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Posted: September 1, 2014 - 2:07pm

Takin’ it to the Streets

Can you feel it coming in the air, quoting Phil Collins. I can for sure, and not only can I feel it, I can see it. Whether you’re out running, jogging, walking, riding, or headed to a soccer game, there are people running all over this town as we get ready to approach the end of the year, and the end of race season 2014. Training groups from CREW, the Striders, various Moms Groups, Black Girls Run, and all the others are out preparing for any number of distance events coming up. Whether you’re training for Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tunnel to Towers, The Enmark Savannah River Bridge Run, or another race - it’s about to get really busy on the streets of Savannah, and all the treadmills in the area. This weekend should be no exception as miles start to ramp up as we hope the temperature starts to go down (just a bit, please!). When you’re out and about putting miles in with your training groups this Saturday morning, try to make it to Lake Mayer and the aquatic center as the kids take center stage for the Optim Orthopedics Safe Kids Savannah Youth Triathlon. If you get a chance cruise your legs over to the aquatic center and Lake Mayer to see these amazing athletes in action. For many of these kids, this could be their first experience in the triathlon world. For many, their first competitive swim, bike, or run. Remember how you felt the first time you competed in one of those? You couldn’t believe someone was cheering for you, but you were happy they were, because you were as nervous as you could get. Imagine what these 7 to 15 year old kids will be feeling on race morning, and they could use just as much encouragement. Once again and for many weekends to come it’s going to be busy fitness weekends for all of us, but this weekend belongs to the kids. The Optim Orthopedics Safe Kids Savannah Youth Triathlon – see you then.

Robert Espinoza
"Keep Your Chin Up for Strength, and Down For Prayer"
Fleet Feet Sports Savannah

Posted: August 18, 2014 - 10:46am

LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!! OR GET DIRTY AT LEAST!!!

It would be an understatement to say that this is my favorite time of year. I know high school football is coming, college football is on its way, school just started, and at some point we will turn the corner on this hot weather. Well I’m not a huge football fan, even though I do listen when the staff talks about it. I’m supposed to pull for any team in the SEC, but let’s add the Texas Longhorns, considering I spent a bunch of my time in Austin, and I could be classified a Texican. I have been perfectly clear that I don’t like school of any kind, so I still get the heebie geebies when I drive by a school. And honestly, I really like the hot weather and humidity. As much as I like cool weather because I get to drink hot chocolate, and wear a foodie, summer - you can stay around as long as you want. So why is it my favorite time of the year? That’s easy. High School Cross Country is HERE!!!!!! Although Savannah is not the hot bed of HSXC, we do host one of the largest kickoff meets in the state at Daffin Park. The Saucony XC Kickoff meet will happen this Saturday at Daffin Park. Teams are coming from all over Georgia and South Carolina and will compete against each other for the Kickoff Cup. Richmond Hill will be back to defend the cup for the girls and Wayne County for the boys. Don’t forget there is also an open division at 7am for anyone who wants to run before the high school competition begins. We only take 200 open participants, so if you’re in the Lucky 13 competition and you have not signed up, you should this week. Don’t get me wrong, although I don’t watch a bunch of football, I do enjoy watching people get excited about their favorite football teams. But for me this time of year, nothing compares to seeing high school or college kids line up for HSXC. It’s not one of the glamour sports, but one of the best sports ever, to say the least. There are no time outs, no half times, just running hard until you gave your all for you, and your team. See this Saturday, kicking grass, and probably some mud.

Robert Espinoza
"Keep Your Chin Up for Strength, and Down For Prayer"
Fleet Feet Sports Savannah

Posted: August 12, 2014 - 3:59pm

It's Not Always About How Fast You Go

Don't tell me about the hot weather. Not only is it hot, it's humid, sticky, and stifling sometimes, but mostly just plain old hot. We just have to keep moving though. We have to keep running right? Just weeks after my Ironman, my workout was a quick 2 hour workout, some biking and some running... not a problem for a guy who just went 12 hours plus. Right again? Wrong actually, just 3 miles into my run as I was just thinking to myself, "this kid is back and ready to go again", my legs went dead, just nothing. In the heat of the morning, I was down to nothing, so I realized very quickly that this kid is NOT back and it's going to take me a little more time to recover than I thought. And just as I was finishing that thing I called a run, I said to myself, "what a dummy", and I was, because at that point I realized I didn't practice what I preached. I had my watch on, I had my heart rate monitor on, and I was timing myself again when I didn't need to. It was a recovery run, it was supposed to be an easy workout, a shake-out if you will. And as I have always said, when you're recovering- why wear a watch? Why time anything? Just recover.  So what's my point if you're not recovering for anything? Same point, as we have run thru the summer and as I see it living here we could be in hot weather all the way thru October. So do this as we try and try to wind down the summer, and it's running highs and lows. Take off your watch, your Timex, your Garmin, don't use your phone's timing device, don't even peak at the clock before you leave the house, just go run. No time, no heart rate monitoring, just go on your favorite mileage loop, and in your running log, just write "went for a run", and where it asks for time, just put, "Fun time" recovery.

