable dedication and consistency to their sport.

I posted these because this is the time of year when it helps to get a friendly reminder of "what it takes." While coaches, athletes, and physiologists can argue over which workouts are the most effective at what time of the year, the one thing most everyone will agree on is that it all comes down to consistency. Just get out the door day after day, week after week, year after year.

With having been said, Merry Christmas! Relax, enjoy time with the family, but dont forget to train. :0

Monday, December 22, 2008


S: 25,600 yds
B: 5h 21min
R: 2h 16min

Total: 14h 1min

Well... too much driving. I drove home for Christmas this year so that I could move some stuff back to Huntsville and needless to say, I'm never doing this again! After 3 days and about 11 hours in the car, it was nice to finally arrive in Orlando. On the downside my IT band, which was giving me problems before the trip, certainly hasnt gotten any better and therefore the running will likely be slacking a bit the next couple of weeks. Additionally there is plenty of TP massage and icing in the near future...

While the trip wasnt great for training, I was able to make a couple of stops along the way, visiting my aunt and uncle in Atlanta, and my friends Bernd and Kelly in Gainesville. Of course the best part of the trip was the ride yesterday in Gainesville with Bernd and Jason. It was sunny, around 75F at the start and around 80F at the finish. Just another beatiful Florida day in December!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Jinx...

It never fails. You're watching a football game and the announcer says something like, "He hasnt thrown an interception in his last 148 attempts." Then, sure enough, the next play is an INT. Similarly, everyone knows it is a huge taboo to talk to a pitcher while hes working on a no hitter late in the game. Well, this past weekend Paulo was the announcer, making me the QB throwing the INT. He mentioned how I was lucky to have gotten through last week's drive down to New Orleans and back without problem but that he "prediticted the IT/piriformis would start acting up again." Sure enough, last night the outside of my knee started hurting.

As a consequence I had to cut the run short and wont run today. Hopefully though it shouldn't derail training for too long as today I go on the offensive, first with a trip to see Ken Strickland, ART practitioner, and then tonight I'll hit the cylinder of pain with a vengence. While not being able to run is never a good thing, if I have to be out, at least this is the time of year for it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rocket City Marathon report

Last Saturday the Rocket City Marathon was held and while I didnt run it, I did go out and supprt David in his first marathon. He's been hitting it pretty hard in training so I was excited to see what he would do. Going in the plan was to run 5:30s, putting him at the finish in around 2:25... pretty damn fast for a debut. It was an ambitious plan but not overly so according to Daniels' table and his recent half marathon performance.

After a tense morning (for him) the race was off. The weather was near perfect for the start, somewhere in the mid 30s and gorgeously sunny. As Dink said, "it is a "no excuses day!" David ran with a hat, arm warmers, slinglet, shorts, and gloves... appropriate for the conditions. Basically he was going for the Hall and Ritz look from trials.

In order to have his best race possible, David had given his wife, Stefanie, detailed notes about where and when to meet him on the course and what kind of nutrition he would require. This was really smart on his part as it is a lot easier to drink Gatorade out of a bottle than out of a paper cup when you are running along at 5:30 pace.

Our first stop was the 3 mile mark and David was tucked nicely into the group of about 10 (see above). The split was right on, 16:30. This was a perfect scenario for him because he could run his pace while at the same time stay in the group.

Next was the 7 mile mark. At this point the group was still about the same but the pace had slowed a bit. David reported that he had to keep things honest... ridiculous considering Olympic Trials qualifier Josh Cox was in the field.

Our next stop was just before mile 10. David was still looking calm and relaxed leading a group that was now down to about six. They came through at 55:30, a little off 5:30 pace but he was still looking really good and I thought everything was setting up marvelously.

Through the half marathon at 1:13:00 and everyone was looking pretty relaxed. David was still leading the charge, like a champ. Someone had to keep everyone honest and apparently it was up to the hometown boy to do so. It should be mentioned that this was regardless of the fact that not only was this David's first marathon but the slowest PR of the other guys in the group was 2:22. So basically they were slacking, he was running with gravitas.

After the half the course more or less made a U-turn and started heading back towards downtown. Our next rendezvous point was around 16.5 and as the runners came through, things were looking a bit tense. There were still 5 together but it looked like something was about to happen. I knew David knew the course like the back of his hand so I was hoping he was just waiting for his spot, mile 21, to pounce. Mile 21 is a false flat uphill with a couple of turns so it is deceptively long.

