Monday, April 29, 2013

More support for iHope...Week 11

Week 11 was a record breaking week for iHope.  Every day last week during the school week I received notices of contributions made to iHope which aims to provide technological gifts to low-income students who display tremendous traits of character and work ethic at my school.  The 5 straight days of contributions was a record.  The streak ended today but I'm optimistic about starting a new streak.  The week also saw a record high total of contributions of nearly $900.00 which has me DREAMING BIG that this is a foundation we can reach endowment level for which would require an account of $10,000.00.  I'm so inspired by the generosity of others and the realization that other people also realize how an iHope gift can potentially be life-changing for the students that receive them by building self-confidence and by giving them something to help them with academic success and achievement.  The week started with a very generous business iHope sponsorship from The Schebler Company.  CEO Jim Anderson leads a business in Bettendorf, Iowa that specializes in manufacturing with a history of fabricating high quality products.  They have five distinct branches including chimney systems, specialty fabrication, architectural metalcraft, heating and air, and food equipment.  Schebler does business all over the United States. 

Later in the week I received news of support from our 7th local business, Dentistry Unlimited.  I have been visiting Dr. Teagarden at Dentistry Unlimited for as long as I can remember, at least 25 years.  Dentistry Unlimited is located on Utica Ridge Road in Bettendorf, Iowa.  I was thrilled that they saw the good in iHope and contributed to the foundation.  You can see all the businesses that have contributed on the iHope business support page.  I'm hoping to add a few more before the season rolls around. 

In addition to adding support from The Schebler Company and Dentistry Unlimited iHope also received very generous contributions from Jon McGee and family, Janice and Tim Foley, Amber and Shaun Wishnevski, Josh and Beth Paul, Chad Beert and family, Joe and Caitlyn Sutherland, and the outstanding administrative support staff at Pleasant Valley Jr. High.  Our administrative support team asked for our staff to donate the money we collected to buy them gifts for administrative professionals day.  Amazing generosity!  I'm so thankful this foundation received support from all of these individuals.  It inspires me and motivates me to train harder so I can continue to build the foundation through my race winnings this upcoming season...which is only 6 weeks away. 

This week the iHope board is thrilled to give a student another gift.  We have purchased an iPad and protective case and selected a student who is an outstanding representative of iHope.  This student is a leader in our school of the kind of character we want to build and the student is also a tremendously hard working individual.  We hope this gift will help the student to realize that post-secondary education is not only a possiblity but something we believe can and will happen.  We hope this gift will help make that possible.  If you would like to make a tax deductible contribution and help us start a new streak and break the next record click here.  Every little bit helps.  THANKS!!

Week 11 was a designed recovery week after 3 weeks of higher mileage.  On Sunday I traveled with Jen to the Drake Relays on the Roads races in Des Moines, Iowa.  Hy-Vee put up a prize purse of $120,000 between three races, a 1/2 marathon, 10k, and 6k.  Jen was running the 10k which paid 5 deep.  5th place was $1,000.00.  She knew the race would be loaded and it was.  With a big contingent of really fast Africans and some top Americans Jen competed well and placed 8th in a new 10k PR of 36:40.  I ran the 10k with her after being registered for the 6k.  We were out really fast through the 5k in 17:35 trying to hold on to some of the top women.  She faded a bit in the last half of the race but held her spot firm.  My good college buddy and teammate Randy Bill was the top American finisher in the 1/2 marathon with a time of 1 hr. 10 minutes which placed him 17th.  My good buddy and training partner who has relocated to Des Moines, Adam Bohach finished the 1/2 marathon in 1 hr. 12 minutes.  I ran the 6k but just ran it easy after the long tempo 10k with Jen.  For the day I got in 14 miles.  Every race had a loaded field with international talent. 

Payton has started doing Crossfit for Kids and she loves it.  Tonight after going to Crossfit for Kids Payton said, "Nothing can keep me from doing Crossfit...not even a piece of cake!"  We got a good laugh out of that but are really proud of her for learning what hard work is.  Today I ran the gym class mile 4 different times with kids from our gym class.  In both of my prep periods I was able to run the mile with 2 different sections...they split into 2 groups since there is a huge mass of kids running the mile.  All four times I picked kids who had a goal time and helped them towards it.  Every kid I ran with surpassed their goal time...most of it has to do with them not understanding how to pace and how to push the 3rd lap.  I made them pace effectively and didn't let them ease up on lap 3.  The first student I ran with shaved 30 seconds off his PR and ran 5:35.  The next kid ran 7:04 with a goal of breaking 8:00.  In the next group the kid with a goal of running under 5:30 ran 5:27 and the last group a kid told me he wanted to run 6:30 and he went out in 84 which had me worried but I was able to coax him into sticking near the pace and he ran 5:54.  Running the gym class mile has become something I love doing.  It's great seeing these kids realize they are better than they thought.  I'm hoping to continue convincing myself of the same thing this year.  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

