Sunday, November 18, 2007
I will try to be better about updating more often. Now that I can run/swim/bike again, I'll have a lot more to say!! One thing for sure, I absolutely love my tri bike. Not so sold on my road bike...
Saturday, September 22, 2007
As far as training - it's been a tough road to recovery from hernia surgery. I expected to bounce back a lot faster, but that just hasn't been the case. I'm finally starting to run past 3 miles, and I even cycled hills last weekend! Well, one hill. But it's a good one. :) Anyway, I'm getting there. Not ready for a 5hour brick yet, but the triathlon world needs to get ready for me to join in again.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
All joking aside, I'm starting to feel like myself again. Although the distances are a far cry from IM training, I knew I would have to start slow. Plus, it didn't hurt too badly. The run more than the swim. Well, during the swim it hurt quite a bit, but not after. On Saturday I'm going to get on the bike for the first time since surgery. Next thing you know I'm going to be spouting off about those 5 hour rides again!
Happy Shane is making a comeback...
Monday, August 13, 2007
I am an official participant in IM Coeur d'Alene 2008!
I even tried to act like a triathlete today. I ran... about 8 steps. :) My stomach isn't quite ready yet, so I listened and made it about a 1 mile walk. Woohoo. I was bored to tears and went back home. Soon, very soon, I will be at it again...
Saturday, August 11, 2007
We've been working hard behind the scenes on the allthingstriathlon website. Why is it that it's so hard and so time consuming to get this stuff completed? My web programmers are great, it just seems like everything is 95% done. A.D.D. much? :) At least I understand them. We should have lots of changes, improvements, and additions to content very soon. I'd give you a date, but it's totally out of my control. I'm ready, just waiting. Which, right now, is exactly what I don't want to do any more of...
Saturday, August 4, 2007
I overdid it a little bit at the office yesterday. We're going to be moving our office later this year, and we took the opportunity to go trough some of the "stuff" in our office. To the tune of throwing out 2 1/2 Large trashcans worth (the 40 gallon kind). All the picking up, looking through, and tossing or filing items kind-of roughed me up. Once you start feeling better, it's hard to keep from doing things. I was good, though, and stopped once it started to hurt a little bit.
The biggest challenge of going back to work last week? Pants. I can't wear them!! :) I've had to wear shorts and t-shirts all week. Damn. hee hee hee
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
So, for now, I'm going to try to keep the dogs from jumping on my stomach, keep the pain meds in me, and try to relax for a few days. I'm also counting down the days to when I can run again - it's been way too long...
Sunday, July 15, 2007
We rode with "the newbies", so it was good to see them. OKay, the truth is that I'm the only one home already, they're still riding so "rode" only applies to me. They are great friends and we haven't seen them since they went all the way to Idaho to cheer us on for the race. Thanks, guys, it was great to have you there.
My surgery had to get pushed back a week, so it looks like I'm going in towards the end of the month. I very much wanted it to be done in July, so I'm okay with that. Get it fixed and over with, then back to the training!!!! In a sick and twisted way, I kinda miss getting up before light every day to work out...
Friday, July 6, 2007
To be honest, I'm actually happy with the diagnosis. Any other problems causing pain in that particular part of the body sound much, much worse than a hernia.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Swim: 1:15:35. 598th place overall. This was right on my primary goal. The swim was pretty rough, and even the pros were quite slow (for them), so I'm very happy with my swim.
T1: 5:53. My T1 in Wisconsin was almost 12 minutes, so I wanted to improve on that a little bit. The transition areas are VERY different, so I this was good! So far, things are going great!!
Bike: 6:03:17. 547th place overall. This was fun! My primary goal was a 6:15, and breaking 6 hours was on the radar, so I was very pleased with my ride. I stopped for 2 bathroom breaks, and still averaged 18.5 mph for the bike on a hilly, hilly course with some wind. I can definitely build on this!
Run: 6:10:10. 1253rd place overall. Yes, you read that right, my run was longer than my bike. This falls back on why I have 5 levels of goals, and the first one is "finish". This is 2 hours longer than I expected to run, and at this point I'm okay with it. I just simply couldn't run on the flats or the hills. I could run downhill, but that's it. I was having some pain in my abdomen, and I just couldn't run. So, I switched gears and went as fast as I could under the circumstances. Am I disappointed? A little, but not as much as I thought I'd be. I had a lot of time to think out there, and I really feel blessed. I am able to train and compete in a sport I absolutely love, I was much improved from my last race - even if my final time is not representative of that, and I am able to spend my life in this sport with the people I care about the most around me, supporting me, getting supported by me, and sweating and suffering together. What more could a guy want? I'm thrilled to be a two-time IronMan, and thankful beyond belief that I have arranged my life in a way that allows me to do what I love.
For the rest of the team? They were all fantastic!!
Sara and Ric finished first, together. Troy was next, even though he had some troubles with the run, too. K and Momo were next, and they finished together, too. Me, then Heather. Heather just rocked the swim, and had a huge smile on her face every time I saw her. What a great day. What a great sport. I can't wait to do it again.
Plus Ben, our new friend. You know him as IronBenny, and he finished, too. I don't know his exact time, but it was before K & Momo. He had a tough day out there too, and gutted it out. He's a cool guy, a really cool guy, and we were all happy to meet him and his wife Nytro. Great people.
For my full race report, check out our website at http://www.allthingstriathlon.com/ and go to the "special reports" section. It's long, like 8 pages, and will be ready on Monday.
Thanks for all the encouragement and well-wishes I've received, it means a lot to me.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
The town of CDA is a small beach town located in Northern Idaho. It's the kind of town with a few locals, tons of tourists, shops, dining, and a beautiful lake. Overall, a wonderful spot for an ironman. We've been here since Wednesday, and definitely have enjoyed the stay. We started off Thursday with a chilly swim. We completed one loop of a two loop course, and it was very, very choppy. The way out took forever, then I swear I caught a wave on the way back and rode the thing for 2-3 minutes. What a ride! It was really cold, and thank goodness I picked up a long sleeve wetsuit. I could do it with a sleeveless, but I'll be much more comfortable this way. Well, as comfortable as you can get with 2600 people trying to use you as a punching and kicking dummy. :) After the swim we all registered, drove the course, and went for an afternoon bike ride. The traffic was scary (I didn't write that part yesterday), and I'm really glad we'll have lots of police around to keep the cars away on Sunday. Small streets and beach-goers not used to all these bikes around made for a challenging ride.
Friday morning K, momo, and Heather wanted to go for another swim. We also met IronBenny and Nytro! Benny seems to have had some challenges during this training, much like I did, and so we had lots to talk about. He was swimming, and Nytro went, too, so we didn't hang out for very long. I wasn't into the swim, and my schedule said "Rest", so I sat on the wall and watched everyone's stuff. We haven't run into them since, but hope to see them again today. I didn't catch his race #, and want to know it for race day. We are lucky enough to have a bunch of people in our cheering squad along the course, and they can cheer for Ben, too!
Oh - I forgot to mention shopping Wednesday night. Normally I'm not really into shopping, but the event merchandise goes fast, so we went right away. My favorite thing was that I got the kids a present - new leashes with "IronDog" on them. :) They trained for this thing with us, so they deserve to get some race gear. Baxter is pretty funny, actually. He somehow seems to understand. When we get home, we'll put our medals around his neck and he runs around for a little bit all proud of himself. One of these days I'm going to enter us into a dog friendly race and get that guy a medal of his own. He has run countless miles with me, always wanting more, and he deserves his spot on our medal wall. Anyway, back to IronMan...
