Saturday, December 26, 2009

A big fat santa!

I'm turning into a bowl full of jelly! Ugh, it's been so long since my last workout that I can feel the muscle withering away. Lucky for me I've been eating (gorging really) on proper Christmas food, so there is LOTS of fat waiting to replace the muscle.

By the new year, I'll be a whole new person! Or at least I'll look like I've eaten a person!

Is it time for a new years resolution yet??

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fake Race Report

Imagine something pithy and witty here:


It is good and funny. It makes you laugh and cry.
It is well worth the wait!

Perhaps you can actually imagine it so well that you can actually write some of it in the comments. Because, I seem to have completely forgotten what I wanted to say. It's been so long that the details have slipped out.

I have sometime off next week, so hopefully I will be able to find the mystery that has escaped me.

In the meantime, please accept this as my fake race report post. At least this way, I can move on and post things that are actually going on right now!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quick Update

First I want to say Congrats to everyone who did B2B. For a lot of people, it was their first half or their first full. I am so happy for you all! Way to go!

Secondly, I now have not one but two race reports to get out! Last week I did the Hoover Dam Marathon and this weekend I did Silverman Full.

I am going to gather my thoughts, figure out what the heck to say and hopefully get a report out to you guys soon!

In the meantime, I plan on SLEEPING!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Purgatory

I have to admit, I have never understood the point of sauna or steam rooms even the spa is bit of a mystery to me. I understand that people think that they are therapeutic. Somehow spending a few minutes in the magical room will wash all away all the soreness.

It has never happened to me. I sit for ages in the spa and feel…prune-y. It just feels like a hot bathtub for me.

Regardless, I am still sick so I decide to suffer through a few minutes of the steam room to ‘flush’ out the sickness. I love the idea of flushing it out. Like somehow the cold will just magically be gone. Washed away in the sweet sweat of the steam. I imagine this will work for other things too like alcohol or cancer.

As soon as I enter the room it seems like a bad porn movie! The steam is so thick I can only see a foot or two in front of me and I can vaguely see the shapes of people in the room. Not wanting to be caught in some errant orgy, I head to the back and the top step.

It is here that I am reminded of common thermodynamics. Hot air rises ergo it is HOTTER on the top step then the bottom step. Let’s do some simple math: if it is an inferno on the bottom step then it is an inferno times X on the second step and on the third step it is now inferno to the power of X! Simple math really.

HOLY CRAP is it hot! Never mind the orgy anxiety, it is too hot to move let alone copulate. I am struggling to breathe. Every inhalation brings a searing sensation to my lungs. I have long since abandoned the idea of breathing through my nose. Every nasally attempt feels like some one is shoving a red hot poker up into my nose in search of my brain.

Speaking of brains, mine wonders what in the hell I am doing here! Why would anyone want to do this? And I am reminded of my eternal quest for that answer every time I partake in an endurance event. Why in the hell I am out here? And just like that, the comparison of the two has linked them in my mind. I am now associating the steam room to an endurance event. And just like it’s sacrilegious to quit an event merely because it is hard, it’s now impious to leave this room simply because it makes me uncomfortable. No, Now I am stuck. I have to get through this. I need to prove that I have the mental endurance to last it out. Damn!

So I settle in. Try to make the most of my penance. Block out all thought of the heat (it’s hotreally hotseven inches from the midday sun hot); block out all thoughts of how nice it is outside this room (It’s so nicelike eating ice cream nicelike cold water fountain nice); Block out all thoughts.

I am in my happy place, I am one with the universe and all that jazz. Just about that time, a searing hot pain goes through my foot. My foot has been nailed to the cross and I am crucified. OUCH! WTF?!

I can barely see more than a shadow of people but is no one around, no one has moved, I can’t see a culprit. My foot has just the tiniest dab of water on it.

Water on it? Like something spilled on it. Something from somewhere?

Suddenly another sensation. Something hits my bare shoulder and I feel the sting of a whip across me! Good lord! It only last a second and then it is gone replaced with a cooling burn like you feel when you burn your finger and then run cool water over it. Burning but not hot, burning but not from a specific source. Burning but mild.

My back is to the wall there is no one behind me. I look up in time to see a drop of water from the ceramic ceiling tiles drip down. This drop falls away from me and I watch it splash into the tiled ground.

The steam has condensed and built little drops of moisture on the ceramic tiles. Little mounds of intensely heated water. Each drop the cumulative equivalent of a thousand hot suns.

There are hundreds of drops up there. All of them hanging down like deadly icicles. Waiting to drop their little death upon you. They fall at random; no logical way to determine when they will swell to such a size that they can no longer resist nature and gravity hurls them down upon you and your unsuspecting skin.

Little lashes and whips to torture you! Exactly what I need! Thanks! Like the intense heat wasn’t enough. Now I have to deal with random floggings too!

The heat has peaked now. I am breathing in slow and deliberate breathes. Too quick of a breathe sears my lungs, so each breath is long and deep while still somehow remaining shallow and slow. The singe of the heat is no longer noticeable until I turn my head or move my body. If I look around, then the stinging needles of the heat attack me. It cuts at my skin like razors. It burns my eyelids like being too close to a roaring fire. But it subsides once I stop moving.

For god sakes don’t move!

Splash! A surprise drop of water whips down on me and jerks a sudden movement out. Damn!

I go deeper into my pain locker and wait until my time for freedom is here.

Why am here? I don’t know. But I know being here will make me stronger. Every searing breath I take and every drop of hot lava I endure will only make me that much of a better, stronger endurance athlete. If I can endure this then the race will be nothing. Every moment I am here is another moment longer that I can be out there.

So I wait. I endure. I strive.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Irony of it all

Last post I said that I could not imagine a day without working out. Every day I had to do SOMETHING! I had to feel the struggle of my body fighting gravity and my genetics. Striving forward. Struggling ahead, getting stronger and faster. Becoming a better me.

And then it happened. Struck down. Not by car or truck or even a bus. No, no man made creation had touched me. Rather it is a viral sickness that now runs through my body and debilitates me.

With the sickness raving my body, I have decided to forgo my daily pilgrimage into the torture chamber of training. Probably a smart idea, let my body rest and recuperate but it is still a little unnerving.

I have sat restless for several days now. I had expected to feel like I was wasting my time, I had expected to feel like I was wasting my time and edgy. I had expected all that. But instead I felt fine. I felt restful. I felt like I was doing the smart thing.

That was several days ago. I still feel like that. Still feel sick.

Now my resting days are seriously starting to interfere with my training days.

Like that old commercial “I haven’t got time for the pain”. I don’t have time to feel sick. I need to train, I need to get going. I need to be out there training.

And so I went. Against better thinking I rode. Of course, it had to be a windy day. With wind battling hard against me, I struggled for 30 miles. No hard effort, no tragic turn of events. Nonevent.

Until I got home. Then my body revolted, shut down and fought back. Now I am suffering all over again.

Two steps forward…one step back.

Good thing I have a race this week!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ignosce mihi, Pater, quia peccavi

Forgive me father, for I have sinned.


It has been 66 days since my last blog. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to blog. I have. In fact every time I work out I think of what I am going to say but inevitably once I get back home I feel that I can’t post yet because I didn’t post the workout before that, and the one before that and the one…So finally I have thought that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Just get it out and if it doesn’t make sense or is meaningless then oh well. I feel that I’ve got to get at least some of it out otherwise I will never post again because I have such a backlog. So here is my confessional:

I have biked a great many times. I have biked long and hard and repeatedly. I have biked in the wind and up hills. I have swore while biking, I have laughed while biking; I have surrendered more than once and called for a ride while biking. Please forgive me.

I have ran a few times. Not nearly as much as I have biked. I have biked 4 to 5 times as much as I have ran. I still loathe running. I still enjoy running (but only after loathing it first). I have not run for very long but I have started to run faster. I still suck at running. Please forgive me.

I have not swam! Whew! Well ok, I have swam but only a few times and even when I did I didn’t want to, so that doesn’t count right? I have swam in the gym pool back and forth until I have lost count and knowing that it was not enough, I have swam even longer. I have not even SEEN the lake since early summer! I am not even sure I know how to put on a wetsuit! Please forgive me.

I have thought the thoughts of a Triathlete. I have thought about biking and running and (occasionally) swimming. I have friends (YES! I do have friends 1 and 2) who have wisely chosen to enjoy their off season, but I have found that I cannot stop working out. Everyday I take off from working out, I feel like a lazy slug! I feel like I am losing fitness with every breathe. Somewhere out there some one is getting faster than me (which is not hard to do!). I become grumpy and moody when I don’t work out. Please forgive me.

I have signed up for races that I am vastly underprepared for (just my style). I have no fear. I know they will suck and I don’t care. I am ready to suffer. I am looking forward to it. The insanity is overwhelming. Please forgive me.

I have abandoned all thoughts of P90X, almost as soon as I posted my last blog post (the one that says I am “renewing my energy into it”). I just couldn’t do it. Not yet. I don’t really have an off season, and every day that I wasn’t riding the bike or doing something cardio intense, I felt like I was loosing my (limited) fitness. I know the benefits to weight lifting are huge, but I just could justify it during training season. Perhaps I’ll pick it up next off season (if I ever get one). Please forgive me.

