Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fighting for Air

As promised, here's a quick recap of the American Lung Association "Fight for Air Climb" in Tampa this weekend.  The event sold out - with over 1,000 people making the commitment to run the 42 flights of stairs.  I thought I had arrived early, but when I exited the parking garage, I found a carnival-like atmosphere at the base of the building.  There were vendors selling their wares and announcements going out over the intercom.  It took me a second to recognize the sound - but there was the familiar bang of porta-let doors slamming!  This is going to be a good day!

Lisa has written a great blog about the event and several of the people on the team.  I suggest you take a look at the following link:

The only thing that I can add to what Lisa has written, is how I continue to be so very impressed with the people that engage in these types of activities.  Whether it be a person running up the stairs - one day after knee surgery.  Or the person that flew a couple of thousand miles to support a cause.  When you consider that the actual run is going to take most people 10 - 15 minutes, it really speaks highly of so many people to make the effort!

Congratulations to all +1,000 people that took their time to support a great cause!

Take care!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How High Is It?

I got a call from my good friend Lisa Jamison earlier in the week.  Lisa has assembled a team to compete in the American Lung Association "Fight For Air Climb" in Tampa.  The race is being held a week from today and Lisa needed a team photographer.  All the best sports managers know how to maximize their players to benefit the team.  Lisa is no different.  Clearly, I would be more beneficial to the team behind the camera, as opposed to lacing up and running.  No hard feelings on the decision - she's right!

The plan is simple.  Show up next Saturday - shoot some team photos outside (before the climb begins).  Then, push the button marked "42" in the elevator and wait for the real athletes on the roof - so I can spring into action and take more photos!

My pride was still in tact, feeling good that Lisa thought so highly of my photography.  Then, she mentioned that the team will include a couple of athletes that are still in elementary school!  Pride just took a little hit - but Lisa has seen me run and she's a pro!

Wanting to prove something to myself, I told Lisa that I would like to "run" the forty-two floors this morning.  As the non-athletic "artist" of the group, I thought it would help me if I experienced the stairs.  I also wanted Lisa to question her decision to put me on the bench!  If you haven't guessed - I was about to demonstrate why Lisa is in charge of the team!

So, at about 8:15, I went down to the basement of the Bank of America building and filled my water bottle.  I started my stopwatch and began my run up the stairs.  I had decided to hold back and go at a very conservative pace.  I started a little too fast - but corrected by the time I passed the "1st Floor" sign.  Feeling good and cocky, I got into my race pace for the rest of the run.  And then it happened, I ran out of breath on the third flight.  I was huffing and puffing - but trying to do it quietly so no one would laugh at me!  I slowed down to a brisk walk and continued until the 9th floor - where I stopped to catch my breath.

By the 10th floor, there was sweat dripping off me with every step!  I felt really out of shape and was happy that I had the staircase to myself!  By the 11th floor - I finally started to see drips left by others.  That made me feel a bit better.  The climb stayed uneventful until the 25th floor when I heard someone coming.  I have a very competitive nature and I just couldn't stand the thought of having to move aside for someone.  Luckily, it was an athlete bounding down the stairs.  This guy was an Adonis and he was gliding down the stairs like he could do it all day.  It's amazing how much you can learn about someone in a couple of seconds.  He had a big grin on his face and shouted out some encouragement as he flew by.  "Nice guy", I thought.  Turns out Lisa has him signed-up for the team.  Yep, she's that good!

By the 36th floor, I decided that it wasn't sweat falling off me - it had to be the tequila from last night.  This is good!  It hurts, but this has to be good for me!  I'm proud to say that I made it to the top without being passed and then "ran" back down, instead of taking the elevator.  I still have some pride!  My time to the top was 16 minutes.  Time to make it back down was 10.  Not great - but I will take it for a first attempt.

I later learned that the nice guy that passed me as he descended expects to make the run to the top in just over 6-minutes!  Having just spent 16 minutes on the stairs - it is a stunning time for me to even contemplate!  Just as impressive, there will be teams of Fire Fighters competing for their own prizes.  They will make the same trip while dressed in full gear - 60 pounds of it!  It is very comforting to know that we have people like that - ready to respond if we are ever in need.

