Saturday, November 27, 2010

Legal System Fails

I try not to get too political on this blog. The purpose of this blog is to help my friends and family keep up with my training and races, and to hopefully give some tips to other triathletes and runners. If I give my opinion, it's normally regarding a training style or piece of equipment. However, I feel that a recent ruling by a local judge needs to be address here...especially considering the crime that was committed.

On August 1, 2009, John Carr (pictured at left) was competing the Tom Sawyer Triathlon. This is a race that I myself raced in 2008 and again this year. If I wasn't out of town during the race in 2009, I'm sure I would have been there. After competing the swim portion of the sprint triathlon, John Carr headed out onto the 14 mile bike ride. While on Chamberlain Lane, John was hit from behind by a car...driving at a high rate of speed. John was thrown from his bike by the impact and died from blunt-force trauma. An impact so violent that his bike stuck in the windshield of the car! The driver of the car, drunk and high, continued to drive, with the bike in his windshield, for almost half a mile.

An off-duty police officer working the race saw the car and immediately jumped in his cruiser and chased. Once the car stopped, the driver, 26 year old Kenneth Yates (pictured at right) jumped out and fought with the police officer. He then fled on foot - running all the way to his Mother's house. His Mom, who apparently has some sense, brought him back to the scene. Yates was immediately arrested and charged with murder, assault of a police officer, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, third-degree assault on a officer, disarming an officer, fleeing and evading, resisting arrest, and operating a vehicle on a suspended license.

A little over a month before this incident, Yates was charged with DUI and reckless driving...thus the suspended license.

Fast-forward to November 24th of this year (three days ago) to the sentencing (so much for the sixth amendment's right to a speedy trial). Jefferson County Circuit Court Div. 13 Judge Frederic Cowan sentenced Kenneth Yates to 15 years in prison, with eligibility for parole in 11 years. While I would like to say that Judge Cowan made the wrong decision, apparently this length of sentence is appropriate under Kentucky law for first-degree manslaughter...which is ridiculous.

Kenneth Yates will be credited for the year that he's already served, so in 2021, at the age of 38, he will likely be a free man.

John Carr had a wife and two young children (6 and 8 years old). He will never get to see these kids grow up. They will miss all the wonderful time that they would have spent with their dad. He started doing triathlon's to stay in shape so that he could live to see his children grow old. The Carr family will never be the same. You can't put a price tag on the life of an innocent man...but this sentence seems too lenient.

According to those close to the case, Kenneth Yates has shown no remorse. He has never asked to speak with the Carr family. Never once told them that he was sorry. He had been arrested on driving under the influence just a few months earlier...and clearly didn't think it was a big deal. He made the decision to drive drunk, which lead him to ignore police officers, traffic cones, signs and other cars that morning and killed John Carr. He then chose to flee the scene without any consideration for the man that he just hit. Once he was stopped, he fought with the police officer and attempted to take his gun during the struggle. What did he plan to do with the gun? Thank God we didn't find out.

Some people will say that he made a mistake. That he shouldn't spend his life in jail. That he could come back into society in 11 years and be a contributing member in our community. I say that he was 26 years old when this happened. He wasn't and isn't a "kid". He's a grown man that makes his own decisions and knows what he is doing.

When will people start being held responsible for their actions? This is just another indication to me that our legal system is broken. This was no accident. Sure, Kenneth Yates didn't intend to hit John Carr that morning, but he did intend to get drunk and high and drive...again. What kind of person drives half a mile with a bike lodged in their windshield after hitting someone? What kind of person tries to take a police officer's gun from him? I know that jails and prisons are full, but issuing more and more lenient sentences to criminals is not the answer! I hope and pray that Kenneth Yates is fully rehabilitated once he's released...for all our our sake!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Enjoying The Offseason

As of the moment I crossed the finish line a week and a half ago at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, I officially started my offseason. I might do some short running races between now and the spring, but my training for next season won't officially start until the end of December.

So I'm trying to enjoy my offseason. It's hard for me to do. I understand that resting your body in the offseason is key to having a successful and injury free race season. I've been limiting my workouts to some short runs and weights lately, but I'm feeling weird.