Last night we had our athlete welcome dinner and mandatory meeting. The food really wasn't bad, but the meeting went from 5:30 - 8:45. It was LONG! There was a whole "show" going on and lots of people speaking, etc, so it's not like it was just quiet. But it was still a very long time. The most interesting, and unfortunate, thing we learned is that Mike Reilly, who is the "voice" of IronMan, the guy who announces those famously wonderful words "You are an IRONMAN!!!!" had a bit of a bike accident yesterday. He was on his bike and riding the new course, so he could talk intelligently about it, and came up on a corner he couldn't make. The result? 2 broken ribs and a collapsed lung! Yikes. He managed to talk for a minute (talk about an Ironman!!!) and said that his clips were still attached to his bike - the fall ripped them from his shoes! Wow. He promised us that he'd be there tomorrow, and I believe him. His dedication clearly goes way, way beyond his "job" of announcing. He cares about each and evey one of us, and has a deep love for the sport. You can just tell. He's probably not feeling so well today, so we all wish him well.
That brings us to today. A few quick workouts, our 14th time to check our gear bags to make sure they're right, and a mostly sleepless night. Then, it's time. IronMan. I can't wait. You can watch it online, too. www.ironman.com will have race coverage all day. Here we go...
Friday, June 22, 2007
6 of our 7 team athletes are renting a house together, and momo (the 7th) has another house with her whole family. Tri-dogmom was smart enough to reserve the house BEFORE the race even went on sale last year at this time, so we have a fantastic location for our house. The transition area and IronVillage is set up in a big park by the city beach, and our house is literally on the opposite side of the park. It's amazing! She really hooked us up. The house is also totally renovated, big enough for 6 triathletes and all their gear, and really nice. We couldn't have done any better!!
We have all registered and gotten all our stuff. We also drove the bike course yesterday. It seemed to go on and on and on forever. Not a good sign! :) And it was really, really hilly. Steep hills. Not a good sign. Afterwards, we went for a ride and went on an out-and-back stretch along the lake in CDA, and that part was really pretty and really fast. But the 2nd half of the loop (which we do 2 times) looks a lot tougher. It really reminded me of Wisconsin, only with a little bit steeper hills. I'll definitely follow up next week with a more detailed description of how it went.
Overall, it's amazingly beautiful here. And the temperature is a huge relief from Arizona. It was 111 degrees on the way to the airport, and like 70 when we landed. Race day temps look to be in the 60's for a high, and possibly windy. The local stations even used the dredded "rain" word as a possibilty, but we're going to think positive and pretend it didn't happen. I've had a rainy, windy IM already, let's try something new this time! How about great weather!!
So, we're all getting bikes and gear bags ready. And we'll go to the athlete dinner and information meeting tonight. Then we turn our stuff in tomorrow, and the next day is IM. Wow - it's definitely getting very, very real. Oh yeah, the water is very cold, too. Thank goodness for wetsuits.
I'll try to get an update tomorrow, then early Monday am I'll post the results for the team.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
#4: 4:15:00 (primary goal)
#2: 3:59:59 or less
#1: No walking except in aid stations
So there you have it, all my goals for IM CDA! It's out there, and the world has access to what I'm trying to do.
We will be posting from CDA as much as possible, so stay tuned over the next several days to see what we come up with!
Monday, June 18, 2007
IMCDA Bike Goals:
#5: Finish (seeing a pattern here?)
#4: No Flats. I flatted in Wisconsin and it cost me 15 minutes.
#3: 6:15:00 (primary goal). Also, this is 18mph average at 6:13:20. I think I can do this.
#2: 6:00:00 A stretch, but possible
#1: 5:50:00 Like all my top tier goals, the universe will need to align to help me on this one.
So there you have it, my 5 IMCDA bike goals.
Maybe I should come up with my 5 IM keep myself sane goals to quiet my mind...
Sunday, June 17, 2007
#4: Stay Aerobic
#3: 1:15:00 (primary target)
#1: Don't get kicked in the head
Well, I'm pretty sure I have a better chance at obtaining my overall #1 goal than my #1 swim goal. :) You just have to accept that you're going to get kicked in the head, and try to minimize the damage. I got knocked right in the right eye goggle so hard in WI that I literally rolled on my back and checked to see if my goggle was filling with blood! It wasn't, so I swerved away from all the people around the general area. I didn't want to meet "super-kicker" again. A 1:10:00 is also pretty agressive, but you never know.
Tomorrow: Bike goals
Saturday, June 16, 2007
IM CDA Goal #1: 10:59:59
That's right, my "stretch" goal is to break 11 hours. I am confident I can break 12, and I know in the depths of my mind that breaking 11 is within the realm of possibility. The stars and universe will need to align, but it is possible. My swim would have to be an amazing swim, like the water is pushing me along. My bike would have to be a day where, as the professional dopers, um, I mean cyclists say "it felt like I didn't have a chain on my bike". And my run would have to be pretty close to my marathon PR. So, this is a definite stretch. But if you don't stretch, you don't acheive. I will know at about mile 80 on the bike if this is possible on that specific day or not. If I feel like superman, and my bike is just flying beneath me like it's not even there, I"m going to go for it. Feel like superman, race like superman. The worst that could happen is that I totally blow up and end up walking the vast majority of the marathon. It's not like that's never happened before! (I have yet to publish my Grand Canyon Marathon story, aka: The Greatest Bonk EVER. It will be on its way soon, and let's just say it was a very, very long and slow marathon) So, shoot for the stars, you may land on the moon.
There you have it. My 5 goals for IM CDA on June 24, 2007. Over the next 3 days I will list out my goals for each specific sport, as much to remind me and burn them into my mind as anything else.
Friday, June 15, 2007
This is my primary goal for the race. It is a little over an hour faster than IM WI, so it's a challenge and a reach, but achievable. I like to have a primary goal that I know in my heart is completely possible, yet challenging enough that I'm going to have to earn it. I've done the math on each leg, and I really think I can do this.
The excitement is really starting to build! We shipped off our bikes today (man, that's hard to do) and IronMan is consuming my thoughts. This is going to be fantastic! Plus, it's like 108 degrees today, seriously, and in the 70's in CDA. Can't wait!!!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Goal #3 is to beat my previous IronMan time at IM WI last September. Though I was able to train more regularly for WI, I believe that I am actually in better shape now. I have the experience from last time, combined with the cuumulative effects of both trainings. This is a goal I can achieve. Like I've said before - it's IronMan, and anything can happen, and just being able to finish, at any time, is an honor. However, I'm confident that my IronMan day in CDA on June 24 will include a PR of 13:05:11 or less...
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
This one is harder than it sounds, but also the most important goal of the day. This is fun, we do triathlon because we enjoy it. If it's going to be a stress-fest all day, well, we might as well go to work instead. If you've done an ironman, you know there are inevitable ups and downs during the day. You feel great for awhile, then you may not feel so great for awhile. My 2nd goal of the day, after finishing, is to enjoy the whole thing. Revel in the joy. Celebrate the pain. Rejoice in the suffering. It may sound silly, but it's a lot easier, for me anyway, to get through the hard times when I remember to enjoy them as part of the process. And the good times, they ROCK! So, on June 24th, I'll be doing my best to enjoy the entire day. I may look worn out. I may look roughed up. But, I may just be too tired to smile. I probably think I'm smiling, just can't make my face cooperate. Until the last 100m, as the finish line approaches. The smile will be there then. And it'll stay until at least a week from Tuesday...
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It's IronMan. In my opinion, a first-tier goal of being an official finisher is appropriate. Anything can happen out there. Anything can happen before. Covering 140.6 miles under your own power is a hell of an accomplishment, no matter what your finishing time is. Goal#5 (mine get harder as I go from #5-#1) is to finish the race. Walk, crawl, do the Blazeman roll for 5 miles, whatever it takes. If you don't know about the "Blazeman", read about him here: Jon'sStory.
His story is as incredibly inspiring as it is sad. When I watched him cross the line in Hawaii, and first heard his story, I was deeply moved by it. I think a lot of it has to do with his being a little younger than me, and raised in the same part of the world. Why him? Why did he get sick when so many others do not? The only answer I can come up with is that he was strong enough to fight back, strong enough to race anyway, and strong enough to be the voice and face of the fight against a ruthless disease. IronMan allows us the opportunity to be more than just ourselves, to be our extraordinary selves. What a wonderful gift, and what a fantastic way to live life while we can. 16:59:59 or bust. And, if you don't mind Jon, I may think about you for awhile out there. You inspire me to be extraordinary...
