Wednesday, April 18, 2012



I came into work on Monday and someone asked me what I did over the weekend. I said, "I did some yard work on Saturday then did a 55 mile training ride on my bike, made pizza, ran 13 miles on Sunday and had dinner at my in-laws. The group standing around looked at me like I had two heads. They said you rode your bike 55 miles and ran 13 the next day! I do understand the surprise or disbelief because I get the same response on a regular basis. I am here tell you that you shouldn't think that way. In fact you should ask yourself when you are going to try something that seems to hard or just a bit out there.

Most people tell me that they can't run. It is not because of an injury it is just their perception. The fact is that all of us can run minus those with some sort of handicap or injury that prevents them from running but even some of those folks find a way to get it done. For the majority of the population I think people don't run because the chose to think they can't when they really can. I am not saying that everyone has the ability to run a four minute mile or complete a marathon in under three hours. What I am saying is that we are a species that was meant to run. It has been proven that we are the most efficient runners on the planet. Call me crazy if you want to but first check it out. The data is out there.

I would love to see more people getting out and taking better care of them selves. That doesn't mean that everyone needs to lace up their running shoes and go log some crazy miles. What I am saying is that the majority of the population needs to wake up and find a way to live a better healthier life. I know that right now some of you are coming up with reasons why not to run or do something else that is good for you. Here is how I see it. Running is not going to hurt you if you do it right. I did it wrong for most of my life and did get injured on a regular basis but I learned how to do it right and have remained injury free for longer than ever. I have logged more miles this spring than ever. I would be happy to share how I have done this but please don't think of me as the expert on healthy running. I do have a few short tips.

1) Buy a good pair of running shoe from a local RUNNING shoe store that can help you get the right shoe.

2) Start slow and increase your distance by 10% at most each week.

3) Listen to your body. If it tells you it hurts than stop and walk. There is not shame in training smart.

4) Be consistent with your routine and effort.

5) You don't have to go out and run as fast as your can. Find a pace you enjoy and stick with it. If you want run a race the speed will be there when you need.

6) Mix it by finding some trails to run.

7) Enter a 5K that is about 6 months away so you have a reason to get out there and train. Feel free to sign up for something a little longer if you are up to the challenge.

8) Enlist your friends and family to run with you. having someone there to go through it with you is a huge help in the beginning. At this point I usually run alone but I had running buddies in the past and still do on some of my long runs.

I am done now and getting off my soap box.


So this week I had to get back on the horse as far as my training is concerned. I had traveled for a week for work and got out of my groove. I got a couple days of training in but nothing I felt great about. I tried to find hotels with good pools and actually found a hotel in Milwaukee that had a 25 yard pool with lane lines and everything. The only problem was the hotel it self was a dump. I had my temperature set as low as it would go and my room was still as hot and muggy as the amazon so lets just say I didn't get much sleep and had a crappy swim in the morning. I ended up in Madison, WI later that day for more meetings and found myself in a much nicer hotel that sat next to one of the small lakes in Madison and a park with some nice running trails. I checked into the hotel which didn't go so smoothly because I made an error when booking the room. About a half hour later I unpacked and got changed and decided to just go see what I could find. One of the things I really like about Madison is the pedestrian roadways all over the city that runners, bikers and walkers can take advantage of. I couldn't believe all of the triathletes I saw there. I followed the pedestrian road for about a half mile to a park and went looking for some trails which I found pretty fast. The trails were only about a mile long so after three times through I was getting a little board until I found some single track but I ran through that in no time at all. By this time the effects of traveling, not sleeping and not eating like I normally do was setting in and I was feeling pretty run down so I headed back to my hotel. That was all of the training I got in that week. I traveled for another day and was home Wednesday at midnight. I took it easy on Thursday and put some time back in the family bank expecting to get some long workouts in over the weekend but the weekend do go as planned

On Thursday night I started to smell a skunk like smell in my house. It didn't smell like what you smell when you drive by one dead in the road so I blamed it on the dog. I know...the dog gets blamed for everything but that is part of being a dog. When the smell didn't go away I thought that my furnace might be the problem so I turned it off. The next day the smell was very intense in my basement so I thought maybe its my hot water heater or an electrical problem so I called RG&E. The tech from RG&E showed up and said, "you've got a skunk man". For those of you saying DUH! You couldn't tell that was a skunk! I say to you, this was unlike anything I have ever smelled. By Saturday morning we had to leave our house. We were initially happy to have skunk problem and not a furnace or hot water tank problem until we realized what a mess the odor would be to get rid of and out of our house. For the next 7 days I was either working, cleaning the house or helping my wife with the laundry so I didn't get in any training over the next week. Sure I could have found some time to do something but I was tired and frustrated with the skunk situation. I won't go through the whole thing again because I wrote about it last week but it is still with us two weeks later. We are able to live in our house but we can still smell it from time to time.

