Sunday, March 28, 2010

AT THE RACES

It;s 4:30 in the morning right now and getting ready to head out to Lavaman. I'll post a report after the race. Good luck to all the racers and especially to Karen today.

Monday, March 22, 2010

RUNNING DESOLATION HIGHWAY

"A week of sweeping fogs has passed over and given me a strange sense of exile and desolation. I walk round the island nearly every day, yet I can see nothing anywhere but a mass of wet rock , a strip of surf, and then a tumult of waves." - from "The Aran Islands" by John M. Synge

The occasional cyclist pedals by, waves, then rides past me. No other runners, no pedestrians at all, are insight. My rhythmic breathing in time with my footfalls that I use to help me keep pace is lost in the sound of the passing automobiles and the sound of the wind. But today, mostly it's the wind I notice. Hot and howling, it gives no relief as I run along Queen Kaahumanu Highway past the Kona Airport toward the cemetery. 




Out on Queen K where generally bikes occupy the shoulders, it is a lonely, desolate place to run. There are no other runners to chat with or try to chase down. Cyclists look at you as if you are from another world, and motorists simply don't look at you at all. Desolation Highway!
**** 

Have you ever biked the same course over and over again? Well, here on the Big Island we don't have many routes to choose from so we end up riding the same routes. That's Queen K for most of us. Most other routes here have narrow or no shoulders for riding and the way people drive on this island those are very dangerous alternatives.

I've switched things up a bit lately. Instead of biking on Queen K, I've been running. It's an odd sensation to run where you've only biked for years. Let me tell you, hills are a lot longer running them than biking them. Landmarks just seem to hang on the horizon when you are on foot versus cruising on your bike at 20-plus mph. And Queen K gets quite lonely when you run where no man (or woman) has run before. Down right desolate. Yes, I'm the crazy person you've seen running out where the bikes rule. From the Energy Lab to the cemetery, from the cemetery to the top of donkey hill, and so on. I'm slowly covering parts of Queen K that I've only biked over.

But here's a secret I've discovered and maybe it only works for my deranged mind, but by running the bike course, it's actually speeding me up on the bike. I don't know how or why but when I bike the parts of the course I've run on, my speed has increased on the bike. Maybe after suffering on foot for three or four times as long as I do on the bike over those parts, my mind is telling my body to pick it up and get done with the thing.

So here's my advice: Get out there and run your bike routes. You'll learn more about yourself and your routes than you ever wanted to know. Plus, and this is the fun part, your friends and other cyclists will think you are absolutely crazy. You'll notice that cyclists will give you plenty of room and possibly even cross to the other side of the road when they pass you. You'll also be amazed at all the keys, gels and gum you'll find along the way.

Friday, March 12, 2010

SOME BEACH

Riding my bike down Queen K
Going hard, it's time to play
Singin' Margaritaville and minding my own
Some foreign car drivin' dude with a road rage attitude
Pulled up beside me talkin' on his cell phone
He started yelling at me like I did something wrong
He flipped me the bird an' then he was gone

Some beach
Somewhere
There's a big umbrella casting shade over an empty chair
Palm trees are growin' and a warm breezes a blowing
I picture myself right there
On Some beach, somewhere



Running through a parkin' lot, givin' it all I got
Tryin' to make my way with out gettin' hit
A man with a big cigar was getting into his car
I stopped and I waited for him to back up
From out of no where a Mercedes Benz
Came cruisin' up and flipped me again

Some beach
Somewhere
There's no where to go when you got all day to get there
There's frosty gatorades, and salty ocean spray just callin' out my name
On some beach
Somewhere

Well, you get the idea. It's been rough out on the Queen K lately. I've nearly been hit several times biking and running this week. Drivers here are notoriously disrespectful of pedestrians and cyclists. Yesterday I had such a close call on my bike at an intersection I'm pretty sure we traded paint. How drivers can look right at you, smile, then aim for you with their 2,000 pound vehicle like it's a game is beyond me.

Anyhow, I got so feed up with all the close calls (it really is a regular occurrence to have to dodge cars on Queen K) that I called it quits and headed to the beach for a nice quiet run. Away from traffic and obnoxious drivers yelling and honking. I wound up at the Energy Lab and Pine Trees beach with its long sandy trails and great ocean views. Here are a few photos from my run. Oh, and there's also a music video from Blake Shelton's "Some Beach" My theme song this week and inspiration for the first part of this post.

Be safe out there guys. Of all the hours I've spent training on Queen K this year I've only seen two police cars patrolling. It's totally an unenforced area so be careful. Eight people have died on island roads so far this year, double from last year. Two people have died in the past couple of weeks along the same part of Queen K we all ride on. And one cyclist has been hit at the Queen K Tesoro intersection a week or so ago.

Take care.


Some Beach by Blake Shelton














Monday, March 8, 2010

TRAINING DAYS

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." ~T.S. Eliot

(The Rorschach test? OK, is it just me or does this look like a manta ray flying over the soccer field.) 

It was a beautiful day in Kona today. Whales splashing around the ocean, White fluffy clouds making pictures in the sky, windy. Just plain beautiful.

Last week I dug myself into a hole with my training. I had hard days on the legs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Last Monday I had hill work on the bike that included riding up Hualalai and 5 times up Kam 3, then an all-out TT down Alii. Tuesday was running hills and Wednesday was a 50 miler on the bike in a strong headwind and lots of fast intervals followed by a 3,000 yard swim. I was hurting and had exceeded my fitness level.