Monday, June 11, 2007
9. The 9th day of June is the day it all came together. Now, on to the taper!
So, we had a great 5 hour ride on Saturday June 9th. K tried to derail her race yet again, and take me with her this time, but I think she survived. We rode just under 90 miles, climbed a total of just under 5000feet (according to Garmin), and finished before it reached 100 degrees out. It's Taper Time!
So, many books and advice that I've read suggest that you tell someone your goals. Make them known, and the universe will line up to help you achieve them, is the theory. Well, universe, I'm going to put it all out there. For the next week or so I will be posting a new goal for IronMan Coeur d' Alene on June 24th, 2007 every day. I have 5 primary race goals, in increasing difficulty. The legendary Mark Allen taught me this. Have multiple goals, that way you always have something to strive for. If you only have only one goal, and you get a flat or something that renders your one goal impossible, you have nothing left to push you forward, nothing to gain. Makes sense, so I go crazy with goals. This is how the posts will go:
Tues Jun 12: Goal #5 for IM CDA
Wed Jun 13: Goal #4 for IM CDA
Thurs Jun 14: Goal #3 for IM CDA
Fri Jun 15: Goal #2 for IM CDA
Sat Jun 16: Goal #1 for IM CDA
Sun Jun 17: Swim Goals for IM CDA
Mon Jun 18: Bike Goals for IM CDA
Tues Jun 19: Run Goals for IM CDA
More posts will follow from CDA, once we arrive. The excitement and anticipation is already starting to build. I can't wait!!
Monday, June 4, 2007
Anyway, on to my training (mis)adventures. Something in the universe is placing object after issue after situation in front of me and my training plan for IM CDA in 20 days. The latest? A 4 inch screw lodged in my, gulp, race wheel!!! Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! It happened at about the 3:20 point of our 5:45 brick ride on Saturday. I was a little concerned. Okay, I FREAKED OUT!!! It went into the tire (new one - breaking it in for the race), and through the rim. Oh crap. My heart sank as I envisioned the ruining of my race wheels 3 weeks before my A race. I wasn't taking any chances, I didn't want to ride on it. So, I hailed a cab (quite a feat in Paradise Valley, AZ by the way) that happened by, put my bike in the trunk, and he brought me home. I did actually do the brick, even though my time off the bike was substantial. I had to do something until the LBS opened. I walked in, head and shoulders down, and showed the guy. His answer "no problem, it didn't break the integrity of the sidewall of the wheel. Your're fine." me "Seriously?" "yeah, new tape, tube, tire and you're all set". I stopped myself from telling him I loved him, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't think it! So, it's okay. It's funny how that extra 2.5 hours of ride time became completely unimportant when compared to losing my wheel.
So, if you're keeping score, this training has included the following challenges:
1 = number of weeks where I've completed all my workouts (out of 20)
2 = number of times I've been really sick, keeping me from training 3-4 days each
3 = number of days I've missed due to my hamstring being a problem
4 = length (in inches) of the screw that tried to take out my race wheels.
5 = number of days completely lost to my first bike crash
6 = The day in April of my first bike crash.
7 = Number of people on our team racing CDA
8= 8 is my lucky number. Please don't let there be a 8...
Sunday, May 6, 2007
I guess the challenge should be different in some weird way. With 7 weeks to go until race time, though, I'm ready for some things to start going according to plan. I'm confident I will finish, but I am definitely going to have to start modifying goals if I don't start actually doing some, you know, training!
Friday, April 20, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
The good news is that I busted out a 62.3 mile bike ride/:30 brick today, even with all the downtime. I got a little tired on the bike, but held up okay. Brick felt fine. I'm tired (feel like I could nap), but other than that I feel great. I didn't know how the hip would hold up (sore/tender, but more annoying than painful), the hamstring (a little tight, not bad), the heartrate (high, but within aerobic limits), and the desire (soaring!). K is pretty happy for me to get back out there, too. I was definitely grumpy having so much time off and not working out. grrrrrrrrrrrr. hee hee hee. Everyone at work will be happy, too, I"m sure.
So tomorrow is IronMan Arizona. I have a work thing all day, which is very disappointing. I have been to the first 2 as a spectator and volunteer. I love IronMan day, whether racing, watching, or helping. It is so inspiring to see people of all ages, sizes, shapes, adn abilities get out there to do their thing. My good friend, Lito, is racing tomorrow. He had a family tragedy about 4 weeks from race day last year and had to pull out. The guy has been training for this race for like 2 years. Send good mojo his way, he deserves it! I know it will be very emotional for him, as it is for everyone, and I have to honestly say that I feel pretty guilty about not being there for him. I am bringing my laptop and will check on him, and send good mojo, as often as I can. You know, when you sit and think about all he's been through to get to the start line, my silly little injuries really don't mean anything. Go get it, Lito, tomorrow you join the IronMan family. The price of admission is high, but the rewards will stay with you forever...
Monday, April 9, 2007
It started with being sick with a sinus infection a couple weeks ago. Then a taper for Ragnar. Then a VERY sore hamstring from running Ragnar like my very life depended on it, more days off. This makes 2 weeks in a row without a long ride. Okay, I can deal with it, it'll be fine. Then, on Saturday, just a little over an hour into our long ride I fell behind the rest of the group. I'd slowed a little to eat, and was babying my hamstring so I didn't hammer away to catch back up. I figured I'd catch them eventually. As I approached the bottom of a hill and stop sign, I couldn't see anybody. We almost always go straight there, and I could see ahead for a little ways, and didn't see anybody. So, I started through the intersection, slowly, looking right in case they'd gone that way. I figured out they had gone that way, started to turn right, BAM!!!!!! I was on the ground. Ouch. How did that happen? I'm still not really sure. I don't know if it was slick, or if my new tire slid out, or if I just, well, fell.
I got my bike out of the middle of the street and realized I had a flat. K & momo came back and asked if I'd flatted. "Um, I crashed" was all I could reply. Okay, time for a damage report. My hip hurts quite a bit - hmmmm road rash. My ankle seems to hurt - hmmmmm I don't seem to have an ankle, just a bloody mess. My hands kind-of hurt - hmmmmm looks like I tried to stop myself and scraped them up, too. It wasn't until today that I realized my neck/shoulder and bicep (How does that happen?!?) are a mess, too. The girls offered to call someone to pick me up, but I knew that if I didn't get back on the bike I would be intimidated by it. So, I got back on and limped home. Nobody said anything, but I know I was obscenely slow. Thanks for not saying anything ladies.
Guess what? No long ride for 3 weeks running! Yikes. I was okay with 2, I"m stressing a little about 3. I'm going to have to back down my mileage and re-intersect with the group when they take down week coming up. My Sunday run - didn't happen. My Monday (today)am Long swim. um 750m instead of 3500m. I just couldn't do it. I will try to do the 3500m Wednesday, and count this one as my "recovery" swim.
I guess I just need to stay upright for awhile and get back on track.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
2007 Ragnar Relay Del Sol Race Report
187 miles to run (or 189, I don't know)
The 2007 inaugural Ragnar Relay Del Sol began for us in about November of 2006. Our friend Tonsa found the race and invited us other “fools”, um, friends, to join her team. It took a grand total of about 2 hours to get a team of 12 together, as we “fools” tend to like to do crazy stuff like this. One fool in particular, me, understood that there would be at least some sleep time involved. Boy was I wrong! Anyway, we set out to complete this race just to finish it and enjoy the time. Then, in February of this year, all our reasoning and desire around this race changed. Our leader, Tonsa, was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. She has described the feeling as being similar to getting punched in the gut, and, quite ironic since she’s a lifetime supporter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and had a clear mammagram the month before!! Not to mention being very healthy, active, and overall not a good target for cancer. Well, cancer didn’t know what it was getting into.
