Pushing Forward – 7/31/16


As bad weather had scrapped a couple of workouts, a bike/run brick became just a run on Sunday with Terri. This time, I remembered to do the pre-run warmup that I should be. And while it adds more time out there, it seems to be helping. I’m still failing on the intervals before we get through the entire workout. But it does seem to be getting easier in the later parts.

I know it will all come together in the near future. In the meantime, all I can do is just keep pushing forward…

A Year Later – 7.19.16


A Bad Day – 7/19/15

For many years, I drank at least 1 2 liter of diet soda (whatever was on sale when I had run out). And when I was in the middle of a large development project, it would be more. I heard all of the things about diet soda from friends and family, but just ignored it. The caffeine was helping me to get things accomplished, and with a couple exceptions prior to last July, I hadn’t had issues.

What it took to make the change was almost missing out on a very important triathlon. After the scare on the path, I had to rush around to get medical clearance to race a couple of weeks later. It all fell into place in time, but the two pieces together made me finally give up soda. All of the triathlon and racing things I’m doing are ffar more important. And I don’t ever want to go through that again.

Paying the Price – 5/9/16


In late April, I had gotten back to a routine where I was running at least twice a week in addition to swimming. Then I had a couple of bad weeks back-to-back where I think all I got in was one swim workout.

When I got back to running this week, I could tell that I’d have to pay the price for that. And unfortunately, I am… big time. To put it mildly, my body has not been happy with me since I got back to running.

To illustrate what I mean, while I’ve never been a strong runner (1st full mile was in 2013), I’ve been able to put together run/walk miles with more ease this year prior to the break. The first run was a painful mile out and I had to walk the mile back.

It’s gotten better since then, but it’s not yet where I need it to be. I can’t read my phone’s screen when I’m running, but I could have sworn I heard it say an 11:21 mile yesterday. Regardless of what it says now, I need to be able to put 3.1 miles together in the 34-35 min range when it’s race time. Doing the math, that’s what I need to be in the ballpark for a Nationals Qualifying time.

We’ll see how it all turns out. First outdoor race of the season is Leon’s in Hammond on 6/5.

Training Notes – 1.17 – 1.19.16


With the Half Marathon less than a week away, we needed to get at least a couple of training runs in prior to it.

On Sunday, we got about 2 1/4 miles in on the indoor ‘gerbil track’ since it was about -15 with the wind chill outside. Things went well with the run, and this was the first time we had done the 1/2 mile run/1 min walk training. Prior to that, it had been 4/1 (walk/run) at best.

On Monday, I was back in the pool and that session went well. Even though there were challenges with the bilateral breathing drills. The taxi (303 Taxi) kept me waiting for 70 minutes after class. Not very fun having to wait that long on the coldest day of the year. Or having temporarily lost my work cell (I believe I left it in the cab and the driver left it outside).

On Tuesday, we ran again – and I ran into issues. At about 2 miles, I started to feel a twitch in my right knee. After doing some testing, Terri said that it was the IT band (again). So after we finished with the run, we stopped so I could get more Epson salt and a way to stretch. I will not be going anything except the baths, ice, stretching and recovery until Sat.

Snow Run – 1.9.16


With the Half Marathon only 2 weeks away, we needed to get in a long 10 mile training run. And even though it was supposed to snow, we still headed out. The first 5 miles wasn’t too bad, and I believe we kept on pace until the turnaround. However, after 5 miles the pace decreased. And by 7, I really couldn’t run because of my IT band (right side).

By that point, it was dark already and the ground was slick with new snow, so I doubt I could have run too much if the IT band issues hasn’t been there. So we walked the last 3+ miles of the training program back. The most difficult part for me was the last 3/4 of a mile where we had to go in complete darkness. We were using a tether, and I trust Terri completely, so it all worked out.

When I made it back, it took about 90 minutes of hot showers and layers to get my body back to normal after being out in the cold for 3+ hours. And the stretching afterwards was painful to say the least…

The rest of the month – December 2015


Between work, training and 5A swim classes, I fell behind on blog entries after December 12th. I considered doing individual entries for each, but I then decided one long entry would be easier to deal with than 19 short ones. So here goes…

The weekend of December 12th, I joined a local gym. I know the Chicago winter hasn’t gotten bad. BUT I knew it would at some point soon. I also needed the ability to get bike workouts in before the spring. The first weekend there, I succeeded in getting about 6 hours on the bike in. I also had an issue with the treadmills which taught me that I need to stay away from them unless I’m with someone else.

The following week consited of 3 swim workouts (including a double dip thanks to a friend letting me be a guest at their club), 3 hours on the bike and a very long day of running on that Saturday.