People are good...week 10

On Monday I sent Jen a message and said I had set the DVR and was planning to ride the bike in the evening while watching the Boston Marathon so I asked to know nothing about it.  She said, "good luck getting home without hearing anything."  To my surprise the news I heard was not how I had hoped to hear about the race.  Instantly my thoughts were on how people could be so evil.  Why are there so many people who do mean things?  Thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by the attacks.  Tuesday I was reminded that people are good...except a very small percentage of exceptions.  I received news on Tuesday of a person who made an anonymous donation to fund an entire iHope gift this school year!  I was so thrilled because I realize how this can be a life changing gift for a member of our community.  I truly believe that the gift on an iPad to a student who doesn't have a whole lot but works tremendously hard and treats others with the utmost amount of respect and humility can change their life in a positive way.  I believe that an iHope gift gives them more confidence.  When life can appear to be hopeless living in difficult circumstances an iHope gift can provide the recipient with a major dose of hope that there are people out there who believe in his/her abilities.  The confidence gained through this alone is invaluable.  The letter that accompanies the iHope gift is very important because it details why the student was selected.  It stresses how the way the student carries himself/herself has not gone by the wayside...that people see this and realize how important good character is. The mission of iHope is to provide low income students at Pleasant Valley Jr. High who display positive character traits and work habits with technological resources that will aid in academic achievement and success.  I have already begun to see with the recipient from 2 weeks ago how it can aid in academic achievement.  This recipient has a folder for every class on the iPad and uses it for class notes, assignments, and projects.  When I began this iHope Foundation I didn't know what kind of support it would receive.  While I have had the opportunity to get to know the students who receive iHope gifts and see how it affects them, people I call on to support the cause may never get to meet these individuals.  It's much tougher to give to a cause when you don't know the people benefitting from it.  I began this thinking it may end up being just me funding the iHope gifts through the start-up donation I made through money I was given from my grandma when she passed away and from my race winnings.  I was optimistic that a couple businesses would contribute through sponsoring me with an iHope donation and that some friends, followers of this blog, and family members would contribute as well but I didn't realize how much support it would receive.  The anonymous donation this week made me realize how great people giving.  I've been asked what the goal amount is for iHope.  I would love to be able to provide gifts for the next 5 years or more for 2-3 students a year.  The biggest "dream goal" if you will would be to grow the foundation to where we could endow it with 1 gift a year.  To endow a $500.00 gift every year would require building the account to $10,000.00.  At that amount the interest alone could provide 1 gift every year.  To date iHope has received nearly $2,000.00 in contributions and I haven't even begun the race season.  I'm super excited that every penny I win will be matched by my parents to be contributed to iHope.  That motivates me to work harder, train smarter, and execute on race day so together we can potentially change a child's life for the better.  If you would like to help grow this foundation you can click here to make a tax deductible donation.  Nothing brightens my day more than getting an e-mail from our administration center notifying me of a donation received.  Any amount brings a smile to my face :)
My fitness is improving every week.  This was my 3rd week in a row running over 50 miles.  My total training has been low by my past year's standards but I keep thinking about how I want to race my best in August, September, and October so I know the longer I can wait to begin training like crazy the later I will peak.  I'm really excited by the improvements I've made on less training.  Saturday I planned to participate in two "give back" events supported by Live Uncommon.  They were both 5k races.  The first was to benefit Project Renewal, an after school house for youth in Davenport who don't have a positive place to go after school.  Project Renewal staff members help them with homework, keep them out of trouble, keep them active, and provide them with snacks.  The 2nd was the Autism Awareness 5k to benefit the Autism Society of Iowa.  My plan was to get 14 miles total with each 5k at a tempo effort.  I ran the Run for Renewal comfortably in 18:15.  When I got to the starting line of the Autism Awareness run I already had 10.5 miles in for the day but my competitive juices got flowing when I saw a bunch of kids from my class.  The race started and finished on the track at our high school at Pleasant Valley and I decided to test myself to see how hard I could push with the first run and miles on my legs.  I was shocked to run 16:02 for the 5k.  It was a great boost of confidence and made me realize despite being 12 lbs. heavier than this point a year ago and training less I am making big gains.  The biggest change is that I'm much stronger and my body is recovered well.  Last year after running hard my hamstring would hurt bad until Dr. Kaminski worked his ART magic on it.  This year I don't feel any soreness or tightness after hard efforts.  I'm excited for the races to begin over the next couple months.  Thanks for reading...and being great people who make positive differences in the world.  DREAM BIG!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

