Sunday, November 15, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
At the time, I had no idea that the race was selling out in 7 minutes! I've read that no triathlon has sold out faster! That may or may not be correct - but 7 minutes is remarkable none the less. Reading comments on ST and BT, it is clear that lots of people made the effort and got locked out of the system. I'm thrilled to have made it in - I've never been to New York, so this will be a memorable way for me to make my first trip.
2010 is shaping up to be a busy triathlon year for me. Longer distances and some travel next year will make it a fun year. I have one more key race to get signed up for. That is St. Anthony's which is close to home. Then - do I dare consider Ironman Florida next November??? It's early and I'm not ready to make that commitment yet!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Apparently, I still don't have great reading comprehension - because I thought the early sign-up was tonight. Turns out, it was last night and the early slots are filled. So, I will be sitting with my computer at midnight trying to be one of the 3,000 (lucky?) people that make it in under the wire.
Updates to follow!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Friday afternoon, I hopped on a plane and was in San Jose by 9:00. Saturday was a rest day that included packet pick-up and some shopping at the expo. After a light dinner, it was off to bed and a good nights sleep. As expected, the weather was cool and clear when Sunday morning rolled around. I was up very early and spent some extra time making sure that I had packed all of the gels and Shot Blocks I planned to use during the run.
About 90 minutes prior to race time, I walked down to the starting area. Let me say that the organization of the race was outstanding! The entire layout was designed to move runners efficiently through the process of dropping off clothing and other items for secure storage, past an area where food and drink were available (all free) and finally into the numbered corrals. I was in corral #10. This area is for runners that expected to complete the race in 2hours and 45 minutes.
By the time I got into my corral, the crowd had really stared to build. There were over 11,500 runners at this event and I have to admit - I was pretty jazzed to be part of the crowd. After doing triathlons that typically number 800 - 1200 participants, the size of the crowd was something to marvel. When the gun fired . . . . . no one in corral 10 even budged. For that matter, I looked as far forward as I could and couldn't detect anyone moving!
After at least 5-minutes, we began to shuffle towards the start line. When we finally made it to the official start line, everyone was cheering and waving at the cameras. I was just moving with the crowd trying to take it all in. After a few minutes, the crowd began to thin and I started to settle into a comfortable pace.
Long before the race, I had decided that I would use my pulse to determine my pace for the day. I know that I can comfortably run at a heart rate of 130 - 135. It's not a fast pace, but it's sustainable for me. My thinking was that the cool weather would allow for a faster pace - while keeping my pulse on target. So, after about a half mile at my slow, comfortable pace - I looked at my Garmin and noticed that my pulse was at 155. I slowed and my pulse dropped to 152. Okay, time to re-evaluate my race plan. I was feeling good and my breathing was easy - so I quickly decided that my race pace would be based on a 150 - 155 heart rate. With that decision made, I put my head down and tried to get into a comfortable rhythm.
There were a few memorable moments during the next few miles. First, around mile three, I caught up to a guy that had to weigh 350 pounds. Imagine Santa Clause, sweating profusely in a bright yellow tee-shirt! I had two immediate thoughts: First, "OMG - he's going to kill himself". Next, "OMG, I'm barely faster than him!" I picked up my pace for a few minutes to clear Santa.
Next, as I approached an aid station at mile 4, there was a runner sitting on the ground surrounded by paramedics. It was difficult to see much, but he appeared to be young and very very out of it. I spent some time thinking about what might have gone wrong to put a young, healthy looking guy on the ground this early into the race. It occupied my mind for a while.
By mile 5, there wasn't much passing going on. I had fallen in with a loose group of people that were running at the same pace and everyone seemed content to just hammer out the miles. There was a little chatter at times, but mostly just the sound of shoes on the pavement. As the miles went by, I was pleased that I didn't have to stop and walk. I think the cool weather was the biggest factor in keeping me on pace. Up until the race, I had never run more than 9 miles - so I wanted to be careful to keep some energy in reserve.
By the time I reached mile 10, I did the math and determined that I was well ahead of my 2 hour 45 minute goal - but was not going to be able to finish in 2 hours and 30 minutes (which had been the best I thought I might be capable of doing). I was feeling good, so I picked up my pace and decided that I would shoot for a negative split on the last 3.1 miles.
At mile 12, I was making good time and passing people when I (we) came upon a fire truck parked at a 45 degree angle on the road. There were at least 3 motorcycle policemen beside the truck - blocking the road. As the group came to a stop, an ambulance made a U-turn from behind the fire truck and headed out with sirens blaring. It didn't add much time and at the time I thought how close someone had gotten to finishing the race.
I finished the race and was very happy with my result. Given that I've never been a "Runner" - I was thrilled to finish and was very pleased to have do it right between my two goal times. My official race time was 2 hours and 38 minutes. I'm pleased to say that I could have gone harder and felt great the next day! The day was capped off with a Jonny Lang concert in the park and the finishers "Free Beer". All in all a great weekend and something I will do again (before May)!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This may be the answer for bringing along enough food for long training rides!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I worked only a half day today. I spent the rest of the day on the couch trying to shake some type of bug that has me feeling down. It’s uncommon for me to sit for hours at a time and I’m afraid that all of this downtime has allowed me to think too much.