OK. I think that is it. Or at least all that I am willing to confess to at this moment. Thanks for hearing my confession.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A work in progress

I still haven't figured this whole P90X thing out yet.

The first week I hit it hard, and I paid for it hard. My arms hurt and my body ached. I continued to hurt for the next three days!

The next week, either I got stronger or I got a lot more timid, because I didn't feel overly sore after any workout. I felt like I worked but I didn't feel beat down.

The third week, I think I became complacent. I barely put effort into the workouts. Once I hit my max rep I stopped. I told myself not to push it too hard and that my body will get stronger naturally. This may be true, but really I think that I just got lazy.

By the fourth week it was recovery time and I screwed up and forgot my workout CDs at home while on vacation. I tried to do my best, and I went for a few aerobic runs but it was a far cry from the pescribed plan.

On the Fifth week, I was at a lost. Do I pretend like I never missed a week and keep going? Do I repeat the recovery week? Or do I start all over again? In the end, I realized that my motivation was slipping and I most likely wouldn't recover from starting over again. This all meant that I shouldn't go back and do the recovery week, so de facto I was moving ahead. Unfortunately, my motivation did not move ahead with me and I rather pathetically tackled the weeks workouts.

It was right about this time that I seriously considered dropping out and beginning another triathlon training schedule. I know these workouts. I know the exhaustion I feel and what they mean. I know what progress is. This was also the time that I decided to blog about P90X. If its out in the open then maybe it'll be harder to abandon.

Now that I am on my sixth week, I still feel undermotivated. I have missed several workouts and feel so far behind that it seems impossible to get ahead. Curiously, this is also the time that I decided to start picking up some cardio exercises too.

Funny enough, that seems to have helped out. With my cardio exercises lined up, I feel more energized to do the P90X. I have a plan and a psuedo schedule. I feel like I can do it.

Which brings me to my latest revelation regarding how to tackle these workouts. It seems to require a change in mentallity. I have been focused on the (long)endurance aspect of training so long that I try to leave a little in the tank, not to exhaust me so much that I can't do another long hard workout the next day. But P90X wants you to go full out. Blow every bit of strength you have on that pull up. Be exhausted after your workout. Because the next workout is going to be something completely different.

I am not sure how this different is different from triathlon different. I mean each day in Tri training is a different focus too. I am also not sure how exhausting myself each workout is going to effect my cardio workout but this is all just a big experiment.

I'm gonna roll with the punches. Drink my protein shakes and nurse my sore muscles.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And now for something completely different

Despite what I do, I actually believe that you should take some time off after an Ironman. Or at least after your first one, you should take some time off. The body is in shock; you deserve a rest; in my case, you have a new family to enjoy. Blah, blah, blah…Truth is I wanted to relax for a little while.

That didn’t last long. Before too long my mind was raring to go. I needed something to do physically. I needed some way to make the body tired and the muscles sore. I needed to hurt.

P90X

P90X is a ‘revolutionary body changing program’ (the program doesn’t say that…but I am hoping….). Basically, you follow the DVD program for 90 days and viola! A new fitter, leaner and better you. Each day consist of either a muscle or a cardio exercise with a few stretch or rest days thrown in too.

Each day is a different type of exercise and the basic idea is shock the body so that it never plateaus or gets lazy on us. It’s right up a triathletes alley! Each day something different? Each day my body is getting stronger and better? You mean I might actually have some arm definition after I am done with this? I just might have the shoulder strength to swim without having to resort tot the doggy paddle?

Well…the program doesn’t say that…but I am hoping….

So, what the hell. I went for it! I mean what do I have to lose? I am on ‘vacation’ right? Time to shake it up a little bit. “Shock and awe” the body!

I started the program right after the 4th of July, so I am a month into it now. I’ll post soon in more detail on how things are going but let me tell you, there is nothing in this program that doesn’t make you sweat! Even the silly Stretch X (the ‘lazy’ day) makes me sweat! The Yoga is a grueling and slow torture session that finds me dripping in sweat before I am 30 minutes in. And the Chest and back?? Forget about it! My first day I was sore for three days! I have since learned to pace myself better.

Before you start, you take your measurements and ‘before’ pics. Soo….

That’s right! I am going to do the unthinkable. I am going to post my before pics (or at least a cropped down version of them. Trust me; it’s for your safety. You don’t want to see this thing a swim suit! They harpoon things smaller!)

Now before I post, I just want to remind you…ah screw it! I had this whole speech about ‘cast not the first stone, lest he be judged’ and crap about courage and what not, but screw it! I started this blog to prove that the average man can do it. That holds true even to this, so here we go:





You would think that after 8 months of training for an Ironman, a body would look more ironman-sh?



I'm told there is a six pack in there....somewhere!


This explains my swim times!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dude! Where you been?

I have been a bad blogger! Not only has it been a month since my last post, but I also stopped reading other people’s blogs. I basically fell off the blogging world!

Luckily I have been training although it’s been a far cry from what it once was. But I’ll get to that next time.

For now, I wanted to say "I’m sorry" for dropping out of the world. Hopefully I can make a return to my former glory.

In the meantime, I wanted to show off my little man, and how awesome my wife is!

She surprised me with these pictures. How freaking cool are these??













Friday, July 10, 2009

Devil of a race - the Run with a Devil Marathon Report

My son is screwed! I am sooo going to be the parent who says “Do what I say not what I do!”

Everyone knows you do an Ironman; you are legally obliged to sit on your butt! Do nothing, recover, and relax. Enjoy life without training!

Do what I say…not what I do!



Run with a Devil Race Marathon Report:

Just for a quick review – the race is held in the middle of the day right when the day is at its hottest. The sun is beating down on you from every direction, there is no shade and there is no escape! There are some major hills with a few 8% going on for a mile at a time. BRUTAL!

Sounds like the ideal thing to do after an Ironman right? To be precise it was less than a week afterwards. 6 days! Could I really do a marathon 6 day after doing an Ironman? And especially one so painfully brutal?



Honestly, I had never planned on it. I know how ludicrous it is to do. You have just destroyed your body. It has worked harder than it ever has before. You just pushed it for 15+ hours! You need to recover.

But the thing is…I didn’t. I didn’t feel bad. I wasn’t sore (the first few days yes, but afterwards…). Actually I was still pissed off at my IT Band for failing on me. I think I was looking for a way to punish them. Or maybe I was just looking for justification.

Whatever I was looking for, I found myself at the registration desk at the Devil race. I know the RD and she congratulated me for the IM and the baby and then asked “what in the hell was I doing here?”. Even the RD knew that running this race was crazy. So I looked for a way out “Need any help volunteering?” “Nope! We are all set.”

DAMN! Guess that means I am racing!

The next day, I stepped on the starting line, feeling scared out of my mind. What was I doing? Would I hurt myself? Would I finish? I think I was more nervous now then my first marathon.

Right before the race started, the RD pointed out a few secrets to staying cool. These turned out to be a life saver on the course. She told us all to dunk everything we could in the water. Shirts, hats, bandana’s. Soak them thoroughly in the ice cold water. Don’t worry if its dripping wet, it won’t be for long.

And she was right. Just before the start, I dunked my shirt and while I felt like a drowned cat with my wet shirt dripping water and sticking to me, I was cool. In fact I was cold! My body had just gone from 100* to ice cold. Unfortunately, the feeling of being cold didn’t last very long. As we made our way on the course, it was probably within the first mile, that I was nearly dry already. And this is at 10 in the morning. The day was just starting to heat up!

Woohoo!

The whole way out I kept waiting for my body to rebel. Waiting for the pain to start or my knees to buckle. I listened for my feet to complain. Silence. Hmm… so far so good. But I was scared that it wouldn’t start until I was too far out to quit easily. Knowing my luck, all hell would break loose on mile 13!

But in the meantime, all I could do was plod along. And plod is exactly what I did. There were no speed records broken here. First I was taking it easy because I didn’t want to blow up too soon; next I took it easy because I didn’t know how my body would handle the intense heat. Finally I took it easy because everyone else was too. When you are running along with a group of people and they all slow down and walk up a hill, you think ‘maybe they are saving their energy for the return. Maybe they know something I don’t. Maybe they are smarter than me so they are taking it easy’. Well, not wanting to be dumb or stupid, I slowed down too. I am not sure it was the right thing to do regarding speed, but it seemed to do the trick for taking it easy.

By mile 10, my left foot was starting to hurt. It was just a dull throb. Not like it was bruised inside, like I normally feel at the end of a marathon. When that happens, every step I take feels like I am stepping on glass. Every step is excruciating. This was only a dull throb, but I was troubled that it would bloom into something more painful.

By the time I hit the 13 mile turn around, I was feeling pretty good, except for the foot. No knee pain, no overwhelming foot pain. Pretty good all around. The race was sponsored by some ‘pain relieving cream’. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to provide any ‘pain relief’ as I put in on my aching feet. I actually talked to another racer (who was doing his first marathon…Umm…dude! This is your first marathon?? Are you crazy?). He had placed the cream on his calf. We decided that the pain relief came from the fact that the cream burned so much that the original source of the pain seemed insignificant!

While placing the cream on, I decided to do both feet, even though only the left foot hurt. Better safe than sorry. Murphy’s Law struck, and my right foot that had nothing wrong with it, now started hurting. Crap! It was a rubbing pain, but I couldn’t find out why. I took off my shoe and looked at the sock, looked at the shoe, no matter what I did I could not find the problem. Finally I just gave up and just ran.