Before that though, we had one more meeting just past the infamous 20 mile mark. The saying usually goes, "a marathon is a 20 mile run with a 10k at the end." Well in the this case it was more like an 18 mile run with a 13k at the end. As it turns out, Cox dropped the hammer and started running 5 min miles at around the 18 mile mark. He would never look back. This strung things out and left David as the 5th of 5 coming through mile 20. However, his split was just over 1:50 and therefore still right on 5:30 pace. I thought he looked OK, but Stef was not so optimistic...

Fast forward to 23, our last aid station for David. We saw Josh Cox fly by. Then the 2nd place guy. Then the 3rd place guy. Then the 4th place guy. Finally David came around the corner, a little later than expected. It had taken him about 17:30 for the previous three miles, 5:50 pace compared to the 5:30 pace he had been holding earlier. Admittedly, those three miles are a bit uphill, but not much. At this point his stride rate had noticeably slowed and things were not looking good. He passed on both Gatorade and water as Stef, Matt, and I screamed words of encouragement. Stef was thinking, "Get your shit together!" but ended up giving some slightly more uplifting words (so she claims).

After that, it was off to the finish. The placing of the top 5 had not changed as we watched 1st, 2nd, and 3rd roll in. Josh smoked the last half and broke the tape in 2:21:23, putting over 2:30 into 2nd place in the process. Luckily we didnt have to wait too much longer to see Riddle's long looping strides. He kept "kept his shit together," controlled the bleeding, and finished with a very respectable 2:27:27. While he was hoping to go a bit faster, everyone, even the great Haile Gebrselassie, struggles in his or her marathon debut (Haile was 3rd in London in 2002).

As they say, "A picture says a thousand words." I swam 4k in the morning. David ran fast for over 26 miles. I feel fine. He feels slightly below marginal.

Full results of the Rocket City Marathon can be found here. Check them out, there were some awesome performances!

Monday, December 15, 2008


S: 20,100yds
B: 5h 50min
R: 5h 30min

Total: 17h 5min

After missing a couple of workouts due to a few long days of work at MAF I had a bit of catching up to do over the weekend. Luckily though the volume is still on the low side so it wasnt too much trouble.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


S: 20,200 yds
B: 4h 53min
R: 4h 42min

Total: 15h 21 min

Oops, a little late. I was a little busy last Monday trying to tie things up at work in the morning before driving down in MAF. Anyway, nothing too exciting, just getting back on the schedule.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Back home

We wrapped things up Thursday evening at MAF and overall had a pretty successful TIM/Kaizan event. There are still plenty of issues which we'll carry as potential cost/schedule risks but at least we have a much better understanding of what they are and how they'll affect production.

One last note on New Orleans, when traveling there and still trying to get a few swims in, I'd highly recommend the facility at the University of New Orleans. The pool is only 25yds long and 4 lanes wide but it is surprisingly well built with an effective draining system. Also, while I was expecting the water to be upwards of 80F due to a sign advertising water aerobics, the water was actually pretty chilly, around 70F. The rest of the facility (weights, aerobic equipment, etc.) is very nice as well, if you are in to that sort of thing.

Now I'm back in the 'ville and after a swim will be watching David Riddle DOMINATE the Rocket City Marathon this morning. His training has been going really well (he dragged me through an 8 mile "easy" run at 6:10 pace last weekend) so I'm confident he'll pull off a great first marathon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Checking in from the Crescent City- Working, Running, and Eating

Its been a pretty busy last couple of days. Yesterday after working for a bit I had the always enjoyable experience of a 6.5h drive through Alabama and southern Mississippi to New Orleans. This week we've got a technical interchange meeting (TIM) to discuss the manufacturing flow for the cleaning and corrosion protection processes for the Ares I Upper State (US) at the Michoud Assembly Facility. Yep, I'm a dork.

So after sitting in a meeting with the same people all day today, I was ready to get out for a run when I got back to the hotel. However, I'm staying downtown so I was a bit worried where I was going to run. I dont mind running though cities but it gets kind of old when you have to stop every other block when a light changes. Luckily though I stumbled upon St. Charles Ave.

This road runs through the "garden district," the area of town where all the fancy houses are, but the best part about the road is that the trolley runs down the middle. Like a bus, it may only come by a few times an hour. The rest of the time there is a nice dirt trail in the middle of the trolley rails which is perfect for running.

The benefits of running the rails are plenty. First there is the aforementioned dirt trail which provides a welcome reprieve to the usual pavement pounding. Next, the middle of the road provided a nice shelter from traffic. The rails were also well lit and the weather was phenomenal, lows 60s and humidity you could cut with a knife. There was also nice scenery including grand old houses, Loyola University (Uncle Mark's alma mater), and other runners.

