Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How Fast is Fast?

So you think you're fast? Did you see the times for the P.F. Chang's Rock'n'Roll Arizona Marathon? Yup boys and girls a NEW WORLD RECORD by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia for the half marathon, 58:55. That is a pace of right around 4 min 40 seconds per mile! That is pick 'em up and put'em down quick like. The winner of the marathon, Shimelis Mola also of Ethiopia did it in 2:13:08....also pretty fast!

So it makes my little run thru the woods seem like I'm going real slow, which I did today a slow 7 mile recovery run. I'm hoping to swim at lunch time.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Weakly Update

Here is a quick review of what went on this past week:

Monday - 25 mi bike normal loops
Tuesday - 7 mile run thru the woods
Wednesday - NADA - went to NYC
Thursday - NADA went to Philly and the on to home
Friday - 25 mi bike normal loops
Saturday 14 mile run, 45 mi swim at Doc's beach
Sunday - 60 mi bike Pelican Landing to RSW Airport and home


Bike 110 mi
Run 21 mi
Swim 45 min
Pilates - NADA
Weights - NADA

I had to go to NYC and Philly this past week on business which messed up my training schedule. So I'll count this week as a rest week. Neat way of planning, anounce a rest week after the fact!

EAGLE update

Tony and I went to Pelican Landing so we could see the eagle's nest. Much to our surprise the eaglet was standing on the edge of the nest while mom or dad stood in a branch watching. Later in the day I took J to see the nest and brought alone my field glasses. At first I thought the eaglet had flown away since it appeared that the nest was empty. But waiting around a little we saw a wing stretch up. Then the next thing that happened was Mom flew in to the tree and sat on her branch above the nest. Baby showed no signs of appearing when Dad eagle flew in with food in his talons ( a large rat or small rabbit). Dad proceeded to eat the food then baby woke up an began to feed as well. What a sight! Then mom eagle joined in the nest to get a snack. Mother Father and Baby all sitting in the nest!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Weekend Eagle update

Ok this mornings crash has me all befuddled! But I did mean to tell everyone that my weekend training went well. I chose not to do the Naples Half Marathon in order to keep on track with my training schedule. If the winner of my age group (55-59) is any indication I had no chance of placing in my AG... Joe Bonness finished 5th in my AG at 1:34 so I had no hope!

Saturday I did 17 miles - two loops of my through the woods course (14 miles) plus up to the River Club and back to add 3 miles for a total of 17. It was a rather warm day 78* and sunny. Even though I used SPF 50 sun block I got burned on my neck. I did see Coffee Drinkers Daughter walking Collie but nothing to report. She even smiled at me! Collie looked at me with evil eyes though.

Sunday was our long ride. Tony and I did the Pelican Landing course so we could see the eagle's nest. We decided to take turns pulling switching every half mile. This work pretty good and we got to the eagle's nest very quickly...ave 19.5 mph. The eagle was sitting on the nest but as we watched he/she got up, stood on a branch then flew over us and out to the fields near by.

Tony and I proceeded on to the boat launch area and ate our breakfast, for me a Peanut Butter Crunch Cliff Bar and Tony a rapsberry PowerBar. We looked for dolphins but I guess it is not the right time for them to be in the bay. We did see a lot of pelicans.

On the way back we stopped again at the eagles nest and once again he/she was in the nest but this time obviously feeding the eaglets! What a neat sight to see. We are hoping to see the eaglets fly in a few weeks.

On the ride back home it was windy as the morning winds shifted to the northeast. It made for a tough pull all the way home but we got it done..... 40 miles.

