Sunday, October 17, 2010

Running the Medoc Trail Race

A few months ago I signed up to do the Medoc Trail Run and all of the other training this year, the triathlons, long 150 mile bike ride, long swims and so on have all been to help get me into shape for this 10 miler in the mountains. This past weekend I finally did it. I had set my heart on a sub-2 hour run as there were some good slopes, a lot of tree roots and rocks to run over. I went into the race with my right calf still hurting from the tear in January. My left calf muscle got pulled in a 5km race in Wake Forest a few weeks ago. The night before the race I was icing and warming the calf muscle.
I headed out from the house at 5am after a 4:30am wake up and was at the race nice and early after a McDonalds power breakfast...2 hash browns and a large coffee. The organization was superb, there was a marathon (2.5 loops) and the 10 miler that I was up for. I was feeling low energy and not in the best of shape for the run but that's never stopped me before so when we started at 8:30am I led off with a normal pace along the road that was about a mile to split up the pack.
I ran as ChemSpiderman..I would have loved to have a ChemSpiderman T-shirt to run with (free advertising in the trees but more important when I'm running in the Chemistry 5km races at the conferences!!!) but I'm thinking of rebranding myself as the ChemConnectorGuy  :-)

When we got into the trails it was much gentler on my legs running in the trees and I could kick a little harder. A couple of trips over the roots work me up pretty quickly as did some of the slopes up the "mountain". I was feeling the pace at 4 miles, hit the "it's all down hill" feeling at 5 miles because I had crossed half way. By mile 8 when Medoc the Mountain Man was looking at me from the trees (really!!!) I was feeling confident that finishing was no issue, and maybe with a good time. I didn't wear my Nike Plus as I wanted to run blind without a time as every time I have run against the clock of late it's been bad for the mind...

At mile 9 I got a major cramp in the right calf despite taking Calcium Lactate before the race to stop the cramping. I ran through it, as I had run through 3 side stitches, and saw the line with 1hr 37 mins on the clock. I ran pretty hard for the line and was really happy to cross in less than 1:38. I'm rarely impressed with my performance in these races and always expect more from  myself but this one put a REAL smile on my face. It was a great race and I was very happy to have run it. It started COLD, was warm when we finished, they fed us well, we all got medals and nice Finisher vests. All in all a grear day at Medoc Mountain State Park and home for lunchtime to hang out with the kids. Hope they do it again next year!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Training for the Medoc Trail Run

My calf muscle still hurts after tearing it earlier this year. But I am still running...I've knocked off a couple of sprint triathlons since then and feel a lot fitter since combining swimming, running and biking. Overall I am in better shape for combining the three and tomorrow will be doing a 1 mile open water swim with my good lady Sharon...not bad for someone who struggled with just a few lengths a few months ago. But running is great for it...makes me feel high...a much needed body stimulant and good for the mind. I am now in training for the 10 mile Medoc Trail Run in October. I am doing my weekly combined trainings logging miles on the bike, on the road/treadmill and in the pool/lake. I am not getting as much weight training in as I would like and have been losing muscle size in preference to weight loss for the run.....dropping ten pounds in weight for the 10 miler is going to be a lot easier on my knees and back so that's where I am...down from 180lbs to 170lbs, loss of muscle in the chest and arms but more able to sustain a good running pace....

Today I ran 5 miles on the Mountain to Sea Trail in less than an hour and could easily have kept going. it was 75F and much easier on me than the 95F of last weekend that was PAINFUL. Tomorrow I'll be doing a lake swim with my lady Sharon who is also in the shape of her life prep'ing for a sprint tri at the end of August. It's good to be alive!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Participating in a Sprint Triathlon to Raise Money for Cleft Lip and Palate

Last week I ran a 5km race to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I managed to raise past my target. I knew a young woman who had a double mastectomy at quite a young age. My dad died of liver cancer. As far as I'm concerned if I can push some money towards the charities based on my participation in a sporting event then I will. If I can get my friends, family and network to encourage me to push harder and contribute to the cause I'm running for I'm not shy to ask for support!

This coming weekend, on June 27th, I will be doing a sprint triathlon to raise money for SMILE TRAIN, a charity founded with the intention of providing free cleft lip and palate surgeries to any family affected. Examples are shown below.

 This cause is special to me. We are friends with a neighborhood couple who have a son who was born with cleft lip and palate. Liam is a funny, gentle, loving and hug-every-time kid. He hangs out with our kids and together the three of them are a force of nature...young boy attitudes with a laugh for every occasion. He knows he was born with cleft lip and palate and just gets on with it. Fortunately he had surgery when he was 10 weeks old and additional surgeries since. The photos below show him at 10 weeks old before surgery and his handsome face in a photo taken at 5 years old, about 2 weeks after a plastic “revision” surgery to give more symmetry to his lip and nose. He is now six years old. He will most likely require a bone graft for the missing bone in his jaw about age 8, and lots of orthodontics will follow to address crooked and missing teeth.You can see the impact of the surgery. Imagine the challenges that Liam would have in life without such a surgery. Imagine the lives of the 1 in 700 children in the world born with cleft lip and palate and how their lives can be changed forever by this surgery.