Over the last two years my body has become accustom to being in shape and eating well. With both of these starting to slack, I'm getting the feeling of being a little "off". My heart rate is higher on my runs and the pace doesn't come easy. I feel tired more often and I've even put on about 6-8 pounds in the last 11 days. I'm really trying to take it easy and let me body rest, but I'm not sure if I can do this for another month!!

Progression Run
The object of this run is to start out at a comfortable pace and at set intervals (every mile in this case), increase the speed. Here are my mile splits:
Mile 1 - 7:53 min/mile pace
Mile 1 - 7:47 min/mile pace
Mile 1 - 7:33 min/mile pace
Mile 1 - 7:18 min/mile pace
Mile 1 - 7:14 min/mile pace
Total Workout: 4.82 miles in 36:27 (7:34 pace)
Avg HR = 159, Max HR = 174

Workout: 6.05 miles in 47:13 (7:48 min/mile pace)
I always try to squeeze in a run when I'm traveling for work. I was able to run 6 miles along Lake Michigan in Chicago this morning. They have a great path called the "Lakeshore Trail" that starts in Millenium Park and heads south along the lake. I ran past Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field and the Natural History Museum...pretty cool run! I took it easy and didn't push it until the last mile or so. Good workout and the weather even cooperated. 42° F, but hardly and wind - which is unusual here. Snapped a pic with my phone (awesome view of the sunrise on the lake):

Friday, November 12, 2010

2010 Season in Review

The video sums it up pretty well....

I really do want to thank my very understanding wife, Jessica, for supporting me 100%. She sacrifices a lot in order for me to participate in all these races. I also want to thank my parents for making to almost all of my races this year, even the ones that were out of town. I don't know anyone else that has such great support all around them. It's awesome!

Big things (Ironman) are planned for 2011, so I'm going to continue to ask for everyone's support. Thanks in advance for helping me achieve such a huge goal!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Report

I thought I had everything planned, I remembered to put on my Chamois Butt'r, covered my feet in Vaseline and had all my cold weather gear. My Garmin watch was fully charged and I had my three Hammer nutrition gels in my pockets. I said goodbye to Jessica and Kate and walked from Sona and Dave's place the 6 or so blocks to the starting line. I was ready to race!

The first few miles were going great. I actually warmed up much faster than I expected. I was holding my pace right above 8 minutes per mile, just where I wanted. I was cruising along feeling good. The half-marathon runners didn't peal off until around mile 7, so for those first miles, all 8000+ runners were together. The water stops were very crowded. I skipped the stops at mile 1, 3, 4 and 8, and only sipped a little water at miles 2, 5, 7 and 9. I wasn't sweating very much and I wanted to avoid the traffic at the water stops. My miles splits for the first 13 miles were 8:08, 7:52, 8:19, 8:04, 8:06, 8:03, 8:07, 8:07, 8:05, 7:59, 8:16, 8:10, 8:13.

Mile 14 started to slow, steady hill. This hill was literally 3 miles long (see elevation below).

I was still feeling strong during the hill, but my pace slowed. Miles 14-18 were 8:18, 8:30, 8:49, 8:59, and 9:10. As you can see on the elevation chart, coming down off of the hill was quick. Running down hill is hard on the muscles, especially this steep. I noticed my calves getting tight during mile 19 and while I had taken two of my gels and was drinking water at every station since mile 10, I knew that I was in trouble. My goal time of 3:30 was now out of reach, so I revised my goal to just try and finish under 4 hours.

Dehydration is the enemy of an endurance athlete. Once you get dehydrated, you can't reverse it. I immediately knew that passing on those early water stations was a mistake. I started to down Gatorade at the aid stations instead of water...desperately trying to get some needed electrolytes. By mile 20 I had slowed considerably. I felt good fitness wise, but my leg muscles were giving out. My calves and hamstrings were getting tight. I stopped a few times to try and stretch (see pace chart below), but that didn't help.