No surprise, but after the race I had a nice big fat blister.

On the way back from the turn around, I started to hit the pain medicine. A couple ibuprofen here, a few Tylenol here and before I knew it I was feeling good! Damn it! Why did I not hit the medicine on the Ironman? It takes off the edge! If only I hadn’t been so stubborn and refused Tylenol.

By now the sun was full bore and bearing down on us with intensity. At every rest stop I would drip my shirt and hat into the ice water (they had buckets set aside just for this). It would instantly cool my core down and keep me going. Right around the mile 9/15 aid station, I found a girl passed out under the tent. This is the spot that I had volunteered at last year, and for whatever reason, this is the spot that a lot of people quit at. The girl was OK, she was awake and coherent, but she was done. As I ran in, the local paramedic pulled in (The RD hires a Paramedic rig for the race). They discussed whether to go the hospital or back to the finish line and in the end the racer decided she was OK; just transport her to the finish line.

As they pulled away, I had topped off my water and was now on my way. It wasn’t until I was ½ mile away that I realized that I did not dunk my shirt! That’s ok right? I mean I’ve gone this whole way without any issues, how bad can it be right?

Let me tell you, it can get BAD!

Less than a mile from the aid station and I am dying. My core has heated up; I feel my skin frying from the outside in. My energy is gone. I am exhausted.

By two miles from the aid station, I am walking. I am ready to give up. If some SAG car drove up, I wouldn’t hesitate.

It was only by some miracle of God that a spectator was on the side of the road, handing out water. First off, how cool is it that this person is actually spectating? I mean we are in the middle of the desert. There is nothing but the heat to entertain you. Second, how freaking blessed are you to be handing out water. ICE COLD water!! Sweet mercy from the heavens!

She soaked me down and saved my race. I know she was there for her husband who was fast approaching from behind, but at that moment she was my savior.







I have done this course before. The sister twin of this race. This was the Devil, run in the middle of an inferno. I had run the Angel, run on the exact same course, but done in January, in the cold morning.

The RD does this to show how drastic of a difference the course can be. And I was fully aware of it now. My finish time on Devil was just over an hour slower than my Angel. At the end of Angel, I was exhausted. My feet where killing me, my legs were done. It was my second marathon. This time, I was still exhausted. My feet hurt but weren’t killing me and I was on my 6th marathon.

Overall, I am glad I did it. I still think it was crazy and I would still advise people to rest after an Ironman, but I am glad I got it done. I am glad I proved to myself that I could do it. I am glad that I was able to make my body suffer for punishment. And I am glad that my IT band/knees didn’t hurt once!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Impossible is nothing - Ironman CDA Race Report

First off, I want to say thank you everyone for the kind words; the encouragement and the support. I thought of you guys so much out there.

Also a big thank you to the people of CDA. The people on the course, the volunteers and so many spectators who cheered us all on (for hours, in my case).

Not to make this into a Hollywood acceptance speech; but thanks also to Stef and RBR along with her gaggle of friends. Stef rushed to support me when I lost my wetsuit the DAY BEFORE the race! She was quick with a kind word and advice. Once RBR found out, you would have thought I called in the national guard! Within seconds she was calling the expo, contacting the local sport stores. Within minutes she had mobilized her friends and had wetsuits lined up waiting for me. I seriously think that within 30 minutes, she had 2-3 suits waiting in different sizes and shapes!! Somewhere there is a politician looking for her mobilization skills!

Finally, I need to say a HUGE thank you to my wife, who stood outside in the rain and the cold cheering me on. She was there to support me when I was thrilled to be racing and when I was miserable and done racing. She stood out there and took care of a 3 week old child (who stayed properly bundled up and was warm and toasty the whole time). I may be an Ironman, but she has earned new levels of spectathlete-ism. There are not enough words to say how grateful I am.

I've been sitting on this race report for a while. I have had complete novels of this rolling around since the race was midway done, but every version was the epitome of a bitter ungrateful brat! I was in a bad place mentally and the only thing that would have come out of me was bitterness, bile and BS.

You deserve better than that. I deserve better than that! So I've waited. I am not sure I'm ready to be fully mature yet, but I can try. I know that in 2 months from now this will be stupid; in 1 year it'll be meaningless and in 5 years this will all be forgotten. My IM experience will have only been a brief paragraph in the novel of my life. Why stress??

Which brings me to my point. I did it! I am a Ironman!! It may not have been pretty but I got it done. I conquered the impossible! Which what my original goal was. When I started this IM adventure, I sought to prove that anything is possible. If I can do it, then anyone can.

Before, during and now afterwards I would hear people say they could never do an Ironman. They put Ironman at some great high pedestal. Unreachable except by those god like men. Only those blessed with natural talent and washboard abs could do an Ironman.

Well, I am here to tell you that I don't have natural talent and I sure as heck don't have washboard abs, but I got it done. I can't run 8 min/miles, but I got it done. My body may have failed me at mile 50 on the bike, but I got it done.

And I wasn't the only one. We had a huge amount of people do this for the first time, and they got it done.


We have proved that nothing is impossible. My dear friend RBR had trouble out there but and was not allowed to finish, but never once did she think that the distance is too much or that it was impossible to do. She was ready, her body was ready. She can do the distance, she knows that she can do the impossible.

And you can too.

I started the whole experience with a wild roller coaster of emotions that never ended.

As I said before, the day before the race, I lost my suit. I had gone out for a test swim and was letting the suit air dry on the car. I had finished packing my Transition bags and we headed off to drop of the bike/bags at the expo.

It wasn't until we had done all that and driven half the course when I realized that the wetsuit was still drying on the top of the truck. Correction it had been on the top of the truck now however, it was probably somewhere in the middle of the road lost somewhere between home, the expo and here(the middle of nowhere).

After a frantic search retracing all my steps, desperately looking through all my gear and praying that somebody somewhere had it, all to no avail, I gave up. I considered my options: I could go buy another suit ($300+ of money I didn't have); I could go suitless or I could quit.

I decided that I would go suitless. It was only when I had convinced myself that I was manly to go without a suit and not suicidal (And believe me it took a long time to convince myself), it was only after I had convinced myself that I was manly that I got the call that somebody had found my wetsuit! Crap! So much for being the tough guy. I almost cried when I got my suit in my sweaty little hands. Sweet salvation!

The next morning, with wetsuit firmly donned, I greeted the shores of CDA along with 2200 of my closest friends.

I didn't know what to expect, I had heard to avoid the washing machine cycle, you should line up way to left or way to the right, but it looked like I wasn't the only one who had heard that. The middle was virtually empty while everyone flocked to the sides. I placed myself 7 rows back and in the middle and waited for the countdown to begin.

Over the loud speaker I heard Eminem's one chance.

Suddenly the mood all changed for me.

"If you had one chance..."

BOOM! The cannon goes off! No warning, no preparing. We are just off.

The first few hundred yards fly by, however the rest of swim doesn't. I never ran into the fist and kicks that are legendary for these types of mass swims. I definitely found a lot of rubber-clad bodies to bump off of/in to/go around. But I never got punched.

Now the waves on the other hand…They showed no mercy. I was slapped; mashed and slammed seven ways from Sunday! Each time I found a set of feet to follow, the waves would split us in two.

By the time I hit the second loop, I had lost any sense of direction. I gave up looking at the far buoy and simply followed the feet in front of me. Each buoy was the last one for me and by the time I hit the shore, I was as surprised as I was relieved!


Swim: 1:39:08


I am not sure what happened to my mind, but I was completely unprepared for the wetsuit strippers. I walked up to them like I was a zombie (which may not be too far from the truth). Once I finally got my wetsuit off, it was fumbling around in the transition tents. BTW a little bit of helpful advice, the doors to the tents don’t close, so if you plan to strip naked, you may not want to stand in the middle of the doorway. HELLO WORLD!!

T1: 6:58

Once I hit the bike, I was pleased to find how familiar the course was. The time on the computrainer was very helpful. However it doesn’t really help you out with the hills. Not so much the intensity of the hills but rather the psychological effect. Nothing is as depressing as seeing the hills looming in front of you. Seeming endless.

But I behaved. I sat down for most of the hills. This was a two loop adventure and I planned on hammering the second loop.

And I would have…had not my IT band acted up on mile 50 of the first loop.

I was infuriated! My IT had not hurt in more than 6 months. Since that time I had done 10 centuries, 4 marathons, and countless bricks. And never once in those 1000’s of miles did my IT band even hint at hurting.

So there I was, 50 miles out and my race was about to go down the tubes. On the second loop, my bike average started slowly slipping away. By the time the hills hit, I had already lost all the people I had ridden the first loop with. Now it was a whole new bunch of people that I played leap fog with. On all the hills, I would power through, passing people without an issue, but on the downhill, they’d all fly by me. Now, I am not the lightest guy in the field. I carry a certain amount of momentum, so when realized how easy I was getting passed, I knew something was up. It seemed to get worse on the way into town. By then it was all downhill or flat and all my new friends seemed fit to take off and leave me high and dry. My second loop was a full hour slower than my first! OUCH!