The following week started off with the normal swim sessions, along with an extra one (guest of my parents at their club). Then I had to pay for Christmas Eve on the bike. Every year, one of my aunts throws an amazing party and I typically ingest 2 days worth of calories (or more) in less than 6 hours.

So to pay for all of that, I spent a total of 9 1/2 hours on a stationary bike from December 25th – 27th. Let’s just leave it at that I found out very quickly that I need to invest in a nice pair of bike shorts before I try to do the planned Century in September 2016.

The final week of December started out with a normal set of swim workouts, and ended with a very hard run session. The swim session in the morning was the longest one I’ve done, and I didn’t realize how tight my body was. So needless to say, the run was a real challenge as my body kept getting tight. The post-session stretching was more painful than it has been in the past — there were a couple of times that I saw spots from the pain. But nothing’s torn, broken or hurt.

Because of that issue Wednesday night, I decided to make NYE a rest day. I had originally planned to go to the gym and ride the bike for a few hours after work. Instead, I spent the night with a good beer and relaxing.

A challenging, but good weekend – 8.21 – 8.23


With about a week to the half marathon, I knew we’d be stepping it up. This is a summary of the weekend —

Friday – 6 mile run through the forest, followed by some really painful stretching.

Saturday – Flag football in the morning followed by a bike session in the afternoon.

Sunday – 10 mile run followed by 40 min in the pool. At about 8.5 miles, my legs started to cramp badly. We still chipped away (less than the 3/1 normal interval), but that last 1.5mi was painful.

While Sunday was the most draining of the weekend, and I hit a wall, that wall keeps moving. A year ago, 1 was struggling at 3mi – now it’s 8.5. And other things are getting easier/better as well. Onward and upward….

TIJ Blog Post – James Gilliard: Responsible Running


A short while ago, a thread regarding hurdles with using guides from running clubs was started in a private Facebook group I’m part of. While I’ve shared parts of this blog post in that group, I’m expanding on it and making it public.
As athletes with disabilities (AWDs), we depend on others to help us, and to help us compete. Those guides are people that we trust, and who have given up their time to help us train and participate. One thing they should NEVER have to worry about is ‘if something accidental happens, am I going to be on the hook for it?’ That sort of question can only lead to trouble for both you and your guide.
Since I’ve started participating as an AWD, I’ve always looked at things this way – if something accidental happens, I’m going to take care of my own injuries and leave it at that. And I expect the same of the guides that I’m working with if it happens to them. I know that there’s an inherent risk in participating, and I accept those; and I completely trust those who are guiding me.
I know that everyone is at a different place in their lives. But, if you’re going to participate with guides, this is a hurdle that you need to get over first. In my opinion, being out there with a guide is an implicit agreement that you’ll each handle things on your own if something accidental happens. But understanding the over litigious society we live in, this is sometimes easier said than done.
There are several ways to combat this fear from / for all involved:

1) Education – Talking with groups that might be a good source as guides, but who are concerned about the legal angle. Tell them about your experiences, your expectations, and how well things have worked with other guides you’ve worked with. Also be up front with them about your expectations should something accidental happen.

2) Visualization – Invite them to an event that you’re running with another guide. Let them see how that guide to AWD interaction occurs throughout the race. As well as how other participants interact with you. Both sides of that should help them to see how well everything works.

3) Exposure – In addition to #1 and #2, explain to them the positive visibility it’s going to give to them. The guide will most likely be participating in club gear, and they’ll be seen as doing a great thing by helping an AWD participate.
While you won’t be able to change everyone’s mind, there are always ways to work around hurdles. But you need to be responsible as a runner yourself for things to work out well.

Responsibility should be part of your core if you’re out there as an AWD athlete!

A brief jog…


Earlier today, we went for a ‘brief’ run. I say brief, because most of our recent runs have been 5+ miles. However, since Terri was going to take me shopping and help with nutrition afterwards, this was a shorter one.

Several interesting notes / thoughts from the run:
1) If you’re a biker, and you don’t have the common courtesy to call out ‘passing on the left’ as you come up behind runners, you definitely deserve to be cited by the Karma Police.

2) Forgetting to empty your pockets before you run makes for a more interesting run. I forgot that I had my Pebble in my pocket until we had already left the car. So I had to do the run with an extra 4-5lb weight in my pocket.

3) Finish lines may seem closer than they actually are. 🙂 We still had about 1/3 of a mile to go when we got back to the normal finish line, so we went further in the other direction.

4) Hats may confuse dogs. While running, we encountered a dog that couldn’t make up his mind. He wanted to come up to us and his tail was wagging (universal sign for ‘hi, I’m friendly, pet me’), but he was growling when he came up to us. We went on from there.

4m – 50:50 (12:43 pace)