iHope Gift Awarded...Week 9

The highlight of week 9 for me was being able to award our first iHope gift.  iHope was created to seek out students in our community that go to my school who have outstanding work habits and character traits but have not had everything handed to them.  We have an iHope board that nominates students and then we check academic and behavior history before seeking input from other teachers.  We had an outstanding student that met all the criteria and had outstanding referrals from teachers in our building.  With funds from iHope we were able to present this student with an iPad, a protective case, an iBook gift card, and a letter detailing why the student was selected and encouraging him/her to one day "pay it forward" when the opportunity presented itself.  I called the student's single father the evening before presenting the gift and he was so excited!  He called me the next morning and asked if he could come out for the gift presentation so he could take pictures because he wanted it to be a moment that was "never forgotten".  It was an awesome feeling knowing that my grandma's initial donation combined with donations from local businesses and individuals could make such an extreme impact for this student.  You could see the excitement on the student's face and he/she has already set up folders for each class and begun using the iPad for taking notes and completing school work and projects.  We would love to be able to do this once or twice a year for many years to come but that is contingent on raising funds.  The primary fund raising will be dependent on how well I race this summer.  I want no more than to race well so we can continue making this potential life-changing gift for more students who do everything right but have many doors closed.  My parents have pledged to match whatever race winnings I earn for iHope.  I'm also hoping friends, followers, and even people I don't know realize the impact this kind of gift can make on these outstanding children and help contribute to iHope.  You can make a tax deductible donation to iHope by clicking here.  We appreciate any support you can give. 
Week 9 was a great week of running for me but also a recovery week overall.  I have been dealing with a sinus infection for about 10 days and it has made me very tired.  I opted for extra sleep over biking late into the night on a few different occasions.  I was able to run 52 miles and am feeling more fit every week.  Yesterday on my run I had stuff coming out of my nose that made "Hawkeye" gold look white.  I'm hoping that as I get this stuff out of my system I begin to feel less tired.  I think the infection is coming to an end.  I ran a 5k in Geneseo on Sunday to benefit the Geneseo school district.  I enjoy doing races that support non-profit organizations and this was one on the Live Uncommon race circuit for 2013.  I won the race but the time wasn't extremely fast.  I ran 16:58 and although the time was slow I was excited because the conditions were not great for fast running.  It was 20 degrees warmer than our days have been recently and the wind was blowing out of control which made for a tough run being that it was almost entirely a cross wind.  I was more excited when seeing some of the other guys who do local races were nearly 1 minute slower than they have raced 5k's in the past month.  I can feel myself getting more fit each week which is the goal right now.  I need to make a big push to get to race weight over the next 6 weeks.  I'm still about 10 lbs. off and that should help my running.  I've learned that when I'm tired I have a much more difficult time controlling sugar cravings.  I'm still at least 5 weeks from racing a triathlon and maybe as much as 8 weeks away.  I'm being careful not to overdue things too quickly this year like I did a year ago.  I feel like I'm on schedule to race my best later this year.  I'm still adding strength as opposed to losing it like I did last year when I got really lean.  My weights on the leg lifts are higher than they have been in the 4 years I've been doing this.  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 8...BCA Update

