Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another week

I continue my early training for the CapTexTri in May. It will be my first Olympic distance. I am only concerned about the swim and then, only what my heart rate will be when I get out of the water.

I am also going to go wetsuit shopping soon as I know I will be needing one this year. So far I have gone without one but I think I need one now. Any comments about brands or buying method would be appreciated.

Swim workout today which was really good but I feel like a bottle of Clorox right now. I think the chemicals were a little overdone today.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Four Days After - Smile not diminished

I really thought by now the smile would have dimmed however it hasn't. I just got an email from ASI and had a chance to look at their photos and it brought back some great memories. I have never ordered pics but I think I will for this one.

I had my first run today since the half. It was a short tempo run and it felt a lot different than the long slow distance I have been doing. I still have a swim, bike and a brick this week....which means, no more days off.

Next "A" race is CapTexTri in Austin on May 25 I think. I will probably do a sprint or two between now and then. I also have the LTF Indoor Tri in April.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It Is Finished - in pictures

It Is Finished -- Race Report - AT&T Austin Marathon

The day dawned very early for this kid when the alarm sounded at 3am. I had two friends here and we were looking at a 1 and a half hour drive to Austin to the start. We rolled out of the driveway at 4am as the race director had recommended arrival at the downtown Austin location prior to 5:30am for a 7am start. There were 12,500 runners trying to get to the same spot at the same time. We found parking very easy and walked about 6 blocks to the starting/finishing area which stretched 6 blocks itself.

Attire for the day: shorts, technical long sleeve shirt, throwaway gloves (I MUST have my hands warm), my Saucony shoes (now retired from a lot of miles), shades (prediction was sunny), dri-fit hat and Nike "shox" sox (I really like these socks). I also had my fuel belt with my nutrition as I don't do anything different on race day if possible - I eat only what I ate in training.

Temperature at arrival was 45F and the expectation was to warm to about 54 degrees by my finish (the hour by hour forecast really helps). I also hung out before the start with a sweatshirt on that I was fully prepared to ditch along the road but I ended up giving it to the greatest Sherpa in the world - my wife - before the start. All three of us loaded Debbie down with some gear and off we went.

The first 3.5 miles were pretty much a continuous uphill climb (there is a youtube video of the course if you want to google it and watch a car drive the course). The full and half ran together for the first 9-10 miles so that was really cool. You were always surrounded by people, sometimes crowded. The course was lined with bands about every 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile and the fans along the route were fun and supportive. Then we had about 1-1.5 miles of down to flat terrain and then we started rolling hills for the balance. There were some incredibly steep hills after mile 8...while they weren't that long by time, they seemed like Everest in grade. Also every time you got to the top of one you could see your next one. There were a couple of hills that I literally ran from light pole to light pole to try to make it to the top before running out of gas. My reasoning was the longer I ran, the sooner the hill would be over.

Running back into downtown was a great feeling - knowing I was going to do it. I still had some gas in the tank so I ran the last mile or two at a faster pace.

My finish time was 2:15:37.

I really wanted to be inside 2:15 and was hoping for less than 2:10 but this was my first half and I went out very conservatively. Considering the course I am very thankful I ran it that way.

Here's a tip - drive the course pre-race if there is any chance - Youtube did not give the hills nearly the credit or attention they deserve.

Finishing was euphoric...especially as I was in the finishing chute - getting my medal and having the chip clipped off my shoe - the first marathon finisher completed the full I beat the first full marathon finisher by like 2 minutes....I was so proud. That dude had just laid down some 26.2 averaging less than 5:15....WOW!

Immediately got some dry clothes on - ate a half bagel, two bananas, a couple bottles of water, a bag of Fritos and then hit the Recoverite for some easy calories. I finished all that off with a well deserved beer - a Michelob Ultra - wow was it good!

We left the site a short time later after reveling in our success and lamenting the growing stiffness in our legs and the rising temperature for those poor folks still out on the course. Came home to a great hot shower, with a couple of minutes of full on cold water on the backs of the legs and then caught about a 90 minute nap.

A great day. A great finish line. Great friends who did it together.

Here's what I want you to remember. One year ago I had not even begun to work out. I was in the recliner. I tell you that for only this reason. I KNOW you can all do it.

If I can, I KNOW you can.