Miles 22 through 26 were horrible. I was struggling to keep my pace close to 11 minutes per mile. My brain was telling me to stop, but I knew that walking would hurt even more. Every step was painful, but I broke the remaining miles into small segments and made it through. My last 4 miles were 11:20, 11:21, 11:01 and 10:48.

I was starting to become delusional as well. I kept forgetting what mile I was on and I lost my balance several times during the last two miles, even hitting my shoulder on the side mirror of a car parked on the street. I remember seeing Jessica, Kate, Sona and Dave there at mile 25 to cheer me on, but the last mile is a blur.

I crossed the finish line at 3:56 and some change. I stumbled down the finish shoot and found a patch of grass to collapse on. My body was spent! I attempted to stretch, but it was too painful to even bend my legs. I was getting cold chills and was in lots of pain. I chugged a chocolate milk and got my sweats from the gear check tent and attempted to put my sweat pants on to get warm. I wish I had video of me trying to get my pants on without bending my legs...very comical to all those who saw it I'm sure.

I bundled up and walked stumbled my way back to Sona and Dave's place, where I got some Tylenol and collapsed on the floor.

I thought I had everything planned. For whatever reason, I underestimated the amount of water my body would need to run 26.2 miles. Skipping those early water stops killed me in the end. In hindsight, I should have worn my fuel belt (full of Hammer Perpetuem) and taken water at every stop. Lesson learned!

Official Results:

Time - 3:56:44
Division Place (Male 30-34): 121st of out 214
Gender Place: 778th out of 1565
Overall Place:  1038th out of 2502
First half in 1:46:51 (8:10 pace)
Second half in 2:09:53 (9:55 pace)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Preview

Saturday morning I will ask my body to do something that it has never done before - run 26.2 miles. Sure, I've done triathlons that lasted more than six hours and hopefully I will be on the way back to Louisville six hours after this marathon starts, but running for three and a half to four hours will be completely different. I'm not really sure what to expect.

One thing I know for sure is that it's going to be COLD! Temperatures overnight Friday are going to be in the mid 20's, with an expected race start temperature in the upper 20's at best. If you keep up with this blog, you know that I don't mind prefer to run in the cold...the issue is going to be the standing and waiting in the cold. If you've ever run a road race, you know the feeling. You get your legs loose and then proceed to your corral. Then your wait. No matter how close you try and cut it, there's going to be at least 10-15 minutes of standing there like cattle waiting for the race to start. This is when your body and muscles get cold...and tight! This I am not looking forward to. Those first few miles could be tough.

I'm planning on breaking out my long-sleeve Under Armour shirt, my thick gloves and my Purdue toboggan (yes, I still call them that). I will still wear shorts. As I discussed with Jessica this morning, I don't even think about running in pants until it's in the single digits. My legs just don't get cold, so I don't see the need.

As I think about the race, I have several things that I want to accomplish and things that I need to try and remember during the race.
  • In my mind, the most important thing to remember is to hold back the reins and not go out too fast. The plan is to run the first half at a pace just above 8:00 minute miles and the second half at a pace just below 8:00 minute miles. I have to run a negative split (second half faster than the first) if I want to reach my goal time of three and a half hours.
  • Another key thing for me to do is stay positive. I know that it takes me 3-4 miles to warm up. Those first few miles are tough and even though I know that once I get loose it will be easier, I still get negative thoughts about being able to run as far as I have planned. I get these thoughts during training runs...and I know that they will creep in during the beginning of this marathon. I have to push them aside and have confidence in the training that I put in. 
  • I also need to remember to eat a gel every hour or so. This seemed to be enough during my longer runs of 20+ miles, so I'm going to stick with it. Water will be available at the aid stations, and I plan on getting some every other station for the first half and then see how I feel after that. I have a habit of drinking too much before and during the first part of the race and then end up have to pee the whole race - not fun.
  • An finally, I need to remember that pain is temporary. My foot seems to be very close to being healed, but I'm sure it will start hurting at some point. Even if it doesn't, I plan on running hard enough that everything else will hurt! This is my last big race of the year and I want to leave it all out on the course. There's no chance to make up for a bad race until next spring. I need to finish the year off strong and be confident and motivated to start training in December for the Ironman!
"The real purpose of racing is not to win, but to test the limits of your heart and your mind." - Bill Brown