Happy Running everyone, we are weeks away from cranking up race season again, looking forward to seeing everyone out on the road.

~Robert Espinoza
"Keep Your Chin Up for Strength, and Down For Prayer"
Fleet Feet Sports Savannah

Posted: August 4, 2014 - 1:58pm

Ironman Lake Placid

I hate math, I have always hated math. I’m not good at it, and I wish we never had to use it. But we have to, and it’s the only way you can move on in school. You have to try it, you either like it or don’t like it, and then you learn how to solve it. You will use it again, somehow in life or in business. This is my introduction to telling you about my Ironman experience in Lake Placid, NY a couple of weeks ago.

Where do I start? Well let me just try to put it in a nice neat Ironman package. The swim was tough; I almost quit 5 minutes into the swim. I bet lots of people had that thought, I now know what it’s like to be in a fish factory pond, kicking, punching, people swimming over you, under you, next to you, and occasionally on top of you (how does that even work?). On the second loop the sky gave way to lightning, thunder, wind and rain; I could see it and feel it even while I was swimming. Before I knew it, boats and kayaks were pushing us sideways to the shore to get us out of the water. I was just about ten minutes from the finish, so close but so far away, especially when they tell you to walk back to the transition area, which was about a half mile away by road.

Once on the bike, it rained and stormed with some winds the entire first loop of the 112 mile bike ride. Once the sun broke out, you went from being cold to drying off and being warm, but some of the damage had already been done. On the second loop of the bike ride, going uphill at about mile 80, we noticed a big cloud coming over the mountain range, little did we know it had some wind, some rain, and who would have thought, hail, to make our ride complete. Luckily we were going uphill or that hail could have been a little more painful. On the ride just a few miles away from the finish, this one guy rode up to me and said, “a marathon, are you kidding me, who’s idea was that?”. My feelings exactly, but running was my strong suit, it’s what I do best, and I was finally off the bike.

The Ironman though, as it does a lot, had another idea on how my run, my specialty, would go. Bottom line, my legs were shot, I couldn’t get any lift, I couldn’t get any speed. Surprise? No surprise at all. Frustrating? Just a hair until you realize there is nothing you can do about it, you just keep moving forward. My goal was to finish under 14 hours, and to be done when the sun was still up, I did both of those. But man I was tired, no legs left, no nothing, but a really strong smile, with the announcers voice still in my head, “Robert Espinoza from Savannah Georgia, You are an Ironman!”. So at no point with the exception of the first 5 minutes of the swim was I beaten, dejected, or miserable. I kept thinking that this is not as much of a sport, as much as it is an art. It’s a process to learn what you can about your body and how far you can push it, and when to push it. All and every muscle group in your body is used, and you start the process of learning how to control that kind movement for that long to get the maximum performance out of your body. I quit the first marathon I ever ran as a young man and eventually ran some pretty good marathons, because I learned how to do it. I guess it’s a lot like math, in order to be good, you have to figure it out to understand it’s meaning. I still hate math, and oh yeah, I am already signed up for Ironman Whistler Canada next year July 26th 2015. Time to start training, and learning.

Robert Espinoza
"Keep Your Chin Up for Strength, and Down For Prayer"
Fleet Feet Sports Savannah

Posted: July 22, 2014 - 11:47am

Just Do It

I know it's a Nike slogan, but I have worn my share of Nike shoes and apparel in all my years in this industry, so I feel safe using it. But this is not about Nike. When I say "just do it", I mean find your goals, meet your goals and beat your goals. This coming Sunday I will be doing my first Ironman in Lake Placid, New York. A few weeks ago I did my first triathlon ever finishing the Rock and Roll Man Half Ironman in Macon, GA. Going into my 50's I wasn't a good swimmer, never was on any swim team ever, and I had never ridden a bike for distance. I swore in my younger years I wouldn't wear those clothes bike riders wear (stupid thought considering I wore tights most of my teenage years as a wrestler). So I made the commitment and I trained, and I ran, and I swam, and I rode, and I crashed and I got back up to do it all again. This Sunday in Lake Placid I will exercise and move for well over 10 hours, maybe 11, probably 12, could be 13, and 14 is not out of the question. When you train yourself to swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles and then run a marathon, I was told if you just tell yourself it's going to be really hard and sometimes painful, then everything should be OK. What's my point? My point is to do it, just do it. Whatever age you are, whatever shape you may think you're in, whatever limitations you think you may have, it's your time to make that decision to make it happen just for you. Your first run or walk around the block, your first 5K, your first 10K, marathon, triathlon, bike ride or swim, it can be done. At 52 I was convinced to 'tri' it. At 53, I am going to, no matter how long it takes, no matter how it feels. Thanks to all of you for your support, I hope I come out of this in one piece and a tri geek.

Thanks especially to my staff for giving me the time to train, and having sympathy for this old man as I dragged this old body around the store after some long training days. You guys are the best, could not have done it without you.

~Robert Espinoza
"Keep Your Chin Up for Strength, and Down For Prayer"
Fleet Feet Sports Savannah