In the last week of June here in North Carolina it's going to be hot, damned hot, unless we have a surprise weather system. I'm going to swim 250m, cycle 12 miles and run a 5km at the end. I swim like a brick, I cycle ok and I run pretty well despite tearing my calf muscle earlier this year. Either way...I will push like a madman and it'll hurt :-). I'm going to do my part and I humbly ask you to sponsor my efforts and help raise money for the Smile Train and provide for children born with this condition.

Ways to Give

Mail: Checks made payable to Smile Train can be sent directly to Rebecca Warriner, Race Director, at the address below. Please put my name, Antony Williams, in the memo.

RebeccaWarriner, Race Director
The Smile Train Triathlon
908 Heritage Greens Drive
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

Online at Use Smile Train’s secure giving Web site created especially for the Smile Train Triathlon. Please list me in the Recognition Name field.

Matching gifts: Many employers match charitable giftsmade by employees, spouses, and retirees, which could easily double or triple the value of your contribution! Check with your HR department or visit for details.

About The Smile Train Triathlon
The Smile Train Triathlon is a USA Triathlon sprint distance race comprised of a 250-meter pool swim, 12-mile bike, and a 3.1-mile run. This race provides beginners with a safe environment to experience a triathlon while providing a fast bike course and challenging run course to the more experienced triathlete. Each year, 400 spots are filled, and 100 percent of the registration fees are sent to The Smile Train. Since 2008, The Smile Train Tri has donated more than $50,000 to The Smile Train!

About The Smile Train
The Smile Train is the world's leading cleft charity, with thousands of partners and programs in 76 of the world's poorest countries. Its mission is to help the more than 4.7 million children in developing countries who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. The Smile Train provides free cleft surgery to children from poor families that give children not just a new smile, but a new life.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Setting a new target for myself for the year

When I started this blog I was focused on running a 1000 miles in a year. And then I tore my calf muscle. I limped for a few weeks, then I did what the doctors said I shouldn't and started running..probably a little too early and a little too hard. I am a terrible patient. Since then my calf muscle has twinged, pulled and ached away. But if nothing else I have a combination of "balls and stupidity". While I was limping my wife was running her first half marathon 2.5 hours! She's the determined one...she puts her mind to something and just gets on with it...she did it with 4 months of training. This past weekend our twin boys did their first triathlon at the age of 7.5. 4 lengths of the pool, 2.5 mile bike ride and 0.6 mile run. They did it and they did it well. Tyler was the "fire in the belly" guy just LOVING the competition. Taylor was the "get it done" guy focused on finishing and getting self-pride. Sharon and I are so proud of them both! This weekend Sharon does her first triathlon in Raleigh. She has a new bike, a svelte new body of muscles and attitude and she is damn focused. She'll do great!
In June I do my first sprint triathlon...10 lengths of the pool, 12 mile bike ride and 5km run...on the day that I turn 46 years old. Then in June Sharon and I will both do another sprint triathlon. We're becoming quite the family...
Now..since I thrive on challenges and targets and can't run 1000 miles this year (I'd need to do 4 miles a day with a horrible work and travel schedule!) I have set a new challenge. It might not be the most challenging but I've never done it...I want to run a 5km race in 25 minutes. I don't want to do it on a treadmill, though I will train on one occasionally, but I want to run it in a road race. That's the target...and in NC in the summer in the heat it's going to hurt. Who said pain doesn't develop a person. We'll see...and hopefully won't end up with another injury...balls and stupidity....that's me...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Two hours in the emergency room

I woke up this morning and could hardly walk. Despite icing my calf for an hour and a half last night it was swollen this morning and damn painful. The family ended up taking me to emergency today because I couldn't drive. Despite booking an appointment I waited for an hour and a half and when I finally got in the doctor's first comments were "So, you're a runner and you're 45. There's your problem". Then he smiled. He was being funny not sarcastic...he was a great guy. He gave me a full examination and gave me the good news. It is not a torn achilles but a tear at the bottom of the calf muscle where the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles come together. The doctor boosted my ego with the comment that the reason it had likely happened is that I have very large calf muscles from running/hiking/working out for the past 30 years. That may be true about my calves but I have quads like a seagull. The doctor proceeded to give me heel cups to elevate the back of my heel and reduce stretching on the tear, gave me crutches for the next two weeks, recommended high doses of ibuprofen for the next two weeks and twice daily icing and elevation. Oh...and to cap it all off he said that at this point this was likely to be a recurring injury. Sweet. I'd say my big eyed dreams of running 1000 miles in a year might be very much at risk and I'll get back to lifting weights and building back the upper body mass I had started stripping off to lose weight for running. When my legs back in action maybe I'll get back to cycling on a daily basis instead. Until then I can honestly say that I am disappointed, angry, feeling old and generally disillusioned. Pretty much how I felt when I tore both rotator cuffs a couple of years ago and couldn't work out properly for 18 months. Crap.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