Tonsa insisted we find a substitute and it took less time than gathering our original 12. Now, we had our team, but this race was no longer about just completing it, it had to be more. My wife Krista and I were talking about it, and we decided to try to raise some money within our group to give to breast cancer research. Our initial thoughts were that we should easily come up with $500. Cool, at least something good will come of this! I don’t know exactly how it happened, but after Krista posted this idea on her blog the race directors contacted her and wanted to throw Tonsa’s race entry fee into the donation fund. Wow. Hey – maybe we can raise a little more? Our group got up to just over $1000, and then we called in the media! Tanner (race director) was fantastic and put together a press release and helped us to secure some newspaper and television coverage. At the start of race week, Krista and Tonsa were interviewed repeatedly for 2 different news channels (only our local NBC affiliate ran the story), and 2 different local newspapers. To keep this from becoming a book, I’ll summarize by saying that our official total donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure: $2280. Whoops. I just checked the website to confirm. We have a couple late additions and are now at $2,430!!!! This is fantastic. I’ll describe more about “why” in a minute, but this whole diagnosis, well, pissed me off. Nobody wants to feel helpless, and that’s how I felt about helping my friends. So, between raising some money, hopefully some awareness, and Tonsa being brave enough to try a clinical trial for a new drug delivery method, she is fighting back. And more importantly, we gave Tonsa something to do, something to look forward to, and the knowledge that we are all behind her the whole way. I’d like to think that we helped her through it, though I know the reality is that she would have been just fine without us. Anyway, I suppose it’s time to talk about the actual race.
11am, Friday March 30
Here’s a funny start… we all thought the race was Saturday/Sunday, not Friday/Saturday. Oops. At least we figured it out a month or so ahead of time. So, 11 am and a group of runners is leaving the start line as we arrive. The starts were spread out from 8am-6pm. The finish had to be more condensed, so the start times varied in order to accommodate different run paces. Our start was noon. We had 2 vehicles. We were in vehicle 1: Melissa, Ric, Daniel, Stacey, Krista, me (Shane). Vehicle 2: Troy, Heather, Natalie, Jeff, Mike, Sara.
The start was in the town of Wickenburg, AZ, about an hour or so out of Phoenix. Vehicle 1 went to the start, then Vehicle 2 would pick it up (and we’d be free to leave for awhile) at Lake Pleasant. Melissa was our first runner, and she would set the stage for things to come. We met Tanner, one of the race directors, and talked with him for a bit before starting. I cannot say enough good things about these guys. They were fantastic about everything and did all that they could to keep Tonsa involved and active in the process. All while coordinating a 187 mile run!!!!! If you have an opportunity to get involved with something, anything that these guys do, take the opportunity. They’re fantastic. Anyway, some team introductions, the band starts playing, and “go”. Our Ragnar Relay Del Sol begins!
There was one team called “The Core Group” that had a bunch of girls in sports bras on the team. I don’t understand why, none of the boys do, but the girls in the van seem to have taken great exception to this ab-baring runner group. The Core girl took off, and Melissa went against our game plan and decided she must, no matter what, she must pass her. Luckily for her, I took a picture of her doing it! (She claims it’s her favorite picture of the whole day!) So, she set the stage. Then Daniel was up. Daniel runs about 6:30 miles no matter what. He didn’t disappoint. He Dominated! That became our word – “Dominate”. Ric followed, then Krista. The most surprising thing was how much activity was involved when you weren’t running. We had to jump ahead, pull over and make lots of noise as our runner went by, then go ahead again, repeat, then to the next exchange to get the next runner ready. I expected a lot of boring down time, but it simply wasn’t the case. After Krista, I’m up. Okay, I’m going to stay aerobic and follow my heart rate. That lasted approximately 7 seconds. ☺ At 7 seconds into my run this girl literally sprinted by me. I knew she was starting to fast (this leg was over 6 miles long), but I had to keep contact with her and the guy she caught up with. It took me about 2 miles, but I started to pull ahead of her. My heartrate was in the high 170’s at this point. Oops. Aerobic ends at 157, and 178 is a little higher than that. But not as high as I would see. ☺ There was a nice climb in the middle, and that’s where I caught her. I encouraged her to stay with me, but she just couldn’t do it. Okay, time to catch the other guy. But, I just couldn’t make up any ground on him. Even climbing. Alright, but can he run downhill as well? Um…Yup. He pulled away from me. My heartrate hit 195 during that run, and team “Corn Fed Beef” (Nebraska boys) stayed ahead of us the rest of the race. I was pushing this run very, very hard. If you’ve ever run 6+ miles hard, you know that at about 4 miles everything starts to burn. Your lungs burn (plus it was hot), your quads burn, your feet burn, everything burns. At that point, my thoughts turned to Tonsa. How much does her struggle “burn”? And what about my other friends? See, Tonsa isn’t my only friend to be diagnosed with cancer recently. Candy was first, with ovarian cancer. Then Susan – breast cancer. Then Tonsa – breast cancer. This is why I got so pissed off when I heard about Tonsa. I felt helpless, and wanted to help! So, how much does the chemo and radiation “burn”? It’s all I could think about. How could I slow down and succumb to this minor discomfort when my friends were literally fighting with all they had. “Candy..huff..puff…Susan…huff…puff…Tonsa…huff…puff” repeat. They gave me strength. They gave me hope. They gave me a reason to ignore my silly, temporary pain. And, I tried with all my might to send this energy through the world to get to them. To somehow let them know that we support them. It may sound odd, but it’s what was going through my head. Next thing I knew, my leg was up and Stacey was our runner. I ran about ¼ mile to cool down, then off to support Stacey and meet the next van. Holy crap – I have to run 2 more times!!! Yikes!!!!!
It was fun to meet up with our team in Vehicle 2. We’d spoken several times on the phone, but it was good to see them in person. They were ready to go! We made the hand-off, drove ahead and cheered on Troy, then we were off for awhile. We were all STARVING, so we went to eat, then some quick showers at Ric’s house, a little TV, and time to head to the next exchange to start our legs again.
We found Vehicle 2 waiting at their last exchange point before the “major exchange” (where we start again). We drove up to cheer on our runner and were told we wouldn’t have any trouble seeing him. That was odd, because it was dark by then. As we drove down the road, we couldn’t help but be reminded of that old movie Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. Our friend Matt graciously agreed to ride his mountain bike beside us for company and safety. He told me he’d gotten some lights…but WOW!!! He had 4 lights on front, and 4 blinking lights on the back. It looked like he’d rigged up some sort of pvc pipe thing to hold them all. It was great! A cool side effect was that it almost looked like police lights blinking from a distance, and that may have slowed some cars down. So, Mike handed off to Sara and we went ahead to cheer her on. There is a section of the race on a very scary road called the Carefree Highway. It turns out, our fears were justified. We were pulled off to one side waiting for her to go by and “BANG” an explosion in the oncoming traffic! Okay, it wasn’t really an explosion, but it took a minute to figure that out. I was kind-of looking that way, then really looking that way once I heard it. I initially thought someone had rear-ended a boat (it was dark), then realized it was a landscape trailer. The truck behind bounced up onto the trailer, then kind-of slid into the car beside them and back down. Yikes. There was debris everywhere. Thankfully, no runners were in their immediate path. I don’t believe they would have survived it if they had been. So, about 10-15 people are out there with flashlights and picking up debris, etc. I’m trying desperately to get oncoming cars to slow down, but many of them ignored the fact that there were 5 people in the median shining flashlights in their eyes. Their reward? They slammed into garbage bins, palates, and tree branches. I guess it might have been a good idea to slow down after all. Oh yeah, we called 911 immediately. The answer? We’re not really sure who’s jurisdiction that falls under. Thankfully I wasn’t the one on the phone because I wouldn’t be able to reprint what I would have replied to that bit of idiocy! It took seemingly forever for an officer to arrive, probably 10-15 minutes. I never heard what happened to the drivers, but it seems that the runners got through it okay. One guy was pretty confused and freaked out when he got to me, but I pointed him back the right direction and I think he’s just fine. So, Sara got by the mess okay, and it was our turns to run again.
