Archive for October 2009

Quote of the Day   Leave a comment

“Deep in the Sea are riches beyond Compare
IF you seek Safety it is on the Shore”
-Saadi

Posted October 29, 2009 by cowartm in Uncategorized

The hard look   1 comment

I have some friends… hard to believe but it’s true 🙂

They have a purist veiwpoint of training and racing… Sometimes they tick me off… rub me the wrong way… but sometimes… make me take a little bit harder look at myself…. Sometimes make me want to be… despite myself… more like they are.

Sometimes that look was unpleasant…

When I started this endurance sports thing… oh… 15 years ago almost… I thought that I could be good… I was motivated… I liked to train… I figured if I put forth some effort I’d be up near the front in no time…

Well… that was not to be…

I found out that I’m not a natural… or extraordinary when it comes to endurance sports.

So… I figured well… I’m stubborn so I’ll go long… I can be good at that just because it’s far… and I like to train… I won’t quit..

Still… not to be… I was not really that good… successful… MOP to BOP…

I kept going… doing stuff… because I liked it… never getting any great results or improving. This lasted a decade…. I’d gotten older… into my 40s and I figured my best years were over. But I was still out there “doing my best” Oh, I persevered… always put the best I had into the race.. I gave my all.

Then one day I called my beliefs into question… why couldn’t I go faster?

And I started analyzing my answers:

1. I’m a big guy – at 5’10” I had been around 215# for a decade or more… that’s a lot of weight to carry around… It was a lot of muscle… some extra fat…. but do I have to be this big? No I do not…

2. I avoided training on the weekend mornings because I drank too much… I always had a hangover on Sat and Sun morning… getting a 30 minute workout in on Sunday afternoon to flush out the toxins had been a small victory…. I could train more… and smarter

So even tho I had been out there racing and giving my all… It was simply my all on raceday…

It’s like the quote “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”~Juma Ikangaa

I was prepared to give my all on raceday… I was simply half stepping in my preparation….

Well… I have changed… lost 30#… quit drinking… Training harder… riding with the roadies… taken up bike racing…. posted a double handful of PRs.

So thanks to all of you who have made me challenge my beliefs… and challenge myself

It’s like this quote from Gordo…

“The path to improvement from each step is simple. However, walking the path is challenging — that’s what makes it rewarding when we improve — we _know_ how tough it was to overcome ourselves.”__Gordo

I think that’s all that we are all trying to do… I think we just need to get our perceived limitations out of our way.

I am yet… a work in progress… I am, however, making progress.

Posted October 26, 2009 by cowartm in Uncategorized

Together as one   Leave a comment

Across the room
You catch my eye
I see your sparkle
I see your shine
We’ve not been together
(like *that*)
In quite some time

I straddle you
Yes straddle
And reach out
My hands find you
No glance required
I know just
Where to touch you
And how you will respond

With a firm
But gentle thrust
We have begun
The world around
Speeds by in a blur
My heart beats faster
Your frame flexes
Under my weight

I touch you again
You respond
Our pace quickens
This is it
What I’ve longed for
Us moving
Together as one

Posted October 26, 2009 by cowartm in Uncategorized

Philadelphia Running   Leave a comment

I ran this route Tuesday night:

To view Plymouth Meeting 10/20/2009 Route, follow the link below:

http://www.mapmyrun.com/view_route?r=182125631316477087

it was dark in some places but all in all a nice trail and a beautiful run.

Posted October 23, 2009 by cowartm in Uncategorized

Leaf Peeper 1/2 Marathon   Leave a comment

I do not often get the opportunity to race in faraway places.
Work and family obligations keep me close to home… and… Home is where I like to be…
I had an opportunity. Work took me to Syracuse New York… I found a little ½ Marathon put on by the local YMCA 30 or so miles south… on Sunday…

The race did not start until 0930… which I guess is just fine up north… the temps at 0700 had been in the high 20s… but by 0930 they had reached the high 30s… good running weather.

The race was pretty small by any standards… I guess maybe 300 participants… Before the race started a megaphone crackled to life describing the course… “It’s basically an out and back… on the highway for a mile… then past the dirty horses and then the muddy cows… turn around and head back”

What the race director left out… was the hills…
I seeded myself near the front and soon we were off… I wore my Garmin… since this was such a small race… and not really a planned or peaked for event I thought I would gather a little data and time myself etc.

I didn’t look at it tho… that was the deal I made with myself… I just started running… I passed a few people early on but soon we were pretty strung out. We ran along the highway… on the shoulder for a mile and a half or so… then turned on tho a country road… the road stayed pretty flat until about mile 4… and yes… lots of cows… horses… fields… farms… silos… Old McDonald… eie… freakin’… io

I knew that I had started on a pace that was right near the edge of my capabilities… but… I just put the brain in neutral and kept going… I didn’t have anything to think about anyway… I’d brought no gels… I had no splits… so I concentrated on the backs of the runners in front of me.Mile 5 brought the hills.. and there were about 4 of them… which it being an out and back course… we hit each twice. I don’t have any idea how to run hills I just tried to spin (short steps quick turnover) up them and kinda controlled freefall down them.

My brain dreamed up this idea… that I had 4 solid miles left in me… and I knew that with 4 miles to go the course was pretty much flat… just what my diesel engine needed… furthermore I decided to use my heretofore un-consulted Garmin to pilot me to 4 sub 8s to finish strong.