Week 8 was another one in which I could feel the progress coming along nicely.  I trained for 22 hours total swimming 12,500 yards, biking 181 miles, and running 50 miles.  I had my longest single day in all three disciplines.  On Thursday my swim workout totaled 5,400 yards which was my biggest swim workout yet this year.  My longest run of the year was Saturday at 85 minutes or 12 miles, and my longest bike ride this year was in beautiful weather on Sunday when I felt very strong riding 60 miles.  In fact, this week I had my first two outdoor rides of the year and didn't know how I would feel after spending a lot of time on the trainer without doing much intensity so far.  Wednesday night was the group ride and I felt really comfortable back in the group even when we got going really fast.  I often have people ask me what they should be doing to get faster with running.  Most runners just run.  They run about the same pace every time and often run the same distances as well.  What works for me isn't necessarily what will work for everyone but I can quickly tell my fitness improves if I can get 3 key running sessions in each week.  Unless something is out of the ordinary I run 6 or 7 days a week.  Most weeks so far have been 6 days but as I increase the mileage I'll run 7 days a week.  The 3 runs that are most key for me are intervals, tempo, and long run.  Once a week I try to get intervals that change in distance by the week.  This week my interval session was 12x 90 seconds hard with 60 seconds easy after each one.  I did it on the roads.  I enjoy getting to the track but have done so less often over the past year.  Getting intervals on the roads is simple.  It can be done anywhere and I don't have to worry about pace.  I just run hard for X amount of time and recover for X amount of time and then repeat however many times I set out.  Last week my interval session was 7x3 minutes hard with 2 minute recoveries.  The week before it was 5x4 minutes hard with 2 minute recovery.  The tempo run is about the only run I actually prefer to do on the treadmill because it is easily controlled.  The treadmill takes out variables like hills, wind, weather...etc.  I like to run my tempo runs progressively meaning each mile is faster.  In my first tempo run of the year on week 2 I did 1x2 miles at tempo.  I then did 2x1.5 miles tempo the next week, 1x3 miles tempo the week after, 2x2...etc.  I gradually build the total tempo distance up and will get up to 8-10 miles for my tempo work.  I aim to increase the speed slightly each mile and always run the last mile at about 10k effort.  This week was 4 miles tempo and it felt great.  I went 5:59, 5:54, 5:46, 5:34 for the miles.  I know from how much easier this is feeling I am getting fitter each week.  The 3rd key running workout is a long run.  I started the year with a long run of 50 minutes.  I typically increase 5 minutes every 2 weeks.  This week was my first at 85 minutes.  The 85 minutes now is easier than the first 50 minute long run.  I'm searching for a race in late May at this point so I have at least 6 weeks until I race a triathlon.  The first one I'm signed up for right now is June 8.  I am also racing on June 9th. 
This week I had my 2nd body composition analysis done at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care this year.  A Body Composition Analysis is a good way to track your fitness gains and overall health.  They are running a special right now of 3 Body Composition Analysis session for $50.00.  You can pick how far apart you want to get the tests.  Most people don't chance much in a short period of time so they recommend every few months.  Because I am training a lot my body can change fast so I will keep getting the test every month or so.  My first one was a month ago.  I was slightly disappointed to have my body fat % only drop from 16.3% to 15.4%.  I weighed 9 lbs. less...163 vs. 172 and was hoping the majority of that weight loss was fat.  As it turned out most of the weight loss was due to fluid loss.  I went from 47.3 liters of total body fluid down to 44.9 liters.  My pounds of fat only went from 28 down to 25.1.  I shouldn't be too disappointed because progress is progress.  I had 2 great weeks after my last test but then fell off the wagon and started getting sugar cravings like crazy.  I have learned most often these come when I'm not getting enough sleep.  Sleep is the most difficult thing for me to keep a handle on while balancing a full-time job, 2 children, wife, training...etc.  When I'm tired I have learned I'm less motivated to train and I make poor nutritional choices.  When I'm well rested I am very disciplined with my nutrition and I have a desire to train all the time.  Probably the biggest downer of the BCA was that my Basal Metabolic Rate (amount of calories burned each day without moving) went down considerably from 1,916 to 1,762.  That is due I'm sure to cutting back calories in my effort to get to race weight.  I learned awhile back that people who reduce food intake cause the body's metabolic rate to drop because the body is less sure about when the next meal will come and it learns to hang onto the calories longer.  This explains why so many people go on crash diets where they drastically reduce calorie intake to lose weight but then over time the weight comes back on because their body begins conserving the calories and the metabolism slows way down.  I'll continue tracking this next time.  I'm sure there are factors to the test that throw things off a bit.  For example, yesterday I had a big training day and I was not feeling very good today.  I think recent training may have some impact on the test results so if I wanted the most accurate results I would have to keep all variables the same every time I was tested. 
I was really excited this week to find out that Green Buick GMC joined on as a supporter of iHope by making a contribution.  We are going to make an iHope award in the next couple weeks.  It has been great getting support for this cause from local businesses.  I'm still searching for more local businesses that want to help out.  I have laid out contribution amounts to get a business logo on my jersey, sticker on race helmet, logo on blog...etc.  I'm thrilled about all the support of iHope.  My mom and dad also informed me they are going to match whatever race winnings I accumulate this year for iHope.  That is TREMENDOUS!!  I couldn't ask for a better sponsorship than that.  Every paycheck I earn at races is now doubled for the iHope Foundation.  If you would like to help this foundation and support our cause to provide low-income students who display outstanding character and work ethic traits you may make a tax deductible donation by clicking the link on my home page.  Every dollar makes a difference.  Thanks and DREAM BIG!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 7 Training...More Support for iHope