Last week I did manage to get some minimal training in. I got in two pretty good swims and a few rides. Over the weekend I put in what I consider a good ride at a good pace for mid April. I road 55 miles at an average speed of 20.7. As my bike fitness improves and I continue to drop weight I am hoping to see my average speed somewhere around 22.5-23 mph. On Sunday I ran 13.2 miles at a 7:38 pace which is my best ever and I was only training keeping my heart rate at 75%. I am pretty excited about my progress this year and how I hope it will translate into finishing in the medals at more races this year.

I am trying to stay consistent this week as well by battling my desire to stay inside instead of going out for a run when it is 30 degrees out at 5:00 AM. I have my first real competitive multisport event coming up in two weeks so I'll get a chance to see if I am doing as well as I think I am or not.

That is all I have. Train smart and stay safe.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

RIP Caballo Blanco & Getting Skunked


A few days ago someone I know posted on facebook that Caballo Blanco had been found dead in New Mexico after he had gone missing during a 12 mile run. For those who don't know who Caballo Blanco (Micah True) is.  He is one of the main characters in the non-fiction book "Born to Run". I started reading this book last fall while I was recovering from a running injury and the book and many of its characters reminded me why I love to run and opened my eyes to a different way of running that has kept me injury free for longer than I have ever been injury free as a runner. It reminded me that there is a time to run as fast as I can and there is a time to run at an easy pace, enjoy the run and take in everything around me. I enjoy both hard and easy runs but I to much hard running wears me down and catch myself running harder and harder all the time and this does take away from some of the enjoyment of running. I think this happens because I am competitive in every aspect of my life and I am always trying to one up myself and everyone around me.  Okay, I am starting to ramble on. Caballo Blanco was a guy who ran not to crush records or to make money but because it made him feel good. I sometimes wish I could spend all of my time training to be a triathlete but I need to make money so that I can pay my bills and take care of my family, so until I go pro (which will be NEVER) I need to juggle work and training .

The point I am trying to make is that I need to remind myself that it isn't always about how fast I can run 5, 10 or 15 miles. It is about enjoying my alone time. My favorite runs usually take place on trails when I can find them because I don't have to worry about getting run over and the view is a little better in the woods. For anyone who is taking the time to read this, remember to slow down from time to time and go for a long run. Speed work is important and makes you faster but so does running slow. I know this is true because most of my training this year has been done at a slower pace and when I have raced I have posted my fastest times ever.

Go out today and go for a nice easy run and if you haven't had a chance to read "Born to Run", get on it. It is a great book and changed the way I look at running.


Last Thursday night I was hanging out with my three year old daughter and our dog Oliver while my wife was at the gym. I thought I smelled something skunky and told the dog to stop farting and took him outside. As the night went on I thought that I might have a furnace issue so I turned it off. In the morning I thought the smell had dissipated some so I left the furnace off. I was home at lunch that day and noticed that the smell had gotten significantly worse so I thought maybe the water heater was going or maybe I had an electrical problem. The smell was skunky but not skunky like you smell when you drive by a dead skunk on the road. I became more concerned about my house as I drove back to work so I grabbed my lap top and headed back home. My wife called RG&E to come out and check the gas and electric and when the tech showed up he looked at me, smiled and said you've got a skunk buddy. At first my wife and I were happy that we wouldn't need to dump a bunch of money into our furnace or buy a new hot water heater. Well, almost a week later we are not feeling the same way.

On Sunday I started ripping boards off my deck trying to find the source of the smell, knowing the smell inside wouldn't go away until the smell outside was eliminated. After removing about four boards I found a hole going under some bricks that looked like they could be part of my house. My wife and I went into minor panic mode at the though of a skunk being inside our house. After a few minutes of poking at the bricks with my shovel I realized that the bricks were not part of the house and just left there from some reason unknown to me. I moved each brick VERY CAREFULLY in an effort to not get sprayed. I moved the first brick and nothing but a stronger odor. I moved the second brick and nothing but more odor. At this point I can't see the end of the hole and I am thinking this sucker is in my house! I move the third brick and I SEE SOMETHING BLACK & WHITE! But it doesn't move. That is good news for me and bad news for my house. I didn't get sprayed but when a skunk dies and starts to decompose they release all of their spray and it just happened to be laying right up against the side of my house.

Today is Wednesday and we have been fighting the smell that has taken over every inch of my home and everything in it since Saturday. We have had to move into my in-laws house because our house now smells so bad it gives us a head ache. My wife has been doing laundry nonstop since Saturday and we have been back and forth going to our house to open windows during the day and close them at night because it has been getting so cold. I have a restoration company working with me to clean up the smell and so far we have hit a brick wall. Today he is coming out to try something new to eliminate the odor outside. Hopefully that will work so we can start getting back to our normal lives.

As a result I have done very little training this week and I am feeling very guilty about that. I guess it isn't the end of the world. I don't have any big races for a few months and plenty of time to get to the fitness level I'll be comfortable with.

I am going to be trying a sports drink that is new to me in the next week or two so stay tuned for my feed back.

Until then train smart and have fun doing it.