Another Accident

During todays ride I had a collision with my cycling partner, Tony. I feel really stupid because I felt it coming on or I knew it was about to happen. It happened at an intersection that we go thru 4 times in our normal loop, twice we turn right and twice we turn left. Tony was talking about his new puppy and had lost track of where we were. I shouted LEFT LEFT but he was turning right and down I went, he stayed up. Fortunately I just scraped my arm and knee and I finished our ride.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Cycling TV

I found a streaming TV channel on the web dedicated to Cycling... Cycling TV...check it out I'm currently watching a time trail that includes Team Discovery Channel.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Frigid Morning

I did not want to get out of bed this morning. It was cold and I haven't turned on my heater since .... well last year sometime, so it was cold in the house and it was 48* outside! Last week when I visited my LBS, I bought a pair of gloves to go under my bike gloves. Well they work for running also I found out this morning.

My run was the normal Tuesday Thursday loop through the woods. I did find with it being cold, well cold for me, that it was more difficult to get my muscles loose. At the two mile mark I had shin splints. I pushed thru th e pain for the next two miles when finally the pain subsided. What is that a sign for,new shoes? I'm hoping it was just the cold.

I'm going to try to swim today at lunch time it is supose to be 76* by noon. Then I'll hit the weights at the fitness center tonight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Still Alive and Kicking

Just a quickie.... no Bolder not that.... A quickie update to let everyone know I'm OK. I have been very busy at work, this is our busy time reconciling accounts, sending out statements and bills so I have been swamped!

Quickie Highlights:

Friday - I road 25 miles in the morning, swam at lunch and went to the club for cocktails (yes the feathers do get caught in my teeth) then home for early bed.

Saturday - Tour de Cape century - I awoke to wind and rain but went to Cape Coral anyway for the Tour. By the time I got there it was no longer raining just windy. It was a brutal day riding into the wind etc... I thought about doing the 62 miler but hung in there for the 100 miles 5 hrs 32 min...of pure torture. (yes I had one stop for fuel and pottie). It was a well supported ride but alot of people didn't show due to the wind. What are you going to do in the wind at Kona not show up?

Sunday - rest day I did have J over for dinner - Carrot Ginger Soup, Oldman Bread, Spinach Quiche, Salad and Cream Brulee all of which I served with some Stagg's Leap chardonnay. Hey I can still cook.

Monday - of course MLK Day so I worked like a slave around my house washing windows and doing winter house cleanning. I did manage a 15 mile ride.

Tuesday - run day before work and it was a great run of 7 miles. I went to the weight room afterwork. Couldn't swim had to work thru lunch.

Today - rain and cold and rain but I rode anyway in the rain 20 miles, I just couldn't do the last 5 since I was wet and cold. I'm hoping that it is warm enough to swim at lunch time (open air pools in FL).

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Lunch and LBS

Ok I had a lunch meeting with our Firm's accountant regarding our taxes. Yes it is that time of year again. So after my lunch meeting at Aqua Grill, I stopped by my LBS, Clint's Bicycle Shoppe. After Flatman's wife purchased him a new bike, I thot maybe I'd find some one to buy me a new bike. So here's is the bike I looked at:

Trek Madone SSLx. A Boron frame weights 14 lbs and comes in my size! What do you think?

So I bought a pair of wool gloves to go under my bike gloves to keep my fingers nice and toastie. The bike was $12,500, a little more than I want to spend on a bike.

Tennis Ball Run Again

Today was the Thursday Tennis Ball run along my regular route. Half way home Eileen jumped in to run with me. It's nice to have a younger pretty woman who can run faster than me join in the tennis ball games. She runs in the 7's so it pushes me, which is what I need at this point.

For those interested, the dead rat is gone from the road but the dead snake is still there.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Wednesday Random Thots

Today was a ride day, while it was warmer than yesterday I still wore my arm warmers. Yesterday I told you about the people I usually see. Today I thought I would tell you about the sights that I see. As I left my house it was light enough I didn't need a headlamp or my rear blinky but still a little foggy or maybe it is mist. I noticed that the re-cycling truck that picks up glass, plastic and newspapers had dropped some glass on the road. You have to be careful of these since my tires are more slicks with no tread and I ride with 100 lbs of air in my tires. These little shards of glass will cause a major flat.