Bike: 7:40:26

Back in the transition tent, it was a different environment. Coming in from the swim, it was a mad house. People everywhere, it was nearly impossible to get a volunteer. This time it was totally different. It was a nice quiet environment. The volunteers rushed to everyone who walked through the door. We were taken care of. We were treated like royalty.

T2: 4:43

Once I stepped off the bike, I knew it was over for me. I could no longer bend my right leg. I was now faced with running a marathon with only one leg. Yippee!!

It actually started off not too bad. Even though I was hobbling, I was able to keep a pretty nice pace. Unfortunately that wore off as about the same time the awe of being on the final stage of an Ironman did.

After that it was nothing but tottering at a snails pace for me. As I slowly made my way through the 26 miles of CDA, I realized a few things. One, the people of CDA really do like the Ironman. I am not sure that I would like it in my town. We are a big pain in the butt for people. We close their roads, we pee on their yards, we make lots of noise and stay out really late at night. It must be like having 2200 frat boys hold a convention in your town. But despite all this, the people really like us. They are out in the front yards cheering us on. They hand out bottles of water, and food. They play loud music and scream encouragement to us (of course, they ‘might’ be drunk at that moment). They truly support us.

Second, I realize that at an Ironman you don’t have to be a great runner to be a good marathoner. I was slow, god awfully slow, but I still finished with a lot of people behind me. And had I been able to hold the pace I was planning on, I would have finished ahead of a lot more. Let’s be honest, we triathletes suck at running. But that’s OK. We know it, we are OK with it. And the best thing is, at Ironman, you are accepted and welcomed because of it.

Run: 6:18:37

As I ran down the finisher shoot, I stopped and took a deep breath. The finisher shoot is something magical and it should be taken with joy. Prior to this, in fact almost the entire back end of the second loop, I was in a bad mood. Not just bad but down right wicked. I hated the run, I hated my knees, and I hated pretty much everything. I was unhappy with way the day had unfolded for me and I had crawled deep down into myself to escape the reality. It was a dark day.


But nearing the finish, I realized that this was it, maybe it wasn’t the Ironman that I had wanted, but it was the Ironman I had. All I could do was accept the reality. Was I bitter? Did I want revenge? Was I still pissed off? Hell yeah! But there was nothing now that I could do.

Total time: 15:49:50

All through the race, the officials had said “You only have control of one thing today. Your attitude. Make it the best you can”. And they were right; in the end I had control of nothing. Not the weather, not my body, near the end I didn’t even have control of my emotion (every time I heard/saw ‘happy fathers day’ I would well up with tears and wish I could be home holding my son). In the end, the only thing I had control was my attitude.


One year prior, the though of doing an Ironman seemed impossible. I could never swim that far. I could never bike that far within that limit of time. I could never run a marathon after riding for 112 miles.

I have done the impossible. Impossible is nothing. With time, with training, the human body can do the impossible. I am living proof.

If I can do this, you can too. You can do the impossible. You can make the improbable, probable.

You can do it. All it takes is everything you have. Every inch of you. They’ll be times of hell and times of thrill. But when it is over with, you’ll be a new person.

You’ll be an Ironman!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

There’s something in the water...

Oh wait, it me! Over the last month, it has been all swimming all the time for me. It started out as daily quick trips to the pool, then it evolved into long OWS and now it’s me guiding a group swim!

On Tuesday, SWTrigal and her husband “H” came through Las Vegas (on their way back from being jet setting tri-athletes); they hooked up with me and JohnnyTri for a quick dip in Lake Mead. The quick dip quickly moved into a full bore swim workout and we covered 1.5 mile swim with me guiding the adventure. Now I use 'guiding' as a loose term here. Both SWTriGal and her hubby are natural born fishes in the water so they’d take off and swim to the buoy and then patiently wait for my slow butt to arrive and point out the next destination on our scenic tour.

All in all it was a great workout and I had a fantastic time.

On Sunday, LV Swim group had a meet up at the Lake. This time it was no doubt about it, this was a workout from the start. We gathered the group and mosey down to the water’s edge and I look around and notice that I am the only one not in a wetsuit. Everyone is fully donned in latex and neoprene, except little old me and Kara (but she wasn't there so she doesn't count). Crap! I can already tell you who the slow person is gonna be!

Kara the normal leader of the group is doing leadership things and swimming with a couple new swimmers and as we start out, everyone is looking to me for guidance on where to go and how long. I somehow manage to mumble a few intelligent words that sound vaguely like a half way decent plan that includes a way to keep the slow swimmers (me) and the fast swimmer (everyone else) together. Again, it is me leading from the back as all the fish (everyone but me) zoom to the buoys and then patiently wait for the slower swimmers (me). Which happens to work out great for them, they are all rested and ready to go and I am still coughing up seaweed.

We finish with 1.8 miles that day, but it felt great. It felt fast (for me) and it felt like we all had a good time.

I have now done the OWS swim so many times that it old routine. I know I can swim the distance, now the only question is can I swim it fast? Or at least fast enough to get under the cutoff!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garmin 305 Sale at Costco


For you out there that have not yet decided to get a Garmin 305, here is one more push for you.

Now through July 5th, Costco is having a sale on the Garmin Forerunner 305. The price is $149.99 and that includes shipping and handling to your house.

It’s a pretty sweet deal…. Which leads me to my next problem…

We know that the new 310xt is coming out. Unfortunately it won’t be coming out in time for CDA, which seriously sucks because it last for 20 hours and that way I could have one watch with me the entire race.

But because it is not going to be here I am going to need two Garmin 305’s. One for the swim/bike and one for the run. It just so happens that I used to have two 305’s. One for me and one for the Mrs. unfortunately, ‘Used’ is the optimal word here. Mine died on the road while I was going through a particular bumpy section of the Solvang Century.

Since then, I have been using the Mrs. Garmin and it’s been going great. However, soon enough she is gonna need it back so she can get on with her exercise plans. That leads me to either get a 305 or wait and get the 310.

My question is: Do I buy the 305 or wait and buy the 310?

Here are a few points to think about:

  • JT has already offered his 305 up for the race, so I have a backup plan there.
  • The 310 is freaking expensive! I know that it’ll go down after a few months.
  • Once the 310 comes out the 305 will suddenly be cheaper, but Costco’s sale puts it at a pretty low price already. If I look at the old Garmin (301), it is still selling for about a $140-150, so it’s a reasonable price.
  • I miss having my own watch. I am constantly afraid of damaging the Mrs. watch, if I break that one, then I have to get TWO watches!
  • I could always go watchless! (Sacrilegious, I know!!)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Reassurance Insurance

I've mentioned it before, but Dave the president of the Las Vegas Tri club, has a computrainer with the CDA course.

I've used it before and while I had a mediocre resulting time for riding the 56, I enjoyed seeing the course and knowing the turns and hills.

I figured I'd go for it again. I am in taper and could use a easy spin and another chance to see the course.

I should have a much easier time right? I mean I've done umpteen centuries since then. I've conquered the King of the mountains series for goodness sake. What can CDA hold compared to that?! Easy peasy right?

WRONG!!

Everything started out great. The first part is nice flat/downhill area. I'm flying along feeling fast. Watching my mph average climb, even the first little hill didn't take the wind out of my sails.

I have visions of greatness dancing through my head. Then I hit the first real and my speed crashes to the ground. I feel like I'm stuck in the mud. My speed has dropped to 6mph and its not even a bad hill! I look ahead and realize how long of ride this is gonna be!

After a while I cease even caring. I am just mashing the gears, hoping that this will end soon. I put my head down, close my eyes and just keep pedaling. At one point, I think I have actually fallen asleep! My legs are still moving, but my mind has lost track, I suddenly become aware of where I am (in Dave's garage), and what I am doing. I look up and try to get my bearings. Luckily I am staring at large TV screen and not a large vehicle as it comes barreling down on me!

After that, I realized I needed some distraction. I found solace in watching a DVD of Lance ride his way to his 6 TDF victory.

While it helped pass the time, it wasn't the best at keeping me focused on the course (putting my head down wasn't a big help either). I am not certain I know the course any better than the first time I rode it.

Well that's not entirely true. I now have a crap load of respect for the course. It was tough, it was tiring and I only did one loop!

I had hoped that all my King of the mountain rides would make this a breeze.


Unfortunately, I didn't get the reassurance I was looking for.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Really gonna happen...

Got my race number!

546 baby!

Woohoo!! Guess that means I am in

(Gulp!!!) and its real!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Crack baby!

No, not my baby....

ME!!

It's definitely official. I am in taper. While I don’t have full taperitis yet, I have WAY too much ENERGY!

In the last few days, I have swept the floors x2 , done the laundry x 7, brushed the dogs x1, cleaned the stove x1.5, and done the dishes x3. Now I am ready to do it all again!

And who knew how intimate you could get with the each item. Usually it’s a quick glance over and move on. But this time, I am delving DEEP into everything.

Did you know that the stove has removable knobs? And under those knobs are removable rubber rings? And that under the oven burners are removable metal pieces that I have no idea what purpose they serve and that under that is…

I am a CRACK baby!

Everything holds my fascination, but only for a minute. Then it’s on to the next bauble of useless fascination.

It may be the summer but for me its spring cleaning (but only for at half of everything).

Months later, I fully expect to find that one side of the window is back to factory clean while the other side is left completely untouched.