Melissa started out slow, then got passed. Oh… it is ON!! She never lost site of the 2 girls that had the nerve to pass her. ☺ And Daniel smoked their counterparts when he took over, so all is well. DOMINATE! Ric & Krista had a lot of downhill, so guess what that left me? Up, up, up, up, up, up for 7.2 miles. Oh, and a nice surprise at the end. They moved the exchange point another .2 miles and I didn’t know it. It’s like 2:30 in the morning or something, there’s nobody on the road but a couple other runners (who I dominated, by the way) and nobody where the exchange is supposed to be. Uh oh. I guess I shouldn’t have picked up the pace so soon!! But, then I found them. That leg was brutal. It didn’t look that hard on paper, but the ice on my hamstring as I write this tells me it was, indeed, rough. Stacey took over and had a leg that made mine look easy, and she killed it. Okay, 2 down, and we’re off the clock again. Except we only had about 2.5-3 hours before starting again. So, we went to the next major exchange and tried to get some sleep. 45 minutes was better than nothing, so I took it. Even if it was without a pillow (shirts instead) on the mat of a junior high gym. I don’t want to think about it any further than that. The sleep felt great, though. The next thing I knew we were getting awakened and Melissa was soon to be running. The spaceship was on it’s way in, and off she went! Matt had to stop at this point. It was about 6am, so it was pretty much light before the end of Melissa’s run anyway. He rode for like 12 hours with us. What a guy. It would have been much, much harder and much scarier (especially for the girls) without him, so we couldn’t be any more thankful.
Krista picked up some really bad blood blisters, so her leg#3 wasn’t very much fun. But she made it. Thinking about Tonsa made this experience easier for all of us. Shortly before Krista arrived to hand off to me, another team arrived and handed off to their guy. I don’t know why, but I just had to pass him. I had to, no matter what. Silly, but true. So, I took off like mad when she got there. Let me preface this by saying that the leg was 3.4 miles, almost all downhill, so I knew I had gravity and brevity on my side. I was flying (for me). We’ve been ironman training, with all low-heartrate stuff, so running all out is a bit novel. I caught the guy within the first 1.5miles and just blasted past him. DOMINATE! There was also a bike race going on, and the main pack had a couple guys in it that were cheering for the runners, etc. It was really cool. I wanted to finish this leg in under 25minutes. Um, how about 22:05!!! I did the math, and I missed my 5k pr at the 3.1mile mark by about 25 seconds. Oops, probably went too hard. Hee hee hee. I guess that didn’t do my hamstring any favors, either. But man was it fun! Stacey took off, too, and our final leg came to an end. We met up with the other team and saw them off, then headed home to shower and get some much needed food. One item of note was something that surprised me a little bit. We had 6 sweaty, sleep deprived people in a car together for over 24 hours. And nobody ever got mad/irritated/annoyed with anybody. We just had a great time, and all supported each other. What a blast.
So, on to the finish line! We heard that the whole team gets to cross together, and we were doing it with Tonsa as part of the group. I hadn’t seen her, so for me it was especially nice to talk to her. Tonsa went out about 50 yards (don’t tell the docs) and ran in with Sara from there. I’ve never seen a smile so big in my whole life. Even at the finish of Ironman. Even at weddings, births, anywhere. She knew she was a part of every leg of this journey, and we were stronger because of it. Her fight and spirit are an inspiration to anyone who is fortunate enough to come in contact with her. So, we crossed the line. We took the pictures. The race directors saw to it that Tonsa got a medal like the rest of us. We took more pictures. Then, somehow, and I’m not completely sure how it happened, our Vehicle signed up for next year as “Team Anaerobic”. With 6 people instead of 12. They call it the “ultra.” The same race, with half as many people. It sounded like a good idea at the time. But that’s what we do. We do things that aren’t easy, that aren’t dull, and that require tremendous amounts of dedication, training, and energy. And, I believe, that’s why we get to know people like Tonsa. She’s our reward. We love you, sweetie, and you really were with us every step of the way. If you’re up for it, I want to take you on an Ironman journey in a few months. You’re going to L-O-V-E this ride!!...
Friday, March 30, 2007
Today is our relay race. 12 people (+1 inspirational leader in Tonsa), 189 miles, about 27 hours. Updates coming tomorrow night as to how it went. Pictures, too. I"ll have K teach me how to drop pictures into this thing to add more life.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
So, for the first time EVER, I am skipping my brick workout today. After skipping a ride/run Thursday, and I'll also skip my swim this afternoon. And you know what? It's going to be okay. Next week is a recovery week on the bike, so I'll pick it up there and continue to build. Just keep telling yourself - it'll be fine - it'll be fine - it'll be fine....
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
So, last night I had a tempo run. I did hilly terrain and stayed aerobic. 9:08/mile pace. It felt fantastic!! It has been dropping steadily over the last couple weeks, but this was amazing. About 1/2 the time was sub-9, the other half climbing hills at 10ish. I felt.... right. I felt like I was running with good form and not forcing it. Wow. I can't wait to start speed work!!! I am hopeful to get to 8:30/mile aerobically this time. Since I spent most of my running time in the past anaerobic, I know I can run hard in that realm. Now I'm finally getting to where I can run at a reasonable pace (for me). I know we're all different, but for me things are starting to come together.
That reminds me about our ride last weekend. One of the guys in our group is named Troy. He can cycle, um, let's just say better than the rest of us. I have a mantra to keep me going for the run at CDA, since it was absurdly obvious that Troy will be the first off the bike. "Catch Troy" "Catch Troy" "Catch Troy". :) Maybe that will help when walking sounds like a great alternative to running!
You know, this triathlon lifestyle is pretty amazing. We think about split times and improvements, and how in the world we're going to get out of bed that early... and it keeps us happy. What a perfect hobby.
Monday, March 19, 2007
M - Long Swim & Weights
T - Recovery Bike & Tempo/Speed Run
W - Tempo/Speed Swim & Weights
Th - Recovery Run & Tempo/Speed Bike
F - off. Yeah!
S - Long Bike/Brick & Recovery Swim
SU - Long Run
So, you get used to that. There have been a lot of interruptions and variations due to that thing called "life" this time, and that's just the way it has to be. I have only completed all of my workouts in a given week one time. I've missed one or two in 5 out of 6 weeks. Luckily, I went into this plan knowing that business is busy this time of year for me, and that it was likely that I would miss workouts. I considered switching to 8 workouts/week instead of 11, but I figured I could average 10. So why only do 8?
The good news is that I seem to be getting into pretty good shape. I think a lot of fitness somehow carried over from Wisconsin last year. I'm not sure how. I did everything I could to drink beer, um, I mean rest and recover, during the off-season.
Next weekend we will do the Ragnar Relay - a 12 person 187ish mile relay run over approximately 24-28 hours. Stay tuned for details on how that goes!!
Friday, March 9, 2007
As for the donation. The easiest way to describe what's going on is to read K's blog. If you have any interest in donating money in T's name, just let me know through comments or email and I will be glad to help you do that. I will let you know the final total raised by the end of the month. I think I like the numbers I think we're going to hit! And, no matter what, every bit helps. I think the coolest thing is that the race director donated T's entry fee to the cause. Way to go, Dan!