As I left my circle I noticed the road here was wet. Not from rain because it is now dry season and we get little or no rain until June when it rains every afternoon at 4 pm. No it was wet from the irrigation. With my slick tires I have to be careful taking the next corner to fast.... anything over 20 mph.

As we turn onto Southern Hills Drive Tony stands in the saddle to sprint, he is trying to sprint more to get in shape for the straight-a-way where he wants to get to 35 mph. This sprinting causes me to speed up, the only problem is Southern Hills Drive has speed bumps which jars everything my speedometer and cadence stop working and the road ends in a cul-de-sac where we turn around. I have a tri bike, Quintana Roo, which doesn't handle as well as Tony's Trek Madone roadbike. So at the turn-around I fall behind yet again. Since I'm trying to train for triathlons I remain in the saddle most of the time and just try to spin faster to catch up. Some times it works.

A golf cart pulls out in front of us as we head back and this is a signal for Tony and I to go faster to try to catch the cart and pass it. I change gears to 5 down and off we go and yes we catch and pass it nicely saying "Good Morning" to a startled golf cart driver. We are doing 23 mph the cart is doing about 19 mph.

As we head up Tony's street we watch for Coffee Drinker and Collie. I am convinced that since I haven't seen them in a month they are planning a sneak attack. At the end of Tony's street, another cul-de-sac, we turn around and it is catch-up time to me. We come down his street to he back gate blow thru the stop sign and head up to the Fitness Center.

At the Fitness Center is a large parking lot where we cruise around the perimeter get a drink and start back the way we came but making a right to go to the famous straight-a-way. I usually pull from the Fitness Center around Island Circle then jump the sidewalk up a slight incline to the straight-a-way. I get a sip of drink get into aero position again and I try to pull Tony as fast as I can. Here on the straight-a-way we usually have to announce the "BIKES COMING" to move the Groupies (6 ladies walking in the road side-by-side). At about half way we are doing 28, Tony goes around me, I try to get on his wheel but usually since he is 8 years younger than me (I'm the better looking one) he drops me.

As we make the lefthand turn and head to the Boat Yard we jump onto the trail/bike path that passes the "Pottie House" then on to the road again heading back toward my house. Here we saw a LARGE DEAD RAT. No the little ones like we saw last winter. And not the Palmetto Rats that I killed in my attic last year. No, a real RAT.

When we make the turn to my street, we spot a dead snake. He's nicely coiled but dead. Tony and I do my street as fast as possible then back to Southern Hills to start our second loop hoping to find another golf cart to pass along the way. Those two loops make 20 miles. Sometimes I go to Tony's house and back another 5 miles to cool off.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


OK Susan passed on this meme to me. I'm not sure why but here goes:

Four jobs you've had in your life:

telephone tech, electrician, minister, adminstrator
Four movies you could watch over and over:
Gettysburg, Christmas Vacation, Master and Commander, Star Wars or Star Trek
Four places you've lived: New Jersey, Texas, Florida no place else...
Four TV shows you love to watch:
Imus in the Morning, CNBC During the day in my office, News (MSNBC ,Fox or CNN), Two and a Half Men
Four places you've been on vacation:
Rome, Italy; London, England; Paris, France; the Caribbean
Four websites you visit daily:
Gooogle, Slowtwitch, Gmail, Vanguard, Janus
Four of your favorite foods:
anything Italian i.e. pasta, pesto; anything seafood i.e. grouper, shrimp, clams; anything cocolate i.e. cookies, cake, ice cream, pies etc; anything Wine i.e. champagne, chardonay, merlot, Pinor Noir
Four places you'd rather be:
Barefoot Beach near my home; on a sailboat in the Chesapeake; Rome, Italy visiting my grandson; NJ visiting my other 2 grandsons
Four albums you can't live without:
Common Thread: Songs of the Eagles; Andrea Bocelli; Louis Armstrong; Sarah Brightman
Four vehicles I've owned:
VW Bug, Jeep Cherokee, Fiero, Buick Regal Grand Sport

OK so I'll tag the great Goofy Challenge winner Nancy, the great Prarie Dawg Leader, Bolder and Cliff of Canada fame.