After a very average run at the Sand Key Triathlon this weekend, I am struggling to connect A to Z. I like to think of myself as analytical and methodical. I understand that everyone is not like me – but I do pretty well when I understand how I’m going to get from the beginning to the end of a task. It’s like school. You know if you go for twelve years and make passing grades – you’ll graduate and get your high school diploma. Four more years of the same effort and you will leave college with a bigger and better diploma. I can understand that and it fits well into my fuzzy brain.
That brings me to Sunday. I went into the race expecting to have an improved 5k run. I have literally quadrupled my running over the last two months and I was looking for a payout. I took care of myself on Friday and Saturday, the weather was a little cooler than previous races and due to big waves – we didn’t even swim.
So after a good ride on the bike, I pull on my shoes and head out for a quick 3.1 miles. I was happy leaving T2 because my legs felt good and my head seemed pretty clear. Not feeling overheated or too tired from the bike leg. Things were starting out as planned.
Then it hit. I’m not sure what it was – but it hit. My legs felt heavy and all I could do was just jog along slowly. I became the moving roadblock for all of the people that I had passed on the bike and many athletes that had started in waves behind me. I know that all of those athletes have worked hard and I gave words of encouragement to most that passed me – but I wasn’t at all happy with my pace! I’ve put in the work – and I want my results!
Okay, now that my temper tantrum has passed, it’s time to get back to work. I continue to be amazed at how my body responds to the exercise and change of habits. I haven’t seen my run times improve (enough) – but I continue to shed pounds. I’m still slow on the run – but I can now make good time up my training bridge on my bike. I’m the very slowest swimmer at the OWS, but I can run 10 miles without stopping. All of that tells me that things are improving – but they aren’t linear. Being an analytical guy, that bugs me – but all I can do is run my 5 miles before work in the morning and be confident that one day my body will decide we can do it faster!
Somewhere in all of this, there is a lesson in patience and perseverance. It's a lesson that I need to learn!
Cheers from the sick couch my friends!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I got in from my run this morning and plugged my favorite toy/tool into my PC. My Garmin 305 has been on my wrist for every single training ride and run since I started my triathlon dreams in January. It has been a constant reminder that I am getting faster and in better shape.
Take care friends!
Friday, August 21, 2009
My next event will be the Sand Key Sprint Triathlon. It has a short swim and bike (1/3 mile and 11 miles), but I'm looking forward to it. I have been in a bit of a funk since my last race. Nothing on the immediate schedule had me feeling a little lost. I guess I should expand on that.
Tomorrow I'll be doing about 40 miles on the bike. Doing the Clearwater bridge loop for two or three laps. I'm riding with a new group tomorrow - I can't wait to see the pace and find out how I'm doing compared to the group.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Fast forward a few months and I'm now looking at much longer distances. Going back to what has worked for me, I decided that last night would be my first attempt to swim 1 mile with the gang from the St. Pete Mad Dogs. First, the mile walk down the beach seemed like it took forever! I know it's twice as far as I've been walking, but it feels like more than that! Into the water we go and the water is bathtub HOT! So much for it being a refreshing swim.
Heading south, the current is pushing us a little and I start to fall into a nice rhythm. Doing my best to make long strokes and to get some glide on each pull - I'm feeling pretty good about myself. As usual, the faster swimmers make it past me and the herd begins to thin out. As I start to get a little tired, I notice that it's just me and a girl in a green swim cap. I notice her as she swims past me. By the half way point, I'm getting bored and I'm totally alone. Ms. Green Cap has a 40 or 50 yard lead and is pulling away a little bit at a time.
I'm swimming a good distance out from the beach and have the realization that if something were to happen to me - no one would know! I've spent a lot of time on the water, so I'm not particularly worried about sharks or other creatures - but you are responsible for your own safety. I decide to work my way back towards the beach a little when it happens . . . .
I take a breath and when my head goes back under water, I seen the front of something swimming directly underneath me. If you watch enough space movies, you've seen the scene where the good guys think they have won the battle only for the huge and ominous "bad guy ship" to glide up behind them (or in my case, underneath them). Yep ~ that's how it felt!
My first instinct is to scream (bad option with my face under water). I'm thinking it must be a rather huge sea ray gliding by. Sorry, much too long for a sea ray. My curiosity turns to panic when I decide that it's too long to be a ray, so it must be a shark. I should append my statement from two paragraphs ago. I'm not afraid of sharks as a general idea. I do however fear sharks that are swimming directly beneath me at dusk when I'm all alone in the ocean!
As the shark continues to glide by, I notice that there is no dorsal fin and the tail is all wrong. Suddenly I realize that it's not a shark - it's a manatee! How fun did this swim just get??!! I'm being tracked by a Sea Cow! I watch some bubbles come up as the mammal glides out of site. I have to turn my head to take a breath and it's gone.
The rest of the swim went well. I did have time to decide that being passed by a sea cow is probably an accurate representation of how I swim! I was the very last person out of the water (except for the folks that got tired and got out early). So, now I know I can do the distance. Could I have hopped on my bike and done 56 miles? I think I could. Run after that . . . not so much! I plan to do my 56 miles over the weekend and get that hurdle behind me. Not sure when I'll be ready to tackle the 13 mile run, but I know that no later than October 4th, that will be done too!
Good news - I'm down to 234.2 this morning! This exercise and eating right really works!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
I've been lucky enough to meet several people that run in or compete in all sorts of endurance events. From half-marthons to full Triathlons, it's a group that I look up to. To me, there's something special about those people that have the disipline and desire to put that type of commitment on themselves. They are very special people.