Fish Training, 2nd session…

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A LONG time ago, I was on the Lombard swim team. As part of that, the stroke that I ‘mastered’ was the breast stroke. Not too bad for 100m when I was 9 or 10; but a true challenge for 80m at 35.

So when we started the fish re-training in April, it was quickly decided that freestyle would be a better way to go. The first session was a lot of retraining and getting the feet down. The session this past Sunday involved adding in more arm movements, breathing, rocking and more. It’s still a work in progress, but it will come together in time.

Next planned fish session is Memorial Day weekend after when the outdoor pools open.

Crazy Wheels, take 2…

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After the last bike ride, we both learned several valuable things. The two most important were that (1) Terri needed to get on first and then me instead of both at once and (2) gloves are a MUST.

So with that knowledge, we went on a 9.46 mile ride on Saturday. It went well for the most part, but there were two major issues. One is that Montgomery needs to do a better job of maintaining its part of the path; the other was my depth perception playing tricks on me. As you cross the stop light, there’s a steep decline for about 100 feet. Now if you’re on the bike yourself, probably not a big deal.
But when you’re seeing it at the last second, it creates quite the ‘oh s****’ moment.

We dropped the bike back off at Oswego Cyclery and headed over to the coffee shop for a drink. We did not try a brick session that day.

Again, a huge THANK YOU to Art and Oswego Cyclery for letting us use the tandem!

Crazy Wheels, take 1…

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A couple of weeks ago, Terri and I sat down and made serious training plans for the Traithlon in August.  While we had a framework, we were still missing one very key piece – a tandem bike.  As Terri worked through trying to find a solution, she spoke with Art Black, who’s the owner of Oswego Cyclery.  He generously offered to let us use the tandem they have to training and for the triathlon.  That was HUGE and greatly appreciated!

After the Celebrate Differences race, we went over to the bike store to check out the tandem.  Art did some initial changes so the pilot seat would work for Terri, and was going to put pedal blocks on to make it even more comfortable before Monday’s ride.  After that initial stop, we went to the Naperville Running Company, where I purchased compression socks (and other gear) — more on that later.

On Monday, we got out on the tandem, and it was a bumpy start.  The best parallel for how I felt is what Stephen King describes in It relating to Bill Denbrough and Silver.  But we learned a good deal, including communication, mount/dismount and more.  It also became crystal clear that I need a hydration pack for the bike part, as we will both get hurt if I try to reach down for a water bottle.

After returning the tandem to the bike shop, we did the other half of the brick training (run). Whether it was just the normal jello legs or the combined 4 days of running, I could barely run.  We ended up just walking for about 30 – 40 min.  When I got home, I put on the compression socks that I had bought the day before.  While those are the most expensive socks I’ve ever bought, they are worth their weight in gold.

If you are in the Oswego area, please check out Oswego Cyclery  They will take great care of you and your bike needs!

Celebrate, We will…

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As I was talking with Terri during one of the sessions, she mentioned that she was part of the Celebrate Differences 5K race committee.  As she does so much to help support me, both as a coach and as a guide, I wanted to participate in this and help support something she was involved in.  Even though I knew this would make 4 consecutive days of activities (training, Sly Fox, Celebrate Differences, training), I was up for it.

When I got to packet pickup on Friday night, I was pleasantly surprised to be handed a drawstring bag with all the swag in it.  Not only are those extremely useful, but an incredible way to get visibility for Celebrate Differences out there.  That one will become my default ‘gear’ bag. 🙂

We had great weather for the day, and it was great to see so many people out there!  There were far less hills in the 5K than in the previous day’s 10K.  And the course was FILLED with Oswego High School cheerleaders encouraging people on!  That was a really nice part of the race, and I’m glad that they were out there.

We finished in 37:27, which was a PR for me.  When we crossed the finish line, a videographer grabbed us and interviewed me.  I was out of breath on the first take, and honestly can’t remember everything I said in the second one.  I will post the video link when it’s available.

Celebrate Differences will be the charity partner for the FraidyCat series in October.  I am looking forward to signing up for the Ghost Run 10K and hope to have an opportunity to volunteer with Celebrate Differences in the near future.  This is a great organization — please check them out and support them if you can!

A Sly Fox…

01 - Pre-Race

As the Sly Fox was even longer than the Shamrock Shuffle, the ass kicking (aka training sessions) became even fiercer. Nothing like a 6 mile run after working a full day…

For this race, I was running with a friend and fellow Team RWB member (Stephen Snyder) as my guide.  Since it had been more than a month since we’d run together, we did a training session in St. Charles after packet pickup.  It ended up being about 2.9 miles, after which I went for dinner with my parents and friends.

Race day started at 2A for me, and we were in St. Charles by 6:30 for the Team RWB meet up.  While it was raining on and off during the race, it wasn’t too bad.  The bad was the 30 degree hill that was the turnaround and my feet cramping up at about 5 miles.  I ended up walking most of the last 1.2 miles, since I couldn’t run for more than about a minute without them cramping.

All in all, a great experience and a lot of fun.  I also want to publicly thank Scott Iott for all of his help.  I am trying to add the Batavia Half to my calendar because of his assistance and knowing it’ll be another great experience.  We’ll see if that happens.

22 too many…

RAO Group


In February, I had joined Team Red, White and Blue, and had been to a couple of events before seeing the Run As One get posted.  Even though I was running the Shamrock Shuffle, I wanted to run this as well.

The sad truth is that every day, 22 service members that fought so bravely and sacrificed so much lose their own fight.  The run was to get more awareness out there — the RWB link does a great job of explaining it.

It was an incredible experience, and great to see members of all the organizations there.  Please take a few minutes to read the links and do what you can to help decrease the number… hopefully one day down to zero.

Let’s Shuffle…

06 - Pre-Race


Towards the end of 2014, I decided that I wanted to run the Shamrock Shuffle this year.  So while it was still cold, I went to the gym and started pushing towards 5 miles on the treadmill.  And once it got nice outside, Terri and I went running on different paths.  By the week before the Shamrock Shuffle, we were at 71 minutes for 5 miles, which was within the time limit.

Keri Serota, who is the coordinator for athletes with disabilities (AWD) helped us to get everything in line for the race, and the start.  Terri and I first met her when we picked up all of our packets the Friday before the race.

On race day, we arrived at the tent about 20 minutes before the start time, and checked in.  We got to meet Israel (another AWD) and his guide, as well as Lisa who works with Keri.  Keri walked the 5 of us out to the start line about 10 minutes prior, and we were stationed behind the wheelchair athletes.  We started about 2 minutes before the rest of the field, but the elite runners quickly caught up to us in the dark tunnel.

While it was a challenging race, it was a great experience.  I lost count of the number of people that were encouraging us as we ran.  I wrote a longer post about the weekend for The Imperfect Journey.  You can read it here.

Welcome!

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As you push towards your goals in life, things won’t ever be or go perfect.  You’ll never be 100%, and the conditions won’t ever be perfect.  But you can’t let these imperfections stop you.  Instead of just taking the easy way out, say NO to your crappy excuses and just get out there and do it!

This blog will chronicle the exploits of two who have decided to just say no to crappy excuses — Terri Hayes and James Gilliard.  James is visually impaired, and Terri is his coach and guide.  The posts will include training updates, race updates and other thoughts.

Please subscribe to the blog to keep on top of what’s going on!