I have so much excess energy that I am ready to tackle cooking again, but I am worried we’ll either end up with food to feed an army or we’ll have uncooked twice-baked potatoes.

How long until the race??!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Oh the places you'll go...

...and the people you'll see!

I am officially on taper now, have been since the a few days before Kian was born.

Now that I finally have some time, I plan on getting back into the blog world again. I have been called out for falling off the face of the earth.

And it's true. I disappeared.

Not that I wasn't training. Not that I didn't have anything to say. Rather I think it’s because I had too much to say.

I have wanted to post ever since I did the Breathless Agony ride. I have visions of songs and dance...it's gonna be a musical!

Unfortunately, I am not a very good producer. So the idea has sat there. Sat there and grown stale. "Pretty and unused" "rotting on the vine" so on and so...

And while it sits there and spoils, it's blocking up the rest of the post. I have a whole plethora of ideas that are slowly curdling like spoilt milk.

So...I have decided to just start tossing my ideas out there. Willy-nilly!!

It may come out discombobulated (like this post) but at least they'll be out there.

So...

Look for more wild tails of mirth and folly (or sweat and tears).

I'll also be catching up on everyone's blog too. Everyone is out there doing great rides, and finding new PR's.

Right now I am so far behind, I'll never die.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A new addition to the family

Kian Jacob Rowe
6 lbs 3 oz
19.5 inchs

Both him and Mom are doing great!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Signs, Signs, everywhere are signs!

The day started off early, it was still dark outside. The air is crisp and there is hardly a soul out.

It is a beautiful time. It is also the time that my bike light goes dead! Ughh! NO headlights. Not a problem. Instead of riding into the desert, I’ll ride in the city.

I’m feeling good. The wind is in my hair, I am motoring along, but my mph is slow. First hour shows just less than 14 mph. If I am going to knock out a 100 miles before noon I better pick up the pace.

Second hour shows just about 12. WHAT!!!? I have actually gone slower? Crap. Double time it!

Third hour shows just under 11 mph!

F@#$^$!!!!!

I blow up! I hop off my bike; let it crash to the ground; I fling my helmet off into the desert; I slam down my camelbak onto the pavement and scream!

Full blown hissy-fit!

After a while .... I gather back my things. I debated about calling the Mrs. and having her pick me up, but one: I am completely as far as I could be from her. Meaning it would take forever for her to get my pansy ass. And Two: I am ONLY at 34 miles. I need to get some kind of workout here!!

I decide to hop back on the bike, if nothing else so that passing riders will stop asking if I am OK. I mean there is some serious rider love out there and while I appreciate it, I just want to pout!

As I hopped onto the seat, I noticed that I could barely sit down! My hindquarters were on fire! Every pedal stoke was painful and in short order it was miserable to sit down at all. I was finally able to stop at rest room and switch my shorts from the tri-shorts to the riding shorts (I had them layered).

Ahh!! Sweet relieve!

All these stops and all the tantrums combined with the extremely slow speed, made it impossible for me to knock-out a century today and so I settled on the idea that 80 miles would be close enough!

I am at mile at 73 and suddenly my chain starts acting weird. It keeps dropping to the smaller ring in the front. At first I think that perhaps it fell off but it’s still there. I shift it up to the big ring and then a few strokes later it pops down again. This happens over and over again.

What the???

Finally after a few more strokes...the chain snaps in two!! Yep! Cleanly in half.

The benefit of having your chain broken? You get to run the last few miles home with your bike…barefoot! Good way to toughen the feet.

So…

In closing:

1 – My light ran out of batteries and failed me
2 – My body ran out of batteries (I had NO power to ride fast) and failed me
3 – My bike ran out batteries (and broke) and failed me
4 – Even my clothes failed me!

Perhaps the gods are trying to tell me something?




So for those who wonder 'what does a chain break "feel" like::

Having your chain fall off feels just like you 'dropped your chain'. There is no big explosion (but there was a loud clang). It doesn’t hurt and you don’t suddenly go flying over your handlebars. Nothing BIG!

Really, it’s kind of a letdown! Then the realization that you’re out in the middle of your ride sinks in and then it’s a real letdown!

Friday, May 1, 2009

April Totals

Only 50 days left!!

Not that I am panicking or anything but.



AHHHHHHH!!!!!






What a month it has been. Two half irons, two centuries, and a whole lot of hanging out with blogging friends.

I know it’s seems to be a reoccurring theme, but somehow this month was still lower than February. I don’t know what I did for that month, but I must have been superman!!

On a good note, while I notice that something’s are lower than February or March, the time it takes me to get to those totals seems to be going down. I hope this means that I am getting fast and not that I am just going on easier courses.

7 Swim – 16199 yd – 06:05:46 (10.12 miles)
10 Bike – 395.0 – 28:59:42
13 Run – 70.9 – 12:09:19


Total:

30 Workouts
47:14:77 Hours
475.2 miles
22544 Calories Burned

Let’s see, how does that compare to last month?

Swim: 28% less than last month
Bike: 7% more than last month
Run: 4% less than last month

Total Mileage: 4% more than last month
Total Time: 2 hours less than last month

I think for this month, I will need to focus on speed (like last month) and also work on tying up the loose ends. This probably means more bricks and more form.

Hopefully, I would like to try to hit the pool more often too!

Right now, it’s time to focus on the bike. Breathless Agony (isn’t that a GREAT name!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oceanside vs. Rage - the tale of two Race Reports

  • Some would say that doing two half ironman’s within two weeks of each other would be stupid.
  • Some would say doing two half’s back to back with a crazy ass century in between would be suicide
  • Some would say that if you have the energy to do all that, then you should have pushed yourself a lot harder!


Who the hell are these people???

Yes, I did the stupid and competed in two half’s basically back to back.

This puts me in a unique position where I can compare the two races. One an official ‘ironman’ 70.3 and the other a local hard as nails ‘long race’.

Oceanside was my first brush with the power that is ‘Ironman’ and my first impression is … uhh. Not ugh but rather uhh. I liked the race but I don’t see the “whoa! It’s Ironman! We got to do it!” effect it has.

The day before:


I will say that the race is incredibly organized. The roster had more than 2200 people and I expected a mad rush for packet pickup. I expected people crawling all over each other trying to pick up their packet. A mad zoo as people looked at the cool products at the expo. General chaos!

Instead I walked into a library. There were only a few people walking around (about 15 people). Everyone talked in hushed voices. The volunteers were laid back and looked bored. The pickup was broken in several ‘stages’.

  1. First was USAT check (which I felt cheated at, when they didn’t check the card, but instead went off a “yep, I have one!”)
  2. Second were name check and sign waivers. This was very easy. They had it broken up by last name and each table was spread way a part. Athletes milled from the door to the table in a very quiet manner.
  3. Third was swag bag pickup. Again they had it broken up into different tables and they were spread way apart. Everything was already pre-sorted out, so it was as simple as name? Here’s your bag!
  4. Lastly was the door! Just walk out. There was a video that talked about the rules and general Q & A. But honestly, most people just walked right though without stopping.

Typically, I do the same thing. I mean I am so far from the front that I don’t need to know the ‘special rules’, I just follow everyone else. If they are lost, then at least I know I’ll have good company!

However, this time I did stop and watch. It was a nice video, nothing special. It was basically the RD talking about the course and transition. No demo or anything special, just a general talk. It was set to loop so that you could walk in at anytime and it would just repeat over again.

Honestly, it was a very clever idea. Athletes floated in an out and it was no big “the video is starting in 30 seconds, hurry and grab a seat” event. Very laid back.

The expo was separate from the pickup by about 300 yards. In fact if you didn’t look around you would never see it. I think a lot of people missed it as there were not a lot people there. It was very humdrum and featured only Ironman 'approved sponsors’. I am not sure what I expected but I thought there be a lot of competing vendors and some killer deals. Instead it was ‘the Ironman store’ which sold anything you wanted as long as it said ‘Ironman’ on it! Ironman hats; Ironman cups; Ironman shorts; Ironman jackets; they even had Ironman shoelaces.

There were no free samples of items or fun booty. Everything had a price and usually it was expensive! You can have any nutrition you want as long as it was made by Gatorade. Want Heed? Nope! How about Endurox? Nope! But you can have all the powerbars and Endurance mix you want.

Rage on the other hand was almost completely the opposite.

Pack-it pickup was a complete nut house! People were stacked wall to wall. The expo was in the same location as pick-up so the sound level was LOUD!

At pick-up, you had to wait in line for the one table that helped distribute packets (where they did ask for my ID and USAT card, but JT did not get questioned at all). Then it was swag bag but it was located only 2 feet away and it wasn’t long before the backed up line flowed into each other and everyone was confused.


After pickup was the expo which had a nice selection of vendors. Maybe not a lot of competition but there seemed a wide ranging mix. One nice thing was all the freebies that you get from the vendors.

Thank you Fluid!!

Overall, I liked the laid back pace of Oceanside over Rage. Maybe it was the overabundance of volunteers or the massive amount of space they had but it seemed very low key and relaxed. Whereas after Rage, I needed a beer to calm my nerves (of course, It could have been the fact that I was doing a hard ass race the next day too!)


Swim:

I was initially concerned that 2200 people would be chaos at the swim. Imagine 2200 people all swimming at the same time! Reminds me of something (like a…..IRONMAN).