I had to take Thursday off just to recover. Even by Sunday I was still feeling the affects of over training. But it's hard to tell where that line is between pushing to a new level in your training and over training, at least for me it is. So this week I'm backing off just a little on the effort (not the distance) and hopefully I'll stay out of that hole I fell into last week.

This week I started out with a triathlon: A 3,000 yard swim, a 2 hour (40 miles) hard bike and a 30-minute hard run. Actually, everything today was hard. Even the headwind on the way out on the bike was what Kona is famous for. I think I averaged less than 13 mph most of the way out and only about 15 mph going down Scenic hill. I actually went faster up Scenic than down it today. But the plus side is I flew back to town at around 30 mph or so thanks to a good, strong tailwind. It was a good day to get some riding-in-the-wind practice and to build some mental toughness. 




My run after the bike was an all out sufferfest. Jumping off the bike and running as fast as I could go and maintain for 30 minutes. I generally take it easy the first mile or so after getting off the bike but I decided enough of that. Time to make it hurt. I'm not going to get any faster by running slow. I'm hoping by Lavaman time (March 28) my body will adjust to the faster pace off the bike and I'll be able to hold my goal race pace for the entire distance. Well, that's the goal. 

Tomorrow I'm running 10 miles of hills with a little all-terrain (gravel, lava rock and sand) running thrown in. The effort will be just enough to feel the burn and build some endurance with a close eye on my heart rate. Gotta stay outta that hole. As someone once said though, "Know your limits, but never stop trying to exceed them." So here's to good, and bad, training days. They all help us get stronger, only one hurts more than the other.










Stay safe out there and happy training.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

EASY COMPANY

Dear Easy Company Families and Friends,
26 February, 2010

Easy Company Marines and Sailors continue to strive to bring positive change and peace to these lands and to the people who have endured over 30 years of war and misery. The squads and platoons are patrolling 5 to 10 miles a day, denying the enemy historic safehavens, while at the same time connecting with the local population to help improve their irrigation canals and farm land that has suffered deterioration from the constant fighting. The Marines and Sailors work daily with local elders and mullahs to find solutions to their problems. The efforts have resulted in relationships between local leaders, farmers, ISAF and ANA soldiers that ultimately will allow peace to come to these war torn lands.

(Mail call)

The TEAM is working to reinforce the importance of education, sanitation, medical care, and agriculture techniques. The Marines and Sailors amaze me every day with their flexibility to conduct combat patrols, while at the same time, distributing school supplies to those who are willing to teach the young children. The threat they selflessly expose themselves to help a people they did not know four months ago is a testament to their maturity, understanding, and resolve. “First do no harm,” is not always easy when the young warriors patrol areas they fight in regularly just to visit local villages, but they do it. These are the actions that will build a foundation for continued success in 2/2’s battlespace. We have been conducting shuras weekly, with attendance ranging from 100-250 locals/elders. The participation of the population is a direct reflection of the daily patrols and contacts made by every Marine squad. Relationships with the people give them faith and helps the people believe that progress can be made. Without these relationships the enemy can continue to hide among the innocent people. A connection to a positive force brings a sense that their children may have a brighter future. Success is a ways off, but the months of fighting and countering improvised explosive devices has hurt the enemy tremendously. The Marines and Sailors have continued pressuring and pursuing the enemy despite several casualties of their leaders, friends, teammates, and family. The Marines remain strong and determined. The enemy is frustrated and desperate, and the Easy Company TEAM has not relented.

As our ties to the population continue to strengthen, we are starting to understand the survival mentality that mothers and fathers have been forced to live with for years. In fear, they have pulled their children from schools, disconnected from the government and a judicial system, and watched the deterioration of canals and farm lands. In this disconnected part of Afghanistan the enemy has preyed on the people, taking advantage of everything from their practice of religion to what they grow in the ground. The Marines of Easy Company and 2/2 are changing that, in hopes of giving the people something to believe in. Ultimately, it will be the peoples’ decision to unify and embrace the stabilization efforts, but we will continue to deny the enemy a vote in that decision.

On behalf of the Easy Company Team, thanks to all of the friends and family who continue to send messages of support and packages. The continued influx of hundreds of care packages keep us well stocked on all the basic necessities to make life a little easier in our patrol bases and combat outpost. We truly appreciate everything you do. About two weeks ago we were able to get phone/internet connection up at one of our bases. Hopefully this has allowed your loved ones easier access to call friends and family. Again, we have many bases, and have restricted phone use several times due to casualties, so not everyone has had the opportunity to use the Spawar system, but it is a move towards strengthening our connections to those we left back home.

Congrats:
The Friedman Family- Welcome to little Samuel Archibald. Born 24 Feb, 2010.
The Davis Family- Welcome to little De’Anna McKenzie. Born 26 Jan, 2010.
The Simonson Family- Welcome to little Gabrielle Jordan. Born 19 Feb, 2010.

March Promotions:
PFC:
Jeffrey Duque
LCpl :
Roy Arrington; John Badger
GySgt:
Clifford Farmer
1st Lieutenant:
Bradley Dalberg; Norman Renfro

Farewell and following seas to three of our EOD team members who completed their tour with Easy Company, after several months in Iraq before joining us in November 2009. Their heroic actions saved numerous Marine and civilian lives over here: SSgt Fulling, Sgt Fuchs, Sgt Works.

Our wounded Marines back in the United States recovering from injuries remain in all of our thoughts and prayers. Every one of those Marines is loved and missed by their brothers in Easy Company.

Semper Fidelis,
Captain Gorman
Easy Company
2d Battalion, 2d Marines
Regimental Combat Team-7
Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan

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