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
2:30am. I woke up to the noises from people coming back to the hotel from the bars, and never really went back to sleep. I hate to admit it, but a trip to the bar didn’t sound like such a bad idea right then… 4:00am the alarm went off. After about 7 minutes of actual sleep. 4:05 the back-up wake up call. I started the day with a couple cups of coffee and a multi-grain bagel and peanut butter while Krista took a shower. I thought, why bother? I put on my tri-top and tri-shorts, then my warm clothes over the top and checked my dry bag for the 10th time, as I had all my other bags the day before. I looked out the window to check the weather. It had been very windy on Saturday, but was supposed to ease up with a 30% chance of scattered showers. On Saturday, the clouds were so low that I couldn’t see the top of a nearby tower. Race morning, I could see it. “Hmmm – might be good weather” I thought to myself. The trees told me there was a little wind in the air, but I did my best to pretend that I didn’t see it. Ahhh…the power of denial. Anyway, we gathered our stuff and headed to the race. Krista dropped me off right at transition and went off to park. She ended up scoring fantastic parking for $15 all day. Sweet! Put all my nutrition on the bike, borrowed a pump from a guy from Mesa who was one row over, and got my tires ready, too. After taking the plastic bag I used as a saddle cover, the bike was ready. I met with Krista, had my spark and ate a zone bar. Right on cue, about 10 minutes later I needed a bathroom break. Approximately 1:15 until race time. My nerves were definitely letting me know what was going on, but it wasn’t too bad. We went over to body marking and got in line and it started to sprinkle while everyone nervously chatted about it. Next was the special needs bags drop-off. It was close to the capital building, so it was a bit of a walk. The race transitions are at a building called the Monona Terrace. The bikes are on level 4 of a parking garage, and we change inside the ballrooms. The capital building is up the road from the Terrace. At this point, the nerves had kicked in and I was more nervous than I think I’ve beer been in my life, including when I proposed to Krista in front of a whole group of our friends. My heartrate stayed relatively low, but I thought I was going to throw up. We returned to the Terrace and went inside. Time for a potty stop, then I got the chamois butter from my transition bag, lubed up, and went back to the hall to put my wetsuit on. My nerves got worse, and Krista said I was making her feel nauseous from being so freaked out! We waited a bit, then headed for the swim. One more nervous pee, and we walked down the helix to the swim start. When we had to separate, I kissed her and told her the truth.. I was absolutely terrified. The kind of terror generally reserved for the instant before a car crash, or a strange noise outside the house right after watching a scary movie. You get the idea. I found my way over to her again for a hug. Then it was on my own in the sea of wetsuits holding up other scared people. It took about 10 minutes to make my way to the water. I got in, worked my way to the edge, um, warmed up my wetsuit, then pushed off. The pros had started right before I entered the water, so I had about 10 minutes until the start. Somehow, as I worked my way to the start line, my nerves and fear dissolved. As I tread water, mostly just with my arms, and looked around at the people everywhere, the athletes in the water, time seemed to slow down to a crawl. I could hear and see the helicopter approaching for our start – whoosh, whoosh, whoosh went the blades in slow motion, and the sea of people around me were moving their mouths to talk, but I couldn’t really hear a sound. The only thing that brought me out of slow-motion land was the voice of Mike Reilly, longtime IronMan announcer, well, announcing the start and telling everyone to their butts in the water, I became totally calm. I’m not sure why, but I’m grateful for it. “This is absolutely the coolest thing in the world” is all I could think. The time passed quickly, with a little friendly talk amongst us in the water. Now that I could speak, I even joined in a little. I started my watch, 10 seconds early, then “BOOM” from the cannon (and it sounded like a cannon) and we were off. I started pretty far to the right – about 85-90% to the right. I tend to drift left anyway, so I thought it was a good strategy. I was right, I barely noticed the difference. At first it was chaos in the water, but the contact wasn’t bad. Heartrate about 145bpm – perfect! Then, my drift started pulling me closer to the buoy line. I like to swim with 1 arm always in front of me for protection, but it didn’t help that much. Thunk – ow. So that’s what it’s like to get kicked in the head in an open water swim. Lots of contact from that point on, but nothing too bad. Cool, the first turn approaching. The swim is basically a rectangle, and we do it twice. Uh-oh, traffic jam. I ran into the people in front of me, and the ones behind me did the same. I swung to the right a little and was okay to swim again. Another tight turn with more of the same, then had a little open water as I headed back. Wow – waves. The wind had picked up, but there were too many people close by to notice on the way out. Thunk – Damnit! Okay, so now I know what it’s like to get kicked in the goggle (right eye). It hurts. I rolled on my back, could still see, and didn’t find any blood, so I completed the roll and kept swimming. That hurt. I decided to move away from the kicker as quickly as possible. The rest of the way was pretty uneventful, though I did have somebody scrape down the side of my face so sharply that I thought for sure I’d have claw marks for a long time. End of lap 1 – 38 or 39 minutes. Cool, right on schedule. My heartrate hit the high 150’s when I was getting my ass kicked, but stayed right at 145 the rest of the time. Absolutely perfect. I had more room to swim on loop 2, but I did have to stop for a minute as the rescue boat had moved in to pull someone from the water right in front of me. It seemed odd, but whatever. I rounded the last corner and spied the swim exit. I made it!! It seemed to take forever to get there, but I made it eventually. I could see the seaweed and knew the carpet would follow. I saw it, stood up, and started out of the water. 1:19:26. I had secretly hoped to be about 5 minutes faster than that, but I was happy. I followed my plan, stayed aerobic, didn’t drown or get any ribs kicked in. I saw Krista and gave her a big smile. I don’t think she even saw it, but it was there. In the pictures I mostly just look confused, but I thought I was smiling. Over to the strippers (not that kind), flopped on my back and the dude pulled my wetsuit off in one smooth pull. He handed it back as I stood up, then off to the helix. I was running up, buy my heartrate spiked, so I slowed. People lined the outside and were screaming the whole time. 4 flights went by pretty quickly. Into the Terrace, got my bag, and in to change. Holy crap – I can’t find a seat. There were naked and semi-naked men everywhere. I just want a seat. Ahh, there’s one. I dried off with my towel as much as possible in an effort to keep warm. I put my shoes on, and a volunteer told me not to. He said it was too wet and slippery. I guess it’s still raining. So, I took them off, got all my stuff together, food in my pockets, out to the bike. Hey, wait a minute. My socks will get wet! So, I stopped and put on my bike shoes. Quick potty break, then off to the bike. It was a long way. This was my longest transition ever, 11:15 or something. But I don’t know how I could have been any faster. Grabbed my bike, across the line, here we go!