But they broke down each age group into lots of little mini-waves. In fact they broke into so many little waves that my wave didn’t start until almost an hour after the race began. They still closed down transition before the race started, so that meant we had to be in transition and get everything set up early and then WAIT!

Lots of waiting! Lots of nervous, freezing my butt off waiting. Lots of watching other racers come in and go waiting. Lots of ‘good God! Hurry the hell up’ waiting.

Each wave would wait until the other wave went off, then enter the water and swim to the start line, some 100 feet away. They’d wait there until the horn went off and then all 100+ people would take off. This would be my first ‘deep water’ start!

While waiting, I was freezing. The outside air was so cold and while the rest of me was covered in neoprene and latex, my feet were frozen. Had I known, I would have brought a spare pair of socks to toss at the last minute.

(Side note: While standing in line, waiting your turn to get in the water, nature inevitably hits. The RD actually had several port’o’potties in the waiting area!

Another side note: Not everyone used them! I made the mistake of looking down and noticing that a guy had ‘water’ coming out of his wetsuit and dripping down his feet into his sock. Mental note: don’t look down and don’t pick up any ‘used’ socks)

By the time I hit the water, I was afraid that if I dropped another degree, I would go into hypothermic shock. Imagine my relief when the water was actually warm! Who knows, it could have been 50 degrees but as long as it was 1* warmer then the outside air, it was WARM!

We swam out the start and waited for the gun to go off. Everyone tried to space themselves a part from each other, but it was either the current or the competiveness, but in a matter of seconds we were all bunched together. Once the gun went off, there were arms and legs everywhere! It wasn’t bad and within the first 200 yards it was fine.

The race itself is very well marked because it the buoys are all spaced about 100 yards apart.

Once I followed the buoys out the main sea, the rolling waves hit but it was more big rollers than crashers, so it wasn’t a problem. On the way back, Nate had told me to forget the buoys and instead focus on the big hotel. Sight on that and I’ll be perfect. He was exactly right! The sun was blinding and I couldn’t see anything on the water.

Thanks Nate!

If I could give one hint (beside focus on the hotel, it would be to stay closer to the docks than the buoys on the way in. The docks are the best line as the buoys take you out and then back in.

43:12

Once we were out of the water, we had to run down the entire length of transition to get in the back. With 2200 athletes, that’s a long run! One nice thing about the Ironman race was the carpet path they provide for entire swim to transition and through most of the transition area. My (pansy-ass) feet thank you so much!

5:09

On Rage, I seemed to take the exact opposite approach and showed up to Transition way after everybody else did. I had to fight (almost literally) for a spot for my bike. And while there, I must have zoned out, because I looked around and noticed that I was the only one in my area. Hmmm….where is everybody? Oh the water! Why? The race is about to start!!! Crap! I don’t have my wetsuit on, I haven’t eaten, and I am way on the other side of the transition area.
As I am making my way down, they start the countdown and I barely reach the water’s edge when the gun goes off. I slap my goggle into place and dive in.

Holy Crap! The water is cold! So much for a warm-up or even a chance to let the water soak into the suit. I am have way to the first buoy when the water makes its way down to the lower back, WAA! I am almost to the second buoy when the water finds my lower section. He-ll-o shrinkage!

By the third buoy and I started to adjust and am making some headway. About mid way back, it dawns on me that we are not heading straight back but rather going past the entrance to the next buoy and then in . At this point we are joined with the sprinters and I am mauled as I get swam over by the fast guys. But this gives me the chance to draft off of them for at least a few minutes.

47:27

Unfortunately, Rage does not have carpet in the transition area. For those who don’t know me, I have the weakest feet in the world! I am a little baby for walking barefoot!

Ouch!

3:34

OK. So overall, I think I would give this to Oceanside. They had a great support on the swim course with the buoys and the carpet, not to mention the volunteers in the water! Who helped you unzip. No strippers but a boy can’t have everything!

Bike

Oceanside starts off nice and flat. There are a few hills but all in all, nothing that slows anyone down too much.

Again the power of Ironman lies with the volunteers. The bike course had an overabundance of volunteers. Volunteers directing you; Volunteers feeding you; even volunteers in the middle of nowhere whose sole job was to cheer you on!

The bike course also had powerbar gels which is nice!

They’ll tell you that Oceanside has one big hill. They lie! It has a one BIG ass hill and several hills. And then a few minor hills (but by the time you get to them, they FEEL big).

Of course, the problem with all these hills is that they don’t happen until way over half way into the race. By then you are feeling good, feeling like you are flying; you’ve been enjoying the flat fast ground and you feel f-a-s-t! Right then the hills hit and all thoughts of good are gone!
You’re struggling to get up the first hill (there were some people walking it) and then the remaining hills are just vampires sucking the energy out of you.

Luckily, I started to feel better right around mile 50 and got my second wind. Nothing feels better than passing people on the last 6 miles in!

3:27:21

On the way out of transition, you run past the finish line (where there is an aid station, very nice of them to think of the beginning runners) and you get to see all the bikers coming in and the runners who are finishing. Personally, I would rather NOT see the finishers but it was nice to see the bikers, so you knew where you at.

2:59

On Rage, the bike (as always) has this huge hill climbing out of transition. Nothing like hitting zone 5 off the swim! But the good thing about the hill is that as soon as you are up, it everything else feels better.

It’s like when you tense every muscle in your body and then relax. Go ahead try it: tense up your arms and then your legs; work on tensing up your whole body. Now in one big motion: RELAX! Ahh! Everything feels so much better!

After that brutal hill, all the minor hills felt like cake, at least until hitting North shore road. Then the hills really began!

On this race, I had a few things going for me:

  1. I knew the terrain. I knew what hills to push on, what gear to be in and what was on the other side of the hill
  2. I had the Mrs. on the road. Gotta look good!
  3. I had JT breathing down my neck. Johnny is a beast on the bike, so I knew that I would have to have my best day out there to have a hope of holding him off.
  4. I had RBR and LA run buddy racing too. I had to represent!

Once I hit the turn around point, I knew that I was doing good. I felt strong and I felt fast. Went I hit the hills, I was able to stand up and work it! I was able to pass a few people and only got passed a by a couple people.

On the final hill, I was ready for the run.

3:25:59

I don’t know how the women do it. They can hop out of the water onto the bike wearing nothing more than a padded bikini. Not me! (You don’t want to see me in a padded bikini!) I need not just one pair of riding shorts, but two! If I could somehow get three on, then I am sure that I would!

Why oh why do bike seats have to be so freaking hard!! Would it add too much weight to add in some padding? Because it sure adds time to me, to put on the padding. For Oceanside, I swam without the extra riding shorts and then in T1, I put them on. (Nothing like nylon and wet skin to slow a person down). So this time, I swam with them on (probably sucked up half of the lake) and then I didn’t have to worry about putting them on in T1. Of course I have to remember to take them off in T2. Oops! No wonder it felt like I was running in a diaper…I was!

2:27



The Run

Oceanside is mostly run all on the street. I say mostly because there is a small section (1/4 mile) where it is through deep loose sand. That sucks! But the rest is all on the street and the pathway. Unfortunately, the street and the path are concrete. While it didn’t affect me much, I saw some people out there were feeling the beating.

My whole goal was just to play it smart. Run slow and steady for the first half and then add in the speed for the second half. A sort of negative split.

The problem with this idea is that it sucks to watch all those people you just passed on the bike come pass YOU on the run. My body is screaming to go faster and I have to check my ego at the door. I can almost hear the smugness in the steps!

On the second loop, it’s my turn to shine. I finally am able to put on the speed (that being a relative term – it’s me we are talking about after all). I finally get to pass (almost) all the people who flew by me. I also get to pass the people who went out way too hard.

It’s great! Until around mile 11 and I start to realize that I should have eaten more. My body is hungry and I am starting to feel fatigued. The sun is beating down on me and I am starting to feel fatigued. The sand gets in my shoes and I am starting to feel fatigued. The concrete is wearing me down and I am starting to feel fatigued. I guess what I am saying is that I am starting to feel fatigued!!

When the final stretch for the finish line is there, I am almost too gassed to put on the sprint. Almost! It feels good to be so close the end. I see the arches and I hear Mike Reilly announcing names. I don’t know if he says my name or not, but I feel like I have just finished an Ironman!

2:12:27

Continuing with the tradition, Rage is almost exactly the opposite of Oceanside.

Almost of all of Rage happens on gravel paths. There is only a small section (2 miles) that is on anything paved. The rest is all on trails. Some are groomed and well maintained and others are just a corridor through the desert, full of rocks and sand.

Add in that the first 4 miles are uphill and I knew that I would not have a repeat of Oceanside.
Well before the halfway point, I am feeling tired. My only saving grace is that I have been shoving food down me at every few miles and I have been dumping water on me at every aid station.

It’s HOT! There is very little shade and it’s us vs. the desert sun and I am starting to lose quickly.

Right after the halfway point, I see JT and he is looking strong. If he keeps up his pace, he’ll beat me to the finish line! This thought alone kept me going for more miles than I can remember.

Once I finally see the finish line, I take my time and enjoy the finisher chute. My family is there and I get to enjoy their company. I am happy to be done!