Terrific Tuesday

My training seems to be routine doing the same thing over and over again. Sunday is the long ride, Monday is a recovery ride and weights, Tuesday is run and swim, Wednesday is ride and swim Thursday fartlek run and weights, Friday is ride and swim, Saturday is my long run and long swim. Same week in and week out.

Since my schedule is pretty much the same, I don't always know what to post. Take this morning for example. It was a nice morning, almost perfect morning to run. It was cool but not to cold, about 56 no breeze. The sun was just coming up and as I started my run, it was reflecting off the golf course lake causing me to squint. I saw the usually walkers and a few new people because it is season now and the snowbirds are here.

AS I leave my block and turn left on the main street I see the usual people. I name the "usual" people that I see. No I don't "know" them but I do say good morning to them. There is the Smiley Guy, he is always smiling. At the corner is Pajama Girl, she walks two dogs wearing a sweatshirt and pajama bottoms, she looks like she just got done with a shower since her hair is wet. Then I see the Skinny Lady and Skinny Ladies Husband. She is so skinny if she turns sideways and sticks out her tongue she would be a zipper. Next up is Fast Walker, she walks really fast. As I round the curve at the first mile mark is Cigar Guy, always smoking a cigar picking up stuff in his yard or sweeping his driveway. I then head up Tony's street to the now famous Coffee Drinker and Collie, whom I haven't seen in a while but you know about them probably planning a secret attack on Tony and me.

As I continue on my run at the 2 mile mark I enter the woods. It's a trail that follows the Estero River and is very popular with canoeist and kayakers. I have only seen one person on the trail in all the years that I have been using it. But I have seen some great wildlife. Birds of course, and rabbits. One morning I startled a panther. This year I rounded the corner at the end of the trail as it crosses a bridge over a little creek when I startled a mother Otter and three babies playing. I don't know who was more excited me or the otters!

After leaving the woods I come to the Fitness Center and Pool for our community. It is along the river, next to the dock masters office for our boat lunch and dock. There is also the River Club next to the Fitness Center and Pool. I usually stop inside the Fitness center to get a drink of water and on Tuesdays get weighted. As I leave the Fitness Center I run now on the road that leads back to the community thru some preserve areas that the State of Florida will not allow to be developed. That is what attracted me to this community the natural areas and large open spaces, unlike some community builders who use up every available space.

As I go along the preserve area there is a small trail that leads to a grave site that was used by the Koreseans. The Koreseans were a cult in the late 1800's lead by Cyrus Tweed. In the cemetery are the graves of several of this cult that died. One is a Confederate soldier and another is a Union soldier from the Spanish American War. I think of them and how no one visits their grave. This past Memorial Day I got a small American Flag and a small Confederate Flag to place on their graves to remember their sacrifice for America.

Usually along in here I will see Two Dog Walker, he walks two small dogs. I then round a corner and go up a small incline to an abandoned road that goes under a high tension line. The road follows the fence border of our community that separates us from a very ritzy community with multi-million dollar homes on the right and three holes of the golf course on the left, including two lakes. This road is our famous straight-a-way.

On the straight-a-way I see Bottle Guy, he's riding a bike with a bottle holder on his handle bar with a large large bottle of water. I also see Dog Rider, he's riding a bike with his dog on a leash. Also I see Dog with No Leash, a lady walking her dog with no leash even though it is a major rule to have your dog on a leash. Then I see several people that I haven't named yet. A group (6) of ladies all walking together, Groupies. I guy in a yellow shirt, the same yellow shirt every day. Sometimes the workers from the golf course or our community are on the road with gas powered golf carts.