Down the helix is much more fun than up. It was a good start to the ride, heartrate went down legs started working, so it’s time to warm up for the hills. Little did I know that “warm” was something I wouldn’t be for a very, very long time. Wisconsin in known for it’s relentless, never-ending hills. None are very long, but they keep coming one after the next and never seem to stop. Okay, I’m glad I brought my arm warmers. It’s cool and raining. The forecast was a 30% chance of showers. We had 2 showers that day. One began during the swim and ended about 11:30am. The other started about noon and lasted until after I flew out of Madison on Tuesday. I didn’t know that yet, though, so I was hoping it would ease up and warm up a little bit. The course is shaped a lot like a lollipop, 16 miles out, two 40 mile loops, then 16 miles back. I planned to go pretty easy through the first loop, then reassess how things felt and base loop 2 on how I felt. The path out to the loop was absolutely packed with riders, but pretty uneventful. We passed our special needs bags, and I knew that we must be on the loop. I drove the course a couple days before, but wasn’t sure about exactly where it started. Honestly, it all looked different in the rain anyway, so it didn’t matter much. Cool, there’s the 20 mile marker, this is going quickly so far. Uh-oh, my rear tire doesn’t look right. Is it flat? I really couldn’t tell with the water and spray, so I decided I better stop and check. Yup, flat. Bummer. Okay, change the tire. Fingers, use the tools to change the tire. WTF? They were so cold I couldn’t get them to work. Now what do I do? A couple spectators walked over to help. I thanked them, but I wanted to do the whole thing myself. They stayed and talked to me, though. That was nice. I finally got the tube in, tire back on, and went to screw the valve extender in. It wouldn’t go!! Crap. I tried 4 times. I credit cold non-operational fingers to most of the problem. Okay, take it off again. I screwed the extender on first, re-inserted, CO2, alright!! Put the wheel back on and got back into the race. Man, how many people passed while I was here? 200? 300? Too many. I joked to the guy still talking to me that it must have taken me 20 minutes to change it. He said it was just over 15. Ouch. I was joking and had no idea it was actually that long. Crap. Oh well. Off I went, and I had to pee already. That’s odd, but okay. I got to an aid station and stopped. I had to wait for 1 person But I got re-fueled with water and Gatorade and a guy held my bike. It took WAY too long, but whatever. I did decide that I wasn’t going to stop at aid stations for potty breaks anymore, though. Got going again and things were uneventful for awhile. I passed a ton of people who had passed during the change/pee. What in the world is going on? I have to pee AGAIN? Already?? No more porta-potties for me – I pulled over next to a guy doing the same thing near a tree. One more in front of me stopped to do the same thing. He complained it was his 4th, so I felt a little better about stopping twice. Hey – loop 1 done! Yeah!! On to special needs. I had to grab nutrition and extra tubes/CO2 since I’d flatted. BAM!!!!! I turned in time to see 2 guys bouncing off the pavement. I turned to the volunteer helping me with my bag and said “call medical”. One guy had gone straight out into the oncoming bikes and hit a guy that didn’t seem to plan on stopping. It didn’t look good at all, but time for me to go. I felt bad for them, but they had help. Off I went. My nutrition seemed to be going well and I was eating on schedule. I got hungry, so I listened and ate an extra pbj. I’d planned on 3, and brought 4 in case I dropped one. At about mile 55 or so, I tossed my chain going around a corner, right into a short, but steep, climb. Oops. Got it fixed, and started walking up the hill. The spectators were great – asking me if I needed help. Was I okay, etc. I said “I’m fine. I just don’t want to start on this hill!” Even the cyclists going by cracked up. Top of the hill, climbed on the bike, and away we go. Clang, blang. Crap. I dropped a CO2. Okay, hopefully no more than 1 more flat or it’s going to really be a long day. There were a remarkable number of people with flats. They were everywhere. And the ambulances had their sirens blaring a lot, too. It makes you sad to think that someone would train so hard, slip in the rain, and not have the opportunity to finish. Then I’d think that it could easily happen to me, too. Note to self – don’t think about stuff like that, it’s not good for you. At about mile 80, things got a little harder. The quads were complaining a little bit, not too bad, but a little. Man, I have to pee again. There were a lot of people behind me, and the ground looked solid, so I pulled off the road as I stopped. Bad idea on such wet ground. Squish, uh-oh, crash. On my left arm. $%^$ All I could think was “please don’t have broken it!” I didn’t, did I?!? About 20 minutes later I decided no, it hadn’t broken. I got a very nice bruise, and it really hurt for awhile, but it was okay. Not to self – stay on the damn road, jackass. Now, time for the hills. The 3 hardest ones were in the last 10-15 miles of the loop. I was amazed at how many people were out standing in the rain, ringing cowbells and screaming for us. It was incredible, and it definitely helped you up the hills. There was even a guy in drag, with a skirt so short you could see his, well, let’s say “underwear”. He was waving a sign “free at the finish line”. It was so funny I forgot I was climbing for a minute. Thanks, dude. He had to be as cold as we were. So, I started thinking. Hey – maybe it’s only raining out here. Madison could be dry!! I would really like to be dry for a while. I held the thought and finished the loop. There’s a sign “←------ Finish line”. I had convinced myself that the way out was a climb the entire way, except for 1 hill. Alright, I just need to coast back to the start, where I’m sure it’ll be dry, and I’m all set. Boy, was I wrong. Someone put a bunch of hills in there while I was gone. It was more down than up, though, so that was good. Boy, the wind sure has picked up even more than it’s been all day. Hmmmm, maybe my thoughts of a dry run are a little unfounded. I had to pee AGAIN, then into Madison. Yup, the rain is picking up, not stopping. Oh well, one can dream of being warm and dry. It was at about this time that I began to think back to my pre-race fear.. Why was I so scared? It was hard, obviously, but I felt trained. I felt prepared. Hey – I think I really am ready for this. Up the helix at the end, ouch, and up and off the bike. Oh, legs no work. But I stayed vertical, and it felt like heaven to go inside and out of the rain. I’d been wet & cold for almost 7 hours (6:51:00) and dry socks sounded like the greatest invention ever. I realized I had almost 9 hours to finish, and felt good, so I knew I’d make it. I changed, headed out the door… hey, is something in my shoe? I can’t tell. I didn’t notice anything in there, but a blister would really slow me down. So, I stopped and pulled off my shoe and sock. And kinda freaked everybody out (and definitely caught the attention of the volunteers) as I discovered the foreign objust was my pinkie toe!! I haven’t felt it for hours, so I didn’t realize it was just the feeling coming back. Alright, enough comic relief, back into the rain. I decided to leave my arm warmers on for the run. Thank god I did that. It rained and rained and rained the entire time I was out there. Sometimes really hard, sometimes only a little, but ever present. The conditions were absolutely miserable. And yet, it was okay. When you can’t do anything about it, you just accept it and move on. The run went from the capital/Terrace, out to the Univ. of Wisconsin campus, through Camp Randall Stadium (very cool), along an exercise path, and back to the finish. I first saw Krista right at the start of the run. Oh yeah, I saw her on the 1st lop of the bike, too. She took a bus out, stood in the pouring rain, all to yell for about 3 seconds as I went by. We actually got to talk now. She told me she’d talked to Melissa and got her new job! How cool!! Lots to talk about, but later. I felt pretty good, and was running well, so I went with it. Overall, then run went well. I ran a lot more than I walked, and didn’t slow too much on loop 2. Definitely walked more, but ran the majority. I had some GI issues and peed like 15 times on the run. What is going on???? There never really was any sun, but it got colder and colder as the day turned into night. I saw Krista at mile 6 or so and that gave me a huge boost. Then I saw the sign she’d made me. Picts of the dogs, with Baxter wearing a “go dad” t-shirt. I kissed them and kept going. She’d also given me a cutout pict of Baxter when I saw here at 6. I put him under my arm warmer and kept looking at him for inspiration to keep going. I was so wet that he started to fall apart, so I covered him with the warmer and decided to only look when I really, really needed it. I wanted to keep him with me. Before I knew it, loop 1 was coming to a close. Oh, my dry long-sleeve shirt in special needs. I had had it on my mind for hours. The volunteer helping me handed me the shirt and I told her I was in love with it. I was dry and thawed out a little bit for about 4 miles. Then it was back to wet and cold. My run pace stayed the same, I just had more walk breaks. Anything resembling an incline became a good reason to walk. Then, I started drinking the cola at mile 22. By 23 I felt better and started running again. I saw K and she ran with me a minute. I told her to go to the finish – I was running it in. I passed a couple hundred people (some probably on loop 1) in the last few miles. All the pain, the ache in my knees, the tightness of my IT band, everything felt okay again as soon as I saw the capital, and knew how close I was. This time, I didn’t have to turn around 10 feet before the finish shoot. I got to go straight. I heard myself say “hell yeah” and some spectators heard it, too and busted up laughing. I can’t describe the feeling seeing that line, the finisher arch. I could feel the smile on my face. I didn’t know I was smiling until I felt it. I’ve seen the joy in others as they approached the line, and now I got to experience it myself. I turned to check and nobody was right behind me. I slowed way down, gave/got several high 5’s, and crossed the line as if time was vitually standing still, which was very reminiscent of my slow-motion helicopter start to the day. Only now, no more fear. 13:05:12 is my official time. I was hoping for a faster time, but considering the wind, rain, and temps in the low 50’s on my soaking wet and shivering self, I was okay with it. I had visions of breaking 13 hours when I had about 5 miles to go. I pushed it a little and I got a little dizzy. I decided to let it go, and I’ll get to it next time. And there will be a next time. 6 months of work that culminates in one epic day. It’s worth every minute, every 4am wake-up, every ache, every pain, and all the sacrifices. I made a point to remember to enjoy myself, even in the conditions. Considering all we went through, I am happy and proud to call myself an Ironman on September 10,2006 in Madison, WI. I truly earned that title along with 2200 or so others. In the end, Krista seemed as wet and cold as I was. She was amazing all day and even though she was the only person I knew in Madison, I saw her often and it kept me going. I don’t think words could ever describe how much it meant to see a friendly face, soaked and cold as she was, throughout the day. “Thank you, honey” seems a bit dull and insufficient under the circumstances, but I’ve never meant it more in my life.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
If you have ever done a VO2 test, you know that it starts off really easy, and progressively gets harder/faster. We did a minute at 5mph pace, a minute at 5.5mph, 6.0, then 2 minutes at 6.5, 2 at 7.0, etc. I went for 17 minutes before deciding to stop at the end of my 9.5mph session. Man, that's a long time with a mask over your face and your heart rate soaring! You see, I'm in the middle of the "base phase" of the training - no hard workout stuff. All my training is at low, very aerobic heartrates. So, when my heart rate hit 196bpm (148 was my aerobic zone top before today), it was quite a workout. After a cooldown, a (very) little stretching, and a shower (for the people I work with!), Matt was ready with the results. It was all very, very interesting. As it turns out, I have up to 157bpm for my aerobic zone (AT=157bpm), so I'll cap it at 152bpm to have a little wiggle room for unexpected heart rate spikes. And my Lactate Threshold is 178bpm. Now I have scientific confirmation of some things I instinctively already knew. I could have raced harder at Wisconsin - I didn't let it go over 150bpm. I can and will race harder at Couer D'Alene, and now I can climb a little faster during training. I am still going to stick pretty close to the 150bpm range, but if it temporarily climbs a few beats I won't worry about it until I get to 155 or 156. And for the shorter distance stuff - Oly - I'm looking at 155 for the swim and first 5 miles of the bike, then into the 160's! All bets are off for the run - up to like 180bpm. Woo hoo!!!