My legs are stiff but feel good. The accomplishment definitely outweighs the pain.

See you at the finish line.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Countdown

In March of 2007, I started to exercise for the first time in many, many years due to the discovery of some medical issues (full story later). In June a guy at the gym was going swimming after spin class - I thought he was nuts. Then he told me he did triathlons and I knew he was nuts. Then he suggested that I try one out. Nuts! I can't do that. intrigued. Then I did one, then another, totally hooked. I knew in 2008 I would do an Olympic distance, then came the crazy idea to do a Half Ironman distance. Well, that has a 50+ bike and a half marathon after a swim of more than a mile. I did a 50 mile bike ride to prove I could do that part. In one day and about 9 hours I will run 13 miles to prove I can do that part. Then in November I will put them both together with a 1.2 mile swim on the same day. Wow!

So the countdown is on -- about 33 hours 5 minutes and 5 seconds from right now. I am predicting a PR....big bet there.

Goal: finish with a smile on my face.

Plan: simple - left-right-repeat

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Last long run...

Today was my last long run before the Austin Half Marathon next Sunday. It was a 5 mile run and I ran in some hills here in San Antonio. A little discomfort from the tendon on top of the first metatarsal. A little ice and it feels much better. I re-laced the shoes as recommended by Dr. Allen and all seemed better. I think some time off the long run after the half will make a lot of difference for the tendon.

I feel ready for the run and am looking forward to finishing my first half.

I should get my training plan from my coach tomorrow. This is the first coach I have had since high school. This should be interesting. I am pretty jazzed about having someone to evaluate my training and discuss. I am looking forward to having even more confidence as race day approaches. I have always felt ready but that has been more along the lines of having simulated the distance. As the distances lengthen, that is more difficult to do.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A new chapter

Today marks the beginning of the Olympic distance chapter of my triathlon/fitness/running/swimming/biking lifestyle. I had my first long conversation with my new coach and am looking forward to a customized training plan. This should be really cool as the plan is specific to me and my goals.

A new pair of shoes was also acquired. They will be put to work after the Austin Half Marathon.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Athletic Supporters

Many of you may not have had the opportunity to explore this wacky triathlon world in which we live and play. My foot issues...chronicled ad nauseum below...have taught me many new things and reinforced others. First, you never quite realize the importance of an event until it may be taken away. Second, you can't believe the amount of support out there in this community.

I sent three emails to people I respected in the triathlon community. Coaches who I have come to respect. It amazed me that within 24 hours all three had replied thoughtfully and with care. Some with additional questions. You just don't find that "out there" today. I am impressed.

One coach also sent the email to another coach/podcaster who not only emailed me but then arranged a personal phone call to answer my questions and encourage me. To say the least I was blown away.

The take away - if you get into this game...get all the way in....jump in with both feet and the rest of your body. This community will support you. Thanks to all of you.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Not fractured

A crazy couple of weeks - I had a fourteen mile training run on Saturday and I was really worried. It goes back to the River Road Run and a sore left foot after the run. After no running for a week, last weekend a 4 mile run caused pain. I decided to keep trying for the week - no running, just cycling and swimming and then go ahead and try the run on Saturday...14 miles...a PR in distance...never been that far. So I took off and I am sure you all know, I questioned every step - does my foot hurt? Well, after adjusting my shoe every mile or two, at about 8 miles I had to admit that my foot hurt. I untied and re-tied the shoe much looser and it was cool again, my foot really didn't hurt...2 miles later, loosen the shoe lace again and once more 2 more miles in...the foot continued to swell, it hurt that afternoon although walking loosened it up. Sunday morning it hurt again. I decided I had to get it checked. So on Tuesday, very worried, I saw a sports medicine foot/ankle specialist. Turns out the problem was an irritated tendon on top of my foot along the first on. Maybe a little discomfort but with some steroids (I hope there is not random drug testing), I can run the Austin half marathon next weekend. I cannot begin to describe what this means. I haven't been this giddy about something in a while. I thought I had trained right, followed a plan diligently, and was going to have it yanked from my grasp. With one learned individual's opinion, I am set free to run again. I have never never NEVER run a half marathon and a year ago didn't realize it was even possible, much less would be looked at eagerly, as fun. I can't wait.