2:33:26

Aftermath:

After Oceanside, they direct you into a line. Get your medal, move to the next line, massage? No, next line; food? There is a wide variety of food, pizza, pizza and pizza! Lots of different types. Plus there are also the oranges, cookies and pretzels that were standard run course fair. Unfortunately, I am not in the mood to eat and just grab a quick bite before heading out.

Security is good in Oceanside, In order to get your bike you have to exit through one exit and they inspect you and match your race number with the bike. Very secure.

(I appreciate that. These bikes (not mine) can cost a lot of money. It would REALLY suck to have someone walk off with your $3000 bike, while you were getting a massage! At Silverman, you were completely cutoff from the bikes and the only way to get yours was to have a volunteer retrieve it. Nice! Of course it helps not to have some high school kid who couldn’t care less. I got my bike and then asked if Stef’s bike was there (because I hadn’t seen her on the bike/run course) and he comes back WITH her bike and gives it to me! Dude! You just gave me my bike, how many bikes do you think I rode today?!!)

After the bike security check, it was a LOOONG walk back to the car (no shuttle??) and then the long drive back to home. But not before JT and I stopped at an awesome BBQ place. True Texas BBQ! Now that’s recovery!

After Rage, we stuck around and cheered on everyone. This was nice because I was able to soak in the lake a little bit for a nice ice bath. JT came in only a few minutes behind me (I ‘knew’ he was right behind me!). After that we cheered in the finishers until near the official end. We are waiting for RBR and LA run buddy to come in and we are getting close to the end and I am worried that they’ll shut down before they have a chance to finish.

I go and talk to the RD and the announcer and get their assurance that they’ll stay open until they come through the finish. Right around then the announcer sees someone way in the distance and starts cheering them on.

“Come on Sally! Sally you are going to the last official finisher and I have a bag of goodies for you but you HAVE to hurry. You have 5 minutes to be official.”

Now Sally is WAY up the hill, she looks to be almost a mile away. There is no way she can make it.

But we all (including the volunteers) start cheering her in.

“Come on Sally. Hurry Sally. Hurry!”

And to my surprise, Sally is running. I mean Sally is RUNNING! This is the end of the race. This poor girl has been out there for almost 8 hours. It’s hot; she’s got to be tired. She has got to be exhausted. But here she sprinting for all she is worth.

And the crowd is going crazy!

But the race clock doesn’t care. It’s still ticking down. 4 minutes; 3 minutes; 2 minutes.

“Hurry Sally. Hurry!”

She is almost full sprint now. There is a small dust trail behind her. She is giving it her all and it may not be enough! I feel for her. If it was me, I would have given up a long time ago. I would have walked it in and been satisfied with finishing, but Sally is trying. She is pouring her heart out.

And it’s not going to be enough!

1 minute left!!

She is on the flat now, just the long, straight path left. She can almost see the clock.

50 seconds!

40 seconds!

She is so close, less than 100 feet to go and I am waiting for her to collapse. She has just ran down a hill full bore, she is sprinting hard.

The crowd is so full of tension; you can cut it with a knife.

By the grace of god, she finishes with seconds to spare!!

The crowd goes wild with cheers and hollers. She gets more applause than the pro’s.

I am near tears. I can’t handle this. Finishing the race was hard enough for me, now watching a made for TV drama has me near a breakdown!

And that is nothing compared to RBR’s finish. The RD and the announcer have made true to their words and are waiting for RBR to come through. But not only have they stayed behind but so have the volunteers and their families.

Everyone understands that Rage is not about finishing in a certain time, it’s about finishing! RBR is out there, fighting against the desert heat and the sun. It is nature vs. woman and she is about to prove that she is the victor!

The whole crowd has come out to join her. She is surrounded by all the volunteers and my family. They all run with her down the finish line and through the arches. Everyone is cheering and calling out her name!

If it was load for Sally, it was nothing compared to this!

Congrats to RBR. She showed true spirit and finished strong, where many would have given up!



Much later that day, we all meet for dinner and exchange war stories. We are sun baked, sun burnt and exhausted.

It was a GOOD RACE!

Overall:
Oceanside – 6:31:06
Rage – 6:52:51

I would have to say that each was great in its own way.

I learned so much at Oceanside. It was over an hour faster than Silverman! It was my fastest half marathon ever (closed or open) and I felt great the entire time!

Rage was so hard. The sun and the hills were real killers. When combined with the run, I think Rage was harder than Silverman (although, it’s very close). Yet, I was able to smash my bike time. Way faster than I have ever done on that course and faster even than Oceanside!

I loved the volunteers at Oceanside. There was so many of them. And I think that is where Ironman races really have their power. In the people who support them. The people who come out to volunteer for them, the people who come out to watch, the people who permit the races to even happen in the first place.

Would I do them again?

…..

Well, I mean I liked them a lot, but I may need a little break! Oceanside sucked the life out of me and whatever was left, Rage swallowed whole!

I loved each race, and I would definitely recommend either race to anyone. Oceanside is beautiful, with the beaches and the mountains. And Rage is beautiful with the desert landscape and the lake in the distance.

Neither is a cake walk, so before you come, make sure you’re ready!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I was running!

( I swear a RR of Rage is coming. I swear, but in the meantime, I have mental diarrhea and I want to get it out)


Holy crap!

Did you know that IMCDA is only a scant few days away? In 58 days away! As in 37 days when you take away taper.

37 days!

Are you listening? 37 DAYS!

That doesn't leave much room for me to run.

I figure, I could run the marathon like I always do.

(that would be on a hope and a prayer!)

I can make it through like I always do. With my feet on fire and my knees about to buckle. Its a struggle, its a fight.

Right!... So I could do that or...

I could follow a actually training plan and slowly work my way up to a marathon distance.

Every week build slowly. Make my body stronger and more ready.

But of course, need I remind you: 37 DAYS!!

That's 5 weeks. 5 weeks does not leave much time for me to build up.

In fact, it only leaves 5 weeks!

Not that I am counting or anything, but...


HOLY CRAP!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Shut-up; Hang-on and keep pedaling – Mulholland Challenge Race Report

Shut-up! Hang-on! Keep pedaling!

These three phrases describe my feelings for this past weekend, but first a little background



This past weekend was the Mulholland Challenge. It’s one of a three part series of centuries that when completed make you the ‘king of the mountain’. Head over to JohnnyTri's blog. His has pictures!!

Seriously, this was the hardest ride I have ever done. I would be willing to say it was the hardest thing I’ve E-V-E-R done!

Not only was the ride hard physically, it was hard mentally and in the end it was hard spiritually.

I feel wiped out on all levels!




******
The ride started with a very casual beginning. Basically it was a quick check in grab a race number and go. No ‘official’ bang! No gun to go off; no big crowd just a few people going off at random times throughout the morning hours.

Got to love road race events. So laid back!

Right off the bat, the road does its best to lure you into a false sense of confidence. Nice easy descents and flat roads all equaling an easy 18 mph average for the first 12 miles. Nice! But the only problem was the weather was so cold it was a whopping 44*! I realize that is NOT cold for you back East, but for the Las Vegas-er who is used to 60-80* it was FREEZING! Like a moron, I had not brought real gloves and my fingers were so numb I almost canceled my ride right there! I was afraid that I could not hold on to the handlebars or the brakes! The downhill was great, but I would love an uphill to get the blood pumping.

I should have been careful what I asked for because I got it!

Which brings us to our first phrase: Shut up!

I am on what I swear is a downhill. I mean it looks like I am getting lower, if I look back it looks higher, but I am not cruising like its downhill. I am actually working HARD just to keep going and then another guy comes the other direction and looks like he’s flying downhill….but I swear he’s going UP hill.

And then the uphill really begins. 7 miles climbing 1500 ft. Long and steady.

It’s not long before the sweat is pouring off me. Damn! I am working so hard my glasses are fogging up!

And that’s just the first of miles and miles of climbing. Another peak of 6 miles with 1360+ ft climbing. I am in the granny gear. I am pushing the pedals down with all my strength. I am crawling at along at 4 miles per hour. I am miserable!

I can’t breathe. I can’t speak. I can’t think. I am going to DIE!!

I am in my own private sufferfest and I hear two riders coming up from behind. And they are catching up with me. They're voices are getting louder and more defined.

They are TALKING. Talking! How dare they! And is it a gasping/dying conversation? Surely the only reason to talk is to express how close you are to death. “Please tell my wife I loved her…”

No. They are talking about….

-“So, on Wednesday or maybe it was Thursday, the wife and I went to this place called the “chop shop”
-“Oh! As in ‘car chop shop”
-“Yeah, It was very cute. They were a haircutting place. Everything was designed in Car motif. And then after we got our haircut we went to eat”
-Really? Where at?
……

O-M-G!!!

They are talking about a haircut!! A haircut! I am wondering what a heart attack feels like and whether it’ll hurt to die and they are talking about a haircut and dinner!!

DEAR GOD,

Strike them down or strike me, but either way….please end this!



Hang-on!

The wonderful things about climbing uphill f-o-r-e-v-e-r is that is that saying “What comes up must go down” and that means soul saving, heart recovering downhill. Easy no spin. Breathe!

That is ‘normally’ the case, but Mulholland doesn’t work like that.

It took you 8 miles to get up here? How about we get you down in 2?

