Sunday, May 27, 2007

Congratulations to my daughter, the graduating senior!

(left to right) My son, me, my daughter and my wife after graduation

Friday night, May 25, 2007 marked the end of a long and amazing journey for my daughter as she graduated from high school. The road for her was not as easy at is for many. You see, she was born with learning disabilities associated with auditory processing and speech / language issues. If you had a regular conversation with her, you might not ever pick up on it, but if you got into deeper or more abstract subject matter, it would become increasingly apparent. Imagine going to school amongst a peer group every day where your communication skills were about 70% of age level, and that's what she faced every day. When she was 4, many of the so-called "experts" to told us she would never make it in a regular school, much less graduate on time (if ever). We refused to believe that. Through years of prayer and hard work, and meeting after meeting with her teachers and counselors to make sure she was on task, she not only ended up graduating in regular mainstream classes with her senior class (even making the honor roll with all A's and B's one semester), but she lettered for 3 years on her high school drill team, a difficult task to even make the team. I tell people all the time my daughter is a hero to me. No words will ever be able to adequately express how proud we are of her.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Getting accustomed to the tri routine (well, at least 2 out of 3)

Last week I managed to swim 10,400m (6.4 miles) and run 5 times for a total of about 30 miles (about 6 miles per run, shortest run was 3.0 miles, a couple of 7.5 milers, with an average pace per mile for the whole 30 miles of about 7:40). More importantly, on Saturday I swam 3200 (2 miles) in 1:09:40 (a 2 mile swim PR) and then ran 7.5 miles in 57:30 (7:40 pace), and felt great. Prior to this last week, I was still trying to get into the swing of running again after my layoff, and I think I'm now over that hurdle.

I have not done any cycling at all now in about 4 weeks, again just due to family and business commitments. When my daughter graduates from high school this Friday much of the family stuff will be behind me and I can move forward with the cycling. It's still at least a year until my first Ironman (probably Coure d'Alene in June of 2008), so I feel very confident that I have enough time to get the 3 disciplines in working order.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Note to Beginners: Follow-Up to Yesterday's Post

I ran my 7.5 mile route this morning in 57:12 (about a 7:38 overall pace per mile, last mile in 7:35) and felt fantastic from start to finish. Had I forced the issue on my run yesterday, I guarantee you the run this morning would not have been a good one. Learn to take your lumps (and here's the hard part) and be happy about it.

Whenever you feel alone and frustrated in your training, take heart, ALL of us feel that way at one time or another. You simply have to improvise, adapt and overcome. I will never forget when I ran my first Boston Marathon in 2000 and walked into the Niketown store in downtown Boston. In a glass case was a running journal and some of the hand-written entries in it read something like, "Today my legs felt like lead weights were in them", or "Today I went out to do a fast run and just had a miserable experience", or "Today was really a great day and makes all the training worth it.", etc. I'm sure these sound similar to days you have had along your journey. By the way, this was Joan Benoit Samuelson's journal prior to winning the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. See, you're not alone.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Note to Beginners: Learn to recognize when less is more

At 47 years old, I've been running off and on for more than 35 years, and been what I would consider a serious marathoner for the last 10 years. Last month, I resumed running after a 2 month self-imposed layoff from an injury, and since starting back running, it has been sporadic at best these last 30 days mainly due to family and business commitments. Yesterday I finally got a break and went out and ran a fairly solid 5+ mile run. This morning, I got up and swam 1600m around 6:30, came home, and since we are having nice weather in Houston today, decided to run a 7.5 mile route I have at lunch. I was really looking forward to it because our low humidity days are few and far between (65% right now, and yes for those of you in dry areas, that is LOW for us). As excited as I was to get out, I could tell in the first 100 yards or so that my body just didn't have it today. As I approached my first half-mile point, it wasn't getting any better. That is when I came to a literal and figurative cross-roads. There is an intersection where if I go right, I do my 7.5 mile route. If I go left, I do 3.0 miles. 10-20 years ago, I would have been stupid and stubborn and done the 7.5 miles, no matter what. Today, I turned left and did the 3.0 mile run and that was pretty much all I had in me. One of my personal sayings is "Train to run another day." People get so caught up with "well, I had planned to run x number of miles today, and if I don't, it will throw my schedule off." I have learned it is important to be consistent, and at the same time, flexible. Therefore, learn to be consistently flexible. I may very well head out the door tomorrow to do 7.5 miles again and feel incredible, but I also might have a repeat performance of today. If you are a beginner, accept that there will be great, good, fair and poor days, and you'll do fine.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Glad to have the "weak" behind me

We are a very healthy family, and rarely ever get sick. The last time I had a fever that I can recall was about 6 years ago. Friday before last, my son calls from school shortly after arriving saying he was not feeling well, so I went and picked him up. He had a sore throat and fever (he had not missed a single day of school in more than 2 years). Over the next 7 days, in order, my wife caught it, then I caught it, then my daughter caught it (she has not missed a day of school in more than 3 years and ended up missing only 2 classes one morning last week).

I had it Wednesday and Thursday of last week, right after having had great swims on Monday and Tuesday and a couple of good runs to boot. Friday I felt 100% again and had a great swim, and Saturday swam my second ever 3200m in about 1:10. Both Friday and Saturday's swims concluded with decent runs of about 5 miles each.

Saturday night my wife and I went to a dear friend's wedding, Debbie Goldberg, who is the Head Coordinator for Houston Fit, the largest USAFit group in the United States (Houston Fit had about 1,500 people enroll last year for the half-marathon and marathon training programs). My guess is there were close to 500 people in attendance at the wedding, and looking around at the runners whom I personally knew in the crowd, I would estimate they have run collectively over 1,000 marathons. Debbie has probably been directly or indirectly responsible for over 10,000 people completing a half-marathon or marathon in her lifetime, and it was truly an honor to be there at such an important moment in her life. I pray that her and her husband Bruce will live a long and happy life together.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Life, Work and Training

With my daughter graduating from high school in less than 3 weeks and all that goes along with that, I have been very busy with things for her at school over the last few months. Since the Spring Show for the drill team, there was her Senior Prom 2 weeks ago (an entire weekend event basically), an end-of-year banquet last Thursday for the drill team that my wife and I also attended (I was in charge of the slide show), then last Friday I got a team of Dad's to take down the catwalk from the stage after Spring Show to put it into storage, and this past weekend on Saturday my wife coordinated band escorts and I acted as a security Dad at the high school's 3rd annual Battle of the Bands. Thankfully my son is a good sport about all of this and had his running, swimming and video games to keep him occupied. We have promised him a family outing to see Spider-Man 3 this next weekend, which is a very cool thing for him.

As for work, I do web design for all sorts of businesses, everything from basic one page informational type sites to full blown database integration and forms for users where the client can capture information they need, send invoices, receive payments, etc. I can always use more customers, so please contact me if you need any web design done.

Oh yeah, and training... Because of the hectic schedule I've mostly been swimming early in the morning (swam 10,800m last week), running very sporadically (maybe 5 runs in the last 2 weeks of about 5 miles each), lifting weights 3-4 times a week, and have not had time to cycle at all. Once my daughter graduates on May 26, I'll have more time for all of this, and the sacrifices I have had to make on my training for her sake are well worth it to see her be happy and proud of her accomplishments.