The road makes a 90* turn to the left then ends at the back of our boat storage yard.
It is here that you have to get on the sidewalk that paralls the boat yard and the golf course. There is a "Pottie House" half way along the sidewalk where I can get another drink of water, or in case of runners emergencies, well you know.

Then it is back to the community roads and on the homeward stretch of my 7 miles. I see Smiley Guy again, Fast Walker, and then Poodle Lady, yup two poodles. Sometimes Bob-on-a-moutain-bike, a guy from my circle will pass by on his mountain bike, or Icelandic Man, my neighbor from Iceland. Eileen is usually around in here on the days she runs. She does 9 miles at about a 8 min. pace. She wears a great bikini tops and running short shorts, but she is married.

The course then makes a right turn and short stretch then another right turn and I'm on my street. I hear the bell in my head indicating 1 mile to go! I see Frank the Priest going to work, Annie sweeping her driveway, and the Norwegian Lady taking the kids to school. Sometimes my neighbor across the street is getting his newspaper when I finish.

So today was like so many days running. Uneventful unless you count the people.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Freezing Friday

Freezing....well not quite that cold but to me it felt cold. Last night I was awakened by howling winds blowing from the north. That usually means a cold front is pushing its way here from up north bringing with it cooler weather. As you may know it has been a beautiful week here in Southwest Florida with daytime highs around 78* with bright sunshine and night time lows about 70*. So the howling winds meant change was in the air.

When I got ready for my ride this morning I expected a bitter cold morning but to my surprise the wind had subsided and the temp was 56*. So it was cold going into the wind but not so cold going down wind. Tony had to drop our after the first loop so I rode the last 12 miles alone. But hey it was a good ride, I even pasted Tony on the straight-a-way at 29 mph...but he did jump on my wheel so I didn't drop him...next time. I got my 25 miles in.

I have started going back to the weight room at the fitness center. Wednesday night a I did 2 miles on the dreadmill and then an upper body workout. I was a little sore for my run yesterday but I guess my little Christmas rest help because I felt real strong on my 7 mile jaunt.

Tonight is the famous cocktails at the club night with some friends and tomorrow I'm going to attempt a long run of 15 miles. Sunday Tony and I are doing the Cocnut Point Ride to see the eagles nest and perhaps get a look at the babies. (What is a baby eagle called a hatchling?)

Here's a pic of the beach from yesterday....I didn't swim at the beach because I didn't have a wetsuit. The water temp is 65*. I just had lunch watching the water rather than staying in the office and eating at my desk.

Bolder , the girl walking the water line has a nice bikini, just for you! this is 4 blocks from my office.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Time for Reflection

It was this time last year that I began experiencing severe headaches and was still recovering from my various treatments and surgeries for cancer. I had discovered a new "growth" on my back on the same site as my first surgery and went to see my oncologist. She ask me it I had any symptoms and of course I mentioned my headaches, dizzy spells, blurry vision and ringing in my ears...so this started a series of chest and head mri then a brain mra then re-tests then a pet scan and finally the report from the onoclogist. It went something like this: You have something in your brain. I think it is a tumor. I'm sending you to a brain surgeon and he is reserving an operating room for Tuesday. Always good news to hear. The brain surgeon met me on a Saturday morning in his office. His words were I canceled the operating room after looking at your brain study because it we remove it you would spend the rest of your life smiling a lot ...like the Kennedy girl. People don't function well with a quarter of their brain removed.

Well since that stressful month I've had two growths removed from my back, multiple brain tests and more tests. I still have the headaches, dizzy spells, blurry vision and this ringing in my ears...some days worse than others. I thank God that my surgeon was not out to just do surgery and after seeing 3 "second" opinions I've been told that Dr. Lusk has probably saved my ability to think and function normally. He and other surgeons have told me that no ethical brain surgeon would attempt my surgery unless I have a bleed or other complication and then, according to Dr. Lusk, there is no one qualified in Florida to do the surgery.