2 miles means the grade has to be STEEP like HOLY CRAP! Steep.

Steep enough that if you don’t keep mashing down the brake then you will fly out of control, hit the curb, and scream over the edge of the cliff, the bike flying one direction while you fly the other. You hit the ground and crumple into a pile while your bikes careens down the mountain, until finally hitting an out jutting rock and the bike splits in two with a sickening crunch.

Or maybe that’s only in my mind.

But either way my hands were numb from smashing the brake so hard.

It wasn’t long after that hill that we had another screaming downhill, this time the dangerous curves were replaced by the worst road known to man. Seriously, a gravel road would have been easier. And we are not just talking about a mile of crap road? No, this is a 6 mile (steep) downhill with the road constantly rattling you to death. Nuts and bolts are flying off the bike and it’s all I can do to stay on the bike and pray that my hands don’t go numb and my brakes don’t fail.

At the end of the hill my rim is on fire! My brakes have 1-2mm of brake pad left and my nerves are shot!


Keep pedaling:

By now, I have decided that I am done. If they said ‘turn here and you can be done’, I would not have blinked. I can’t feel my hands, my arms are sore from being tensed for so long and my legs are tired from all the climbing.

I am beat all over.

Mile 60.

Mile 60!! Are you kidding me?? Mile 60? I have 40 left!!??

And I have Decker canyon left??!! 3 miles straight up? 20+ grades on some parts. I am in my granny gear for the umpteenth time. I can hardly move and I have so much farther to go.

I am passing no body! It feels like I am at the end of the pack. I can feel the double century people breathing down my neck. I am down in the dumps and I could quit at anytime.

I am told that I am almost there. There are still people behind me. Keep going. Finish! Keep pedaling!

With the finish line in sight and my bike ride finally over, I feel exhausted. I am tired and done with the bike.






Could I run?


YOU BET!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cause and effect

I still am working on the Oceanside report (not that it’s long or anything, but I am trying to make it sound ‘fun' not: I swam blah; and then I biked blah; and then I ran blah).

In the meantime, I figured I throw out a quick post




My morning workout:

I wanted a hard and long and run with hills.

First mile said “no hard”!

OK fine, I can 'roll with it'. I've still got long and hills.

By the time I finished ‘warming up’, Clock said “not enough time to go long”!

OK, FINE! Let’s at least do hills!!

First hill said “You suck! Go home!”

Second hill said “GO HOME NOW!”

I listened.

Maybe I shouldn’t have had that beer and burgers the night before??!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Oceanside

Tomorrow is Oceanside, and its starting to sink in how BIG a deal this is!

Everyone is always talking about "At Ironman they do this" "M-dot they do that" "Ironman is the greatest" "Once you do an Ironman event, you can't go back" blah, blah, blah!

OK I get it! Ironman organization is great! But I don't believe it, I don't understand what makes it 'so cool'.

So I signed up, I'll see firsthand what makes these events 'the best'.

First, I had to sign up almost a year in advance. For a 70.3! Not a full Ironman, but a half. A half, people!

Apparently, I was the only to sign up but 2,681 other people signed up with me. Let me say that again

2,681 people! For a half!

I love Vegas races. They are tough and draw an international crowd and some of them are big, we even had one sell out.

At 700 people!

OK. So perhaps I am in for a rude awakening. If I think 700 is big I can't even imagine what 2,600 feels like.

Washing Machine?! Chaos?! I wonder what it feels like to come in last with 2,600 people in front of you?

Let me remind you....

This is a half!

It seems that the pro's love it too!

We have 40 male pro's and 30 female's.

That's a crap load of pro's. Hell, I am didn't think there WAS that many pro's!

We have:

Matt Reed (Olympian)
Amanda Lovato
Michael Lovato (Ryan's secret crush)

There's even a rumor that Macca is going to be here (or New Orleans).

Is there any one not here?

I was originally worried that I would hate being lapped by that mean people, but then I realized that they'll be done (and showered and napped) before I am done with the bike (maybe the swim!).

I'm on my way to the expo now, so I'll you know what 2,600 people shoved into one room feels like.

Oh by the I don't if this race is broadcasted on ironmanlive.com, but my number is:

2512

If I don't talk to you again:

See you at finish line!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March Totals

Another month in the books, and I am feeling pretty good about it. Got to work on a few more centuries, got to meet up with RBR (Yeah!) and even got a marathon in too!

With all that going on, you’d think that I was flying along with my training, but this month I am actually less than last month! I think that I have been taking it easy on my workouts, thinking that I have already done the distance now it was just build the endurance up.

9 Swim – 22481 yd – 09:04:31 (14.06 miles)
10 Bike – 370.7. – 26:50:33
10 Run – 73.7 – 13:25:33

Total:

29 Workouts
49:20:27 Hours
458 miles
29948 Calories Burned

Let’s see, how does that compare to last month?

Swim: 41% more than last month
Bike: 20% less than last month
Run: 6% less than last month
Total Mileage: 17% less than last month
Total Time: 11 hours less than last month

I think that coming up in the remaining months; I need to work (focus) on building up the speed. It probably means that it’s going to suck!

Speed hurts!

I’ve got a heck of month in April. Races or events pretty much every weekend.

My First Tri of the year is this weekend. OceanSide! Who would have thought that my first tri would be a half?!! Last year I trained ALL YEAR for a half and now it’s just a building block!

Finally, I’ll leave you guys with a bit of motivation. I find that it get me through the day!

http://www.bringvictory.com/

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mortal City

I know that people all around are dealing with horrible weather right now. Colorado is covered in snow, back East is cold and/or wet, and all we have here is some wind.


It's Wind! How bad can it be!! It's not like there is anything attached to it. There is no tornado warning. No Lightning storm. Hell, we don't even have a risk of rain.


Just wind.

Apparently, wind makes BIG difference. I first went out, thinking I'll go for an easy run loop and then follow it up with another long faster run to negatively split the workout. But one mile into it and those plans were changed!


The first mile was great, wind at my back; I could barely keep my pace in control! I LOVE RUNNING!


Second mile was into the wind, but had a slight downhill. I kind of still LOVE running!


The third mile was parallel to the wind and uphill. Running? How about walking??


I don't know what happened, one minute I was good, I mean running into the wind was tough but I was able to maintain my desired pace, but one I turned up the hill and sideways to the wind, I was d-o-n-e. I ended up walking the last bit home, shivering from the cold. Now I still have to a long run and I have one pissed off dog who was 'promised' a run outside!


One thing I did find was that even though I was sideways in to the wind, I could not catch my breath. I found myself having to cover my mouth with my hand so that I could grab a passive breath. Otherwise the air was forcefully injected into me!


But other than the air, I can't figure out what was up, but I just know that I was miserable.


Actually, now that I put this down on paper, I think it has to do with tired legs. If I recall right, I think this is almost exactly how I felt when I tried to run after Solvang Century. Oh! That sucks! I just got done with another 100 and felt great! My legs are sore, but not tired.


Apparently, they are more tired than I thought.


Well, I don't know which is better. Having a miserable run because of the wind, or having a miserable run because of the tired legs?


Looks like I still have more work to do.







The title "mortal city" comes from Dar Williams. It's a great song and when it was 'Earth hour', I couldn't help but think of this song. Combined with the way I feel about the wind and....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

For the love of it

Today, I tried out the computrainer CDA course offered by the Dave Carlson (the president of the Las Vegas Tri club).

The computrainer (for those who don’t know) is a trainer hooked up to a computer that automatically changes the resistance on the bike to simulate the hills and the terrain of a course. Dave actually has the advanced model and has a simulation of the CDA course!

Basically, it is a real movie of the course done on race day that shows everything about the ride course. Complete with transition, water stops, the multitude of turns and of course the hills!

The coolest thing about this is that Dave offers his garage up for free! He freely lets riders who are doing CDA come over and ride the computrainer. Anyone who lives in Las Vegas and doesn’t come over is a fool. (Seriously, go see him!)

JT did it last year and raved how much it helped, both physically and mentally.

Anyways, While I sat there struggling through the ride (and I did struggle! Just because it’s a trainer doesn’t mean it is easy on you) a random thought occurred to me.

During the Red Rock Marathon, I finished up with a group of marathon maniacs. I love the marathon maniacs, especially the older guys. These guys are usually retired and they (and often their spouses too) float around the country hitting marathons in each state. It’s not uncommon to hear guys doing one each month. A few of the guys boast 100+ marathons!

But one guy in particular had more marathons than anyone: 209. Two-hundred-and-nine!

He had just done a marathon the week prior to this marathon! He was doing Boston in April and between this marathon and Boston he was doing 3 more!

That's 213 marathons before May!!

I don’t know about you, but 213 is huge!!

I like ice cream. A LOT. I really like ice cream. But a marathon isn’t just an ice cream scoop; it’s like eating three-four scoops of ice cream all at once. You have to be determined to eat ice cream. You have to really love ice cream.

As much as I love ice cream (and I do LOVE it), 213 big bowls of ice cream??!!

In my entire life, I don’t think I’ve eaten that many. 213 ‘full size pizzas’? Nope! 213 ‘bloody Marys’? Nope! 213 ‘all day naps’…ooh that’s a close one but...nope!

213 marathons…that is a P-A-S-S-I-O-N for running!