Friday, February 27, 2009

The Strong One

First of all thanks to the many of friends who expressed their concern for me through via my cell, facebook, or BT (my training log) and on her too!

No one can argue that my Grandma wasn't a strong woman. She definitely beat expectations of many people. Heck, if she had been a post Title IX babe she would have been steller endurance athlete. Grandma was a good woman who cared A LOT for people even when other people didn't give a care back. My grandma was a strong woman who led a life that God would want her to live, despite the occasional curse word I would hear her say (usually at my Pa ;) . I spent many weekends at my grandparents house growing up as kid, she loved her children, grandchildren, and her 4 great grandchildren immensely. She cooked some of the best meals ever (sorry mom you do too, but this one's for Grandma). Two weeks ago from today she had a massive stroke, she made it a week and half. The last time I saw her was that upcoming Sunday. When she saw me her eyes lit up, even though she couldn't say anything. I am pretty sure she could somewhat hear. The only thing I really said to her was that I loved her over and over again as I held her fragile hand. This has also been the first time I've seen my emotionless grand pa break down, so we atleast know now he has a heart somewhere, haha.
Here is her obit.
Ruth Lucille Ward

Services for Ruth Lucille Ward, 91 of Timpson, will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, February 26, 2009 in the Taylor Funeral Home Chapel with the Reverends Sammy Eldredge and Justin Coburn officiating. Interment will follow in the Corinth Cemetery. Mrs. Ward died on February 23, 2009 in a Nacogdoches hospital. She was born June 7, 1917 in Gary to the late J. Hugh Pike and Lavada Sessum Pike, the nineth of twelve children.Mrs. Ward was a homemaker and a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She loved her Lord and Savior, family and friends. She was a member of Timpson Missionary Baptist Church. She was a wonderful cook, especially good were her pecan pies, and she always made sure there was something to eat at mealtime. She was an excellent seamstress and made some very pretty dresses from old cloth and feed sacks for her girls when they were growing up. She always took pride in her home and enjoyed gardening. She grew and sold some of the prettiest vegetables.Mrs. Ward is survived by her husband of almost 70 years, L.M. Ward; daughters and sons-in-law: Carolyn and John Garcia, of Lufkin, Judy and Wiley Rice, of Center and Glynis and Johnny Ritter, of Carthage; five grandsons, John Keith Garcia, of Nacogdoches, Mark Herndon and wife, Leslie, of Liberty, Ward Herndon and wife, Sommer, of Center, William Ritter, of Gun Barrel City, and Larkin Ritter, of Longview; four great-grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by four brothers and seven sisters.Pallbearers will be Mrs. Ward’s grandsons and great-grandson, John Mark Henderson. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 25 at Taylor Funeral Home. Services will be under the direction of Taylor Funeral Home, of Timpson.
M.B.A. school is going good this semester so far. Thank God for study buddies! I have two more weeks to go in this class so far I am holding steady with a middle B. My first two test have been just above the average which I am actually thrilled about because I never been the "smart one" so being "above the average" is defintely good for me. I have to work really hard at it though.
Training was a bit sketchy this week due to the death of my Grandma. Monday night when I heard about it I had trouble sleeping so I went running. No glasses or contacts, I couldn't see anything. I ended up turning on a road I had no intentions on turning on and didn't know it until I was about back where I started. Then the next night I had to take a test then I rode my bike at midnight at work on the trainer. Then yesterday I had my first flat on the bike riding around Timpson, Texas and I didn't have my CO2 cartridge/tubes so I had to call my mom to get me. Today was my first open water swim (ows), since last year. The water was COLD!!!! Especially the first two minutes. I just kept swimming around near the dock thinking about getting out then finally my feet felt better. My grandpa said if I wanted to exercise then I should go rake the yard, but there wasn't any leaves to rake so that didn't get done.
Tomorrow I am racing in the Radio Shack Cowtown 10k in downtown Fort Worth. Leaving here about 4:30 a.m.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Circle of Life

Yesterday marked my 25th annual Birthday Celebration. 25 years old is supposed to be big deal because your car insurance rates are supposed to go down. I am glad for that. I always hate that part where my mom used to say (no longer will she now) your 6th month car insurance is due you need to pay 600 dollars. I don't think I ate much of anything that was healthy for you, except maybe for breakfast. The picture up top is a cake my mom got me. It is really great!!! Props to mom for that one. Then yesterday along with a few birthday cards I got two more cakes. One was from work that ETMC bought me. I had three slices there then one of my most faithful water aerobic students made me a homemade peanut butter cake. I haven't indulged in this one yet but I've shared I hear it's really good.
I woke up this morning and I can tell I am getting older. I had stomach cramps which rarely happens, I suppose from too much sugary cake. I think this is supposed to have a negative impact on my training, but I got on the treadmill today and hammered a ten minute tempo like run this morning starting with a 5.30 pace and working to a 5 minute pace on the treadmill the last two minutes. This a recovery week thank goodness so it's best to keep it short and sweet. But today I am having little twinges behind my left knee, so I need to be careful.