Now one year later, life is less stressful. I've been given the ok to do races, hey they didn't even want me to train for a while! So what have I learned? What has God taught me thru this all?

When I lived in Philly a few years ago that was the rally cry for the Philadelphia Phillies started by I think Tug McGraw. Well I've found that no matter what YA GOTTA BELIEVE! Like a tri or a marathon even when the pain becomes unbearable YA GOTTA BELIEVE you are going to beat this thing.

While I was a hospital chaplain I worked with many dying patients and saw the five stages of death that Elizabeth Kubler Ross talked about in her book On Death and Dying; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I want to get to that acceptance stage...YA GOTTA BELIEVE while this was happening I'm going to do what ever I have to do to survive....win...finish the course.

2. Have Fun in Life
Lance Armstrong while undergoing chemo for his cancer and brain surgery said about his blood count:

"Those numbers became the highlight of each day; they were my motivation....I would concentrate on that number, as if I could make the counts by mentally willing it."

Lance made it a game. Life is to short to not laugh, love and play along the way. So yes sometimes my humor is a little "sick" but if I can't laugh at what is going on I'd go nuts. I like to have fun and even make fun of myself. So kickoff your shoes, have a beer or two and laugh!

3. Help others along the way
I had learned this a while back but I have gotten away from it. During my time as a pastor, I took on five people at a time, not members of my church, who were dying. I would help them thru the death process. To this day I still keep in touch with families who have lost a loved one.

I decided to do that with cancer/brain tumor, to encourage others facing the same thing I was facing. Thru notes, conversations, phone calls etc I've tried to help several people I know that are facing what I faced.

It you haven't read it I suggest you do, Laurence Gonzales book Deep Survival. Gonzales suggests Survivors are always doing what they do for someone else, even if that someone is thousands of miles away. I decided to do that with cancer/brain tumor patients.

4. Quitting is Quitters

Growing up I had great parents. They taught me so much about life. My mother would say to me: There is no such thing as I can't. This was from a woman who at the age of seven her father died during the Great Depression leaving a wife and five children, three of whom would not live to see age 13 due to a crippling childhood disease.

My hometown of Burlington NJ is the birth place of Captain James Lawrence who in the mist of a great naval battle, his ship almost destroyed and sinking said "Don't give up the ship!"

A race or cancer or a brain tumor I've decided to never, never, never give up! Quitting is for quitters!

5. Contentment
We live in a culture that is never content. More is the cry. More money, more toys, bigger house, faster car.... I'm learning contentment. Do I need a new bike? No just lose a few pounds and I'll go faster. My car a 1991 that is worth less than my bike. Do I need a new car? No, it would be nice but why? Could I make more money? Yes I could move back t New York City work from 7:30 to 6:30 have an hour commute each way and make big bucks. However, I'm content working for a small firm from 9:30 to 5:00, I can train in the morning, swim at lunch, and be home in time to work out in the fitness center plus there is the beach to do open water swimming.

The Apostle Paul writing to the Philippians said:

I'm not saying that because I need anything. I have learned to be content no matter what happens to me. (Phil 4:11)

I've learned to be content no matter what happens to me.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

He's Back!!!!!

OK quick update...

flew to Newark NJ on Dec. 23
saw some family and friends for Christmas Eve, ate & drank to much
went to church for midnight Christmas Eve
has an awesome Christmas Day, ate to much
ran on Monday 7 miles, went to dinner (see pic below)
rode a mountain bike 20 miles on Tuesday _ cold< ugh
went to the City Wednesday
ran 10 miles Thursday
flew home Friday -- good to be back to warm weather!
Sat rode 25 miles ran 8 miles
Sun rode 60 miles with Tony
Mon rode 30 miles (counts on next weaks report), took down my Christmas decorations, ugh!

Weakly Totals
Run 25 miles
Bike 105 miles

Thanks everyone for the notes and emails...