One last interval workout just to keep the legs and lungs firing.
1.32 mile warm-up run to the track in 10:10 (7:42 min/mile pace)
4 x 400m sprints w/ 1 min. rest
1) 1:24.97
2) 1:24.75
3) 1:22.67
4) 1:26.77
1.32 mile cool-down run back to the gym in 11:02 (8:21 min/mile pace)
Total workout: 3.94 miles in 33:49

Monday, November 1, 2010

What Exactly is Ironman?

If you are a triathlete, I'm sure certain things immediately come to mind when you hear the term "Ironman". I first heard this word/term in the late 80's when I was a lad watching the NBC coverage of the Ironman Championship in Hawaii. The term Ironman to me meant completing a triathlon that was comprised of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run (140.6 miles).

When I started doing triathlons in August of 2008, my definition of Ironman was the same. I was now educated on the different distances available in the sport, but Ironman simply meant doing the big one. The all-day, ultimate mental and physical test.

The World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) owns the Ironman brand. They are the ones that organize any race that contains the word Ironman with the cool "M-Dot" logo you see to the left. While it would be nice to think of the WTC as just a group of people that like to give crazy athletes a way to test themselves, that's not the reality. It's a business...and as we all know, the ultimate goal of running a business is to make money. Just like Nike, Coke, Microsoft, and even Apple, the term Ironman is a brand. So the WTC has decided to cash in on the term, and the logo.

In recent years, the WTC has decided to link the Ironman term and logo with races that are not the "classic" Ironman distance. They have added several Ironman 70.3 races (half the distance of the traditional Ironman), and are now adding 16 Olympic distance races in 2011 that will be called the "5150 Series". These consist of a 1.5K swim, 40K bike, and 10K run. Add these up and you get a distance of 51.50 Kilometers. So all that's left for them to attach their name to are sprint distance races...and you know it's coming.

So I tell you all of this to also tell you that for some reason, all of this doesn't sit well with me. I feel that the term and logo should be reserved for the full distance Ironman race only. Sure, when people in the triathlon community ask if you have or are doing "an Ironman", they still mean the 140.6 mile race...but how long before that isn't the case? Soon, they will need to clarify which distance Ironman they are asking about. Does completing an Olympic distance or even 70.3 make you and "Ironman" or "Ironwoman"? I guess that's not for me to determine, but in my opinion, it kind of takes away some of the luster of the term when you decide to attach it to so many events.

As a side note, when the WTC decides to add events, they very rarely will create a race from thin air. They swoop in and buy up an existing race. They can take a small, local race and turn it into a huge production...which can be pretty cool and make you feel like a superstar...but there's a cost that comes with this "upgrade". For instance, the Muncie Endurathon has been a favorite half-Ironman race of many people in the region for the last 31 years (one of the oldest in the country). While I've never competed in the race, I've heard great things about it. The race organizers always did a great job and the people of Muncie, Indiana welcomed all the athletes and their families with open arms. Now the race will be called the Ironman 70.3 Muncie and will have all of the pomp and circumstance of an Ironman event...including an increase of close to $100 in the registration fee and a 60 day blackout on other races! Will the race be better for it, who knows, I'm just giving you an example of how the WTC operates. Personally, I like doing the smaller, local races. There are two 70.3 races here locally that I loved doing this year and I hope that they stay small!

8.0 mile Progressive Run in 1:00:15 (7:31 min/mile pace)
Started off with a conservative pace and slowly ramped up the speed during the run, finishing with a near all-out effort. See the chart below for my mile splits:

10 minute warm-up, 45 minute spin class, 5 minute cool-down (1 hour total)
Good class with some long hills (5-6 minutes), followed by fast flats lasting around a minute, then a 2 minute sprint to finish the class.
Avg HR = 138
Max HR = 162

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