An old wound from Scifoo lets go again so onto the bike trainer tomorrow

When  I started this journey on January 1st of this year to run 1000 miles this year I was starting knowing that I had an old injury hanging over from my visit to Scifoo '09 in San Francisco last year. While I was out there I took a run one afternoon and about a mile into the run I came off the sidewalk and felt something pull in my calf muscle. I limped home that day and over the next few months I'd take a few weeks off and then start running again only to have the pulled muscle/achilles (not sure which) return. Every night I've been the running I've been feeling that area in my calf but have been managing to run through it as its not painful per se, just uncomfortable. That's not the situation right now...I hit 1.7km into my 5km run tonight and everything came to a grinding halt as my calf muscle or something in that area simply let loose and I went hopping down the treadmill on my left leg trying to hit the stop button. At this stage I'm sitting on the floor with my leg on a big ice pack. I'd say I'm done for a few days, maybe longer and I'm going to have log my miles on my indoor bike trainer. I'll likely have to swap an hour of bike training to equate to a 5km run but so be it. Damn my leg hurts...advil before bed...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Asthma in the Williams Family and the Potential to Raise Money for Asthma

Asthma is a horrible disease. It affects 7% of the US population and 300 million people worldwide according to Wikipedia. I had asthma in my late 20s into my early 30s when I moved from Ottawa, Canada down to Rochester, NY to work for the Eastman Kodak company. Within a few months of moving south to upstate New York I was having what I thought were panic attacks. I would be running most afternoons from Kodak Park over to Seneca Zoo and back and generally clocking 5 miles during those runs, probably 4-5 days per week. During the process of running around Kodak park I was moving a lot of air through my lungs, and with it, moving a lot of pollution coming from the stacks of Kodak park into my lungs. When I ended up at a doctor gasping for breath he did some very basic tests, declared that Rochester was one of the pulmonary disease capitals, said welcome to Rochester and handed me a prescription for albuterol telling me that I definitely had asthma. Over the next few years I kept became more of a struggle with time. I was involved with testing research medications. Stress definitely made it worse. Frosty winter mornings made it worse. Lack of sleep made it worse.
Today I don't take asthma medication at all...I moved south to North Carolina where the air is cleaner and came off the meds. Now, maybe they are not related. Maybe there's no correlation. I do get tightness in the chest when I go to cities such as London and Moscow but it goes away when I return home. I believe I am still asthmatic but cope well with it in general...but respond to bad air pollution as many others do.
I am the father of twin 7 year old boys, Taylor and Tyler. They are wonderful boys and I am truly proud of who they are. One of our boys had asthma earlier in his childhood. He has allergies to multiple things - blue and red colorings, dust mites, chemicals etc and has a negative reaction to albuterol...he gets very wiry and wound up and hard to manage after he's dosed. Nevertheless we use the medication when we need to. For the past 3 days Tyler has been sick with a cold. Colds always go to his lungs and he has been on an inhaler every few hours. A few weeks ago he was diagnosed with H1N1 and it developed into pneumonia. His lungs have had a lot of stress in his early years and I hope that the rest of his life has him grow out of the disease and not suffer the challenges of gasping for breath, feeling like he's drowning with his head above water and not being debilitated by not being able to breathe.
Despite his breathing problems once in a while he is a wiry little guy, loves tumbling and gymnastics, does karate, loves swimming, soccer and football and with his brother they are quite a team.Our whole family started running 5km races together late last year, our first one at Thanksgiving. The picture below is of the three male members of our family after one of the races (L to R: Taylor, Me, Tyler). The fact that our boys are running 5km races in about 37 mins when they are so much smaller than me truly impresses me...their legs move like little motors. The fact that Tyler is doing it with his asthma and lung challenges is truly impressive!
I've been wondering whether there is a way to monetize my next year of running to raise money for asthma. I'm looking for help and guidance to have an online system where I can post my progress and have a central organization collect sponsorship and finally hand it over to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. I've just started work in this direction but if anyone out there has experience in conducting a personal sponsorship event like this I'd be interested in hearing from you.