Finally, the highlight of the day. Although traveling is always a hassle, I do enjoy the excuse to eat out and to enjoy some really yummy meals. Some places are better than others in this regard but New Orleans has got to be at the top. For dinner tonight I dined at Cochon Restaurant and I must say it was quite delicious. Rather than getting an entree, I got a few smaller dishes. I started with a mixed green salad with grilled onions, satsumas, and chili pecan. Then I had "andouille & sweet potato pie with apple & greens slaw" and "roasted shrimp with ham, chilis, satsumas & cornbread cake." Go here for the menu but both of these dishes were simply awesome. The andouille was just a spicy and smoky which balanced well with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and tangyness of the vinegarette dressing on the apple and greens slaw. Similarly, the savory flavor of the roasted shrimp with ham married well with the appropriately spiciness of the chili-cheesy-creme sauce and sweetness of the cornbread cake. Incidentally, I'm usually not a fan of cheese sauces or creme sauces but this one was delicious. It was not too rich, not too creamy, not too goopy, just right on. To finish off the meal, "g√Ęteau de chocolat with honey creole cream cheese mousse & pears," which was basically a flourless chocolate cake with a light and fluffy cheesecake top. All in all, a kick ass meal.

Now, its time for bed. Tomorrow morning should be another adventure scouting for a pool before another uber-exciting day at MAF. I cant wait!

PS Last night I had dinner at Emril's Restraunt. I started with a salad: "Abita Root Beer Braised “Fresh Bacon” Salad, Abita Root Beer Braised Niman Ranch Pork Belly with Citrus Slaw, Marinated Yucca, Heirloom Radish, Shaved Jalepeno, Goat Cheese and Pork Cracklings" and then had some salmon: "Oyster Crusted Atlantic Salmon with Dill Preserved Yukon Gold Potatoes, Tuna Bacon Asparagus, Fennel, and Cauliflower Bernaise"

Friday, December 5, 2008


I'm not sure if everyone has heard but there is kind of a big football game in Atlanta tomorrow. This little gridiron battle known as the SEC Championship will for the first time pit the top two ranked teams in the AP poll, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators. In addition to determining the SEC Champion, the game will also likely determine one of the two teams which will play for the BCS National Championship in Miami.

There has been plenty written about the game and there will be even more analysis between now and tomorrow afternoon by ESPN's talking heads. Power vs. speed, old school vs new school, Alabama's running attack vs Florida's opportunistic defense, Saban vs Meyer... the story lines are plentiful. However, only one thing really matters. Florida has Tim Tebow, Alabama doesnt.

So, here are a few Tebowisms to get ready for the game tomorrow... enjoy!

Tim Tebow CAN believe it's not butter.

Superman's only weakness is Kryptonite. Tim Tebow laughs at Superman for having a weakness.

When you open a can of whoop-ass, Tim Tebow jumps out.

Tim Tebow always knows the EXACT location of Carmen SanDiego.

Tim Tebow can divide by zero.

Superman wears Tim Tebow pajamas.

For other Tim Tebow facts, check out this link.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Too much POWER?????

It looks like its time to retire as it appears I have become too strong for my own good. Tonight as I was loving life on the trainer during a Zn4 effort, my power suddenly plummeted and my RPMs shot up. After some inspection, it became apparent that I had broken my trainer. I have no idea how this is possible but it happened.

While I can't say I was all that upset about having a legitimate excuse not to finish the workout, I can say I'm not looking forward to having to purchase another one of those dreaded machines. What is there to like about having to spend money on a device which will be used solely for self torture??

Regardless of that, though, the night was not all bad. Modern Marvels was about 80s technology and it was cool to learn about some of the history behind some of the devices we take for granted today. I even picked up a couple of tidbits...

Ever wonder why a CD is 74 minutes long? As it turns out a Sony exec was a big fan of classical music and he wanted to make sure Beethoven's 9th Symphony could fit on one CD. Ergo, 74 minutes.

Another Trivial Pursuit answer: 3,333,360. That of course would be the high score in Pac-Man.

Ahh, the 80s...

Freezing rain

Never fails. On the first day in about a month that I actually have to run after work... it is 33F, dark, and frozen precipitation is falling from the sky when I get home from the office. Awesome!! Luckily though the ground was still warm so all of the puddles were in liquid form. Anyway, nothing like a nice start to the training cycle...

Monday, December 1, 2008


S: 20,800 yds
B: 7h 19min
R: 4h 14min

Total: 16h 45min

Well that was fun. I had a nice week of training while also consuming my fair share of Thanksgiving classics. Top it off with a TON of CFB highlighted by the Gators' domination of the Noles and it was a pretty good week.

Sadly though the fun times are about to come crashing to an end as I'm back to work (aka back on the schedule) this week. Time to start GTWD for next year!