At the 9 mile mark I quickened my pace a bit… ran a couple hundred meters… then glanced at my pace… 8:05… and I was pretty close to my limit… not good news…. That little catch in my throat… the beginnings of an asthma attack… The last four miles which were to be my show of strength… were just the opposite… I fought hard but still got passed by a dozen or so runners and barely managed 8:30s…

As usual… my asthma stayed at bay until I stopped… Final time 1:48:54

No PR, No T-shirt, goodie bag, or expo but one of the most enjoyable racing experiences I’ve had.

Posted October 23, 2009 by cowartm in Uncategorized

Sometimes…   Leave a comment

Sometimes there’s a finish line picture
Smile on my face hands thrown above my head
Sometimes I hit the gas in the final corner
Leaving my rival as if he were dead

Sometimes it’s about minutes per mile
Interval and fartlek and tempo
Sometimes it’s about heartrate
And zones and aerobic threshold

But sometimes it’s just feet and a road
And I don’t need all that stuff
And sometimes I’m just putting in the miles
And sometimes, that, is enough

Posted October 13, 2009 by cowartm in Uncategorized

Race Report – Atlantic Coast Triathlon 1/2 IM   2 comments

In the gray before the dawn… I’m ready… it’s 0645… the race starts in 30 minutes… and I could not be more ready… (Well maybe I could if I had done any swim training in the past 4 years but… anyway…) I’m sitting on a curb. In the middle of the transition area… listening to my iPod because I’ve already set up my transition… hit the duce… and checked everything twice. It’s too early to put on my wetsuit.

It’s Raceday… but it feels like any other weekend day for the past few months… up way before dawn… preparing for a long day… I have been a triathlete for 12 years… and there are many types of triathletes… for the first 11 years of my “career” I’ve been a finisher… a completer of triathlon courses… and I have trained to complete not necessarily to compete… this is different… I’m ready to race over distance… I’ve put in the training… averaging 12.5 Hours a week over the past 4 months…
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A little more than 6 hours later… I’m sitting about 30 meters away from that curb… in the Med Tent… no I do not need medical attention although like most of my competitors I am pretty dehydrated… it’s just that the med tent is the only shade anywhere near the finish line…

I’m sitting next to a red haired girl appropriately named Ginger and… as triathletes do… even tho she is a cute… and we both are single the conversation goes quickly to pooping, puking and chafing…

We discuss how miserably hot the run was (88F and high humidity) and how much it sucked… and how much fun it was…

After she leaves I gather myself first… then slowly gather my junk from the transition area… As I drive home (yes I left the race site within 30 minutes of crossing the line… I had to check on my kids) I reflected on the day.

The swim was wetsuit legal… and was fairly uneventful… I guess I swam a pretty straight line but… in the ocean with even a small swell it’s sometimes hard to see more than a buoy or 2 at a time… I finished in 48 minutes… a PR for the distance. I said aloud as I exited the water that I was glad that I did not waste any time training for the swim.

The bike had been danm near according to plan… I have no computer on my bike… it broke and I’m too cheap to replace it…. So, like almost every Saturday all summer I rode with my Garmin strapped between my aerobars…. Kept the HR below 130 and the RPMs high… staying on track with hydration and calorie intake… even dropped to the little ring riding into a headwind for the last 15 miles…

Coming through a roundabout with less than 10 miles to go I felt my front wheel take an odd wobble… I came out of the aerobars and onto the cowhorns quickly enough to keep everything upright and headed in the right direction… but a quick stop confirmed it… my front tire was flat….

Now I had pitched a shutout so far… not a huge deal for a crappy swimmer like me… and a small race such as this… but nonetheless… as I up-end my bike and yank the wheel off… the riders I have passed start to whiz past… I did not perform too badly on my pit stop, however, and I was back on the road in 5ish minutes… I fought back the urge to push it and make up the time… just kept spinning into the headwind. In the end I still averaged 20.4 even with the pit stop…

Now I’ve never really held back on the bike… which means that all of my triathlon runs have been sufferfests… so leaving T2 with spring in my step was nice…

Well… that’s where good sense gave way to Leroy Jenkins…

I took off like a scalded dog… ran the first 3 miles at about an 8:15 pace… the next 2 at 8:45ish.. then a few ~9:15s… a couple of 9:30s (recognize a trend yet) mile 10 was my first over 10 minutes… a quick look at my trusty Timex and some math revealed that if I could run 3 nines I’d finish in under 5:40… so… I ran mile 11 as if it was the only mile I had to run… tangents… everything… mile marker… beep!…. look… 11:30.. dam… miles 12 and 13 followed the same trend… 12 and 12:30… Run time 2:06… really wanted sub 2 hours.

All in all it was the race I had trained for. Steady swim, strong bike, and decent run for a 5:47… good enough for a 40 minute or so PR.

I’d been a bit lax on my long runs… choosing instead to ride with the tri group on Saturday and the roadies on Sunday. That fact coupled with the heat and my dumbs#!t pace in the early miles… that’s really my biggest mistake… if you want to call it that…

It was a fun 4 months preparing for the race… the racing itself was a blast.

Posted October 6, 2009 by cowartm in Uncategorized