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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Long Awaited IM Wisconsin Race Report

And it is LONG. Grab a cup of Coffee or gatorade or something. This will take awhile to read.

IM Wisconsin

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

The Test

Okay, the results of the test are in! I'll get to some numbers in a minute, but first a little bit about the test. I got tested at Endurance Rehabilitation by a guy named Matt. Matt and I have a little bit in common - he also raced IM Wisconsin in September last year. So, we spent about the first 5 minutes or so talking about the race, the cold, the rain, all those things. That reminds me - I should post my race report, so look for it in the next couple days. Anyway, while warming up and getting everything ready, we just talked about the race. It was cool to hear his perspective and to find out I wasn't the only one who didn't bring enough clothes in case it was cold. I'm pretty sure he finished ahead of me, probably WAY ahead of me, but we were out there together either way.

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

VO2 Max Testing

The first 2 weeks of training are behind me, and a VO2 max test facing me first thing in the morning! Everyone else in our training group has gotten the test, so now it's my turn! The weird thing is that I'm not allowed to work out tonight, and the test takes like 11-12 minutes. You go all out at the end, from what I hear, but it's still only a very short period of time. So, over the next 24+ hours, I will only work out for 12 minutes. I am going to have a TON of energy built up for my afternoon workout tomorrow! I feel bad for everyone at work. I guess this means that the training is getting to be habit. I'm craving the next workout, looking forward to the challenges, and getting (a little) better at dragging myself out of bed before anyone else is up. In the city. Okay, it's not that bad, but it feels that way sometimes...

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

The Day Off

Today is the day I long for all week... my day off. With 11 workouts/week over 6 days, "The Day Off" carries great significance. Of course, by the end of the day, I'm jonesing to work out, but let's forget about that for a minute. Today is the one day of the week that I can sleep past dark, eat at whatever times of the day feels right (not every hour when my hunger becomes unbearable) and generally recover for the days to follow. I don't think enough people take the day off seriously enough. We triathlete-types are really pretty good about putting in our time, doing our workouts, waking our sorry butts up at 4:30 or 5am (ugh) so we can get our workout in and still get to work on time. But when it comes to the day off... we struggle. Many people dread or eliminate this day entirely. What we (as a group) tend to forget is that the workouts themselves don't do us any good at all. The recovery from the workouts is where all our gains are made, as our bodies build strength, endurance, and whatever else it does. You can see by the lack of technical knowledge that I will not and do not promote myself as a coach. But I do understand quite a bit about this crazy, obsessive, overly healthy sport we indulge in. And I know that the body needs some time off. Personally, I love the day off, can't wait for it, and rejoice in it. By late afternoon, I'm ready for the next workout, but know enough to let it be. So, tomorrow I will be stronger, faster, and more ready for my workouts than I was yesterday. The biggest question of the day.... Does that glass of wine I'll have with dinner speed up the process? It's good for your heart, right?!? So it must help!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! This is one of those days when it's just okay to skip the evening workout in order to have dinner with your sweetie. In my case, Tri-DogMom. Of course, she can still do all her workouts during the day, but we won't hold it against her. I still get to run with my training partner, Baxter, in the morning though. He's the red dog in the picture. His little sister Abby goes with us now, but it's Bub (one of Baxter's many nicknames) that I really enjoy to run with. We have been running partners for over 3 years now, and it's kinda weird to run without him at this point. If he had his choice, that stupid bike would sit in the garage and the stupid swim goggles would just go away. Then we could run every day!

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

Remember, Be Safe

Today marks the beginning of week 2, and post #2 of my new blog. (I promise I will have tri-dog mom show me how to upload pictures, to make thimgs more interesting) There are a lot of fun & exciting things to talk about, but first we have to start with a little reality check. I sum it up with one word...


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

At The Beginning.... Again

Welcome to my blog! I am finding myself at the beginning of the journey towards ironman for the 2nd time in as many years, and I thought it would be fun to share the ride.

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...