Since last time I've blogged we've had a few grueling workouts. I did a 1000m swimming time trial last week. I wish I had beat my expecations, but it was about where I expected I would be in 16.11.

Here is a quote from from Brent Poulsen a pro triathlete I trained with one weekend back in December that saw me swim. "Nice work dawg you keep improving every time I hear from you." That's encouraging.

Then there was a run where we did 4x10 minutes at 5.39 pace or so on the treadmill and felt really good. It was tough though. Next weekend I'll be doing the Radio Shack Cowtown 10K in downtown Fort Worth.

This next picture was shot in Timpson, Texas (just north of Nacogdoches) at my granparents house. For some reason my Pa has his truck parked in the cow lot. More pictures on the farm can be found in my facebook album's.

I went home to Carthage, Tx last weekend. The trip was orginally to celebrate my birthday with mom, but my Grandma had a massive stroke last Thursday night. I went home Saturday after work and hung out with mom and ate strawberry cake....along with a healthy meal haha. Then Sunday after my morning ride in the cold we went to Timpson to see my Pa and then we drove to Nacogdoches to see my Grandma.

At the hospital it hurt to see my Grandma laying there so helpless. She can barely move her hand and can't speak. When she saw me for the first time that day you could see her eyes light up. It was amazing. Unfortunately, her time in life is almost up. A long life she has had. She would be 92 this summer and married to my Pa for nearly 70 years. WOW!!! That's a long time. My Pa says there perfect for each other because nobody else could have put up with them haha. Probably true.

In this picture my Pa (aka "Red") is 17 and my Grandma is 21. Married on May 6, 1939!

Grandma is not expected to live probably past tomorrow. We'll see. She's toughest woman I know. She has been through a lot especially the last 3 years. She has been a blessing in my life more than words can describe. God has blessed her with a long life. I'll miss her a lot that's for sure.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stop! Hammer Time.

Things are going great as far as training is concerned and I started off decent in my beginner's finance course. I am still trying to make sense out of why you would want to buy bonds as there are many types out there.
Last weekend I sought revenge on the hills in Fort Worth that Brent took me on time before last. I didn't have anyone to ride with me so I hoped not to get lost. Surprisingly, I remembered the whole route through the parks and the roads. I got the series of rolling hills near I30 in just under an hour from Trinity Trails on Univerisity. I hammered those hills for awhile the best I could putting out a great deal of power and turned around. It was much hillier on the way back especially up this street called Longvue. For some reason it's always windy in Fort Worth too.
Yesterday, I finally got to ride with some Cedar Creek riders. I actually rode with CJ and Brian last week. This time John came along too. John was the best out of the 3. CJ and John are both about 40 and Brian is in his mid 60's but you can't tell it. CJ was having a rough day yesterday so I offered him my banana. John and would be both keep pulling away and then slow down again. John was like I don't know if I can go much slower. On the way back a woman by the name of "Windy" (thanks Gary) decided to join us. She should have just stayed in bed, but she didn't last too long.
At the end of our ride yesterday John and I decide we'll hammer about the 3 mile stretch on the way back on 334 since it's a straight shot back. I take off press hard on the pedals while keeping a high cadence and John is on my wheel. Then John pulls ahead and suck his wheel then I come back around he stays off to my right. I keep glancing down and see his tire on my right side. I just keep thinking he's gonna swing around again. There was lots of wheeping, wailing, and nashing of teeth now. The sweat is starting to drip all over my face. Were almost to the end and John is still on my right and I am hurting so bad, I tell myself if I can hold him off until the hill at the end then I can out climb him. I look back again and he had fell off so I eased up a bit and adjusted my crotch and rode semi hard to Boot's Liquor store near the corner and wait for him. My running is going well. I am doing all my hard efforts on the treadmill right now. That way I am forced to stay on pace without slowing down while hopefully making me mentally and physically tough for these races coming up.
Last week I did a 30 minute tempo run at 5.47 pace, it didn't start getting hard until the last 8 minutes. Then last Friday I did 8 x 3 minute hill repeats on a 5% grade at 6.27 pace and a 4 minute recovery at 6.58 pace. I could have went longer but I had already run enough and I didn't want to risk injury.
Swimming is going ok, I've definitely made some improvements to my technique since being video taped. I swam my fastest 100m the other day which isn't that fast so I won't say the time. I didn't do much swimming in January because the pool was closed most of the month due to renovations to the deck. Atleast I can run on the deck and not slip.
Strength training is going well too. I am doing circuit style of training that consist of different types of pushups, pullups, dips. A few cominbination of moves such as lunges and shoulder press, and explosive hops and jumps for the legs using steps that use in step class, except I stack them high. I am trying to get extremely ripped for a couple photoshoots I have coming up soon with Jacob Reich Photography and Justin O' Keith Higgs Photography. You can visit there photography pages by viewing my top friends list. The will appreciate your stop. Today we have a swim session and a short bike ride after church. Next week I might be doing my Carthage to Timpson ride from my home town to my Grandpa's house. To see my grandparents just before turning 25!
Next up:Feb 28th Radio Shack 10K- Forth Worth, Tx