I have added a link to a newspaper article about the event.  You will see that Lisa assembled the team to honor a friend, John Foley, who died from lung cancer.  This is a very worthy cause!

The next link is to the Team Foley page - for anyone that would like to make a donation of just learn more about the event.

I'm looking forward to next weekend.  I will post some pictures from the event as soon as I can!

Take care my friends!



Monday, February 28, 2011

The shoes in this photo represent a past and the present.  The dirty old shoes in the back have been with me for almost every training run I've done since starting triathlons.  They have been waiting for me at T2 and found a way to carry my still too-heavy body through to a finish in 6 triathlons and one half-marathon.

The new pair in the front is from the same family - just a newer model.  I took them out for their inaugural run at lunch.  I now have three blisters to show that we still have to get to know each other.  I should have known that socks were in order.  I guess I was overly optimistic about how easy it would be to move on from my old friends.

I'm curious if anyone else has a hard time saying goodbye to their favorite running shoes?  I've needed new shoes for months and months.  Just hated to see the old guys go up on the shelf!  At this rate, there is no way I will ever be able to convince myself to buy a new bike!

On a more serious note, I have a lot of friends in transition.  Jobs, relationships, health and even a death.  I hope I can be the trusted friend that is waiting for each of them in transition.

Take care, friends.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is This A Sign?

My short daily runs have been going well.  My legs have stayed pain-free and I am picking up a little pace (that'a a relative term).  All in all, I'm happy with my progress.  There has been very little biking over the last few months, so my speed and endurance has suffered (memo to self:  Ride More!).

I've been invited on  a 40 miler on the Suncoast Trail this morning.  I have to admit, 40 miles is sounding like a long way for me today.  Never the less, I'm up at 5:30 gathering supplies and filling water bottles.  Then, out to the garage to get tire pressures adjusted before heading out.  Front tire - 120 psi, no problem.  Back tire - 20 psi and I hear a hissing noise.  Seems to be coming from the valve area.  Take hose off, re-attach, pump, hiss, repeat.  After getting frustrated with my pump, it finally dawns on me that the pump is fine - it's the tube.  5:50 a.m. - glad I have spares, time to change it out.  Funny how your mind doesn't process things clearly before 6:00a.m.

So, I'm sweaty and writing.  Wondering if the flat is a sign that I should cool off and go back to bed?  No, I'm going with the idea that the worst of my ride is behind me and that I won't get dropped.

I'll let you know how it goes!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Will Axe Sponsor Me?

It's become a bit of a joke around here that I will not use this particular bottle of soap unless I have done some training.  If I'm not training, the bottle sits in my shower and taunts me!  It just stays full while the other soaps get washed down the drain.  It scoffs at my laziness!

I'm not sure why this ritual has formed for me - but it has.  In all honesty, "Snake Peel" does a better job of making me feel clean after a long run or ride.  I think it must be the "Desert Minerals and Cactus Oils".  Follow my logic for just a second.  We all know that if you want to be a faster runner - you need to go out and practice running faster.  If you want to get better at riding long distances - just get on your bike and start riding.  So, given the "Circle of Life" (loved that movie), wouldn't it make sense that a soap with dirt in it (Desert Minerals must be some type of rock or dirt) would do a better job of getting dirt off than a soap with no dirt?  Don't answer that . . . it does for me!

The good news of this blog is that the bottle in the shower is about to be emptied and I've already bought two new bottles!  Happy training and everyone have a great weekend!  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's Been A While

To say the least, my triathlon year has been a disappointment.  When 2010 arrived, I had great plans and was very much looking forward to a long season of training and racing.  Well, my hamstring had a different plan.  It seemed that no amount of stretching and "babying-it" could keep me running pain-free.  I ran St. Anthony's very slowly and immediately decided that I was not fit enough for Florida 70.3.  With that dream gone - I pretty much abandoned any hope for spring and summer races.  That's the bad news.

Now for the good news - I have run 5 times in the last few days and I'm pain-free!  Well, almost pain-free.  My hammy is fine - it's now my lungs that are screaming for me to stop!

I'm now looking forward to some racing in the fall.  I have a long way to go to get back in racing shape - but as long as I keep my goals in mind, I will be fine:

  • Don't sink during the swim.
  • Don't fall during the bike
  • Don't stop running until you go under the big balloon thing!