Week 7 was a designed recovery week after 2 big weeks in a row.  I did not quite get as much volume as planned due to some things that popped up but I'm not dwelling since the goal of the week was to get rested a bit and allow my body to adapt to a couple really good weeks of training.  I got called from school to pick Owen up sick on Wednesday.  Thursday I stayed home with him all day and found out he had strep throat.  I worked a track meet at our high school on Thursday night and my typical training routine was not in place.  Friday morning my throat was on fire so I knew I probably had gotten strep from Owen so I called the doctor and started a prescription right away.  The highlight of the week was the Easter Egg Scramble 5k on Saturday morning.  This was the first year of the event and thanks to great race organization and sponsorship from Wal-Mart there was a pretty nice cash prize purse for a local 5k.  The top 3 overall would win $1,000.00, $750.00, and $500.00 respectively.  They also had prize money for age groups based every 10 years with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd getting $100.00, $75.00, and $50.00.  I was hoping to get some money for my age group to donate to iHope.  Every little bit makes a difference to a small foundation like we have created.  Due to the lack of training and being out of my normal eating habits I was not feeling fit on race day.  I contemplated just running with Jen to try to help her to a high overall finish in the female race.  There were a few really good females from out of town.  Just before the race I told her I would run the 1st mile with her and than see how things were going and maybe race the rest.  When the gun sounded we took off and it felt really slow.  The course started up a long hill over the first 1/2 mile or so.  Half way up the hill it felt too easy and I decided to start racing at that point.  I had no idea what my pace was but I moved up quickly through the race and got myself into about 10th overall where I would stay for the remainder.  I ended up earning $75.00 for iHope which I was proud of.  My 5k time was 16:48 which I was thrilled about.  Feeling how I did before the race I thought it would take a miracle to break 17:00 over the course with a big hill in it.  The highlight however was Jen finishing in 17:39 to take 2nd in the women's race to pick up a nice $750.00 check which she promptly donated to her sister's wedding fund.  It's been awesome seeing how much her road racing money has helped put this wedding together. 
The other highlights for the week for me were hearing from a couple outstanding local businesses who contributed to iHope.  Happy Joe's donated a really nice gift basket including 12 free pizzas and we auctioned it off at school and it brought in $200.00 for iHope.  Then over the weekend we received a really nice contribution from Russell Construction.  Russell Construction has been a HUGE provider for so many non-profits in the Quad Cities including the birth of Live Uncommon.  Both Happy Joe's and Russell Construction are active in giving back to the QC through volunteering and financial contributions.  I no they are both active in Junior Achievement in our school systems.  It has been amazing getting support from the community for iHope.  You can make a tax deductible contribution by clicking here
Anything and everything will help us to provide resources to low-income students who display outstanding character and work ethic traits.  We are going to provide and iHope gift this year thanks to all the amazing support iHope has received!  This week is going to be a big week of training.  I'm super excited to announce that both Jen and I signed up for Beach 2 Battleship full Ironman distance race on October 26th in North Carolina.  Jen has always said she wanted to try an Ironman distance race when she watches mine and she decided since her running season will be over she will take her chances in North Carolina with me.  I'm thrilled to be racing this event because this race gives back to the local YMCA in Wilmington, North Carolina.  They also don't charge near as much as an Ironman branded event.  They were very welcoming and I couldn't have asked for a better event to complete my 2013 season.  It will be awesome seeing Jen out on the course as well!  The website for Beach 2 Battleship is  If you are looking for an Ironman distance race in 2013 check it out.  It has been rated by Triathlete Magazine as one of the top 5 Ironman distance races in the world!  The weather is starting to turn and my bike is tuned up and ready to go fresh out of the shop at Healthy Habits so I'm excited to spend some time away from the trainer on real roads.  Week 8 will be a good one.  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG!!