Parkway Fitness Resolution 5k

This weekend I was in Tyler/Longview and got some good training in. I went the night before to Kami's house and we rode over the Longview to do a 5k with Charity and newcomer to the tri lifestyle KD. The race didn't exactly start on time so I warmed up longer than I intended to keep my heart rate elevated and my body warm before the start. I wasn't exactly rested for the race considering I ran an hour before and lifted heavy.
In Longview Saturday morning it wasy very windy with the temperature in the mid 30's and the course was stinkin' hilly.
I started off fairly easy and watched to see who was going to make a run for it. It didn't take long for my competiveness and ego to kick in as I took the lead at the first turn about a 1/4 mile into the race and never looked back from there.
However the course up and down long steep hills. I ran the hills pretty hard thinking it's good training for Buffalo Springs. The course was out and back, so on the way back I would high five a few people.
I wasn't that impressed with my time I thought I could atleast break 17 but considering the wind and hills I can it's ok. I ended up with a 17.22 and new pair of shoes.
It was good to see my mom who made the 30 minute drive all the way out to see me do a 5k. Thanks to Jesus for not letting me freeze and letting me win a pair of shoes. I may have been the only person out there with a combination short sleeves and t shirt on. When we got back to Tyler I did about an hour of swimming and then rode my bike inside Kami's living room for 2 hours and changed the intensity up constantly to simulate hills while listening to her son Dave Ipod music which he had a lot hard rock with kept my legs pumpin' good the whole time. After a triple workout day I was pretty tired. That night before heading back I ate with at Jalapeno Tree with my friend Kelly. I tried to pick something that would fill me up. So I ordered some shrimp enchiladas with rice and beans. When I finished I told Kelly I think I'm still hungry. Then later I played video games with some UT Tyler cross country guys, and I really suck at video games. This week is the last week of "heavy strength training" phase then we'll take a recovery week.
Next thing planned is the Radio Shack Cowtown 10k in downtown Fort Worth, February 28th!

Orbea Ordu

The rumor is true I'll have new ride for the 2009 season. This past weekend I visited Colonel's bicycle shop in downtown Fort Worth and got fitted by the Colonel himself. Last time I was there training with pro Brent Poulsen I got hooked on the Orbea Ordu, so returning from that trip I tried to find some reviews on the Ordu but could find nothing negative. I called the Colonel up when I was ready get fit for the Ordu and take it out on a ride. In the top picture you can see the Colonel adjusting the seat height for me.

When I was riding he checked my watts for a minute and I was putting out over 300 watts pretty easily he said that was movin'.
The Ordu has all Dura Ace components with Mavic wheels for training and Zipp bars.

This guy getting my sub 9 disc to line up with the cassette.
My buddy McManic came and met me up there and after we got everything together I took out on a ride. The bike is wicked fast and really smooth,even on bumps and chip seal I barely feel it compared to my aluminum road bike.

Next time is the Parke Way Fitness Resolution 5k this weekend in Longview, Texas.

2009 Schedule, Goals, and Reflections

Happy New Year!!! Last night was fun, well sorta. I really suck at pool, so I should probably play more. It's been atleast several years since my ETBU days since I've played pool. I played 7 pool games and my record was 2-5. I only won because the other person hit the black or white ball in early. There was also a fireworks show I shot on video that I'll have to post later on.

It's time to get the schedule ready for 2009. Here is what I got.

January 10: Parke Way Fitness Resolution 5K run- Longview, Tx
February 28: Radio Shack Cowtown 10K- Fort Worth, Tx
March 14: Cheetah 5k- Longview, Tx
April 3-5: Lone Star Quarter Iron Triathlon- Galveston, Tx
April 25: Band-Aid Run - Mabank, Tx
May 9: Komen 5k Race for the Cure- Tyler, Tx
May 25: Cap Tex Triathlon- Austin, Tx
June 28: Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 Half Iron Man- Lubbock, Tx
July: OFF

(Races are subject to change)

The running races are a little harder to plan since a lot of race directors especially the running ones don't plan too far in advance.
This is going to be fun but demanding year as far as racing is concerned. The big race of course is Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon (BSLT 70.3). Which I hope to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida in November by placing atleast third in my age group (25-29 year old guys).

My swimming as improved dramatically recently thanks to Brent Poulsen, Chauncey Deller, and Steve Farris with the underwater video shots. I've changed my stroke techinque and I've been doing this theraband exercise for swimming that Chauncey taught me how to do 3x a week. The other day doing 10x50's at the end of my swim workout I was swimming 3-5 seconds faster than I did with Brent and I wasn't about to do die, so that's good thing which could translate to a lower heart rate getting on the bike which will then aid in a faster a bike split.

I've just found recenlty found out that I finished 3rd Overall in the 20-24 age group in the USAT South Mid West region ranking system. The USAT SMW conference is at the end of January in Austin. Not sure if I'm going or not yet it also contains a duathlon.

Everything is going good. I've been feeling strong on the bike and improving on the swim, and especially strong with my running (without intensity) lately.


I decided to start using as it seems to be the thing to do among triathletes.

All preceding blogs can be viewed at which will still be in use as a social/networking site.