If you have been training for awhile and have never done this test, I definitely recommend it. You also learn about calories burned and % of fat burned vs. carbohydrates. It's all very interesting stuff. Plus, as a side benefit, it narrows the focus of nutrition and exactly how much to eat for those longer days and long races. In my opinion, well worth the cost of learning the information.
Monday, February 19, 2007
So, I'll let you know what I find out at my VO2 test tomorrow. If they tell me I need to lower my zones, I will be very disappointed. As many of you know, you have to slow down quite a bit to go from shorter races to endurance racing. Well, I went from running 8ish minute miles to 10ish minute miles. It hurts to run at that pace and tri-dog mom takes every opportunity to let me know that I look awkward running like that. After a couple years, I've gotten more used to it, but I still prefer the speedier stuff! So, wish me luck...
Friday, February 16, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
It's almost embarassing to admit, but he seems to actually understand that our medals are related to running. At least, when we come home from a race, he gets very proud of himself to wear the medal. We convince ourselves he knows what it is. One of these days I want to get him a medal of his own, then he'll know for sure. He runs anywhere from 10 or 12 to 25 or so miles per week, so he deserves it!
Enough about the dog, this is Valentine's day after all. It's one of those times when we take the opportunity to really appreciate our partners. Well, Tri-Dogmom, you mean the world to me. She will be the first to tell anyone that I couldn't hardly dress myself without her, and she's right. I was lucky to finally find someone who understands and accepts me for who I am. I make her crazy sometimes, but deep down I know she realizes that it's just me. So, thanks babe, we make a great team. And, so you know, I think about this every day, not just the days that I'm supposed to buy flowers.
Oh crap.... better go buy flowers!
Monday, February 12, 2007
On our weekly long ride (3 hours last week), a couple of our friends in the ride with us were at a Y in the road and ran into a little trouble. Specifically, a porsche without any indication of it was going straight or turning. Michael (in front) hit the brakes, and Matt (crash-ee) was right behind them, bumped his wheel, and down he went. At about 20mph. This isn't Matt's first crash, so I was really worried about him and his shoulders (broken/maimed/you name it in the past) when I saw the road marks on his shirt. The fortunate thing is that we were all pretty spread out, and Matt's the only one to hit the pavement. It could have gotten ugly if we were all weaving left and right to get around him. Anyway, he's scraped up pretty bad, and has some nice road rash, but nothing seems to be broken. It served to remind me of how lucky we really are most times in life. We can complain about little things that bug us, or not. Either way, in a flash, things can be dramatically changed. Forever. So, it reminded me to enjoy the day, week, training, everything. It was a stunning day, too. About 70 or so, slightly overcast. Absolutely beautiful riding weather. I even enjoyed spending the rest of the day cleaning up the yard, blowing leaves, buying a new leaf blower when the old one died, and doing all the things you do to get our house ready for a bbq on Sunday. Normally, I'm not a big fan of the yardwork. Especially when I end up missing my swim in order to do it. But on that day, I was just enjoying being outside...
You know, I think I'll stop there for now. I have a lot more to talk about, including the reason for the bbq, but it just seems like the right place to end for now.
Friday, February 9, 2007
You see, this whole exercise to the point of ironman thing started about 6 years ago. I was running a little, up to 5k and 10k races, but always had "run a marathon" on my life-checklist. I received a postcard from UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) for a fundraiser marathon race they were doing. In Monaco. I thought to myself - well, if you're going to do one, Monaco's about as great a place as any! So I signed up. That was early spring 2001. The race was in November of 2001, so there was plenty of time to train. Sadly, 9/11 happened inbetween sign up and race day. Many, many people dropped out from fear of flying to Europe as a group of Americans, but about 50 or so of us stuck with it. Much to the dismay of our UCP coordinators, most of us decided to wear temporary american flag tatoos in honor of the people that died/were injured/had their lives destroyed simply because they went to work at the WTC in NYC that horrible day in September. We weren't sure how the people in France, Monaco, or Italy (we ran through all 3 countries) would react, but it was important for us to be proud of our country and honor our fellow americans. I have to say, I cannot count the number of people that touched me that day. Some with their eyes, some with their hands, and others still with their voices. The support for us was almost as unreal as the concept of running 26.2 miles all at once. Anyway, at the finish I said, loudly, "I will never, ever, #&*%ing do that again in my life!!" Of course, my second marathon came along about 6 months later, and I will soon complete #7. You see, I met Tri-dog mom during this training, and after the race we started spending a lot of time together. Next thing you know, we're running together, training for a marathon together, moving-in together, wow - we're married!! Daily exercise had just become a part of life. And strange things happened. I felt better. hmmmm... I kinda like this! I remembered seeing the ironman on TV when I was younger, and was drawn to triathlon. Absolutely fascinated by it. I just had to try one. I'll tell you the story of the beginnings of trishane in a future post. But for now, back to the beginning....
Last year, I started training for IM Wisconsin in April, and raced on Sept. 10,2006. If you've heard about the race you undoubtably know that the weather conditions were dreadful. 50 degrees, raining ALL DAY, windy. Well, I'm from Arizona. I was prepared for temps in the 90's, even the 100's, but not 50. Luckily for me (but not tri-dog mom), I'm a pretty stubborn guy once I decide I'm going to do something. I just kept moving, no matter what. I'll attach or post my race report, and a pict or two, once I figure out how to work those features of the blog. As I started the run, K (tri-dog mom) told me she had been offered her dream job while I was on the bike - to work from hom with our friend IronMomo. That meant that I could sign up for IM Couer D'Alene and race with my friends!! Of course, at the time, I was mostly trying to stop shivering and keep moving forward, but I think she could tell I was happy for her?!? We have 7 athletes competing in the race, so it will be a lot different than Wisconsin (just me). So here I am, at the beginning. This week is my first week of a 20 week training plan. I am not in racing shape right now, for sure, but I do feel like I'm already ahead of last year's week one. So, off we go. 11 workouts per week, 19 1/2 weeks to go. As you read, I hope you get even a fraction of the pleasure I will get through all this suffering, pain, sleep loss, and achievement. Enjoy the ride...